March 13th, 2012
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.
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.
1. 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.
2. 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).
3. 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.