Best range finder

Gear
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Which range finder is best?

There are a lot of variables when it comes to hunting, archery or shooting any projectile. Knowing the wind conditions and air pressure are good places to start, but you also need to know the exact distance of your target.

Unless you have a mythical ability in judging distance, you’re going to need a range finder that is accurate under all conditions. The Sig Sauer KILO8K-ABS is the perfect hunting tool for this, as it can read out distances up to 8,000 yards.  

What to know before you buy a range finder

Detecting targets and reflectivity

The most important function of a range finder is its ability to accurately pick out your hunting or archery targets. There is no use for a range finder to tell you how far a tree is when a deer is standing a few yards behind it. Target detection depends on the reflectivity of the object, as a laser bounces back to the range finder. If the laser is too weak, it will fail in measuring. 

Compact size

While remaining unseen, a critical aspect of hunting is also to be as quiet as possible. That is why you should use equipment that is compact, easy to carry and can be stowed quickly. Every second matters, and if your range finder is too bulky, you run the risk of losing sight of your target while you struggle to put it away. 

Magnification and angle-compensation

Together with detecting targets, it is important that your range finder has good magnification and angle compensation. This works very much like binoculars so that you can clearly see the target and get an accurate reading on the distance. Angle compensation helps you to determine the exact distance while factoring in slopes, elevation changes or even the curvature of the globe over long distances.

What to look for in a quality range finder

Ballistic software

Getting a distance reading is one thing, but knowing how to interpret it is another. Most good-quality range finders will have ballistic software built into the finder. This will help you, through different settings, to get the most accurate reading. Some finders allow you to input the rifle’s caliber and weather conditions to increase your chances of a successful hit.

Accurate readings

For a range finder to be of incredible value to you, it needs to return consistently accurate readings. If your estimations are out by even a few inches, you might hit the target in a spot that can cause unnecessary damage. A quality range finder will be able to accurately determine distances for a long time after purchase.

Fast-scanning 

Any hunter will know that targets very seldom remain still when aimed at. While the distance from the range finder will be accurate for stationary targets, the moment it takes off, it won’t matter. That is why you need a quality range finder that has built-in fast-scanning to get the distances on moving targets.

How much you can expect to spend on a range finder

The average price of a range finder will depend on the manufacturer and the capabilities of the device. An entry-level range finder retails for between $60-$80, while powerful range finders can retail for between $100-$300.

Range finder FAQ

What is the difference between a hunting and golf range finder?

A. A range finder for golf generally focuses on the nearest target, like the pin, and will disregard trees or animals on the fairway. A hunting range finder uses distant target priority mode and ignores closer objects.

Is a range finder the same as a spotting scope?

A. There are a few differences between a range finder and spotting scope, but the biggest one is how they operate. A spotting scope is a portable telescope that magnifies whatever it is pointing at. A range finder also magnifies, but it sends out a laser beam to calculate the exact distance.

What’s the best range finder to buy?

Top range finder

Sig Sauer KILO8K-ABS 7x25 mm Laser Rangefinder

Sig Sauer KILO8K-ABS 7×25 mm Laser Rangefinder

What you need to know: This range finder has advanced technology for accurate range finding.

What you’ll love: From well-known manufacturer Sig Sauer, this range finder has an impressive maximum reflective range of 8,000 yards. It also includes Applied Ballistics Elite (BDX Elite) that factors in angle compensation and can also be connected to other devices like a Garmin GPS. Range finding includes first, best and last targets and a fog mode that makes it easier to see through. It has an onboard LED display that provides you with information like range to target, elevation holdover, wind hold, energy on target and velocity at the target distance.

What you should consider: The price might put it out of reach for most.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top range finder for the money

Tidewe Hunting Rangefinder with Rechargeable Battery

Tidewe Hunting Rangefinder with Rechargeable Battery

What you need to know: This is an affordable range finder with lots of functions.

What you’ll love: With a six-times magnification, this range finder gives you a straight-line vertical distance reading, the horizontal distance and the speed to your target. It promises to be accurate on targets between 3 to 1,000 yards and can provide a range within 1 yard in less than a second.

What you should consider: The numbers and crosshair don’t adjust according to the focus knob.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Aofar HX-1200T Range Finder for Hunting

Aofar HX-1200T Range Finder for Hunting

What you need to know: This is the perfect range finder for foggy conditions.

What you’ll love: Ideal for bow and rifle hunting, this range finder is dust and waterproof. It is accurate within 1 yard for distances between 5 and 300 yards and has a maximum finding range of 1,200 yards. It features a six-times magnification lens and weighs only 6.3 ounces. The package includes a carry pouch, a battery, carabiner and a cleaning cloth.

What you should consider: The maximum range might not be enough for long-distance shots.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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