Ability To Range Accurately In Real Hunting Conditions
Accuracy of readings with rangefinders depends on many factors. “Beam divergence” is perhaps the most important among those units otherwise similar in quality. This is the measurement of the “focusing” of the laser beam as it hits the target. The tighter this beam focus or divergence, the greater the accuracy in many hunting situations. We all talk about how far our rangefinder model will range a tree, a mountain side or a big rock. But there is a factor called “ground scatter” which we all deal with. This refers to the problem in ranging a deer or antelope that is standing in sagebrush with only its upper body exposed. As we have all experienced, it is often hard to know whether our rangefinder reading is of the animal or of the surrounding brush.
With rangefinders of otherwise similar quality, the unit with the tightest beam divergence will deal best with ground scatter. In the Zeiss Victory RF 10x45 Rangefinder Binocular this number measures 1.6 x 0.5 millirads, with the second number being the vertical component. The vertical component, in my own experience, will most often be the limiting factor in filtering our ground scatter problems in the field.
The beam divergence numbers on the Swarovski rangefinder are 2.5 x 2.5 and on the Leica Geovid they are 2.5 x 0.5. At 1.6 x 0.5, the Zeiss Victory RF 10x45 Rangefinder Binocular beam divergence numbers are the lowest I know of for a consumer level rangefinder.
The Zeiss Victory RF 10x45 Rangefinder Binocular is rated by Zeiss to 1,300 yards but this is a conservative rating…the first I have ever seen from a manufacturer. The color of the reticle is hard for me to see with my partial color blindness but no different in that regard than the Swarovski and Leica offerings. As a result I did not test its ranging capability much. I did easily get a reading on trees at 1485 yards in bright midday sun. If not for my poor color vision, I would have purchased this binocular rangefinder.
Zeiss is also introducing a monocular version of its rangefinder, called the Zeiss Victory 8x26 T* PRF Rangefinder, street price in the $700 range and also rated for 1,300 yards. Beam divergence is 4.0 x 2.0 millirads.
Len is the owner of www.LongRangeHunting.com. He has been a long range hunter for about 10 years. He is as likely to bag his game with a camera as with a rifle or handgun. His nature images can be viewed and purchased at LenBackus.com
Join the discussion of this article with the author HERE at the Article Discussion Forum.