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Long-distance shooting is often the most difficult type to practice, whether you are target shooting or trying to hunt an animal from afar. But while some of the most skilled marksmen are incredibly practiced and may even have excellent vision, none of them can perform the feats of accuracy they do without knowing the distance between them and their targets.
Rangefinders are invaluable tools that can let marksman accurately gauge the distance between them and where they want to shoot. Today, let’s break down the best rangefinders for long-distance shooting so you can hit your targets no matter what.
- 1 What is a Rangefinder?
- 2 Things to Look for in a Rangefinder
- 3 Top Rangefinders for Long Distance Shooting
- 4 Conclusion
What is a Rangefinder?
A rangefinder is a tool commonly used for hunting and other activities where gauging the distance between you and a target is important for accuracy or success. For instance, you might decide to use a rangefinder for something as relaxed as golfing. But more commonly, people use rangefinders for hunting or target shooting.
In a nutshell, a rangefinder fires a laser beam out of an emitter, which bounces off the target you sight through using a scope built into the rangefinder device. The rangefinder has an internal clock that can measure how long it takes for a beam to reach your target and come back. It uses that clock to calculate the distance between the rangefinder and your target, and can report that distance using displays either built into the device or transmitted to another device in less than a second. Ranges can be displayed in either yards or meters depending on your preference.
As you can imagine, this can be incredibly helpful if you’re hunting, and particularly useful when you practice long-range hunting or target shooting. It’s very difficult for hunters to accurately gauge distance using the naked eye past a certain point. Since distance can affect how you need to set your weapon for windage, elevation, and other factors, knowing how much space is between you and your target is crucial if you want to land a tricky shot.
Things to Look for in a Rangefinder
Not all rangefinders are built alike. There are plenty of things you should consider before finalizing a purchase to ensure you get a great tool for your needs.
Maximum Effective Range
Firstly, consider the maximum effective range of a rangefinder before making a purchase. If you’re looking for a rangefinder for long-distance shooting, then you want something that can go up to 1000 yards at least, if not closer to 1200 or 1400 yards.
This ensures that the rangefinder will be adequate for long-distance target shooting or hunting, and you’ll be able to still use the device for shorter range hunting situations if necessary.
Of course, what a particular hunter may consider to be “long-distance” will vary from person to person. So there’s a little wiggle room in this particular respect.
Next, think of the magnification settings that a given rangefinder may provide. Some may not magnify at all, but every rangefinder suitable for long-distance hunting or target shooting will at least magnify 2x, with 4x and 5x magnification settings being more common.
Some will be variable magnification, meaning you’ll be able to switch between different magnification powers depending on your needs or circumstances. Others may be fixed magnification and will only magnify to a certain power. Both can be valuable, although variable magnification rangefinders are a little more versatile.
Note that the magnification settings refer to the zooming function of the scope attached to the rangefinder, not the laser itself. The laser may have intensity settings, but in most cases, it shoots at the same consistency and color at all times.
A rangefinder may have a display on one of its sides, or it might provide the display of the distance between you and your target by digitally transmitting it to a mobile phone or another display surface.
Many of the best rangefinder displays are LCDs or similar screens. Consider what each rangefinder offers and pick your favorite; there’s not really a right or wrong answer when it comes to this aspect, although larger screens are better for providing more information. Some screens may let you adjust their brightness for better visibility.
Yards or Meters?
Always check to see whether a rangefinder provides distance measurements in yards or meters, as you may prefer one or the other. Some may even allow you to switch between yards and meters at your whim, which is super valuable if you want to share your rangefinder with other hunters or marksman.
Consider the overall durability of a rangefinder before making a purchase. Some are built to last in inclement weather and will be ideal long-term purchases, even if they cost quite a lot of money. Others may be cheaper and a little more fragile but will be better for beginning marksman and long-distance hunters.
We’d normally recommend going with a durable rangefinder if you can find one, as it’s usually better to get higher quality equipment than it is to buy something cheap, only to have to replace it in short order.
Easy to Hold?
Lastly, check to see how easy it might be to hold a particular rangefinder before finalizing a purchase. Some rangefinders come with easy to grip, textured surfaces so you don’t lose your hold on them even when your hands are wet or slippery. Others may be ideal for cold or warm environments depending on the material used.
Overall, it’s always nice when a rangefinder is easy to hold since it makes handling or swapping between the rangefinder and your rifle a lot easier.
Top Rangefinders for Long Distance Shooting
This top-tier rangefinder is capable of projecting all the way up to 1800 yards, so almost any long-distance shooting activity you can imagine will work well with this equipment. It features a high-quality HCD display mode that provides a raw distance number even when compensating for complex angles. As a result, it’s also a great tool for hunting in rugged terrain.
It has a special scan feature that can provide continual range readings as you pan the rangefinder across a landscape or as you track a moving target. It also comes with three brightness settings so you can view the display both during nighttime hunting and at high noon, or anywhere in between.
The rangefinder is made with multicoated lenses for excellent light transmission and has a rubberized, nonslip grip. It even comes with a neck lanyard and a utility clip for easy storage and transportation.
The Bottom Line
Overall, it’s a top-tier long-distance rangefinder we’d recommend for everyone who wants the best of the best, even if it costs a little extra.
Here’s another high-quality rangefinder, although it’s much more affordable than the last and can only reach up to 1200 yards instead of 1800. Still, this is plenty for most long-distance sharpshooting or hunting scenarios. You’ll be able to adjust the rangefinder from 5 yards all the way up to 1200.
It’s even advanced enough to compensate for slopes, so it’s a good choice if you’re a frequent hunter. It has an additional continuous scan mode like the last rangefinder choice. Even better, all the buttons are separated from one another, so you don’t accidentally turn it on or off when holding it.
It features fully multicoated optics for better light transmission and to reduce how much reflected light affects your scope. It also features a rubberized surface that makes it pretty easy to grip, even with wet fingers. Lastly, it comes with a fantastic 12-month warranty to cover you for any manufacturer defects.
The Bottom Line
It’s a great budget-friendly choice that still manages decent long-distance measurements without compromising in any particular area.
This is another affordable rangefinder that can go up to 1200 yards and compensate for different angles or slopes. When you add this together with its camouflage color and exterior pattern, it’s clear that this is an ideal hunting rangefinder.
It comes with two modes built into its functions, plus a dustproof, fog proof, and waterproof case so little work well in any inclement weather. Activating the various modes and other features are pretty easy since the buttons are set at the top of the easy to hold, rubberized grip.
The rangefinder comes with a carrying pouch and a battery, plus a cleaning cloth and manual so you have everything you need to get started out of the box. You also get a two-year warranty and lifetime customer support when you make the purchase, so it’s a good deal through and through.
The Bottom Line
It’s an excellent package rangefinder product that comes with a few worthwhile accessories and a solid customer support commitment.
This rangefinder has a higher price than the last, but it’s well worth it, as you’ll be able to capably measure distance up to 4000 yards, at least with reflective surfaces. When it comes to trees, you’ll be more likely cap out your measurement potential at 1700 yards, although this is still great for most typical long-distance shooting activities.
Beyond that, the rangefinder comes with five stages of selectable brightness and special Nikon ID technology that can provide you with actionable distance measurements in seconds. It even handles varying incline or decline shooting angles. The built-in monocular provides bright and sharp sight pictures so you can easily pick out your target and from similarly colored underbrush.
The case isn’t as rubberized as some other rangefinders on the market. But this casing is quite durable, and is capable of withstanding significant shock from being dropped.
The Bottom Line
This is a fantastic rangefinder if you don’t mind the price being a little higher and you’re interested in something that can sometimes go beyond 2000 yards with reasonable accuracy.
This last rangefinder is also quite pricey, but it can provide accurate measurements up to 1760 yards, plus magnify up to seven times when you look through the scope. Even more innovatively, the laser can wirelessly communicate with the proprietary app that works for both iOS and Android mobile device platforms.
The rangefinder is further configurable using a smartphone, and you can load up to three custom ballistic curves settings for even more accurate measurements. In short, this feature lets it automatically compensation for your rifle’s shooting pattern at a distance. It’s an incredibly technologically advanced piece of equipment suitable for hunting and long-distance target shooting like.
It can incorporate wind data and other abstract values to truly boil down the measurement distance to a single number you can use to make accurate shots. It also has a fully waterproof housing and features fully multicoated optics, plus a diopter adjustment control.
The Bottom Line
This is a superior choice if you want a high-tech piece of rangefinding equipment for your next hunting expedition or target shooting competition.
Ultimately, any of the above five rangefinders will be a phenomenal choice for long-range shooting. They each provide great performance and will let you hit targets at 1000 yards or even greater. Carefully consider all of their aspects before making a purchase and you’ll walk away satisfied. Good hunting!
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