Vortex Razor 4000 laser range finder

-From up close to 3500m in Sicily-

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Intro to Vortex razor 4000

The Vortex Razor 4000 7×25 Laser range finder is one of those items that happened to drop in my hands and left me very pleasantly surprised, really surprised. They sell at £475/ €599 or $499 in the US. This is important to keep in mind as it is not in the same price range as the Leica 3000 bino range finder.

Things have really moved fast in the world of laser range finders. Thanks to these small units, we have been able to push the envelope of long range shooting with ever growing confidence coupled with all the technical gizmos that most of us are armed with ahead of making such shots. Whether you’re a hunter, a long range shooter or an ELR fanatic, only a range finder can provide you with the correct data to plug into your favorite ballistic solver.

I’ve spent most of my time in the last few months crossing over to Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island which offers excellent long range shooting opportunities past the 1 mile as well as general wide open spaces with rolling hills and flat lands going for kilometers at a time. Very few places in Europe offer this sort of ‘remoteness’ that an island such as Sicily offers. It is also easily accessible and has plenty of great attractions for visitors at superb value. The center of the island is largely uninhabited dotted with some remote farms that also offer accommodation and a casual meal that you may come across as you drive through these winding roads. It enjoys some beautiful wide and wild open spaces. It’s one of those few places where you feel truly cut off and alone. It has proven the ideal backstop for the running in of the Desert Tech SRSA2 in 33XC to practice 1mile shooting and beyond.

This makes it an excellent testing spot for a pocket laser range finder that would be accompanying me on these trips. On my way to Extreme Shot One Mile Italia competition in September, I made sure to record as much of my testing as physically possible and report back with some pictures and videos to be able to share them with you.

I also took my trusted Ulfhednar tripod with a Manfrotto head which allows me to easily position the lrf on target or quickly remove it to mount the spotting scope. This makes a big difference especially when ranging far away targets on ‘ELR’ mode.

It’s now been a few months that I’ve been running around with this everywhere I go so it’s time to put pen to paper and share some of the findings.

The laser is fairly easy to use with a ranging button and a menu button for adjusting brightness, switching between the near, far and ELR mode as well as showing the angle to the target. I prefer this method as I would then plug in this info in kestrel. This is done manually and not via bluetooth. Like any other tool, you need to know how to best use it. I tried to pick numerous items in my selection that one would normally come across on a shoot. I’ve tried ranging in the early morning when the sun is not yet very bright as well as during the bright summer days that Sicily has to offer in summer. Later in September, I’ve also enjoyed some overcast weather so this proved ideal for a variety of conditions. I’ve also kept lasering late into the evening while enjoying some excellent grills that only the Sicilians could help out with.

Live game past 1000m

A lone bull across a field down in the valley was my first target. It instantly returned 1187m and an angle of 2 degrees.. For anyone wanting to use this rangefinder for hunting, you’re good to go. If it ranges a lone bull in a field just like that, you will have no problem ranging game at more sensible hunting distances. The scan mode ensures you keep getting an updated range fast. I updated this data into my kestrel 4500 for an ultimate ballistic output but did not take a shot. I was just wondering what windage would such a shot entail. Picture taken on 7x magnification.

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Rangefinders are tools and you should know how to use them. In most circumstances, it may be difficult to get a range directly on your target. There maybe items in your way behind or infront of your intended target. Vortex has come up with a neat setting. Below is how Vortex describe this feature.

33XC Desert Tech SRSA2
WATCH Desert Tech 33XC Doing its business at 1 MILE here!

‘First Mode’

‘First mode’ locks in and displays the closest distance when panning and scanning. This mode is ideal for ranging a smaller target in front of other larger or more reflective objects. Note: If unsure about the range, simply release the measure button and range again. I’ve not used this feature much simply because of the layout of the topography. It is largely wide open spaces which does not lend itself to this use but I can see it’s usefulness in spaces where your target may have a row of trees behind it.

‘Last Mode’

The ‘Last Mode’ locks in and displays the farthest distance when panning and scanning. This mode is ideal for ranging a specific target behind a group of objects like brush, trees, rocks, etc. Note: If unsure about the range, simply release the measure button and range again. This is what the manual describes. I’ve not been able to use it. I’m sure it would prove useful in circumstances we faced when hunting mouflon in France.

Vortex razor 4000 HCD Mode
“The HCD range display is intended to be the primary mode—used for most rifle and archery shooting applications. The yardage number displayed is the critical horizontal component distance. 500 Yard Line of Sight has a Horizontal Component Distance of 385 Yards.” The latter being the actual distance that you would need to dial into your scope if you were making this shot to compensate for the induced angle in your shot.
Vortex recommends using the HCD Mode when rifle shooting on level ground at any range,
or
rifle shooting out to ranges of 800 yards with mild slopes (less than 15 degrees)
or
Rifle shooting out to ranges of 400 yards with moderate slopes (15 to 30 degrees).
and
For all archery shooting. The displayed HCD yardage number is corrected for shot angle and needs no extra user input; shooters simply use the appropriate level ground bullet drop and wind adjustment for the range displayed and shoot. Archers use the appropriate level ground sight pin for the range displayed and shoot.
I personally prefer to input the line of sight and angle into kestrel and get the actual dope. This gets me into a cycle of always checking for angle and inputting it. Sticking to the drill keeps things easy.

Vortex Razor 4000 for the hunter

For hunters, knowing the precise distance to the target makes all the difference between a hit and a near miss. On our latest trip, we were working out a load on a 270win Voere rifle ahead of a hunt (stay tuned to learn more about the 270Win) We ranged this target at 270Win using Nosler 150grain Accubonds over a stout charge of Vihtavuori N165. We plugged in all the data in Kestrel and took a string of shots with this hunting rifle just shy of 400m precisely at 390meters. The shots were 3/4MOA above point of aim. We were using a Zeiss V8 2.8-20×56. What really surprised me what how tight these shots were vertically at 390m with this pencil thin barrel and a factory hunting rifle using simple dies, winchester brass and no fancy scales as I often use for F-Class loads.

Moving further out

During Extreme Shot One Mile Italia, we used this range finder to verify the distance to the metal plates that hung from 680m to 1640m. As you can see below, the sun was quite bright and the terrain hilly with not much to bounce off the laser off except for foliage, soil and the occasional rock. The laser had no problem returning a reading. Below you can see Gary Costello from March Optics Europe preparing to make a shot. Notice the readout of 915m with 0 degree angle.

Watch Gary’s Winning string below.

Vortex Razor 4000 inside of 1 mile

Purposely I picked objects that would make ranging them difficult. Below I picked a push on the left hand side at 1208m standing bang in the middle of a field. The vortex razor 4000 returned a reading instantly. Using it on a tripod ensured there was no movement in the unit. I then picked a tree at 1566m that also had nothing else around it. Again the laser was consistent revealing only a slight 2 degrees of upward slope. Naturally by writing down the distance to these targets on a range card, it will be easy to pin point the distance to a target.

Our apatite for long range shooting meant that 1566m was not going to cut it. With the 33XC now well tuned past 1000meters, we want to go 2000meters plus. The advertised numbers say that it can read a tree in ELR mode to 2286m. Let’s find out.

Vortex Razor 4000 past 2000meters

We’re pushing the envelope in 500m increments. Although this may seem small to the uneducated, increasing the distance past 1500m starts to leave many shooters out of the game and many range finders as well. What would definitely leave you outsmarted would be a no reading. Luckily for us, this wasn’t the case with the Vortex razor 4000. As you can see below, the small tree at 2117m was sufficiently large for this laser range finder to give us a reading. I must say I was surprised and was not expecting a reading on this lonely tree here. That would make a nice target down there in the soil with plenty of dust to kick up. We were not done….

2375m – a long shot even for a 33XC shooter pushing 300grains at 3180ft/s

We wanted to keep pushing the distance till we got no reading. The overcast weather meant that the laser did not have very bright light to contend with its ranging capability. We picked a land rover sitting in a field just behind the olive grove in the distance. With the ELR mode on, the laser returned a reading within 2 seconds. I must say, I was smiling and I felt confident, I had made a good step purchasing this rangefinder.

Vortex razor 4000 laser range finder at 2000m

2000+ Meters in the Sun

You must be thinking, how does it behave in bright sunlight? We wanted to know as well and being in the Mediterranean, finding a sunny day is the least of our worries. A day with poor visibility, warm temperatures and bright mid day sun was used to test this out. We picked a rubble wall past 2000meters across the bay. The wall is about 2meters/7ft high and near foliage cascading over it. In ELR mode, the vortex razor returned a reading of 2186m after 3 seconds. There were two vehicles at the same distance. I managed to get a range on them twice out of 10 times I tried. The bright sun was not forgiving and inhibited the laser from providing consistent read outs. I have been able to range them to 2500m in early morning or in the later afternoon. When I was to scout for new ground, I try to get there early morning when I know my chances are better.

We kept pushing the envelope, the landscape encouraging us to keep stretching the legs of this small unit that fits in my pocket and is just a tad larger than two packets of cigarettes. The house below, in the distance just beneath the tree would make an ideal prop. I didn’t get a reading on the tree but it gave me a reading on the wall of this property over 2.7 km away clocking 4 degrees upwards. Do you even have enough elevation on your scope to make that shot? The Ivey 200MOA+ mount would come in handy for this scenario.

Vortex Razor 4000 at Sea

We kept testing the vortex at various objects in different circumstance weather as well as backdrop. Objects at sea are particularly difficult to range, but you cannot range them erroneously- the range finder will simply not return a reading. So firstly, we ranged another rubble wall this time about 1m in height on an overcast day with an immediate reading at 2280m shown in the first quadrant below. We then picked two pleasure crafts measuring about 16 feet. One was quite close at 850m while the other two were at 1134m and a 25ft fishing boat at 2025m. The range finder returned a reading immediately on this 2km craft. We then tried ranging a larger sailing boat at 2.5km which we managed to get a reading on in scan mode.

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Vortex Razor 4000 past 3000meters!

A building lay at the summit of this hill overlooking the fields beneath. I frankly couldn’t estimate how far it was. I pointed the Vortex razor 4000 at it in ELR mode and started scanning. 2 seconds later it flashed 3327meters, that’s 3638 yards! We had no intention to shoot that far at least not with our current setup but it was cool to know that’s just past 2 miles (3218m). For those following King of 2 Miles, that’s a tad further than a 2 mile shot would be.

Driving further up north of the island that evening, I arrived in the region of Trapani in the North of the island where I was staying in an agriturismo, a quintessential traditional accommodation in the area often on nicely done up farms typically with some amazing food awaiting you in the Sicilian tradition.

@ 3327m on a 2 storey building

Above, a lovely accommodation in the region of Trapani, just 10 minutes from Extreme Shot One Mile Italia rifle range guarded by 2 beautiful Italian Cane Corso reportedly the dogs used by the Romans.

Vortex Razor 4000 – Extreme ranges.

This would be the ideal testing grounds, late evening or early morning for some lasering. After dinner, I headed over to the terrace just outside my room.

A light bulb in the distance lit a narrow alley where a barn stood still many fields away. Surprisingly as I peeped through, I could see it well and it was clear. I did drop the brightness on the readout in order to better observe the objective. The 7x magnification and the 25mm objective were sufficient to gather the light required and snap a few pictures as you can see below. The unit did not betray us and true to its advertising, it pinged back a reading of 3088m/3377yards.

I could still make out another barn a tad further away surrounded by rubble wall. A reading came back at 3539meters/ 3870 yards. That is the furthest I’ve ranged with this range finder in ELR mode.

Get a feel in this video clip. That’s how much it takes to return a reading at these distances on ELR mode. Like and Follow our Facebook book page. 

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