Ever since the first caveman discovered that he could bring down either a wooly mammoth or a hostile member of a neighboring tribe with a thrown object, learning how to accurately judge distances was a key factor in learning how to accurately strike a target. Few of us get into the numbers side of velocity, mass and the effects of gravity and even angle of shooting over a given distance. All do influence the end result, which is putting your projectile where you need it to be.

The traditional method of correlating all of the above was essentially trial, error and experience. If you shot your gun enough, you’d know exactly where your bullet would land at different distances. Then it was mostly a matter of applying what felt “right” in the sight picture. Many shooters are actually quite good at estimating distances and holdover, but it can be a challenge for the rest of us.

Today, with the various ballistics programs available for home computer use and some practical laser rangefinders, it’s possible to remove much of the guesswork and achieve greater precision when it’s needed. There’s still no substitute for practice and familiarity, but modern technology offers some extremely helpful tools for the job that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Do your homework with rifle, glass, load and trajectory tables, and then determine your hold by quickly and easily establishing distance with a rangefinder. No guessing, no mil dots, no formulas to deal with and fewer misses. Here are three rangefinders suitable for either a dedicated sniper or anybody else needing to make a long shot.

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