Choosing the Best Long Range Rangefinder for Shooting
Today we’re looking at the best rangefinder for long range shooting. I’ve lined up a few candidates for you, so let’s see which one offers you the best performance.
Successful long range shooting requires absolute accuracy. Many rangefinders that claim to be able to range beyond 1,000 yards fall well short of the mark in practice.
Here are the top models you should consider for long range hunting. There is very little between these units and your choice will ultimately depend on quite a few personal factors and preferences.
Zeiss Optical Victory PRF 8×26
Max Rated Range: 1300 yards
FOV @ 1,000 yds: 330 feet
Weight: 10.3 oz
- Full size eyecup for viewing comfort
- Calculates ballistic drop
- Anti-moisture lens coatings
- Outstanding image quality
- Bang for your buck
- 1,300 yard range
In a market segment dominated by Swarovski and Leica, the Zeiss Victory has quietly snuck in and stolen at least some thunder from the two popular giants.
Not only is it cheaper than either the Swarovski 8×30 or the Leica 1600, but it provides comparable performance and offers more up to date features than the Swarovski.
The eyepiece is deep and fully adjustable to accommodate operators wearing glasses. The unit is held horizontally like binoculars, and features a sturdy rubber grip. Optics quality at least rivals and possibly even exceeds that found on the Leica. Another great feature for long distance ranging is that it ranges on release of the button, so you have no button push to upset your aim.
Coming in at a good $300+ below the Swarovski and approximately $150 below the Leica, the Zeiss makes perfect sense. Great optical performance, accurate ranging even beyond 1300 yards, a very capable BIS (ballistics information system), fast performance and a lifetime warranty on optical components make this an excellent rangefinder for long range shooting.
Watch this video for an in-depth discussion:
Swarovski 8×30 Laser Range Finder
Max Rated Range: 1600 yards
FOV @ 1,000 yds: 408 feet
- Accurate beyond the rated 1,500 yards
- Wide field of view
- Can double as binoculars
- Very crisp optics
- Built like a tank
- Adjustable eyepiece
The Swarovski is a bulky unit, so if you like your rangefinders light and small, this may not fit the bill. It does, however, feel damn near indestructible.
The Swaro ranges large game like deer or buffalo almost instantly up to 600 yards, while with a steady hand it takes just a second or two to nail them up to 975 yards. Ranging large objects like buildings is possible well beyond the 1,500 yard range that the unit is rated for.
The biggest drawback of this Swarovski is that, technology wise, it has become somewhat dated. You don’t get ballistic drop or angle compensation features with this unit. For shooting on flat land it will do the job better than just about anything else out there, but once you start hitting angles and slopes you may be in trouble.
Another drawback is the large aiming circle, which causes a little uncertainty when ranging small objects at long distance. Are you really hitting what you think you’re hitting?
This is still the most accurate rangefinder beyond 1,300 yards out there. If that’s your distance, and flat land is your hunting ground, the Swarovski is the perfect long range shooting rangefinder for you and won’t disappoint.
Leica 1600-B CRF
Max Rated Range: 1600 yards
FOV @ 1,000 yds: 377 feet
- Small, precise aiming point
- Light and compact
- Ballistics computer
- Excellent optics
- Provides lots of data
- Great range
The Leica is by far the lightest, most compact unit in this roundup. If that’s the type of rangefinder you like to use, add some points on your sheet in favor of the Leica right away. A slight indent at the top fits the hand perfectly and makes this a very comfortable rangefinder to hold.
The compactness can, however, be a drawback, as two-handed operation is not possible or at least as comfortable with this unit as it is with the Zeiss. It all depends on how you like to shoot.
The complex ballistics system on the 1600-B requires careful tuning on the shooting range. The unit even displays temperature, atmospheric pressure and angle, while it also outputs holdover, true distance to hold and minutes of angle adjustment.
The major drawback of the Leica as opposed to the Swarovski and Zeiss unit is the eyepiece, which simply can’t match the comfort of the latter two models. Another thing that has proven to be less than popular among many hunters is the aiming reticle disappearing for about two seconds after you take a reading.
If you like your rangefinders lightweight and compact, but with excellent performance, lots of data and optics, the Leica will not disappoint. It is the most advanced rangefinder under $1,000 and does a fine job of ranging beyond 1,000 yards. It also has the smallest beam divergence of the three models here, so if ranging small targets at long range is your game, the Leica deserves your consideration.
See this video review of the Leica 1600-B:
Best Rangefinder for Long Range Shooting: The Choice
These are all excellent rangefinders. Your choice will ultimately depend on your budget, personal preference and what distance you propose to shoot. Let’s try to summarize to help you decide.
Get the Leica 1600-B if:
- you like a small, compact rangefinder
- you need ballistic and environmental data
- you want to range small animals at long range
- you’re willing to take the time to set the unit up on the firing range
Strongest points: Optics clarity, range, ballistic and environmental info, fast readouts
Get the Swarovski if:
- you need accurate ranging beyond 1,300 yards
- you don’t mind carrying a larger, heavier rangefinder with you
- you hunt mostly on flat land (no ballistic or angle compensation)
Strongest points: Exceeds rated range, excellent optical quality, great eyepiece, wide FOV
Get the Zeiss Victory PRF if:
- you need bang for your buck
- you prefer horizontal two handed operation as opposed to vertical one handed operation
- you don’t hunt beyond 1,000 yards
Strongest points: Reads on button release, crisp optics, ballistic info, great eyepiece and anti-moisture coating
Hopefully this information will help you pick the best rangefinder for long range shooting for your personal needs. All three these units are superior to the offerings from Nikon and Bushnell in this category, offering better optics and better long range performance.