As a bowhunter I love having a rangefinder. Nothing takes the place of practice or learning to judge distance but a rangefinder is a very valuable tool. Most of the time I use my rangefinder to range deer as they make there way in or objects as landmarks for when a deer does come in. I rarely throw the rangefinder up on a deer that is in range, it’s just too much movement. That said knowing distances for different landmarks is a huge confidence boost. Knowing that you’re shooting a deer at 25 yards versus guessing 30 is a huge help. It makes me confident in the shot and that’s huge. This year I gave the HALO Z8X Rangefinder by Wild Game Innovations a try.
As this season approached I needed a rangefinder. The rangefinders from Wild Game Innovations have always intrigued me for their price point alone. To have a rangefinder come in around $100 is pretty amazing, but they always felt really cheap. This year with the introduction of the new HALO models I decided to go for it and see how they stacked up. I went to Bass Pro and got the HALO Z8X on sale for $129. The new design does not feel cheap and the shape of the housing feels really nice in your hand. It can range in meters or yards and even calculates the angle compensation. It comes in 7x magnification as well. I basically bought it tested it out at home and hit the road for the season opener in Maryland.
After hunting with it for 2 days in Maryland here are my thoughts. The unit is way faster than I expected and extremely accurate. The shape of the housing and placement of the grip is great and makes it easy to throw up and get a quick range on your target. For the price you can’t beat it. That said here are the downsides. The glass just isn’t super high quality, again I didn’t expect low light dispersion glass on a $129 unit but it’s just not great. That coupled with the fact that the display isn’t lit means you can’t use it in low light. It was a good hour past sunrise before I could use it under the somewhat dense early season canopy of the forest. At dusk on a field edge it performed better but ultimately low light is a major issue. The only other issue I had was some of the finish started to wear off slightly. Not a big deal at all but I thought it was worth mentioning. Honestly I’d rather just see it come in a solid black or green than camo and make it a higher quality finish.
The bottom line on this unit is that it’s worth well more than the $129 price tag it’s currently going for. It has the speed and accuracy of a much more expensive unit. However, if low light performance is important to you I’d pay a little extra for better glass and a lit display. The unique housing shape feels great in your hand and the button and functions work easily and seamlessly. While the feel of the unit has gotten much better from previous models it still doesn’t feel quite as solid as more expensive units but I have no basis to say that it isn’t only the way it ‘feels’.