these are garbage from what I hear. I have played with them in the stores quite a bit and even tho I'm a techno geek of sorts, I was unable to figure them out without an extensive reading of the directions and even then it took three visits and i still did'nt totally get it. TOO COMPLICATED TO BE OF REAL USE!!! I have also heard of problems actually getting a good lock and range reading in the field and at range.
on the other hand LIECA is making a really nice couple of compact LRF's 900 and 1500 iirc. pricey, but leica has been the industry standard for sharpshooters for over a decade. they just plain WORK. no fancy do hickeys and features, just accurate range readings. if you need to shoot uphill or downhill, then remember ALWAYS AIM LOW. An angle co-sine indicator on your scope will give you a quick reference for how much to compensate, if you really need the prescision.
I just got this model a couple months ago. It does a lot of things so you've got to read the instructions and get formilure with it. After playing with it for 30min you'll have it all set up for your rifle and selected what reticle you like the best. After that you'll pretty much have it figured out and it's just point and push the button. I think I only paid $340 for it. (dealer price on flier sale from RSR)
I cannot vouch for it's durability as I've never taken it hunting yet. But it is a Leupold, so that's worth something. In general I like it and would recommend it.
RSR is a distributor where smaller gun shops and dealers buy guns and accessories. Bigger gun shops can afford to buy in enough qty to buy direct from Leopold. So I got it for a really, really good price. Just looking around on-line it seems like $480 is about the normal retail price.
I've been long range shooting for many years and I will mention this. I would not bother with a range finder unless you are going to be shooting over 400yrds. I've found anything within 400yrds. is easy enough to range yourself and make adjustments in your head. I've been wanting to practice real world shooting upto 800yrds. with my Savage 10fp. Having the computer calculate bullet drop with shooting angle factored in is just too sweet.
Arguably the best civilian rangefinder is the Swarovski Laser Guide 8x30. Go to www.samplelist.com for good demo unit pricing (no affiliation). It's $700 or so, but all the precision rifle people I hang with (and maybe could be considered one now) feel it's the best right now.
It locks up duller targets further away than the Leica with more reliability, and since the Leica is a world class rangefinder that's saying a lot.
On the other hand, if you can afford it, the Vector laser is the best hands down. Heavy. 10km range. Eyesafe = maybe.
The way I use my Busnell when hunting is to set up somewhere and use it to mark the distance to various objects. Then when/if something appears between me and those objects I know the approximate distance for a fast shot. If the game is standing still and I'm in good cover, I'll use it to mark the distance to the game directly.
As someone else mentioned when shooting at steep down or uphill angles, you have to shoot low. The rangefinder tells you why. It gives the slant distance to the object but the ballistic trajectory is dependent on the horizontal distance which will always be shorter - by how much depending on the angle.
they are useful but remember that the max range is for relatively large reflective targets. Spotting on deer or small targets usually means a reduced range so read the specs casrefully. I agree that they are pretty good for ranging to fixed objects then use visual corrections from there.
When shooting over long range I tend to range off a map and a mildot reticle. For shorter ranges, say 800 yards or so the Leupold RXIV is pretty good.
The two elk in this picture were about 335 yds slant distance based on the Bushnell rangefinder. It had no trouble getting a good lock on them although it wouldn't give me the distance to the trees around the elk. BTW, the model I have has an advertised range of 400 yds maximum and the actual horizontal distance was probably less than a couple hundred yards. I was standing at the top of a nearly vertical drop off looking down into the valley.