It cannot be denied that serious bowhunters love a challenge! Getting close-up and personal with the prey being stalked is what it is all about. This takes patience, nerve, and the ability to land ethical kill shots with precision. In order to do that consistently, the right tools for the job are required. One such device is a quality rangefinder. Although that sounds fairly straightforward, it is not.
Finding the best rangefinders for bow hunting presents a different kind of challenge. This is due to the vast number of models available at prices that vary significantly. There are models claiming to do more than they actually can, right up to units requiring a degree in mathematics to operate. (By which time that prize buck has wandered on to pastures new!)
So, let’s first understand how a rangefinder works and just three of the many benefits offered. From there, it will be into my reviews of seven of the best models currently out there and an informative buying guide.
- 1 How Does a Rangefinder Work?
- 2 Why a Quality Rangefinder Will Give You the Edge?
- 3 The 7 Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting
- 3.1 1 Gogogo Sport Vpro 6X Hunting Laser Rangefinder – Best Budget Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
- 3.2 2 TecTecTec ProWild Hunting Rangefinder – Best Affordable Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
- 3.3 3 AOFAR HX-1200T Rangefinder – Most Durable Low Cost Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
- 3.4 4 Bushnell BoneCollector 850 Laser Rangefinder – Brightest Low Cost Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
- 3.5 5 Vortex Optics Ranger Laser Rangefinders – Best Value for Money Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
- 3.6 6 Leupold RX-FullDraw 4 – Most Accurate Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
- 3.7 7 Leica Rangemaster CRF 2800 Compact Laser Rangefinder Model No: 40506 – Best Premium Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
- 4 Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting Buying Guide
- 5 So, Which of These Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting Should You Buy?
How Does a Rangefinder Work?
Understanding how rangefinders work will help you understand the technology behind them and how distance results are determined.
When pointing and activating your laser rangefinder at a given target, a laser beam is transmitted. Once the laser ‘hits’ the target, it measures the time taken to complete the whole (return) journey. Without getting into complex calculations, the distance formula is automatically calculated and then displayed on an included display.
Important note: Each rangefinder has a maximum range capability. As will be seen, the distance is often highlighted in the model name. However, the maximum range distance is based on the distance of reflective targets (i.e., glass or metal).
The prey you hunt are not reflective (although many will reflect on the ones that got away!) This means you should check the maximum non-reflective range to ensure it is sufficient for your needs.
Why a Quality Rangefinder Will Give You the Edge?
Here are just three of the key reasons why choosing one of the best quality rangefinders for bow hunting will give you the edge:
Get an acceptably accurate target distance
The speed and distances that quality rangefinders calculate means that mere seconds elapse before you have the required measurement. Spot-and-stalk or walk-and-stalk bow hunters will be able to view distant targets at a safe distance (without spooking them). This will then give a plan of attack to ensure you get within your accurate shooting distance comfort zone.
Those who prefer waiting in a stand (or up a tree!) can monitor prey at a distance. From first spotting, regular distance checking can be carried out to determine which way they are headed (hopefully towards you!)
More importantly, it takes the guesswork out of estimating your target distance. This will result in a far greater chance of making an ethical and humane kill-shot.
Pre-hunting session prep
Forward planning is a key factor to upping your tag rate. If you have regular hunting grounds, pay a visit in advance of your next shooting trip. Choose areas and spots that you either know or think will reap a good hunting harvest.
Take time to wander around the area while finding good spots for cover. From your cover area(s), make note of different measurements to unique landscape features or grazing spots. By doing this, you will be ahead of the game before your real bow hunting session begins.
Angles can and will deceive!
When out hunting, you will not always be in a perfect position to view your target. This is particularly the case when shooting upwards or downwards in hilly or rocky terrain or into gullies. In this type of situation, targets often look further away than they actually are.
A quality rangefinder will take the strain by giving true horizontal distances. This means you are getting a far more accurate distance reading which lends itself to a more precise shot placement.
Now that’s covered, let’s move on to the…
The 7 Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting
Understanding how a rangefinder works and what benefits they offer will help when choosing a model that suits your needs. While there is a huge selection currently available, price must always be a consideration.
With that in mind, the first four reviews relate to good quality budget models. The final three cover models that will suit the more experienced, regular bow hunter. One thing is for sure, all of the reviewed models give value against the functionality offered.
1 Gogogo Sport Vpro 6X Hunting Laser Rangefinder – Best Budget Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
This bowhunting rangefinder from Gogogo Sport offers good features for the keen price it comes in at.
Choice of two ranging distances…
The Vpro rangefinder is available in two ranging models. Go for either the 5-1200 yard or 5-650 yard model. Bow hunters will be pleased to know there is a camo finish option available. This means no shiny reflection to alert prey.
Accuracy is stated at +/-1 yard, with measurement completion time coming in between 0.5 and 1-second. The one looked at here is the longer-range model, which is a little more expensive, but both certainly offer value.
It comes with 6x magnification, a 24 mm objective lens, and a 16 mm eyepiece lens. Powered by an included CR2 battery, it measures in at 4.33 x 1.77 x 2.91-inches and weighs 6.5 ounces.
Choice of modes…
There are three operation modes: Scan Mode, Slope Mode, and Speed Mode, as well as a ‘flagpole’ locking feature that is good to 170 yards. Users get a vibrate confirmation when a reading is complete, and there is a low battery indicator.
The fully multi-coated optic lens works to effectively reduce reflected light and increase light transmission. The result is an acceptably bright clear image with the ability to read the results clearly. Field angle is 7 deg with angle measuring range of +/- 45 deg.
- Very popular budget rangefinder.
- Two ranging distance models.
- Three operation modes.
- Good entry level choice.
- Serious bowhunters will want more.
2 TecTecTec ProWild Hunting Rangefinder – Best Affordable Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
After Gogogo, here’s TecTecTec!
Quick and accurate…
The ProWild hunting rangefinder comes with advanced speed technology, 6x magnification, and will measure up to 540 yards when in continuous scan mode. This mode allows bow hunters to track moving targets as distance and speed varies to provide accurate shot placement. Fast distance reading is achieved with +/- 1 yard accuracy.
It has an ergonomic design that is acceptably compact and lightweight. Dimensions are 4.09 x 2.83 x 1.61-inches, and it weighs 6.52 ounces. The multi-layered optics give good clarity and sharpness of image. This stands even when used in those all-important low-light hunting situations. This eye-safe rangefinder has a Class 1 laser with <0.5mW average power output.
What’s in the box?
Included in purchase are a CR2 battery, premium carrying pouch, wrist strap, microfiber cleaning cloth, and a quick-start guide. Once received, users have everything required for immediate field use.
To finish things off, TecTecTec’s customer service is very responsive, and this device comes with a two year Happiness guarantee. (Online registration required).
- Family-owned company with good reviews.
- Ability to track moving targets.
- Acceptably clear view.
- Good customer service.
- 2 year guarantee.
- Keen price for what is offered.
- Some QC issues.
3 AOFAR HX-1200T Rangefinder – Most Durable Low Cost Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
The AOFAR HX-1200T has been well-received by bow hunters for a number of good reasons; these include:
Robust, all-weather use…
AOFAR’s HX-1200T rangefinder includes up-to-date AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology. It is built using durable ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) for robust use and is dust, fog, and waterproof. This means use in harsh weather conditions is yours.
The design gives bow and hunting modes that provide angle and horizontal distance readings when showing straight-line distance. This is an acceptably high precision rangefinder that includes upgraded pin-sensor technology.
Superb accuracy for the price…
Accuracy comes in at ±1 yard between 5 and 300 yards; over that distance, it is +/-1 yards. This well-priced rangefinder has 6x magnification and is capable of measurements up to 1200 yards. The 25 mm objective lens offers good viewing even in low-light hunting conditions.
The device weighs in at 6.35 ounces and measures 4.76 x 2.83 x 1.69-inches. The diopter feature is +/- 3 degrees, and to save battery life, there is an auto power-off function. This kicks in after eight seconds of non-operation. Purchase includes a CR2 battery, carry pouch, portable strap, carabiner, cleaning cloth, and user manual. Buyers also get a two year VIP guarantee with lifetime customer support.
- Durable for rugged use.
- Dust, fog, waterproof.
- Supports bow and ranging use.
- Good accuracy.
- Auto power-off.
- Good customer service.
- None in this price bracket.
4 Bushnell BoneCollector 850 Laser Rangefinder – Brightest Low Cost Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
Bushnell is a well-established and well-received optic supplier to the firearms community. They have teamed up with BoneCollector to provide this stylish 850 Laser rangefinder.
Industry leading brightness and more….
It has been designed with a 50% larger, fully multi-coated objective lens and quality all-glass optical system. This gives crisp, clear imaging in all lighting conditions and is paired with ARC (Angle Range Compensation) technology. There is also a very useful Scan mode.
The 2x larger objective lens allows more light to your eye and a bright image view. The importance of this combination cannot be understated because it extends those crucial dawn, dusk, and low-light hunting sessions. No matter how tough the environment you hunt in, optimized performance is yours.
Fully multi-coated optics have ultra wide band coatings that offer true color functionality. This allows shooters to view their targets in bright, true to life colors. This 6×24 mm laser rangefinder gives a maximum 850 yards ranging distance to reflective targets, 500 yards to a tree, and 350 yards for deer.
Getting back to the ARC technology…
This offers true horizontal distance measurements by taking into account terrain angle. So, whether you are bow-ready and facing your target uphill or downhill, you will have an accurate distance reading.
Scan mode is fast ranging, and updates the ranging distance 4x per second. As can be imagined, this offers quick, consistent ranging. Staying with ‘fast,’ that is what you get twice over!
The fast-focus eyepiece allows rapid reticle adjustment to your eye and gives clear target focus. Then there is the 1-button operation feature. This makes quick, intuitive, and easy ranging of chosen targets. The sharp display reticle makes results easy to read in yards or meters. It also displays incline angle and battery life status.
The realtree camo finish gives style and concealment, while dimensions make it easy to tote. Coming in at 4.33 x 1.65 x 2.95-inches, this best low cost rangefinder for bow hunters weighs 6.34 ounces. To top things off, this stylish and effective unit is covered by the Bushnell Lifetime Ironclad Warranty.
- Best of Bushnell & BoneCollector worlds
- Quality design.
- Built to last.
- 50% larger objective lens.
- Scan mode @ 4x per second.
- Accurate ARC technology.
- Fast-focus eyepiece.
- Bushnell lifetime warranty.
- Some QC issues, but it does come with a lifetime guarantee.
5 Vortex Optics Ranger Laser Rangefinders – Best Value for Money Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
Many hunters see Vortex as value. While this Ranger model moves up in price, it does offer lots of effective features.
How far do you want to range?
The Vortex Ranger family of rangefinders come in models with maximum ranges of 1000-, 1300-, 1500- and 1800-yards. The one I reviewed was the 1800-yard version. It offers a clear illuminated display with three brightness settings for visibility in a variety of light conditions. This makes the given calculations easy to read.
Shooters will also benefit from a highly intuitive menu. When using the primary HCD (Horizontal Component Distance) mode, it shows key angle compensated range information. There is also an advanced LOS (Line Of Sight) mode. This gives you the opportunity to calculate longer distance, high angle shots with precision. Then consider the scan feature with its continuous range readings for target tracking or when scoping out a landscape.
It comes with 6x magnification and a 22 mm objective lens. Eye relief runs at 0.67-inches, and linear FOV (Field Of View) at 1000 yards is 315 feet.
Powered by a standard CR2 battery, this rangefinder is 3.9-inches long, 3-inches wide, and weighs 7.7 ounces. Tested to operate in temperatures between 14 and 131 deg Fahrenheit, accuracy is stated as +/- 3 yards.
This best value rangefinder for bow hunters is waterproof, fog proof, and has a textured rubber armor non-slip grip for secure handling. This means use in harsh conditions is yours while the fully multi-coated lenses deliver good light transmission. The included neck lanyard, along with a removable utility clip, makes this feature-filled rangefinder easy for immediate use or carriage. It is also tripod compatible due to the included tripod adapter (or for truck window mounting).
Versatile and practical…
Archers have the ability to use the appropriate level ground sight pin. Once the range is displayed, you are ready to fire. A LOS (Line Of Sight) mode is available and can be used with slope correcting ballistic drop data cards or apps.
The feature is designed for shooting distances beyond 500 yards and slopes greater than 15 degrees. This means it is unlikely archers will need it. However, if you combine long-distance rifle shooting in hilly terrain, the feature is yours.
- Vortex known quality.
- Four different range models.
- Several easy to use operating modes.
- Three brightness settings.
- Vortex VIP Lifetime Warranty.
- On the larger/heavier side.
6 Leupold RX-FullDraw 4 – Most Accurate Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
The quality just keeps on coming. This Leupold RX-Full Draw 4 moves up the price ladder, but serious bow hunters will get exactly what they are looking for.
It gives archers an advantage!
This is one of the best rangefinders for bow hunting in terms of durability and accuracy. Made from tough-wearing aluminum, it is ready for those tough bow hunting situations you will find yourself in.
Users get within 1/2 yard accuracy of measured distances from 6 to 125 yards. At its maximum 1200 yard range, it is accurate to within two yards. Just to be clear on maximum range distances, reflective targets come in at 1200 yards, trees at 1100 yards, and deer at 900 yards.
The easy to read, power adjustable, red OLED reticle comes with display technology that provides best in class light transmission. Use and target clarity in low light conditions is also yours!
Gives you the Advantage…
As for the Archers Advantage feature, this is a great addition. It offers bow ballistics that take into account arrow weight, arrow velocity, and peep height. It then calculates exacting, accurate ballistic solutions out to 175 yards. This allows archers to calculate accurate ranging for steep angle shots.
Distances can also be calculated using LOS (Line Of Sight), which is from your position to a target in a straight line. This is regardless of any incline or decline you may encounter.
You then have Leupold’s Flight Path technology…
It functions by using your bow’s ballistics in order to display the highest point of your arrow’s flight. This gives confidence that tighter shots taken while in any type of cover will hit your chosen target more accurately.
The Leupold RX-FullDraw 4 also offers three reticle options to suit your style. Go for the Plus Point, Duplex, or Duplex with Plus Point.
Measuring in at 3.8 x 1.4 x 3-inches and weighing in at 7.5 ounces means ease of carrying is yours. Buyers also get Leupold’s Gold Ring 2-Year Electronics Warranty.
- Leupold’s renowned quality.
- As robust and tough-wearing as they come.
- Easy to read, power adjustable red OLED display.
- Accuracy within 1/2 yard (6-125 yards)
- Maximum viewing range is 1200 yards.
- Archers Advantage feature.
- Flight Path technology.
- Gold Ring 2-Year Electronics Warranty.
- Moving up the price ladder.
7 Leica Rangemaster CRF 2800 Compact Laser Rangefinder Model No: 40506 – Best Premium Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
This Leica Rangemaster CRF rangefinder is focused on serious bow hunters who are prepared to invest. Those who can justify the cost will enjoy the real benefits of an excellent device.
Record-breaking fast scan mode over incredible distances….
When it comes to optic industry leaders, Leica are right up there with the best. This top-quality Rangemaster rangefinder combines highly durable mechanics, high-quality optics, and complex yet reliable electronics in a compact package.
The housing is built using carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, while the top-quality lenses come with AquaDura lens coating to give water and dust protection. Tested to operate in temperatures between 4 and 131 deg Fahrenheit means use in harsh weather conditions and tough terrain is yours.
Superb in any conditions…
It comes with 7x fixed magnification and a 24 mm objective lens and has a twilight rating of 13. This means use during dawn, dusk, and in low-light situations (heavily wooded areas and deep brush) is up there with the best rangefinders designed for bow hunting.
Weighing in at 6.7 ounces, it has a length of 4.5-inches and width of 1.25-inches. Powered by an included 3 volt/Lithium-type C2R battery, you can expect 500 hours of life from a full charge. There is also a carrying cord and Cordura case for ease of carriage and storage.
The ultimate in technology…
Eye relief comes in at 0.59-inches while the exit pupil is 3.4 mm (0.133-inches), and diopter adjustment range is 3.5 dpt. Linear FOV (Field Of View) at 1000 yards is 347 feet, and FOV angle comes in at 6.6 degrees. It has a minimum range of 10 yards that stretches out to a very impressive 2700 yards with accuracy stated as +/- 0.5 yards. Users also benefit from integrated Bluetooth connectivity.
Ease of operation is yours thanks to the newly included Hunting App that calculates individual ballistic output values based on used projectiles.
While all of the above features and specs are built to impress, here’s a very proud record-breaking boast. The Leica Rangemaster CRF 2800 has the ability to capture your environmental scanning every 0.3 seconds. It then displays the values in decimal numbers to ensure safe, precise shots at any distance.
- Leica’s long-established quality.
- Tough, durable, resilient.
- 7x magnification/24 mm objective lens.
- 10-2700 yard ranging.
- Accuracy +/- 0.5 yards.
- Integrated Bluetooth technology.
- Included Hunting App.
- Record-breaking 0.3 seconds scanning ability.
- Significant investment.
Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting Buying Guide
With the huge number of rangefinders available, it can be a challenge to decide which one meets your needs. So, take a look at these features to help you understand what is most important for you…
By the very nature of bow hunting, arrows fired will be at relatively short ranges. Having said that, you need to be able to spot targets at a greater distance in order to track them.
It is important to remember that the maximum stated range distance is for reflective targets (examples being glass or metal). This maximum distance will be reduced when ranging non-reflective targets (such as animals). As a guide, many archers find a 1000 yard rangefinder more than sufficient.
Scan mode functionality
The best bow hunting rangefinders should include a scan mode that comes with built-in sensors. This functions by automatically and continuously scanning and calculating various distances as you view your surroundings.
Scan mode helps when ranging moving targets because you need to know the distances and direction in which they are moving. If your chosen prey is coming closer to you, this feature can be used to regularly check the distance. Once they are within an accurate shot distance, you will then be ready to fire.
This mode will also help walk and stalk hunters if prey starts moving away from their spotting position. Tracking this widening distance and direction allows planning time in order for you to stalk without spooking.
Either way, scan mode functionality can help you understand the ground you are making up (or losing!)
Close target sensitivity / Far target priority
The next thing to consider is the ability of a rangefinder to offer close target sensitivity and far target priority. This is what these two opposites offer:
Close targeting is something all bow hunters should have. Look for a model that allows you to ‘lock’ into a target from 10 yards up. Models that also offer measurements in fractions of a yard at closer distances will increase accuracy.
Far target priority gives hunters the ability to focus on the most distant target viewed. An example being animals that are beyond trees.
There are models that allow cycling between close and far target functionality. However, this might not be so helpful for bow hunters as it can take time. As archers know very well, vital seconds lost could mean a clear shot is gone.
Angle compensation feature – Crucial for many archers!
Archers then need to look at the value angle compensation functionality can give. If you generally shoot over flat ground (from a ground hide or behind cover), then angle compensation is not required.
If you regularly shoot from upward or downward angles, then it can be a real plus. An example here, ranging a deer at 500 yards on a 30-degree slope puts the angle-compensated distance at 433 yards!
Magnification, optical lens, and display quality
These are three separate features, but each can impact the other:
Going for 6x magnification is usually sufficient for bow hunters. It helps keep the purchase price down while still clearly identifying prey at good distances.
However, choosing a model that has inferior lens quality will blur the clarity of view. Make sure any chosen model has some type of coating. Multi-coating is the best option because it helps to reduce glare and reflection. Also, consider models that have the ability to increase light transmission. This is beneficial for clarity of view and helps when shooting during those all-important low-light situations.
As for display quality, results need to be read quickly and with clarity in varying light conditions. Check buyer reviews of any rangefinder you are considering. This will tell you if ease of results reading is acceptable or not.
Regular bow hunters know that terrain and weather conditions can change rapidly. So look for a rangefinder that has an acceptably solid build. Bumps, knocks, and drops are part of the experience. If you are an all-weather shooter, then also go for water-resistant, fog-proof models.
Rangefinders come in a very wide price range. From low double-digit $ right up to high four-digit $ price tags. Set yourself an upper budget limit, then concentrate on rangefinders that fit into this limit.
So, Which of These Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting Should You Buy?
In terms of rangefinder recommendations, there are two that stand out from the ones I reviewed. The first is for those new to bow hunting and rangefinders. The second is for the more experienced archer who gets out in the open on a regular basis.
…is an excellent entry-level choice. It is robust enough to withstand expected wear and tear for use in any weather conditions. Offering 1200 yard maximum ranging for reflective targets, it also gives angle and horizontal distance readings and upgraded pin technology. For the price offered, this should hit the spot.
As for the more experienced bow hunter, the…
…comes out tops. This highly robust, durable rangefinder is quality from the get-go. Accuracy between 6 and 125 yards is within 1/2 yard, and it measures reflective targets out to 1200 yards. (Deer identification at 900 yards). Top-quality lenses mean clarity of view, and the display is easy to read. It also gives best in class light transmission, which means use in low-light is yours.
Add to this Leupold’s Archers Advantage and Flight Path technology that provides accurate bow ballistic solutions out to 175 yards.
Hunters will find a good quality bow hunting rangefinder becomes an essential part of every expedition. The good news? There is a model out there with your name on it!
Happy and safe shooting.