Review Of The Leica 1600-B Rangefinder

Al spent all of last winter working with the Leica 1600-B rangefinder and after six months of use and dozens of coyotes on the ground, he's ready to pass judgement on this unit.

I purchased it in hopes of eliminating the frustration I've had with other range finders and their inability to range small targets. After all, I expend most of my ranging efforts on targets the size of coyotes, or smaller. So, the ability to range a moose at 500 yards is of little concern, I want my rangefinder to easily handle an animal the size of a moose head at that distance.

The answer is short and sweet. The Leica 1600-B will reliably range coyotes much further than I have the skill to shoot them. My best ranging effort last winter was a 'yote strolling across an open snowy field on a bright sunny day. The Leica ranged it consistently from 1200 – 1280 yards as it walked into some trees. That's impressive.

Since that's about twice as far as I'm willing to take a shot, you can imagine how solid this unit ranges at closer distances. It's fast, reliable and I haven't seen any environmental conditions yet that have slowed it down. The readout is easily visible against bright snow, but not too bright at twilight. And the optics are the best I've ever seen on a rangefinder. They are so good, I don't mind leaving my binocular at home and just using the rangefinder as a monocular.

And if superb optics and rangefinding aren't enough, the 1600-B has the ability to determine temperature, atmospheric pressure and angle, then compute all those factors into a ballistic curve. However, I find I rarely use those features. This is because I infrequently shoot over 500 yards, my hunting terrain is fairly level and the winter temperature is constant—cold. Typically, I just range, dial and shoot. For hunters in highly variable conditions, those additional features will be valuable.

Get the Leica 1600-B Rangefinder just in time for prime coyote hunting.

The narrower a rangefinder's laser beam, the more specific the targeting ability of the rangefinder. And I attribute much of this rangefinder's ability to it's narrow beam divergence of 0.5 X 2.5 mrad. This is really helpful in a common coyote scenario, where the dog shows himself on a distant ridge, with another ridge, or perhaps trees, in the background. With a wide beam, the ranged distance could be the coyote or that clutter behind it. Several readings and some math can be necessary to come up with an accurate range. The Leica is so specific, it's a one shot deal. If you can hold the reticle on the coyote, that's the range. No second guessing.

I also appreciate the small size and light weight of this rangefinder. If there's another product that packs this much capability into such a small size, I haven't seen it. At 6.5 oz, this unit is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket and disappear.

The Leica 1600-B is a great product, but it's not cheap. Retail price is running around $800 these days, but I think it's worth every penny. If I sound enthusiastic about this product, it's because I am. After working with it an entire season, it gets an A+ from this professor.