What can $500 buy you? It can land you a rangefinder with every luxury perk that you’ll ever need for your hunt.
With these prices and distance reaches, you’ll be welcomed into the elite world of rangefinders.
With over 1,000 yards to cover, let’s see how these top optic brands measure up to win your dollar!
The Best Rangefinders for Under $500
Spending this much on a rangefinder isn’t the most popular option. It’s obvious why – price. However, the quality glass that comes with being able to get distances out past 1,000 yards is something only the true, long-range hunter will appreciate.
On this note, don’t be discouraged if you see piddling review numbers. They may be lacking because the units are most likely out of most people’s budgets for a rangefinder.
However, if you find yourself in this range for a new unit, you’ve got to be experienced with how one works to comprehend and appreciate the quality. Golfers won’t need this kind of distance reach, so it’s up to you hunters to put the following lineup to the ultimate test!
|Vortex Optics Ranger 1800||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Sig Sauer Kilo 2000||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Leupold RX-1200i TBR/W with DNA||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Bushnell Elite 1 Mile Con-X||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Bushnell G-Force DX ARC||VIEW ON AMAZON|
Our 5 Top Rangefinders Less Than $500
Vortex Optics Ranger 1800
This is the best you can get when it comes to the traditional-style of a rangefinder from Vortex. The Ranger 1800 is the top-of-the-line unit for your distance needs, unless you want to spend about 3x the price for very sweet laser rangefinder binocular. But, we’re not quite there yet, so the Ranger will have to do.
In fact, the Ranger 1800 is more than adequate for the job. You can range out to 1,800 yards with this lightweight and compact baby. Far-grazing deer will be within your reach at 900 yards. Enabling you to see all these details are the anti-reflective coatings, adjustable diopter, and LED display.
Furthermore, you have those luxury features in the palm of your hand like Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) for angle compensation. If you wanted to, you can increase stability and rangefinder performance by mounting this baby on a tripod – yeah, it’s tripod adaptable! With the Ranger 1800 in your hand, you may as well be considered a professional – thanks Vortex.
Sig Sauer Kilo 2000
For long-range hunters, what’s the single most vital piece of information in the hunt? The distance. But, you also need to depend on accuracy when you’re ranging this far. Can the Kilo 2000 do it? You bet it can!
Despite “2000” in its name, it can range as far out as 3,400 yards – yes, it’s a jaw-dropper. While it hasn’t been tested this far, testing does confirm positive target acquisition and accurate distances well out past 2,000 yards. According to the specs, you can reach deer at 1,200 yards!
The Kilo is certainly an impressive unit, and it’s by far one of the fastest, most responsive units we’ve seen. It has an LED display with 7X magnification, and you can switch to AMR (Angle Modified Range) for those tedious inclines and declines. Have we forgotten anything? Oh yeah, we should mention that it hyper-reads in scan mode with an update 4X per second! With performance like this, the Kilo 2000 won’t be beat for the price for a long time to come.
Leupold RX-1200i TBR/W with DNA
Ah, the brand that literally has it all. With reticle options coming out of their ears, Leupold certainly maximizes on this with the RX-1200i rangefinder. You don’t just have one reticle, but you have an option of choosing between three!
TBR (True Ballistic Range) also provides up to four different values for angle compensation. On top of that, you’re still getting distances just over 1,200 yards. What more can this Leupold unit have? We’ll tell you.
As a Leupold, you can expect the OLED screen with the red-lit display. With DNA technology, you have super-responsive readings that are accurate to within 1/10 of a yard. With the MOBU design, you can hold this unit however you feel most comfortable. Whether it’s in the traditional style or on its side, you have the choice. Ah, Leupold – the brand that offers up versatility and options like no other brand can!
Bushnell Elite 1 Mile Con-X
The Elite 1 Mile Con-X is one of Bushnell’s most elite rangefinders. It’s probably pimped-out with more than what you can handle unless you’re quite tech-savvy. It’s most prestigious feature is definitely the Bluetooth connectivity through the Con-X technology. With it, you can pair your smartphone to load and gather vital distance information for holdovers with three custom ballistic curves.
But, enough about the Con-X, and let’s get into more specs. It has 7X magnification that can be made more stable with a magnetic attachment system. It has VDT that provides the LED display, E.S.P. 2 for extra responsive and accurate readings, and VSI technology for Rifle Mode holdovers for your rifle’s zero that you set.
This rangefinder has so much going for it that you might find yourself super-excited or a bit intimidated. However, this is what 500 bucks can buy you from Bushnell. Is it worth it? You be the judge!
Bushnell G-Force DX ARC
If you don’t mind going without the Con-X feature of the Elite 1 Mile Con-X rangefinder, then this might be the better option for you. Not only is it cheaper, but it has similar features to provide exceptional performance. To start with, you have everything the Elite does when it comes to the VDT display, E.S.P. 2, and VSI technology.
With 6X magnification, you can easily navigate the terrain with various modes like Brush, BullsEye, and Scan. You have both Bow and Rifle modes to accommodate for holdovers and inclines/declines. You can also improve the aesthetics with the RealTree finish too.
With 1,300 yards to targets and 600 yards to deer, your image will be pristine clear with RainGuard HD coatings and a built-in tripod mount. This rangefinder is the epitome of luxury features made easy – duh, it’s a Bushnell!
What to Look for in a $300-$500 Rangefinder
Luxury takes a new spin when you’ve got the extra cash to splurge. But, with the extra quality, you need to be specific about what features you want that will be realistically utilized in the hunt. It’s all too easy to get every premium perk only to find yourself fiddling and farting around in the field – precious time wasted why your prey leaped away. Avoid the hype of unnecessary features and focus in on what 500 bucks should really get you.
- Glass: The higher the quality, the better. In this price range, you want excellent glass coatings on the inside lenses and exterior.
- Magnification: The more expensive you go, the more likely you’re going to purchase a higher-powered unit, around 6-7X magnification. It may be more difficult to use free-hand, so look for tripod compatibility or magnetic systems for mounting purposes to increase image stability.
- Ease of use: With extra perks, user-friendliness may go down and complexity issues may arise. Ensure an intuitive platform to keep ease of use, well, easy.
- Eye relief: Look for something between 16-20 mm. Long eye relief will make for a comfortable ranging experience.
- Durability: Fully weatherproof housing is required in this price range. Protect your investment so that you’re not at the whims of the sky.
- Accuracy: This is vital in this price range as distance reach significantly increases. Being accurate to within 1/2 to 1/10 of a yard should be expected.
- Features: Everything from angle compensation, various target selection modes, and display modes should be expected. You might also see other options such as multiple reticles, a tight beam divergence, and automatic display adjustments according to ambient light available.
This price range offers the top-of-the-line rangefinders with the traditional design. You’ll see practically every feature you can get for 500 bucks. Of course you can spend more than this and land an unparalleled optic, but this is quite practical for the intermediate and even pro hunter.
You might want to consider spending more than this on a rangefinder that will land you in the laser rangefinder binocular market. Mm, we wonder what that has in store for you?
Featured Image Source: Bushnell