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I second the Vortex recommendation. I recently picked up a Vortex Crossfire HD 1400 and it blows my old Halo range finder out of the water. Great glass, illuminated reticle with 5 brightness settings so it isn't too bright at dawn or dusk (like the Leupolds are) and the 0.1 yard (or meter) readouts are lightning fast and bang-on repeatable. It also has first/last settings that you can turn on to get readings through grass and brush, and the angle compensation option as well, like most all of them have these days.

Truth be told, I have never held a Leica range finder, but at $199 for the Vortex I'd bet my lunch money that the Vortex has it beat in ultimate value when considering the huge price point difference. I'd actually bet both my lunch money and my beer money ;)

Photo of the reticle for reference. Reticle and reading are much more crisp in real-life. Hard to get a good photo through it. Just an example of what it looks like.

Eye Human body Plant Automotive lighting Tints and shades
 

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I guess I am a cheapskate and lack understanding in the world of rangefinders. I can’t help but ask myself why anyone would pay $550 and more dollars for a thousand yard rangefinder to range 45 yard deer for their crossbow hunting, and then shoot it with a crossbow fast enough they could hold a high kill shot with a 20 yard pin and still peg the vitals at near 50 yards…
{/QUOTE]
Here's why...
I have a Nikon 440. It's a handy size, works great most of the time. But it only has a black display. Can't be read in poor light that still is within legal shooting hours. It suffers badly in rain, fog, show and it will frequently not range accurately, often enough in decent weather, and especially so at or near max range. The Leicas are much, much more tolerant of weather adversity and much more readable in low light. Most if not all of us also shoot rifles, and a rangefinder can be very helpful if it works well, and worse than useless if it does not.
 

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Excalibur Equinox, Micro Mag 340
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The Leicas are much, much more tolerant of weather adversity and much more readable in low light. Most if not all of us also shoot rifles, and a rangefinder can be very helpful if it works well, and worse than useless if it does not.
The Leica are also more precise aiming with the smaller than most brand's aiming reticle. My backup Nikon rangefinder has a large aiming reticle. Great for archery distances & larger objects farther out, but lousy on small targets at distance such as groundhogs. I use the rangefinders minimum 100+ times a day every outing groundhog hunting during spring/summer & early fall, that small red targeting square works beautiful 👍
 

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Scorpyd Orion 135 SSAS Special Edition with Hawke XB30; Centerpoint CP 400; Centerpoint Wrath 430
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Your response makes sense to me. While I do shoot rifles and such, I’m not hardcore about it and rarely get to shoot at a place where there are any long range opportunities where a better rangefinder would be necessary for me. I have also ran into instances where I was unable to see the display on my rangefinder, but was also too dark to see the reticle of my scope or the target beyond once the reticle was illuminated, which is ok because it was still before legal shooting hours anyhow.
i guess I just am not as serious about things as a lot here are. I’m completely unwilling to be upset that I couldn’t rangefind a deer. I’m not bothered to let one walk because something just wasn’t perfect. It’s all part of the love of archery hunting for me and the challenge to outsmart that beast next time around. Once I think about it, I’m not sure I have ever actually ranged a deer that I shot. Ever. I practice judging yardage visually and confirm with my rangefinder throughout the year. When I see a deer I simply have an estimate of the range that’s more than close enough to be handily within the zone. I just can’t be so serious about it that it becomes frustrating and loses its joy.
 

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Excalibur Equinox, Micro Mag 340
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Your response makes sense to me. While I do shoot rifles and such, I’m not hardcore about it and rarely get to shoot at a place where there are any long range opportunities where a better rangefinder would be necessary for me. I have also ran into instances where I was unable to see the display on my rangefinder, but was also too dark to see the reticle of my scope or the target beyond once the reticle was illuminated, which is ok because it was still before legal shooting hours anyhow.
i guess I just am not as serious about things as a lot here are. I’m completely unwilling to be upset that I couldn’t rangefind a deer. I’m not bothered to let one walk because something just wasn’t perfect. It’s all part of the love of archery hunting for me and the challenge to outsmart that beast next time around. Once I think about it, I’m not sure I have ever actually ranged a deer that I shot. Ever. I practice judging yardage visually and confirm with my rangefinder throughout the year. When I see a deer I simply have an estimate of the range that’s more than close enough to be handily within the zone. I just can’t be so serious about it that it becomes frustrating and loses its joy.
I dont always use the rangefinder to range a deer either. I usually range my area & have positions memorized by the time deer start moving.
Varmint hunting, not so much lol. Little pigs pop up anywhere from 20 yards out to 800 yards where we go.
 

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From my experience range finders fail in these ways hunting.
You can't see the read out because it's black or you can't range the deer or gobbler because the read out is to bright.
You can't range the target because of weather most of the time its fog that gets you. Or you can't see the target/deer because of glass in the range finder. And a few at least back in the day wouldn't range anything black. Or you get false readings. I had one rangefinder read a spider web once. It didn't last long :).

All the range finders except one has failed me in one or more of the examples above.

So lets build a rangefinder. First we got to be able to see what we need to range. So let's give it some good glass. Next let's give it a red read out but not to bright we don't want it washing out are target. Next let's give it a narrow beam. We will get less false readings. Now let's give it strong beam we want to penetrate fog for example, and last let's make it simple. Push a button the aiming point comes on push it again we get the range. Self adjusting brightness is great too.That way we didn't range something midday then the buck of a lifetime steps out the next morning 10 mins after first light and all we see is a big red blob because we forgot to turn it down.

We just built a Leica rangefinder.

pouring the rain.
 

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The Leica are also more precise aiming with the smaller than most brand's aiming reticle. My backup Nikon rangefinder has a large aiming reticle. Great for archery distances & larger objects farther out, but lousy on small targets at distance such as groundhogs. I use the rangefinders minimum 100+ times a day every outing groundhog hunting during spring/summer & early fall, that small red targeting square works beautiful 👍
Amen ... on that. I put out bamboo stakes at 50 & 100 yards for shooting deer with a slug-gun at night. My Leica can range a slender stalk of bamboo at 100 yards in a bean field surrounded by trees. It amazes me how well it picks up what I'm targeting. I was on an island comprised of canyons and mountains and my old 800 yard Leica was picking up mule deer at 985 yards.
 

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For another aspect your range finder is a little spotting scope. So the better the glass the better. Leica is probably the best. I still have my old "box" model going strong at 20+ years (when I can find it).
So buy the best glass you can afford. Leica, Nikon and Vortex have the best glass in my opinion. Second factor is size. For me the smaller/ligher the better. I used to have a halo which was really compact. But that one made its way into my son's hunting gear.
 

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I used a Simmons 600 I paid about $70 for back in the dark ages until I bought a Sig Sauer BDX scope/RF combo. I usually just range objects around my stand and put the RF away. Where I hunt it is rare to be able to range a deer then get a clear shot off also as you see a deer and shoot in in less than 15 seconds or so usually and 98% of shots will be inside 35 yards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I guess I am a cheapskate and lack understanding in the world of rangefinders. I can’t help but ask myself why anyone would pay $550 and more dollars for a thousand yard rangefinder to range 45 yard deer for their crossbow hunting, and then shoot it with a crossbow fast enough they could hold a high kill shot with a 20 yard pin and still peg the vitals at near 50 yards… No disrespect to those who are willing to do this at all. If that’s what makes you happy, then by all means it’s your hard earned money to spend as you wish. I also realize some here use their rangefinder for rifle shooting and other things as well, too. To be 100% honest, I have an old Bushnell I’ve been using for over 20 years. It replaced an old rangefinder that used a prism/reflector that merged two images. Turning the dial aligned the images. Once aligned, you read the number on the dial as the yards to target. It worked by triangulating the left and right eyepiece with the target object. I can see replacing something as archaic as that one with a newfangled electrical powered unit, but short of replacing the newer one for a longer range capable unit, I’d see it as wasting money. For me, even the units with the ability to adjust yardage based on inclination seem unnecessary since everything I shoot is fast enough to negate any need for that feature.
When I first started looking at rangefinders, I felt $300 would be at the top end of my range, I just spent $1500 on a crossbow so I don't want to be cheap with other equiptment but wow, I would be using it for crossbow only, I'll have to think about about a little before I drop $600 on one.
 

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When I first started looking at rangefinders, I felt $300 would be at the top end of my range, I just spent $1500 on a crossbow so I don't want to be cheap with other equiptment but wow, I would be using it for crossbow only, I'll have to think about about a little before I drop $600 on one.
There are always used Leica range finders available. The people who've reccommended Leicas have done so in no small part based on their reliability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
The "problem" with rangefinders is that it is unlikely to wear out so the tendency is to replace them because they aren't good enough so buy one that is better than you think you need.
That's another question I had, is buying a used one something I should consider? I figured if they don't really wear out, then getting a used Rfinder something I should consider?
 

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That's another question I had, is buying a used one something I should consider? I figured if they don't really wear out, then getting a used Rfinder something I should consider?
Not sure. Like Robert says, if it works, it works. Obviously don’t buy something with dings in it. Look at the battery contacts for signs of corrosion, you don’t want that. They all get scuffs and scratches on the body. So as long as there’s nothing rattling or lense scratching, I’d say you’re good.
 

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I had an entry level Vortex rangefinder (?1000). It was stolen. I was very pleased with it. But, wanting a good monocular/rangefinder, I decided to get a Vortex 4000. With Vortex’s military program, I got 50% off advertised retail, now 40%, so that was some incentive to go Vortex again. Lifetime warrenty, sees thru fog, rain, snow, plexiglass windows, camo mesh in Rhino blinds, excellent glass. Very pleased with the Ranging 4000.

If I had it to do again, I’d somehow try to experience a Leica as I suspect its a step up even though the Vortex 4000 seems hard to beat.
 
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