Laser performance

Ian M

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2001
Sask. Canada
Varmint Hunter,
I believe you brought up an interesting point, are some individual units more resonsive and accurate than others of the same brand and model?

I happen to have a Bushnell 1000 that has been exceptional, it gives readings to distances that are beyond what other similar units have been capable of in a given light situation. This unit has been used so much I had to send it back for a refurbishing and it is as good as new again,

When I read about guys being so happy or so discontented with their lasers I wonder if there is a performance variation from unit to unit within the same make and model. Obviously there are acceptable production specs, perhaps there is a fairly wide acceptable range of performance that we are not aware of. I guess I expect everything electronic to be of equal performance for some reason. Don't all color monitors give the same picture??

I will ask some laser engineers what variation there might be, and what is acceptable, from unit to unit. Those guys will be at the upcoming SHOT show.

My Leica happens to be as consistent for producing readings as the Bushnell, and seems to be capable of slightly longer readings on most days. It is smaller and more clear, but the Bushnell is less costy and gives pretty similar performance.

I believe that your info brings out the point that lasers are fussy critters that work when they feel like it, not necessarily when we really need them to. I have seen a huge variety of light conditions produce a huge range of performance. Have had overcast days when the readings were difficult to achieve period, and others where I could hit a coyote at 1100 yards. Same goes for sun, usually get lousy performance but have had some sunny days where we could read mulies at over 1000 yards.

I have come to accept about 60% performance from the units, in other words if I can get out to 600-700 yards I am saticefied. This would not do for the extreme range guys but works very well for what we are doing with our .308's.

I expect that there are "lemons" that get out but wonder if there is a significant acceptable performance range from unit to unit.
I would be very interested to hear if the scan model actually ups the acquisition capability and range of the Leica - hopefully but does it?
I have the Leica 1200 scan LRF it works great. I have a Bushnell Scout and the Leica blows it out of the water for speed, distance, and ability to obtain a reading.
I think you make a great point, and from what I've gathered, that is most likely the explanation.

My YP1000 works a lot better than some of the reports I've read about, and quite a few Lieca 1200's too.

After actully seeing Michael's Lieca 1200 in use at the range here, (not sure if it was the scan model or not) I can say his out did my YP1000 by enough that I wish I had one of each now.

They both gave the same readings. His would instantly give readings at 800 yards off the steel plate or target backer, and usually mine doesn't have a problem at this range on either, but it did. It would give readings off of the tops of the trees right behind them, but not the steel or target stand. The light condition most certainly degraded the perfermance of mine, as I've used it and had no problem doing this before at 800. Later that evening I had no problem at 900 or 1000 yards on the trees behind the targets, which was 12 yards behind, as I remember pulling my targets out so it was 15 yards exactly. I just ranged the trees after that and never did check the targets again because I was in a hurry.

Michael's Lieca 1200 gave instant reading, never once did it not either. My YP1000 took about twice as long to get the reading on the trees but was simply unable to produce a single one on the targets, and trust me, I tried.

I like the readout on my YP1000 better, but in those conditions I liked the fact the 1200 WORKED like I would want it to. I'd like to compare them both at near dark conditions too, mine really shines when the light begins to get dim, I mean it "really" works well.

Mine seems to work very well on dark objects too, very often better than lighter ones.

It would be sweet to have 5 units of each model to compare them in all light conditions, that's what I'd call a fair comparison and would give a much better idea of what to expect from each model as far as the range allowance they see fit to call acceptable.

I think the Bushnell Scout is rated at 400 or maybe even 800 yards? so I don't think that's too fair a comparison to the Lieca 1200 or YP1000.
I would expect it to get blown away.
I know the last time I posted my experiance between the LRF 1200 and the YP1000 I never mentioned what the comparisons showed as a result.

I was out sheep hunting one year with the YP1000 and got a reading on a ram at 300 meters, when he walked off to I guess about 400 meters (about 100 meters from his previous location), it would no longer read him. The sun was to my back and the ram was in direct sunlight.

Later that year, I was moose hunting and after the sun went down, I ranged some trees at over 1150 meters. It was almost dark. The sun had set to my back.

When I bought my LRF 1200 I took it on another sheep hunt a month after I got it. I was able to range sheep at just over 1200 yards whether they were in the direct sunlight or in the shade. In all conditions, the LRF 1200 has given me reading to 1225 yards. It seems to just quit after 1225, no matter what the conditions. The only exception to that is when it reads a highly reflective target such as a stop sighn ect...

This is just what works for me. I have had some hunters claim that theirs didnt work that well. Most reports I have heard claimed they did.

Alot of it boils down to personal preferance.
It would appear that others have had similar experiences (as I had previously mentioned)when comparing the Leica and Bushnell rangefinders.

Based on the guys that reported a distint improvement with the Leica, I can only assume that there has been a fair amount of variation, from unit to unit, in the capabilities of one or both of these rangefinders. Manufacturing tolerances may vary more than we realize, or later models may have been improved.

Frankly, I liked the Leica a lot better. It was the comparison that made me hold on to the Bushnell and sell the Leica.
The guy who bought my Leica is a hunting buddy and he helped me do the comparisons. We periodically hunt vermin together and still get a chance to range the same varmints with the two units. Most of the time they range the same. At times the Bushnell ranges more reliably. However, there were a few times that the Leica would range a target the the Bushnell could not.

Typically, I have been able to range much farther on overcast or hazy days. When ranging low reflectance targets on bright sunny days, I'd have to agree that all of the rangfinders that I have used will probably be good for 50%-60% of their rated maximum range.

I'd like to borrow someone elses Leica 1200 and compare all three at the same time.

Either way, the Bushnell YP 1000 has caused the demise of MANY looong range groundhogs.

The scout is rated to 700 yards. The distance was within the ranges for both but the Leica did it when the Scout wouldn't and got reading a lot quicker. The Leica has the LED which is easy to see in Low light while the scout has an LCD which can be a PITA to see.
I am positive that they vary from unit to unit. I have a Bushnell Compact 600 (that I really detest btw). While in Alaska a few years ago my partner had the exact same model. We stood side by side and ranged objects, his whipped mine on nearly everything over 400 yards. We switched rangefinders and he couldn't get mine to do squat either. He just laughed and said you got smoked. He suggested I contact Bushnell and see if they would replace it or try and improve the model I have. I never bothered as I figured the request would fall on deaf ears. With that said I'm also convinced that some folks are just electronically hexed. I have a long list of electronic gadgets that go haywire in my hands. Here's just a few:

Bushnell 800 Compact (worked twice before it fritzed out.)

Bushnell Compact 600 (Never has worked very well and just keeps getting worse.)

Canon Elura digital camcorder (spent more time in Canon's repair center than it did with me the first year, still doesn't work really well.)

Song 35" T.V. (turns it's self on and starts flying through the channels at lightning speed. I think it's possesed or something.)

Two different remotes for same-said Sony T.V. (original remote had the first row and random buttons on the second row quit working. Second remote only works when it feels like it.)

Canon ElanIIE, (the camera had to be completely rebuilt within a year of buying it. It had been babied the whole time, just went nuts in my hands. Meaning all kinds of lights flashing and spinning through all the modes. Works okay since it was rebuilt though. Not great, but okay.)

New Gateway lap top (Went through 2 hard drives in 3 years. The second hard drive only lasted 9 months.)

This wouldn't be so bad except for two major things. One we are a very technology dependant society now, so it's pretty hard to avoid. And second, this stuff is expensive! Darn high tuition for learning IMHO. Okay I'm done venting and will get back on topic. However I'm not so sure the rangefinders haven't gone belly up on me because of some kind of weird electro-magnetic field that surrounds me or something.
I'm just guessing, but I wouldn't expect the 700 yard model to work every time past about 400-500, and that's just based on the fact most of the rangefinders "advertised max range" is just that, about max in good conditions. We'd be better served if they said, "GUARANTEED TO WORK AT THIS RANGE IN ANY NORMAL DAYLIGHT CONDITION".
That would really mean that my YP1000 model would "now" be a 500 yard model, with that definition. At least then, I'd KNOW what model I needed.

That wouldn't sell rangefinders though, would it.

I remember Phil saying one time that the Lieca was hard to see out of near dark, as the red LED display was so bright, and the Bushnell was easier for that reason. When I looked through Michael's I noticed it WAS quite bright, during the day time even, definitely not hard to see and probably "would" be at night, though I'm not sure how bad it would be.
My YP1000 is easy to read and I've never had a hard time reading the LCD display until it was practically too dark to even see game through it to range them. At this point, for me, the YP1000 and its LCD display is a non-issue, where as the LED on the Lieca "could be" and remains to be seen.

Big Sky,
I feel for ya brother, that's gotta suck!

I'm curious, for you guys with the Lieca 1200, has the battery lasted over a year or more too? I actually have never had a battery go dead/low on me with my YP1000, but I did change to a new battery before using it each fall to be safe, and do take extras in case of??? I wouldn't expect the Lieca to use batteries any faster, just thought I'd ask tho.
I agree that there must be variation between units, unless maybe there's something blocking the lens, as DC mentioned awhile back when he was referring to how clean they should be to work well. I've tried a # of lasers over the years, and I still believe the Leica is the best-- overall. Just last month i shot a coyote at 465 yds. with my AR, and the range was provided by my Leica 1200 Scan-- it read just fine in the late afternoon, sun at about 10:00 in some high grass prairie at a very shallow angle-- something I've had problems with before in the past with all of my lasers. I certainly like the Scan over its predecessor-- the std. Leica 1200 without question. The pulsating system will almost always deliver a reading. I've also had very little trouble with either unit out to 1000 or so most of the time. You know what's the best thing about it?? It fits perfectly (and comfortably) in my BDU leg pocket, and i can access it quickly from just about any position-- something i could never do with the Bushnell's. That accessibility factor is a big deal with me.

[ 01-06-2004: Message edited by: sscoyote ]
Hmmmm... I should try cleaning mine, ya think... Come to think of it, I never have, and I've had it since they came out with the YP1000
The cover has always been over it, but heck, it might could use it!
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