≡ Menu

Rangefinders have come quite a long way in the last several years. After tolerating the deplorable performance of the early optical rangefinding units for a couple decades, shooters had plenty of reason to rejoice once laser rangefinders started to become widely available in the marketplace. It’s not a stretch to say that few gear advancements have had quite as big an effect on long range shooting performance as laser rangefinders. Since their introduction, laser rangefinders have consistently offered more features, better performance, and greater durability. Often lost among the flashy ballistic drop compensators and wind calculators is one of the most beneficial of these new technologies: Angle compensation.

angle compensation

As any good distance shooter should know, gravity doesn’t care about angles. When it’s acting on a projectile, gravity pulls straight down and only “cares” about horizontal distance to the target. Most folks can grasp this concept pretty readily. When you’re taking on high-angle shooting tasks, though, understanding theory and correctly calculating a shooting solution are two very different demands. Guesstimating distance with the naked eye can be a chore. Determining shot angle and applying the appropriate correction factor to account for it can turn that chore into a real mathematical challenge. Once the pressure of putting eyes on a single trophy bull after months of planning and days of roughing it in rugged country is added, suddenly a small device that takes care of the hard math and saves time doing it seems like quite a handy prospect. Enter the angle compensating laser rangefinder.

By quickly and accurately sorting out the shot angle and perceived distance, these clever tools make easy work of high-angle shots and spit out an actual horizontal distance. From here, the shooter needs only to adjust his sights to match. If the device is equipped with a BDC, it will often even present the complete shot solution in the form of turret clicks or holdover. The Leupold RX-1000i TBR is an excellent example of a device with this feature. With accuracy to 1/10 of a yard, Leupold’s tagline for this rangefinder is “Never Guess Again” for a reason.

Rangefinders with angle compensation aren’t just for heroic rifle shots on elk or sheep hunts. Even for bowhunters, angle compensating rangefinders make a lot of sense. While a simple tree stand might not present a lot of opportunity for the angle compensation feature to shine, one hunt for mountain goats or other critters in steep terrain will prove its worth. The higher the angle, the greater the advantage. While not a device designed specifically for bowhunting, the Nikon Riflehunter 1000 will accurately range at angles up to 89 degrees. That’s a nearly vertical shot!

Most quality laser rangefinders are extremely quick to use. The Leica Rangemaster CRF 1000-R easily tops the list in this regard. In addition to the optical quality Leica is famous for, it is capable of turning on and ranging distant targets in less than a second. Try running your manual calculations that quickly.

Just like aiming a rifle scope, it’s important to hold your laser rangefinder steady when ranging a target. Most rangefinders will come equipped with a tripod mount for ultimate stability. A tripod might add a couple ounces to your gear, but can easily be worth its weight in gold by the end of a tough hunt. Some rangefinders, like the Vortex Ranger 1000, even keep their integral aiming reticles deactivated until required in order to allow for better target acquisition during aiming. This can slow down the ultimate ranging time by a second or so, but provides a lot of benefit when looking for targets that are hard to see due to heavy cover or low light conditions.

It’s obvious that angle compensating laser rangefinders fill a very necessary niche. The options available today are relatively affordable, extremely accurate, and quite simple to use. All this said, it is still important to consider the math and the concepts behind all this technology. Even the best tools are limited by the expertise and ability of their operator. Learning and understanding the fundamentals of high-angle shooting will allow for much more effective use of these precision instruments. Once you’re educated on the science, look for the features that you feel will best serve you on your next hunt. From there, you can hunt with the confidence that comes from knowing you’re doing the hunting and shooting, but with the help of some really cool technology. That’s the angle you should really be looking for.

Rangefinders are relatively new in the hunting industry. Like nearly every electronic device in the world rangefinders have seen dramatic advancement in the last 5 years.  Adapted to meet the needs of outdoor sports enthusiasts of many varieties, rangefinders were originally developed for military purposes; rangefinders have revolutionized the outdoor sport industry and taken it by storm,  By taking the guess work out of distance measuring.  Not too many years ago distances were measured by pacing off steps, to this tree or that rock, a mental note was taken or perhaps the diligent ones kept a hand written log with a picture diagram.  How times have changed. Today we pull out a laser range finder, which are not much bigger than a wallet, hold it our eye press a button and almost instantly the range is displayed.

There are so many ways to find applications to use a rangefinder in our world. Enjoyed by sports enthusiasts around the globe, rangefinders have become very useful, and find their purpose in  golf, bow hunting, target shooting, hunting in general.

So why do you need a range finder? If you have never had one this tool has to go on the top of your next birthday wish list. These rangefinders have advanced dramatically, even just in the last 5 years. The new generation of rangefinders are so much more capable than ever before. These technological advancements will make you a more confident and capable shooter, and not to mention a more ethical hunter. As you will feel confident, knowing exactly how much to hold over your target, or how many clicks to adjust your scope.

Most LRF these days have some sort of built in angle compensation ability. To set the record straight there are 2 measurable distances they are as follows. Line of sight & and angle compensation.  Basically what this means for line of sight is the onboard computer calculates a direct line of sight not taking any angle into consideration, or it calculates the target range taking into consideration the elevation to the target. So why is this important? Due to changes in elevation either up or down at long ranges, this changes the actual flight distance to the target. So is this a big deal? Not if you’re shooting within a couple hundred yards. However at distances say beyond 400 yards the difference between line of sight and actual range can be enough that adjustments would have to made in order to be successful in hitting the target.  For the ethical hunter this equates to being able to make a clean shot, or if your a golfer this means putting the ball on the green. This is provided you spend the time at the range, practice makes perfect.

Due to everyone’s eye sight being different, most mid-high end today allow  the user to fine focus the lens, as this allows the user to obtain a crystal clear picture.  With magnification levels ranging from 4x-7x, combined with crystal clear glass, most rangefinders are capable of either acting like a binocular, or simply replacing your current pair. They have eliminated the needed to carry a big bulky pair of binoculars that tire your neck from carrying them all day, that get in the way.

Before you decide what model to buy, really look at what you want this range finder to do. There are so many choices on the market; you have to narrow your search, as more than likely a few will do exactly what you need it to. That’s when it gets tricky. Create a personal list of your necessities, and be honest when you ask yourself the following questions to narrow your search.

1)      Realistically speaking whats your maximum shooting distance.
2)      What’s your budget
3)      Is the magnification important
4)      Is a ballistic calculator important
5)      Is the warranty important?

Please take a look at our comparison list to help narrow your search. There are many choices available. I hope my experience has made your decision a little easier.