Well I finally have had time to complete my field testing of the new G7-BR2 Rangefinder / Ballistic Calculator. First I want to say these are my actual field results and over the years I have had the pleasure to test many RF's. In the beginning I only cared about one thing..... how far would it range any object. So back then I was all about the Swarovski 8x30. It would reach out and give me a number most all the time. Later after a few frustrating hunting situations, one including a once of a lifetime 200" white tail deer, I started to realize the short comings a laser rangefinder could have. I also started to learn about beam divergence and how the beam acts like a flashlight beam. The farther out the larger it gets. Also on flat ground how that large beam would grab other objects in its long trail where it contacts the ground. So these days, knowing what I have learned I test every RF to find it's weak point. Meaning this, I set them up for failure. I want to see what they do in the worst of conditions. Also I should say I am not affiliated with any company, distributor, or retailer. I simply do this so I know what to use, and recommend to friends, so I will share it here too. This is simply my opinions composed from what I seen in the field. Take them or leave them. All that said, here we go!
I used 3 RF's for this test. My Vectronix PLRF10 which I have grown to trust completely and I feel it is in a class above the G7 as it sells for more than twice the price. But it does not lie and sets for good data comparison. I also used my old trust Leica 1200 CRF just as a control incase discrepancies came into play.
The first test was of the ballistic calculator that gives you a correction (shooting solution) in MOA. Each time you push the G7's button it samples Baro pressure, Ambient Temperature, angle of shot and of course distance. Then it not only gives you the distance but using the rifle and bullet data you programmed in it will give you a dial up in MOA. Also you can page through full value wind corrections in 5 mph increments to get a wind correction. This worked better than I thought it would. If you have a 7 mph wind simply look at both the 5 and 10 mph corrections and use an in-between correction. If the wind is a 1/2 value instead of full value, reduce it by 1/2 and so on. Since I was only testing this part of the G7 to 1000 yards this worked out well for me. It does take some thought, but it is effective enough to 1000 for sure if you can read the wind. My wind speed calcs were made by using my Kestrel at the gun, and visual indicators down range. I used my tried and true, field proven "Shooter" program, along with Bryans AB program, for both my 300 win and 338 LM along with my PLRF10 and compared dial ups on many rocks and targets out to 1000 yards. The G7 provided dial ups corrections were either spot on to the 1/10 moa or within 1/4 MOA which we all know is plenty good to get it done. One thing that does bother me here is while programming the G7, it only asks for BC and Velocity of the bullet. No diameter, weight, length or caliber. After testing I found it really did not matter as far as I tested (1000 yds) but my gut feeling is that as you go out it could have some affect, as I have heard some report. May not be an issue but it does kind of bother me as all the programs I have know to trust require more bullet data.
Next test was a rain test. I hooked up a water sprinkler, got back about 40 yards and ranged through it. My PLRF10, and Leica 1200 both smoked right through it every time. The G7 stumbled in the "standard mode" as it could only get to the sprinkler at 40 yards. Switching the G7 to "F" mode " Farthest target mode" allowed the G7 to get past the simulated rain to targets out to 500 yards which was as far as I tested in this scenario. The G7 has 4 modes, Standard, Continuous, Nearest and Farthest. So, if you are using a G7, I suggest you study these multiple modes and know where they work best. Also remember to look for the letter indicator to tell you which mode you are currently on while ranging a target. I could see how in the heat of the moment this could be a bit of a stumbling block. But practice and knowing the unit would surely help.
Next test, Beam Divergence. All the targets used to test the ballistic solutions of this unit were decent sized rocks on a hillside. I did this on purpose as I was only testing the shooting solutions and field conditions of the unit. It did well on these type targets that had no other near by cover. As I took all 3 units out with sand bags to find hard target to range things started to change. Remember, I was setting the unit up to fail, and it did if, I let it. First target was a good sized rock just visible by shooting over a nearer hill. The PLRF10 and the Leica 1200 positioned solidly on sand bags quickly reported the rock was at 940 yards. The G7 reported 750 yards catching sage brush on the nearer hill. So for this I made sure I was indeed on the "F" farthest mode (as per manual "F" " allow objects such as brush and tree branches to be ignored so that back ground targets are acquired") and kept trying. The only way I got a close reading was to go above the target and work down until it grabbed the closer brush then take the last far reading which was about 10 yards farther than the intended target. Again, this was an extreme condition, but one that surely could present it self and has for me before. The best way to combat this again is, know your RF and practice with it often so you will know where it shines and more important where it falls short. To be fair, I wanted to get this baby on some game. We don't eat rocks and brush and some can be more reflective that others making the last test unfair if the nearer brush was more reflective. So off to find something with hair. I soon located a small group of antelope in some small rolling hills with sage and other low ground clutter. I set up all 3 RF's and started ranging. The Leica 1200 came in with 3 consecutive ranges of 673, 674 and 673. The PLRF10 banged away on the same goat 3 times 674,674, 674,. The G7 readings in the mid 650's. Shooting over the animal and slowly bringing the reticle down showed the distant ground past the goat and once again as I slowly lowered the reticle I got a reading 20 some yards short. I then grabbed the PLRF10 to find the problem. The G7 was indeed ranging a nearer bush in line as I got a matching reading off this bush with the PLRF10. I made many attempts to get the actual goat and the G7 never would. Below is a picture of the goat taken through my spotting scope. The center doe was the chosen one. Again this is a tough target!!! Why? because there are more reflective bushes close by and over her back is only the farther ground. She is standing on a little rise and the nearer bush in line is what we got with the G7. If this was a deer or elk on a hillside the point of reading would have been less important as all objects are closer to the same plane. Flat ground ranging is tricky stuff and requires a small beam divergence to get what you want to range. Now how bad was this failure at 670 yards? With my 300 win the 20 yard mis-range would be roughly 1/2 moa, that is only 3 1/4" the goat would be a dead critter and you may never know the difference. But as you go out it will get you. A 20 yard mis-range at 1000 shown as 980 would now be a 3/4 moa miss and could easily get you in trouble. Also remember the farther you go the larger the beam gets and this can result in more severe inaccurate readings as there is more to pick up on.
Next for grins I wanted to stretch her out. I had got a reading one evening in last light to like 2400 yards with the G7. But for this test I wanted mid day bright sun, the worst conditions for laser ranging. I got a few reading out to 1500 and 1600 off huge rocks when I worked at it. But the G7 unit was better kept in around 1300 to 1400 where it would range every time and not miss or struggle. Checking some of the farther readings with the PLRF10 showed again the need to be careful of the large beam of this unit. It would much rather grab an evergreen than a rock.
In summery, I love the concept of this RF. Will it work for Extreme long range, not in my word. But as reported by others for hunting out to 1000 yards it is a great unit as long as you know it well, practice with it, and watch your head on the large beam. The convenience of being able to push one button and get a corrected dial up for the altitude and temp you are hunting in is awesome!! Would I recommend this unit, yes I would. But with my recommendation I would explain where I feel it could fail and advise to practice with the RF just like you do your rifle. As we should do with all equipment before we engage a game animal.
Hope this info is of help to some of you trying to decide if this unit will fill your needs well.
Thanks, Jeff. Great write up. Thanks for taking all the time it took to do this.
Now if the PLRF10 would just do the other functions the G7 does and have a top of the line ballistic calculator in it and be a Swaro quality binocular! Am I asking too much? Jon
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?" Thomas Jefferson - Notes on the State of Virginia
Jeff, Good job! Very well done and unbiased. I'd say fair and balanced. If I had only the 270 AM the G7 would be the pick. However, with the 375 AM in the stable a Vectronics of some sort is appropriate. To get me through this season I purchased from the forum a used Leica 1600 cause I had that $ to spend at the moment. This endeavor is getting costly. Again, thanks for your time/effort/talent.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
Great review! I was thinking of selling my Leica 1600 but after this write up I believe I would be better off to just use what I have. I dont feel to fond of how the G7 doesnt ask for the bullet diameter and or weight . IMHO this would always be in the back of my mind . Thanks again!
"Molon Labe" IN DIXIE WE DON"T CALL 911 !
Jeff, excellent report. I bought one this summer and have tried it out< but not with the detail you have. I would agree that at under 1200 yards it is hard to compare with a Swaro, Ziess, or Leica. And the other units are 2x the cost...
The best feature is the ballistic solution, which none of the others have. This adds alot of cash to the equation if you ask me.