If you’ve been dilly-dallying the next big step of purchasing your very own laser range finder, don’t feel guilty. I’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.
I’ve tried plenty of the best rangefinder rifle scopes over the years, and I’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)
- Advantages of a Rangefinder Rifle Scope
- Disadvantages of a Rangefinder Rifle Scope
- Frequently Asked Questions
The 4 Best Rangefinder Scopes for Hunting and for Rifles
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
- 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
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!
The Burris Eliminator III has auto trajectory compensation that I found EASY to use!
All I had to do was push a button on the scope, and an illuminated dot on the x96 reticle provided my new aiming point.
Its magnification level of 4x to 16x gives you a nice, wide field of view, allowing 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, even over long ranges! I found that it makes quite a difference!
The Eliminator III doesn’t need a separate range finder, app, or smartphone.
It automatically calculates and displays the exact aim point and wind data all inside the scope.
One device is all it takes.
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 I found the Eliminator III fairly bulky, 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
- Auto trajectory compensation
- Easy programming helps you achieve the most precise shooting compensation allowances.
- 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
- 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)
Another good contender that’s helped make my hunts more 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 want to take videos and photos of your shooting experience, the ATN X-Sight might be a good fit for you.
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, don’t discount this as just a “fancy camera” on a rifle.
The ATN X-Sight also has enhanced ballistic software that can account for distance and bullet drop compensation.
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! Your point of impact will quickly shift to land the perfect shot every time.
- Ballistic calculator
- Recoil Activated Video (RAV) 1080p full HD
- Smart rangefinder needs only two button clicks to automatically range the target.
- Day or night functionality
- Useable during day or night
- Image stabilization guarantees crystal-clear images
- 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 Rifle Scope
BEST HIGH-TECH FEATURES
- 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
Swarovski is known to produce high-grade optical glass, and the dS is a good range-finding tool if you find yourself constantly compensating for your ballistics.
I recommend this scope because it’s a good combination of two devices in one.
If you want crisp images and an INTUITIVE precise range, get a Swarovski!
The Swarovski dS rifle scope is a great support tool that takes the grunt work out of hunting, letting you get a move on.
I don’t need to manually adjust my ballistic turrets or elevation turrets.
This rangefinder will handle calculations for ballistics, distance, angle, temperature, and air pressure at the push of a button.
The dS projects relevant information in the field of view in real-time, automatically displaying 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’ve calibrated the database, sync with it to download everything on the app into the rangefinder.
You’ll be able to take out human error in calculations!
The illuminated reticle creates a pinpoint sight picture that prioritizes accuracy in real-time, making the ethical shot as quick and painless as can 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, I’ve had issues with rifle scopes suddenly going dark.
This won’t be a problem with Swarovski optics!
By tilting the scope, you increase how long the rifle scope will stay lit by a time pre-set in the app.
Although I’ll admit that 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, it’s got shot adjustment technology, and it’s a high-quality optic for shooting.
- It is a hybrid-electronic scope (If you set it up for 100 meters, it will always be zeroed in for 100 meters.)
- dS Configurator App takes out the guesswork of calculating precise data
- Heavier and larger than some scopes on the market
4. Burris Eliminator IV LaserScope 4-16x65mm
PREMIUM OPTION & FEATURES
- 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
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.
What I like 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’ll also give a clear indication when it can’t 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’ll use the data you provide, and a red dot will give the exact holdover for your shot at the measured range.
I’d recommend this range finder for big game hunting, target, shooting, or tactical use.
If you can stretch your budget, 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, I’d suggest trying the Burris Eliminator III instead.
- Built-in laser range finder determines the distance to your target out to 2000 yards
- Its internal inclinometer delivers a precise aiming point for angled shots up to 45˚
- Multi-coated lenses
- Easy to zero
- Comes with a wireless remote
- Comes with Burris Forever Warranty
- Parallax adjustment may be challenging to adjust while looking through the scope
How Do Rangefinder Scopes Work?
Today’s best rangefinder rifle scopes often utilize laser technology to give out precise measurements of distance.
Admittedly, a lot of tools nowadays just work. That’s a fair assumption.
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, leave the process of measuring the distance to your 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 can be seen with the naked eye.
How does this translate to your hunting trip?
Simple. The higher the level of optics magnification, the more detailed a picture you’ll get.
I’ve used lower levels of magnification before and missed a few key details.
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 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, you can get distance measurements by aiming and pressing.
- 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.
I’ll admit that there’s definitely a learning curve to using your rangefinder scope. But give it some time.
The more you use your laser range-finding scopes, the easier it’ll become to do all of the calculations and find the right spot on the scope to aim with!
You can learn how to sight a rifle scope without a boresighter here!
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.
Here are some of the most important fundamentals I’d recommend focusing on.
#1 Size and Weight
With range-finding scopes, you will find that most of their downsides involve size and weight.
Let me tell you, carrying that extra weight when traversing steep ridges or high mountains during a hunt isn’t comfortable.
So consider — Will you be tired by the time you take your shot?
#2 Build Quality
Here’s what to expect with laser rangefinder 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 in my experience, higher-quality scopes are more expensive.
Durability can also add weight and bulk.
When it comes down to it, if money weren’t an issue, I’d get the best rangefinder scope money could buy.
However, as technology gets smaller, it also becomes more expensive. Established brands like Swarovski and the Burris company also carry weight in cost.
Everyone wants the best bang for their 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 my Top $500 Rifle Scopes if you’re interested.
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 rangefinder rifle scopes to consider.
Pick rifle scopes that will work for your situation.
To make it easier to zero in on your choice, what are your non-negotiables for scopes?
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 my reviews, some of these rangefinder scopes need more than one device to maximize their full use as a productive long-distance rangefinder.
If you’re looking into only one device, consider the Burris Eliminator III, which shows you everything you’ll need 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 seamless video recording while you’re on the move.
Advantages of a Rangefinder Rifle Scope
There are a lot of reasons to say YES to rangefinder scopes. Here are some benefits that may convince you to try them out yourself!
Makes Things Easier
As mentioned earlier, rangefinder scopes take a lot of guesswork out and allow you to focus on landing the shot.
It also takes away the need to rely on another device!
Since rangefinders require you to stay on target, you will be able to fire more shots faster.
The scope is already doing the work for you, so all you have to do is stay put and practice firing.
You won’t have to deviate from your shooting position!
Disadvantages of a Rangefinder Rifle Scope
Apart from these, there are also some reasons why rangefinders may not be the best for everyone.
For starters, the additional technology of rangefinders makes them more expensive.
Having a two-in-one device may seem like it is worth the price, but at the end of the day, we would always choose to save as much money as possible.
Rangefinders are also heavier, making them harder and more tiring to carry around on the field.
All the technological components only add to the bulk as well.
Apart from that, some rangefinders are too heavy for your rifle, which may make the whole shooting session quite uncomfortable.
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 rangefinder rifle scopes revolutionized long-range shooting and paved the way toward only having one remaining major variable: THE WIND.
A spotting scope, on the other hand, is a small and portable telescope with optics.
It provides enlarged images of distant objects, so it’s often used for 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 WON’T be as accurate as range finders.
Some companies have tried to create spotting scopes with a rangefinder. I don’t think they’ve gotten it down yet.
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.
Is a Rangefinder Scope Worth It?
In my opinion, they are only worth it if you are experienced and do not mind the additional weight and cost.
Otherwise, you are better off sticking with a standard rifle scope.
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, I’ve carefully evaluated them to offer the best in quality, dependability, and other considerations.
Here’s to finding the best rangefinder scope for you!
FINAL TIP: You can take your new rangefiner and shoot it at ranges 1000 yards and above!