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A Helping Hand(Held): Leupold RX-5000 TBR/W

Leupold's new RX-5000 rangefinder comes with impressive, long-range performance.

A Helping Hand(Held): Leupold RX-5000 TBR/W

(Author photo)

Whether archery or gun hunting, there are very few (if any) pieces of modern equipment that have been more instrumental in the ultimate success of hunters than a reliable rangefinder. Since their inception in the hunting space in the mid 1990s, modern rangefinders have advanced at a rapid rate in both size and capabilities from cumbersome units capable of ranging only a few hundred yards to the most modern rangefinders that now fit in the palm of your hand. These handheld wonders accurately spit out yardages at extreme distances and feature a wide variety of onboard ballistic calculators. Leupold Optics new RX-5000 TBR/W rangefinder does all of that and then some, putting cutting-edge technologies into the palm of your hand with the sole purpose of making you a more efficient hunter.

As the name suggests, the RX-5000 rangefinder is capable of ranging reflective targets out to an advertised (and absurd) distance of 5,000 yards, or almost 3 miles. Equally as impressive as the distance is the speed at which it ranges targets. I have used many iterations of Leupold rangefinders in recent years, none of which ever gave me the feeling the yardage feedback was “slow.” But the first thing I noticed as I toyed with the RX-5000 was the instantaneous distance delivery, even when run out to 2,000+ yards. The lightning-fast feedback is made possible by Leupold’s new, high-performance DNA laser engine that lies at the core of the RX-5000.

On a recent trip to Old Mexico, in pursuit of the ever-elusive Coues deer, I stretched the legs of the RX-5000 and was able to range a distant cliff face, handholding the unit, at 3,421 yards. Better yet, that reading was nearly immediate, reiterating the power and ability of the new rangefinding engine. In terms of pure rangefinding capabilities, the RX-5000 is the most impressive unit I have ever taken afield.

heward-leupold-rx-5000-buck
The RX-5000 is ideally situated for hunting the vast expanses of the West.

Equally as impressive as the formidable new range finding engine is the RX-5000’s new pinning feature. Leupold worked their magic with the RX-5000, providing users the ability to digitally mark ranged waypoints to a variety of mapping systems including OnX Hunt, Google and Apple maps. This technology is monumental to the success of your hunt, with many, many real-world applications including mapping out stalk routes, pinning downed game, pinpointing unmarked public/private lines, and the list could go on and on.

Leupold made this possible via their intuitive Leupold Control App that easily syncs your smartphone with the rangefinder via Bluetooth technology. Once in the app, simply hit the large “pin next” button on your Home page, range your intended target, and the app will drop a pin where you ranged in your selected mapping system. Leupold does suggest that you calibrate the RX-5000 often for the most precise pin drops. This sounds tedious but is a simple process that takes less than 60 seconds and is done through the Leupold Control App settings.

In the field, I tested this feature several times with encouraging results. Inside 1,000 yards, and given a fresh calibration, the RX-5000 dropped pins within a few yards from the laser rangefinder. Beyond that, the dropped OnX pin spread out slightly from my ranged point, but never deviated more than 30 yards even at distances beyond 3,000 yards.

heward-leupold-rx-5000-studio
Leupold RX-5000 TBR/W

With that said, some of that deviation likely fell upon my own user error. Eric Overstreet, technology product line manager at Leupold, said there are two crucial elements users must consider when using the pinning feature. First, due to the magnetic compass, magnets of any kind, like the ones commonly found securing the lid of a bino harness, will affect the precision of your ranges and subsequent marked pins. Second, when calibrating, separate yourself a fair distance from your truck, powerlines and any other potential magnetic disturbances. Doing so will result in more precise marked waypoints.

The Leupold Control app “allows users to configure their rangefinder using a graphical user interface,” said Overstreet. The app also hosts a variety of other useful features including a home display that instantly mirrors the reading from your rangefinder as well as the ability to remotely fire your rangefinder. This is incredibly handy when mounting the RX-5000 to a tripod to precisely range targets at extreme distances using “Long Mode”. This mode amplifies the rangefinding capabilities of the RX-5000 to spit out precise distances out to 5,000 yards and, given the right circumstances, beyond. The kicker, depending on distance, Long Mode does take substantially longer to produce an accurate reading and eliminating movement is paramount, necessitating the unit be fastened to a tripod.

While not new, Leupold’s TBR/W (True Ballistic Range/Wind) technology is woven into the RX-5000. The TBR/W technology takes into account shot angle, via a built-in inclometer, and a selected ballistic profile to provide shooters with calculated “shoot-to” ranges out to 800 yards. Overstreet summed up the TBR system best when he said, “Our TBR system, when combined with the CDS dial, is the fastest, most accurate solution to engage an animal. Range dial and shoot, it works incredibly well.”

heward-leupold-rx-5000-app
The Leupold Control App is incredibly intuitive and easy to operate.

One of the downfalls of many rangefinders is their ability to function in inclement weather such as fog, snow, and rain. To combat this problem. Leupold incorporated their “Last Target Mode” into the RX-5000, ensuring an accurate distance reading on the furthest object in the path of the laser regardless of outside factors.

Other notable features of the RX-5000 include 8X magnification, high light-transmission OLED display, aluminum chassis body fully encased in easy-grip rubberized armor, and ¼-20 threads for tripod attachment.

After several months of using the RX-5000 this past season on a variety of hunts from mule deer in Montana to Coues deer in Mexico, I can confidently say I have been nothing but impressed with the new offering from Leupold. The rangefinding abilities are industry-leading and the new pinning feature is dare I say, game changing. For the $699 price, the performance and features offered in Leupold’s new RX-5000 rangefinder makes it a serious contender when on the hunt for an affordable, premium rangefinder.

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