Careful shopping led to a smoking deal on a laser rangefinder, the Bushnell Scout 1000 DX.
Range estimation is something I'm not good at. There are field expedient work arounds and I've had 'the training,' but it seems that the process is quite haphazard. I just don't have the knack even locally. Moving into the Wyoming country on a varmint shooting excursion pretty much put my guesses in the "no idea" category.
I had others there who seemed to be knowledgeable but how could I confirm their more-educated guesses? One year – and one year only – an optics manufacturer supplied laser rangefinders. I found them interesting enough to want one of my own.
Primarily it's "just to see" – a confirmation thing. As other fiscal issues intruded demanding my attention, I pushed laser rangefinders to the "maybe later" category.
At the local club range, I'd paced off distances to targets on the rimfire/black powder range. Making the trip on the Highpower range to post targets gave me some idea there too, but a little precision would be helpful.
A few days ago, I was in a local version of a "big big-box store," part of a company which is all but everywhere in the States. I had business fairly close to sporting goods and wandered over. An employee, a veteran of many years at that location, was easy to talk to. As we chatted about ammunition availability, I noticed a tag on an item in the optics counter. It was cheap, less than a C-note cheap.
"Is that a rangefinder?" I asked. He sighed.
"I was hoping you didn't notice it." He got the key to the display and said he was planning on checking it out later in the week.
It was a Bushnell Scout DX 1000 ARC, black. Sale price on this item at BH-Photo is somewhere just south of $270 and the price shown was about thirty percent of that.
"Uh, that would be sold."
Now there's no carry case, lanyard or instructions, but a battery was installed. To say I started ranging items as soon as I got out of the store would be accurate.
One of the first chores for the Bushnell Scout was at the club range, checking distance to target boards, backstops and steel targets.
The Bushnell Scout DX 1000 ARC is light, thin and handy. I use the plastic bubble-wrap type "envelope" from the Ruger Mark IV recall to house the Scout when not in use – want to talk about a cheap, cushioned case for electronics? According to the factory literature, available on Al Gore's internet, it ranges from 5 to 1,000 yards and can compensate for elevation difference, muzzle to target.
It's certainly got more features than I'll use: settings for bow or rifle, using ballistic tables to calculate hold-over/under at various distances, etc. It's powered by commonly available CR2 3-volt lithium batteries.
The device pushes infrared energy to calculate distance: the time it takes to reach the objective and reflect back calculated by a microprocessor. Accuracy depends on how still you can hold the device on the objective; keeping the power button depressed will give readings of the item and its surroundings. Reflectivity of the target will determine the maximum range of the device.
You can expect +/- one yard accuracy at 100 yards or more.
I determined a few things about our range: distance from closest firing point to each target board, backstop and steel target is very close. I imagine they taped the distances at the outset – and worked harder than I did confirming the range.
Upon reflection – see what I did there? – I should have made the purchase before now. Actually ranging distances in neighborhoods, parking lots and the like gives you a basis for range estimation in your usual environments when it's inappropriate or impossible to use a rangefinder.
It's a handy gizmo. Everyone should have one. For more information on the Bushnell line, see their website
- - Rich Grassi