Leupold’s current top of the line hunting rangefinder (excluding the RBX-3000) is compact, powerful and lightning fast.
By David Link
The name of the game today in rangefinders is maximum distance, and each year at SHOT Show (the industry’s premier tradeshow in Las Vegas), optics companies brush shoulders as they show off their newest rangefinders with ever-growing max distance. Before I go any further in this review, it is worth noting that extreme max ranging distance is a must-have for the growing long range shooting trend. To keep up in this world, you want a powerful rangefinder with a good max distance, as this is probably the only real life scenario where you’ll actually get to fire off regular 2000+ yard readings.
It’s also important to remember a max distance reading only occurs in perfect environmental conditions on a reflective target. If you’re trying to range an animal at 2000 yards, you’re probably not going to get a return reading on that target. In addition, hunters will never need to range that long anyway. Truly this limits the practical application for longer distance rangefinders to competitive and long distance shooting (which don’t get me wrong is a big part of the market these days). If that’s your chosen pursuit, then you’re absolutely going to love Leupold’s new laser rangefinder.
In long distance shooting applications, you’ll need extreme ranging distance, a fast, accurate ranging engine, ballistics support with wind correction, and angle compensation. Fortunately the Leupold RX-2800 Rangefinder checks all these boxes making it one of the best rangefinders on the market today. It has a 2800 yard max ranging distance on reflective targets, fast ranging engine with less than a second returns, and the powerful TBR (True Ballistic Range) feature complete with wind and angle compensation. Let’s take a closer look at this powerful yet affordable laser rangefinder from this optics leader.
Leupold RX-2800 Rangefinder Basics
Many years ago, Leupold was my first entry into the optics world, and they are still a personal favorite of mine. I’ve personally toured the Leupold factory in Beaverton, OR, and it is an experience I will never forget. Their American optics craftsmanship is second to none, and no company comes closer to what they do on US soil.
In a nutshell the Leupold RX-2800 Rangefinder is a powerful, accurate and compact device. It features a stunning OLED display and a fast Alpha IQ ranging engine with accuracy within a 1/2 yard. It is easy to operate as well, even on small targets. I was able to obtain one try returns on small targets like birds over 100 yards away with no trouble at all. On top of it all, the RX-2800 sports a powerful TBR ballistic calculator that can do a lot more than you’d initially think when you first open the box. Of course the RX-2800 is rugged and field ready as well with tough rubber armor and waterproof and fogproof resistance. Essentially we’re looking at one of the top rangefinder models on the market today in this package.
- OLED Display.
- Max 2800 yard ranging distance.
- Alpha IQ Ranging Engine with less than one second returns and 1/2 yard accuracy.
- Optional Scan Mode for active ranging.
- 7x magnification.
- TBR (True Ballistic Range) Software with Wind Correction.
- Battery life – at least 4,000 readings.
- Rubber armor coated casing with waterproof and fogproof resistance.
Field Testing And Features
My home state of Colorado is the perfect place to test the Leupold RX-2800, and with a little luck, I might even be able to run into some big game as I’m evaluating this device. I was also able to get some range time with this powerful optic, and no surprise, it’s a true performer at the range. This said, I strapped the resourceful and compact RX-2800 carrying case to my belt loop and started bushwacking my way to some prime testing areas. The lightweight, rugged design of the RX-2800 is certainly welcomed on a hike like this that takes me through tricky riverbeds and over large boulders. Yet whenever I came to an area I wanted to fire off some readings, it was easy to deploy, range, and store the rangefinder quickly and without much hassle or noise.
OLED Display / 7x Magnification
First and foremost, this rangefinder is a joy to use in the field. The eyecup is extremely adjustable, which means you won’t experience visibility issues like you would with other cheaper rangefinder models. The OLED display is extremely crisp, and I can’t imagine a scenario, even bright sunlight, that would hinder you from seeing a clear reading. In the past Leupold designed 6x magnification into their rangefinder, but personally I think the 7x is a slight but welcome upgrade, especially given the long distance applications of this device. All in all top marks to Leupold on the optics.
LOS Vs. TBR Mode
The Leupold RX-2800 Rangefinder features two primary modes – LOS or Line of Sight and TBR or True Ballistic Range. The LOS mode is a simple flat ranging mode that returns yardage with a single decimal point displayed for added accuracy. Using LOS mode, I also opted to change the crosshair to a larger size, which is a cool added feature. Personally I keep the brightness settings turned all the way up, but in lower light I could see wanting to dial them back some.
Moving over to TBR, this is far more complex than the LOS mode. Once you learn how to manipulate the mode and power buttons to switch to this mode (note it defaults to TBR out of the box), you can get a lot of environmental information in a short period of time. The current angle of the reading is displayed in the lower right corner. There are four primary TBR modes to choose from in addition to the angle reading – BAS, MIL, MOA and TRIG. BAS utilizes a ballistic input you enter to display the equivalent horizontal range. This is the range figure you want to have in mind while shooting since it takes into account angle and is a more complex reading than simple LOS. MIL and MOA create holdover readings in milliradians and minute-of-angle respectively.
The final mode, TRIG, utilizes trigonometry equations and input from the angle reading and line of sight reading. I’m not going to lie, I was not great at higher math courses (given my true vocation is writing), so this mode is a bit of a “brain melter” so to speak. Essentially it displays true horizontal and vertical distance as it pertains to the angle. In Leupold’s example, a 300 yard line of sight reading may actually end up being 250 yards (true horizontal distance) when you factor in the angle. In essence, this is a mode that professional shooters and competitors will rely on for complex measurements in the field. Note this mode only works out to 400 yards and in less than a 30 degree angle.
At the conclusion of this review, it’s no secret that the Leupold RX-2800 Rangefinder is an excellent choice for long range shooters. The 2800 yard max reading distance is reliable, fast and accurate. At just $377.03 on 1800GunsAndAmmo right now (subject to change), adding this kind of ranging capability for that price point is a down right steal. Add to this Leupold’s legacy of excellence and warranty support, this is one of the best values out there as far as rangefinders are concerned.
I will admit, cycling all the settings with two buttons, Mode and Power, is a bit confusing, and it makes me wonder why in 2019 we can’t have a easier to manipulate interface with a few more buttons. That said this isn’t a deal breaker by any means. You’ll just need to pour a cup of coffee with the instructions and test it extensively on the range before you use it in the field. This said, it is impressive all the different modes this rangefinder has, and for a prime example refer to my humble description of the TRIG mode above.
If you’re searching for a rangefinder for strictly hunting applications, you still may want to consider the Leupold RX-2800. As you can see in my photo work and review, I certainly did just that. The extra magnification (7x) and clear OLED are selling points for any use, and you never know when you might get into long distance shooting in addition to hunting. Again, the price point is reasonable for a hunting rangefinder as well. On the other hand, some hunters, especially those who spend their time in only short to medium range scenarios, might find this device a little overkill and may want to select another Leupold model. If you have questions on rangefinder selection, contact us at 1800GunsAndAmmo and we’d be happy to help you find the right device for your needs.