Tork Craft claims that their new PF220 rangefinder can measure objects out to 600m. It has three function settings; Slope Mode (which displays the actual distance, horizontal distance and angle to the target), Flag Scanning Mode (used when measuring distances to the flagpole when playing golf) and Speed Measuring Mode (which calculates the speed of a moving object between 18 and 300km/h). Cycling through the modes is done with a button marked M, while a second button is used for ranging. Continuous measuring is also possible by holding the measuring button down. The M (function) button can be held in for a few seconds to change measurements between metres and yards.
For our practical test I concentrated on Slope Mode as this is what mostly be used when hunting or shooting steel gongs.
The rangefinder weighs 170g and is 108mm long, 72mm high and 40mm wide. Magnification is 6x and field of view 6 degrees, while the objective lens diameter is 22mm, eyepiece lens diameter 16mm and exit pupil diameter is 3.7mm.
The integrated lithium battery is rated at 1000mAh and charging is done via a USB port. A charging cable is not included, but most cell phones use the same cable. I used the rangefinder for a full day, taking more than hundred measurements over about 7 hours, and the battery did not need recharging. To save the battery the screen switches off automatically eight seconds after a measurement was taken.
The carry case (see photo) can be attached to a belt through a loop or by means of a carabiner.
The display is in black and a fine scope-type crosshair is used for targeting. The intensity of the display cannot be changed, but I could pick up the crosshair on most targets.
Possible drawbacks are the absence of an attachment for a lanyard and that the hard carrying case is somewhat wide. However, I normally carry a rangefinder in my shirt pocket, so for me it is no problem.
The accuracy and maximum range of a rangefinder will be affected by the composition of the target, inclined angle of the target surface and visibility of the weather. In general, if the target surface is smooth and bright the beam is perpendicular to the target surface and if the weather is cloudy without fog, you’ll manage to range targets further out.
In the field (on a warm sunny day) I consistently ranged a steel targets (22inches x 22inches) out to 400m but had only a 70% hit rate with a gong 300mm in diameter at 400m. However, this can be due to me not being able to keep the rangefinder still enough. Springbuck size cardboard cut-outs provide no problems out to 400m on the range but remember in the field you would not be able to have such a large target for the laser, given grass and bushes. Stabilized the rangefinder on a wooden pole, shooting stick, etc, helps. However, it has no thread for attaching to a bi- or tripod.
I managed to measure a branch of a Eucalyptus tree just after sunrise (with the sun on the target) with an average reading of 532m (extreme spread of 1m) and again an hour before sunset with the average result 533.2m, again an ES of 1m.
In the veld I was able to range cattle standing in tall grass (1.2m) out to 400m and sheep at 325m.
Overall, this budget buy rangefinder performed surprisingly well and can be considered for general hunting purposes out to 300m and shorter range gong shooting. Recommended retail price is R2 849.
For more information contact Vermont Sales on 011-314-7711 or visit
www.vermontsales.co.za to find stockists.