The MeatEater crew spends a lot time behind Vortex ‘nocs glassing for everything from turkeys to elk. And when it’s time to make an accurate, lethal shot we rely on our rangefinders to confirm the distance to our target. Obviously, it feels like a good idea to combine these two pieces of gear into one system in order to reduce the number of items that you need to manage in the field. So, this past spring, when I was given the opportunity to try out Vortex’s new Fury HD laser rangefinding binocular, I jumped at the chance. And after using them during spring gobbler season, I’ll definitely be toting them around during this fall’s big game seasons. They’ll be particularly ideal for an upcoming muzzleloader antelope hunt, as ranging pronghorns accurately in wide open country is always difficult.
For years, I’ve been running the Vortex Razor HD 10 x 42 binos, which I love. The Razor glass is great, they’re compact and light, they feel good in the hand, and they take a beating. The Fury binos feel a little different at first. They’re a little heavier and slightly bulkier because they need to house the hardware for the integrated rangefinder. But, I quickly got used to the difference after packing them around during turkey season.
The optical quality of the Fury HD glass is very close to that of the Razors-close enough that I didn’t notice much of a difference when I compared the two side-by-side while glassing from a tripod before turkey season. And once the season opened, the view through the Fury 10 x 42s was crystal clear even in predawn, low-light conditions while I searched for gobblers roosted in a distant stand of cottonwoods. After the birds flew off the roost and hit a nearby meadow, I was able to clearly tell toms from hens at a very long range, and never felt handicapped without my Razors.
But what really makes these ‘nocs stand out is the integrated laser rangefinder. Battery life for the rangefinder is substantial. Mine lasted all of turkey season without going dead. The reticle display does include a battery life gauge and it’s a good idea to carry an extra battery in your pack, especially on extended backcountry trips.
Out in the field, the rangefinder can be operated intuitively with one hand at the same time you’re glassing. The buttons on the right side are easy to find and operate. A built-in angle compensation feature, or Horizontal Component Distance mode, automatically gauges shot distance for uphill or downhill shots. This is an absolute necessity for treestand archery hunters or mountain rifle hunters who rarely take horizontal shots. Whether it’s a dark, cloudy day in dense woods or a bright, sunny day out on open plains, the reticle can be adjusted to different brightness levels for changing light conditions. And my favorite feature is the scan mode. The scan mode allows you to continually range while moving the binoculars, which is great for quickly marking various distances or planning stalking routes to critters through broken terrain. Keep in mind, the rangefinder does its best work acquiring accurate readings at extremely long ranges when the binos are mounted on a stable tripod. But even while handheld, the Fury HDs ranged deer-sized objects way past the average rifle range of most hunters.
Finally, anyone who has spent time glassing for animals knows they have a knack for showing up out of nowhere without warning. And sometimes, they appear inside rifle or bow range on the move, or in a small opening, offering little time for a shot. When using the conventional setup of separate binos and rangefinder, critically important time can be lost switching from your binos to your rangefinder. A hunter may not have time to abandon the binos, get the rangefinder out, relocate the animal, and get an accurate range reading before getting set up for a shot. With the Fury HDs, precious seconds are saved by skipping all these steps.
This past spring, I was glassing a small group of turkeys at 40 yards, trying hard to identify a jake among some hens. One of the hens pegged me and sounded out a warning putt to the other birds. When a mature gobbler suddenly appeared a few yards behind them, I clicked the range button on my ‘nocs and immediately verified that he was within shooting range. I was able to fill my tag before the birds ran off. I’m now a believer in this system.
In the past, switching to a set of rangefinding binoculars meant a hefty investment. But Vortex has always been known for value and performance that exceeds price, and you can get into a pair of their new Fury HD laser rangefinding binos for way less than Swarovski’s or Leicas. The Fury binos use HD glass that’s on par with their top shelf Razor series but they’re priced closer to the second tier Viper lineup. And, the Fury binos have the same no-questions-asked Vortex guarantee.
Whether you’re perched in a treestand in Michigan or on top of a prime glassing point in Arizona, the process is the same. First, you need to find an animal, and then you need to precisely measure distance in order to make a good shot. With the Vortex Fury HD Laser Rangefinder Binoculars, you can do both.
Brody Henderson is MeatEater’s Community Manager