Being a die-hard predator hunter for the last few years, I have discovered one piece of equipment that I very rarely go to the field without, a rangefinder. I have spent a lot of time at the gun range discovering what my firearm will do at certain distances. I want the knowledge at what distance my bullet will begin to fall, so that when the opportunity strikes to harvest a coyote, I know exactly what my firearm is capable of. This is why I begin 90 percent of my setups with ranging several different objects before I began my calling sequence. When Nikon Sport Optics announced the coming of the worlds first laser rangefinder, to compensate for the human body's physical inability to be completely still, called the Monarch 7i VR (vibration reduction) I was instantly intrigued and wanted to put this rangefinder to the test.
|Nikon Monarch 7i Rangefinder|
Key Featues of the Nikon Monarch 7i VR rangefinder
- - VR (vibration reduction) function employed
- - Two measurement display modes can be easily switched ID (incline/decline) Technology
- - Horizontal distance mode
- - Actual distance mode
- - First target priority mode/distant target priority mode switch system
- - Quick and stable measurement response regardless of distance
- - Waterproof and fogproof ( the battery chamber is rainproof)
- - Measurement range 8 - 1000 yards
- - MSRP $ 399.95
What Sets the Monarch 7i VR Apart From Other Rangefinders
The one feature that sets the Monarch 7i VR apart from other rangefinders is the VR technology. This NEW technology is advertised to reduce the effect of external vibrations caused by unnecessary hand movements while ranging distant objects. For hunters, this means the target mark on the rangefinder remains stable, even when the body of the rangefinder is being moved. Not only does it provide the user with a steady image, it also stabilizes the activated laser, allowing it to maintain greater alignment for enhanced measurement performance. I decided to put three features of this rangefinder to the test to see if it is really worth the hype on a recent predator hunt in southern Missouri.
The First Target & Distant Target Modes (Tru-Target Technology)
The first feature I wanted to test was the laser rangefinders ability to switch between First Target Priority Mode (provides reading of the closest target among a group) or Distant Target Priority Mode (provides reading of the farthest target among a group). Whether your subject is in front of or behind a patch of brush, this setting is supposed to improve your ability to get the most accurate reading depending on the situation. While on my predator hunt, I met the perfect situation to test this feature. All though it wasn't a coyote, I did have a white-tailed deer walking towards me on the opposite side of a fence line. On the other side of a fence was some taller grass, when the deer got in line with the fence and the tall grass I ranged to see if I could get the deer. My range read 38.1 yards, I immediately made a mental note of where the deer was standing. After the deer moved on, I went to where the deer had been. Once in the location, I ranged back from where the deer was standing to where I was sitting, my range then read 38.5 yards. I followed up with ranging from the fence to where I was sitting and my range read 35.4 yards. That was enough to convince me that my reading came from the deer not the barbed wire, the fence post, or pieces of tall grass. My first test was a win for Nikon.
Testing the Distance Feature
Secondly, I wanted to test the distance feature. Advertised at 1,000 yards, I wanted to see just how far I could get an accurate read. After my morning hunt, I found a spot with a long lookout point to test distance, in southern Missouri that can sometimes be hard to find with all the rolling Ozark hills. The farthest I could read was a metal cattle feeder that was 864 yards. I tried farther than that, but I might not have been able to find a specific object for the laser to read. I was trying to read the edge of a woodline, but never could get a read on it. I'm anxious to take the Monarch 7i VR to western Oklahoma with me in late February. There are several places there well over 1,000 yards to test this function out properly. Overall, I tested from close distances as close as 10 yards followed by 100, 150, 200, 300, 400, 500 all the way out close to 900 yards with every reading having a fast response with no faults.
The VR System (Vibration Reduction)
The third feature I tested was the advertised VR (vibration reduction). This feature was tested while doing my other trials, this was the biggest characteristic that stuck out to me. I was very impressed at how fast I would get a read. In the past, I have used several different rangefinders while predator hunting. During that time I have noticed it takes 2 or 3 times of pushing the button to get an accurate read, especially on objects at further distances. This was not the case with Monarch 7i VR, I had a read almost every time on the 1st try. Upon, trying this feature out, I made a set in a place that I have hunted in the past. There was a particular log pile at the far edge of a field, I have never before been able to read it with my rangefinder unless I was very stable. When I ranged it with the NEW rangefinder I got a read on the first try while only resting my elbow on the top of my gun which was on a bipod. It read 433 yards. From that distance, the log pile doesn't look that big through the lens of a rangefinder, at that moment I came to the realization that the VR feature is very noticeable. As a predator hunter, I think this is going to be the biggest feature. Having the ability to set up with my gun on a bipod, then range several objects in front of me gives me the ability to know what my gun will do on an approaching coyote when the opportunity presents itself, which in turn means less misses and more coyote harvest.
During this review, I think I may have found a keeper. The Nikon Monarch 7i VR rangefinder is a very good quality product. The ergonomic design fits well in your hand, and the VR feature gives a fast accurate read on the first try. Out of the three features that I tested each seemed to perform as advertised. While testing, there was one other scenario that I found that worked great that was not one of the features that was highlighted, and that was how fast it read with a moving object. When pressing and holding the button it will continually read the object for up to 8 seconds. I tried this while walking towards objects, and it kept giving me a fast read every second as I got closer. This will be a great feature while predator hunting, as well as for the bowhunter who has a deer approaching into their desired shooting range. I have done several outdoor related product reviews over the years, this was one of those rare times it was hard to find any negatives about the product. This particular product was fun to use. I'm anxious to use it throughout the next few months while predator hunting.
WATCH VIDEO: Nikon's Monarch 7i VR Rangefinder