Steve's Garage: Vortex Rangefinders

Buying optics isn't easy. The strange assortment of numbers and specs can be headscratchers rather than selling points if you don't know what they mean. But to get the most out of these impressive tools, it's important to understand just what they're capable of, which is mostly what those numbers and specs communicate. That way, when you're glassing in the morning and first light is slowly creeping up, you'll be dead certain that the rangefinder in your hand is up to the job.

The Viper HD 3000 is good for ranging just about any animal within approximately 2,000 yards. This rangefinder comes with four different target modes: normal, first, last, and extended range.

The normal mode gives the strongest signal back on an object and works from treestands to mountains. You can scan while in this setting and it's the most universal. First mode allows you to focus on the object closest to you without targeting objects in the distance like trees or cliffs. Conversely, if you’re looking through a screen of brush or rocks at an animal, last mode allows you to focus on it without being distorted by the objects in the foreground. Extended range mode (ELR) is used for extreme distances. It requires a longer return time and more stability, but you can range objects up to 3,000 yards away.

This rangefinder also has two ranging modes, line of sight (LOS) which gives you a straight line distance and horizontal component distance (HCD) which compensates for whatever angle you’re glassing at. HCD mode takes into account severe inclines or declines which might result from shooting from a tree stand or at a cliff face, delivering the most accurate shooting distance.

The Diamondback HD 2000 reliably ranges game animals to about 1,400 yards. It comes in normal and last target modes, as well as LOS and HCD ranging modes.

The Crossfire HD 1400 is a great beginner rangefinder. It gives accurate readings to about 750 yards and has normal, first, and last target modes. It also has LOS and HCD ranging modes.

Accurate ranges make more accurate shots. These three options are all waterproof with the clearest optics, so whether you're posted up in a tree stand spotting whitetails at less than 100 yards or you're glassing goats on the next ridgeline, Vortex has a solution for you.

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