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Laser Rangefinder Review

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Laser Rangefinder Review

Old 09-26-2006, 10:21 PM
  #1  
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Default Laser Rangefinder Review


I just finished my testing of 3 laser rangefinders. The units tested were:[/align][/align]Leupold RX-II[/align][/align]Opti-Logic 120 XTA[/align][/align]Nikon Buckmasters Laser 800[/align][/align][/align]The test originally started out to see which unit was the most accurate. In a straight line test there wasn't any clear cut winner as they all performed admirably. As a result, I had to toughen up the standards and then some differences were apparent.[/align]My archeryclub has a patio with a wooden slatted railing around it. The slats are roughly 8 inches apart and conveniently replicated the approx size of a whitetail's vitals.I placed my Rinehardt block target 5 yards beyond the slats to see which unit would send the narrowest beam and give the precise yardage. To increase the difficulty, I used the "1st target mode" setting and also tested the units holding them vertical and horizontal to the target. This gave me an indication of the shape of the beam that was sent out.[/align]The Opti-Logic was the first unit to be tripped up and read the slats at approx.30 yards in the horizontal and 24 in the vertical positions. Not bad by any means. The Nikon read to approx 34 in each position and the Leupold was the winner, stretching out to the low 40's each way.[/align]The next test was light transmission (I say next but in reality it was done before I even got to my club). the Nikon, with it's 8X optics is horrible in this department to the point where I wouldn't use them in the field. Too much game movement occurs at low lightwhere this unit just can't give you a picture of it. Objects that can easily be distinguished with the naked eyes are totally lost when looking through the unit. It will still range a distance but I had no idea what I was looking at.[/align]The Opti-Logic was acceptable for low light use. While not great, it didn't disappoint, either. If you could see it with your eye then you could make it out with the unit as well. My one complaint was the distance readout itself. It's an LCD unit located on the back of the unit. Besides removing the unit from you eye so you cansee the distance, it isn't backlit and can pose some inconvenience.[/align]The Leupold was the best of the bunch. It should be noted that the RX-II uses 6X multi-coated optics where the Opti-Logic is non-magnified. The Picture is crisp and rivals that of a mid-line monocular. If you can remotely make it out with your eyes, it can easily be seen and ranged with the Leupold. Of the three, this is the only unit that makes carrying binoculars less of a necessity as you can glass your area in low light as you approach your stand, and distinguish game in heavy cover.[/align]For durability the Opti-Logic comes in 3rd place. It's not that it's bad. It just isn't constructed as ruggedly as the other 2. When handling them it's easily seen. The Nikon comes in second. The entire unit is solid except for a battery compartment cover that falls off at the slightest bump due to a lever that protrudes from the surface and catches easily on anything it brushes up against. The Leupold is solid in every aspect of it's design.[/align]Target acquisition turned out to be a 2 phase competition. In normal light, 1st place went to the Opti-Logic unit. It's non-magnified design and red dot aiming pointwas a bit quicker than the magnified optics and LCD screens of the Nikon and the Leupold. In low light, the enhanced light transmission of the Leupold made up for this and both units ranged and read objects with the same speed. The Nikon couldn't be used in low light due to a failure to provide any reasonable picture.[/align]The final part of this review is purely subjective on my part and deals with the ability of the Leupold and the Opti-Logic to read horizontal distance as well as line of sight.The Nikon doesn't have this capability.When hunting from an elevated platform (archery from a treestand) or aiming at game traveling at a different elevation this feature, in my opinion, makes other units obsolete. Archery is a game of inches. I want everything in my arsenal to be as exact and as fine tuned as I can get it. These 2 angle compensated units give me that advantage over that standard offerings. If you're in the market to purchase a rangefinder, why not go with the unit that reads both ways instead of just one.[/align]For long gun hunting there is only one choice to consider. The Leupold wins hands down. The Opti has a maximum range of 120 yards compared to the Leupold's range of 750. Furthermore, the Leupold has incorporated a program called True Ballistic Range, and itwill make a huge impact on your accuracy, giving you a much more accurate measurement than the straight line distance to your target, and even other tilt compensated units as well.The RX uses an inclinometer to measure up and down hill shots, coupled with the ballistics of your projectile to give you the equivalent horizontal range, and for rifle hunters, a holdover/holdunder point or an MOA adjustment. Other rangefinders that currently compute the angle of the shot use a simple calculation based on the third leg of a triangle. The Leupold actually makes that third leg (the flight of the bullet or arrow) into an arc, as it should be, and thus, almost completely eliminates the aiming error. The third leg of the triangle method is not totally accurate because the bullet or arrow actually travels a different distance than a true straight line would predict. It usesa very complex algorithm that tookLeupold over a yearto develop.Without this feature, the 3rd leg distance error gets more severe with longer ranges and steeper angles. This feature is unique to Leupold.[/align]I also like the Leupold Match-13 Reticle system. You can choose from a variety of brackets, duplexes and reticles to match the game you pursue and the terrain you're hunting.[/align]There you have it. All 3 rangefinders will adequately fill the bill for ranging an object, but when looking closer into what makes one more effective than another in the field some major advantages and disadvantages begin to surface. Choose wisely and good luck in the pursuit of your quarry.[/align][/align]
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Old 09-27-2006, 06:39 AM
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Default RE: Laser Rangefinder Review

Thanks for the indepth info
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:04 AM
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Default RE: Laser Rangefinder Review

Well, aren't I glad I bought a Nikon.LOL Actually, Yes !

I cannot say I believe that review. I believe that the Leupold was the winner before the review was ever started. Why this would be I do not know, but I felt it in the writing of the review, before the author ever got into the meat of it. Also I have to wonder if the author really checked out the Nikon 800. because he says the optics are not clear and the Nikon 800 was dark with it's 8x optics...... Well, you see, the Nikon 800 does not have 8x optics. The optics of that model are 6x21mm. And to tell the truth, I can't say I have ever seen a dark Nikon product. I have used Nikon 35mm camera equipment, I own 3 Nikon rifle scopes, and I now own a very crisp and clear Nikon 440 rangefinder. As for the rest of the review, I take it with a grain of salt. I know a lot of people on this site would disagree with the evaluation of that Nikon.

I just got my Nikon 440 via U.P.S. yesterday evening. I have never been big on bells and whistles, but I did a fair amount of research before I bought and I did take an opinion poll also. The Nikon is a quality piece of equipment and it does have clean, clear glass lenses. And I do not need a bunch of different reticles. I also do not need the incline-o-meter. The difference in range, hunting on a lease that does not have any great changes in elevation, would be very small. If I were hunting in a mountainous area, or in canyons, shooting from one ridge to another, yes I can see where it might be a benifit. But the hunting a lot of the people do would not require that feature. I got everything I need and want in a rangefinder ( and this 440 is not " dark " by any means ) for $ 190.00 delivered. Now I know I am talking about a different model than the one tested, but I also know I am not going to shoot 800 yards, so the 440 yard ranging is plenty, and should be plenty for most other people. I believe too many people try to shoot way too far now, as it is. Long range shooting takes a lot of skill, more skill than most hunters have, and I feel we owe it to the game to make the best and cleanest killing shot we can. Also, I would like to see someone buy that Leupold for $190.00. But to each his own.


But, thanks for the review. It was informative.

Good Hunting

God Bless
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:29 AM
  #4  
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Default RE: Laser Rangefinder Review

I'm really rather surprised by the optical quality,(or lack of),in the Nikon. I have a 440 and think the optics and light gathering capabilities are fantastic. In low light conditions I will often use my rangefinder to scan or scout rather than my 8x Bushnell binos. All in all the Nikon 440 is all I need and more. If I were to lose it I would not start making comparisons, I would buy another ASAP!
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Old 10-06-2006, 11:51 AM
  #5  
 
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Default RE: Laser Rangefinder Review

I have to agree with the doubters, I recently purchased a new rangefinder and compared the Leupold you reviewed with the Nikon Monarch 800. The Nikon was superior optically in my opinion and was the one I purchased.
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Old 10-06-2006, 12:18 PM
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Default RE: Laser Rangefinder Review

After reading the author of this posts only other post I would say we are being hoodwinked by a Leupold mole. His only other post is a glowing review of the Leupold binoculars where he claims them to be far superior to Swarovskis. I don't think they could hold a candle to the unbelievable quality of a pair of Swarovski binocs, let alone put them to shame. Hopefully a moderator will step in and remove this poster from the site.
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Old 10-06-2006, 01:51 PM
  #7  
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Default RE: Laser Rangefinder Review

Srange but I have to say my Nikon rocks and the clarity is as sharp as a carpet tack stepped on barefoot.
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Old 10-06-2006, 04:02 PM
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Default RE: Laser Rangefinder Review

Also I have to wonder if the author really checked out the Nikon 800. because he says the optics are not clear and the Nikon 800 was dark with it's 8x optics...... Well, you see, the Nikon 800 does not have 8x optics. The optics of that model are 6x21mm. And to tell the truth, I can't say I have ever seen a dark Nikon product.
Then you haven't checked out the Nikon 800. I use one everyday and it is definitely handicapped in low light conditions, especially if there's any rain in the air. I found it to be barely useable on my reindeer hunt last month. I couldn't aquire a target with it at less than 60 yards on several occasions. I still like it and I still use it but it has limitations and light gathering, clarity and target aquisition are some of them.
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Old 10-06-2006, 06:53 PM
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Default RE: Laser Rangefinder Review

I like my Nikon 800.

hakurt
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Old 10-06-2006, 09:17 PM
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Default RE: Laser Rangefinder Review

Hey, Kodiak.

Well, I did not say it couldn't be dark, I simply said I had never seen a dark Nikon product. And I have been dealing with Nikon opticson many differet levels for about 24 years. But, the point of that quote was that he said it had a 8x optic, and I said that the optics are not 8x but actually 6x. So that made me a little unsure about that part of the review. And I hold to that, unless Nikon made a 8x in the 800 that I am not aware of , for some reason. If so, then let me know and I will " sit " corrected.
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