Best Range Finders for Bow Hunting

Use one of the range finders below to increase your odds of a clean kill, and decrease your odds of a miss or worse - a bad hit

After testing, researching, and reviewing, Artifact Outfitters has put together a list of the Best Range Finders for Bow Hunting broke down by price range.  We break them down because the best range finder will be the one that fits your budget the best.  The best advise that we can offer you is to go with the best range finder you can afford, because you get what you pay for.

Please go through the links on this page before buying any of the best range finders for bow hunting to ensure you get the best price possible, and so Artifact Outfitters gets credit for sending you.  Thank You!

Before You Buy a Bowhunting Rangefinder:

You should keep in mind that for some reason, none of the high dollar range finders offer any angle compensation for bow hunters (they do for rifle hunters).  This could be a problem if you plan to bow hunt from an elevated position or on steep hillsides and cliffs. If you want  true horizontal distance for bow hunting, then you will have to settle for the less expensive models which work great, they’re just not as luxurious.  When a high-end rangefinder manufacture comes out with a setting for archery, we will be the first to let you know. You can read more about true horizontal distance after the list of best range finders for bow hunting.

Best Inexpensive Range Finder for Bow Hunting

Bushnell Legend with ARC Rangefinders: (better than you’d think)

For a very affordable bow hunting rangefinder, you will not find better than what the Bushnell Legend can offer.  This simple to use archery tool is very accurate, compact, lightweight, and has more functions and options available than most of the super high dollar rangefinders.

Best Range Finder for Bow Hunting: Inexpensive

For the price, you can't beat the Bushnell Legend as the Best Range Finder for Bow Hunting. Check out the customer reviews and ratings at Amazon.com at the link below!

With settings for archery, as well as a multitude of settings for rifle calibers, this rangefinder can be used for many hunting applications, not just bowhunting.  With a max range of 1200 yards, you will have know problem ranging anything within shooting distance, especially if you are a bow-only die hard hunter.

ARC is the an acronym for Angle Range Compensation. The Bushnell Legend has a built in digital inclinometer (tool for measuring angles) and will tell you the exact distance to aim for depending on the angle.  I have personally used my Bushnell rangefinder while bowhunting deer from tree stands as well as mule deer in steep country and you can bet there is a big difference in arrow flight depending on the angle. Read the information and stories below the list of best range finders for bow hunting to see how important shooting at angles can be.

The bottom line is that the Bushnell Legend with ARC is the best range finder for bow hunting in its price range.  I give it 5 stars (I actually own the Scout w/ARC Model).  What’s even more impressive are the near perfect customer review ratings the Bushnell Legend and Scout Range Finders have earned at Amazon.com.  The Scout is the older, less expensive version of the Legend and is rated out to 1000 yards, which is obviously plenty far for bow hunting.

For more information, customer reviews, or to buy, Click Here:

Bushnell Legend w/ARC  @ Amazon.com          Price $239 – $299.99
Bushnell Legend w/ARC  @ EagleOptics.com   Price $269 – $299.99

Be sure to Check out both sites as prices change often.

 

Best Mid-Priced Range Finder for Bow Hunting

Leupold RX-1000i TBR Digital Laser Rangefinder: complicated, but fast and accurate

A good design makes the Leupold RX1000 very light and comfortable to use.

This sleek, compact and very comfortable to use range finder is a good choice for the bow hunter that can deal with hard to follow instructions, and likes to use a electronics to their full potential.  The cool thing about the Leupold RX is that there there are a ton of settings to play with for different situations, but this is also a down fall for this line of bow hunting rangefinders.  The problem is that most people want an easy to use range finder that they do not have to carry the the owners manual.

Aside form the complexity of this unit, it does have a lot of good things about it.  First of all, the Leupold RX-1000i does calculate angle compensation for archery, and rifle too.  Leupold calls it TBR (true ballistic range).  This rangefinder is also very quick and has good optics.

For more information, customer reviews or to buy, Click Here:

Leupold RX-1000i TBR with DNA@ EagleOptics.com              Price $399.99
Leupold RX-1000i with DNA  (no TBR)@ EagleOptics.com      Price $349.99
Leupold RX-1000i TBR with DNA @ Amazon.com                     Price $399.99

Leupold RX-1000i with DNA (no TBR) @ Amazon.com             Price $349.99

Be sure to check out all sites as prices change often.

 

Bushnell Legend VS Leupold RX-1000i

My brother has the Leupold RX-1000i TBR and I the Bushnell Scout 1000 w/ARC.  His Leupold is definitely faster (talking tenths of a second) than mine and has better optics, but my Bushnell will range out further and is far less complicated.  The Leupold RX-1000i is more expensive, but I would not trade my Bushnell Scout for it.  The Bushnell Legend is even better.  So even though I think the Leupold RX-1000i is the best rangefinder for bow hunting in its price range, I would suggest saving your money and buying a Bushnell Legend.

 

Best Range Finder for Bow Hunting: Mid Priced

Leica Rangemaster 1600 CRF & 1000 CRF:

CRF (Compact Range Finder) is a fitting name for this rangefinder that will comfortably fit in most shirt pockets.  It is one of the smallest, lightest (8 oz), fastest (less than .3 seconds), and furthest ranging rangefinders available for outdoorsmen.  It also has a ballistical computer that calculates bullet drop (unfortunately no computations for archery, a real deal breaker for me).

Best Range Finder for Bow Hunting

This range finder is compact and lightweight, but also has a quality feel. The only thing it is lacking is an angle compensator for bow hunting.

All of these great components are the reason why this rangefinder got the Best Rangefinder for Hunting Award by Artifact Outfitters.  The fact that it does not have an angle compensator for archery is the only reason why I do not use it while bowhunting, as I do a lot of hunting in steep terrain where the amount of angle many of my shots are is steep enough to make a considerable difference.  If you do not anticipate shooting at steep angles, then the Leica Rangemaster CRF may be the best range finder for bow hunting if it fits your budget.

Like all Leica products, the optics quality of this range finder are far superior to anything else listed above.  In fact, many people leave their binoculars behind and rely solely on the monocular with 7x magnification and a huge field of view of 377 feet at 1000 yards.  I personally don’t think there is a substitute for a good pair of hunting binoculars for the area I hunt, but to each their own.  Regardless, this rangefinder is top of the line and will range out to 1600 yards and 1000 yards respectively. As soon as they step up with an angle compensation for bow hunting, I will definitely have have one.

For more information, customer reviews or to buy, Click Here:

Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaster @ EagleOptics.com          Best Price: $799
Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaster @ Amazon.com                 Best Price: $799
Leica CRF 1000 Rangemaster @ EagleOptics.com          Best Price: $599
Leica CRF 1000 Rangemaster @ Amazon.com                 Best Price: $599

*** Be sure to check both stores as prices change often ***

 

Rangefinders and Bow Hunting

Rangefinders have definitely increased the efficiency of bow hunting, there is no doubt about that.  Whether this is a good thing or not is very debatable.  On one side, rangefinders take away some of the challenge of bow hunting, while on the other hand, rangefinders make for more ethical, quick kills by improving accuracy, thus less game gets wasted.  A problem can also arise as hunters are more apt to take further shots giving the animal plenty of time to move, even if it does not know there is an arrow coming its way.  Therefor it is up to each bow hunter to do the right thing and not to stretch the limits beyond what is ethical.

When buying a rangefinder for bow hunting, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

  1. Where and what type of bow hunting will you be doing: if you plan to be shooting at good angles, say from a high tree stand or on steep hill sides, then you will want a bowhunting rangefinder that will calculate the true horizontal distance to your target. Though it may seem that the angle will not make a big difference
  2. It is suggested that you still go with a rangefinder that can range out a long ways as you never know what you will want to use it for, such as rifle hunting and range guessing/practice.
  3. Go Small: For as much time as you actually have a rangefinder in your hand, it does not make sense to have a range finder for bow hunting that takes up extra pocket space.

 

True Horizontal Distance:

Bow Hunting Range Finders: True Horizontal Distance

If you know much about archery then you are aware a 9 yard difference can be huge.

The measurement of the actual range in which gravity will have an effect of your arrow.  The actual range will change with an up or down angle, and the steeper the angle you are shooting the more drastic the difference will be.

Example: One Mule deer I took was 37 yards away from me below a cliff.  My Bushnell Rangefinder told me to shoot for 25 yards, which I thought was a little much.  I choose to shoot for 30 and ended up hitting high.  I still got a pass through upper lung shot and he did not go far, but had I aimed for where the range finder told me to, my shot would have been spot on. The picture of the buck at the beginning of this page is the buck in this story.

There are many different scenarios we bow hunters can find ourselves in.  While hunting out of a tree stand 20 feet off the ground, the true horizontal distance might not have enough effect to really need a range finder with an angle compensator.  The thing is, you do not want to find out if there was much of a difference in point of impact after the shot.  The only thing worse than a clean miss is a dirty hit!

One thing that throws people off a bit is the fact that regardless of if the target is up or down hill from the archer, the point of impact will be high.  This is because the actual horizontal distance is the same whether it is an up or down angle of the same distance.  This is very difficult to explain, but if this does not make sense, please just take my word for it: If shooting up or down angles, the point of impact will be high.

Good Luck:

If you are new to bow hunting, then you are in for a special event.  Just be ready for discouragement as it is amazing how many times you can be within spitting distance and still not get a shot.  If you have been bow hunting before then you know about the excitement and challenge.  No matter how much you bow hunt, there will be a lot to be learned as every scenario will bring up different challenges.  One of the best tips I can give that was learned form experience it to always use and trust your rangefinder.

If you have ever tried bowhunting without a range finder, then you know how quickly bow hunting can become a guessing game.  Even though range finders for bow hunting take away a part of the challenge of shooting off instinct, the importance of making a clean kill shot far out way the ethics issues that some people associate with modern day bow hunting.

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