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Rangefinder Field Test: Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide Vs. Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaster

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Old 07-20-2011, 02:45 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 3,344
Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaster - 2nd time's a charm!

The clouds never moved in so I had to wait until the sun was low enough in the sky to prevent any direct sunlight on the trees. I then took the unit out and ranged some spruce trees this evening. Bingo! The farthest tree I ranged was 1797 yards twice in a row. I didn't even try anything any farther than that. That's 300 yards farther than my minimum ranging requirements. The unit was hand held with my elbows resting on the hood of my vehicle.

I turned the other direction and got repeated readings on some spruce trees at 1647 and 1649 yards. This one's putting a smile on my face. It's ranging a good 300 - 400 yards farther than the first one I tested.

I talked with a staff-person with Camera Land last week. He said he tried the unit I returned and the other demo units they had in stock and they would all range a building at about 900 yards, but no further. So he said he waited until they received some additional demo units and then began testing some of them. When he tested this one, it ranged a building at 1600 yards, so he set it aside and confirmed I wanted a replacement rather than a refund. After hearing he had a unit ranging out to 1600 yards, I said YES!, please send me that one. Sure enough, it's a killer!

The moral of the Leica CRF 1600 story seems to be, you better test drive them prior to purchase. Otherwise, it's a crap shoot.

I got the feeling I'm the first one that's gone through this process with the Camera Land staff. I provided my test results - the same ones I posted in this thread - in an e-mail communication. I printed out the e-mail message and shipped it to them with the returned CRF 1600. I talked to them before returning the first one and they said they would test it out for functionality when they received it. I think they learned something from this experience/experiment, just as I have.

Last edited by phorwath; 07-20-2011 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:36 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NW Montana
Posts: 803
Re: Rangefinder Field Test: Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide Vs. Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaste

When I bought my Leica 1600 the dealer told me straight up that it was one of the good ones. They had checked them out and and hand picked the best ones. Frustrating for guys buying them by mail order or without a chance to try them. The dilema for me though is I have large hands ,and I think I held my Zeiss PRF steadier and it was a little easier for me to use. Not sure I should have sold it!?!
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:13 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,046
Re: Rangefinder Field Test: Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide Vs. Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaste


I have great respect for those who go the extra mile!!! You'll do to ride the river with!

I wonder if the ones that "work" will become a premium article.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:51 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 19
Re: Rangefinder Field Test: Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide Vs. Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaste


Here are my experiences....

About two months ago I picked up the Leica CRF 1600 because it really seemed to have the neatest of features.

I used it for about two weeks and noticed that it would not range large high tension tower at 700 yards no matter what I tried, and I was using the tripod adapter for it!

So I returned it to Bass Pro...

I then picked up the Bushnell Elite 1600 ARC MONOCULAR, and gave it a full run down. It ranges to 1600 yards without an issue... Granted the glass is no where as nice a the Leica... But it works... And is half the cost!

However, since I can't find a guarantied stellar Leica, I picked up a Swaroski to test out.

Well, out of 30 tries I got a Swaroski LRF to range between two tree tops at 1876 yards. ...but it seems that no matter what you do the Swaroski will almost always pickup targets close to the reticle.

The Leica does not do this, nor does the well performing Bushnell.

So it looks like I'm returning the Swaroski as well... Because unless I'm missing s something, it just doesn't seem to be easy to range tricky targets.

The only issue with the Bushnell is that does not seem to get objects over 1600 yards... And I wonder if it's software limited?

Oh to find a working Leica.

BTW: I called Leica today to ask how to know which serial number lots were determined to not work properly, and they said there was no problem. BUT they also said that if it did not range well over yards there was a problem with the unit...
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:33 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 19
Re: Rangefinder Field Test: Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide Vs. Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaste

After I posted the last message I had a little light bulb go off... and I opted to send the Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide back.

Frankly, while it's been on the top of the list of the longest time, I feel that it's due for an update and that $1000.00 for the device is just not worth it.

What I suppose I find the most annoying is that the reticle circle is not a good measure of the limit of what you are range finding (attempting to aim at).

For example: I tried it out today with the sun to my back, using a tripod that has micrometer adjustments, while aiming at a church steeple that was painted white with shingling. This was between two trees that were 450 yards away [decent gap in the canopies], with the one reading I got indicating the steeple was 1876 yards. (I tried in excess of thirty times to re-range it and it didn't work.)

It dawned on me that the laser was not coherent enough to stay within the confines of the aiming reticle (circle) on the Laser Guide. So even with a stable ranging platform and aiming nowhere near the trees, I'd either get no return (off a white object, or the black part), or I'd get the trees.

Google Eath lists the exact position that I fired the laser from to the steeple at 1879.06 yards, and that is EXCELLENT when you compare that the one good reading I got was 1876 yards.

However, I've gotten just as accurate readings from the Bushnell unit... just not at over 1600 yards. (...but it's half the price, and does much of what the Leica does... though I'd still rather have a working Leica.)

Last edited by gbmaryland; 07-22-2011 at 08:37 PM. Reason: grammar mistakes
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:40 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 3,344
Re: Rangefinder Field Test: Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide Vs. Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaste

My Swaro 8x30 Laser Guide ranges a long ways. I haven't encountered the problem of the larger beam radius causing error in my ranged distances on game. However I'm typically ranging the game on a hillside, and whether I range the game animal itself - or the adjacent hillside - it really is inconsequential. Only a few yards difference.

Nonetheless, I'm glad to have a CRF 1600 that ranges equally far. Ya never know when an animal will need ranged on the flatlands, and I've read of several incidents now where the narrower beam can be the difference between getting the correct, or an incorrect, range across flatlands. But for the time being, I primarily desired the temperature, atmospheric pressure, and angle readouts provided with the Leica. With those additional features, I can leave my Kestrel at the house, and I don't need to take any additional time to gauge the angle of inclined or declined fire. Push the secondary button and the angle is provided. So I'm pretty pleased to have a CRF 1600 that ranges out to, and beyond, 1500 yards.

A thumbs up to Camera Land NY for taking the time to test my unit out and then deliver a replacement that's a winner!
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:34 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Townsend, Montana.
Posts: 7,734
Re: Rangefinder Field Test: Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide Vs. Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaste

Thats cool Paul. I am glad to hear this worked out like it should. I hope Leica takes matters in hand and corrects this problem with the QC. I really like the CRF Leicas but I hate to hear what some are going through here.

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