Do any of you use a GPS for rangefinding?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by KQguy, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. KQguy

    KQguy Well-Known Member

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    Just wondering if anyone here ever used their GPS as a rangefinder?I think it would be nice for long range target practice,when the distance or conditions are too far for a laser range finder.I was playing around with my Garmin 76CSX today,out to 750yds.,and it was giving me the same exact reading as my laser range finder,which was very encouraging.The only problem I ran into,was after about 800 yds.,it converted the distances to miles,with 1 decimal number,which is useless for long range shooting.Do any of you have GPS units that will read in yards at further distances,if so,which unit is it?
     
  2. johnnyk

    johnnyk Well-Known Member

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  3. jghoghunter

    jghoghunter Well-Known Member

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    KQguy


    pm sent
     
  4. jerrschmitt

    jerrschmitt Well-Known Member

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    I have an old Garmin 12 that works great for range finding. It will only read in meters or miles but I can convert meters to yards easy enough. You have to remember that GPS will not be dead on but it is close enough for this old Prairie dog shooter.

    Since we shoot over the same ground year after year we have ranged prominent landmarks and then guesstimate actual mound ranges from there.
     
  5. Topshot

    Topshot Well-Known Member

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    All GPS units have there own quirks about them but they can be overcome!!!

    If your settings by default go to points of a mile then try and change the settings to metric. That might get you out to 1000m ie about 1100 yards.

    Another option would to be to break up the distance by setting waypoints mid way. This should get you out to 1600 yards if you leave the settings on imperial on your unit. If you switch to metric you should be good for 2000m or 2200 yards with only one mid way waypoint.

    Another way would be to take a reading at both ends then park your car in the middle somewhere and use the GPS to tell you distance to both ends and then add the two distances together. You need to be in line with both end points though.

    Yet another way would be to simply write down the coordinates (metric datum) of the target and shooting possition, then use a bit of math to work out the distance. ie subtract Eastings and Northings then do a simple right angle triangle calc to get distance.

    Just a note on GPS readings........ For a single set of readings take readings at each end without too much time gap between readings. For a location that you may use often, take a number of readings on different days and average your results

    There is some good PC software out that can help you set waypoints into your GPS unit that you can then set out in the field at any distance you like, this may be better for you?

    I am a land surveyor so can give you heaps of ideas on what to try.

    Give these things a go and see if you can come up with a method that works for you. Let us know how you get on.
     
  6. KQguy

    KQguy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the ideas,I was really hoping there was a GPS unit out there that could range long distances without a midway point(I could do that with my range finder).I was just really surprised when I saw how accurate my GPS was with my range finder,I got bummed when it quit reading in yards after about 800 yds.Maybe I will try to get it to read in meters and see how far it will read,then I could just enter the information into my Exbal in meters instead of yards.
     
  7. robinstan

    robinstan Active Member

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    I am new to using a gps and would like to know how you used your gps to range out to 800 yds? Thanks
     
  8. KQguy

    KQguy Well-Known Member

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    I went to the set up menu,and it has a "units" option,which allows you to change the units it reads.I changed mine from miles to yards.Once you do that, you can mark a target,then get the distance from wherever you are after that.The problem with mine(garmin 76csx),mine only reads in miles down to one decimal point,which could only get me within 176 yds. accuracy,but some others read in 2 decimal points,which will get you within a few feet.
     
  9. Eaglet

    Eaglet Well-Known Member

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    KQguy,

    If you're running a windows based ppc, you may down load this small application which you can run on your hand held. All you have to do is download it any where in your PDA, run excel, enter you latitude and longitude from where you'll be shooting, enter your latitude and longitude from your target and it will give you what you want.

    [​IMG] Remember, you need to enter the angles in degrees decimals only. The easiest way to go about it is to change the setting in your GPS to give you hddd.ddddd°. The example above was calculated within 2 feet versus the GPS.
     
  10. KQguy

    KQguy Well-Known Member

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    Eaglet,
    Thanks for the info.,that looks like the only good way to get "laser rangefinder" accuracy out of a GPS.I will load it on my Dell Axim and play around with it.
     
  11. jerrschmitt

    jerrschmitt Well-Known Member

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    I have a Garmin GPS 12. It's old, one of the first I think, but it works great. The first thing I do is change the Units from Statute miles to metric. On my GPS, statute miles gives you 10ths of a mile but no yardage.

    When we go Prairie dog shooting we mark our shooting bench as a way point. Then we walk around the area and hit "Go to" ( that way point) and it gives us the range in meters back tho the bench. We do this at various landmarks and make notes of the range. If we make a nice long shot then we walk out to that spot and enter "Go to" and it gives the distance in meters.
     
  12. KQguy

    KQguy Well-Known Member

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    How far will it read in meters,before it switches over to km's?Mine reads in meters out to 1000m,then switches to km's.
     
  13. jerrschmitt

    jerrschmitt Well-Known Member

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    Same with mine but it reads KM out to 2 places so it doesn't matter. close enough for Pdogs.
     
  14. KQguy

    KQguy Well-Known Member

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    I went out and did some testing with my GPS using the Excel program that Eaglet provided.Here's the results I got:
    Rangefinder-343 yds.
    GPS-343

    Rangefinder-494 yds.
    Gps-489 yds.

    Rangefinder-818 yds.
    Gps-813 yds.
    I am pretty happy with the accuracy,I think this is the best alternative to ranging distances when your rangefinder won't do it for whatever reason.