For the longest time, I thought I didn’t have use for a rangefinder. I shot only at known distances at ranges marked as such. The bench sitting at 100 yards was, in my mind, at 100 yards away. I accepted that as fact, though it wasn’t necessarily set in stone.
Thinking back, I remember when I first started shooting at age 14. The pistol silhouette range where we shot rifles with cast bullets had what I understood to be a confusing combination of targets in meters and yards. I didn’t put much thought into it or really care at the time. I had a book and knew to move the sights this much for this target on this range with this gun.
Over the years, I realized not all distances are fixed and it really does matter. I needed to know how far I was shooting for both ballistic purposes and proper data.
Many people have an eye for measurements. It’s like guessing a person’s birthday or weight at an amusement park. If I were the guesser, everyone would get a stuffed animal. Judging distance doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m learning. No matter how good I get, though, a good rangefinder is an excellent tool for shooting precision.
Just released, the Vortex Diamondback HD 2000 replaces their Ranger 1800 model. The Diamondback has a maximum reflective range of, you guessed it, 2000 yards…200 yards beyond the max range of its predecessor.
Its max deer range is 1400 yards, an impressive 500 yards more than the Ranger 1800. I especially appreciate the ability to range closer. The Diamondback has a minimum reflective range of 5 yards, half that of the Ranger’s 10. Even more impressively, the Diamondback is $50 less expensive than the Ranger 1800 at $449.99.
The Diamondback HD 2000 falls in the middle of Vortex’s new rangefinder series. The Crossfire HD 1400 is replacing the Impact 1000 and the Viper HD 3000 falls between the new Diamondback and the Vortex’s current top-of-the-line rangefinder, the Razor HD 4000.
Here is a short comparison provided by Vortex.
I’ve been thoroughly pleased with the Diamondback HD. It does everything I need it do do without fail. It’s comfortable to hold with a slightly stippled polymer grip surface that’s easy to grab in wet conditions.
The rangefinder comes in a convenient carrying case with a wrist strap and bungee cord. The case itself uses a small bungee closure that’s quiet to open and easy to manipulate with gloves.
This is key for hunting. Many don’t put much thought into the packaging or storage when buying new equipment. My first rangefinder came with a small carrying case that would never close with a wrist strap modeled for a 5-year-old. It was useless. Vortex put a lot of thought into making sure the included carrying case is fully functional.
Vortex’s case also has an attachment for a MOLLE system on the back and two small loops on the side for connection to a harness. The unit itself has a reversible utility clip. The clip is pre-installed on the left side of the unit, but comes with a 2mm hex key to switch it to the opposite side.
The included wrist lanyard is long enough to wear around your neck. No matter how you want to carry the rangefinder, you can. If you prefer more stability than your hands can provide, the Diamondback 2000 has an integrated tripod adapter socket.
At 7.6 ounces, this 7X magnification rangefinder is light enough to carry, but with enough heft that you don’t question its quality. (Vortex’s lifetime warranty doesn’t hurt either.) It measures 4.4” x 1.8” and according to Vortex, is both waterproof and shockproof. I haven’t had the courage to throw it into a pool for testing purposes, but I have no doubt Vortex will stand by it.
What struck me about the Diamondback HD 2000 is both how comfortable it is to hold and how easy it is to use. It fits comfortably in my hand with my fingers falling right overtop the two control buttons on the top of the unit. Though some may laugh, I was immediately impressed with the battery cap.
Whatever the product, battery installation is usually a pain. This battery cap is a small circle split in two with a small open space on one side for your finger. Stick your nail in the open space and flip one half of the circle up. Half the cap becomes a leverage point, allowing you to easily thread the cap in and out.
The Diamondback 2000 takes one CR2 battery that Vortex says lasts for 2,000+ range measurements. I haven’t hit that number yet, but even with extensive use, the battery is still going strong. The unit also has a low battery indicator that will light up inside the unit when it gets down to 25%.
Though there’s only one reticle, a small circle, I appreciated its plainness. In hunting situations, you don’t have all day to play around and this unit is fast and accurate. The surprisingly complete and easy to understand user manual boasts .25 second measuring time and accuracy of ±1 yard up to 100 yards, ±2 yards between 100 and 500 yards and ± 3 yards at 500 yards and over. Testing at known distances, the rangefinder readings matched. All of Vortex’s rangefinders have three ranging modes: line of sight (LOS), Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) and a scan feature.
HCD is suitable for most rifle and archery applications, providing an angle-corrected distance. LOS provides both a distance and slope incline. This mode provides no ballistic correction for slope, but is a line item for many ballistic solvers. Users have the option of measuring distance in meters or yards. The scan feature allows you to continuously measure as you scan an area, distances changing in real time.
Compared to other Vortex rangefinders, the Diamondback HD 2000 offers the fewest number of target modes: normal and last. Normal range provides the target range with the strongest result. Last mode provides the furthest distance while scanning. Normal range is suitable for most applications while last mode is beneficial when ranging a specific target surrounded by other objects — in example, a deer standing among trees and rocks.
Lastly, the red OLED display allows five brightness options for varying light conditions and preferences. The diopter also has integrated focus adjustment.
Specifications: Vortex Diamondback HD 2000 Laser Rangefinder
Objective Lens: 24mm
Max Reflective Range: Up to 2000 yards (1829 meters)
Tree Range: Up to 1800 yards (1646 meters)
Deer Range: Up to 1400 yards (1189 meters)
Minimum Range: 5 yards (4.5 meters)
Accuracy: ± 1 yard @ ≤ 100 yards
± 2 yards @ ≥ 100 yards & ≤ 500 yards
± 2 yards @ ≥ 500 yards
Maximum Angle Reading: ±60º
Field of View: Linear @100 yards — 335´
Angular — 6.4º
Eye Relief: 16mm
Battery Type: CR2
Battery Life: 2000+ Range Cycles at Brightness Level 3
Length: 4.1″ (103.4mm)
Height: 3.1″ (79.5mm)
Width: 1.8″ (45 mm)
Weight w/Battery: 7.6 ounces
Ratings (out of five stars):
Overall: * * * * *
I’ll be replacing my current rangefinder with th Diamondback HD 2000. While it doesn’t have all the fancy ballistic capabilities some other rangefinders do, it’s comfortable to hold, easy to use and offers a range of features that do everything I need. Measurements are incredibly quick and I appreciate the wide measurement range from 5 yards to 2000 yards. This provides great versatility, allowing me to use it to range pistol targets as well as long range rifle targets and game animals. The Diamondback HD 2000 well built and I don’t feel I have to be cautious about taking it out in the field — it can take the use and abuse.
Serena Juchnowski is a freelance outdoor writer, photographer and High Power Rifle competitor. She earned the Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge in 2019, the highest honor for marksmanship recognized by the U.S. government and is also a member of the U.S. Young Eagles Palma team.