Newest Leupold Rangefinder: RX-2800 TBR/W Performance and Review

One of the most frustrating things in shooting is when the rangefinder you have will not report a distance on the desired target. This is why many shooters will buy expensive rangefinders that are “oversized” or “overqualified” for their application. It is still important to buy a rangefinder that is big enough to do what you need it to do and then some, but it does not have to be expensive. The Leupold RX-2800 TBR/W fits this criteria perfectly. While being a very strong rangefinder, this piece of equipment does not heft a cumbersome price tag and performs in a way that everyone would be pleased with.

First Impressions

Unboxing the Leupold RX-2800 rangefinder. This is what you can expect to find when you make your purchase.

Once the box was opened, it was apparent that Leupold had put much thought into the design of the rangefinder. It has rubberized grip areas on the top of the unit as well as the bottom and a flip out eyecup that can be turned out for use without glasses, or turned in for use with glasses. My favorite feature was not as apparent at a glance, but once the unit was removed from the packaging I noticed that there was an incorporated tripod mount adapter that accepts 1/4×20 UNC thread mounts. This small addition instantly ranked this rangefinder among the best in my mind because other high performing rangefinders require a special adapter/mount in order to lock it into place on the tripod.

Using the Leupold 2800 while mounted to a tripod. Here, you can see how the rangefinder functions while mounted to a tripod, which increases stability and improves the ranging capability of the rangefinder.

Performance

The Leupold RX-2800 would give me distance readings around 2000 yards on basically any type of target whether it was a rock, tree, or grassy spot. On flat ground, such as farm ground or rangeland, many strong performing rangefinders will fall short and yield poor ranging capabilities well under their max. This is due to the reflection of light off of these surfaces not sending much infrared laser signal back to the sensor in the rangefinder. However, I found that the Leupold RX-2800 would give consistent readings of 1,500 yards or more on flat, grassy terrain.

1767 yards was the distance found to range consistently on flat ground (not targeting the bush below the reticle, which is 1485 yards).

Another object that is difficult to range is a black cow. This is because cows are smaller targets for the laser to hit than the side of a hill or a large tree and infrared does not reflect off of black well because it is mostly absorbed. While ranging cows, I commonly received 1,400 yard and 1,500 yard readings, but honestly, it was a bit of a stretch beyond that. In the RX-2800 manual, it states that deer and similar animals can be ranged out to 1,100 yards which I can honestly report is a gross underestimate and this rangefinder has proven itself much more capable.

1445 yards ranged on a targeted cow. On a black cow, an average of 1400 yards was found to be ranged consistently.

Continuing with how this rangefinder performs, I found that I could depend on the RX-2800 to give me readings off of trees beyond 2,800 yards. The furthest reading that I got off of a tree was 3,327 yards. But, I commonly got distances back that were in the 2,900 yard range.

2071 yards being ranged off of a targeted tree on the far ridge. Trees seemed to be an easily ranged target for this rangefinder.

I will mention that while I was out sheep hunting with my hunting buddies, we had a competition to see whose rangefinders could range the furthest. Out of a Leica 1200, Sig 2000, Leica 1600b, Vortex Fury ranging binoculars, and the RX-2800, the Leupold performed the best with the others falling in line behind it in the order listed.

The last thing that I want to point out for the performance of this rangefinder is the fact that ranging rocks was very unpredictable. I could always depend on being able to range rock that was 1,700 yards or closer, but with distances greater than that it was very inconsistent in giving me a reading on the first try. Sometimes I would get ranges of 2,500 yards out of a certain rock over and over again and other times on different rocks, I would really struggle to range past the mentioned 1,700 yards that I could depend on it to give me. This is probably due to the fact that not all rock is the same shape, size and varies widely in albedo. Also, this isn’t specific to this rangefinder but rather something all rangefinders struggle with.  Also, please note, as you can see, this is in full sunlight and at a loose looking shale or rock. Rangefinders perform their best off of smooth reflective objects like road signs.

Ranging capability of the Leupold 2800 found during the bright day while targeting solid rock.

During the period of time that I had this rangefinder for testing, I was able to use it for a week over the course of two different guided sheep hunts in Mackay, Idaho. I found myself ranging many things that I would not normally try for because it was either typically too far, or I had no true need to. However, I found that I was using this rangefinder to calculate the distances between different ridges in order to get an idea of what a shot across them might be. While sheep hunting, you are in truly rough country and I had no trouble getting distances from objects and structures that I normally would not be able to get them from. The Leupold RX-2800 proved itself a valuable and effective tool for hunting and I will likely replace my Sig 2000 with it. 

Ballistics

Leupold has given this rangefinder the ability to give you ballistic adjustments according to the distance that it ranges. This can be accompanied by a 10 MPH wind correction if you turn the setting on. This feature is only available for distances ranged within 800 yards, but for hunting, it proved to be very handy. Instead of needing the range on quick shots, I was able to just glance at the adjustment provided and dial that into my gun and make quick, accurate shots.

Leupold has provided 25 different ballistic “groups” of similarly performing cartridges that follow the same ballistic pattern at 600 yards. You can choose to have the rangefinder give you ballistic adjustments based off of the range and the ballistic group that you have set your rangefinder to use. The wind correction also functions using the info from the 25 different ballistic groups, but it provides a wind hold for a 10 MPH perpendicular crosswind. Depending on the speed or angle, a knowledgeable shooter can make quick corrections for wind drift as well.

Miscellaneous Improvements

There are many small, visually unnoticeable improvements to the RX-2800 TBR/W rangefinder. Improved environmental adaptation algorithms adjust the noise threshold that the rangefinder will read, which leads to better ranging capabilities in the bright sun which tends to give off similar infrared wavelengths that most rangefinders use. Also, Leupold brags of the narrowest beam divergence coming in at 1.172 mrad.  Leupold also improved ranging capabilities by increasing the sensor sensitivity as well as raising the power of the laser by utilizing a fairly new quad stripe laser diode.

Specifications:

Magnification                                                                                                                      7X

Inclinometer                                                                                                                        yes

TBR/W (True Balliscic Range/Wind)                                                                                yes

Bright OLED display                                                                                                            yes

Last Target Mode                                                                                                                yes

Line of Sight Mode                                                                                                             yes

Yards/Meters mode                                                                                                           yes

Scan Mode                                                                                                                           yes

Battery Life                                                                                                                          >4,000 actuations

Weight                                                                                                                                 7.9 oz

Dimension (Inches)                                                                                                           4.4 x 2.9 x 1.5

Battery Status Indicator                                                                                                  yes

Warranty                                                                                                                           2 years

Wavelength                                                                                                                      895-915 nm

Beam divergence                                                                                                            1.172 mrad

Pulse duration                                                                                                                  20ns

Power                                                                                                                              > 5.14 mW

Price                                                                                                                                $649.99 MSRP

Final Thoughts

The Leupold RX-2800 TBR/W is a very capable rangefinder that will provide a ranging capacity that is greater than most shooters or hunters will ever need. The rangefinder is extremely fast with its measurements and followup readings, which makes multiple readings easy and effective. Changing the mode and other settings are extremely easy. The rangefinder has very good ergonomics and high-quality glass which makes it a pleasure to use and the two-year warranty is better than most optic company’s electronics warranties. Overall, I enjoyed using this rangefinder on a couple Rocky Mountain sheep hunts while testing and would definitely recommend this powerful unit to a friend in search of purchasing a great rangefinder for a low price.

Learn more about the Leupold RX-2800 TBR/W  on Leupold’s website by clicking HERE.

About the author: Riley Baxter is an avid and experienced hunter, shooter, outdoorsman, and he’s worked in the backcountry guiding for an outfitter. He also get’s a lot of enjoyment out of building or customizing his firearms and equipment. Check out Riley’s Instagram @Shooter300

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Jeremiah Meachum September 6, 2018, 9:29 am

    Great article, does the RX-2800 have any settings for archery such as RX-1200i that I’ve owned since its release and truly love ?

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