When rangefinders came out, all they did was give distance. The new features of bullet compensation, arrow arc predictions, and scanning of multiple targets are nice to have. But if you can live without them, you can pick up an excellent laser rangefinder at an affordable price.
A good example of this is the Simmons Volt 600. It is a no-frills gear, and it’s made for light duty hunting and shooting.
Specs & Features
It is centered around a laser measuring unit accurate within +/- 1 yard out to 600 yards. The plastic housing encloses the electronics, 4x power optic, 9v battery and a viewfinder. On the outside, the molded grip surface is nice to have along with the lanyard hole for hanging it around your neck.
The reticle is a simple crosshair, and the reading is visible through the viewfinder on the LCD screen. The one touch button is simple to use, but the lack of target priority means getting a good reading is as much an art as it is a science.
Nothing is included in the box other than paperwork and the item. You need a 9v battery that isn’t included but should not be a problem finding. You may also want a carrying case or a lanyard to carry it securely.
Pros & Cons
The Simmons Volt 600 is a pretty run of the mill budget laser rangefinder. All it does is give out a readout of the distance between you and the target. If this is all you need, then great! If you’re looking for a few more features, then look elsewhere because the best attribute of this unit is its price.
- Very inexpensive
- Dead simple
- Few features
- Small and lightweight
- Uses 9v battery
- Difficult to use
- Low-grade optical quality
- Lacks some features
- Easy to get a bad reading
The biggest detriment of the Simmons Volt 600 is its quality. The manufacturer must cut corners somewhere, and this is where they chose to do it. It could use a better glass and casing at a minimum, and better electronics inside to make it easier to use.
This would be great and could transform it into a youth’s laser rangefinder by making it less likely to get a bad reading because of a wrong target ID.
Comparison to Similar Products
The only redeeming grace of this unit is its low price. If you have a few more dollars, there are much better options.
|Product|| || ||
|Magnification x Objective Lens||4x 20mm||6x 24mm||6x 23mm|
|Size||1.9 x 3.6 x 4.2 in||4.2 x 3.0 x 1.7 in||4.1 x 3 x 1.6 in|
|Weight||7.7 oz||8 oz||5.3 oz|
|Range||10-600 yards||600 yards||6 - 600 yards|
|Battery Type||9 volts||CR2||CR2|
Halo XRT 6
One of those options is the Halo XRT 6. It has the same features but runs off a CR2 battery and has much better quality.
Halo X-Ray 600
The other unit has the same hardware as the Halo XRT 6 — the Wildgame Innovations Halo X-Ray 600.
It is the same brand but with a few twists that make it better, plus a few more dollars. It has a huge rubber over-molding that makes gripping it easy. Both models offer an upgrade without a substantial cost increase.
The biggest downside of the Simmons Volt 600 is the quality that its competitors have nailed down.
They aren’t substantially better to the point I’d say go for them every time. But dollar for dollar you get the same performance from the other two, not to mention a better quality.
Rating the Simmons Volt 600
This is based on a 1 to 5 stars rating.
This is the definition of a bare-bones unit. The only features it has are those that make it usable. This is very much the pencil of the laser rangefinder world. If it didn’t have everything it comes with, it wouldn’t work. 3 stars for its features.
The design they put together to make it work is great because it’s cheap. The glass, electronics, and housing are well built and easy to grasp. Most importantly, it holds everything where it goes securely without breaking. 4 stars for the design.
Materials & Quality
The multi-coated glass is easy to see through albeit not the clearest in the world. It’s not surprising if you were to get headaches after a few minutes of looking through the viewfinder. The ability to use a 9v battery is impressive. Even though it’s more expensive, it’s widely available.
The LCD is readable but can be washed out in sunlight when you look through it but is otherwise clear and crisp to see. The unit isn’t as polished as high-end models but has enough heft and quality marks to have confidence for light duty use. 3.5 stars for its materials and quality.
The Simmons Volt 600 is the ultra-cheap option in an electronic category that can get very expensive real quickly. It isn’t going to perform like those just a few dollars above it; the Halo XRT is easier to use with better quality and nearly identical features.
If you can make some hard concessions, practice with it, and learn to live with the quirks of this unit. Then, it’s a usable piece of kit.
It received an overall rating of 3.5 stars. It is slightly better than average because of the price it comes in at. This is a great option for a hunter who needs a backup, or a bare-bones rangefinder. The lack of target priority and hard to use features make it a bad choice for a youth hunter.
The Simmons Volt 600 is by far the cheapest quality laser rangefinder. The combination of features make it a good choice for a bottom dollar backup but not a starter unit, or for any tasks besides close range hunting on the back 40.
If you stick to simple tasks and lower your expectations, then it will do you well for several years until you get a better one.