Shooting straight should come naturally after a while. From a 0° angle, there are very few factors to account for, especially when dealing with close-range targets. But if that’s the case, why do some hunters advocate for buying the best hunting rangefinder with angle compensation?
Here’s the deal. Shooting from an angle often requires you to shave off yards. Some calculations are simply easier to account for with a dedicated device. As an added bonus, a rangefinder helps you range, scout, and track targets.
To make matters simple, here are our two picks for the best hunting rangefinder with angle compensation. Why two of them? Simply because different needs call for specific features. That makes it hard for one rangefinder to reign supreme over everything else on the market.
Bushnell Scout DX 1000 ARC
In terms of range, the Scout DX 1000 is a very nice tool to have. The rangefinder catches reflective objects up to 1,000 yards away.
Checking the readings against trees shows accurate results up to 650 yards. For deer you need to be closer. You’ll only pick up the range of a deer if it’s at a maximum of 325 yards out.
That may not seem like much but consider that the accuracy is within half a yard. If you’re already a good shot, the DX 1000 ARC will ensure your record stays solid.
Using the device is very simple too. It has a single on/off button and its focus mechanism is in the eyepiece. If you want to switch between bow and rifle you can do so using a separate button. This gives the rangefinder great versatility especially if you enjoy hunting with firearms too.
There are three targeting modes you can use. The Brush Mode allows you to ignore foreground objects such as rocks, branches, etc. This only finds true distances of background objects.
The Bull’s Eye Mode is best suited for close-range targets. It’s the opposite of Brush Mode in the sense that it ignores background targets. At the same time, it also shows readings on the display only for the closest target.
There is also a Scan Mode which allows you to see readings for all objects the rangefinder picks up. This can come in handy if you’re not sure what you want to aim at in the beginning.
We think the diopter adjustment is a sweet feature to have if you’re wearing glasses. It also comes with an inclinometer capable of showing true horizontal distance up to 99 yards when using a bow.
Alternatively, for rifle hunting, it shows MOA, MIL, and bullet-drop in inches.
Let’s talk durability for a second. Bushnell is a top manufacturer of hunting and outdoor gear in general. Therefore it makes sense that the Scout DX 1000 ARC can withstand a 20 foot drop from a tree stand.
The O-ring sealed lenses and nitrogen-charged optics chamber make the gadget fog proof and waterproof. You really need both features if you want to go hunting anytime, anywhere.
Surprisingly, the rangefinder is lightweight and the fact that you can use a tripod or a neck strap to ease the load is just great. The rubber armor surrounding key parts of the rangefinder also give it a good grip on top of the extra layer of protection.
Now let’s discuss the optics. With the DX 1000 ARC you get 6X magnification, which should be more than enough to scout your target in detail before you range and shoot your arrow. Focusing is done by a simple twist of the eyecup and it has decent resistance too.
We feel that the one true downside is the light gathering quality. Low light conditions don’t alter the LCD readout but making sense of the target becomes harder. This is especially noticeable when looking at dark-colored targets.
The DX 1000 ARC is powered by a CR2 battery which is included in the package. It doesn’t last too long, but that’s probably because you might have to cycle through multiple features and modes during your time in the outdoors.
The ability to switch between three targeting modes is a very cool feature to have. It allows you to scout pretty much everything you want in great detail, no matter the distance.
The poor light gathering capabilities end up limiting the use of the DX 1000 ARC. While it works wonders in sunny conditions and decently later in the day, it doesn’t perform too well at dawn, dusk, or in overcast conditions.
• Half a yard accuracy
• Angle compensation included
• Very durable
• Selective targeting
• Battery included
• Poor image quality in low light
• Average battery life
Vortex Optics Ranger Series Rangefinder
In our opinion, Vortex Optics is just as much a household name in sporting optics as Bushnell except the products are higher end. Let’s see how the Ranger Series from Vortex Optics compares to the Scout DX 1000 ARC.
First and foremost, let’s establish that both rangefinders are capable of angle compensation. With that out of the way, here’s what you should know.
The Ranger series features three best-selling models. They’re called the Ranger 1300, 1500, and 1800. However, for archery purposes, you won’t need anything more than the 1300. This model can range targets up to 1,300 yards, hence the name.
Compared to the DX 1000 ARC, the Ranger 1300 is capable of picking up deer from much further away. It spots up to 600 yards out which is almost double what the DX 1000 ARC can deliver.
However, it’s worth noting that the accuracy on the Ranger 1300 is +/- 3 yards at 1,000 yards. This is considerably lower that our previous reviewed model. However, it’s doubtful that Bushnell’s half-a-yard accuracy is rated at 1,000 yards. The Ranger’s accuracy at bow hunting distances of course would be much narrower.
The same 6X magnification is provided by this rangefinder, but this time it’s done through a 22mm objective lens. The multi-coated lenses provide increased clarity, but more on this later.
The use of high-quality materials allows the Ranger 1300 to be used at maximum efficiency in temperatures between 14 and 131 degrees.
But what about scouting targets? Can it do it? Yes of course.
Accuracy aside, the built-in scan mode of the Ranger 1300 allows you to pan out the landscape and track your target up to 600 yards or so away. Or, if you prefer, you can change it to display the readings in the metric system.
Also worth noting, the max angle reading is of +/- 60° which is a bit better than the competition. That being said, the Ranger 1300 does cost a bit more.
You can range your landscapes using the Line of Sight (LOS) mode and range uneven terrain with the Horizontal Component Distance (HCD). Switching between these modes is quite simple as the Ranger 1300 has a very intuitive interface.
A very neat feature in our opinion is the use of red light. Compared to most rangefinders that use black, the Ranger 1300 has superior light-capturing qualities. The red display works really well even in low light conditions so it might be the best fit if you’re looking to do some hunting at dawn or dusk.
The rangefinder will survive at least a 20 foot drop without concern. Also, given the rubber armor and the O-ringed eye piece, you also don’t have to worry about moisture getting in.
Since we’re covering two similar rangefinders it’s important to note that the light capturing quality is perhaps the best feature of the Ranger 1300. The clarity it provides with its use of red lighting is far superior to a lot of models on the market, including the DX 1000 ARC.
It’s hard to think of anything truly problematic with the Ranger 1300. Some would argue that the C2 battery is sometimes hard to get a hold of. Be that as it may, we feel that this is just a minor inconvenience, but an inconvenience nonetheless.
• Up to 1,300 yards range
• Red light
• Waterproof and fog proof
• Scan mode included
• Average battery life
What is a Rangefinder?
If you’re new to hunting then you’re probably unfamiliar with rangefinders. These tools make hunting easier and they’re used by most professionals.
Long story short, a rangefinder makes guessing distance to target a thing of the past. You won’t have to rely on experience or instinct to know if your target is 80 yards away or 100 yards away.
Of course for archers, these distances are even smaller.
Precise readings almost always guarantee clean and accurate shots. A rangefinder helps you get a quick kill and avoid putting the animal through unneeded suffering.
Another benefit of a rangefinder is that it allows you to maintain your hidden position. By getting all the necessary readings such as distance, height, and angles, you won’t have to move to a new spot for the shot.
In essence, it’s like having your very own spotter doing the math for you, while you prepare yourself for taking the perfect shot from a stealthy position.
All the little details matter when choosing a rangefinder. High-end materials are a must especially for the casing. Aluminum models are considered some of the best in the business.
An ergonomic design is not mandatory but it is preferred. You never know how long you’ll have to keep the rangefinder up until you’re clear for a clean shot. Look for textured designs or at least a rubber coating.
The design also includes the interface, so to speak. The controls have to be close by and easy to reach. The faster you can adjust the rangefinder the faster you’ll be able to shoot your target.
Tinkering for too long to get your readings could cause you to miss the window of opportunity. Animals don’t stay in one place forever, you know.
The weight of the rangefinder is also important. The more features it has the heavier it tends to be. However, there are also simple rangefinders in the budget-friendly price range that are heavy due to using low-grade materials.
Without taking anything away from the little guys, it’s a known fact that well-established manufacturers come out with better products. This is why there are only a few brands that you’ll always see endorsed by amateur and professional archers.
One of the reasons behind this is that top brands often have patented technologies that squeeze maximum performance out of a rangefinder.
Another reason is reliability. Customer service also ties into this. Top manufacturers make helping customers a top priority. Therefore it’s a lot easier to get your rangefinder repaired or replaced if you buy from a top brand.
It’s tempting to assume that just because you’re an archer you don’t have to pay a premium for more distance. However, the more range it has the more accurate it is.
Even for seasoned archers a rangefinder that can perform at up to 800 yards is preferable even though it’s not often needed.
But, this is because a rangefinder that can range further is also more accurate at close range.
What is Angle Compensation?
Angle compensation is paramount if you’re shooting arrows from a tree stand. When you use a rangefinder with this feature, you’ll be able to notice different readings on the screen if you point it at an angle.
Say your rangefinder reads 30 yards to the target. If you’re shooting at an angle it will also tell you exactly what that angle is.
To make things better, the angle compensation feature tells you how many yards you have to shave off. As an example, when shooting at 30 yards from a 44° angle, your range finder should display that you need to shave off two yards for maximum accuracy.
Shooting straight is totally different from shooting from high above. The calculations aren’t easy to make on the spot and, you may not even have time for them.
Rangefinders with angle compensation are the bread and butter of professional hunters. The steeper the terrain, the more you’ll need one.
The Extra Mile
Some rangefinders are very basic. While there’s nothing wrong with that, having some extra perks is nice, especially if you’re paying big bucks for your hunting tool.
Having a clear display with good magnification and no reflection comes in handy. A big screen is also preferred, as well as long battery life.
Water and fog proofing are equally important. Just because you’re using a bow doesn’t mean you won’t be hunting in poor weather conditions.
While it still holds true that the range accuracy is the most important part, all the extra perks will also improve your aim, handle, and overall experience.
We hope that our reviews shed some light on how similar two rangefinders can appear and yet how differently they perform.
The Bushnell Scout DX 1000 ARC is a very good rangefinder with decent angle compensation for amateur and professional archers. It is more budget friendly too, although it compromises light gathering in doing so. Still, if you only hunt during the day and you’re on a tight budget, this may be the best hunting rangefinder with angle compensation for you.
The Vortex Ranger 1300 is without a doubt an awesome hunting companion. It has amazing display and optics and can be used from dawn to dusk without worry.
Hopefully the mini-guide will help you out further when reviewing rangefinders as well as deciding which one of our favorites is better suited for your needs.