Equipment Review – Hawke 400 range finder

Those who follow me on Instagram will know I have recently bought a range finder.
Now many of you might think this a strange thing for someone who has always said they are an instinctive archer at heart. Why purchase one if you don’t gap or use sights? Also why buy one when the NFAS is the home of unmarked distances?
Well this purchase is more to do with course laying than my own shooting.

I have found that when you are setting a course, whether 3D or using bosses it is beneficial to be able to range each shot accurately. This helps to both ensure a good mix of distances but also aids safety, as you can use it to check distances of overshoots etc.

Having done some research or rather that should read lots of research on numerous Google searches and a few postings on different sites asking for advise and guidance I was pretty sure of a couple of things.
The mix of different options was huge.

The prices ranged from £50 to £300 plus

I was fortunate to have a couple of fellow archers who were kind enough to lend me theirs to have a play with and the entry level ones seem to work pretty well. Quite often archers will use a golf range finder as opposed to one designed for shooting, as shooting ones tend to range over hundreds of yards at times.

I also popped down to our local gun shop to ask their advice and to see what options they had. (Shooting Supplies Limited http://shootingsuppliesltd.co.uk/ ) I have to say they incredibly helpful going through the different options and what’s available, along with practical advice, thanks guys.

I ended up buying a Hawke 400 from the shop in question and it was a choice between the Hunter and Professional unit. As it was I went for the Professional in the end as it was only slightly more expensive and offered a couple of features I thought might prove useful, more on these later.

Taken from the Hawke website

First impressions are very positive

The unit is light and easy to carry, though the only criticism I have so far is the carrying pouch which is a little small, making it difficult to stow and retrieve easily. I have managed to get the lanyard caught in the pouch zipper a couple of times. The unit measures approximately 3 inches high x 4.5 inches long and 2 inches thick so small enough to store in my jacket pocket.

The unit can be set for measuring in yards or metres, through the instructions don’t explain how to change between them. I had to Google it.! Where would we be without Google. Maybe including this in the user manual and if it is already then making it more obvious for fools like me.
Clarity through the viewfinder is pretty good making it fairly easy to locate targets. It has a x6 magnification through the unit and ways only 180g / 6.3oz so nothing really. Full manufactures breakdown can be found here https://uk.hawkeoptics.com/laser-range-finder-pro-400.html
Like many range finders the unit displays details through the viewfinder such as yardage. this is shown in black text over the image so it’s a little hard to view with a dark background.
I am yet to check the accuracy against a measured distances. Distances I have used it on so far are from 5 yards to 90, but I need to check the calibration.

Update – I have now tried this on my range finding it very useful and more importantly accurate. Distance wise it matches the long measuring tape I have and the marked distances on my range, which is 40 yards, however if I factor in my garden I can easily got back over 60 yards and I’ve tested it at this distance too.
One thing that this unit has already helped me with is the judgement on height difference. I knew the range was on a slight incline and with the Pro 400 I have bene able to identify the incline over 20 / 40 / 60 yards.
Hawke state there is +/- 1 m and I think that is true as I have found ranging in on the top of the boss and then at the bottom can sometimes give a difference of a yard.

The different modes are described by the manufacturer as

“Beeline mode measures the horizontal distance to a target.

Height mode measures how high the target is in relation to the range finder.
Angle mode measures the angle of projection. It will be measured to the nearest half a degree.”
One feature the unit offers over the Hunter is in giving you the angle to target. This was one of the reasons I went for the Professional over the Hunter. I wanted to know the elevation to or from targets to the shooting peg, something that I felt would be very useful if you are setting shots on hillsides or across dips and valleys.

Having used this now to range in targets on uneven terrain I can confirm it is very helpful when setting shots or for your own shooting. The only thing I have not tried is using it in wet weather so I can’t testify to how water resistant or accurate it is on a rainy day, though knowing the UK I expect this will be tested at sometime in the summer.

Overall I think it is a great bit of kit, useful for all archers who want to improve their distance judgement or like myself want to continue to develop their skills in course laying. I’d give it a 9.5 out of 10. The only reason it’s not a 10 is the pouch and I haven’t tried it in the rain.

Thanks for reading.

Target boss repairs tip

From time to time your target bosses will be in need of repairs. We know this as we go through the process of inspecting and repairing our targets at the club. Sometimes this is a complete rebuild, other times the boss straps or banding simply needs tightening up. In the next few articles I will be providing some thoughts and advice on how I go about repairing targets.

Bit of a disclaimer here. I am no expert but I have used these techniques and found them to work, but please take care and use common sense.

For our layered foam target bosses we use these buckles for banding as it allows us to tighten the tension of the straps. It’s worth noting the straps can slacken up overtime as the foam gets shot out. The good thing is it’s easy to tighten them back up.

The only issue that can occur is if there isn’t enough banding to connect to the banding ratchet. To overcome this problem we came up with a quick solution of creating an extension strap. I can’t lay claim to coming up with this idea or technique entirely on my own and would like to thank Tony Parsons  for his help and advice.

Buckle and extension strap

This is a length of about 12-14 inches with a buckle on the end. With a little luck there should be enough banding on the boss end to loop through the other side of the buckle.

You might want to use a pair of pliers to pull the end through as shown below.

You can then use the extended length of strapping in the bander to tighten the boss straps.

Be careful with using this technique as if there is insufficient banding on the buckle it can slip off.

Another added advantage of this method and the buckles is if you are careful you can tighten the bosses in situ on the course by just taking the banding ratchet and extension length.

Don’t over compress the bosses as we’ve found light poundage junior bows struggle to penetrate and arrows can bounce back.

Any  comments or thoughts let me know.

Thanks for reading.