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11 Best Binos for Outdoorsmen: Traditional and Laser Rangefinding

Take a look at the best binoculars and laser-rangefinding binos for outdoor use of 2023.

11 Best Binos for Outdoorsmen: Traditional and Laser Rangefinding

(Photo by Sean Utley) 

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There are hints of an arms race between optics manufacturers. Specifically in the binocular department. This market, like that of precision rifle optics has blown up and unless you’re really into binoculars or have tons of disposable income, you’re likely not aware of the many options available. That’s understandable because binoculars aren’t like firearms—you can likely make do with one pair of quality binos. But where do you start? Binoculars come in different magnifications, and sizes. If you’re hunting and hiking, you may want to consider lighter weight and smaller-sized options. On the flip side, if you are hunting (or even if not) having a pair of binoculars with a laser rangefinder could be invaluable. There are now several quality options with rangefinders included. In fact, many of these pair up via bluetooth to smart apps to simplify your shooting efforts, and feature on-board sensors as well. The following are some of the options available and why they are worth a look, pun intended. There are many features in the way of lens coatings and the like that appear across the board. These are features that can be found on their respective websites. Here we will focus on some key features that make each model attractive in some way.

Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD

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Leupold’s BX-4 Pro Guide HD is a lightweight good performing binocular. Due to their light- weight you’ll want to keep them with you everywhere and you can thanks to their rugged outer design. Note the diopter adjustment location. It is locked/unlocked by pushing and pulling on the end of the focus knob.

The Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD is lightweight and straight forward. Leupold calls it the Jack of all trades and that’s an accurate description. These are 10x42mm with a fairly decent field of view and bright crisp glass. The BX-4 glass presents a warm image which is what I prefer. An important feature is tripod readiness. Glassing without support sucks. The Leupold feature a 1/4-20 tripod adapter port. They are comfortable with good ergos—and I can find the right adjustment of the bridge although it can be hard at times (I have a big brain). Being a photographer, I pay attention to how easy (or not) binos are to focus. The Leupold’s do well, but the control might be a little light feeling. The exterior features a housing with an easy-grip rubber armor coating. MSRP: $699.99

Bushnell Match Pro ED Binos

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Bushnell launched their Match Pro ED 15x56mm which has a MIL reticle they call The Shot-Call MRAD. Bushnell has done a solid job with the glass of the Match Pro Ed, keeping it clean, clear, and affordable.

Two years ago Bushnell released a set of 15x56mm monsters called Forge binoculars. I instantly fell in love with the big binos and the beautiful image they presented. I found myself looking for any reason to use them and while I wanted to use them for spotting during shooting sessions, the lack of reticle made them less attractive for that. This year Bushnell launched their Match Pro ED 15x56mm which is basically the Forge in a different color but with a MIL reticle they call The Shot-Call MRAD. That means spotting just became their primary role. This reticle rotates within the barrel as well, giving you flexibility in how you use it and allowing it to stay level. They also have dual adjustable diopter so you can get everything including the reticle in focus. BridgeSet IPD stabilizer lets you set your barrel distance so you don’t have to adjust it as conditions change. There are also two places (front or rear) to place the tripod adapter. MSRP: $699.99

Zeiss SFL Binos

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(Photo courtesy of Zeiss

The SFL (SmartFocus Lightweight) is the latest offering from Zeiss. Because Zeiss focuses intently on hunting, these binos are designed to be as lightweight and compact as possible. Glass is superb with high levels of detail and excellent color, which I appreciate as a visual creator. Zeiss calls it UHD concept. The focus is best in business (something you’ll appreciate after a bad focusing experience), thanks to the SmartFocus Concept. This is achieved by giving attention to the focus wheel design and placement. Focusing is sure, easy, and precise without fighting the process. Weight has been cut up to 20% compared to the Victory SF models that I’ve spent time with. By reducing the lens diameter by 2mm they are able to use thinner lens elements. The elements are closer together improving volume by 13%. The SFL is a long-term viewing type of bino thanks to a large exit pupil, and ergo from the eye cups. These are things we can underestimate when looking to buy binos. MSRP: $1,799.99

Tract Toric UHD Binos

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Tract’s Toric UHD 8x42 Schott HT Hunting Binos makes use of Schott high transmission glass. These are solid binos which focus easily and have extremely good optical performance.

Tract’s Toric UHD 8x42 Schott HT Hunting Binos might be an excellent choice for your needs. As the name suggests, they make use of Schott HT (high transmission) glass just like they do in their rifle optics. With a solid rubber outer design over a magnesium alloy body they feel quite capable. They also have a locking diopter so you won’t have to make frequent adjustments. Focusing is easy with good tension on the wheel. MSRP: $694

Revic Acura Ballsitic Rangefinding Binocular

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Revic Acura BLR10b Ballistic Rangefinding Binocular has excellent glass and an advanced ballistics engine. The Revic is one of the newest LRF binos on the market but they land solidly at the top due to amazing capabilities and features.

Revic Acura BLR10b Ballistic Rangefinding Binocular. That’s a mouthful but well worth the effort because these LRF binos are awesome. Excellent glass in a compact form that will resist abuse, and packed with an advanced ballistics engine; these binos feature four targeting modes, and wind solutions including a base wind and vector wind solutions. Revic will always push the envelope and they have done that with the Acura BLR10b. ED glass helps with the sharpness they produce. They Bluetooth to the Revic OPS app, but you don’t need the app due to its stand-alone ballistics engine. They also have more buttons than you find on most other LRF binos, but this includes quick keys that allow you to quickly change things such as brightness, wind inputs, targeting modes, and more. On other binos you have to cycle through page after page and that takes time, as well as being confusing. Measurement range is out to 5,000 yards which is plenty for most situations. MSRP: $2,695

SIG Sauer Kilo10K Rangefinding Binos

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SIG Sauer’s Kilo10K ABS HD goes beyond rangefinding adding a user selectable reticle and tons of info on the display inside. This latest model creates a love/hate relationship due to the glass tint. But as a stand alone ballistics solution it’s nearly flawless.

SIG Sauer blew the lid off of rangefinding binos with the release of their Kilo 3000BDX some three or four years ago. They not only had a lightning fast rangefinder on board, but they easily grabbed targets beyond 2,000 yards, and more reflective ones beyond 3,000 thanks to their LightWave DSP Technology. They also had decent glass, and Bluetoothed to an app making them great for precision shooting. The follow up is their Kilo10K ABS HD, which is an updated, upgraded LRF bino. These go beyond rangefinding adding a user selectable reticle and tons of info on the display inside. They feature BDX 2.0 (Ballistic Data Exchange) and can connect to your smart device as well as Kestrels and Garmin watched with Applied Ballistics software—and it works. With onboard sensors and a maximum reflective range of 10,000 yards (I’ve grabbed 8,400) these binos can streamline your shooting process. You basically only need these binos, your rifle and ammo, once it’s all set up. The Kilo10K ABS HD is packed with many, many more features and capabilities. The only gripe I have—they were given a coating on the lens which makes everything a blue-green tint. I assume it does something to help with the laser detection but it’s very distracting and unfortunate for such an otherwise awesome set of rangefinding binos. MSRP: $3,249.99

Bushnell Fusion Laser Rangefinding Binoculars 

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Bushnell’s Fusion X 10x42mm is not only a very capable laser rangefinding binocular but its affordable as well. Fusion X are some of the largest binos in the 10x42 category but bring a fair amount of tech to the table.

Bushnell has quite an array of binos. The Bushnell Fusion X 10x42mm is capable and affordable and will likely service most of the masses well. These include a laser rangefinder that combine with an interesting reticle called Activsync. Its auto-adjusting, and changes color based on lighting conditions—from black to red. This reticle is combined in the display with what type of shooting you’re doing (archery or rifle) along with distance, angle compensation, battery remaining, and laser signal strength. The Fusion X has HDOS (High Definition Optical System) which performs well in low light. The image has a very warm yellow tint that seems to be from this system along with the LRF capability. I have yet to confirm that completely. Speaking of LRF, the Fusion X do a decent job in the right conditions, providing fast results. I can confirm the claim of “one mile ranging capability,” but they shine brighter at 1,000 yards and in. MSRP: $699.99

Leupold BX-4 Range HD 

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Leupold’s BX-4 Range HD TBR/W combines their solid ranging tech together with an excellent binocular. The BX-4 Range are built for hard use in the field with bal- listics solutions for a host of rifle/ammo combinations.

Leupold has some solid rangefinders and solid binos. The Leupold BX-4 Range HD TBR/W brings their solid ranging tech together with their excellent bino tech found in the BX-4 line. Light transmission will always be high on Leupold’s list of priorities and that continues. Thanks to DNA (digitally enhanced accuracy) engine we get fast range readings with 1/2 yard accuracy according to Leupold. Tru Ballistic Range/Wind Technology is included so you get accurate ballistic solutions on the rifle end. Two modes are available, LOS (line of site) and TRB (True Ballistic Range) which is good for high angle shots. They feature a bow mode as well. In this mode it calculates for angle compensation. Maximum range is a claimed 2,600 yards on reflective target, 1400 yards on trees, and 1,200 yards on deer. The display features a circular reticle, along with range, incline/decline, hold over/ wind hold values, and battery info. The power button is programmable and can be used either right or left handed. They also have a 1/4"x 20 threaded port for tripod use. MSRP: $1,599.99

Leica Geovid Pro LRF Binos

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Leica quality can be seen throughout. The Geovid Pro 3200 has one of the most ergonomic designs. There is power in this combination of Leica optics and Applied Ballistics. Effective ballistics, target mapping and tracking.

The Leica Geovid Pro in 10x42mm trim is a near perfect hunting companion. These LRF binos have traveled with me on hunts and training excursions and they do not disappoint, delivering a beautiful, detailed view, while maintaining a size that fits perfectly into a Marsupial Gear chest rig, and they are light. Ballistics are on tap thanks to Applied Ballistics software installed. They come with the Ultralight version, but can be upgraded to the Elite version for full ballistics features including 740 preset ammunition profiles. The binos connect via Bluetooth to the Leica Ballistics app. Rangefinder performance is excellent with a maximum range over 3,000 yards. They also have a built-in compass and can determine GPS coordinates. The last five range measurements are stored and can be used for navigation via LPTTM (Lieca Pro Track). Using a phone, the ranged distance can be displayed and accessed. Navigation happens via Google Maps or BaseMap app. Field tested and durable, these binos are a pleasure to use. MSRP: $2,999

Swarovski EL Range Binos

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Swarovski’s EL Range 10x42mm combines fantastic optical performance with good rangefinding. Second to none, the glass of the Swaro’s makes you want to keep looking and looking for no reason at all.

You already know these binos will have the glass, but can they deliver on the rest of the goods? The Swarovski EL Range 10x42mm can, within limits. These binos have a solid build with individual diopter adjustment and overall are one of the best sets of binos you can own. While they utilize a ballistics app that lets you put in rifle and ammo data as well as atmospherics and the like, it isn’t very intuitive. In fact it’s frustrating to use. I couldn’t even add a simple MIL reticle to my profile, but instead had to research which of the listed Swaro rifle scopes had a MIL reticle. I guess they’re fine if you plan to use a Swarovski rifle scope. They leave a little to be desired in the rangefinding area, with 1,500 yards being a challenge even with highly reflective surfaces. While they lack in ranging performance and ease of use, they are still awesome binos and ones you want your eyes behind for extended glassing sessions. The weight and feel are just right too. There’s a reason why so many guides I’ve hunted with use Swarovski binos. A properly featured version 2 could propel these to new levels. MSRP $4,443

Recommended


German Precision Optics 2800 LRF Binos

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German Precision Optic’s Rangeguide 2800 8x32mm is their latest release, and it performs very well. The Rangeguide has simple, understated aesthetics that give no hint of the absolute power hidden inside.

This isn’t a name you typically see frequenting these discussions but GPO has some of the best LRF binos on the market. The Rangeguide 2800 8x32mm is their latest release following up on the strong performance from their Rangeguide 10x50mm model. The 2800 8x32mm is lighting fast at gathering ranges. I can step outside my door and hit a rock at over 2,100 yards with ease. They have a claimed 3,000 yard ranging capability and based on previous models, there is no reason to doubt that. I love the display in the GPO. It’s crisp, bright and all that it needs to be without any excess. They feature a scan mode (like most LRF binos do), and have sensors to measure temp, humidity and barometric pressure. There is no app/smart device connection. There is a ton of rangefinding power in this small frame and they should take a beating just like their bigger brother. Glass is solid but this newer version has a slight blue cast that doesn’t exist on the 10x50mm. MSRP: $1,199.99


If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.




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