A relatively new player in the recreational optics field, Vortex has come along way since it started in 2004. From the company’s humble beginnings in Middleton Wisconsin, Vortex has wasted no time breaking into this competitive field. Spotting scopes, rangefinders, binoculars, hunting scopes, the list goes on.
Picking up the Vortex Ranger 1000 you first notice the physical size of it. Very similar to the Leupold in both weight and size. Dimensionally speaking, you will find 2 large buttons on the top of the unit, which I will discuss a little later. Vortex provides a belt clip pre-attached at the factory designed to be removed and installed on either side at the users discretion. I immediately thought why has no other company thought of this? Now this could prove to come in handy, but realistically speaking it would probably be recommended to use the lanyard that’s also included instead of relying on this clip. So was this a good idea or just unwanted extra weight and one more thing to snag ? No other company in our review has this…..so good idea? You make up your own mind, personally I think its a nice touch however I would never use it. Fortunately the clip is screwed on so you can remove it if you want to.
The Vortex Ranger 1000 feels well made in the hand, it’s solid feeling, coated in an impact absorbing rubberized material that provides a surface that is easy to grip. O-ring sealed its claimed to be waterproof and able to stand all weather conditions. Utilizing 6x magnification with a 22mm objective lens, when you hold it up to your eye, you will notice the comfortable eyepiece that is adjustable to allow a finer focus.
Everything seems great until you attempt to get a range, as this involves a three step process. In order to get the rangefinder to display the range of your target, press the measure button once to turn on the rangefinder and you see a red LED display. Press it a second time to activate the aiming reticule, press it a 3rd time to get the range. This rangefinder requires the most effort to get a range out of any rangefinder units in our comparison. I did find that in my review, that I did get confused several times and pressed the menu button in error. In a high pressure hunting situation I could see this being compounded when the adrenaline kicks in, simple is better, and it’s very likely that this could result in missing an opportunity.
Comparing the Vortex Ranger 1000 side by side to the Leupold, the differences become clear. Very comparable in price, the differences become evident quickly in the quality of the glass. Don’t get me wrong, if you didn’t have them side by side you would never be the wiser, however I could clearly see that the Leupold glass is superior when it comes to clarity. The low light capability of this rangefinder is good but not the best. For someone who hunts the early daylight hours or at dusk, or in covered areas you may want to carefully consider your purchase.
The Vortex warranty that is offered it’s no doubt industry leading, a no questions asked, no receipt required, unlimited comprehensive protection plan. They refer to as the VIP warranty. No matter how it breaks it will be repaired or replaced at no charge. I have had to take advantage of this for a set binoculars I own and it impressed me that when I received them back from being repaired, included was a handwritten letter stating what had been repaired. Added peace of mind that will no doubt sway people who are leery about the reliability of electronic products, or simply want the peace of mind.
When it comes to price and features the Vortex is on par with the competition. With many similar features Vortex has developed 2 ranging modes. The first is called HCD (Horizontal Component Distance), this is a computer calculation that displays the distance to the target taking angle into consideration. Second is LOS (line of sight) mode, which is a direct line to your target, a mode that would be selected primarily for more advanced shooters using external ballistics. There are 3 levels of LED brightness that are user selectable, along with the units of measure that can be displayed in either meters or yards.
Overall Vortex makes a very acceptable product. Ranging non-reflective targets proved difficult at yardage greater than 550 yards, Reflective targets were easily ranged at 850 + yards. For the average person this rangefinder will meet or exceed their expectations. It provides the functions one would expect in a mid-price rangefinder, with manufacture determined ranges well in excess of the average North American hunter. If you are considering purchasing a rangefinder for shots over 500 yards, I would consider another model. My biggest issue with this rangefinder is the operation. Requiring the measure button to be pressed 3 times to obtain a range, in my opinion this just simply takes to long. Without a doubt this could result in missing a shot.
With the best warranty in the industry, you can be assured that you will have a functioning range finder for years to come, provided you don’t lose it.