Vortex Ranger 1500 Rangefinder
I consider the laser rangefinder one of today's most valuable hunting accessories. The utility junction box that resides in the corner of my lot is not a thing of beauty, but I have gazed at it countless times over the years if for no other reason than it is there. I have also shot bags full of pesky ground squirrels and rabbits in that area that enjoy digging and nibbling at things I do not want subjected to such nibbles and digs.
Anyway, I always knew that utility box was 35 yards from my porch; I absolutely just knew it. A touch of the button on my first rangefinder instantly displayed 48.0 yards, so much for my knowledge.
A target area that resides across a pond with a generous clay-based backstop has been used to sight-in rifles for years. We all knew it was about 100 yards from our bench. Again, the laser revealed us to be horribly off; it is 120 yards on the nose.
Many of us feel our step is about a yard, we certainly believed this when we paced off 75 yards to set up targets. Well, it was a laser-verified 85 yards. I think you get the idea.
Back in 2003, I tested and evaluated five rangefinder models in my Rangefinder Roundup: the Leica LRF 900 Scan, Nikon Laser800, Nikon Laser400, Bushnell Yardage Pro 500 and the Bushnell Yardage Pro Scout. Today, I consider all of these models obsolete, except for the Leica. It is still a good line of sight rangefinder. (In the long run, it pays to buy the best. -Editor)
In 2009, I tested the then-new Leupold RX-1000 rangefinder. It instantly became my favorite laser rangefinder and has been on every hunt with me since then. In the review I mentioned it takes a lot of combinatorial features to make a good rangefinder, even more to make a truly outstanding one. Leupold had really hit a home run. It was the best rangefinder I had ever evaluated in terms of practical field use.
The RX-1000 soared to the top based on size, ease of use, an outstanding LED display and outstandingly good image quality. It was a privilege to test an item that good.
In 2011, Leupold promised an even better version of the unit, the RX-1000i TBR digital rangefinder. The basic platform and specifications were unchanged.
Compared to the new Vortex 1500, the Leupold has a better, quieter, magnetic closure case and it has three reticles to choose from. The Leupold also has 1/10 yard accuracy and several more modes, including a bow mode and holdover modes in milliradians or MOA. The current Leupold RX-1200i claims 6-1200 yards on a reflective target, 6-900 yards on trees and 6-800 yards on deer.
Now comes the Vortex Ranger 1500, very similarly configured to the Leupold RX-1000i, including its 6x22mm monocular. Its advertised features include: fully multi-coated lenses, waterproof (O-ring sealed), rubber armor, eyepiece diopter adjustment, utility clip, tripod adaptor, line of sight and angle compensated ranging, ranging in yards or meters and scan mode. The latter displays continuous distance readings when scanning across the landscape or tracking a moving animal.
The Vortex 1500 and Leupold RX-1000i are closely matched. The Vortex claims to outrange the Leupold on reflective targets by 300 yards, while the Leupold claims to outrange the Vortex by 200 yards on deer and other animals.
Why would you want a Vortex Ranger 1500?
For starters, it has the best warranty in the industry, the Vortex VIP Warranty: "Unlimited Lifetime Warranty. Fully transferable. No warranty card to fill out. No receipt needed to hang on to."
Optically, the monocular of the Vortex Ranger 1500 is good, approximately equivalent to the Leupold units and others that are fully multicoated with 22mm objectives. There is essentially no difference that I can detect.
The Vortex unit ads a tripod adapter that the others lack. There are three brightness settings for the red display, the same as the Leupold and a few others. The Vortex unit has a clip mount, not something I would use, but you can move it to either side of the unit, or remove it completely.
Vortex suggests the use of their "HCD Mode," Horizontal Component Distance, which is the same as the "shoot as if" range or "true ballistic range" by others using an inclinometer. You can use Line of Sight Range, if you prefer.
It is apparent that Vortex has gone for ease of use with the Ranger 1500 over other factors. What really gives the Vortex an edge is its ridiculously good warranty. It is the only rangefinder most hunters will ever need and could very well be the last rangefinder you buy.
Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.