Leupold’s New RX-1000 Compact Digital Laser Rangefinder


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

March 4th, 2009




Laser rangefinders have become very popular among hunters and shooters over the past several years. During that time, there have been many brands to hit the market. While you can always find a cheaper version of just about anything, a good quality rangefinder costs as much as, or more than, a quality rifle. I have used rangefinders for several years. At long range, like in the 300 to 500 yard distances, being off on range estimation by even a few yards means the difference between a hit and a miss, or even worse, it could mean that a wounded animal would be lost. Therefore, if the distance exceeds one hundred yards, I always use a rangefinder. Even at shorter distances, I want to know the exact range so that I can place the bullet precisely where I want it to go. Last year on a bear hunt, I was in a blind with my guide, Lori Anderson, and I was using my .50 Beowulf AR-15. We were hunting in the thick woods watching a heavily-used trail, and knowing the exact distance made it much easier to make the shot, as in that thick brush, a badly hit bear would be hard to find. The distance was exactly sixty-four yards, and even at that relatively close range, having that knowledge helped my confidence, and my ability. At the other end of the spectrum, hitting small targets at long distance, as in prairie dog shooting, knowing the exact distance makes all the difference, even when shooting a fast-stepping cartridge like one of the twenty-two caliber centerfires. A good rangefinder can tell the shooter just how far away the target really is. Most shooters and hunters are poor judges of distance. An accurate rangefinder can tell you exactly how far away the target is, and armed with that information, hitting is much easier.

As mentioned above, a good quality rangefinder is expensive. A more accurate statement would be that up until now, a good quality rangefinder was expensive. Leupold has just introduced their RX-1000 line of rangefinders, and in doing so, they have raised the quality while lowering the price. Most rangefinders, while doing a pretty good job of range estimation, do not have high quality optics, With the RX-1000, Leupold has taken what they know about high quality optics, and put it into their rangefinders. Looking through the RX-1000, it is readily apparent that you are looking through quality glass. The image is more like looking through a good riflescope than looking through a piece of waxed paper, like on some competitive rangefinders. This RX-1000 can double as a monocular. It has six power magnification, and the image is very clear, due to Leupold’s use of multi-coated lenses, as they use on their binoculars and riflescopes. The RX-1000 also has what is a great improvement over competitive rangefinders, and that is a bright red OLED display. Most rangefinders use a black LED display that is very hard to see at dawn and dusk. The OLED red display on the RX-1000 has adjustable intensity, so that it can be bright enough to see easily in bright light, but is not blinding in low light. The RX-1000 is offered in three variations at this time. The basic model has line-of-sight range finding, and the two TBR models have Leupold’s True Ballistic Range system, which calculates the uphill/downhill shot angle, and displays the range already adjusted for the angle. The difference between the two TBR models is that one is black, and the other has a Mossy Oak Break Up camouflage pattern. The RX-1000 has but two buttons. One is the power on/off button, and the other is the mode button. There are three different reticle options to suit the user and the type of ranging being done. For very small targets, the Plus Point reticle allows for very precise ranging. A Duplex reticle is also available, and finally, a combination of the two is there for those who prefer that option. Changing the reticle is very easy to do, just by cycling through the mode and power buttons. Another option is that the RX-1000 can be easily switched between yards and meters. It will measure out to 1000 yards, or 914.4 meters. The field of view is 320 feet at 100 yards. The RX-1000 ranges from as close as ten yards, out to 1000 yards. Under 100 yards, the reading is displayed to the nearest half yard or meter, and to the nearest yard/meter out past 100 yards. The ocular lens is adjustable for focus, and has a fold-down eye cup. The RX-1000 body is made of rubber-coated aluminum, but the weight is still only 7.8 ounces, and the whole unit is very small. I have been using a Simmons rangefinder for a few years, and it works well, but it is as big as a loaf of bread, is heavy, has a dark display, and only ranges out to 600 yards. This compact Leupold is no bigger than a pack of cigarettes, weighs almost nothing, fits easily into a shirt pocket, has a bright display, great optics, and ranges out to 1000 yards. Anybody want a good deal on a used Simmons rangefinder?

Ranging with the RX-1000 could not be simpler. Look through the lens, and press the power button to turn the unit on. Pressing the power button gives an almost instant reading. Holding down the power button while scanning gives continuous ranges to each object as you scan past. I like that feature.

Now for the good part. This RX-1000 is so new that it is not on the Leupold website as I type this. I called to find out the suggested retail price, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it is only $349 US on the standard model, and just $50 more for the TBR. Add another twenty bucks for the Mossy Oak camo model. The RX-1000 comes with a handy nylon belt case, a CR2 lithium battery, and it also has a USB port for future upgrades, as they become available. The RX-1000 is the smallest, lightest, brightest, and easiest to use rangefinder that I have ever held in my hands. It is priced right, and I highly recommend it.

For more information on Leupold optics, go to www.leupold.com.

Jeff Quinn




Leupold's RX-1000 compared to Jeff's Simmons 600-yard rangefinder.





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Click pictures for a larger version.


Leupold's new RX-1000 Compact Digital Laser Rangefinder.



The RX-1000 is no bigger than a pack of smokes...



...and is much smaller and lighter than Jeff's J-frame lightweight .38 Special.





The RX-1000 comes with a soft case that attaches to the belt for field use.



Only two buttons are needed to access all modes and functions, making the RX-1000 quick and easy to use.



Power is provided by a single CR2 battery.



Unit is equipped with a USB port for future updates.