I ordered and received a Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaster last week.
Yesterday I took the CRF 1600 out on a day hunt for black bear in the Kenai Mountains to test its ranging capabilities. I also took my Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide rangefinder. This is the same location I’ve hunted for years, and where I’ve also used a Leica 1200 Scan rangefinder and a Bushnell 1500 Arc rangefinder in prior years.
I was hoping the Leica 1600 would range substantially further distances than my prior Leica 1200 Scan model. If it would compare favorably to the Swarovski, I was going to switch over to the CRF 1600. The temperature, station pressure, and inclination/declination data provided by the CRF 1600 would mean I wouldn’t also have to pack the Kestrel weather meter
with me on my backpack hunts.
In a nutshell: The Leica CRF 1600 didn’t range as far as I’d hoped and require. I don’t know if my unit is deficient compared to some of the other CRF 1600s or not. From what I’ve read from other owners posting here, their units seem to be ranging farther than the unit I tested yesterday.
All of the features I tested on the CRF 1600 Rangemaster worked. Temperature, atmospheric pressure, and angle of inclination or declination. The temperature and pressure data obtained were substantially the same as the Kestrel obtained data. I was ranging live spruce trees, which have provided good ranging ability on a variety of Bushnell, Leica, and Swarovski laser rangefinders in the past. The only problem I have with this CRF 1600 is the limited distances I was able to consistently read. Here’s the performance I obtained on 3 separate spruce trees, compared to the Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide rangefinder performance on those same 3 trees. I ranged many other locations during this 5-hour hunt also, but here's the apples to apples comparison on these 3 specific targets:
At 1531 yards
: The Swarovski ranged the object 9 out of 10 times. . The Leica ranged the object 1 out of 10 times.
At 1439 yards
: The Swarovski ranged the object 10 out of 10 times. The Leica ranged the object 4 out of 10 times.
yards: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Leica ranged the object 9 out of 10 times.
These three specific tests were performed towards evening, with moderate continuous cloud cover (not bright sunshine). When the sun was shining earlier in the day, the Leica CRF 1600 never ranged a tree more than 1250 yards, while the Swarovski was pretty consistently providing distance readings out to 1450 yards.
; my CRF 1600 seems to range about 200-250 yards farther than my prior Leica 1200 Scan model - from this same location in years gone by. My Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide (which is rated by Swarovski to range about the same distance as Leica rates their CRF 1600 unit), consistently obtained yardage readings approximately 300 yards farther than this Leica CRF 1600.
Perhaps this CRF 1600 unit isn’t up to the norm of most other Leica CRF 1600 units? I can only go by what I’ve read on the forums, as posted by others.
I would have to say I prefer the CRF 1600 over the Swarovski in every other way. The readout is much easier to see on the CRF 1600. The readings are obtained much quicker on the CRF 1600. The CRF 1600 is smaller, lighter, has a push button that is better shielded and less apt to be activated and drain the battery when crammed into my backpack along with my other gear, and it comes with a carrying case that better protects the unit. The temperature, atmospheric pressure, and angle readings are very handy for entering into a ballistics program. However I find this unit deficient on the most important matter - providing accurate ranges to distant objects. That's the primary reason I purchase and carry a laser rangefinder. But my CRF 1600 isn’t ranging to the distances that the Swarovski will repeatedly and consistently range, and that I require.