Vortex Ranger 1000 laser range finder review


Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2009
Vortex Ranger 1000 Rangefinder Review
By: Steve Lapin

Initial Impressions:
After removing the Ranger 1000 from the packaging and inspecting the contents of the box, I was initially impressed. The Cordura carrying case included in the purchase is well made. With one Fastex type buckle on the cover and a double stitched belt loop on the back. Simple yet effective. The rubberized construction of the Ranger 1000 itself seems very durable. The metal belt clip is held on by 3 large Allen head screws and the tool to switch the clip to either side of the unit is included with your purchase. The belt clip itself seems strong enough to hold the unit on your belt but not overly strong as to make placing it there a chore. The battery cover is easily removable with either the finger knurls on the outer edge or a coin slot in the top of the cover. Battery installation with the included CR2 battery is a breeze with the clearly marked diagram on the inside of the battery compartment. One the battery is installed, installation of the cover is as easy as removal with either method. I used the knurling and the cover is just as tight today as when I first installed it. Also included in the package is a nylon neck lanyard; which I chose not to install since I feel it gets in the way for my purposes. If you choose to use the lanyard though, installation is straight forward and I’m sure it will hold up to the abuse you can throw at it.

Instruction Manual:
The next and final piece included in the package is the instruction manual. While reading through the instruction manual my first impressions of the equipment were confirmed. This is a very straightforward piece of equipment. With only 2 buttons on the top of the Ranger 1000, operation is a breeze. One button being the MEASURE button and the other being the MENU button. Basic operation is simple with this rangefinder. Push and release the MEASURE button until the crosshairs appear. Aim the crosshairs on what you would like to range then press and release the MEASURE button again. The distance will then appear on the screen. Couldn’t get more simple. The instruction manual also explains some of the unique features of the Ranger 1000. These features are the output display is selectable between yards and meters. You can set the brightness of the display; which coincidently is a wonderfully useful feature in the field. One of the other unique features of this rangefinder is the ability to choose between HCD mode and LOS mode. LOS mode is basically what you see is what you get mode. It measures straight line distance between you and the object you are ranging. HCD mode stands for Horizontal Component Distance. The yardage number displayed in HCD mode is the critical horizontal component distance according to the instruction manual. Basically what this means to the average rifle or archery shooter is the HCD yardage is already corrected for shot angle so that no other calculations are needed. Just range the target, dial the dope for the yardage displayed on the screen and shoot. The instruction manual states that HCD mode is accurate out to 800 yards with a slope of 15 degrees or less and accurate out to 400 yards with a slope of 15-30 degrees. All other slopes or yardages will have to be calculated manually using the yardages given in LOS mode. One last feature of the Ranger 1000 is the scan feature. Hold the MEASURE button down until the crosshairs start to flash. Once they start to flash, scan your environment and the yardages of the various objects will be displayed on the screen.

Field Impressions:
Once the battery was installed and the instruction manual was read and understood to the best of my abilities, I took the Ranger 1000 on to my porch to see what it could do. I live on 198 acres so most of the distances from my porch are already known distances. With the Ranger 1000 set up in HCD mode on a bright autumn day, I set out to range various landmarks on my property. The first thing I noticed was that the crosshairs and display seemed to wash out in the bright sun. Not to worry though. A couple presses of the MENU button and the brightness was adjusted to the brightest setting. Once that was accomplished, a slight turn of the eyecup was made and everything in the display was bright and crisp. I started ranging my objects and the yardages displayed were coming up fast and accurate. Since the Ranger 1000 was in HCD mode, the yardages displayed were coming up a little short than the actual yardages. Not to worry though as this information was jiving with my actual dope to the various targets. The angle from my porch to the targets is approximately 20 degrees. From what I can tell, the HCD mode compensated perfectly for the angles. The farthest target from my porch is 425 yards. The Ranger 1000 picked up on this target quickly and accurately as well as the other targets at various other ranges.

Over the next few weeks I used the Ranger 1000 is different situations. Both in the field deer hunting and at my local 560 yard range. The Ranger 1000 ranged all yardages quickly and accurately without the use of a rest or tripod. The only time I had an issue was on an extremely foggy day. Visibility with the human eye was less than 100 yards. I knew that no rangefinder would accurately range in these conditions but I just wanted to see what would happen with the Ranger 1000. Not to my surprise, the Ranger 1000 kept coming up with 17 yards no matter what I pointed it at. I know this test doesn’t really show anything, but it was something I just had to try it.

Overall Impressions:
At the $379 retail price of this unit I think it is a great value. It ranges just as fast and as accurately as my Swarovski rangefinder. It also has the HCD feature that the Swarovski does not have. The Ranger 1000 is definitely geared more towards long range shooters and hunters but also has features that the average person could utilize. In every day shooting and hunting situations the HCD feature saves you the extra step of either inputting information into your ballistic calculator or manually calculating the corrected range to the target. All in all, I am impressed with the Ranger 1000. It does what it is supposed to do and then some all at a great price. I would like to thank Vortex Optics for continuing to improve the quality of affordable products available to hunters and shooters. As well I would like to thank Chris at Sport Optics for giving me the chance to review this fine product.

Review performed by:
Steve Lapin
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Got mine to hit 1137 yards once on the back of a building across a farmers field. In hunting scenarios, on soft targets like deer, coyotes, and brush, mine maxes out less than that.
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