Long range shooting is an exact science. To be successful, the shooter must know and understand a long list of variables.
Of course, “long range” is a subjective term, but for the purposes of this discussion, we will call it anything outside of 800 yards. Whether you are shooting those distances competitively, to harvest game or just for fun, knowing the range of your shot is a critical component of executing it.
The right rangefinder will not only tell you the distance to the target, but it will give you true ballistic range by doing a calculation that takes into account any elevation change between you and the target.
A quality rangefinder is an integral part of successful long range shooting and the right one will become one of your most important tools.
However, for as helpful as a quality rangefinder can be, one that does not work correctly could totally prevent you from hitting your mark at long distances.
Rangefinders fail for a variety of reasons, all of which tend to be amplified the farther away you are.
Weather conditions play a factor often and some rangefinders are not capable of gauging longer distances unless held perfectly steady and used in optimum conditions. Some rangefinders are simply not designed to be used at a long distance.
This article aims to help you find the right rangefinder for the long range shooting job. By helping you find the ideal tool for identifying shot distance, this overview of the best available rangefinders should help your long range shooting capabilities.
The 5 Top Long-Range Rangefinders of 2020: Outdoor Empire Reviews
These are our top recommendations for long-distance rangefinders in 2020:
- Best 1000 Yards #1: Leupold RX-1300i
- Best 1000 Yards #2: Vortex Impact
- Best 1000+ Yards #1: Vortex Optics Ranger 1800
- Best 1000+ Yards #1: ATN Laser Ballistics 1500
- Best tactical: Leupold RX-1600i
*Looking for a specific feature? Check out our quick-reference chart below:
|Reflective Range||1300 yards||1800 yards||1600 yards|
|Magnification||6 x||6 x||6 x|
|Objective Lens Diameter||23 mm||22 mm||22 mm|
|Accuracy||0.5 yds||+/-3 yds||+/- 1/2 Yard|
|Eye Relief||14 mm||17 mm||17 mm|
|Weight||7 oz||7.7 oz||7.8 oz|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Best 1000 Yards #1: Leupold RX-1300i
The Leupold RX-1300i Laser Rangefinder is designed to be a fully weatherproof and multicoated range finder. Suitable for hunting, the RX-1300i comes with rifle settings thanks to the milliradian-based shot-correction data.
This means that shooters will be able to achieve true ballistic range readings up to a 125 yards, down to the nearest one tenth of a yard. This will be an invaluable tool to use when hunting or sighting in your rifle(s) at the range.
The quick-set menu option makes the 1300i very easy to use when you are out in the field, and the device overall is very compact and lightweight for a rangefinder.
The biggest con to the 1300i is the price. While Leupold is known for making high-quality products, there’s no denying that the RX-1300i is very costly over other rangefinders on the market.
- Quick-set menu option
- Milliradian-based shot-correction data included
- Compact and lightweight
- Very expensive
The Leupold RX-1300i may be expensive, but it’s a solid option if you are seeking a good rangefinder that will provide you with many years of solid use. It’s a solid investment.
Leupold RX-1300i is also available at:
2. Best 1000 Yards #2: Vortex Impact
Vortex is a growing company that constantly updates, innovates, and puts out new pieces of gear. The vortex Optic’s Impact is their moderate range laser rangefinder. This model gives you accurate readings out to 850 yards.
The 6x magnification makes it easy to see your target in most situations and the extremely well-made glass, and fully multicoated lenses are designed for high visibility.
The vortex Impact has both Horizontal Component Distance and Line of sight readings to match user preference. The design can work in yards or meters and its user adjustable for preference.
The Vortex Impact also uses a simple reticle that doesn’t fill the screen with a bunch of crap you don’t need. It’s simple, reliable, lightweight, and affordable.
The Vortex Impact is a powerful little rangefinder that is perfect for hunting, golfing or shooting.
- 850-yard max range
- HCD and LOS settings
- 6x Magnification
- Utilizes simple CR2 Battery
3. Best for Beyond 1000 Yards #1: Vortex Optics Ranger 1800
The Vortex Optics Ranger 1800 Laser Rangefinder can be used to accurately range distances up to 1,800 yards. It has both Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) mode for angle-compensated ranging, and Line of Sight (LOS) mode for actual line-of-sight ranges.
It also is equipped with a scan mode that continually displays the distance when following a moving target or panning across a landscape.
The lens of the Vortex Optics Ranger has an antireflective coating to ensure views are never obstructed or altered. Not only is this rangefinder useful, but it is also extremely portable and can either be clipped to a belt or bag, or carried around the neck with the included lanyard.
As with many outdoor products, the Vortex Optics Rangefinder is O-ring sealed to resist penetration from moisture, dirt, and debris.
- Ranges targets up to 1,800 yards
- Multiple modes
- Rubberized coating for secure grip
- Water and dirt resistant
- Has trouble ranging very long-distance targets without reflection
The multiple modes and clear views make this rangefinder a must-have for any outdoorsman needing to range objects at long distances. This rangefinder is ideal for gun hunters, target shooters, and bowhunters.
Vortex Optics Ranger 1800 is also available at:
4. Best for Beyond 1000 Yards #2: ATN Laser Ballistics 1500
What happens when you combine range finding tech with modern phone technology? You get the ATN Laser Ballistics 1500 Smart Laser Rangefinder.
The ATN Laser Ballistics 1500 is a super powerful device that reaches out to 1500 meters, or 1640 yards. ATN is well known for their electronic optics in the range finding, night vision, and spotting scope industries.
The ATN Rangefinder is perfect for shooters. Through the ATN app, you can connect your phone to your rangefinder and it can give you all the calculations necessary to make adjustments on your rifle scope.
This rangefinder can even connect directly to an ATN Smart Scope. As a rangefinder, it gives you an accuracy rating or within 1 yard or less. It packs a 6x magnification rating and gives you a brilliant HD image.
The ATN Rangefinder is small, easy to carry, and stays on the cutting edge of firearms technology.
- 1500m/1640 yard range
- Can Connect to phone or Smart Scope
- Superbly small
- Maximum accuracy with +/- 1 yard accuracy
5. Best Tactical: Leupold RX-1600i
The Leupold RX-1600i TBR/W with DNA Laser Rangefinder is one of the best tactical rangefinders that money can buy.
It has a maximum range of 1,600 yards and magnifies up to six times. The “DNA” in its title stands for Digitally eNhanced Accuracy, which makes this rangefinder dependable and perfectly accurate.
This rangefinder has advanced OLED technology that is user adjustable, making it easy to use no matter the environmental or light conditions.
The displays are user friendly, and multiple color options are available, including camouflage patterns.
- Intuitive displays and menus
- 1,600-yard range
- 6x magnification
- Digitally eNhanced Accuracy
- Built-in inclinometer
- Multiple color options
- Required battery is not easy to find
- Warranty is only two years long
The Leupold RX-1600i TBR/W with DNA Laser Rangefinder is easy to use and extremely accurate. This rangefinder is perfect for those who use their rangefinder for multiple purposes (bow, gun, etc.)
Leupold RX-1600i is also available at:
Important Choosing Factors
Long range is a term that’s different to everyone. It is relative to what the person is trying to do. For example:
- long range hunting for medium animals is done at 300 yards
- long range for 50 BMG competition shooters is more than a mile
We are specifically talking about rangefinders that are designed to be used at 1000 yards or farther. 1000 yards is a relatively long range regardless of the rifle being used.
Without a solid foundation as a shooter, it doesn’t matter that your 338 Lapua can reach 1000 yards if you can’t hit the target. So 1000 yards and beyond is almost universally accepted as long range distance for shooters.
So when choosing a long range rangefinder, you have to make sure it can reach out to at least 1000 yards with an accurate reading. If it can go a bit beyond 1000 yards, that’s even better.
The price difference between a 1000 yard rangefinder and 1500 to 1600-yard rangefinder isn’t typically substantial. Being able to reach beyond a thousand yards accurately could be invaluable once you master that 1000 yard space.
The further you attempt to target at a distance, the greater accuracy you need.
A small inaccuracy at 100 yards isn’t a big deal at all. You can still hit your target. However, a slight inaccuracy at 1000 yards may result in a complete miss.
This means purchasing a high-quality laser rangefinder from a reputable brand. It’s critical you search unbiased reviews to give you a solid understanding of just how accurate it is.
You also want to make sure it’s easy to use, and you understand how to get an accurate reading from it.
Most rangefinders have slight variances between their accuracy ratings so it is not guaranteed to be spot on. They typically have a small inaccuracy usually less than half a yard of variance.
Magnification is a fine balance to walk with long range rangefinders. You need enough magnification to make out your target. If you can’t get a solid picture of your target, how exactly are you going to range it?
So you need enough power to see it well to utilize the rangefinder accurately.
At the same time, too much magnification makes it insanely difficult to find and stay on target. It doesn’t only magnify your target, but also magnifies every breath, shiver and shake you make.
If you ever tried to use a spotting scope without a tripod ( see how to choose a tripod ), you know what I mean. Too much magnification is a bad thing. It also means the system is bigger and requires a larger objective lens. We’ve already gone over size and weight issues for certain users.
Keeping with the 1000-yard range theme, you want to limit magnification to about 7 to 10 power. It keeps the device small and lightweight yet provides enough magnification to see your average 1000-yard target. 7 to 10 power isn’t too powerful either.
Long range rangefinders are made from various fragile materials. Think about it. They have electronics, magnified glass lenses, and laser emitters. None of these are known for their durability. So it needs to be tough around those fragile materials.
The overall body strength of the device should also be durable. On top of this, you want it to be sealed against moisture and debris. You don’t need to dive at the bottom of the ocean with a rangefinder but you want it to resist some morning dew at least.
You have to remember, it’s a lot like binoculars and rifle scopes due to the use of optics. So you also want it to be fogproof and preferably nitrogen or argon purged.
Hunters and snipers need an optic that can keep up with their lifestyle. The optic can’t be weak enough to be treated like a piece of China. It needs to be carried and forgotten.
Hunters and snipers have bigger concerns than keeping their gear from being bumped, tossed and dropped. A solid shockproof rating is always a desirable feature to have.
Size and Weight
Size and weight are major considerations depending on what you are planning to do with the rangefinder.
- If you are a simple bench rest competition shooter, size and weight don’t necessarily matter. You won’t be lugging that bad boy around much.
- For a hunter or tactical user like a sniper, size and weight is a much bigger issue.
A sniper needs a compact but powerful rangefinder that can easily be packed away when on a mission. They also need to maintain a low profile as much as possible. In a hide, they don’t want a large machine to wave around.
Slim, lightweight and compact is a big deal for the gear that these guys use.
A good warranty is a must-have on a rangefinder designed for 1000 yards or more. It ensures that if you have an issue with the product, you aren’t out your initial investment. No questions asked warranties are great but not all companies offer it.
Likely, a good warranty covers and guarantees the electronics and quality for at least five years. A limited lifetime warranty is even better.
Before purchasing, I always suggest to review the warranty policy of the manufacturers.
If you want to learn more about rangefinders, how they work, or what products we recommended for other use cases check out our comprehensive rangefinder buying guide.