A few decades ago, ranging skills took time to master and it takes a pro to make that winning shot. Nowadays, technology makes our lives easier to manage and even improves performance in the hunting field. Rangefinders used to crude, heavy and an outrageously expensive secret for the elite hunters. Now you can get quality laser rangefinders (LRF) that incorporates in-scope and ranging tech in one compact unit. And if you’re eager to ask what’s the best rangefinder for the money? Apart from the streamlined device, it’s the one that provides accurate readings on any weather and lighting conditions, without compromising your shooting technique.
With that said, let’s breakdown first the disadvantages and advantages of using one. This way we can really justify whether an laser rangefinder model you’ve been eyeing is really a good investment or not.
Disadvantages of a Laser Rangefinder
- Not Lightweight to Use
Although laser rangefinders are designed to be compact, getting a unit with double optics means additional weight on-hand apart from your rifle. If you’re using a bipod then it won’t be a problem because the additional weight is off your hands. If you’re into active hunting, or range-aim-and shoot while on the move, then It will take time to get used. If you think this will be difficult to use during active hunting, then look for other models with lighter weight.
- It’s Pricey to Get a High Quality Laser Rangefinder
We’re going to justify later why a laser rangefinder is an affordable investment, but for now, let’s say it’s a pricey one to get the high quality models. Contradicting? Higher end models are priced thousands of dollars but expect higher end parts and new systems on those.
First of all if you’re into high quality optics like models with Zeiss lens, expect to shell out big for the name and quality. Second, if you need longer range and additional features, then that equates to extra bucks. In other words, price will depend on your preferences, the long-range sport you’ll use it for, features you need and the brand as well. For example, red display units are more expensive than black display ones, but it will provide you better display during poor lighting conditions. Additional modes and software systems that incorporate weather variables, vibrations and other high-tech chit chat will obviously be more expensive than the basic ones that only provide horizontal readings.
However, don’t get discouraged now. Read further on why despite these disadvantages, many hunters still say its worth your money to get a quality unit.
Advantages on Using a Laser Rangefinder
- Faster and More Accurate Shots
Rifle plus a high quality laser rangefinder is always a good combination to bring in the field. If you can get a lightweight one that can be mounted to your rifle, then you can range your target, aim and shoot like a pro. You get quality readings on how far your target is, and you don’t have to dig into your pocket every now and then to get that winning shot.
In addition to that, it reduces the probability of mishap shots which may cause you to alert and lose your target. It takes away the guessing game on how far your target is, plus some newer models have the ability to give vertical or azimuth readings and consider weather conditions in calculation to give more accurate readings.
- Simple to Use
You don’t need to go through a crash course to learn how to use your new laser rangefinder. Although it is highly recommended that you get familiarized on how the display works or at least watch tutorial videos online, most models are designed to be easy to use.
Each unit is basically equipped with two gears streamlined into one: rangefinder and scope. It has its built-in scope that can magnify your view and help you spot your target, plus it can almost instantanously calculate the distance in between without changing gears.
Because there is no need to bring two separate units for these 2 functions, there is also no need to bring extra batteries for 2 devices. Managing your hunting gear is just that easy with an LRF.
- You Can Use It on Any Weather
There are laser rangefinders with additional features that can give accurate readings despite harsh weather and not-so-good lighting conditions. Without an LRF, it would be difficult to see your target and calculate the distance if its gloomy or on varying terrain. Look for models that can give vertical or azimuth readings to take in consideration slopes and rough terrain. This will help account the deviation on horizontal distance if you’re shooting from a tree stand or uphill.
- Expect Quality Performance
Price can be steep if you want a high performing laser rangefinder. You have to take account high quality optics and display, advance software system, longer battery life and additional features that can be useful depending on the sport it’s designed for. Among the best units in the industry come from manufacturers like Zeiss, Bushnell, Nikon, Simmons and Wildgame Innovations.
How about the lower-priced models? If you compare the price and performance of lower-range laser rangefinders to older optical rangefinders, you’ll find that LRFs are still cheaper and better buy. Accurate readings and faster shots make them already a win-win investment.