Best Rangefinders For Archery & Bow Hunting (UK Guide)

Best Rangefinders For Archery & Bow Hunting (UK Guide)

There’s so much more to archery than just shooting a bow, it takes strength to draw the bow, after making sure the arrow is nocked correctly, then letting it go without putting any angle on it to make sure the arrow flies true. Then of course, you have to make a judgement call on the yardage, you need to get the path of the arrow just so, to hit the target. Modern technology has helped us to improve on both skill sets, compound bows create the speed and force necessary to deliver the arrow, and archery rangefinders have taken the guesswork out of where to aim our shot.

If used correctly, a rangefinder will help you to win the competition by hitting the target with greater accuracy  and in hunting a rangefinder will make all the difference when it comes to making a humane kill. When looking for the best optical range finding equipment, look no further because we have all that you need to get not only the perfect machine, but also how to make that machine work for you.

Making Archery Rangefinders Work For You And Your Bow

Whether you go for binoculars or a rangefinder, the correct optics gives you an edge for hunting or competition shoots. Read on for all you need to know to get the best from your optical equipment.

What’s More Important – Close Up Focussing Or Long Distance Range Finding?

There are a number of rangefinders that claim to be able to get reflection distances of upwards of 2,000 yards, and also gauge the distance of a game animal up to 700 yards, with an accuracy of +/- one yard.Which is awesome for a rifle, but most archers are working with far lower numbers. Most bowhunting happens between 30 to 60 yards and an archery rangefinder needs to be far more accurate, and most can return measurements that are within 18 inches.

As more archery rangefinders become available there are more that boast greater accuracy over shorter distances which is great, but can restrict your long range shots. For spot and stalk type hunts, you need longer distance range findings, so going for a smaller maximum distance can restrict your overall visibility. We would recommend a rangefinder that can do both, extra visibility for long range shots plus short range focusing too.

If you can’t find a rangefinder that suits all of your needs, consider buying a decent set of archery binoculars. Let’s face it a good pair of binoculars will be far better than a rangefinder which is useless in the situations you need it for the most.

The Magnification Test

Having good magnification allows you to see your target close up and helps you to pick out any obstacles that might mess with your distance reading. Decent magnification is what’s needed to be sure that the binoculars or rangefinder will do the job you need for the distances you commonly use with your bow.

You can find laser rangefinders with more than 10x magnification,but with magnification levels that are too high, you lose some visibility especially when hunting with a bow. Plus any magnification above 10x will highlight our natural shakiness making accuracy almost impossible above 10x.

The easiest way to solve this common problem is with lower magnification rangefinders. Like the Bushnell Prime 1700 rangefinder with 6x magnification it’s possible to see game at a distance but still get the drop at a much closer range too. 

What Are Priority Settings? And How To Use Them

Priority settings are special targeting modes that allow you to change what the laser targets when rangefinding. Getting a good understanding of how to use these modes is vitally important

especially when combined with angle compensation software. Which is a crucial part of archery rangefinder technology.

Using target modes, allows the hunter to do far more in a wider range of circumstances. We all know how rare it is to get a clear horizontal shot from a standing position, plus because of how sensitive the laser is, it will reflect from any surface blocking its beam. Included in that are items that you will miss without using binoculars. We’ve just described the perfect scenario for a missed shot.

That’s where targeting modes come into their own, they help to correct this type of error, making them a very useful piece of kit when hunting with a bow. Most have 2 modes which are;

  • Bullseye Mode
    According to one of the world leaders in rangefinder technology- Bushnell [1], Bullseye mode “Measures the distance of small objects in the foreground rather than the background”.
  • Brush Mode
    Brush mode ignores any objects in the foreground like bushes, branches and brush, and targets the distance to the background objects, like the animal you’ve been stalking.

You need to practise until you’re really comfortable using these targeting modes,so you can avoid using the wrong numbers when it most matters.

What Is Angle Compensation?

The angle of the shot makes all the difference when hunting with a bow, taking the shot with a high powered rifle with a top of the range scope will probably be accurate and if not, you usually have time to take a second shot with the slight correction made to ensure the kill. It’s not that simple using a bow. Hunting on steeply elevated terrain gives you a major advantage with visibility. But the extreme angle creates difficulties with the true distance plus the arching path of the arrow will influence the trajectory too.

 Most rangefinders are geared up for hunting with rifles and don’t take angles into account. Therefore, if you aim directly at the animal you will get the distance to the target horizontally, leaving your shot from the bow too high. So for archery purposes a rangefinder with angle compensation is always the best option.

Technology Should Be Used To Improve Your Skill Not Replace Them

The advances in technology over the past 20 or 30 years are amazing, in all walks of life, our day to day activities have been made easier due to the advances in technology. In the realm of archery and hunting, technological advancement can be a great help. But that doesn’t mean solely relying on it. There are binoculars and rangefinders with twice the lens brightness of anything seen previously, that allow easy hunting from dawn to dusk and anywhere in between.

But, this technology is not without its problems, obviously bad readings are easy enough to spot but what about slight misreadings? Like 3 to 5 yards off target which can easily happen with rangefinders. Using a bow and getting that sort of inaccuracy will result in a missed shot. Identifying that level of mistake takes a skilled and experienced hunter. Accurately gauging shots is bread and butter to the top archers and technology will never replace that. 

Using a good pair of binoculars will help you to spot game in dense cover but well trained, sharp eyes can spot movement with a far wider field of view than the binoculars. But binoculars and rangefinders can confirm your judgement when it comes to yardage. You should use technology to improve your skill set, not replace them.

What Is The Most Accurate Archery Rangefinder?

As any skilled archer will tell you, the most accurate archery rangefinder is the one that is used correctly. Modern optical equipment has been responsible for a transformation in archery and bowhunting. Better shots and quicker kills mean more of us are reaching out for the latest and best in optical rangefinders. But with so many makes and models to choose from which is the best?

You have to decide between your own personal preferences with regards to hunting styles etc. and a few key points,which are, magnification, angle compensation and priority settings. The best rangefinder is the one that best meets your needs at a price that suits you best. With that said, Bushnell are one of the world leaders in the rangefinder industry and you could do a lot worse than choosing a Bushnell rangefinder.

Frequently Asked Questions

What rangefinder do pros use?

Over 90% of the professionals use Bushnell rangefinders.

Do snipers use laser range finders?

Rangefinders are used by today’s combat troops.

Do you need a rangefinder for archery?

Rangefinders will make more of your shots ethical, especially shots over 20 to 100 yards.

Are Bushnell rangefinders worth it?

Yes Bushnell rangefinders are worth the money, they pick up the yardages up to 1 yard accuracy.