11 Topnotch Rangefinders for 2020

In a world driven by technology, optics manufacturers raise the rangefinder bar for 2020.

11 Topnotch Rangefinders for 2020

Many hunters prefer the convenience of carrying a binocular with a built-in rangefinder.

Hunters covet few items more than high-quality optics, and having a wide range for customers to choose from is critical to growing your bank account.

For three days back in January, I combed the aisles of 2020 SHOT Show in search of the industry’s best. As I did, a single and undeniable theme emerged: In short, manufacturers are pushing the limits of optical design, especially when it comes to stand-alone rangefinders and binoculars with rangefinding capability. The good news is savvy manufacturers have developed a number of optics spanning a wide range of price points.

Take a peek at what’s to come and find some must-carry-on-your-shelf models.


Bushnell Prime

2020 was, in my opinion, the year of the rangefinder, and optics giant Bushnell didn’t miss the party. The Bushnell Prime 1300 ($170) and Prime 1700 ($200) are winners. The numbers following the “Prime” branding, of course, depict each rangefinder’s reflective-yardage capability.

Bushnell testing notes the Vivid Display to be twice as bright as competing models, and the EXO Barrier coating bonds to the exterior of the lens surface to fend off water, oils, dust and debris. Other crowd pleasers include the fast-focus eyepiece, extra-large laser aperture window, ultra-wide band coating and fully multicoated lenses. www.bushnell.com


Flir Scion 36MM

Getting a facelift for 2020 is Flir’s Scion. While previous models sported a 13mm fixed lens, the newest member of the family sports a 36mm lens with manual focus. The detection range has also been boosted from 510 meters to 1,120 meters.

An ergonomic monopod that fits nicely into the hand, the Scion 36MM features a new rechargeable ion-lithium battery. The unit will also run on older CR123 batteries. The Lock Span Mode is noted by Flir to create highly detailed images by eliminating unwanted temperature detection with a locked temperature range. The dials on top of the unit are large and easy to access, and the monocular will mount to a tripod. www.flir.com


German Precision Optics RangeGuide

New from the minds at German Precision Optics, the RangeGuide ($1,778) is fitted with a Class 1 laser that gives users right-now readouts on reflective targets at distances up to 1.75 miles. Designed for those who get joy from testing their rifle’s ballistics, the 6.3-inch-tall, 10x50mm RangeGuide ensures right-now readouts, and Scan mode provides three readings per second via the orange OLED display with nine levels of adjustable brightness.

The ergonomic magnesium frame screams durability, and the unit weighs a mere 35 ounces. Those that wander off the path in search of big-game nirvana will appreciate the RangeGuide’s 22.36 twilight deflection factor and the double-HD laminated 50mm objective lenses. Also, a hat-tipper is the fact that this rangefinding binocular sports diopter-focus adjustments on both the left and right side, and the diopter utilizes GPO’s premium cut-brass gear-focused wheel system. www.gpo-usa.com


Leica Geovid 3200.com

A leap forward in rangefinding binocular design, Leica gives consumers its Geovid 3200.COM ($2,999). Like other members of the Geovid family, the 3200.COM features legendary Leica glass, which guarantees excellent contrast and maximum light transmission.

The big story, though, is the 3200.com’s ability to pair with the Leica Hunting App. Using the app, hunters can quickly save ballistic profiles and then import them as needed. In addition, the app will link with a Kestrel, and because all of the ballistics happen on the Kestrel side, there is no long, drawn-out process with the rangefinder. The 3200.COM, of course, reads reflective targets out to 3,200 yards, but according to Leica engineers, the new rangefinding binocular also promises improved soft-target distances. www.leicacamerausa.com


Leupold RX-Fulldraw 4

Created specifically for the archery crowd, Leupold’s Fulldraw 4 ($550) measures just 7.5 ounces and has a length of just 3.8 inches.

Compact and portable, this rangefinder combines the lightning-fast accuracy of Leupold’s DNA engine with Archer’s Advantage software. Enter your personal arrow ballistics, and viola — the Fulldraw calculates laser-accurate ranges based on your specific gear. Flightpath technology is used to determine if your arrow will clear obstructions between you and your target out to 150 yards, and the 6X magnification means easy target acquisition. www.leupold.com


Muddy Rangefinder Series

Offered in a trio of models that include the LR650, LR850 and LR1300, Muddy’s all-new series of laser rangefinders are fitted with 26mm glass and promise 6X magnification. The number following the name of each rangefinder represents the optics’ maximum range of readability on reflective targets.

Engineered with clarity, lowlight gathering and durability in mind, LR rangefinders are fitted with an IP54 rated lens, which protect internal parts from water, dust, debris and other rangefinder nightmares. Capable of measuring targets in yards or meters, the LR Series showcases an integrated scan mode, angle compensation and a litany of other sure-to-please features. www.gomuddy.com


Nikon LaserForce 10x42

Blending Nikon optical performance with rapid rangefinding technology is the name of the game for Nikon’s LaserForce ($1,200) 10x42. A breeze to set up, this system showcases ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass and Nikon’s ID Technology to compensate for incline and decline angles.

Ideal for the rifle and bow crowds, the LaserForce boasts a bright, clear display with four-step intensity adjustment, making yardage readouts possible regardless of the lighting conditions. The LaserForce sports a long eye-relief design, and lead- and arsenic-free glass is used on all lenses and prisms. www.nikonsportoptics.com


Pulsar Axion Series

Designed by those looking to conquer the night, the Axion XM30, XM38 and Axion Key XM30 heed the after-the-sun-goes-down call. This trio of quality optics detect heat signatures from distances ranging from 950 to 1,700 (depending on model) meters during the day and night.

The IPX7 magnesium-alloy body is waterproof, which allows for use even when Mother Nature is at her worst. Fitted with a Mini B-Pack system that features a four-hour-life rechargeable battery, these units can be charged on the go. Both the XM30 and XM38 models allow for video recording with 16GB of built-in memory. Video can be streamed and shared with the Stream Vision App. www.pulsar-nv.com


Sig Kilo3000BDX

Sig never fails to disappoint, and 2020 will be no different. The Kilo3000BDX ($1,440) and its LightWave DSP technology equal undeniable clarity and the ability to range medium-sized game at distances up to 1,500 yards. In addition, larger optics like trees and sizable brush can be detected at a maximum range of 2,000 yards. What about those reflective objects? Not a problem. The Kilo3000BDX provides a reflective readout out to 5,000 yards.

Designed with what Sig is calling HyperScan technology, these rangefinding binos provide four range updates per second when the unit is in scan mode. In Line of Sight or Angle Modified modes, readouts are shown on a clear OLED display. With a fighting weight of just 31 ounces, the Kilo3000BDX operates on a CR2 battery and can be linked to other Sig Sauer optics. The unit is covered by Sig’s “Infinite Guarantee” and electronics limited warranty. www.sigsauer.com


Trijicon Ventus

Built with Doppler Lidar Technology, the new-for-2020 Ventus ($8,000) from Trijicon sets a new standard in rangefinding technology. Designed to improve long-range shooting, the Doppler Lidar engine is capable of measuring headwind, tailwind, crosswind and vertical wind components at six different distances. In addition, the rangefinder will range real-world targets out to a distance of 5,000 yards.

The advanced polymer housing and scratch-resistant lenses are tested to Mil-Std810G standards, and the diopter ring is sizable and easy to adjust. A powerful 9X optical magnification and center cross-dot reticle marry perfectly to provide excellent target acquisition at extended ranges. The unit is powered by a pair of rechargeable lithium 18650 batteries, and the collimated lasers are said by Trijicon not to experience the divergence found with traditional lasers. This allows more energy to be returned to the detector for improved long-range performance. www.trijicon.com


Vortex Razor HD 4000

Deeply rooted in optic lore, Vortex unveils a new rangefinder capable of reading reflective targets out to a distance of 4,000 yards. The Razor HD 4000 ($730) boasts 7X magnification and is said by Vortex to boost target acquisition time and identification and provide a rapid yardage readout.

This lightweight unit features Horizontal Component Distance, Line of Sight and Scan modes. Adding icing to this already sweet cake are four ranging modes: Normal, First, Last and Extended Laser Range. Optic lovers thrive on customization, and this solid-grip-in-all-weather rangefinder delivers it in spades. www.vortexoptics.com

Sidebar:  Price Point

No one knows your customers like you do — that’s a fact. If your shop is a must-stop for the high-end optic crowd, it will be tough to ignore items like Leica’s Geovid 3200.COM and Trijicon’s Ventus. If your shop services those wanting great optical performance but who don’t want to dig into their kids’ college funds, Sig’s 3000BDX seems awfully tough to beat, as does Nikon’s LaserForce 10x42. The Vortex Razor HD 4000 also provides a lot of bang for the buck. If you get a lot of consumers through your door seeking a budget-friendly rangefinder, Bushnell’s Prime Time Series, Muddy’s LR Series and Leupold’s RX Fulldraw 4 are great models to point them toward.


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