Vortex Optics sent me one such product to test and review, the "Ranger 1000" laser rangefinder. While I have to admit I have never owned a rangefinder prior to receiving the Ranger 1000, I have been able to look through several rangefinders of various brands while on hunts and shooting with others. One reason I have not purchased my own is that I have yet to look through that one rangefinder that really grabbed my attention. Before I let you know what I think of the product, lets talk about some of the specs of the Ranger 1000.
Out of the box. To start off, I have to say that the first impression upon taking the rangefinder out of the package was the size! At 3" wide by 3.9" long, this is one of the most compact rangefinders that I have handled. Initially, looking at the size and simplicity I was skeptical that this rangefinder would best other brands that I had used. I was impressed with the carrying case that was simple and slides onto a belt easily. Opening the case, I was quick to notice the rubber armored coating that covers the rangefinder, which is very characteristic of most optics products that Vortex has to offer. I've always been a fan of the coating, which not only protects the product, but also provides for a better grip and feel to the surface.
The rangefinder itself is also equipped with a belt clip that is interchangeable from the right to left side of the body for right or left handed users. The battery compartment sits below the eyepiece, and two buttons, one for the menu, the other for the yardage control are found on the top of the unit, at your fingertips. There is also attachments for a lanyard (included) and the bottom of the body is equipped with threads allowing the unit to be attached to a tripod or window mount.
Operation. This rangefinder is set to a default mode of HCD (Horizontal Component Distance). This setting is what most of us would use for hunting especially, but also has a use for shooting in general. HCD automatically compensates angles (slopes, etc.) to give the user a true distance reading. If you prefer to make the measurements yourself, the easy to use menu allows the user to toggle over to the LOS (Line of Site) mode. Vortex has also thrown in a field reference card to aid you in determining MOA if you prefer to use the LOS setting. In the menu setting the user will also easily find the setting to adjust the brightness (3 settings) and can also change the units from yards to meters.
To measure distance, the operation is very simple. Click the "measure" button once to bring the unit to power, click again to display the crosshairs, place the crosshairs on your target and click the measure button again to get your reading.
Specs. Here's what you get with this rangefinder. With a reflective range of 1,000 yards, and a game range of 500 yards, you will find the Ranger 1000 accurate within + or - 3 yards. The 22mm objective lens gives the user 6X magnification, with a 17mm eye relief. As always, this product's O-ring seals provide amazing protection from moisture and debris, and is backed by Vortex's limited lifetime warranty, one of the best warranty programs you will find in the optics world.
The elk hunt surely brought the challenge I was looking for to put this rangefinder to the test. During 2 elk hunts and a time frame spanning 3 weeks, the Ranger 1000 went with me through heat, dirt, cold weather, and the abuse I put it through in some very rough country. Most of the elk we were ranging near the beginning of the hunt were again at relatively close distances, within 300 yards. I had little trouble with the finder doing it's job. However, later in the hunt as the elk began to provide us more of a challenge, it was time to start giving the Ranger 1000 a test at greater distances. While it was nearly impossible to range an elk at over 500 yards, picking up bright objects such as tree trunks and rocks that were lighter colors would do the job. At distances of 500-700 yards this was no trouble, however 700 to 1000 would take finding the right object and a few clicks to get a reading. When it came to getting my elk, the bull only provided me a neck shot. Using the Ranger 1000, and my Vortex Diamondback 4-12X40 riflescope I was able to dial right in on a 360 yard shot and drop him right in his tracks. This was a hunt that I was no doubt very reassured to have a tool with me that took away the guesswork!
- Lightweight, but very solid construction. Armor provides a secure grip.
- Easy to use (target acquisition and menu)
- Crystal clear optics and display
- Versatile carrying options
- Great battery life
- Solid warranty program
- Smaller field of view compared to other models
- A bit of difficulty ranging over 500 yards
When I compare the Ranger 1000 to other rangefinders I have used, I have to give this model high marks on clarity, ease of use, and compactness. I have used several rangefinders that I have worried about how the unit would hold up to the abuse that gear takes in rugged country and harsh environmental conditions. I am also not known for being one that is easy on his hunting equipment! When you look at the simplicity and armor coating, I think most extreme hunters will really like the Ranger 1000 when compared to other rangefinders.
You will find the Ranger 1000 at nearly all of your major sporting goods stores, including Sportsman's Warehouse and Cabela's. Locally to Southern Utah (and online) you will find the item at Muley Crazy (Kanab, Utah), and Hurst Ace Hardware in Cedar City, Utah. Also, be sure to check out Vortex Optics where you will find other great optics products, as well as information on locating a dealer near you. MSRP is $499.00, however, a quick browsing online and I found the product for an average price of $379.00.