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#5382003 - 10/27/14 10:09 AM Why do I need a range finder?
Texas Dan Online   content
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 11265
I've been thinking about buying a range finder but cannot think of a reason why I need one other than for the novelty of it. I don't bow hunt, so the only reasons why I would use it are to get a better idea of how long rifle shots will be and perhaps to better measure the size of food plots after doing the math.

Are there other reasons that would justify the expense of buying one?

Thanks.
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#5382042 - 10/27/14 10:23 AM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
FiremanJG Offline
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Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Absolutely buy one!

My checklist is as follows: rife, ammo, range finder.

If you're not familiar with shooting distance it will aid in helping you to know what shot to NOT take. I have practiced guessing distance then ranging it to see how far off my guess was. It's a big eye opener and takes years to get good at estimating distance. Lots of friends have been with me and called out their guess in yardage then I range it and they are surprised that it was much farther than their guesstimate. I use it for the opposite reason. I don't shoot "close enough" I have to know exact distance so I can know exact correction to make in the scope.
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#5382095 - 10/27/14 10:45 AM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: FiremanJG]
Texas Dan Online   content
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 11265
Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
Absolutely buy one!

My checklist is as follows: rife, ammo, range finder.

If you're not familiar with shooting distance it will aid in helping you to know what shot to NOT take. I have practiced guessing distance then ranging it to see how far off my guess was. It's a big eye opener and takes years to get good at estimating distance. Lots of friends have been with me and called out their guess in yardage then I range it and they are surprised that it was much farther than their guesstimate. I use it for the opposite reason. I don't shoot "close enough" I have to know exact distance so I can know exact correction to make in the scope.


Thanks for the reply Fireman, but I only hunt in East a Texas and seldom make a shot that's over 100 yards.
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#5382126 - 10/27/14 10:57 AM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
WBYHunter Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 02/22/13
Posts: 319
Loc: The Woodlands, TX
Even at short ranges I find it good to know how far you are. Usually when I get in a blind I will find the ranges of the feeder, treeline, etc so I always know what shot I'm taking. Another good thing to do is bring it to the range. You might be surprised at the distance you are sighting your rifle in at. For example, Carter's County in Spring has a 89 yard rifle range, not 100. The berm behind the targets is 100, but where you put your target is only 89-90 yards. Not a huge difference but I find it better to know my rifle and where it will hit at any distance I shoot.
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#5382149 - 10/27/14 11:07 AM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
WhoDat Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 145
I recently got one, mainly because I got a really good price on it in the Cabelas Bargain Cave. Did I need it?

Most of the hunting I do is under feeders, so probably not for that. But there are a couple reasons it was worth getting, at the steep discount I got it for:

1. Varmint - These aren't always under feeders, and can pop up at erratic distances. I'd like to know I can pop one, reliably, where it shows up. Pretty small kill areas in some of them (e.g. Foxes), so nice to have an idea of the range. And funny how far off my guesstimates were.
2. SubSonic ammo - Playing with 300BO, and maybe other stuff in the future. Pretty bit delta between say 75 and 125yds, with this stuff.
3. Out-of-State Hunting - Will likely follow up on some opportunities, next year, for out of state. May go back to Montana (lived there for a bit), where ranges and elevations vary considerably. An long shots are the norm.
4. Training - Actually been very helpful, and worth the price, just using the thing and practicing my range estimates. I'm now better at guessing than when I got the thing.

Mine has elevation comp, which is very nice. Though not necessarily for where I hunt (see point #3 above).

Oh, and one more thing - Antelope. Will likely do them again, in MT. And will also start investigating West Texas. Hunted them before, without one, but why would I ever do that again?


Edited by WhoDat (10/27/14 11:12 AM)

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#5382206 - 10/27/14 11:32 AM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
603Country Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 07/03/12
Posts: 4874
Loc: Central Texas
You probably don't really need one if your shots are 100 or so, but they are good to have. Where I grew up hunting, I knew the distances to most objects, ends of right-of-ways, etc, so I did without a range finder quite well. And...sometimes in tight hunting areas if you fiddle around with binocs and RF, you might find that you didn't have time to make the shot. I've been there, and I didn't like it. Still, it's good to have one for the occasional use. On my place I often see coyotes crossing my hay field, so distance knowledge is important. I know it's 225 to the power line pole in that direction. I know it's 160 to the fence corner. I know it's 490 to the other side of the hay field. But in the middle of the hay field is that varmint 300 yards out or 400 yards out? Makes a difference and I need to know.

So you don't need a RF until you need one. Might as well have one. A Nikon or Bushnell 600 will read a coyote to 400 (most of the time).

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#5382246 - 10/27/14 11:46 AM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
It's good to know distances inside 100. For those shots you have to hold over if you're trying to shoot small, like coon or coyote.

Plus if you get one with really good glass that is your glassing tool instead of rifle scope. I have a Swarovski Laser Guide and it is my second and only other glassing tool. I do not carry binocs since I already have my range finder that gives very clear views.
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#5383134 - 10/27/14 06:39 PM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
Double Naught Spy Offline
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Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4175
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
Quote:
Thanks for the reply Fireman, but I only hunt in East a Texas and seldom make a shot that's over 100 yards.


Quote:
It's good to know distances inside 100. For those shots you have to hold over if you're trying to shoot small, like coon or coyote.


It is good to know distances inside of 100 yards, but then again, they are a lot easier to estimate and you aren't dealing with radical POA/POI differences for full power hunting loads. If I misguess a 90 yard shot that as 70 yards, the POI difference is less than 1/10th of an inch. The only radical differences are inside 50 yards and those either are too close to have the time to measure, or are easy enough to estimate fairly accurately. If I guess a 30 yard shot as 20 yards, the POI difference is about a half inch...still not a big problem.

Dan, I have one. I primarily use it when I am hunting a new area and want to know distances to landmarks. Otherwise, it stays in the rifle bag (not even my backpack). They are a neat gizmo to have for those times when you are outside of your element, but if like you said you do most of your hunting at 100 yards and less, then I would not bother with one unless you get into subsonic hunting where the drop rates are more akin to long range hunting.

FiremanJG does make a good point, however, with a good glass version (and lots of $), they will work as spotting scopes for hunting.
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#5383214 - 10/27/14 07:29 PM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
When I got my first range finder my shot confidence went way up when hunting new locations and ranches. I knew exactly what ranges I could expect a shot at. If your shots are 100 yards are less you probably don't need one. I hunt multiple locations in the state and out of state. Getting to a place after dark and hunting at daylight the next morning is why have binos with a rangefinder in them. I don't have to guess at distance in new terrain. I live in brushy country and I can get shots on powerlines or fencelines as far as I want to shoot if I wanted to. In West Texas I can shoot a lot farther than I will take a shot, but if I needed a follow up shot at long distance I could range in a hurry if needed. In Kansas I hunt with a ML and an exact range is critical and the same when bowhunting. Once you buy one you will use it more than you think if you different areas or species on invites.
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#5383263 - 10/27/14 07:45 PM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
Western Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 23584
Loc: Wise County Texas
Under a 100yards, I say put the $ in a cup, unless you golf.

I have had 3 and work great in excess of 100 yards. The one I currently use is an Elite 1500 with elevation degrees which I like playing with in the mountains.
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#5383351 - 10/27/14 08:17 PM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Double Naught Spy]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Guess some arent interested in shooting crows with a rifle.

Different strokes for different folks.
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#5385094 - 10/28/14 03:57 PM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
603Country Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 07/03/12
Posts: 4874
Loc: Central Texas
Well, I don't shoot crows, but I am tempted. As for RF need, I do think that buying one is money well spent. Sooner or later the OP is going to be hunting on unfamiliar ground, and when the sun comes up it might really be important to know how far this or that is. Like I said, you don't need a RF until you really need a RF. Might as well have one handy.

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#5387686 - 10/29/14 07:34 PM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
mooney_ag Offline
Tracker

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 538
Loc: Aledo, Texas
Because I just want one

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#5388148 - 10/29/14 11:33 PM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
Whiptail Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 10/13/13
Posts: 120

I bought one before I went antelope hunting in Wyoming and it was super helpful. Since I have it I use it all time and it helps me from shooting at things I shouldn't be shooting at.

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#5388200 - 10/30/14 01:43 AM Re: Why do I need a range finder? [Re: Texas Dan]
crapicat Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/13/13
Posts: 383
Loc: Grandview
Hmmm, well it will give you a toy to play with while you are waiting for the animals to show up... rifle deer2

Seriously though, I don't own one (by choice) and I do bow hunt. However, i practice viewing distances daily and can usually overlay known distance objects into my target distance which will generally get me close enough for a clean kill shot even with a bow out to 60 yards. With a rifle, whether its a 100 or 300 yard shot is no big deal in the center fire calibers. If i am going into wide open country, I sight my rifle in for maximum point blank range and go hunting. Of course, if I were a target shooter, I would definitely own one...but for most hunting situations they are not really necessary...including prairie dogs out to 250. At least, it has never been a problem for me at greater distances than I have suggested herein.

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