How Important Is Angle Compensation In A Rangefinder

Rangefinders have become a popular tool in a variety of activities, the most common being hunting and golfing. Modern rangefinders use lasers to be able to tell the distance from point A to point B. With golfing, it might not be that important to be able to tell exact distances. When it comes to hunting, the more information you have, the better your shot will be.

When we shoot at short ranges with flat caliber ammunition, the chances are that the bullet will go exactly where we want it to. At least when firing at a sub-200-yard range. Something to consider when we are shooting though is the angle at which we are shooting.

For example, if we are shooting from an elevated position down to an animal on the ground, the distance isn’t going to be the same. We need to factor in the angle we are shooting at when calculating the distance we should be aiming at. This is at least true when you are shooting at an angle of more than 45 degrees or if you are shooting at any angle with a range of over 200-yards.

Angle Compensation

Shooting at over 45 degrees or any angle at over 200 yards is where angle compensation comes into play. As the name applies, angle compensation is the practice of taking the angle you are shooting at into account when calculating the distance and where you should be aiming. Taking angle into account when it comes to shooting can be a bit complex, especially for those who are new to the art.

Traditional angle compensation is either done on paper or in your head. In general, the calculations are standardized but a variety of factors will slightly change the impact of your bullet. Think of caliber, type of bullet, amount of grain, etc.

30-degree angles are calculated at 90% of the ranged value. So if you get a distance reading of 350 yards you are only shooting at 90% of the actual range. Different angle measurements have different percentages of ranged value. Such as a 45-degree angle which has a ranged value of about 75%.

Of course, these are rough estimates because you aren’t bringing the equipment out to measure the angle exactly. For most shooters, unless you are shooting out to extreme ranges, you will find this type of calculation will work.

Practicing shooting at different angles and different ranges will help you to learn how to do these calculations without even thinking about it. It will take some work and the ability to practice shooting at a variety of angles. And, like any other skill, it is one that you have to keep up on or it will fade away.

Rangefinders with Angle Compensation

It is possible for a computer to calculate the angle compensation for you. This is a feature that is becoming rather popular in modern rangefinders for hunting. That being said there are still plenty of rangefinders that don’t have this feature built-in yet.

Depending on the company that manufactures the rangefinder they may call the angle compensation feature by a different name. One common name is Primary Horizontal Component Distance. With the power of modern technology, the rangefinder is able to calculate the distance and then angle and present you with a recalculated distance based on what it has learned.

Do You Need Angle Compensation?

Any tool that can be used to calculate some aspect of shooting is helpful but do you absolutely need them? No. Purchasing a rangefinder with angle compensation is completely optional. With the ability to calculate angles in your head or on a notepad, it isn’t necessary to have angle compensation as a feature. It does, however, make the process a lot quicker.

For those that don’t already have a rangefinder and are looking to purchase their first one, it is a good idea to find one that is high quality but also has all of the features that you desire. You don’t want to buy a rangefinder only to later buy another one because it is missing features that you are going to want. Most rangefinders that have angle compensation will let you turn it on and off if you would rather just get distance readings.

Also, consider a rangefinder with angle compensation if you are replacing a broken device or otherwise looking for a new rangefinder. Again, it never hurts to have the technology that you might want in the future even if you don’t want it at the moment.

If you already have a rangefinder and it comes without angle compensation, try learning to do the calculations yourself. Especially if you have an area that you can practice in.

Additionally, while tools can be helpful, learning to handle your rifle without them is important. We highly recommend that you take the time to learn to do the calculation and guess ranges first. Then once you have established that skill start to use an angle compensator. While modern hunting rangefinders are very reliable, you don’t want to be stuck out on a hunt without your rangefinder working.

Before we go there is an important note to make. Those who are bowhunting will benefit from angle compensation as arrows do not fly the same as a bullet. Another essential use for a rangefinder with angle compensation is for shooting extreme angle targets such as up a mountain or down in a valley.

Rangefinders are great tools and offer a lot of features. Purchasing a rangefinder with all of the features you need is important. With that in mind, since you are going to be out hunting it is just as important to find one that can withstand the elements. Take a look at all of the options that are on the market and find the one that meets all of your needs. Don’t forget to read reviews before making a final decision so you can get a feeling for how others think of the device.

With the rangefinder, you will be much better able to gauge distance and the accuracy of your shots will start to go up as you learn how to use the device.

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