It is obvious that being able to accurately judge the distance from your target is a huge benefit, especially when practicing long range shooting and bow hunting. Any archer who has shot a bow long enough has undoubtedly experienced missing their intended target at some point or another and, while the reasons for this can be one or more of many, the most common reason is that the archer simply misjudged the yardage.
Fortunately, there are gadgets called rangefinders that will drastically improve your ability to correctly gauge the distance to your target. Find out more about archery rangefinders and how to choose the best archery rangefinder for you it in this guide.
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Our 2022 Top 3 Best Archery Rangefinders Picks
Our Top 3 Best Archery Rangefinder Picks: Review & Rating
1. Best Archery RangeFinder 2022: Leupold Vendetta 2
” An innovative must-have for your bowhunting success”
The Vendetta 2 is the new take on the classic Vendetta by Leupold, and promises to revolutionize the way you hunt and improve your chances of success. It features a push button switch that mounts to the back of your riser in front of your grip for easy activation.
It also features a One Touch Continuous Scan mode that enables you to see constantly changing yardages, angles and elevation, while you are at full draw as you move your bow.
“An absolute game-changer in the archery world”
The Garmin Zero is brand new 2018 ground-breaking product and the first bow-mounted digital laser rangefinder ever made. Hunters can benefit from this gadget tremendously. Using a single-button trigger that you mount on your bow’s grip you will range your target while at full draw, allowing for a one hand operation.
The Xero also includes a Laser Locate which is used to estimate your arrow’s point of impact and transfer that location to the hunter, giving them a precise location to begin tracking and recovering their game.
“The lightweight option easy on the wallet “
Bresser’s bow-mounted Ambition laser rangefinder is an affordable and accurate laser rangefinder, compatible with most compound bow or crossbows. It’s lightweight (123g incl. accessories) and easy to mount (although some users have reported stability issues with the mounting hardware system).
It has a +/- 1 yard range accuracy and features a continuous scan mode which is constantly active to keep you fully aware of distances to potential targets. Accessories include a lens cleaning cloth and a microfiber bag for transport and storage.
Why do you need the best archery rangefinder?
Now that you know the best archery rangefinders on the market, let’s gain a deeper understanding on how the above gadgets can improve your ability to gauge distance and, ultimately, to shoot accurately.
Judging the yardage by sight alone
As archers, our mind measures the distance to our target using our sight in one of two ways. Either we make approximate measurements along the ground by gauging the distance from one feature to another or, we gauge the distance by knowing the approximate size of the target and how large it should appear at a given distance.
The first method is slow and requires meticulous attention to detail whereas the second method is subject to error unless the archer has plenty of time to observe and gauge the size of the target. But, because game tends to appear suddenly and, often in unexpected places, bow hunters are often forced to make up their minds concerning the probable yardage to their target much more quickly than they would like and thus, they sometimes choose the wrong sight pin when aiming.
The best method to getting better at judging yardage is practice. When most archers practice their shooting at home or on a local bow range, they do so at known yardages and thus, they know exactly which pin to use. But, while this an excellent means of improving your accuracy, it does very little to help you learn to gauge yardage. So, rather than shooting from the same spot each time, try moving around a bit so that the yardage for each shot you take is different. That way, your mind gets a better picture of what different yardages look like.
A rangefinder is a device that measures distance from the observer to a target. Most archery rangefinders use a laser beam to determine the distance to the target. Many bow hunters use a laser rangefinder when hunting to judge the distance from the pray in fast and effective way, thus increasing their chances of success dramatically.
Practicing with a rangefinder to improve your gauging skills
While frequent practice shooting at unknown yardages will certainly improve your ability to gauge the distance to the target when hunting, unless you are a purist that disparages the use of such gadgets as laser rangefinders, using one when you practice at home or on the bow range can drastically improve your ability to accurately gauge yardage.
Each time you take a shot from an unknown yardage, first use your experience to gauge the yardage to the target and then, double check your estimate using your laser range finder to see if you are correct. That way, not only do you get better and gauging different distances, you also get practice using your laser range finder. Another trick that will enable you to learn to gauge yardage more accurately is to use your laser rangefinder when you are sitting idle in your tree stand or ground blind. To do this, you start by picking various points within bow range where you think your prey might appear and then you estimate the yardage to that point. Then, you use your laser rangefinder to double check your estimate and then fix the reading for that point in your mind so that when the animal does appear, you will already know the approximate yardage to several given points and thus, you can adjust your aim accordingly.
Using a rangefinder for hunting
By having a laser rangefinder mounted on your bow and learning how to incorporate it into your shot sequence, not only do eliminate excess movement, you completely eliminate the need to guess the distance to your target so that you can instead focus your entire attention on picking exactly the right moment to release your arrow with complete confidence that it will strike the target where you want it to!
Best archery rangefinder buying guide
Not all laser rangefinders are created equal, and that’s why we’ve created this guide to help you choose the best archery laser rangefinder for your needs and desired application.
Here is a list of the things to keep in mind before you buy your range finder:
Bow-mounted vs handheld
While having a laser rangefinder on hand is certainly useful, there are many times when an animal appears unexpectedly and thus, often in these situations, the hunter simply does not have the time to reach his laser rangefinder and range the target. In addition, in many cases, attempting to do so may very well spook the game and thus, the ultimate answer to the problem of accurately gauging yardage is to use a bow mounted laser rangefinder.
By having your laser rangefinder mounted on your bow, it’s always handy and eliminates the extra movement and time needed to grab your laser rangefinder, determine the yardage to your target, and then draw and aim your bow by which time the yardage to your target may have changed significantly. However, this not a tool for beginners since it requires practice to get used to using it so that it becomes a natural part of your shot sequence. Alternatively, if you already have a regular handheld rangefinder, or plan to purchase one, you could consider getting a crossbow mount to attach it to your crossbow. However, it won’t be compatible with a compound bow and even some crossbows might not be supported.
So, if you’re seriously considering using a rangefinder for bow hunting or archery practicing, we recommend you choose a bow-mounted archery rangefinder over a handheld one.
When choosing a laser rangefinder, you should be aware that they have different “priority” modes for different purposes. For instance, some rangefinders read the first object in their line of sight (called First Priority Mode) whereas, others have a mode that ignores the first object and ranges past it to the object behind it (called Second Priority Mode). Therefore, rangefinders that range objects in First Priority Mode are particularly useful when you have an unobstructed view of the target but, rangefinders that have a Second Priority Mode as well are of far more use when you have intervening brush and trees between you and your target.
In addition to operating in either First Priority Mode or Second Priority Mode, many laser rangefinders are available with additional modes such as Automatic Range Compensation (ARC) or Horizontal Mode and Scan Mode. In fact, the ARC or Horizontal Mode is particularly useful when hunting in steep terrain because it automatically calculates the correct distance to a target at both inclining and declining angles and thus, it provides an accurate distance measurement even when aiming uphill or downhill. Whereas, Scan Mode, as the name implies, enables the hunter to range the distance of multiple targets by holding down the Scan button and then moving the rangefinder back and forth across the viewing area.
When hunting, it may not be possible to shoot while being on level with your game. When hunting with a bow, or with a rifle, almost all shots may be at some angle. The angle at which you are shooting will have a lot of effect on the projectile drop. If you are shooting down or up hill, you need to adjust as if the arrow or bullet will not drop as much. It is easier to buy an archery rangefinder that will do all the math for you and tell you exactly how far to shoot.
Pay close attention to the maximum range in a rangefinder before you buy it. For long range shooters, you would want an archery rangefinder good for over a thousand yards. Even if you are an archery shooter you will want a high maximum range. Even though you won’t use the long range for hunting or shooting, it will be fun to use. Not to mention, most models these days have maximum ranges of 1,000 yards or better.
Even though an archery rangefinder may have a maximum range of 1200 yards for example, it is very vital to remember that this number is only accurate in the best ideal conditions. Most maximum ranges are calculated on a large reflective surface in the perfect weather conditions, which may not be typical for a hunting situation. Higher quality hunting rangefinders will give up to their stated maximum range more than the cheaper ones will.
Pushing the button and reading the yardage. This is what it takes for the best archery rangefinder. Some rangefinders these days come with a lot of instructions that you need to read before you can use it, and it’s good take those instructions with you.Besides, you would want the numbers to be readable without any problems in the way when the right moment comes. Keep it simple and you won’t regret your purchase.
With all the necessary gear for hunters these days, the size of the rangefinder is important. You may want a rangefinder that fits easily into your pocket, yet is easy to use and hold. Too small and you will not be on point for the right buttons. Too big and you will leave it behind because it is not easy to carry around.
In the world of archery rangefinders, and all other optics for that matter, you get what you pay for. Price and quality go hand in hand. Higher quality almost always means higher price. There is a substantial quality difference between the most and least expensive rangefinders. A law of diminishing returns is also in play here, where to a point, quality goes up a lot with price, but as you go up in price, quality tends to level out.
The best advice is to go with the best archery rangefinder you can afford. This way you wont regret having bought a better one because it was the best you could buy at the time. Likewise, you will not be mad at yourself for buying a less superior range finder, because you purchased what you could and you can upgrade when you have the funds available.
What’s the best archery rangefinder for me?
There are different kinds of archery rangefinders that you can get for sale these days. You need to select the best archery rangefinder that will fit your needs, preference and budget. If you’re a professional bow hunter, you might want to invest in the Garmin Zero, simply because it’s awesome and makes hunting so much more fun and exciting. If you’re just testing the waters and trying to find out whether you even need a rangefinder, make sure you opt for a good entry level model instead (we recommend the Bresser Ambition). Be wise in your choice and make sure that you will have an advantage in it.
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