SIG SAUER Kilo850 Laser Rangefinder Review
The SIG SAUER Kilo850 Laser Rangefinder is a simple, easy-to-use rangefinder that gave good results for airgun use in Hard Air Magazine testing.
Digital rangefinders can be a great tool for airgun hunters, as knowing the exact range to the target obviously is of considerable importance in achieving an humane, one shot kill.
Below, testing the SIG SAUER Kilo850 laser rangefinder.
First impressions of the SIG SAUER Kilo850 laser rangefinder are outstanding – before the box is even opened…
This is because the packaging is of extremely high quality: design, print, material, everything! For those among us who use Apple products and are familiar with the packaging quality of an iPhone or iMac, you’ll know the feeling you get when opening the box. It inspires confidence and tells you that you have a quality product inside that beautiful packaging. It’s the same with this rangefinder.
In fact, SIG SAUER scores over Apple by also providing an excellent, well-printed Owner’s Manual that’s well-written and easy to understand.
Oh yes, there’s also a high quality lanyard and case for the Kilo850, too.
The SIG SAUER Kilo850 laser rangefinder has 4 x 20 optics, giving the same target magnification as a 4 power scope.
Basic operation is very simple. After installing the appropriate battery, simply point the Kilo850 towards the target – or a target marker, an object where you expect the target to be, a tree for example – and press the “RANGE” button on top.
Looking through the eyepiece, you see a small aiming circle in the center. It’s obvious that you line this up on the target (or target marker). Immediately below this a number appears. That’s the distance between you and the target in yards. Done!
Yes, there are some subtleties. You can focus the eyepiece of the Kilo850 to achieve a sharper image. I didn’t need to. And there’s a “MODE” button on the side that can be used to convert the range displayed to Meters, rather than yards. Again, I didn’t need to do this.
I also first used the Kilo850 in the default Angle Modified Range (AMR) mode. This means that the rangefinder displays the horizontal distance to the target, even if the target is higher or lower than you are.
There’s also a Line of Sight (LOS) mode available that gives the range to the target independent of angle – which it also displays. Given that the SIG SAUER Kilo850 laser rangefinder – like most rangefinders – is intended by the manufacturer for use with cartridge firearms at a range out to 1,200 yards, that’s a very important feature.
Of course, we’re looking at the Kilo850 for (relatively) close range air rifle use – out to 50 yards or so. In our test range and conditions, there was no difference between the range given by the two modes.
To test the Kilo850, we ran out a builder’s measuring tape across a clear, relatively level lawn. Then we set a target at specific distances and measured the distance using the rangefinder. To minimize errors, I sat in the same spot and my wife kindly moved the target along the tape.
Here’s the results achieved.
|Distance by Tape (Yards)||Distance by Rangefinder (Yards)|
What conclusions can we draw from this?
Firstly, the SIG SAUER Kilo850 laser rangefinder works well at the close ranges we typically use for airgun shooting. It rangefinds down to 5 yards, actually. It also detects quite small objects well – like sapling trunks – much smaller that the target face shown here.
The distance displayed by the rangefinder was very similar to that given by the tape. But it was not exactly the same. Why not? Well, there’s no guarantee that the tape itself is 1 million percent precise in measurements over such a long distance. And then the tape rises and falls over the slight undulations in the lawn, compared to the rangefinder, which has a “straight shot” at the target. For that reason, you’d expect the rangefinder to read a slightly shorter distance than the tape to a particular target location. And it did!
Below, the tape was securely staked into the lawn to avoid “creep” when unwound.
Note that we tested the SIG SAUER Kilo850 laser rangefinder in the default “BEST” mode. This means that the rangefinder gives its best estimate of the target distance. There’s also a “LAST” mode that can be used for rangefinding through foliage or high grass. As most airgun targets are taken “in the clear” – that is not shot through leaves or grass – “BEST” is probably the mode that most of us will use.
Below. Kilo850 product diagram courtesy of SIG SAUER.
I was impressed by how easy the Kilo850 was to use. It clearly gives accurate target distances at typical airgun hunting ranges. And it’s small, light, and not very expensive, at a Street Price of around $175 at the time of writing. There’s also an outstanding 5-year warranty, which gives added confidence to the purchaser.
The only real disadvantage I could see was that the aiming circle and range readout displays are in black. In bright light this is not an issue. However, as the sun set, it became difficult to see the circle and range in the reduced contrast environment. A bright red display would be better in low light conditions. Of course, SIG SAUER does offer a rangefinder with this feature (the Kilo2000) although it’s considerably more expensive.
CAUTION. The SIG SAUER Kilo850 uses a laser to measure distance. As with any laser product, do not point it into your eyes, or those of any other person or animal.