Why You Need to Worry About Laser Rangefinder Accuracy
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The rangefinder might have been a more recent addition to the arsenal of any modern hunter, but it’s an important one. Laser rangefinders essentially ping a laser beam between yourself and an object, measuring the time it takes for the laser to see the surface it hit – and thus using that as a measure for distance.
However, not all rangefinders are created equal.
On your quest for the product with the best laser rangefinder accuracy, you’ll encounter products with less reliability, a little more expense, more cost put into the brand than technical value and a number of other little traps. Now sure, a rangefinder isn’t a camera or a smartphone.
For the most part, it’s an accurate and extremely fast method of telling how far something – usually prey – happens to be. That’s a relatively simple function – but the range of rangefinders out there may boggle your mind. So, let’s tackle rangefinders and find out what makes some more accurate than others, and how best to choose a quality rangefinder without burning a hole in your wallet.
How Rangefinders Work
We’ve already gone over the basics – a laser is emitted inside the rangefinder, sent out through the lens, and once it hits an object, it bounces back into the rangefinder and a high-tech clock inside measures how long the bounce took – and thus how far away the object was.
That’s how it works in a perfect world, but laser rangefinder accuracy is a little different in some circumstances. First and foremost, rangefinders have to precisely fire their laser at the object you’re tracking to give you an accurate reading. That’s hard to do when you’re not sure you’re actually hitting your target, which is where magnification comes in.
Magnification is a big deal, especially because you may not notice how much of a difference it can make to know exactly what you’re pointing at. What may look like a clean and accurate reading at 4x magnification may reveal itself to be totally false when you give it another go at 8x magnification – remember to double check readings for inconsistencies on a regular basis anyways.
Then, outside of you seeing far enough to know what you’re pointing at – the deer, and not the tree a meter before it or the grass below it – there’s also laser focus strength. Unlike in the movies, real life lasers are concentrated beams of light that diverge into split beams with enough distance. This won’t matter at first, especially among bow hunters – but as your distance and range increases, so does the importance of how strong your laser is.
There are a few other factors to consider – additional features, longevity, battery life, range limitations, aperture size, and the quality of the rangefinder’s abilities (can it ignore fog and brush, for example) – but for the most part, these are the basic differences between different rangefinders.
Sorting Through Your Options
Knowing what you’re looking for and where to look for it are two different things. Accuracy depends on the quality of your rangefinder’s laser, its magnification abilities and its aperture size – but knowing where to look online or otherwise for the best products based on laser rangefinder accuracy might mean looking around for a little bit more than your next hole-in-one or hunting trip.
Make a List
The best thing to start with when getting a rangefinder while focusing on accuracy over flashiness, is a budget. A budget gives you boundaries and limits – it gives you a very basic list of possibilities. Stick to that list, and use it to navigate the world of rangefinders around you.
Check Online Reviews
Once you have a list, it’s time to whittle it down to one or two options. So head online and sort through your various options depending on how they appeal to you, and how they appealed to the people who bought them.
There are dedicated review websites out there where professional hunters and hobbyists alike put time into choosing a rangefinder of their own based on laser rangefinder accuracy and other factors – give these reviews a read, but don’t forget to consider customer reviews at online retailers as well.
The final step is to find a reputable retailer for your rangefinder. Most review sites give you buying options if they find a product good enough – otherwise, retailers like Amazon have buyer’s protection to make it easier for you to trust a purchase.