Rangefinding binoculars

Discussion in 'Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics' started by Rickmt, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Veteran

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    I grew up in Bozeman and return every fall to hunt with my dad and sister.
    It has always been hard to accurately guess distance, especially in the excitement. I used a .270 Winchester for 24 years with a fixed 6x scope. (Like @Alistair i just got used to basic estimations and it worked fine. A range finder helps us all be a lot more accurate, but also know when a shot is just too far. Nothing like antelope and elk hunting to get one confused on sizing in the scope picture. And the steep uphill or downhill shots can really mess with bullet drop.
    Even worse: buying new guns and then having to get used to a new caliber.
     

  2. AWLee

    AWLee AH Member

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    @Tra3 I found the optical quality lacking plus the adjustment rings don't lock which leads to constant changes in focus. I find my 30 year old Swarovski's are far superior optically
     

  3. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Veteran

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    @AWLee i agree that adjustment rings don’t lock. I put white lines on the ring and bino body so I can insure it is correct in low light. That should be fixed. I’ve never owned swaro glass, so my comparison should be taken with that in mind.
     
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  4. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    A few answers...

    1) The Leica HD-B range finder / binoculars share the same sensors with the stand alone range finder CRF 2000 B and its upgraded version the 2700 B. What that means is that they DO have a built in inclinometer and they do measure equivalent horizontal distance. To appreciate how important that is in mountains hunting, let me give the following example: a 350 yd shot at 40 degrees uphill or downhill is the ballistic equivalent to a 263 yd horizontal shot. If you only measure flight path distance and do not correct for angle, you will likely overshoot.

    2) Two other sensors aboard the Leica HD-B (binocs/range finder comb0) and CRF B (stand-alone range finder) are a temperature and a pressure sensor. Powder temperature as well as altitude - more technically accurately: barometric pressure - DO influence the internal and external ballistics. Admittedly not as much as the angle of shots, but they still will yield a couple inches difference at ranges over 300 yd.

    3) Electronics do not fail at low hunting temperature, they actually strive. What fails is the electrical component: the battery. There is a very, very simple and 100% reliable solution. Put a brand new top quality lithium battery in the device when you start a hunt, every time in winter. I am personally partial to Energizer Ultimate Lithium, and yes, of course , I do carry a spare one in an inside coat pocket when it is cold (in the day pack when it is warm).

    4) I too believed (and still believe) that knowing your load ballistics and its MPBR is enough to go hunting. I am on record in this blog explaining that I zero for 300 yd; aim low toward the belly line from 0 to 200 yd; dead on at 300; and high toward the top of the back line at 400. It works, and it is my back-up in case of electrical failure. This being said, one truly has to try a range finder that automatically gives you either the clicks (I do not use this function in the hunting fields) or the hold-over or hold-under in inches for any shot, corrected for angle, temperature, and altitude to realize the "how could I have lived without that" moment that this provides!!! I still know (and advocate) how to use the MPBR, but the Leica CRF 2000 B changed for hunting life forever...

    5) As to the Bluetooth connection with the Kestrel, I am not 100% sold. There is no escaping that if you want a usable wind measure with the Kestrel, you need to get it out, measure directly into the wind, plot the deflection angle between wind direction and shot direction, etc. At this stage you are in full bench mode and likely the next thing to pop out of your pocket is the iphone with the ballistic app. Do the newest Bluetooth binocs/range finder combos also integrate a compass and do they get from the Kestrel both wind speed and azimuth? I am not sure (?). Without both, wind speed alone is of little value...

    6) Regarding magnification, I accept the weight of the 10x (been on Zeiss 10x40 BGAs for 30 years). I just can't see well enough with 8x to really judge trophy quality on difficult to evaluate animals such as Chamois, Mountain Goats, etc. Actually, if anything I would have liked 15x better in Leica HD-B like they used to make the fist generation of Geovid R, weight and all. Or maybe 12x could be a good compromise.

    7) Regarding the ballistic curves, my experience is that the 12 built-in curves that Leica offer cover a lot of loads. I used curve US 1 for the .257 Wby 100 TTSX, .300 Wby 165 gr TTSX, and .340 Wby 225 gr TTSX out to 400 yd, all 3 loads are never more than 1" higher or lower than the Leica curve, which is good enough for field applications. My two boys' 7 mm Rem Mag 140 gr TTSX load is within less than 1/2" of the Leica US 3 curve out to 400 yd. Sure, the ability to now enter your own curve on a memory card is better, but hardly paradigm changing.

    8) Yep, there is no escaping the logic: the Leica HD-B range finder / binoculars (or Leica or Swarovski equivalent) is the next logical step. It simply saves a lot of precious time vs. glassing, dropping the glasses, grabbing the range finder, re-acquiring the critter in the field of view, measuring, when time is precious, e.g. sheep or goat trophy of a lifetime about to walk over a ridge. Let us be real, not everyone can afford the $2,000 for the 2,000 yd model (not sure why a hunter would want to spend $3,000 for a 3,000 yd model), but if you can, it is really worth it...

    Just my $0.02 :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  5. Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris

    Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Fanatic

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    i use the leica 10X42 with range finder
    best gift i ever got
    cant live without them now
    with a good bino harness never felt heavy or worried me walking with them all day

    regards
     
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  6. Rickmt

    Rickmt SILVER SUPPORTER AH Senior Member

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    Thanx buckdog! I am not a highly technical hunter and my shots are under 350 always. I would not use the Leica features involving turrets etc .
     

  7. Rickmt

    Rickmt SILVER SUPPORTER AH Senior Member

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    One Day you mention a $2000 model What is that?
     

  8. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    It is a sale on the "old" model, but still brand new. To me this is all a hunter needs.

    Actually I would argue that hunters would be even happier with a $1,000 - 1,000 yd model, but I suspect that the $ are in the glass. I bet the laser emitter and receptor, as well as sensors (temperature, pressure, inclinometer) and processor are not even worth $50...

    https://www.eurooptic.com/Leica-Geo...MIwZari_jF4AIVi4bACh0S8g5JEAYYASABEgIkH_D_BwE

    upload_2019-2-18_11-50-13.png
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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  9. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Alternatively Buckdog, with the now generally reliable velocities communicated on the internet for the factory loads by the manufacturers, and with the ballistic coefficients (BC) communicated on the internet by the bullet makers, the $15 Shooter App on your iPhone/Android will produce a detailed 25 yd (or meters) increments ballistic curve in seconds, and you can just look from the 12 pre-loaded curves on the Leica "B" (for ballistic) models (either Geovid HD binoc/range finder combo, or CRF range finder), which one matches the most your curve.

    If you want a higher level of technical precision, you can indeed purchase a $90 Caldwell chronograph and verify the load velocity out of your own rifle. Based on my experience, I would say that this is necessary if you develop your own loads to shoot steel at 1,000 yd, but NOT necessary if all you want to do is use hunting factory loads inside of 400 yd. So, Rickmt, based on your self description I would not bother with a chrono.

    In summary
    1 -- check your factory load speed and its bullet BC on the internet;
    2 -- get the $15 Shooter app for your iPhone/Android/tablet and get it to spit out the 25 yd increments curve for your load in table form;
    3 -- compare your load ballistic table to the Leica pre-loaded 12 tables (printed at the end of the user booklet, and available on line);
    4 -- select on the Leica device which curve you want to use (in my case with the 3 Wby loads I use most of the time, it is US 1 - the .257 and .300 loads are within + or - 1/2" from the Leica US 1 curve out to 400 yd, and the .340 is within + or - 1" from that same US 1 curve to 375 yd. My boys use the curve US 3 with their 7 mm Rem Mag 140 TTSX load);
    5 -- select on the Leica device the output you want (in my case it is hold-over / hold-under in inches) Note: you have the alternative options for clicks or equivalent horizontal distance;
    6 -- sight your rifle for a 300 yd zero. Your ballistic table will tell you what it means at 100 yd for your load (in my case +2.2" @ 100 yd with the .257 Wby 100 TTSX; + 2.5" with the .300 Wby 165 TTSX; +3.2" with the .340 Wby 225 TTSX);
    7 -- use and enjoy: all you then need to do is press the button. The Leica will measure the distance, the angle, the temperature and the pressure; it will correct for equivalent horizontal distance at the altitude you are; and it will display the flight path distance for 1 second, then the hold-under / hold-over: for example "- 2 " or "+ 4" which means you need to put the cross hair 2" low or 4" high, without worrying about angle, altitude, temperature, distance, etc. which are already all accounted for...

    Really, it IS very SIMPLE, and it works. As previously stated it is hunting-life changing...

    Per the above, I am with you on this. I use the turret function when shooting steel at 600, 800, 1,000 yd and beyond, when I have all the time in the world; when I measure the wind; etc. etc. but not for hunting within 400 yd at the most, and 300 yd as a first shot self-imposed limit...

    I hope this helps Rickmt :)

    One parting thought: relatively, a $2,000 (sale price as they last) Leica HD- B 2200 is a great deal compared to a $3,000 Leica HD- B 3000, but a lower price option (also at Euro Optics) is the Leica CRF 2000 B. It is the range finder alone, but it does everything I just described ... for $400. Now, THAT is a steal...
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019

  10. Scott CWO

    Scott CWO AH Enthusiast

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    I have both the Leica and Swarovski EL Range. Swarovski is superior.

    Leica glass not quite as clear from edge to edge and I have had to return them twice to fix the rangefinder because it stops working at longer ranges after a while and needs tuned up. I have also returned them twice (including this year right now) because the individual eye focus adjustments change over time and need to be re-centered. A real pain! Once I get them back, I am giving them to my son and keeping my Swarovski.

    I have never had any problems with any of my Swarovski binoculars or spotting scopes. I am an outfitter/guide and maybe I am harder on equipment than most hunters but Swarovski has never let me down. I get the outfitter discount from both companies so I am not biased or sponsored by either company. I have had clients that have had the same problems with their Leicas.
     

  11. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    + 1 on Swaros quasi indestructibly. Still love my SLC 8x30 WB for close cover hunts, although I did have to send them back after 20 years when they started growing fungus on the internal lenses surfaces. They came back as new.

    Is your Experience with the Leica with the 1st generation Geovid R or with the 2nd generation Geovid HD? I too have seen first hand issues with the 1st gen, but it seems the 2nd gen is a completely different animal. Really interested in your response...

    The one thing I prefer on the 2nd gen Leica Geovid HD B is their ballistic functions. Unless I am mistaken, the Swaros EL measure distance and angle but do not have the ballistic curve function, correct? Vastly useless after Bongo I concede :) but valuable in open terrain...

    Have not tried the Zeiss binocs/range finder combo, although I am a dyed in the wool Zeiss fan since I saved hard and long 35 years ago to purchase my 10x40 BGA that are still my go to binocs for general hunting... Talking about indestructibility, the BGA probably are King.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019

  12. Scott CWO

    Scott CWO AH Enthusiast

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    My Leica problems are with Gen1.

    For short to medium ranges, I like the Swarovski with the built in rangefinder. For long and extremely long range with my 6.5 GAPP, I have a Sig 2400 that is programmed with my rifle and load ballistics with an app Bluetoothed to my phone and a wind meter Bluetoothed as well. It all shows up on my iPhone screen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019

  13. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Thanks for the answer Scott. Amen on all accounts :)
     

  14. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Fanatic

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    I have a set of Leica Geovid 10x42 R, the older (I believe Gen 1) and more boxy looking ones.
    Have had them for several years now and never experienced a problem with them with nearly daily use.
    Had them in a FHF Gear harness, but have transitioned to the original strap and carrying them cross body style.
    Still use a smaller Leupold RX800i for bow hunting when hunting in thick cover and 10x isn't needed.
    Both of these give a corrected distance to compensate for angle, an invaluable tool when hunting.
     

  15. Rickmt

    Rickmt SILVER SUPPORTER AH Senior Member

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    I just want to say thank you to everyone who has responded to my question about these expensive binoculars / rangefinders !
    Great info and it amazes me the knowledge some of you guys have .
    As of now I think I am headed down the Swarovski road . The mere mention of weak service after the fact makes me reluctant to pursue Leica .
    Are the new Swarovski models significantly better than 3 or 4 year old models?
     
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  16. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    FYI Rickmt, I received exceptional service from Leica on a pair of 1st gen 10x42 Geovid that actually belong to the PH I hunted with at Huntershill in August 2018... See https://www.africahunting.com/threa...rom-leica-and-cameralandny.46261/#post-490401
    I would not discount Leica because of weak service (although they do have a few bad instances on record).

    As to performance of the products, I perceive the respective optical performance as being better with Leica because the laser emitter is not housed inside the binocs optics, which means that the full suite of up-to-date glass coatings can be applied; and, if my understanding is correct (?), the Swaro do not offer the ballistic functions the Leica do.

    Not arguing in favor or against Swaro (got great service from them too and love their products) and not pushing Leica as a brand per se, just providing data...

    Enjoy whichever you pick.
     

  17. rinehart0050

    rinehart0050 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    My wife has the vortex fury binos and they work great. I'd say the range finder in the binos is just as effective as my separate vortex ranger 1000 range finder.

    The binos are a bit heavy for extended periods of glassing
     

  18. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Fanatic

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    I'm having to revisit this subject as my Leica Geovid 10x42 R (Gen 1) have found a new home.
    My PH fell in love with them on day one of our safari and was using them more than a few times over his Vortex Diamondbacks.
    Incidentally, he had paid about the same for the Vortex in SA that I paid for the Leica's in the US.
    I made a deal with him that the binos would be part of his tip, he was ecstatic to get them.
    His boss was upset with him for accepting items instead of $ for his tip, that is until he realized what they were.
    Once he did, his boss offered to buy them from my PH...kinda funny.

    Anyway, I'm looking at another set of Lecia's all of them the 10x42 variety but there are several versions.
    Leica Geovid 10x42 HD-B 3000 that include a ballistic calculator and go for around $3K.
    Leica Geovid 10x42 HD-R 2700 no ballistic calculator but have angle compensation for $2.6K.
    Leica Geovid 10x42 HD-B 2200 ballistic calculator and a discontinued item going for $2.1K.

    Looking for anyone with experience with some of these.
    I use them for hunting and shooting at ranges up to 350 yards on game or maybe 500 or 600 yards on varmints.

    Suggestions to another similar product is welcome as well.
    Although, I've looked at the Swaro EL Range and don't like the bulge at the bottom of the housing - it's a deal breaker for me.
     

  19. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    CamerlandNY has the 3000 in a Demo for $2400. I have the first Gen HD-B, I would by a B over a R. I have SD cards for every gun and every bullet grain for each (for the ones that I own). Get a B.
     
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  20. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Fanatic

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    I've been told to get a "B" model by several people, just not sure I really need it.
    I have range cards for my rifles, and with the corrected distance for angle should be good.
    That said, I could get the "B" and not use it, but still have it available if I want.

    I'm just unlikely to be changing out micro-SD cards in the field with my wife and I shooting different rifles.
    Having a range card, with corrected range from the binos will be quicker than making sure the right card is installed.
     

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