Laser Hunting Rangefinder: Steep Terrain a Non-issue
Using the Hunting Rangefinders for Angle Compensation
Whether you’re mountain-goat hunting in a canyon or boar hunting on the slopes of the Appalachians, the angle compensation features of a rangefinder will make hunting in these terrains non-issues. On a decline or incline, the target can not only look further away but it is further away than the actual distance you need to aim.
Trying to calculate the accurate shot angle and the right correction values to make sure gravity and drag don’t ruin your flight path, can end up being a difficult math problem. Rangefinders will give you the true horizontal distance to the target so that you don’t aim too high or too low and end up missing a shot or losing an arrow.
Adjust your scopes/sights to match the rangefinder reading and you’ve got yourself a bullseye. If you’re a bow hunter, you’ll also appreciate the angle you’ll need to shoot from.
Can You Trust Angle Compensating Rangefinders?
Before laser rangefinders were commonplace in the hunting world, bowhunters had to rely on their ability to judge distance on the fly. Fortunately, today archers not only have access to rangefinders but models that read and automatically adjust for angle. These modern rangefinders contain small electronic processors that run a complex calculation in less than a second and tell you what yardage to shoot. But can you trust them?
Before we can answer that question, we must first look at angle compensation in closer detail. When a rangefinder gives you a line of sight distance to a target on flat ground, that distance and the horizontal distance are the same. Add elevation to the equation and things begin to get interesting. As the elevation of either the shooter or the target increases or decreases the line of sight distance increases while the horizontal distance stays the same. In shooting, no matter the weapon, the horizontal distance should be used when aiming. When shooting at an incline or decline you should aim low or use a sight pin for a shorter distance than the line of sight distance.
Practicing Angled Shooting
Through personal experience using multiple angles compensating rangefinders in steep terrain, I can personally attest that the technologies they use are accurate, but not perfect. I’ve found that regardless of angle compensation, shots at 20 degrees or less show little difference in point of impact inside of 40 yards. Once distance and/or angle are increased the gap between line of sight and horizontal distance becomes significantly more comprehensive, making an angle compensation rangefinder nearly invaluable. Practicing steeply angled shot is a must if you plan to hunt in areas with lots of elevation change.
Why Compensating Angle in Rangefinder important?
Without a rangefinder, calculating angles, and ranges to various peaks is nearly impossible. The angle calculation compensates for bullet drop due to gravity which changes the target position vertically. Similarly, some advanced rangefinders also compensate for wind which is another limiting factor for a perfect hit in long-range precision shooting/hunting.
You will see some rangefinders with angle compensation but others do not have this feature in them. There are various manufacturers of rangefinders and they may call angle compensation different names i.e. slope compensation, arc technology, angle calculation mode, etc.
How Useful are Angle Compensation Rangefinders?
Necessary Tools for Hunting
Rangefinders have become a popular tool in a variety of activities, the most common being hunting and golfing. Modern rangefinders use lasers to be able to tell the distance from point A to point B. With golfing, it might not be that important to be able to tell exact distances. When it comes to hunting, the more information you have, the better your shot will be.
When we shoot at short ranges with flat caliber ammunition, the chances are that the bullet will go exactly where we want it to. At least when firing at a sub-200-yard range. Something to consider when we are shooting though is the angle at which we are shooting.
For example, if we are shooting from an elevated position down to an animal on the ground, the distance isn’t going to be the same. We need to factor in the angle we are shooting at when calculating the distance we should be aiming at. This is at least true when you are shooting at an angle of more than 45 degrees or if you are shooting at any angle with a range of over 200-yards.
Calculating Shooting Angle
Shooting at over 45 degrees or any angle at over 200 yards is where angle compensation comes into play. As the name applies, angle compensation is the practice of taking the angle you are shooting at into account when calculating the distance and where you should be aiming. Taking angle into account when it comes to shooting can be a bit complex, especially for those who are new to the art.
Traditional angle compensation is either done on paper or in your head. In general, the calculations are standardized but a variety of factors will slightly change the impact of your bullet. Think of caliber, type of bullet, amount of grain, etc.
30-degree angles are calculated at 90% of the ranged value. So if you get a distance reading of 350 yards you are only shooting at 90% of the actual range. Different angle measurements have different percentages of ranged values. Such as a 45-degree angle which has a ranged value of about 75%.
Of course, these are rough estimates because you aren’t bringing the equipment out to measure the angle exactly. For most shooters, unless you are shooting out to extreme ranges, you will find this type of calculation will work.
Primary Horizontal Component Distance
Practicing shooting at different angles and different ranges will help you to learn how to do these calculations without even thinking about it. It will take some work and the ability to practice shooting at a variety of angles. And, like any other skill, it is one that you have to keep up on or it will fade away.
It is possible for a computer to calculate the angle compensation for you. This is a feature that is becoming rather popular in modern rangefinders for hunting. That being said there are still plenty of rangefinders that don’t have this feature built-in yet.
Depending on the company that manufactures the rangefinder they may call the angle compensation feature by a different name. One common name is Primary Horizontal Component Distance. With the power of modern technology, the rangefinder is able to calculate the distance and then angle and present you with a recalculated distance based on what it has learned.
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Factors Affecting Range finders’ Measuring Accuracy
Having prior knowledge of certain factors that may affect a rangefinder’s performance helps greatly while buying one. Doesn’t matter if the rangefinder you are looking for is for precision shooting, bow hunting, or rifle hunting. If you know the right qualities to look for, there are very rare chances of choosing the wrong one.
Optical Quality of the Range finders
The first thing to always note in a rangefinder is the optical quality; the magnification and its glass. There are some rangefinders with less power, not saying that they are the worst kinds, but they will only work best for shorter ranges. However, for rangefinders with a higher power, always expect a good result even for longer ranges. They come with comparatively higher prices as well. Moreover, they will come with a tripod and you could easily mount them.
The accuracy of a laser rangefinder greatly depends on the receiver aperture as well. With a greater aperture, there will be a better collection of data at the return of the laser beam. Not only that, but it is also a necessary feature for brightness and optical resolution.
Weather and almost every kind of temperature will affect a rangefinder’s performance. Whether you step out in the rain, fog, shiny sun, or in any other atmosphere, they will all cause minor differences in the results. For instance, let us say it is raining, the laser beam’s passage can get interrupted or it can collide with a rain droplet and give a completely different distance.
This is the kind of factor that we have almost no control over, some weather can be more fatal to the results than others so you might want to choose the day wisely in order to prevent inaccuracies in results.
Targets from where it reflects
There are different targets that give different results. Take a target like a tree and a rock, such targets are considered to be medium reflective targets. Usually, these targets won’t affect the accuracy of the rangefinder as such.
Targets like animals are soft reflective ones, there might be a bit greater effect by the color of such targets in results. For example, if there’s a black cow, most of the laser beam would get absorbed by the black color and only the laser beam that’s left will reflect back.
Position and size of the target
The position, shape, and size of the targets will also affect big time. If there’s a deer standing at 400 yards and with broadside facing you and there’s a steel surface of only 10 inches at 1000 yards. Of course, the steel surface would reflect but there would be more divergence on the way, and what if that surface is facing sideways, where do you think the beam would reflect to?
Holding a rangefinder steadily and without any shakes, tremors, or vibrations is hard. When finding ranges for far-off targets, a high-power rangefinder that is rod mounted is preferable and it wouldn’t bother you as such.
But for the ones that are handheld, it is better to lean against some solid support to get stable easily. Once your laser beam goes without any vibrations, there is noticeable accuracy and precision in your results.
Small beam divergence specs work well with smaller targets. Since vibrations cannot be tolerated with such rangefinders, so rod mounting a small beam divergence rangefinders will lift the accuracy pretty higher.
However, for large beam divergence rangefinders, using a free hand is not an issue. You can trust the result that the rangefinder would give. But the results are not reliable of large beam divergence, because with the distance it will travel, more and more energy will keep on dissipating.
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The Popular Questions Of Range finders
FAQs about Rangefinder for hunting?
The Laserworks LE-032 Rangefinder is probably the easiest rangefinder to use, simply because it has the fewest fancy features. That being said, many rangefinder manufacturers have put a lot of time and effort into simplifying their user interface to lower the chances of complications in the field.
It depends on your terrain. If you plan to hunt from an elevated position or you’re roving through mountainous terrain, you’ll probably want to have a rangefinder that accounts for slope and calculates your distance using Angle Compensation.
Like anything, the better you care for it, the longer it will last. That said, when I asked Google this same question, the most common answer was about five years, but this probably has a lot to do with the frequency of use as well.
Some bowhunters, especially treestand hunters, circumvent the need for rangefinders by pre-marking range distances within their field of fire. This can be done by measuring the distance from the base of your tree to prominent features (like trees, rocks, fences, etc.) in the surrounding area. Having these known distances to key features can help a bowhunter estimate their target’s distance by means of comparison.
You bet it does. The older models had them and the new ones do too. The HCD (Horizontal Component Distance) Mode allows for compensated distances when you or your target is on an incline or decline.
With true horizontal distances at your disposal, you can adjust for bullet or bow drop to accurately make your shot.
Yes,we have it in stock and we can ship it out soon.
In HCD mode, the rangefinder will automatically take angles into consideration to calculate the true horizontal distance.
In LOS (Line of Sight) mode, you’ll be given the actual line of sight range with no correction for slope. However, on the display below the yardage reading will be an additional number. This number will be the slope degree that you can use on your independent chart or ballistic app to calculate bullet drop for distances beyond 500 yards and slopes greater than 15 degrees.
Yes! Laserworks LE-032 rangefinder is perfectly suitable for both rifle shooting and bow hunting.
With HCD mode, you can effectively get the right distance on a slope for all archery hunting needs. For rifle shooting with HCD mode, you’ll have accurate readings up to 800 yards on a 14-degree or less slope. For slopes 15-30 degrees, you can expect accurate readings up to 400 yards.
Of course in LOS mode, you’ll get accurate readings for both rifle shooting and bow hunting on level ground at any range.
By depressing the Measure/Fire button, you’ll activate the Scan Mode and this will confirmed with the blinking “S” symbol in the lower left corner of the display. By continuing to depress the Fire button while panning the area, you’ll remain in Scan Mode. When you let go of the button, the rangefinder will return to your default setting.
we do not suggest that, cause Laserworks LE-032 rangefinder is better to side mount on the rifle scope or bow, it is small and light enough to carry out.
The Ranger line of rangefinders all require a CR2 battery that’s included with the purchase. The battery compartment is found underneath the eyepiece of the rangefinder. The battery must be installed with the positive side facing outwards (towards you).
Night vision relies on at least some ambient light for detection making detection at great distances more difficult. If shooting at night the moon and stars should provide sufficient light for a night vision scope. In the absence of natural light, IR illuminators are used to generate light.
Night vision can be used for many different tasks such as wildlife observation, amazing what animals will do when they think you can’t see them. Other common uses are camping, hunting, home security, night fishing, night boating, night birding, night photography, caving or spelunking, and many other interesting things, some of which you can find in our “Night Vision by Use” section.
While night vision optics need some sort of ambient light to work, thermal scopes perform in complete darkness. They can also be used both day and night, while most night vision (Gen 1&2) will be damaged by daylight
A few eye conditions can cause night blindness, including: nearsightedness, or blurred vision when looking at faraway objects. cataracts, or clouding of the eye’s lens. retinitis pigmentosa, which occurs when dark pigment collects in your retina and creates tunnel vision.