If you’ve been dilly-dallying the next big step of purchasing your very own laser range finder, don’t feel guilty. We’ve been in your shoes before.
It can be daunting for a lot of reasons – too many options, too expensive, not knowing what specifications you want.
BUT DON’T WORRY.
We’ve tried plenty of rangefinder scopes over the years, and we’ve gathered some of the best options that stood out in terms of quality, ease of use, and price.
Let’s dive right in.
- The 4 Best Rangefinder Scopes for Hunting and for Rifles
- How Do Rangefinder Scopes Work?
- How to Sight-In & Use a Rangefinder Scope
- What Makes a Good Hunting Rangefinder? (What to Consider)
- Frequently Asked Questions
The 4 Best Rangefinder Scopes for Hunting and for Rifles
NOTE: This article will not tell you which rangefinder scope is the best scope there is. BUT, we will explain what makes each rangefinder shine and what its pitfalls are to help you make the best decision for yourself.
1. Burris Eliminator III LaserScope 4-16x50mm
Many hunters give a Burris scope a solid rating.
Burris Optics makes some of the most advanced tactical and hunting rifle scopes on the market and the Eliminator III is no exception!
- Reticle -X96 Reticle
- Adjustable Parallax – 50 yds. to infinity
- Objective Lens Diameter – 50 mm
- Clear Objective Lens Diameter – 50 mm
- Ocular Lens Diameter – 42 mm
- Magnification – 4x to 16x
- Field of View – 7 – 26 (ft. @ 100 yds.)
- Eye Relief – 3.5 to 4 in.
- Mount – Weaver-style or Picatinny-style mounting base, Burris Xtreme Tactical Bases
- Length – 15.5 in.
- Weight – 30.4 ounces
- Battery Type – Lithium CR123A battery
The Burris Eliminator III has auto trajectory compensation that is easy to use! Just push a button on the scope, and an illuminated dot on the x96 reticle provides your new aiming point.
Combined with its magnification level of 4x to 16x, it allows you to have a wide field of view. This enables you to quickly sight your target.
Unlike other scopes with a rangefinder, the Burris Eliminator III gives a drop of 1,200 yards on reflective targets and 750 yards on non-reflective targets.
This translates to a more accurate and fast shooting experience despite long ranges! It makes quite a difference to how you can completely immerse yourself in the experience!
The Eliminator III doesn’t need a separate range finder, app, or smartphone as it automatically calculates and displays the exact aim point and wind data all inside the scope.
One device is all it takes.
So imagine a built-in rangefinder that guides you on where to aim, accounts for bullet drop compensation for uphill or downhill angles, and directs you where to hold for wind.
You’ve got the Burris Eliminator III!
While some would find fault with size and weight, this rangefinder scope packs a punch with its features and technology. Experienced and novice shooters alike can enjoy the Eliminator III!
- Built-in laser rangefinder scope for an accurate and faster target acquisition despite longer ranges
- Auto trajectory compensation allows the user to do away with turrets or calculate the perfect holdover
- Easy programming helps you achieve the most precise shooting compensation allowances
- Superior build quality that makes the rifle scope resilient to shock, recoil, and vibrations
- No need for a separate range finder, app, or smartphone
- Programming works with centerfire rifles only
- This can be a heavy and bulky scope to use
2. ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
BEST FOR CAPTURING SHOTS
Another good contender to make your hunt efficient is the ATN X-Sight.
ATN revolutionized the industry with its ATN scopes in 1995, and now, it continues producing high-quality scopes available to civilians.
Gone are the days of unclear black and white images of your shots.
If you’re someone who likes to take videos and photos of your shooting experience, the ATN X-Sight might be a good fit for you.
- Reticle – Multiple Patterns & Color Options
- Objective Lens Diameter – 85mm
- Magnification – 5x to 20x
- Sensor – HD 1080p ATN L130 Sensor
- Field of View– 240 ft ( at 1000 yds)
- Eye Relief– 65 mm
- Video Record Resolution – 1080p at 30 fps
- 3D Accelerometer
- 3D Magnetometer
- Mount – Picatinny Rail, Interchangeable
- Length – 11.36 in.
- Weight – 40.8 ounces
- Battery Type – 4 AA type batteries, 1.5 V (Lithium recommended)
In addition to switching from day mode to night mode as needed, the ATN X-Sight allows you to record videos and save them in the scope’s microSD card.
Its RAV can automatically record videos before, during, and after you pull the trigger. No more missing out on perfect shots. No distractions too!
Bluetooth-linking your device to your scope makes sharing your videos and capturing still images easy to share with your family and friends.
Of course, this isn’t a fancy camera on a rifle.
The ATN X-Sight also has enhanced ballistic software that can account for distance and bullet drop compensation, among many others.
All of this for a fraction of the price you would ordinarily pay for night-time optics.
Its extended-ranging capability makes all the adjustments for you! Instantaneously your point of impact shifts to have the perfect shot for scopes every time.
- Ballistic calculator helps give you an edge when it comes to hunting and competitive shooting
- Recoil Activated Video (RAV) 1080p full HD for perfect shots to remember
- Smart rangefinder needs only two button clicks to automatically range the target. Range finding becomes a breeze
- Day or night functionality (unlike other rangefinder scopes)
- Useable during day or night (unlike many light-gathering night vision scopes)
- Image stabilization guarantees crystal clear images no matter the condition!
- At 40.8 ounces, it is on the heavier side, especially for an optic that has to be used on smaller caliber rifles
- It is a battery drainer
3. Swarovski DS 5-25×52 4A-I Riflescope
BEST HIGH-TECH FEATURES
Swarovski is known to produce high-grade optical glass, and the Swarovski DS makes for good range finding for ballistically compensating rifle scopes.
In this sense, it’s a good combination of two devices in one.
Crisp images and intuitive precise range.
- Reticle – Modified 4A-I Duplex Illuminated Reticle
- Adjustable Parallax – 50 yds. – infinity
- Magnification – 5x to 25x
- Effective Objective Lens Diameter – 48-52 mm
- Field of View – 7.3-1.5 m/100m
- Mount – Ring-Mount, Rail-Mount
- Length -15.87 in
- Weight – 38.4 ounces
- Battery Type – CR123 battery
For avid hunters, maintaining responsible hunting is a TOP PRIORITY. With this in mind, the Swarovski DS rifle scope offers support by taking care of the grunt work for you.
No need for manual adjustments. At the push of a button, it takes care of ballistics, distance, angle, temperature, and air pressure into account.
The dS projects relevant information in the field of view in real-time without any distraction, and it automatically displays the correct aiming point.
It comes with an app, the dS Configurator. There, you can use your mobile device to adjust your firearm-ammunition combination and ballistic calculator.
- Once you have calibrated the database, just sync with it to download everything on the app into the range finder.
- After that, you’ll be able to take out human error in calculations. Your range-finding rifle is good to go and ready to shoot.
The illuminated reticle creates a pinpoint sight picture prioritizing accuracy in real-time, making the ethical shot as quick and painless as it should be.
For the best possible visibility during use, the heads-up display on your scope automatically sets the brightness based on ambient brightness.
While there are plenty of cheap scopes on the market, there are issues of scopes going dark.
This would not be a problem with Swarovski optics! By tilting the scope, you increase how much longer the scope will stay by a time pre-set in the app.
Although it comes with a hefty price tag, it pays for it by being an extremely quick scope. Laser range finding reaches up to 1500 yards, shot adjustment technology, and quality optic for shooting.
- It is a hybrid-electronic scope. It has a manual zero. (If you set it up for 100 meters, it will always be zeroed in for 100 meters. If your battery runs out or you have a problem with laser range finding, you will still have a standard 100 meters zeroed in your scope.)
- dS Configurator App takes out the guesswork of calculating precise data for your long-range reticle, ballistic turret, or your custom engraved ring for the elevation turret
- It is heavier and larger than some scopes on the market
- It is a rather expensive laser range finder
4. Burris Eliminator IV LaserScope 4-16x65mm
PREMIUM OPTION & FEATURES
We’ve already talked about Burris company’s Eliminator III.
With the fourth generation of development, the Eliminator IV Burris scope is still true to its vision of offering a sophisticated and efficient way to make accurate shots at extended distances.
The latest iteration has all the capabilities of the Burris Eliminator III BUT with a laser range finder that can accurately range targets out to 2,000 yards or more.
- Reticle -X96 Reticle
- Adjustable Parallax – 30 yds. to infinity
- Objective Lens Diameter – 65 mm
- Clear Objective Lens Diameter – 50 mm
- Ocular Lens Diameter – 42 mm
- Magnification – 4x to 16x
- Field of View – 33 – 9 (ft. @ 100 yds.)
- Eye Relief – 3.5 to 4 in.
- Mount – Weaver or Picatinny base
- Length – 13.5 in
- Weight – 28.8 oz.
- Battery Type – 2 x AAA
What’s great about the Burris Eliminator is that its technology helps minimize the risk of taking a sub-optimal shot.
Like other Burris optics, the range finder flashes the reticle when the target is beyond the chosen cartridge’s limits. A warning sign of flashing dots in the reticle will appear.
It also indicates when it does not get an accurate measurement of the target.
If you think that wasn’t enough, the Eliminator IV also comes with a wireless remote control that allows the shooter to take range with a press of a button.
No other range-finding rifle has this capability.
With its ballistics calculator, it will use the data you provide, and a red dot will give the exact holdover for your shot at the measured range.
It’s best used for big game hunting, target, shooting, tactical use, or as a laser range finder.
If you have a few extra to spare, there’s no doubt that the Burris Eliminator IV is one of the best rangefinder scopes available! It provides long-range capabilities that aren’t available in any other rangefinder scope.
If you’re trying to save some money, you can try the Burris Eliminator III instead.
- A powerful, built-in laser range finder will instantly determine the distance to your target out to 2,000 yards
- Its internal inclinometer delivers a precise aiming point for angled shots up to 45˚
- Multi-coated lenses for edge-to-edge clarity of images
- Easy to zero
- Comes with a wireless remote that allows the user to push the button to range
- Burris Forever Warranty. The company will repair or replace damaged or defective Burris optics — no questions asked!
- Parallax adjustment is on the objective bell. It may make it challenging to adjust while looking through the scope
How Do Rangefinder Scopes Work?
Today’s rangefinder scopes often utilize laser technology to give out precise measurements of distance.
Admittedly, we take a lot of tools that we have lightly. They just work. That’s is a fair assumption.
While this may be fine for most tools, you’ll find that rangefinders perform more efficiently when you understand how they operate to maximize the product’s performance.
The Fundamentals of a Laser Rangefinder
The optics on a rangefinder scope do NOT take measurements. It just allows you to identify where the target is in the first place.
Once you’ve acquired the target, the process of measuring for distance is accounted for by the laser rangefinder. This will be your best friend for accurate shooting!
It will also have a set level of magnification, showing how much closer the target appears than what is seen with the naked eye.
How does this translate to your hunting trip?
Simple. The higher the level of optics magnification, the more detailed of a picture you get. You would end up missing details with lower levels of magnification.
Once you have your target in sight and centered in your rangefinder scope, the device can then make all the relevant data you need to get the PERFECT shot!
How to Sight-In & Use a Rangefinder Scope
The laser rangefinder scope works by sending a laser beam to the surface you’re pointing at with the rifle scope. This laser beam gets reflected at the laser rangefinder.
Inside the rifle scope are a receiver and a high-speed clock that calculates the length of time it takes for the light to get reflected. It then uses this data to compute the distance to the target.
Once ballistic data and environmental factors are properly set, you can expect to see an accurate range on your scope.
On a conventional range finder scope, all you have to do to get distance measurements is aim and press.
- To zero in, take sets of three-shot groups. Take note of where they land. Depending on the application, you may need to adjust your scope. Repeat this until you consistently hit the targets.
- Make a good guess of the object’s height and compare it with the scope’s measurements.
- From there, pick your scope and set your reticle on your aim. Raise the reticle so that you are on the appropriate distance marker on your scope. The appropriate marker will depend on your rifle and what you have your scope zeroed at.
Like most things, there is a learning curve to using your rangefinder scope. But, give it time.
The more you use your laser rangefinders, the easier it becomes to do all of the calculations and to find the right spot on the scope to aim with!
What Makes a Good Hunting Rangefinder? (What to Consider)
No matter your experience level, the factors you need to consider before buying laser rangefinders are more or less going to be the same.
#1 Size and Weight
With laser rangefinders, you will find that most of their downsides involve size and weight.
Carrying the extra weight when traversing steep ridges or high mountains during a hunt will not be comfortable.
Do consider — are you going to be tired by the time that you take your shot or not?
#2 Build Quality
Here’s what to expect with laser rangfinder scopes: Terrain, temperature, climate, and usage all play a part in your equipment’s eventual wear and tear.
The lasers and electronics in your scope are delicate and can be affected by almost everything in the field.
You can do something about these delicate components by ensuring the build quality of your scope, but these do add cost.
Durability can also add weight and bulk.
When it all comes down to it, if money were not an issue, we would get the best rangefinder scope money could buy.
You will find that as technology gets smaller and more compact, they tend to be more expensive. Established brands like Swarovski and the Burris company also carry weight in cost.
We DO want the best bang for the buck.
So ask yourself: How much am I willing to spend?
If you already have a specific price in mind, you might want to take a look at our Top $500 Rifle Scopes if you’re interested.
These are more specific (pun intended) to you.
As the user, identify what you need for battery life, rifle scope magnification, and ballistic calculator, among others.
There are also minute of angle measurements and bullet drop compensation rangefinding rifle scopes to consider.
Pick scopes that will work right for your situation.
To make it easier to zero in on your choice, what are your non-negotiables in scopes?
Cost is quite variable, so you can often find something within your price range.
All of these laser rangefinders offer programs that will take care of the guesswork of calculations. So here are some questions to consider:
- How good is the program?
- How fast can it compute while considering factors inputted by the shooter?
- How consistent is its performance?
#6 Ease of Use
As you can see from our reviews, some of the rangefinder scopes need more than one device to maximize their full use as a productive long-distance rangefinder.
If you are looking into only one device, consider the Burris Eliminator III which shows you what you need all within the scope. It’s all-in-one!
The Swarovski dS provides amazing visual clarity for your hunting experience.
The Eliminator IV allows the user to push the button to range, while the ATN X-Sight allows for a seamless video recording while you’re on the move.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Difference Between a Rangefinder and a Spotting Scope?
In hunting, shooting, or even golf, a laser rangefinder gives an edge for accurate distance and high precision shooting or accurate ball swinging.
- It’s an optical device that uses a laser beam to measure the distance from the device to a certain target helping you determine the bullet trajectory.
- Laser rangefinders revolutionized long-range shooting and paved the way towards only having one remaining major variable: THE WIND.
A spotting scope, on the other hand, is a small and portable telescope with optics.
- As it provides enlarged images of distant objects, it is often used in bird watching, surveillance, target shooting, and hunting.
Do Spotting Scopes Measure Distance?
While it has the capacity, it can only provide an approximate measure. It would NOT be as accurate as range finders.
Some companies tried to create spotting scopes with a rangefinder. So far, the gap for exact distance measuring scopes remains unfilled.
Using a spotting scope with a rangefinder makes a difference in long-distance target acquisition. But for taking an accurate shot, you can always settle for using a rifle scope with a rangefinder.
Can You Use a Rangefinder as a Spotting Scope?
The limitation is in the field of view.
While you do get closer to the object without moving an inch, scanning the horizon can be difficult given the magnification of a rangefinder.
A spotter scope’s larger field of view allows for EASIER scanning of a larger area.
If you’re just beginning, then finding a rangefinder here is a great choice. At the end of the day, it all boils down to user preference.
With the comparable scopes on this list, we’ve carefully evaluated them to offer the best in quality, dependability, and other considerations.
Here’s to finding the best rangefinder scope for you!
CHANGELOG: May 18, 2022 - minor content and formatting edits