Rangefinders: reality vs perception

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by troy2000, May 23, 2008.

  1. My mother-in-law just bought me a rangefinder for my birthday. It's something I've been wanting for years, but could never talk myself into paying for. Any time I had that kind of loose cash laying around for shooting purposes, it went into another gun instead.

    Anyway, it took me about five minutes of playing with it to realize I've been underestimating distances up close, and overestimating them far away. For example, I figured seventy five yards for something a hundred yards away, but five hundred yards for something four hundred yards away.

    I'm curious: what was the experience of some of you who tried a rangefinder after years of guesstimating by eye? How closely did it correlate with what you thought you had been seeing?
  2. AKHunter

    AKHunter G&G Newbie

    I've never even looked through one. I expect though that I would find the same thing at least at the longer ranges. But, if that has been the case it has had no effect on my hunting accuracy out to 300yards. I have hit everything where I expected to, thus the major reason I haven't purchased a range finder. I do have a strong curiosity for it though and would like to compare my estimating against a device like that.

  3. Legba

    Legba G&G Newbie

    I'm pretty much in the same boat with you with the up close and far away estimating. I don't own a laser range finder. A friend of mine let me play with one. I couldn't bring myself to buy one due to the cost and that hunting around here you're not going to have to take a very far shot. I got a mil-dot scope for the coyote gun that I've been learning to range find with. It's pretty accurate.
  4. neophyte

    neophyte Wonderment :) Forum Contributor


    Troy2000: Sir; I am glad you started this one:) I have always been a poor judge and have wonder about the new fangled:09:

    Have or did you actually stepped off the distances?

    I am in the market for a spotting scope; with the 2 maybe my distance measurement and accuracy understanding will improve
  5. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Evangelist

    i can estimate very accurately out to 250yds, after that yardage gets decieving.
  6. sc928porsche

    sc928porsche G&G Newbie

    I was taught in the military how to judge distance but I also played football in High School. I can always count the "football fields" to get a close estimate of range.
    I now have a rangefinder and found that my estimates were close.
  7. when I measured my airgun range it is 22.5 yards instead of 30 like I though it was.
  8. I only got the rangefinder yesterday afternoon, and it's been raining most of the time since. So I didn't step off anything yet; I just pointed it at some things and compared the readings with my guesstimates. The only known distance I checked was that between two fences at my mother-in-law's house, that I know are fifty feet apart. The rangefinder said 17 yards, which is fifty one feet. Since it only reads in yards, that was good enough.

    I'm not that good at eyeballing distances, but I'm good at stepping them off. I'm usually accurate somewhere within plus or minus two percent. That's ten feet or less at 500 feet, and within a hundred feet at a mile. But unfortunately, I never spent the time to train my eye by estimating distances, then actually stepping them off.
  9. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    i have found that the ones i have tried werent accurate
    i used a surveyor tape and measured 100 meters at my local range and keep borrowing different range finders from my clubs members to see what they say according to my exactly measured distance.
    they dont agree and none of them have said 100 meters..
    i dont know what to think about that either!
  10. How far off were they, billy? Were they close enough to be useful? Maybe I should have titled this perception vs rangefinder, instead of perception vs reality.
  11. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    they were + or- 3 yards or so.
    maybe i am just being picky but i thought they would be dead nuts accurate.
    i dont really know anything about them.
    except that they arent cheap.
  12. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

    I find it very time consuming to have to train all of the animals to carry a mirror so I can get a good reflection at long range.Billy,one reason you get variations is you have tried them at different times,in different climates/atmospheres.Bullets vary in different temps,so do rangefinders.I have often heard people say they were excelent at judging range but when the distance was checked by meisurement,stepping off,or rangefinders,they werent all that hot.We just have some real flat shooting guns to make up for bad guessing. sam.
  13. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    well sam ,
    all the prairie dogs here have been chromed .
  14. Big Tool

    Big Tool G&G Newbie

    I've noticed the same thing. At the begininning of deer season everyone we all go to a grave pit my dad owns to sight in our guns. Everyone I know was guessing between 400-500yards on the furthest target. After measuring and rangefininding it actually was about 350yards.

    Most people severly underestimate how long 300 yards is. The
  15. Rambo

    Rambo G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    I use a range finder to range objects in my area when I'm bow hunting only. Gun hunting I never use one. It has helped me immensly in bow hunting.
  16. Seabeescotty

    Seabeescotty G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    I'm pretty good at one to two hundred yards, because of range practice, but further out, I'm prob'ly all over the place. Now that's a nice way to get outfitted! Some day, I'd love to have one of those, and check my guesstimates, to see how far off I've been.
  17. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    Being a former deck officer, I measure in cargo containers. The standard cargo container is 40 feet long, therefore 4 containers = 53 yards. Close enough for jazz at ranges up to 200 yards or so, and I haven't had a chance to shoot at longer ranges than that in decades.
  18. If mine's within three yards, I won't complain. I doubt that would make any difference in where I'm holding.
  19. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    oh yes they are useful!
    i dont know what i expected.
    i guess i thought for the money they would tell you to the foot or something.

    i still want one but guns and other doodads get in the way.
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  20. I'm a bit like Billy on this one, maybe nice to have but I can always find something else to spend my money on. As most of my shooting is done on proper firing ranges with firing points 100 meters apart, it's not a necessity for me yet. I'll maybe borrow one from a golfing buddy for trials sometime.