Who hunts with rangefinding binos?

Phylodog

12yr Hide Vet
Aug 9, 2006
2,364
3
38
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Indianapolis, IN
#1
I've been considering buying a set of rangefinding binos for the past few hunting seasons, I just can't decide. Unfortunately I don't have the budget for the high end manufacturers so if I do buy it'll likely either be Vortex or Nikon. I'm primarily a treestand bowhunter for whitetail here in Indiana so I'm not usually glassing more than 500yds and don't really need the rangefinder at distances over 80yds. The binos and rangefinder I have now are working well enough but the thought of reducing the amount of crap I drag up to the stand is appealing.

They would also be used for turkey hunting. I got very lucky after misjudging the distance a gobbler hung up on me last Saturday and dropped him at 77yds. I wouldn't have taken the shot had I known he was more than 60 but didn't have my rangefinder with me (first time I've needed one chasing turkeys). This got me thinking about buying again and while I can't really think of a downside other than maybe weight, I figure I'd try to get some insight from those who have already made the jump.
 

EGwhisper

Full Member
Feb 14, 2017
312
29
28
#2
I don't think the value really comes out in rangefinding binos really comes out unless you're long range hunting. I rarely use binos (Indiana as well) under 100yrds because my eyes are good enough I can distinguish whether the animal is one I'd take or let walk, and the rangefinder is all I usually carry for bow, if that (sometimes just ribbon markers in trees around my stands).

Rangefinding binos are sweet for shooting though; I'll range to 100, set my target, and use the binos to view the shots. Is it worth $~2300? Probably not, but I already have enough to drag out to the yard when sighting in.
 

Phylodog

12yr Hide Vet
Aug 9, 2006
2,364
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45
Indianapolis, IN
#3
I get what you're saying but I do use both binos and a rangefinder when I'm hunting (primarily archery). My hunting partner and I spend three straight weeks hunting every year so a lot of that time is spent watching the deer's behavior and where they're coming from/heading to. I guess I'm looking to find out if there are any benefits to having a separate set of binos and rangefinder over a combo. Thanks for your input.
 

EGwhisper

Full Member
Feb 14, 2017
312
29
28
#4
I get what you're saying but I do use both binos and a rangefinder when I'm hunting (primarily archery). My hunting partner and I spend three straight weeks hunting every year so a lot of that time is spent watching the deer's behavior and where they're coming from/heading to. I guess I'm looking to find out if there are any benefits to having a separate set of binos and rangefinder over a combo. Thanks for your input.
Cost. Decent rangefinders are $3-400, when they die in a few years it's $3-400 instead of $2k to replace. All electronics fail eventualy, whereas good binos don't and have a heck of a longer warranty. Weight. Rangefinding binos are considerably heavy and don't come in compact packages to my knowledge.
 
Feb 21, 2017
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South Dakota
#6
I have used the Leica HDBs for past few years. They work amazingly well with the ballistics program. I have card made for a couple of my hunting rifles that you just pop in and out of the Binos and gives me the dope to dial in. Windage you are on your own, but the glass on these is amazing and the ballistics programs work great out to 800 yards for the solver portion of it. just input data for my new load and first round hit on my300, 600 and 800 yard plates. Watch for a used pair as the technology is changing fast and people are chasing the new stuff. I just sold my 1600 Bs to get the 2000 Bs and they already have a newer model i think, so the price on good clean used ones should be fairly reasonable considering the glass is very nice and the range finding portion is pretty salty as well.
 
Jun 13, 2008
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#7
I use my binoculars mostly to see animals before they see me, and thinking your vision is good enough at 100 yards or under to see through the green (gray) wall and spot a nose or an ear is a good way to suck. Bearing in mind that most of my hunting has been at eyeball level.

At times, my usage has meant that I had the binoculars up nearly constantly. Having a rangefinder in a hip pocket is always good, but it's another piece of gear to maintain, carry, etc. The optics in a lot of rangefinders are relatively shit as well...can't speak for the ranging binoculars.

One issue I have had with going to a ranging binoc is the size. I've always preferred a compact or a midsized binocular...like 8x36mm or so. I've carried fullsize 10-12x50mm, and that sucks. If I were in a stand or a blind, I'd use heavier higher mag binos though. I HAVE carried a 65mm spotter before, but that's always been a special circumstance sorta thing.

Dusk/dawn use also places a serious premium on any optic that can improve on the relatively dark and lower resolution images of a normal rangefinder. If binos can do that, then game on.

Price is certainly a factor. In this sort of thing though, I surely wouldn't want to try a budget version, and tested shock resistance would be really high on my list of importance. Lower quality and durability chassis just don't work in the woods, glass be damned.

-Nate
 

EGwhisper

Full Member
Feb 14, 2017
312
29
28
#8
I use my binoculars mostly to see animals before they see me, and thinking your vision is good enough at 100 yards or under to see through the green (gray) wall and spot a nose or an ear is a good way to suck. Bearing in mind that most of my hunting has been at eyeball level.

At times, my usage has meant that I had the binoculars up nearly constantly. Having a rangefinder in a hip pocket is always good, but it's another piece of gear to maintain, carry, etc. The optics in a lot of rangefinders are relatively shit as well...can't speak for the ranging binoculars.

One issue I have had with going to a ranging binoc is the size. I've always preferred a compact or a midsized binocular...like 8x36mm or so. I've carried fullsize 10-12x50mm, and that sucks. If I were in a stand or a blind, I'd use heavier higher mag binos though. I HAVE carried a 65mm spotter before, but that's always been a special circumstance sorta thing.

Dusk/dawn use also places a serious premium on any optic that can improve on the relatively dark and lower resolution images of a normal rangefinder. If binos can do that, then game on.

Price is certainly a factor. In this sort of thing though, I surely wouldn't want to try a budget version, and tested shock resistance would be really high on my list of importance. Lower quality and durability chassis just don't work in the woods, glass be damned.

-Nate
If you need to carry binocs to differentiate a 12pt deer from a 6pt at 100 yards, or a tom from a hen at 40 yards, you shouldn't be allowed to legally drive to the woods. The OP stated his usage is Indiana, not open country glassing. If you want to have your binocs up constantly in Indiana viewing 20-100 yard targets in the woods, carry some tylenol and have fun Ray Charles.
 
Jun 13, 2008
525
186
43
#9
If you need to carry binocs to differentiate a 12pt deer from a 6pt at 100 yards, or a tom from a hen at 40 yards, you shouldn't be allowed to legally drive to the woods. The OP stated his usage is Indiana, not open country glassing. If you want to have your binocs up constantly in Indiana viewing 20-100 yard targets in the woods, carry some tylenol and have fun Ray Charles.
Dude. Relax. You may note that I specifically gave YOU an out:

Bearing in mind that most of my hunting has been at eyeball level.
But hey. What do I know. I'm just a schmuck on the internet.

And no, you won't find much good info on my profile, so you may as well leave that alone.
 
Jul 2, 2014
79
8
8
WYOMING
#10
I use Swarvoski's 10x42 EL, Range finding bino's. The quality of glass is what you pay for. The quality of the range finder is equally impressive.
I've hit 30yds out to 1700 on a good surface. Don't leave home without em'.
 
Sep 16, 2009
3,845
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Kansas
#11
I use Swarovski 10x42 Range as well. Size/weight is only very slightly heavier that non range. They do not have the program features of the Leica's but I think overall better glass. ( I have had and used both.) They are not good for a bowhunter due to not being usable at the closer archery ranges.

To the guy who does not use binoculars to hunt deer. You are missing out. First, they make viewing in low light possible where otherwise it is not. Basically dark. This is an advantage when you are trying to avoid deer while moving through an area or to a stand. If one is large you can follow it until light enough to shoot. They allow you to see exactly what the deer is eating. They allow you to see if the deer is injured, missing an eye etc. Is that a doe or buck that is shed off due to injury? Button buck at 200 yards?

You speak of a 6 point or 12 point buck. A good woods hunter will see an antler tip at 200-1000 yards that you will not even know was there without them.
 
Last edited:
Sep 16, 2009
3,845
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48
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Kansas
#13
Yes, the LRF only comes into 25-30 yards. Otherwise very good.
You need to check with specific brands and users to see what the others do.
I used in the past a Leica 1600 and it was very good at short range. Its listed in the FS section now for 300 with no takers but still a great unit.
 
Jul 2, 2014
79
8
8
WYOMING
#14
Yes, the LRF only comes into 25-30 yards. Otherwise very good.
You need to check with specific brands and users to see what the others do.
I used in the past a Leica 1600 and it was very good at short range. Its listed in the FS section now for 300 with no takers but still a great unit.

I use my Leupold range finder for bow hunting. The EL's are with me for spotting, but when you close in, the small one comes out to play.
 
Likes: waveslayer
Dec 12, 2013
132
1
18
#17
I have the leica 2200 hdb and am very happy with them. I have found if you hold them very still you can get ballistic solutions up to 998 yards using one of the factory preset ballistic curves. The glass is incredible compared to my vortex HD binoculars.
 
Apr 22, 2017
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#18
I have used the Leica HDBs for past few years. They work amazingly well with the ballistics program. I have card made for a couple of my hunting rifles that you just pop in and out of the Binos and gives me the dope to dial in. Windage you are on your own, but the glass on these is amazing and the ballistics programs work great out to 800 yards for the solver portion of it. just input data for my new load and first round hit on my300, 600 and 800 yard plates. Watch for a used pair as the technology is changing fast and people are chasing the new stuff. I just sold my 1600 Bs to get the 2000 Bs and they already have a newer model i think, so the price on good clean used ones should be fairly reasonable considering the glass is very nice and the range finding portion is pretty salty as well.
I have the new model pre odered. Maybe called 3000 Bs or something.
I'm looking forward to trying range finding binos for simple reason to cut down on equipment. I been carrying Leica binos, terrapins and a kestrel with AB. I really hope the Leica bino ballistic program works for me.
 

DEEF

New Hide Member
May 11, 2018
1
0
1
#19
I have the new model pre odered. Maybe called 3000 Bs or something.
I'm looking forward to trying range finding binos for simple reason to cut down on equipment. I been carrying Leica binos, terrapins and a kestrel with AB. I really hope the Leica bino ballistic program works for me.
Let us know what you think! I like the range on those. I'm holding out to compare with Sigs new ranging model coming out. However, half the cost and that's hard to bear any value if you're a Leica user. Leica owners are all in 99% of the time. I've read a review once that the user traded down for a different brand, seems like he must of lost his mind.
 
Oct 15, 2008
940
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whidbey island wa.
#21
^^ pretty much ends the discussion on which lfr bino is best.
For anyone who cant swing the Vector, the new Zeiss is the best all around imho. I have run the old Zeiss, swaro, and several models of the Leica Geovid and much prefer the new Zeiss.
 
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