Re: Who makes the best rangefinder
I have a Swaro. Before I bought mine I compared the Swaro to the CRF 1200 at Sportsman's Warehouse. The salesman was happy get out of the store for awhile and let me take my time evaluating them side-by-side.
The difference to me was huge. The FOV and image quality was definitely better with the Swaro. The Leica was ok, but it seemed limited to ranging only, whereas the Swaro could be used in the place of binos in a pinch (I actually leave my binos in camp for bowhunting).
I tried ranging a very large white house (basically the broad side of a small barn) and the Leica only worked 2-3 times out of 10 tries. This house was probably 30 feet by 50 feet, at least and 1000 yards away. The salesman also tried ranging the house with the same results. We were able to brace the rangefinders, but didn't use a tripod. The Swaro worked 10 out of 10 times. That was just one example. We ranged small and large objects all over that hillside and the Swaro was awesome. The CRF and LRF (they had some of those too), were only ok. Sometimes you would get a reading with the two Leica, but not always. The Swaro just plain worked. Plus I could actually glass the hillside.
If I wanted a rangefinder for hunting at normal ranges and needed it to be lightweight, then I would consider the LRF. But, if you want better image quality and the ability to range out to 2000 yards (which I have done) then the Swaro is the way to go. The Swaro works for bowhunting (where I don't bring binos and it saves weight), rifle hunting, and target shooting (as far as I could think about shooting). I felt that if I got the LRF, I would end up replacing it down the road. The Swaro was a better longterm investment for me.
Also, I have read reviews that state the Swaro donut reticle gets washed out. I have not found this to be true. If you have your eye postioned incorrectly it can appear washed out. I've never had any problems even in the brightest, sunniest days. The claims that it is slow don't bother me. Once you spend time with it you learn to press the button and wait a second. It works just fine and doesn't seem slow to me. Some people complain about the size of the reticle or beam size but I have spent hours ranging all sorts of objects and get good readings. Maybe I just haven't had a situation for this to be an issue.
I have no complaints regarding the Swaro, other than price (paid $720). I would not hestitate to buy another one and wouldn't even bother with any of the others. If money were a concern I would get the Elite and not even bother with the Leica, but that is just my opinion.