Vortex Optics Ranger 1300 Rangefinder 2021

If you have somehow missed the memo on Vortex Optics its time you gave them a serious look.  It may have started with rifle optics but they have expanded to take over the whole of the optics world with some of the best quality products out there that are so affordable its hard to believe.  Someday, someone may figure out how they are getting the quality they do for the price they are asking but I don’t think anyone has yet.

But this isn’t just some budget rangefinder.  It is feature loaded with great quality glass and more durability you will ever find elsewhere for the price.  Sure, the magnification isn’t great but it’s the standard on most rangefinders and with a fully multi-coated set of optics you get a bright, clear image for a lot farther than most people would ever care to shoot.

The laser is the standard you get on most rangefinders but what it does with the data is where this unit begins to come into its own.  The standard mode displays a horizontally corrected distance to take any small angle adjustments out of the equation.  However, if you are shooting at a more extreme angle you can switch over to Line of Sight mode to get the calculations out of the picture and get a true range reading you can do something with.

All in all, this is a somewhat feature light rangefinder but that is perfectly acceptable and makes the unit much easier to use.  Rather than dealing with a bunch of menus and options you will never really need, everything is streamlined and simple to use.  No dealing with settings that may accidentally throw your shot or get you in a situation where your range numbers may not be what you think.

This is really a more rifle-oriented optic but since it lacks ballistic calculations it should serve well with a bow provided you understand the data it is giving you.  The +/- 3 yard or meter accuracy is plenty good enough to land your shot no matter what you are using.

What does it do?

I love a bare bones rangefinder.  It’s always nice to have a ballistic calculator but if you load your own rounds it can be a pain to deal with the data you are getting.  This works not matter what.  Range your target and get on the trigger.  If you know your ballistics and your scope, you will be on target with no issues.

The truly amazing thing about this optic is really the value.  You won’t come close to this quality and accuracy for anywhere near the cost, guaranteed!  Vortex has got to be killing the competition in all of the optics world and their rangefinders are no different.  You really need to pick one up to see exactly how good these things are.

If the testament to value isn’t enough, turn to the glass.  The fact that you can get anything fully multi-coated at this price is astounding but with the super clear optics, you a really getting some great glass at a very reasonable price.  This is on par with some of the best optics out there but at a fraction of the price.  Add in the fact that the whole unit is sealed for water resistance, and you can be out and going in any weather.

One option that is always handy, especially for short range hunters, is scan mode.  The ability to quickly hit ranges around you to have a baseline in case you need to make a quick shot is one of the best features you can ever have on a rangefinder.  In order for it to work well, the rangefinder has to be accurate and have fast processing power.  Luckily the Vortex does.

All of the menus and displays are on an internal HUD to make things easy but none of it clutters the screen.  Set it to yards or meters and you are ready to go.  No fluff or crazy settings to get you messed up.  Its as close to fire and forget as you can have in a commercial optic.

You also need to see this rangefinder.  It is a serious looking tool for serious hunters.  It is small, lightweight, and so easy to use.  It really is hard to beat.

What doesn’t it do?

The first thing this unit really lacks is any of the more advanced software and settings.  If you want simple, this is the unit to get but if you want something with a ballistic computer or complex range calculations, this really isn’t the unit you need.  It does its job well but it doesn’t do everything.

For bow hunters the rangefinder could really use some of features you get on higher priced models to make it into the ‘best’ category.  The Ranger 1300 could also cause issues at the farthest ranges where being accurate to 3 meters is a little bit more problematic.  There are plenty of rangefinders that manage a smaller deviation of accuracy than this unit but those do cost more.

This is a very well-rounded unit which also means it isn’t that specialized.  You may be better off with a unit made for your preferred hunting method.  When you try to be everything for everyone, you end up missing out on some of the fine tuning.

The Final Word

I love Vortex products and I have yet to get one that wasn’t worth well more than the cost.  This rangefinder is no different and will do more and do it better than any other rangefinder in its price range.  Add a couple hundred bucks to get something that can actually compete with this rangefinder.

If you are looking for a first rangefinder for hunting, this is one of the best for you. Until you really know what you need, a basic unit like this that will do a little bit of everything is a wise choice.  No matter what you hunt or where you hunt, you can really count on this to do the job and get that next shot right where it needs to be.


I have been an avid outdoorsman all my life. I have hunted and fished most of the Eastern United States for over three decades. During my tenure as a hunter, I have taken most every North American game animal with either a rifle or bow.Smaller game animals I have taken too many to count. I hunt duck, rabbit, dove, and squirrel every season and take a number of coyote each year which are open season in my area. I greatly miss the quail seasons of my youth but they have all but disappeared across the regions that I commonly hunt.

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