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Archery Rangefinders | Optics Trade Debates

  • Polona 

Welcome to another episode of Optics Trade Debates. Today, we’ll be discussing a subcategory of rangefinders, namely the rangefinders used in archery.


With each laser rangefinder subcategory, we find that the software is tailored to a specific field of use, whether it be forestry, hunting, archery or golf.


Archery rangefinders are incredibly similar to the hunting type. They are very sturdy, compact with rubberized casing to make them waterproof and fogproof. The crucial difference is in their software. It defines the line of sight and the equivalent horizontal range. Archers and those who work with a bow tend to take an elevated position when hunting. Now, with ordinary hunting, this equivalent horizontal range normally works with angles up to 45 or 50 and not much beyond that. For example, measuring the distance at a steep angle of 75 degrees with a hunting rangefinder won’t get you the equivalent horizontal range.


Compare that to archery, where the rangefinder devices have to work at very steep angles, (meaning at almost 90°s) because the archer is often looking down at the target at a sharp vertical angle. Even if the line of sight is 30 metres and the equivalent horizontal range is 7 metres, for instance, the reading with an archery rangefinder will yield perfect results. This makes archery rangefinders a sort of improved hunting rangefinders.


Moving on to the second major difference. Rangefinders have to be able to measure the distances at a really close range. We know that certain laser rangefinders simply don’t work up to 30 metres, only onwards. That’s not suitable for archery use, where shooting at closer distances, like 10 or 12 metres, is the norm. Yet the equivalent horizontal range has to be taken into account even at such short distances. To illustrate, shooting from an elevated position (like  from a tree), with a bow pointed downwards won’t be accurate without measuring the distance, however short, between the archer and the target.


These two features are what defines laser rangefinders designed for archery use: being able to provide the equivalent horizontal range at an extremely close distance and giving accurate readings at very steep angles.


Some advanced models even provide a software with correcting factors that adjust the equivalent horizontal range and are specifically modified to take into account the true ballistic movement of the arrow through the air. As such, they are able to give the most accurate reading for bow-shooting.


Most archery rangefinders will be marked as such on the very casing since their specific software setting makes them practically inoperative when applied to ordinary hunting. They cannot be used for long-range shooting and hunting with bullets.


Archery rangefinders have two subcategories of their own. There is the traditional shape of a monocular with an additional built-in laser system. But there is also an option of modern archery rangefinders that can be mounted directly on the bow.  


All archery rangefinders feature a scan mode. In archery, the target is constantly on the move and the scan mode can be activated by holding down the measuring button. That will provide a continuous read of the distance and the equivalent horizontal range.This is an extremely useful feature and comes in handy with the special nature of archery hunting.


This subcategory of rangefinders also comes with a first target priority, even though it isn’t a paramount feature. Measuring the distance to the target at such a close range, often from an elevated position at that, means that the background elements or even just the ground below the target are not an issue.

This should cover it. We thank you for your attention and if you have any questions left, please submit them through the comment section below so we can respond. Please like, share this video if you found it informational, and subscribe to our Youtube channel. We will see you next time!

Products mentioned:

Archery Rangefinders

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