March 13th, 2012

New Leica CRF 1600-B Shows Hold-Overs and Elevation Clicks

Leica just introduced its latest pocket-sized laser rangefinder, the CRF 1600-B Rangemaster. This unit features built-in angle compensation plus a ballistics solver that can give you either hold-over (in inches or cm) or clicks (from your zero) to put the shot on target at the ranged distance. At the heart of the CRF 1600-B is Leica’s Advanced Ballistic Compensation(ABC™) system, a precision integrated ballistics calculator that combines stored data with analysis of current ballistics parameters. To calculate projectile trajectory, the ABC™ system processes multiple ballistics variables, including measured distance, angle of incline, temperature, and absolute air pressure. The new 1600-B should be available in June, 2012. The “street price” should be the same as the current CRF 1600, $799.00.

Leica 1600-B Rangemaster

There’s a lot of marketing mumbo-jumbo in the product release info, but what you need to know is that the new CRF 1600-B offers three important functions, in addition to ranging distance to target. These functions are: Angle Compensation, Display of Hold-Over, and Click-Value Display.

Leica 1600-B Rangemaster1. Built-in Angle Compensation
If you are taking an angled shot (whether up-hill or downhill), the 1600-B tells you the true horizontal component distance to the target. Use this number (as opposed to the line-of-sight distance to the target) to set your elevation. The 1600-B figures out the angle through a built-in inclinometer. This is a handy feature for hunters and tactical shooters, but it’s not really that innovative — other rangefinders have have offered angle compensation for quite some time. Still this is a nice feature that allows hunters to dispense with an angle indicator on their rifles, and you won’t have to work out math equations in the field.

Leica 1600-B Rangemaster2. Hold-Over Values (Inches or CM)
When you range a target, the 1600-B can display the actual hold-over you need (at the ranged distance), either in inches or centimeters. Then you simply place your cross-hairs higher on the target, according to the hold-over value displayed in cm or inches. This works well — so long as you have some idea of the actual size of the target. If you don’t know if your prey is 4-feet tall or 6-feet tall then you can make mistakes. The hold-over display can read in either inches or cm. Holdover values, based on 12 pre-programmed ballistics curves, are given from 100 yards to 880 yards (compared to only 500 yards on the CRF 1600).

Leica 1600-B Rangemaster3. Elevation Click Values to Correct POI
One very handy feature of the new Leica 1600-B is that it automatically calculates the elevation clicks you need to correct your point of impact (POI) for the target range. First, you must select a matching ballistics curve (based on your muzzle velocity, bullet BC etc.). Then the 1600-B uses its built-in ballistics solver to calculate drop at the target distance, figuring in temperature and barometric pressure automatically. With a click of a button the 1600-B will displays the number of up-clicks you need to have the correct POI at the ranged distance. Available click values are: 1 MOA, 1/3 MOA, 1/4 MOA, 10 mm/100 m, 5 mm/100 m.

CRF 1600-B Rangemaster Specs (and Real-World Ranging Performance)
The new Leica 1600-B features a 7X monocular optic with 24mm objective and 3.4mm exit pupil. The external lenses have AquaDura® coatings. Though it’s packed with computing power, the 1600-B weighs just 8.1 ounces and, measuring 3″ x 1.63″ x 1.25″, it really does fit in a shirt pocket. Along with target distance, hold-over, and calculated clicks, the auto-adjusting red LED display can show Angle of Incline, Temperature, and Air Pressure.

Leica claims the 1600-B will range out to “approximately 1,600 yards”. Yes, in ideal conditions, the unit can nail a large, reflective object (such as a barn) at that distance, but you’ll find real-world performance on deer-sized targets to be quite different.

It is hard to hand-hold the tiny CRF 1600-B with sufficient stability to range small objects at extreme long distance. When testing the current CRF 1600 model we’ve found the practical max range for hand-holding on a deer to be about 800 yards, and even to do that you need very steady hands and a bit of practice. For long-distance ranging, we actually prefer a larger, flat-body design, such as the Zeiss Victory PRF, which can be rested more easily on a pack or sandbag. For the new 1600-B model, Leica claims measuring accuracy of +/- 1.1 yards to 400 yards, +/- 2.2 yards to 800 yards, and +/- 0.5% over 800 yards.

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