Home Optics Review: Vortex Ranger 1500 – Is it Worth the Cost? 

Review: Vortex Ranger 1500 – Is it Worth the Cost? 

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Vortex Ranger 1500

Outdoor Empire pick for the best long-range shooting rangefinder

Is quality your biggest concern when purchasing a rangefinder? Is budget not an issue? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then the Vortex Ranger 1500 is for you. Vortex is a massive optics company that produces everything a shooter, hunter, and nature lover would ever need.

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The Vortex Ranger 1500 was designed specifically for hunters and long range target shooters. It is a powerful, long-range optic that produces an amazing degree of accuracy. This isn’t your dad’s golfing rangefinder. However, performance comes at a cost and the Ranger 1500 is not cheap by any means.

Vortex has replaced the famous and much loved Ranger 1000 with 1500. The Ranger 1000 was helluva of an optic. Can the new version live up to the hype? Let’s find out.


The Specs

Vortex Ranger 1500 on hand

Effective Range

The number 1500 isn’t just for show. It is the effective distance of the Ranger 1500. This vortex product can reach up to 1500 yards with an extreme degree of accuracy. Of course, that is on a reflective target. Unfortunately, the reflective target range is hardly handy for hunters out looking for deer.

Let’s face it, they aren’t exactly wearing shiny jewelry. Vortex knows this and provides us with the effective range of a deer. Not just a nonreflective target, but an actual deer. The effective range finding ability on your average deer with the Ranger is 750 yards.

We know very few hunters capable of taking a 750-yard shot. In fact, we don’t know anyone that would even attempt such a feat. Therefore, the total effective range is more than capable.

Further reading: Rangefinder Reflective Vs Non-Reflective Target Range Explained!


Primary Horizontal Component Distance

The Ranger 1500 is also equipped with Primary Horizontal Component Distance technology. This is designed for hunting over uneven ground, and up and down hills. The world isn’t flat, so why would you choose a rangefinder that only works on flat surfaces?



The Ranger 1500 is also equipped with a 6x magnified optic. This gives you a nice, up close and personal view of the world around you. Deer tend to be naturally well camouflaged, so every advantage you can give yourself counts! To ensure a crystal clear picture, Vortex includes a multi-coated set of optics. On top of that, there are three different brightness settings to deal with the changing light throughout the day.


Weather Resistance

The Ranger 1500 is waterproof and sealed with O rings for dirt resistance. The unit itself is made to withstand the rough and tumble nature of hunting. It is coated with a rubberized armor that provides a sure grip, as well as protects the optic from bumps and drops.


Size and Weight

The Vortex Ranger 1500 is compact and lightweight. It weighs a measly 7.7 ounces and comes in at only 39 inches long. It is pretty easy to pocket carry, and even comes with a lanyard for transporting it around your neck.



The device is also compatible with your standard tripods and comes conveniently equipped with a pocket clip. All in all, this Vortex is a well-designed product full of features. It can work anywhere and do almost anything.



How it Stacks Up

ProductVortex Ranger 1500
Vortex Ranger 1500

Leupold RX 1600i
Leupold RX 1600i

ATN 1500 Smart Laser
ATN 1500 Smart Laser

Magnification 6x6x6x
Objective Lens22mm22mm21mm
Size3.9 x 3 in3 x 1.4 in4.2 x 2.9 x 1.4 in
Weight7.7 oz7.8 oz5.4 oz
Range9 - 1500 yards6 - 1600 yards16 - 1640 yards
Rangefinder Accuracy+ / - 3 yards @ 1000 yards±0.5 yards+/- 1-yard
CostCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price


Leupold RX 1600i 

Leupold RX 1600iLeupold is probably the only company more diverse than Vortex in its optic selection. The Leupold RX is a slightly more powerful laser rangefinder, giving you 1600 yards on a reflective target. However, it does provides a straight line of sight range and has no angle compensation. The 1600i provides the same 6x power the Ranger does. At the same time, it offers a multicoated optic for a clear and consistent picture.

Overall, the Leupold RX 1600i is a great optic. Nonetheless, it isn’t as robust or as durable as the Vortex Ranger 1500. It doesn’t feature the same rubber armor or waterproof features. Although it has a water-resistant optic, it doesn’t seal like the Ranger. Somehow the Leupold RX 1600i is just barely cheaper. There is less than a 20 dollar difference.



The ATN 1500 Smart Laser

This is a cool optic with some excellent features. The ATN Smart laser is powerful and can reach out to 1500 meters. This translates to 1640 yards! So right away this is a slightly more powerful system. The ATN 1500 delivers +/- 1-yard accuracy on target, and gives the shooter fast results when the distance is measured. Unfortunately, it lacks angular compensation for going up and down hills.

What is unique is the Smart Laser’s ability to interface with your smartphone. Instead of having to look through the optic it can display the information on your smartphone. You get both the distance and the sight picture. Even better, it delivers your results within 5 seconds via a Bluetooth connection. This isn’t something everyone needs, but if you like interactivity then it will work for you!



Vortex Ranger 1500 Overall Ratings

Clarity – 5 out of 5 

five star ratingThe multi-coated lenses, multiple brightness settings, and superior glass used by Vortex make the view through this rangefinder crystal clear. The sight picture is outstanding, and the world is displayed in what can be best described as full HD. Since your prey evolved to blend in with the environment, this is an invaluable feature of a hunting optic.


Range – 5 out of 5

five star ratingTo be honest, 1500 yards is far. Nearly a mile. In fact, 1500 yards is well beyond what most shooters are capable of. Even the effective range on deer is 750 yards. Further than most people can effectively shoot. Add in the Primary Horizontal Component Distance technology, and you have a rangefinder that can do it all.


Ease of Use – 4 out of 5

four star ratingEverything is easy to use, but a glance over the manual is an invaluable means to learn a thing or two. The Vortex Ranger 1500 is not a single button operation. You have the activation button, as well as the menu button to navigate through the systems internal options. Just FYI, the system powers down after 10 seconds of not being used.


Accuracy – 5 out of 5

five star ratingThe accuracy of the 1500 rangefinder is within +/- 1 yard. For an optic that cost so much, this is to be expected. Within a yard is the industry standard for high-end rangefinders, and anything less than that would be garbage for an optic of this caliber.


Overall – 4.5 out of 5

The Vortex Ranger 1500 is an outstanding rangefinder worth every dollar. It is a pricey optic, but it is capable, durable, and extremely accurate. The long-range potential for both reflective targets and deer make it a solid choice for any shooter. Vortex has been making outstanding rangefinders for a long time, and the1500 is an excellent replacement for the much-loved Ranger 1000.


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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes


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