Useful or unnecessary?
People who hunt with air rifles often seem to talk about carrying laser rangefinders for shooting . Are they really an essential item of kit?
Are laser rangefinders for shooting air rifles necessary?
Matt Manning replies: Laser rangefinders are not essential kitbag items for air rifle hunting, but they play an important role.
Because an airgun pellet has a curved trajectory, hold-over and hold-under needs to be applied to keep shots on target between 10 and 40 metres — especially if you use a sub-12ft/lb .22 with heavy pellets.
Working out correct aim-off is easy. Simply set out paper targets at 5-metre intervals between your minimum and maximum hunting range and shoot groups at the bull on each target. Once you have plotted the rise and fall of the pellet as it travels down range, you have only to use the correct aim point on your scope’s reticle to compensate for that curved trajectory.
Of course, you can’t make accurate adjustments to your aim without knowing how far away the target is. It is worth learning how to do it by eye, and you can also pace out the distance to your target area before settling in for an ambush.
The quickest and most precise way to measure distance is with a laser rangefinder. These handy gadgets are compact so I usually have one in my pocket or kitbag.
Which are the best laser rangefinders for shooting rifles?
Q: Could you recommend a laser range finder to help me accurately judge distances? I shoot over large fields and hills, so knowing the correct range would be useful.
Bruce Potts replies: Laser range finders are very handy for showing the range to your target, allowing you to adjust your aim or scope for a perfect shot.
You have a choice these days of a handheld laser range finder or one that is built into your scope or binoculars. Prices range from £150 up to £3,500.
Good value laser range finders
There are many good-value laser range finders available. The Hawke 600 is good for 600m and retails for around £180, while Leupold offers the compact RX-650 laser range finder for around £240. MTC and Nikon also make small, well-made and reliable handheld models, priced at £160 to £399, respectively. Leica is synonymous with laser range finders and the CRF 2000B is superb.
Built-in binoculars, such as Leica’s Geovid series, range from £1,600 to £2,299, dependent on magnification and objective lens, and offer a great combination of viewing and ranging at the same time. A more economical alternative is the Bushnell Fusion , which costs £850.