I once again this last weekend had the opportunity to use my LRF for long distance ranging. I'm at the point now where I rarely ever venture into the field without the thing in my hunting/shooting kit.
I've had several of the Bushnell models beginning with the first released 400 then the upgraded 800 and onto the compact 600 and now I'm on my second compact 800. The reason I'm on my second compact 800 is that I traded away the first one to a fella that fell in love with the thing and had to have it. He too had had several LRF and was impressed with the capability of the little compact 800.
I ranged to 964 yards this last weekend with the unit. This was done while using a rest for the unit, I don't think it would have read that far on an off-hand unsupported attempt. I've ranged distances in excess of the rated 800 yards many times.
This little unit will fit in a shirt pocket providing there's nothing else in there because it'll take all the space available. This is nice because on warm summer days varminting I don't like to carry any extra packs, I prefer to just grab a rifle and some bullets, loop my bino's around my neck and stuff the rangefinder in the pocket and wander around.
The lanyard that attaches directly to the unit is more of a hindrance than help but it's handy every once in a while so I keep it on the unit.
The one feature that I've found most troublesome is the battery compartment cover and latch system. This compartment cover seems to have an automatic open feature that operates at the worst possible time. I twice spent many frantic minutes looking for a wayward cover just after getting my first compact 800 and vowed to never do that again. I true 'Red and Green' tradition I duct taped that baby shut, Olive Drab duct tape of course to keep with the outdoors motif.
The only ranging problems I've had as far a distance limitation below the stated 800 yards is when there is snow on the ground. I haven't found a civilian unit that functions well in snow covered areas so I'll say this unit is no worse than any other in this area.
One thing I learned the hard way about LRF's is that the lenses are delicate. I scratched the lenses on my second Bushnell LRF, a large 800 yard unit (the version with two filter lenses). With scratched lenses the ranging capabilities are greatly deminished. I'm very careful nowadays about keeping those lenses well protected and shielded from anything that will scratch them.
I have a pro 1000 I have ranged cars and signs out to 1500 yds the snow is giving you trouble because of all the sun light and it dosen't reflect light back well. I found that in AZ. on bright sunny days range is reduced also.
What I need to know about anybody's laser rangefinder is how accurate you've found them to be. Lacking a surveyor's chain or a surveyor's rope (which I use — would prefer a chain), check the spacing between utility poles so you can "lase" on known distances — from one pole to four, five, six or however many poles down the line you can "lase" on, within the maximum range of the range-finder. Have a partner hold up a big card at each target pole, and "lase" on that.
All other reports about snow, lanyards, battery compartments, and scratched lenses are totally irrelevant TO ME without any sharp report on how ACCURATE the darn thing is — at 567 yards, does it READ 567 yards? If not, how far off is it?
Also, if it's off, can you calibrate it? I have a Barr & Stroud (250-20,000 yards) and a Wild (300-20,000 meters) optical range-finders. Last night, I "zeroed" the B&S — set it at infinity, using Venus as my index. (I assume that most would agree that for all practical intents and purposes, we can assume that Venus is at "infinity!")
On instruments that show readouts to the last digit or decimal place, accuracy to that last significant figure is often a false assumption. Don't let the readout fool you. Check it.
Accuracy of the units is a valid question. I've never measured and tested any of the units I've had but I have compared them to units other folks had along and have ranged objects with each of the many I've had. Overall I'd say that unit to unit and manufacturer to manufacturer they are very consistant, within yards on the readout(s).
I don't shoot far enough to be concerned about the actual measured accuracy to within a yard or two but what I am concerned about is repeatabilty. The units I've used do give repeatable results over time and model variations.
What I've found is that if the unit will read/function then the reading is accurate +/- an insignificant value.
The majority of trouble I see folks having with thier laser is that they tend to believe whatever it reads out whether it's believable or not. I varmint hunt with a fella that constantly sloppily lases the targets, gets obstruction distances or lases to a more distant backdrop and readily believes the result. We'll range a groundhog that's obviously close-in and he'll get 4 and 5 hundred yard readings. I honestly believe he thinks the laser KNOWS which object he's trying to range and automatically ranges to that particular object. Once his laser gives a reading he's good to go in his mind.
An important item is to know the collimation of the unit so that accurate target object placement can be achieved before pressing the distance button.
On theoretical versus practical data. I am not too concerned about whether my laser can accurately measure 600 yards to within a yard of a hard measurement or that my wind guage or experience can judge a wind to within 1 mph of the actual value. What I am more concerned with is that the readings I get are repeatable and generally acceptable. If I can maintain this repeatable result then I am very happy in living with my own set of standards. I record my shooting results both distance and wind in a logbook and those are my standard values.
"On theoretical versus practical data. I am not too concerned about whether my laser can accurately measure 600 yards to within a yard of a hard measurement...."
Dave, you surprise me! Please give us all credit for a little more common sense (and technical sense) than this little put-down implies. Of course a one-yard error at 600 yards would be minor to insignificant. Please don't assume, or imply to others, that my concern is so foolish as insisting on the precision of a surveyor's chain in the range ESTIMATION delivered by a laser device. In practical field use, I can accept the inevitable error of an estimating device, so long as (a) it's modest and (b) I know what it is, in both magnitude and direction. (And whether it's consistent, which isn't always the case with estimation methods.)
I hope you know that the farther the bullet goes, therefore the more sharply it curves downward at any range beyond your zero point, the more important it is to know the distance as accurately as you can practically determine it.
I hope you know that the farther out you "read" a distance from behind your rifle, the less precise that reading can be. This is one of the hardest facts of range "finding" or estimating as distinct from direct measurement.
Accuracy down to give or take a yard isn't what worries me, either, so I have to reject this straw-man suggestion in your post. But I do indeed worry when the farther out I check, the greater becomes the error in the range estimation — within ten yards of the actual distance, say. Run some long-range trajectories on the computer, tell the software to give you a readout for every ten, twenty-five, or even fifty yards, and you may be surprised to see how far long-range bullets drop between, say, 500 and 525 yards or even between 500 and 510 yards. This difference in drop, aggravated by field conditions and the human element, can be significant for truly accurate long-range shooting.
Consistency in one instrument or between two or among several is useless if they're off by ten yards at 500 yards. That'd be like mistaking a meter stick for a yard stick and its centimeters for inches and giving a fellow carpenter "inch" measurements for cutting barn rafters. I don't believe in measuring barn rafters with a micrometer, but I'd still rather have a good steel rule in inches instead of relying on pacing them off for length. (And when I cruised timber in the Fifties, my cumulative paced-off distances between plots proved accurate within somewhat less than half a chain — 33 feet — over a mile or so. I think the error was something like ten links — about 6½ feet.)
Error, large or small or minute, is unavoidable in all human measurements. The point is to establish the magnitude and direction of the error (and reduce it if possible) so you'll know what to expect and how to deal with it in practice.
Comparing similar instruments is no substitute for comparing the instruments' estimates with direct measurement of a known distance. The more similarly they're made, the more likely they are to agree pretty closely with each other, irrespective of whether they're a yard off or twenty yards off at 600 yards. This is basic to the concept of measurement or estimation instruments.
I fully agree with Josh Billings that "It is better not to know so much than to know so many things that ain't so." I would hope that anyone who appreciates or expects any degree of accuracy in any endeavor would also agree.
I range objects with my laser or other method, I then consult a ballistics chart and fire round in practice. I record where the round strikes and adjust if necessary to adapt that shot series to match the distance I BELIEVE I'm shooting. Once I finish I have a set of charts for my rifle and the distance I measure/range with my range estimation devices. These charts are very close generally to the predicted data so I assume my range estimations are good/accurate. That's why I feel no real need to know the exact distance and only the need to have a repeatable range estimation process.
I know the devices are repeatable because I often range the same object on different days and under different conditions.
I also believe the lasers give very accurate distance measurements so as to make the point of arguing between lasered and hard measurements to the distances I shoot moot.
In practical application on field type targets it's often very difficult to get an actual range to the intended target, quite often an object in the vicinity of the indended target is range. It essentially all becomes a matter of successive estimation and approximation anyway and that's where I believe field experience pays off.
I'm not bound-up in the exactness of the measurement, I am just using a tool that helps me determine range to a target. This is not theoretical for me, I use these device and methods and it works.
I have tested my pro 1000 at measured distances out to 880 yards it is with in the 1 yard range they claim for it. this is on a surveyed range measured by lic surveyor. I have many times stepped back and forth to test range and got the yardage to change my 1 yard. Target type makes a big diff. on how far they will pick it up put if you are sure of your target and are getting a reading back you can be sure of the range. Surveyors almost all use laser measureing devices now. It is a lot more accurate then the old tapes were. If you are worryed about your laser use it it set your range up then you will have the same distance in the feild. They sure beat out he old I guess he is about 500 yds away I know that big buck was killed at 600 yds why I didn't even have to hold over him my rifle shoots so flat. trust your laser you will hit more targets.