What is Binocular Rangefinder Reticle – Complete Guide

People often ask, what is a Binocular rangefinder reticle?

In this article, we will tell you about the binocular rangefinder reticle and its uses.

What Is Binocular Rangefinder Reticle?

A binocular rangefinder reticle is a type of optical sight that helps you to measure the distance between two objects. It consists of an objective lens and an eyepiece connected by a tube or a prism.

The image formed on the retina of your eye is then projected onto the reticle in front of it. This projection causes a line to appear on the reticle.

The length of this line depends on the distance between the object and the target. You can use the line as a reference for measuring distances.

You should be able to see the reticle clearly when looking through the eyepiece. However, if you have poor eyesight, you may need to adjust the focus of your binoculars before using them.

What is a Rangefinder Reticle?

A reticle is a net of fine lines or fibers in an eyepiece of an optical instrument used for aiming and measuring.

A rangefinder reticle is usually designed to measure distances from you to objects you’re viewing, but it can also be employed to measure the heights of objects or angles of view.

Where are Rangefinder Reticles Used?

Rangefinders reticles are mainly found in binoculars and monocles for use in hunting, fishing, surveying, and military applications.

1. Marine Binoculars

Marine binocular lenses often include a rangefinder feature that allows boaters, yacht owners, and others aboard boats, yachts, and other marine vessels, to measure the distance between objects.

2. Golf Rangefinders

Most reticle rangefinder devices used for golfing come in the shape of a monocular rather than a binocular and are designed to help you determine the distance to the target so that you can always pick the right clubs.

3. Hunting & Military

Reticle rangefinders are sometimes found in rifle scopes as well as binoculars specifically designed for hunting and military use and are obviously used to determine the distance to the potential target to help with aiming. However, laser rangefinders are becoming more and more popular for these applications.

How Do Rangefinder Reticles Calculate Distance?

There are actually several different methods for calculating distances used in rangefinder reticles and scopes.

One way to measure distance is by using a rangefinder or laser rangefinder. These devices use a beam of light to determine the distance between them and an unknown target.

For military and hunting purposes, this is called the Mil-dot reticule and the formula for calculating the range is called the Mil-dots formula:

If you’re familiar with the formula for calculating the size of an object given its dimensions, then you can use that formula to determine the distance between two objects.

If you’re sailing on a boat and look through your binoculars at a light tower that you know to be 60 metres tall, then you’d estimate its height to be 60 meters.

  • Distance = Height of the Target/Scale Height * 1000
  • Distance = 60 / 80 * 1000
  • Distance to the lighthouse = 750m

Do Rangefinder Reticles Work?

Yes, but for measuring distances, they’re not as precise or fast as laser rangefinder devices, but they can provide a rough estimate and function over longer distances.

Accuracy depends on the shooter’s accuracy and the equipment’s quality. If you’re shooting from a long distance and you’ve got an excellent rifle, they may be very accurate.

Because of their size, cost, and portability, reticle rangefinder units are usually the best choice for most applications. However, because of their size, cost and portability, reticule rangefinder units are often now more commonly found in most golf rangefinders and hunting binoculars.

what is binocular rangefinder reticle

What is Binocular Rangefinder Reticle?

Laser Rangefinder Devices

Laser rangefinder devices are usually found on hunting binoculars or golf rangefinder devices and they send out a beam of light to determine the distance to the object.

These devices measure distance by sending out pulses of infrared light which bounce off objects and return to the device. They’re inexpensive, easy to use and provide fairly accurate results.

However, they only measure short distances, require a battery for operation, may not be able to operate underwater, and can alert others if used too close to their location.

Using Reticle Binoculars To Estimate Range – OSC

A key marine mammal observation technique is estimating distance to a sighting. Binoculars and rangefinders are the most commonly used tools, but it is also sometimes possible to determine range using a sextant.

Here we demonstrate everything you need to know to calculate estimated ranges with reticle binoculars (or any optical device).

What you need to know

You’ll first need to measure yourself before starting.

First, determine how high you can comfortably see above ground level. Then, find out what kind of building materials you’re working with. For example, if you’re working on a wooden deck, you’ll probably need to add about 4 inches to your measurement.

Next, consider any obstructions between where you stand and the surface you’re measuring. For instance, if you’re standing next to a wall, you may need to subtract an inch or two from your measurements.

Finally, make sure you know exactly how tall your building is before you start measuring. Otherwise, you might get confused and think you’ve measured too far!

You will also want to know the number of millimeters in each reticule of your binoculars. Refer to your binoculars’ reticule specification.

Estimating Range Using Reticle Binoculars

To find out your elevation above sea level, firstly, calculate the distance between your eyes and the observation point. Then multiply that by two.

If you see an animal, first set the top line of the crosshairs on the horizon where you think the animal might be. Then, using the number of reticulates, work out the number mils from there. For instance, if you’re seeing an animal at 3 reticulate lines and each reticulate is 5 mils, then that’s 15 miles.

To calculate the estimated value of an investment, first enter all figures into the formula below.

Range = (eye height + height above sea level) x 1000 / no of mils

Putting it Into Practice

As an MMO, it is not realistic to assume that conversion rates can be determined immediately, and as such, this is often necessary as it will determine whether marine mammals are in or out of a protection zone, and, thus, whether operations can begin.


We hope that now you know about the binocular rangefinder reticle. If you have any queries feel free to reach out in the comments section below.


  • John Moses

    John is the Editor in Chief here at The Outdoor Stores. His area of expertise ensures that there is no one better to suggest which rifles are most suitable for your hunting experience. He is also available for you to contact him personally to discuss the types of animals you want to hunt and the terrain you will be hunting on. Feel free to read his posts for expert opinion on Rifles, Scopes, Rangefinders, Bonoculars and Monoculars.

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