Re: best rangefinder for around $300
I recently purchased the Leupold RX-1000iTBR rangefinder and love it! I had compared it to the Leica 1600 yarder that cost around $800, and after comparing the two, decided that the Leupold for around $400 was as good as the German rangefinder. I saw no reason to range out to almost a mile, other than to check to see how close any farmhouses were. $400 extra for that? I don't think so. The Leupold can range up or down and is very small, lightweight and easy to use. The readouts are also a bit brighter than the Leica. You may not want a 1000-yard capability, so Leupold offers rangefinders that don't range as far as mine, but they are less expensive. I wrote a review on Amazon that may explain things in more detail. Mine's the one at the top. One more thing: If I had to purchase it again, I would have gone with black instead of the camo. The camo is nothing more than the black rangefinder wrapped in camo; this made the rangefinder a bit more slippery in the hand, plus it cost about $20 more than the black one.
The reviewer below my review mentioned that he felt a tripod was needed. Hogwash. I have had the rangefinder for at least six months and found no problem with lack of steadiness when using the rangefinder free-hand. Maybe the guy had the shakes, but I found no problem with the Leupold. The power on the Leupold was 6x, while the Leica was 7X. No huge problem at all with a very small loss of depth of field. Don't get me wrong; Leica makes a good rangefinder, but I compared the two side-by-side for several days, after which I sent back the Leica. The additional $400 just didn't justify its purchase. I still think I made the right decision by purchasing the Leupold. I sure wish they would come out with a rangefinder in orange. If you drop the camo model in the grass/leaves, good luck trying to find it again, and I really don't think the animals will notice an orange RF.
Hope this helps... Barry