Steve’s Garage: Vortex Rangefinders | meat eater gear

Buying optics is not easy. The odd array of numbers and specs may come as a surprise rather than selling points if you don’t know what they mean. But to get the most out of these impressive tools, it’s important to understand what they’re capable of, which is primarily what those numbers and specs communicate. That way, when you’re glassed in the morning and the first light slowly approaches, you’ll be absolutely sure that the rangefinder in your hand is up to the job.

The Viper HD 3000 is good at measuring just about any animal within about 2000 yards. This rangefinder comes with four different aiming modes: normal, first, last, and extended range.

Normal mode returns the strongest signal to an object and works from trees to mountains. You can scan while in this setting and it is the most universal. The first mode allows you to focus on the object closest to you without aiming at objects in the distance like trees or cliffs. Conversely, if you’re looking at an animal through a screen of brush or rocks, the latter mode allows you to focus on it without being distorted by foreground objects. Extended Range (ELR) mode is used for extreme distances. It requires a longer return time and more stability, but can hit objects up to 3,000 yards away.

This rangefinder also has two range modes, Line of Sight (LOS) which gives you a straight line distance and Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) which compensates for whatever angle you are looking at. HCD mode accounts for severe inclines or declines that can result from shooting from a tree or off a cliff, providing the most accurate shooting distance.

The Diamondback HD 2000 reliably reaches game at up to 1,400 yards. It comes in normal and last target modes, as well as LOS and HCD range modes.

The Crossfire HD 1400 is a great rangefinder for beginners. It gives accurate readings out to about 750 yards and has normal, first and last target modes. It also has LOS and HCD ranging modes.

Accurate ranges make for more accurate shots. These three options are all waterproof with the clearest optics, so whether you’re up in a tree watching whitetails less than 100 yards away or watching goats on the next ridge, Vortex has a solution for you.