View Full Version : Best Value for Range Finders?

Long Path
September 7, 1999, 08:53 PM
Well, this one stemmed from my long range hunting question.

I've been looking into this question for awhile-- I know of the Bushnell 800, which looks good. Rocky Road mentioned sumpin' about a Tasco Monocular range finder. Does someone know anything about another range finder that works as well or better for under $200?
My Simmons 'scope has a "rangefinder" based on two parallel lines that you bracket your game (elk, deer, or antelope) with, and then rotate the magnification ring until it fits from the brisket to the withers of your animal. Then you look on the adjustment ring to see what range you're supposedly at. It also came with cams for the adjustment knobs to then adjust your zero, but taking a shot on game at distance long enough to need the adjustable zero, without checking first, with a scope of questionable repeatability, is madness to me; I'd rather just know the distance, know my zero, and hold over. I do not consider this a very accurate "range finder" at distances far enough to need one. I'd rather use a good mil-dot scope.

Still and all... would need to tell range. Help? Thoughts? (More regarding dedicated Range Finders than Ranging Scopes...)


"Only accurate rifles are interesting..."

Big Bunny
September 7, 1999, 09:23 PM
Well LP, I think those scopes are a waste of time. I have yet to test the monocular lazer range-finders, but they are expensive here(AUD$450 plus or about a week's average wage).
Our SSAA tester(ssaa.org.au) reported that he got a lot of false readings including a sun-hot rock at 380m !
I was unimpressed.

I presently use a 'Ranging400' from BassPro and find it OK as long as you follow directions up to 300m( over is a bit touchy) and if you have enough light to see the circular scale in early morning/night. So I have marked in white paint 50..100..200..300 for these adverse conditions.
It is good over water or from a hide (when you have all that time) and can set various features (as in a range card) at various ranges for when you see the game...or aferwards for a post-mortem (why did I miss that shot?!).

Cost of the 'Ranging400' is low, it is light-weight, comes with a camo pouch and it works.

But, I would be interested to hear of others experiences and also of the effectiveness of the range-finding lazers in the US experience..

***Big Bunny***

Long Path
September 8, 1999, 05:10 AM
I really don't need much help out to 400. Really, it would only really be helpful for that last 75 yards or so. I need sumpin' that'll give me solid ranges out to around 600.

Art Eatman
September 8, 1999, 04:23 PM
I have a Bushnell 800--think I paid $349 (?) at Cheaper Than Dirt, a year or two back. Whenever the 800 first came out.

I like it. It has 0% error at a measured 100 yards. On targets allegedly 400 yards away, I'm getting about 22" or 24" drop with my .30-06 150-grain, which is pretty close to righteous. So, I'm happy with it.

I've meddled around during cloudy, rainy days as well as clear and sunny. No problems; it is as happy looking at a rock as at a piece of fairly reflective tin. I think if your target was a coyote at 400-500 yards, you should try for a reading off a nearby, stationary and hopefully larger reflector.

A few local folks report reasonable accuracy at 440 yards, the length of one side of a 40-acre tract. With a GPS, it works for roughing in a land survey. It's later checked against a surveyor's laser transit, with adequate results so far.

My laterst CTD catalog shows Mr. Tasco's 600-yard laser rangefinder at $179.97 plus tax and shipping...


September 8, 1999, 06:19 PM
I have a new Bushnell 1000. I have used the 800 many times (my hunting partner has had one for two years). The 800 is an 8x, while the 1000 is a 6x.....I just wanted to out do him for once! I think I out did myself. Go for the 800 if you can afford it, it is fine and works very well. It is light and very accurate. Learn how to use it and you will not be disappointed. Locking onto and getting a target reading that you are confident with, only takes a little practice. I am glad I purchased it as I always want "ALL" the information about my target before I squeeze one off.

To own firearms is to affirm that freedom and liberty are not gifts from the state.

Big Bunny
September 8, 1999, 06:27 PM
Thanks Art for your posting, I am really interested about these lazer range-finders. Do you actually aim for a nearby reflective surface rather than the (more non-reflective)game? Are they useful as binocular substitutes?
Can the Tasco be read in low light?
Can you recommend the Tasco, they have had a lot of bad publicity here re Chinese manufacture and poor quality.
Your advice would be most appreciated.

LP - it depends of course upon your style and equipment/terrain, but an optical RF for you appears to be out of the question, a lazer Range-finder for those 600-1,000 yard snapshots might be just the thing, maybe. Here on the coast a 400 metre shot is too risky and not attempted, but out west it is far different.

***Big Bunny***

Long Path
September 8, 1999, 09:53 PM
I've used a Bushnell what? YardagePro 400? Something like that. Anyway, against large reflective targets, it would give ranges far in excess of its rating on a diffused light day. Found it to be exactly right at 100, which we had taped recently.

Although you look through these things with both eyes, the objective lens is actually monocular; you really wouldn't want to use these things instead of a good pair of binoculars. I was curious about the jump up to 800 or 1000 yards, and also the quality of the Tascos?

Elker_43: do you mean to say that the Bushnell 1000's aren't as high a quality, or just that the 800's are a better value, being less expensive for similar results?

Anyone got a price on the 800's lately?

Are there any other inexpensive l.a.s.e.r.s of good quality?

Thanks in advance....


Art Eatman
September 8, 1999, 10:33 PM
Don't know anything at all about the Tasco. I believe my Bushnell 800 is 3X magnification.

Since "reflectivity is all", and any moving critter is difficult to get a good "hold" on, it seems to me that any stationary object would be preferred; and I've noticed that large rocks--rocks are a renewable resource, around here--give a good reading...Lighter colors are supposed to be best, but I've gotten good results on dark green bushes. It seems as though contrast plays a role. Dunno.

I've noticed that using a brace or rest really helps. Offhand can be difficult, since you have to hold almost exactly on target for a few seconds. Seems like, anyway. Lotsa FWIW in all this.

:), Art

[This message has been edited by Art Eatman (edited September 09, 1999).]

Rocky Road
September 9, 1999, 01:29 AM
Hello friends and neighbors. This is an experiment in writing off-line and then trying to copy[i/] to a forum.

Have a [i]great day, etc.

---The Second Amendment ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights---

September 13, 1999, 08:36 PM
I got a Yardage Pro 600 from Cabela's. I tried it out on antelope and cows. On a black Angus the thing only works out to about 150 yards. Anyhow, out on the desert where everything is flat I couldn't get a target other than the critter and on antelope it only works out to about 275 yards.

I tried it for a couple of days and ended up sending it back. Now if you really want a rangefinder why not pop for the Leica Geovid? They work with the animal as the target and at $3000.00 they are...well too expensive.

Long Path
September 13, 1999, 10:12 PM
$3000? For that price, I can hire a Sherpa (or whomever) to pace the distance off for me! Gawd! When I think of the rifles and the ammo for same that I could buy for that amount of money, I think I could forgo that particular rangefinder...

Keith Rogan
September 14, 1999, 11:04 PM
Range finders are pretty much useless since they don't measure wind velocity. Its unethical to shoot at a game animal when you don't know how far right or left your bullet will land.
You should stick to the MPBR of your rifle or just a little more. Out to 300 or 350 yards bullet drift is reasonable unless you're in strong winds. Beyond that you're just gut shooting animals for sport.
Learn how to get closer instead of how to shoot further.
Just my opinion but I think its valid.

The Bears and Bear Maulings Page: members.xoom.com/keithrogan (http://members.xoom.com/keithrogan)

Long Path
September 15, 1999, 06:06 AM
There's no doubt to me that the sport gets questionable in a lot of the shots people refer to as "Long Range Hunting."

My interest is being able to accurately dope out ranges from high spots overlooking open range that has pretty straight-line winds, blowing over light scrub that well-shows the direction. I shoot a .30 cal 180 grain BTSP Game King bullet (which has such a high B.C., it has been used to win the Wimbledon Cup 1000 yard match) at 3100 fps. Out to 500 yards, a 10 mph crosswind dopes out to about 15 inches of drift. I'm not going to try a long shot at longer than that, EVER, unless it's to put down a wounded animal or it's a varmint (4 or 2 legs) that needs to be destroyed. The problem is, even with its superb wind-bucking ability and high velocity, things begin to drop really quickly beyond about 375 yards.

If you've got a steady rest from a high rock and see a good deer steady in your crosshairs at ~450 yards, and you have the above load in a rifle that's zeroed at 300 and shoots .75 MOA on demand for you, and the winds are steady from your 2 o'clock at 10 miles per hour as you watch the deer stop and feed in a batch of green, is it completely wrong to want to know the range to consider your shot? No. I don't have my tables here and haven't looked at it for awhile, but my shot would be 14" high and 4" to the right. With a good rest, I believe I can keep it in a 7" circle at that distance, every time.

M.P.B.R. is about 350 yards in my rifle. That's just the distance that I can hold dead-on with. Nothing more. If I use the same concept, I could never take a deer beyond about 150 with a .45-70, because I shouldn't hold over.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. I just want the range finder to help me do what I already think I can do. I just like to be all the more sure, because I don't want to risk a shot that hangs a bit low, and, due to a bit longer flight time, falls a bit far back from the wind.

When you spot the game from this rocky hill, you've no chance of intercepting it through the brush, at that point. You either shoot, or change tactics.

[This message has been edited by Long Path (edited September 15, 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Long Path (edited September 15, 1999).]

Keith Rogan
September 16, 1999, 10:30 AM

If as you say, the wind is in a neutral direction, and you're in flat country where its not swirling or changing directions 3 times between you and the target..well, sure, why not.
Any kind of cross wind kills that shot though. A 10 mph cross wind where you are will not be the same out at 500 yards. It may be gusting out there at 15 mph or dead still.
You seem to know your business so I'll not flog a dead horse (or deer).
I live in an area where one is tempted to take extreme shots, open grassy mountainsides. The results are often ugly no matter how well you think you know your trajectory and bullet drift because the wind is so unpredictable flowing around high hills and mountains.
This terrain is probably "worst case", but wind is never of steady velocity or direction in any area.

The Bears and Bear Maulings Page: members.xoom.com/keithrogan (http://members.xoom.com/keithrogan)

September 18, 1999, 08:45 AM
I have the Leica rangefinder and it is the cat's meow. Yes they are expensive but you also get a quality pair of binoculars as well. I bought a bushnell 400 which was good for hunting purposes to about 200 Yds. In other words it wasn't worth using. I haven't tried the 800 or the 1000 bushnells but hopefully they are better. You need to check all laser rangefinders to see if they are "sighted in" correctly. Do this by hanging a top of a tin can at 100 yds. Then try the square in your rangefinder using the center and each edge. By doing this you will find out if your rangefinder is going left or right as well as high or low depending on whether or not you get a reading with each try.