Finding a Good Set of Range Finding Binoculars
Most hunters, including myself, carry at least two optical items with me in the woods (not counting my scope if I’m rifle hunting). These two items are my binoculars and my range finder.
While hunting in northern Idaho up the Selway River I was able to get my fair share of distance shots in (something I love doing). There’s nothing like taking down a nice black bear, elk, or mulie at 500 yards. Distances my 300 win mag has no problem touching out to.
But to successfully take these long shots I always needed my rangefinder. A simple movement of millimeters from your position can result in a drop change of inches or even feet at farther distances. Therefore accurately predicting the targets distance is essential in getting a clean well placed shot.
My First Test of Range Finding Binoculars
While on this hunt a friend of mine lent me his new range finding binoculars he had gotten earlier in the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love my rangefinder and all but the only downside is that the magnification on it is a little weak. I need to alternate between my binoculars to locate the animal then switch over then my lesser powerful rangefinder to lock in the distance. It’s worked for me so far but hey if I had the money I’d be upgrading my long distance shooting capabilities by getting a set of range finding binoculars too.
I’ve heard horror stories of some spending a good chunk of money on these range finding binoculars only to have them perform less than well in the field. Luckily his weren’t one of these junkers.
My Review of the Zeiss Victory Range Finding (RF) Binoculars
With them being Zeiss the quality was as you’d expect – pretty darn good. The 8x power seemed to deliver the magnification I needed while providing great clarity even in the foggy conditions. The finish on them is real nice too; rugged and allowed for good grip during the rainy days we had.
The focus adjustment is located toward the rear of the frame which is nice since it’s less of a reach to turn, a small feature but still nice to have.
In terms of the rangefinder accuracy, they claim to have accuracy of +/- 1 yard less than 600 yards. I have no reason to think otherwise since it was a perfect match with my standard range finder.
Overall based on my week long hunt using them here’s my breakdown of his Zeiss Victory RF binoculars.
- Dual purpose. They allow you to combine the functionality of your binoculars and range finder in one, reducing the weight you carry on the hunt.
- Anti-fog. These are nitrogen filled which prevents them from fogging up, something essential in poor weather conditions.
- Increased magnification. The magnification on allows for you to ensure you are directing the range finding reticle in the appropriate spot and not too high or low due to lack of ability to zoom in and see the animal.
- Clarity/Accuracy. The clarity in these is pretty solid, not like cheapo Tasco lens that blur up within a year or so. The accuracy of the rangefinder was spot on when compared to standard rangefinders.
- Weight. They are slightly heavier than your normal binoculars but I guess considering you’re replacing two pieces of gear with one it makes sense.
- Price. You can’t get away with a quality pair of range finding binoculars without coughing up the cash, but if you are able to afford it I say go for it!
Based on my time using his range finding binoculars I can’t stress the value of these things enough. Between the combination of these binoculars and my Burris scope, I was able to drop a black bear on the move at ~500 yards.
If you’ve got the funds and you’re debating getting a pair I’d strongly urge you to get the Zeiss Victory RF binoculars, you won’t be disappointed. They also come in a 10x (here) but the 8x worked fine for me when I tested them out, just depends how far you think you’ll be shooting. Here’s the best price I’ve been able to find for the same pair.
Let me know how they work out on our Facebook page.