Simon BORG, has been testing his LEICA Rangemaster CRF 2700B. Tested in superior damp and cold conditions. This review says it all.
‘MEET MY LITTLE FRIEND’ – The Leica Rangemaster CRF 2700-B
Gaging correctly a distance, by just looking at a far-off target, was something I believed I could do well. Reality however hit me hard when I tested myself against some field survey equipment I came across during a large construction project. Ask any long-distance target shooter or hunter on the need for accurate distance acquisition, and they will speak volumes on its importance. Add to this the maths of bullet ballistic drop and a complicated equation starts to come into play. I pictured myself frantically fiddling around with a ballistic app on my smart phone in some unfamiliar territory, holding on to dear life in some steep ground inclination and adverse cold weather. All this with my intended prey distancing away from me with haste. No, not happening, there must be another way to this I concluded, and started to look for a pocket size, all-in-one solution.
Leica was not new to me having rubbed shoulders with Leica surgical microscopes for the best part of thirty years in the healthcare profession. Moving on to project management, just over a year ago, again I came across Leica in precision field survey hardware. It therefore was a no brainer for me that, with Leica’s pedigree, combining great optics, distance acquisition and ballistic drop information in one hand held tool, was going to deliver well on its promise. My choice fell on Leica Rangemaster CRF 2700-Bbecause it offered the optional chance to upload my own ballistic data for custom reloaded ammunition should I need to. When my local Leica supplier passed on to me my ordered Rangemaster, I was blown away with this pocket-sized technological wizardry, barely larger than the palm of my hand and just 180g in all. Incidentally this delivery took place just days away from my departure to a driven boar hunt in Hungary. A range finder and a driven boar hunt do not exactly go together like bread and butter yet, in my case, this proved to be a game changer.
For this hunt, I had the makings and recipe for potential failure. I had a new scope, not zeroed in yet, soft tip .308 ammunition I never used before and no time to get it sorted. The plan was to have our hunting party arriving at the hunting lodge just before sunset with just enough time to zero in my scopes. It didn’t happen – our trip from Vienna’s airport to Dabrony, Hungary on a cold January Friday, took longer and we arrived too late in the day. That evening, I set my Rangemaster according to the ballistic data to my soft tip 170gr ammunition purchased along the way to the lodge. The following morning, after a man size breakfast and customary safety briefing, we were individually paired with a local guide and translator and whisked away onto our allocated hunting platform. Once settled in after my guide pointed out to me my safe shooting area parameters, I had only a few minutes to spare to zero all in. From my breast pocket, I took out my new Rangemaster and measured the distance to the largest tree trunk I could see some distance away from me. According to my new Rangemasterit was spot on at 74m away with ballistic data also projected in view if zeroed at 100m. I took a rested and careful aim at the tree trunk, putting the crosshairs on a distinctive dark spot and fired my first shot. It was way off but thankfully still on the tree trunk. Not a minute to spare I dialled in the substantial correction needed on the scope turrets in 1/3 MOA (1cm/100m) per click and let out another shot. This time round it was almost on target and I shot another round to confirm. The bullet hit the tree trunk almost exactly in the same area as the second round did some two inches away from target to the left. Again, I dialled in the final correction and added to it what my Rangemaster’s BDC corrections for a 100m zero. My setting time was up, and I had to work with this setting, after just letting off only three shots.
The next thing I did was getting to know the different distances exposed in front of me. Taking out again the Rangemaster, I looked at distinctive features, like felled trees, to gauge out the different distances for a hold over/under situation. I had now accurate information on distances in approximately 25m intervals from 50 to 175m clearance laid open in front of me. I was now excited, able and ready and didn’t need to wait long to put it to test.
From almost an uneasy silence, we could now make out in the distance, noise coming from the small army of beaters and their trusty dogs. I made ready, bolt forward, first round in barrel and safety off. Suddenly, almost flying across the clearing, boars started to run through just under the 100m mark. I was after a trophy kill thus, the first smaller ones left to pass by, hoping that my theory of the larger (and craftier) ones following behind would be correct. There and then, a larger greyish black wild boar with visible tusks made a dash for it and I was ready. My shot got the boar just before it disappeared behind the bushes. I knew I had a hit because of the distinctive “dust” cloud emitted from the boar before it sort of tumbled on and disappeared from our sight. Before I could down another one, the dogs showed up and I put the rifle in safe position and emptied the rifle’s chamber.
The dogs made a hell of a racket just beyond the clearing and did not move on. They were soon followed by the beaters, stopping right there, frustratingly, just beyond our view. We had strict safety instructions not to descend from our platforms to pursue wounded game unless we were cleared to do so. A minute or two passed and my guide got a WhatsApp message that made him dance around in our tiny space. With broken English, he happily conveyed the message that I had got the very same trophy boar we had been briefed in the morning to look out for. As it seems, it had eluded the preceding hunting parties and was becoming something of some concern for the locals. When finally, we were cleared to move about, we made our way to my first kill of the day, and boy was I exhilarated when we went around the bend and came up to this beast. That’s it, I cannot explain the feeling going through me, but I was now, whole heartedly hooked on this sport. It was not to be my only kill on this hunt foray, but nothing else I bagged thereon had tusks as large as my first kill of the day.
Late afternoon, with some 40 minutes of daylight left, we finally had time to go to a designated area where we could finetune our zeroing onto paper targets set at 100m. With a rested rifle, I took aim and let loose downrange three rounds. I cannot say I was surprised but all three landed smack on the dead centre of that paper target, confirming that the conveyed corrective data by my Rangemasterin the morning was correct and no further adjustments were needed. Money well spent and thereafter, every time I have the pleasure of making ready for an overseas hunt, right after the ammunition box, it’s my little friend, the Leica Rangemaster CRF 2700-B, to follow on into my travel hunting bag.