I like reviews that save time and get right to the point, so I’ll do so here. After all, Swarovski Optik’s EL-Range 10×42 laser rangefinding binocular is all about time—both saving it and extending it.
I purchased my first piece of European glass 15 years ago when I needed a riflescope that could perform well at the end of legal shooting time. I was deer hunting over a soybean field that had a monster eight-point frequenting it, so I purchased a fancy 3-12x56mm optic manufactured in Jena, Germany. The scope was a huge jump in clarity and twilight performance from what I was used to, and it paid off when I harvested the buck one evening just after the sun dropped below the horizon. It’s still my largest whitetail trophy, and I certainly credit that riflescope with helping make that season a success.
Fast forward 15 years and I’ve looked through just about every riflescope, rangefinder, and binocular you would consider to be in the premium category of hunting glass. To no surprise, Swarovski Optik is always among the top contenders, offering that twilight enhancement I’ve come to love. For instance, the first time I borrowed a set of EL-Range binos, I immediately saw a gap in my system that was about to be filled. With one touch of a button on the left side of the binocular’s frame, an almost instant reading of yardages from 33 to 1,500 appears in the left ocular. Paired with excellent glass, it’s a can’t-miss.
First, lets talk about how the EL-Range can extend your hunting time. With the EL-Range, Swarovski uses their tried-and-true EL platform of 10×42 binoculars. This platform is nothing new, and for good reason: The standard 10×42 ELs are known for having some of the best clarity and optical performance in the industry. They’ll give you those crucial extra minutes at dawn and dusk when game animals make the mistake of thinking they’re safe on the razor edge of legal shooting light. Just think about an extra five minutes of previously unusable shooting time at the beginning and end of your hunt!
Where the Range really sets itself apart is time shaving. I like to shoot at long range, and that requires an accurate rangefinder. I’ve used plenty of passable models, but there are only a few that I would have previously considered on a hunt where a shot scenario could stretch out to beyond 500 yards. My former go-to rangefinder has now taken a back seat to the EL-Range for three reasons: First, my former rangefinder has a low 7x magnification, making it harder to aim precisely at longer distances. The EL-Range has a magnification of 10x, which makes centering the laser on your subject much easier. Second, the EL-Range has two 42mm objective lenses instead of the single 25mm objective lens of my former rangefinder, allowing me far more light transmission through the optic. Third, and most important, I no longer have the middle step in the chain of binocular to rangefinder to riflescope. Being able to go straight from binocular to riflescope is huge.
Imagine glassing a long road or shooting lane that may only be 20 to 30 yards wide. A game animal can quickly cross said lane even at a walking speed. Now, think about that animal being 412 yards away while you put your binoculars down, transition to your rangefinder, and try to find the animal at 7x in low light. Then you still have to put the rangefinder down and find him in your riflescope. In the time it took you to read this paragraph, your dream buck just made it to the far wood line, where he’s hot on the trail of his new girlfriend. I hope he doesn’t understand English if he hears you whisper to yourself.
With the Swarovski EL-Range, you can shave off this time-consuming middle step of using a stand-alone rangefinder while increasing your magnification and extending your usable light. When you’ve traveled halfway around the world on a dream hunt, you want to maximize every second to ensure success. I’ll opt for an extra ten minutes and being able to shave ten seconds every time. My Swarovski EL-Range will most definitely be making the trip to South Africa with me this March.
For more information, visit swarovskioptik.com/hunting/.