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Range Finding Tools

Accurate ranging is critical to hunting success, particularly when shooting at distances beyond 200 yards. A hunter must compensate for the effects that gravity on the projectile that has been fired in order to ensure that the target is hit where intended. There are several methods of ranging that will be discussed.

The mil-dot reticle is probably the first ranging tool developed. It is used in riflescopes and binoculars. To use the reticle accuratedly a person must know or closely estimate the size of a certain feature of the target; as an example, the distance from the backbone to the brisket on a white tail deer is approximately 18 inches. The hunter must also do some quick math as well. Definitely a disadvantage when the window of opportunity is ten seconds or less.

Handheld rangefinders have become very popular with hunters. They are fairly small in size and economical as well. Some units have a compensation feature for elevation differences between the target and the user so that the true horizontal distance is displayed as that is what is needed when adjusting for arrow or bullet drop. All rangefinders send out a beam of light at a known wavelength and measure the time it takes for the wavelength to reflect off of the target and return to the unit. It is important to note that most manufacturers will rate the units ranging capability based upon a reflective target but will also put a disclaimer for non reflective surfaces such as deer.
To learn more>>> Handheld rangefinders

Several manufacturers such as Bushnell, Leica, Zeiss, and others have binoculars that have rangefinding capability built into them. Their ranging capability is greater than most of the handheld units and the user has a great benefit of having one tool to use for both scouting and ranging. Prices of course do vary.

Learn more>>Zeiss Victory RF Binoculars

There are also rifle scopes that have built in rangefinders available. They typically have a digital rangefinder that will display the distance, then it is just a matter of utilizing the bullet drop compensating reticle to establish the correct holdover. Burris has introduced a unique reticle that displays a small illuminated dot at the correct holdover point on the reticle. Zeiss utilizes the Rapid-Z reticle that reads distance holdovers as well as crosswind compensation marks.

Learn more>>
Burris Eliminator Riflescope
Zeiss Diarange 3-12×56 Riflescope

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