Will A Rangefinder Work When It’s Snowing? – All You Need to Know

If you are wondering will a rangefinder work when it’s

Will a Rangefinder Work When It’s Snowing?

No, the rangefinder doesn’t work when it’s snowing because it can disperse the laser beam so that the readings are way off.

How do Laser Rangefinders work?

There are many factors that can affect whether or not your rangefinders will perform optimally in rainy conditions. These can include:

  • lens quality and size
  • display and reticle color
  • weather and lighting conditions
  • type of target
  • reflectivity of target

Understanding how rangefinders work is essential before using one.

Lasers are used to send out light waves which bounce off objects and then return back to the source.

A laser rangefinder uses an internal clock to measure the length of the laser beam and convert this measurement into the distance.

will a rangefinder work when its snowing

Will A Rangefinder Work When It’s Snowing?

5 Tips To Maximize Your Rangefinding Efficiency

To get the most from your laser rangefinder, you need to know how and when to use them regardless of the weather or time of day.

1. Know Your Optics

When engineers create the perfect formula for making those lenses you use every day, they’ve got it down to a science.


The more chemically treated coatings the lens’ surface has, the more visible rays of sunlight will be able to pass through them.

The better the coatings used for the lens, the brighter the resulting images even at night.

  • Coated: At least one surface of the lenses has a single-layer coating.
  • Fully-coated: All glass has a single-layer coating
  • Multicoated: at least one layer of coating covers the entire lens surface
  • Fully Multi-Coat: All air-to-glasses surfaces have multiple layers of coatings

Some companies also apply their own proprietary coat­ing such as the LotuTec coating used on Zeiss Victory rangefinder lenses.

Size of Lenses

There are two different types of lenses that can also affect how bright of a light bulb you’re going to get.

  • Objective Lens: The diameter usually ranges from 18–26 millimeters.
  • Eyepieces: This is the circular opening at the front of the telescope where you look through to view objects. It gives you an indication of how much light is visible to the naked eye.

2. Know Your Display Preferences

The colors and types of displays and the colors of the reticles are important factors in determining how well your rangefinder will perform under different lighting conditions and at different distances.

LED Screen/Red Display

A rangefinder with a screen usually has a red reticule and displays images. It’s often more expensive than an LCD rangefinder.


An illuminated red reticule on an LED screen rangefinder is actually thought to be one of the best types of units to use during low light situations because you can see it against almost any background.


When using the display in low light conditions, the brightness may be too high for your eyesight.

During bright daylight, the red reticule may get washed out by ambient lighting. If this happens, the laser beam won’t be able to successfully hit the mark to provide an accurate reading.

If you do like LED displays, choose one that has a variable light intensity so you can adjust it to suit your needs at any time of day.

LCD Screen/Black Display

These units are usually cheaper than LED units. They show a black reticle that works well in bright sunlight.

While the black screen is much easier to see under bright lighting conditions than its LED counterparts, it can be difficult for the user to see the reticle if they’re trying to range on shaded areas, darker items, or during low light situations.

If you prefer an LCD monitor with a black background, look for one that has the ability to use a backlight feature. This will be useful if you want to illuminate the reticule and read what’s on your camera’s LCD monitor.

3. Time Your Hunt

You’ve learned from the above info about rangefinders and their display screens that ambient light has a big impact on how they perform.

Artificial lights and bright skies will decrease the accuracy of the rangefinder.

You don’t always need to know ahead of the weather when those ideal cloudy skies are going to come rolling in. Sometimes, just knowing that they’re coming is enough.

Besides, if you track white-tailed deer feeding behavior, you’ll know that later in the afternoon is a good period for harvesting meat anyway.

4. Know Your Target’s Reflectivity

Rangefinders work by measuring the time it takes light to travel from an object to your eye. Since most animals don’t want to put on reflective clothing, they’re not likely to stand still long enough for you to take accurate measurements.

One way around this is to get a better, longer-range rangefinder or to range from a reflective surface that’s close by. Instead of ranging to nearby dry objects, range to the wet piles of leaves or rocks where the animal is grazing.

Most conventional rangefinder devices can get you an accurate distance, plus or minus one yard.

5. Know Your Environment

As the bright sun can spoil your rangefinder, so too can the cold weather and dark, dull objects. Wildlife can sometimes be hidden by the winter snows.

Snow crystals can diffract and scatter the light from lasers. If you see bright clouds in the sky, then you may want to stay inside or at least take some time to learn how to handle your weapon properly.

If you’re using a camera flash for lighting up subjects, ranging onto dark or black surfaces might also help because they have a high percentage (or even 100%) of light absorption.

If you’re scouting for a location, put up some landmarks or place some bright decoys just in case they need to be ranged to that instead.


They’re good for clear days but if there’s even a bit of snow on the ground they won’t focus well.

They will focus well on nearby things (such as tree branches), but if you try to view something farther away, they won’t be able to see it clearly.

If you have any more questions feel free to comment below.


  • Sarah Wilson

    Sarah is a content consultant at The Outdoor Stores where she is ready to guide you through the features of a good firearm for your outdoor activities and hunting hobbies. Her expert knowledge and intellectual skills have helped The Outdoor Stores greatly.

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