Even with a scope, rifle shooting still contains a lot of guesswork, and if you’re like me you’ll appreciate what technology has to offer to make experiences more enjoyable.
As a “tech-dummy”, I feel the need to do a lot research before I buy something, so if you’ve landed on this page, be prepared for a Nikon hunting rangefinder review that’ll have you whipping out your credit card before you can finish reading.
From true range ballistic technology to waterproof capabilities, you’ll know all there is to know about what Nikon has to offer the rangefinder world and expose the rifle expert in you.
In this article we are going to review 6 popular Nikon rangefinders that are best for rifle hunting, bow hunting and/or target shooting. They are the:
So if you’ve not been living under a rock for the past century then you know that Nikon is a brand name that’s been around for ages and everyone has owned something of theirs at least once in their lifetime. Even when it comes to shopping for rangefinders to improve your rifle hunting experience, you can still count on Nikon.
Nikon Rangefinder Reviews
The Nikon brand offers quality range finders and innovative features to boot. Most of the rangefinders they sell come with priority target systems. They can identify and lock onto targets that are partly obscured by bush and wildlife as well as range in on close and smaller targets allowing you to hunt smaller game effectively.
They’re all pretty much compact size rangefinders that make it convenient buddies to take along with you in your pocket or your pack to aid you in your rifle shooting adventure. But which is the best Nikon rangefinder for hunting? Read our review to find out.
Nikon ACULON AL11 Laser Rangefinder Review
The Nikon Aculon AL11 is a lightweight laser rangefinder with multi-layer coating lenses for ultra-crisp images. With a 6X magnification power the Aculon will range from 6 to 550 yards with the added bonus of Distant Target Priority Mode. This Nikon certainly won’t break the bank but that doesn’t mean you are sacrificing on quality.
Most people who buy the Nikon Aculon are pretty happy with their purchase for the performance, quality, and of course, the price. This is obvious with the rating it’s got online with over hundreds of people having a say about it in various Nikon Aculon rangefinder reviews.
It’s actually a solid, easy to use rangefinder that’s compatible for use for gun, target, and even bow shooting.
Aculon AL11 Q&A:
Q. What can the Aculon Rangefinder be used for?
A. This laser rangefinder by Nikon is suitable for rifle hunting, bow hunting and target shooting.
Q. How convenient is this device to take around with you for rifle hunting?
A. What’s advantageous about this particular range finder from Nikon is its obvious benefits of portability and its compact design. You’re looking at a rangefinder that’s no bigger than a standard smart phone that can fit in your coat pocket. Measuring in at a height of 2.9 inches, a width of 1.5 inches, and no longer than 3.6 inches, it can’t get smaller than that.
With such a small, light-weight, and sleek design, you can take the Aculon with you anywhere, or even leave it in the same coat pocket for whenever your shooting itch needs scratching.
Q. As an inexpensive rangefinder, does the Aculon zoom in at all?
A. Magnification performance is definitely of interest when looking to buy a rangefinder at a mid-range price, and the Aculon won’t let you down with 6X magnification power. Just because you won’t break the bank with the $100 to $200 price range doesn’t mean you’re compromising on quality.
As a product of the reputable Nikon brand, it provides the same quality of monocular capabilities that rangefinders several hundred dollars more can yield.
Q. Can the Nikon Aculon range 3D targets for rifle shooting?
A. Absolutely! It is great for more than just target shooting in a controlled environment. It can range 3D targets effectively such as trees, walls, and large game and its multi-coated lenses also produce clear and crisp images since less light isn’t lost in reflection.
It’s also a proficient rangefinder of 3D targets for bow shooting. The Aculon’s programming platform “Distant Target Priority Mode” enables you to range the furthest targets in an area like deer and elk despite them being somewhat obscured by wildlife like bush and grass.
Q. While rifle shooting, how effective does this rangefinder hone in on small game like prairie dogs?
A. This is an excellent accessory for your rifle hunting needs. It has a maximum range of 550 yards (500 meters) which is plenty effective for shooting reflective targets and decent for non-reflective targets such as deer and other large targets of the like.
However, without details about the environment and weather conditions, small game ranging such as prairie dog hunting can present unique challenges that can interfere with accurate shooting and readings. In short, ranges will be less than 550 yards for small game.
Q. For getting a still image as much as possible when ranging long distances, can it be used with a tripod mount?
A. The Nikon Aculon is so light-weight at 4.4 oz that it’s designed to be easily hand-held for long distance ranges without posing any problems. However, like a lot of rangefinders that have 6X magnification power, even ranging at only 550 yards can create an unsteady image.
Unfortunately, the Aculon can’t mount to a tripod. It’s designed for hand-held use only since it doesn’t even have any mounting screw holes or ports for mounting use.
Nikon Aculon AL11 Features:
- Portable and compact design (3.6” x 2.9” x 1.5)
- LCD screen
- Easy to use with single button operation
- Distant Target Priority Mode programming
- Multi-layer coating lenses for clear and crisp images
- Long eye relief even with sunglasses on
Nikon ARROW ID 5000 Laser Rangefinder Review
The Nikon ARROW ID 5000 rangefinder is a pocket-sized unit that has multi-coated optics, 6X magnification, and is fully weatherproof. With 600 yard distances at your disposal, you can get the true holdover points for your arrow with the Advanced ID Technology while appropriately switching between close range and long range with the Tru-Target Priority System to never miss that long shot again.
The Nikon 5000 is holding a steady rating online across multiple review platforms. Although it’s still relatively new to the market, it can be considered the upgrade to the Nikon Aculon and the Aculon has quite a substantial impact on its consumers.
Tons of reviewers are raving about the Aculon and you can assume that the Arrow will surely make a similar impression. The outstanding feature that stands it apart from the Aculon is that the Arrow ID sports the Nikon ID technology that makes it a great bow hunting rangefinder for any bow shooter enthusiast.
Arrow ID 5000 Q&A:
Q. How does the Arrow ID 5000 maximize the Tru Target Technology feature?
A. The bow hunting laser rangefinder has a feature that maximizes the Tru Target Technology. It allows you to easily access an 8 second continuous scan mode that displays the various distances of targets as you pan across the landscape.
For bow hunting, this can be extremely helpful since your target could be on the move. The Tru Target Technology also helps you to quickly get your reading on your prize instead of the brush or branch that’s getting in the way.
Q. How convenient is the size of the Arrow to take bow hunting?
A. The Arrow ID was definitely made for the bow shooter in mind, since size is important to bow hunters because they typically carry their rangefinders in a holster strapped to a belt.
At a very compact size, 4.4 (L) x 1.5 (W) x 2.8 in (H), it’s one of the smallest rangefinders you’ll find on the market. The pocket-sized device can be strapped to a lanyard or a belt case to have easy access to during your hunt. You won’t even notice it’s there when it’s not needed.
Q. Can it calculate angle compensation for steep terrain?
A. Whether you’re up in a blind or at the bottom of a hill, the Arrow ID 5000 was designed to give you some serious bow action. This kind of hunting can take you from open fields to wooded areas and steep terrain.
The optic has the ID technology which can calculate angle compensation readings up to -/+89 degrees. That’s almost a full vertical angle. That’s bad news for your target and good news for you.
Another great rangefinder that has angle compensation and is in the same price range as the Nikon Arrow is the Redfield Raider 600A. The Raider is also comparable in terms of magnifcation and yard range capability.
Q. How simple is the screen to read?
A. The nice thing about the Nikon Arrow ID is that it proudly sports a simple and uncluttered screen. While in Nikon’s ID technology mode, the screen only displays the angle compensated yardage number. This eliminates the possibility of grabbing the wrong number during a critical moment in your bow hunting event.
Q. Can the rangefinder survive wet weather?
A. It is not only waterproof, it’s fog-proof too. This makes it the perfect companion to take with you rain or shine. You won’t have to worry about any condensation seeping into the lenses to interfere with your shot because it’s nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed.
Q. Does it have any internal lighting for low light or bad weather conditions?
A. Although the LED screen performs great in bright light conditions, it does present challenges during low light times of day. Specifically, the downside is it doesn’t sport any internal lighting, which can make readings difficult to read. The reticle is black which makes targeting on dark backgrounds or shaded objects a challenge.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of low light bow hunting, you might want to think about a rangefinder with a red reticle that could be either automatically or manually adjustable to the light conditions.
Q. Does this rangefinder have any sort of eye protection for the lenses?
A. Unfortunately the Arrow ID doesn’t sport any removable or foldable eye cups to protect the lenses. This could make it more susceptible to damage during accidental drops and abuse.
Nikon Arrow ID 5000 Features:
- Spot-on 600 yard maximum range
- Tru Target Technology for various distance readings
- Waterproof/Fog-proof for rain or shine weather
- Nikon ID Technology to -/+89 degrees
- Easy and simple two button operation
- Compact and small design 4.4 x 1.5 x 2.8 in
Nikon PROSTAFF 3i Rangefinder Review
The PROSTAFF 3i has a 650 yard ranging distance, Nikon’s advanced ID Technology, and the very intuitive Tru-Target Priority System. It’s extremely compact in size, has multi-coated lenses, and an automatic power down mode. The Nikon PROSTAFF 3i proves you don’t have to spend a lot to still get a feature-packed rangefinder.
The Nikon Prostaff 3i is new on the market and reviewers are yet to add their two cents about it. But what little has been said so far is keeping the Prostaff 3i at 100 percent consumer satisfaction.
To get a deeper feel of its capabilities, you can compare it to its similar but older counterparts, the Nikon 550 and Nikon 440 that still get positive and solid reviews with great ratings. They’ve been praised for their quality performance and are what you consider ‘keepers’ once bought. It has to be assumed that the 3i is just as sound, if not better.
If you are still not convinced, review the questions and answers below for more info about the Prostaff.
PROSTAFF 3i Q&A:
Q. Can the Prostaff 3i give me readings from any angle?
A. If you’re rifle shooting, the answer is going to be yes. Unlike the Aculon, the Prostaff 3i can calculate for angle compensation. It has the cutting-edge ID (Incline/Decline) technology that allows you to be able to get readings from any +/-89 degree angle.
That means if you’re sitting up in a tree or if you’re down a steep hill looking up, this rangefinder will give you a horizontal distance at pretty much any angle.
Q. How accurate is it in zooming in to targets?
A. This range finder has Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology built in so that you can get really accurate readings pretty quickly, especially with the BDC reticles and 18mm ocular lens. Its maximum range is 650 yards to reflective targets and some reviewers have stated that they’ve pulled readings at 400 yards.
Q. Can the Prostaff 3i range in on close and small targets when hunting?
A. Yes. This rangefinder has advanced technology that lets you keep a close and accurate eye on your prey large or small. In addition to the standard Distant Target Priority Mode, the Tru Target Technology also gives you the option of using First Target Priority Mode.
This gives you the closest readings in a group as well as identify small targets amid larger ones. It might just give small game ranging a whole new perspective.
Q. Can this rangefinder survive bad weather?
A. Some people would first ask you to define ‘bad weather’. If you’re talking about some rain and gloomy conditions, then you needn’t worry about your Prostaff 3i standing up to ‘bad weather’. However, if you’re hoping it’ll survive a dive in a pond or a flash flood during the Monsoon’s, then you’ll be disappointed.
Unfortunately this device, like some others of Nikon’s rangefinder line, doesn’t come waterproof. Rain and water resistant – yes. Waterproof – no.
Nikon Prostaff 3i Features:
- LCD screen, single button operation, multi-coated optics
- Distant Target and First Target Priority Mode options
- 18mm ocular lens for faster readings
- BDC reticles and Spot On Ballistic Match Technology for precise and consistent performance
- ID (Incline/Decline) Technology
Nikon PROSTAFF 7i Rangefinder Review
The Nikon PROSTAFF 7i has an impressive ranging distance of up to 1300 yards – combine this with the angle compensating ID (Incline/Decline) Technology and you have an unstoppable long distance measuring rangefinder for your bow or rifle. And, the PROSTAFF 7i is fully weatherproof and has fully multi-coated optics for extra crisp and clear images.
If you liked Nikon’s Prostaff 3i then you’re going to love the Prostaff 7i. Although they both offer the same features and functions, you’re getting a further maximum range and waterproof capabilities with this device.
But like the 3i, it’s still new to the market and consumers are yet to say more about it. What you can find about it in reviews so far is that it’s pulling a fantastic rating. Many have been happy with similar older models such as the Nikon Prostaff 5 that still rakes in 4+ ratings.
However, the Prostaff 7i is holding its own so far and is definitely kicking off with a strong start and solid reviews that are obviously proving that it’s a product worth buying and keeping.
PROSTAFF 7i Q&A:
Q. What type of shooting/hunting can the 7i be used for?
A. This laser rangefinder is suitable for rifle hunting, bow hunting and target shooting.
Q. Is the Prostaff 7i easy to use and handle while rifle hunting?
A. The small and compact design of this new optic measures in at 4.4 inches (L) x 1.5 inches (H) x 2.8 inches (Width) which makes it especially convenient to tote around with you while out in the woods. Literally fitting in the palm of your hand, it can strap to your belt or be carried in your pocket no matter what hunting environment you’re in.
What also seems to be a trademark for Nikon is their easy-to-use, single button operation. Typically you’ll see rangefinders get more “techy” and even difficult to use the more expensive it gets, but the Prostaff 7i not only gives you an excellent price for its features and quality, it also keeps things simple so that you’re not losing any precious concentration while targeting in on that deer.
Q. Will the battery die if the device accidentally gets left on?
A. These new rangefinders that Nikon has come out with offers a very convenient feature of automatically powering down after eight seconds. You don’t even have to worry about fussing with buttons to turn it off so you can take your shot. The rangefinder will do that for you.
Q. Can the Prostaff 7i withstand extreme temperatures?
A. If by extreme you mean temperature ranges between 15-120 degrees Fahrenheit, then yes! Although it seems like you wouldn’t want to be out rifle shooting in over 100 degree weather, it’ll still be your pal if you’re willing to brave the heat.
Q. Can it be used for long distance rifle shooting?
A. If you’re looking for long distance readings, than this device is for you. Its maximum range is 1300 yards which is plenty far enough to give you accurate readings in any situation. Most rangefinders of the same quality as the 7i can get readings on non-reflective targets around 850 to 950 yards.
This one can still give you accurate readings beyond 1000 yards. Nikon optics are high quality and their BDC Reticles and Spot On Ballistic Match Technology works with the Tru-Target Priority system to identify that elk that’s hiding in the bush with speedy readings.
Nikon Prostaff 7i Features:
- Maximum range of 8-1300 yards
- Waterproof and fog-proof for use in any weather condition
- ID (Incline/Decline) Technology
- Spot On Ballistic Match Technology
- Tru-Target Priority Modes
Nikon Forestry Pro Review – Waterproof Laser Rangefinder
The Nikon Forestry Pro is a one of a kind type of rangefinder that incorporates a side LCD screen for additional measuring statistics. It also has a 3 point measuring system that you can use when you’re either in First Target or Distant Target Priority Modes. For a versatile and multi-use tool, the Forestry Pro is worth some serious consideration.
Although the Forestry Pro is larger in size than other smaller Nikon laser rangefinders, it’s still toted around just fine for an ultimate rifle shooting experience or forestry work. This enhanced version of the older Nikon Forestry 550 is still new, but it’s raking in a ton of reviews and holding a solid star rating.
With all the same high-tech features as the above devices, it definitely has some added flair with the extra measurements and side LCD screen.
Forestry Pro Q&A:
Q. How is the Forestry Pro powered?
A. Just like many other rangefinders it’s powered by a CR2 lithium battery that’s conveniently bought from many retail stores and online. You can practically get them anywhere and they’re easy to keep on hand to replace. However, it may not be necessary to have these batteries in bulk since reviewers have stated that the CR2 battery it takes can last well over a year, even with continuous use.
Q. Is this Nikon hunting rangefinder waterproof?
A. Yes. Unlike others that are only water resistant, this Nikon hunting rangefinder has the upgrade of being waterproof so it can survive that unexpected bad weather that caught you in the middle of hunting.
Accidentally dropping it in a puddle and even some submersion wouldn’t put you out, as long as the battery chamber hasn’t been penetrated too bad. The battery chamber is water resistant, but it doesn’t mean you want to go test how waterproof it really is by throwing it in a lake.
Q. Why is the LCD screen on the side?
A. The side screen on the Forestry Pro is a feature unique to this device. Along with its bright yellow color, it’s a big factor in why it’s so popular. The viewing eye reticle allows you to line up your target and take your shot while also displaying basic results.
A lot of consumers of this rangefinder really like the side screen option since there are added measurement features of this product. The side screen simultaneously displays readings such as the measurement unit, height, actual distance, horizontal distance, and angle all at once. Very convenient for several uses.
Q. Can I use the Forestry Pro for more than just rifle hunting?
A. It is equipped for not only being useful in your hunting experience, but it’s also useful for many other users in various industries, specifically the forestry industry. While rifle hunting, you’re still getting quality readings to help hone in on game.
In addition you’re also able to get two-point and three-point measurements with angle calculations to determine heights of trees, distances between points, and slopes of an area. These features make it extremely popular not just among rifle enthusiasts, but surveyors and foresters too.
Q. What are the limitations of this rangefinder?
A. The minimum range is 11 yards which is the same as the minimum of 32 feet or 10 meters. This seems to pose an issue for those wanting to range a closer distance. This could pose an issue and might be something to consider when purchasing the Forestry Pro since most other rangefinders have a minimum range of either 6 or 8 yards.
Nikon Forestry Pro Features:
- First Target Priority and Distance Target Priority Modes
- 14-122 degree Fahrenheit temperature tolerance
- 6X monocular with multi-layer coated optics
- Actual, height, and horizontal distance readings
- Additional angle and vertical separation, two-point and three-point measurements
Nikon Monarch Team Realtree Laser 1200 Rangefinder Review
The Nikon Monarch Team Realtree Laser 1200 sports a trendy finish that matches its impressive 1200 yard ranging distance that’s viewable with the selectable backlighting display feature. It’s fully waterproof and fogproof, has the Tru-Target Priority System, and 7X magnification for that extra detail.
This is one of Nikon optics top-of-the-line rangefinders that’ll give you fast, accurate, and sharp images and readings. Along with all the built-in innovative features that Nikon has to offer, the Team Realtree Laser 1200 also gives you that crisp 7X monocular, 25 mm objective diameter, and .5 yard increment readings.
It’s fair to say that this device has been decked out to the max. As far as popularity, the reviews so far are positive, it’s holding a near perfect rating since it’s hit the market.
Monarch Team Realtree Laser 1200 Q&A:
Q. Are there any color options available with the Team Realtree Rangefinder?
A. Nikon went “camo-ed” up with this super, high-tech rangefinder. You can get it in the realistic-looking HD hardwood green pattern that’s super convenient for when you’re out in the woods.
Besides it’ll probably match the camo outfit you’re trying to pull off while hunting. The other color keeps the same design but comes as a Monarch Gold scheme that’s still suitable for outdoor camouflage but still has something sharp about it.
Q. Will it mount to my rifle?
A. You can definitely try it! What’s convenient and nice about the Realtree rangefinder is it’s tripod adaptable. If you have, use, or want to purchase a rifle scope mount, there’s no reason why your sharp, fast, and super-crisp rangefinder couldn’t take it’s place as your new scope.
Q. Is there anything special about the optics?
A. Offering sharp 7X monocular magnification, you’ll be able to find more game no matter the weather and time of day outside. The 7X also allows you to better range during dusk to dawn hours than the 6X monocular rangefinders.
Q. How does the Realtree Device measure distances?
A. For the first 1000 yards you’ll get your readings in .5/1 yard increments. After 1000 yards your readings will be in 1 yard increments. This is a plus since you’ll be able to get accurate readings as much as possible. Despite this though, the minimum range is 11 yards which can be a negative to those wanting to range closer, but if you’re out rifle hunting, it shouldn’t be a big deal at all.
Nikon Team Realtree 1200 Features:
- Tru Target ranging system
- REALTREE Hardwoods Green HD camo
- 1/2 yard accurate increment readings
- Long eye-relief and 25 mm objective diameter
- Sharp 7X monocular magnification
- Can be mounted to tripod
- Waterproof/Fog-proof with water-resistant battery chamber
Which is the Best Nikon Hunting Rangefinder for You?
While each of the Nikon laser rangefinders are built for the hunting enthusiast, you’ll find that the Forestry Pro is ideal for many situations other than just gun, bow, or target shooting. Although they’re all made to be as accurate as possible to help you hone into your target, I’d recommend the Team Realtree for the sharpest and closest hit.
As far as functionality and Handleability, they’re all made with Nikon’s easy-to-use single button operation. Honestly, this makes choosing any of the above rangefinders a winner. If you’re looking for something simple and inexpensive, but does the job outstandingly without compromising on quality and features, you’ll want the Aculon that’ll certainly satisfy all your rifle ranging needs.
Invest in a Nikon
Nikon is certainly “up there” with other well-known brands that dish out high-quality sports optics. Their rangefinders consistently pull a high rating in reviews and always more than half the reviewers online say they’re really happy with their purchase. With all the awesome features Nikon has to offer, you’ll be sorry if you ever accidentally left yours at home.