Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Gadget Month - Laser Rangefinder

There is nothing like the relationship between an outdoor enthusiast and their gear.  Technology and advancements in innovations have brought some pretty neat stuff to the world of hunting, fishing and travel.  In the month of July, we will look at some of these amazing gadgets and hope to give you some insights that just might help you save some dollars in your quest to get the edge over the outdoors.

How rangefinders work
How It Works
This week's gadget is the laser rangefinder.  Simple concept.  A device shoots a laser downrange.  It bounces off an object and returns to the device giving you a precise distance, give or take a yard.  In the past this device was the stuff of military snipers only.  Today, the rangefinder has become not only easy to operate but also rather low cost.  For the information it gives you, it is priceless.  It is being used by outdoor photographers, golfers, hunters and competitive shooters, just to name a few.

The importance of this device cannot be overstated...ever.  I have a pretty good eye for distances.  But, if you are off by only a few yards, it could be the difference between a wounded animal and a harvested one.  It is always better to know than to guess.

A trip to Bass Pro or any other local sporting goods shop will reveal that the cost for these pieces of hand held gold is reasonable.  They start at prices just under $100 and stretches up to many hundreds of dollars.  The trick about what is "best" is to first ask the right questions:  What will it be used for?  Do you need one that accounts for angle compensation for shots out of a tree stand or from a mountain ridge down into a valley?  Are you shooting in thick brush or wide-open country?

If you are needing to pin-point something the diameter of a golf flag at 350 yards, prepare to drop a wad of money.  For most hunters, it is going to depend on your terrain and whether or not you need a rangefinder that is completely water-proof as opposed to water-resistant.

Deer in the distance
Courtesy of
Most of your lower end rangefinders tell you straight up that you are not going to be able to range a deer passed about 250 yards unless the deer is large.  The farther the distance, the bigger the target needed to reflect the laser back to the device.  When you factor in trees, foliage and brush, it can be difficult getting a laser on an animal.  This is why the most expensive rangefinders are priced as high as they are.  You can hit smaller objects at greater distances and get an accurate reading.

Lets talk candidly for a moment.  How many of you typically take shots on animals at a distance greater than 200 yards?  If you are a responsible hunter and are wanting to take a deer, hog, elk or bear humanely, most rifle shots are going to occur under 200 yards and likely under 100.  If you use a bow or crossbow, your shots are normally inside 40 yards.  If you hunt from a ground blind, like I do, your shots are all flat.  So, no angle compensation is required.

Nikon 8397
View through the Nikon 8397
I picked up a Simmons rangefinder on sale.  It was just over $100 and I am really pleased with my purchase.  It has a simple, one touch operation and shuts off automatically after about 10 seconds so it saves the battery.  It has a standard black LCD display.  The display will not be easily seen just before dark, so it will be important to range my distances while there is sunlight and make some notes.  More expensive models have colored LCD's and are more visible in low-light situations.

The other thing I like about a rangefinder is if you choose to setup in a new spot on a whim that has a lot deer sign around.  You don't have to soil the area with having to walk the distances off to guestimate the yardages for your shots.  You just get set up and pull out the rangefinder. After a few minutes shooting different objects to know the distances, you're good!  No smells left behind!

Whether you are the kind of person that has to spend a lot of money to feel good about your purchase or you squeeze the nickel so hard the President screams uncle, there is a model of rangefinder that will fit your needs and take the guess work out of your distance control on your next shot.


  1. Thanks for posting this laser rang finder info. Very helpful and informative.

    1. Thanks Isaac. Good luck this is quickly approaching which I am very excited about!

  2. The benefit on this unit is not over-stated... ever before. We've an attractive very good eyesight pertaining to mileage. Nevertheless, should you be off of by simply just one or two meters, it can be your big difference involving a new damaged canine and also a farmed one particular. It usually is preferable to recognize when compared with for you to suppose.

  3. I will so that you can for instance in regards to this belongings other element I enjoy in terms of a rangefinder is definitely if you launch inside of a innovative i'm all over this your wish featuring a bunch deer hint all over. There's no need to ground the vicinity by using required to move a amount of training out of so that you can guestimate a yardages for your personal injections. A charge card have put in place plus find a rangefinder. Just after just minutes taking several stuff to be aware of a amount of training, that you are fine! Virtually no dust that is left behind!