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the space between us (laser range finders)

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by TriggerTripper, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. TriggerTripper

    TriggerTripper

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    I got my first look see though a laser ranger finder. (Met a fellow hunter who was using one and he let me check it out.) Now I’ve known about these for a long time but I previously thought of them bulky, heavy, and just one more piece of (expensive) equipment that I would lug around in my day bag that would almost never get used. But after playing with one, I might change my tune.
    The one I got to play with was a Bushnell scout or something like that, it had a 6X optic and was very light and compact. I was Impressed! I checked a few out at the local stores for model prices and info, but as always they lack the practical experience I’d like to hear about. (no problem, I know where the gear-savy people hang out!)
    I did a few searches but found no real discussion on these for almost a year. So for all you high tech hunters and shooters: give me the low down on laser range finders: brands you trust, best models, features, likes and dislikes, any and all experiences with them are appreciated. And especially if you pack yours around in the field, do you use it, or is it just another piece of gear that, although extremely cool, really just sits in the pack adding weight without adding a lot of practical purpose?

    Thanks,
    TT
     
  2. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

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    Don't know if you saw it, but there was a thread on a related subject recently:

    http://glocktalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=188023

    As for your request for input; hold on to your hat, I'm feelin' long-winded tonight! :)


    I've owned two Bushnell rangefinders for a while now; I got the first one (800 yard full-size model which is no longer available) in about 1999 (?). The second one was a 600 yard compact model for more portability. I use them mostly for long-range target shooting with various rifles, but I do carry the smaller one during some types of hunting. IMO, they are of limited usefulness in hunting, and even then, only in certain situations. The guy who "walks-up" or jump-shoots deer in a river bottom won't have much use for a laser rangefinder, for instance. I do use mine in the following circumstances:

    - Long range varminting. Usually done from a fixed shooting position, with plenty of time to prepare, and you have a good idea of where the target will appear. The cheaper models can't actually range off the target itself (prairie dog, gopher, etc.); they are too small. But usually there is a dirt mound, bush, fencepost, tree trunk, hillside, or SOMETHING near the target you can get an accurate reading from. Very useful in this type of hunting.

    - Stand hunting for medium/large game, or called varmints/fur animals. Once again, after you have settled into your stand, you can usually take a minute or two to range some nearby objects to get a solid feel for the various distances involved. When the animal passes near the object, you know how far away they are. More importantly, you know how far NOT to shoot in some situations. Elevated stands can give shooters a false sense of distance; they think because they can SEE it, it must be within shooting range. A rangefinder can tell you where your effective range ENDS so you don't try any "iffy" shots based on ignorance. Stupidity is something else; the rangefinder cannot help, here. :)

    - Practice in eyeball-estimating distances. This can be very educational. If you're walking back to the truck with your buddy after chasing some pheasants around the fields, have a "how-far" contest. Stop walking suddenly, point out an obvious object, and say "How far do ya think that XXXXXX is from us?" He estimates, you estimate, the rangefinder tells you who was closest. Do it best-of-10 (or more) for drinks, lunch, or game-cleaning chores; make it MEAN something, and you'll get GOOD at it. After awhile, the rangefinder will make you better at snap-estimating ranges, which you CAN use when jump-shooting deer in the river bottoms!

    Many of the less expensive models are not waterproof; this is not a major problem, just don't use it in the rain, and keep a good "dry bag" (Ziploc) in your pack for it if the sky opens up unexpectedly. I have a small cammy belt pouch for my 600 yard model; it holds the rangefinder, an extra battery, and a dry bag for it in case it rains.

    Check www.SWFA.com and other sites for prices; watch for clearance deals on old models as the new ones come out.

    Hope this was helpful; good luck!
     

  3. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

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    Examples from my older 6x, 800 yard model; I'm sure they newer ones have resolution AT LEAST as good as this one, even the cheap short-distance models.

    A white-phase jackrabbit on a flat, snow-covered landscape, well within range of my .223:
     
  4. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

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    A lonely power pole on the edge of a field; about 10" diameter, I found later:
     
  5. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

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    Scrawny trees in a bare tree-row; note there are no leaves on them, but the reading is still strong (Target Quality indicator is maxed-out, left-to-right, and "precision" box is lit; compare to the previous shot, above) because of the reflection of all the branches, in addition to the trunk. These were about 8"-10" at the base:
     
  6. TriggerTripper

    TriggerTripper

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    Thanks DJ that does help! I do a little varmit shooting but thought I'd mostly use one for seting up my stand when bow hunting. Still trying to decide if the price tag is worth it:) I like the idea of the "how far" contests, that would be great practice!

    thanks,
    TT
     
  7. DWavs

    DWavs Moderator Moderator

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