Rangefinder need....as opposed to want...

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by catorres1, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. catorres1

    catorres1 Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to solicit the advice of some on the board here to help me be realistic about my needs vis a vis a rangefinder. I noted there was a very good price on 1600b's here that I just missed out on, but it set me to thinking about what I really need, as opposed to want.

    Some background...I am just getting back into shooting and have a family, so funds are very tight, otherwise it would be an easy decision.

    I don't hunt at what many consider long range here, 500 yards is my hopeful eventual goal as my proficiency maximum on game. I do have a 1k range available to me for practice, but I don't need a rangefinder for that. I will be going to training to help me achieve that goal, but again, I will probably always limit myself to that distance when hunting.

    Rifle wise, what I am shooting is not flat shooting, but it's what I chose for other reasons.

    Given that information, I want to buy a 1600b. But I really question my need for it and wonder if I should just save the 150 or 200 and get the 1000r. I know I will be losing some significant range, but I am not sure I need the extra. More importantly to me, I will be losing the adjustments to the range based on temperature and pressure changes.

    But do I really need that when I am shooting a max of 500 yards? Best I can tell, temp and pressure will probably make about 1-2 inches difference at that range, but maybe I am looking at this all wrong.

    Just hoping to get a little perspective from some of the more experienced people here. I don't like to buy twice, but I can't afford to buy more than I need either.

    My 11 year old keeps reminding me that every time I save up for something like this, it means I did not save up to allow us to go hunting instead. That's okay for a while, if in the long run, it is important to allow us to eventually do the hunting we want to do, but I sure don't want to be the guy so prepared for hunting around the world that he can never afford to leave his couch ;)

    Thanks!
     
  2. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    How many posts will one find stating the Leica 1000 was too much? How many posts will one find where a person stated they wished they purchased the 1600 from the beginning?

    Over the last few years I’ve known of three hunters who bought a 1K range finder to include the Leica 1000. They ALL now own a 1600.

    If you were to ask your same question to these fella’s I think you would get the same response.

    Buy the 1600 from the beginning and prevent yourself from becoming one of these ^^^^^^^^

    It was not a want it was a need.
     

  3. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    In the field I don't think you can be without one. If you can borrow one, take a road trip, and along the way estimate ranges, write those estimates in a log, compare with a rangefinder. Over the course of the day you'll be off more than on out to 500 yards.

    It's always easy to spend other peoples money, but the Leica 1600 is a solid performer.

    As technology changes frequently such things do appear as a good deal used.
     
  4. Barrelnut

    Barrelnut Well-Known Member

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    Check out the Bushnell 1200 ARC. It's 1/2 the price. I have it and the Leica 1600B. Out to 800 or so the both work about the same.
     
  5. DrillDog

    DrillDog Well-Known Member

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    +1. Amen
     
  6. Barrelnut

    Barrelnut Well-Known Member

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    Really? OP states an (eventual) max of 500 yards. I own a 1600B and consider it overkill for those ranges. Of course if an eventual goal of 1200 yards is in the cards, then things change, but you never need to buy way more than you need. Those saved funds would be best used for better scope optics. Just my opinion.
     
  7. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

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    First, let's go to the question of need. Unless you have a scope reticle (MOA or MilDot) that provides a platform for ranging a target or, unless you can judge distances very accurately over a range of 500 yards, you need a range finder.
    A 1 MOA error at 500 yards equals a five inch miss. If your standard for accuracy is (as mine is) to be able to consistently hit an 8 inch pie plate at your effective range or pass the target by, that could easily equal a miss or a wounded animal.
    Like the others, I assume you're looking at the Leica Rangemaster 1600B. That's pretty nice. Quite frankly, the 1000 is pretty nice too. Based on their specs., the only real difference in the two is their reflective range. The 1600 with a 1600 yard range and the 1000 with a, you guessed it, 1000 yard range. So if money is tight and I had to make a choice I'd opt for the 1000 and understand that in a few years I might want to upgrade.
    More importantly, if I had an eleven year old that might not get to go hunting with his dad because there wasn't enough money to buy a range finder or take a trip, I'd leave the commercial range finder on the shelf and make a rudimentary range finder out of a few scraps. It might even be a project the two of you could work on together. Wait too long and the eleven year old may lose interest in spending time with you.
    All you need to do is take a tube that can be closed at both ends; cover one end with a solid material and cut a viewing hole in the center. Cover the other end with a piece of clear plastic. If the plastic is translucent rather than transparent, cut a long rectangular vertical slot in it. Get some info. on the animal you intend to hunt and learn what the distance is from top of back to bottom of chest. Make a "target' of that size and move it out to 100 yards. Mark the height of the top or bottom (which ever approach you want to use) on the vertical slot. Move it out to 200 yards and do the same thing. You can go as far as you like. With a little experimentation and some practice you'd be surprised how good you can get at making one of those.
    Whatever you look at through the tube that is the same or nearly the same size as your sample target will line up with the yardage you marked on the front lense. It's not "dead on" accurate but it'll give you more accurate data than a look and guess. it's certainly good enough for hunting in the field if you combine it with good sense. Hunting, after all, is about the hunt; not about the kill.
     
  8. davkrat

    davkrat Well-Known Member

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    I'm in the same boat of wanting a nicer rangefinder but the funds NEEDED for it are not readily available so I get by with my 600 yard model. On game it is more of a 400 yard model. My personal max range is 600-700 yards for the guns and loads I shoot. Figured that a 600 yard range finder would be good enough. About 5 years ago I saw the buck I have ever seem in CA with a tag in my hand. He was about to crest the ridge I was on some ways down. My 600 yard rangefinder was useless for telling me how far he was, how far I had to get to be inside 600 yards. Needless to say I did not get that buck and unfortunately ended up crossing one too many saddles rushing over to get to where I thought I needed to be to look down on the deer. Crossed paths with a fork at about 50' rushing to get to the ridgleine. Would a better rangefinder have gotten me that deer? Not necessarily but it would have been a tremendous help to know I had to cover 900 yards to get "close enough" as opposed to knowing they were just "out of range". Being able to break up the terrain to plan a stock is a very important aspect of a rangefinder. I'd think 2x-3x your max range would be good but the 1600 will guarantee much more useable range in the field than the 1000. I don't know Leicas but it seems under field conditions you can take a good chunk of advertised yardage off actual performance.

    I'm looking at the new Leupold 1200 myself.
     
  9. catorres1

    catorres1 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their responses and advice!

    I definitely believe in the need for a rangefinder, I have tested myself on multiple occasions and found my own range estimating ability to be severely lacking.

    I really just comes down to how much I personally need. Could be that right now, a cheaper model that is field effective to my goal (500 yards, so maybe a 1k finder) is what I should go for. Then plan on giving it to my son in a few years when/if I find I have outgrown it. Then take the rest of the funds and put it towards a hunt or other needs. That difference is about $200 (CRF1000 R or Zeiss PRF vs 1600b).

    But the last post mentioning using the extended range of the 1600b being good for figuring out how far you actually have to go (as opposed to just how far away the animal is) was one of the reasons I considered the 1600b.

    That and the adjustment it makes to the range considering temperature and pressure changes. Looking at my ballistics program, it looks like, all things equal, moving from 90 weather at 500 feet elevation to 20 degree weather at 8000 feet makes about a 2" difference in elevation. However, make that 500 feet and 20 degrees, and that 2 becomes a 3 inches.

    On the other hand, people have been hunting at those distances for a long time without pressure and temperature information, so maybe I am being obsessive for the ranges I am hoping to shoot at. That's where I am seeking balance....I have a habit of making the ideal the impediment to the real goal.

    Good thought provoking comments so far, helps me think things through...keep 'em coming and thanks!
     
  10. davkrat

    davkrat Well-Known Member

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    Your thinking on the small errors of pressure and temp changes at 500-600 yards are exactly why I like BDC knobs and why I limit myself to those ranges. If you set yourself up for a mid elevation and mid temp you most likely will be no more than one click off at the longest range. At 600 one 1/4 MOA is only 1.5". Not to difficult to tell yourself add a click for cold temp etc. I live in one of the few places in the US where I can easily hunt in severe temp and elevation changes. I'm about an hour from areas with pigs at or below sea level and daytime temps regularly over 100 in the summer. If I turn left out of my driveway I am about an hour from 10000' peaks and furring the morning in deer season it regularly will be down in the 30's. at 500 yards its not THAT big of a deal and most of my shooting is done at 300 anyways. I still prefer to get as close as possible before taking a shot.
     
  11. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    I would and did buy a used Leica 1600 before buying another brand or a shorter range Leica, I've used a lot of other brands, Nikon, Bushnell, Leupold, Vectronix and a couple others but the ONLY one I've used that was better at ranging was the Vectronix but I can not afford that so I upgraded from a Leica 1200 to a 1600 and it performs excellent.
    You need shoot and practice far beyond the range you want to hunt at so you need to have ranging capabilities beyond your hunting capability or you'll be always shooting just to the range you can range and this does not let you hone your skills. Get a range finder that will easily range double what you want to hunt at not just barely in good conditions but every time banging a range!!
    That said I would buy a Leica 1000 a million times before a Bushnell, Nikon or Leupold to save money, definitely look for a used Leica 1600 and save a couple hundred over the 1600B.
     
  12. catorres1

    catorres1 Well-Known Member

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    Dave,

    That's pretty much exactly how I am setup currently. I have a custom turret with a median temperature and elevation chosen. In most scenarios I have been able to come up with, a change in either direction would be 1/4 to 1/2 MOA off at 4 or 500 yards. Surprisingly, it seems temperature makes the most dramatic difference!

    So it's really nice that the 1600b will take those things into account and tell me how to adjust perfectly (I'd need to get a new turret cut to fit their system, however), but I am not sure that's a sacrifice I should to make financially. The thing many people point out to me is that unlike a rifle or scope, where changes are slow and incremental, electronics only have a 2 year warranty (or less!) because they break quickly and are also quickly superceded by something better.

    That being said, if it keeps working, it is a complete solution for my rifle out to 500 yards, no doubt, and is useful in the way you previously mentioned...figuring out 'how far IS that ridge I am trying to get to to close the distance'...

    As to RF"s, I have heard a lot of bad about the Leupolds, so I am shy to go that way. The alternatives I am considering, at the moment, are the CRF 1000R and the Zeiss PRF. They are good 200 cheaper than the 1600b.

    I know the beam dispersion on the Zeiss is much more broad and many don't like that, but if I am limiting shots on game to 500, then I wonder if it would not work fine. And when I am ranging it's max range, I would be hitting something large, so not so much worry there. What I like about it over the CRF is that it is easier for me to hold steady. Not as convenient to pack, however...

    Decisions, decisions....if I won the lottery, this would be much easier!
     
  13. davkrat

    davkrat Well-Known Member

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    Delete
     
  14. catorres1

    catorres1 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for these thoughts!

    My local range has steel to 1k, my thoughts exactly as you stated...I plan to train at 1k, so I can hunt at 500. The facility I am trying to get the money together to go train at (for my sons too) is 1250 yards. But these are all known distances, so I don't need an RF for these places.

    I thought about trying to get a used 1600, but one thing I noted on my charts was the significance that angle makes to drop. Some of the places we hope to hunt could have some steep downward shots, so I wanted to get an RF that compensates for that. Does the 1600 do that, or only the 1600b? I know the 1000R does...not sure on the Zeiss PRF...have to look that up.

    I guess I would wonder how far the 1000r can range on an animal...your point is a good one...it's probably 5 or 600ish, I would guess, which might be cutting it fine.