How To Use A Rangefinder For Shooting

(Last Updated On: )

There is always a certain satisfaction when you make a successful shot when hunting or in tactical shooting. You are sure to have your scope set, but that is not everything you need. A rangefinder comes in handy to measure the distance between you and the target. A rangefinder can be the difference between a clean shot and a miss. So, what exactly is a rangefinder?

Rangefinders are devices designed to measure the distance from your position to another position, target or object. In golf, rangefinders are used to measure the distance between the ball and the pinhole or flagstick. Rangefinders are mainly used in hunting and golfing to give an accurate distance between the user and a target.

Even the most experienced hunters need a hunting rangefinder to eliminate any guesswork from the shots. A simple change of bullet brand can throw your shot off and lead to a poor shot. A rangefinder will tell you whether the bullet will hit where the scope says it will hit. If you’re into long-range hunting, then a rangefinder is a must-have device. Make sure to check out the best rangefinder reviews here.

So, how do you correctly use a rangefinder for shooting?

How To Use A Rangefinder For Shooting

Learn The Basics

First, you need to familiarize yourself with the rangefinder and understand everything about it. A rangefinder, like any other device, will come with a manual that explains various components and how to use it. Start by learning about the rangefinder display, the level of accuracy and even the battery level. You want to make the device your own by knowing every detail. This will help you operate the rangefinder with ease once you are in the field.

There is usually a sketch on the user manual with an explanation of the vital components. Make sure you learn about the objective lens, eyepiece, buttons and the battery lid. Next, learn about the rangefinder specifications. These include the field of view, measurement range, patterns and errors. Once you’ve mastered the basics and specifics of your rangefinder, you can head to the field and start practicing with it.

Target Shooting And Hunting With Rifles And Bows

Get to a reserved area where you practice your shooting to run through how to use your rangefinder. Your goal is to get an accurate distance between you and the target. You will need to learn how to look through the rangefinder.

  • How to look through an RF: Make sure you know where the eyes touch the rangefinder. You need to hold the range steadily with both hands and look through it using one eye. Stability is quite crucial when using a rangefinder

  • Target searching: There is no big difference between using your rangefinder and scope when searching for a target.  You’re going to search for the target in a similar manner. However, with a rangefinder, you need to first spot the target with your naked eye or scope. Use various landmarks within your area to know the exact point of the target. This will enable you to locate the target with ease through a rangefinder. I recommend you visit Rangefinder Today to read more about rifle scopes.

Once you have your target,  it is time to estimate the accurate range and ballistic measurements. You then need to make small adjustments and correct for slope and range. Remember, your bullet is not going to travel in a straight line to hit the target at the desired spot. Make sure you track the pathway and have your gun ready for shooting. Expert hunters and shooters usually visualize the shooting scope and can clearly see how the bullet will travel.

How To Measure Distance Using A Rangefinder

Measuring the accurate distance between your rifle and target should be easy now that you know how the scope works. You need to make sure you are seeing the object clearly in the field of view. Do this by readjusting the eyepiece’s degree.

Next, you need to click the range mode and look for the reticles or crosshairs. This is done while the rangefinder is directly pointed towards the target. You can make small tweaks in the distance mode until you have a clear sight of the target in the crosshairs. For even better precision, keep pressing the power in split seconds until the targets pops up again.

When the weather conditions are not ideal, you’re going to make further adjustments to match the settings. Some of the conditions to look out for include fog and drizzle.

To get a straight and accurate trajectory of your bullet or arrow, a rangefinder will help you compensate for elevation or slope.

Using Trees And Other Landmarks To Mark Yardage

You need to have a clear understanding and knowledge of your shooting area. This is crucial; especially when hunting. This can help you estimate distance and allows you to shoot faster before the prey moves out of target range. You’re going to use well-defined trees to create location markers. If there are no trees, you can improvise and use colored ribbons, tacks and paints.

Shooting From Above

When the shooter is position at a higher ground and the target is below, you need to use eye level and the horizontal distance to aim. The person shooting from above will not get the same horizontal distance to a target. This usually results in wayward shots and a missed target. Make sure you aim low and use pinned objects other than the light of sight.


If you are interested in a rangefinder, get one in advance of when you will be wanting to use it. Take time and master the art of distance measuring. Regular practice will help you know everything there is about a rangefinder. With time, you can master the art of navigation and requirements for bullet trajectories. This is what differentiates amateur shooters from experts.

Proper understanding of how a rangefinder works will help you to shoot both accurately and effectively at your target. 

Andrew Garfield

Andrew is an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He has years of experience in hunting with expert knowledge in hunting tactics, rifle scopes and all types of hunting gear.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments