HomeUSAReview: Vortex® Razor® HD 4000 GB Ballistic Laser Rangefinder

Review: Vortex® Razor® HD 4000 GB Ballistic Laser Rangefinder

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Vortex Optics just announced their all-new laser rangefinder called the Razor® HD 4000 GB. Optically this rangefinder will be identical to the current Razor HD 4000 rangefinder, however, the new Razor® HD 4000 “GB” comes with the addition of an onboard GeoBallistics® solver. Seeking to get informative, full reviews out at the time of the launch, Vortex sent me this rangefinder two months ago to begin testing out.

Built for extreme hunters and shooters, this angle-compensated ballistic laser rangefinder can quickly calculate customized holds based on uploaded ballistics data. Featuring an array of onboard environmental sensors, the ability to pair with a Kestrel or phone using Bluetooth, and an onboard GeoBallistics® solver, the Razor® HD 4000 GB is a powerful standalone unit designed to quickly give shooters the precise real-time ballistic solutions needed to make those longer shots. Capable of utilizing four target modes (Normal, First, Last, ELR) and two ranging modes (HCD, and BAL), the Razor gives end users great versatility. 

Razor® HD 4000 GB Specifications:

Magnification: 7x

Objective Lens: 25mm 

Max Reflective Range (Yards): 4,000 ELR Mode, 2,400 Normal Mode

Max Tree Range (Yards): 2,500 ELR Mode, 1800 Normal Mode

Max Deer Range (Yards): 2,200 ELR Mode, 1600 Normal Mode

Minimum Range: 5 Yards

Maximum Angle Reading: +/- 70 Degrees

Field of View: 341 feet at 1000 yards or 6.5 degrees

Eye Relief: 19mm

Battery Type: CR2

Length, Height, and Width: 4.4″ x 3.2″ x 1.9″

Weight W/Battery: 10.1 oz

Out of the Box

From the factory, the Razor® HD 4000 GB comes with a premium carrying case, CR2 battery, cleaning cloth, bungee cord lanyard, 2mm hex key for moving the belt clip from one side to the other, and of course the rangefinder itself. This rangefinder is covered by a full lifetime unlimited VIP warranty for both the rangefinder and onboard electronics. 

GeoBallistics®

The newest and coolest feature utilized by this Rangefinder in my opinion is the onboard GeoBallistics® solver. According to a February 23rd press release: 

“Vortex® today announced the acquisition of GeoBallistics®, a Dallas, Texas based business providing ballistic mobile application software. The GeoBallistics® philosophy closely aligns with the Vortex® mission of creating the best possible experience for their customers. GeoBallistics® products will be added to the Vortex® portfolio to continue to enhance and simplify hunting and shooting while providing critical information quickly and accurately.”

Now owning GeoBallistics®, Vortex® will be able to maintain complete control of the end users’ experience by seamlessly pairing their software capabilities with their existing hardware as showcased with the Razor® HD 4000 GB. By purchasing the Razor, users will get access to the Pro version of GeoBallistics. Otherwise, the Pro version would cost $14.99. 

Ballistics 

While the Razor can store up to three custom ballistic profiles onboard the rangefinder itself to remain effective as a standalone unit, it also can pair via Bluetooth to Apple or Andriod devices to utilize the GeoBallistics® App. From the factory, the Razor comes with 3 custom profiles pre-installed for 308, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 223. However, as all long-range shooters know, these data points need to be customized for the type of ammo and velocity reached by the specific rifle used.

Once the Razor is paired with a cellphone, users can upload custom ballistic profiles to the rangefinder. Within the app, standard ballistic data points can be entered by entering information utilizing an intuitive menu system. Once the ballistic profile has been made for the ammunition/rifle combination desired, upload it to the Razor to allow the rangefinder to quickly do all the hold calculations in the field based on ranged distance and local atmospheric conditions. 

While testing a Beta version of the app prior to the full release, I had zero issues and was quite impressed. GeoBallistics paired up with the rangefinder quickly, was fairly easy to navigate, and allowed me to enter my customized ballistic information for the rifles I was shooting. When using ballistic mode with the rangefinder, my customized holds would display about 3 seconds after ranging the target (distances were nearly instantaneous), and the wind reading, when paired with a Kestrel, would display in about a second.

At first, I was quite confused about how it would calculate an accurate wind reading, but then I realized that both the Kestrel and Razor® HD 4000 GB had onboard compasses to reference when giving the direction the wind is coming from relative to the target ranged. I shot out to 1265 yards using this rangefinder paired with the 50BMG Barrett M107A1 and can see how important this tool can be as an integrated ballistics calculator.

Sensors

Built into the Razor are onboard environmental humidity, pressure, and temperature sensors. These are located behind the left ported side of the housing. While I don’t have very high-precision environmental sensors to check the calibration of the Razor, it seems to read the same environmental values as my other devices. 

Target Modes

There are four different target modes available with the Razor® HD 4000 GB. First off is Normal Mode which is recommended for most situations and is the standard preset mode. It is used to provide the target’s range with the strongest range result.

The next option is First Mode which is ideal for ranging smaller targets in front of larger or more reflective objects. This works well when holding down the measure button to scan objects when panning across an area.

Similar to First Mode, Last Mode works by displaying the farthest distance ranged when panning and scanning. This mode can be ideal for trying to range an object that is barely visible through a clearing, or behind a group of objects such as brush, trees, or rocks.

Lastly, Vortex includes an Extended Laser Range or ELR Mode. This is ideal for ranging smaller, less reflective targets at extended distances. While Normal mode is recommended for most situations as it gives quick results, swapping over to ELR works when targets are too far to be detected. Having both is a nice feature as most people are not shooting past the 2400-yard reflective range of normal mode, but quickly swapping to ELR can be helpful for judging hiking distances out to 4000 yards. 

Ranging Modes

The Razor features both a Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) and Ballistics (BAL) mode. While HCD mode uses trigonometry to calculate the true horizontal component distance, BAL mode gives the more traditional line-of-sight reading. Traditionally HCD mode has been quite helpful for me when shooting at angles and using a drop chart I have taped to my rifle. Due to the way ballistics and gravity work, when using HCD I would simply use this value instead of the line-of-sight reading and would have the correct hold as if I was shooting on level ground. However, with the integrated GeoBallistics® software provided on the Razor, I can get exact hold values instead of guessing between rows on my drop chart or typing values into a ballistics solver on my phone with just a distance reading provided by other rangefinders.

Ballistic Mode

When using Ballastic or BAL mode, simply press the measure button to range a target, and in the display, the corresponding MOA or MIL holdover will be shown having taken into account current atmospherics, shooting angle, and the user-designated ballistics profile. Also, it should be noted that a phone cannot be linked to the rangefinder when it is set to HCD mode, so make sure it is set to BAL before trying to pair. 

In addition to elevation holds Vortex thought of some ways to compute for windage. First, they have a way to input wind speed manually to calculate holds based on a “Full Crosswind Mode” which assumes the wind is blowing exactly perpendicular to the direction of the target. While this is typically not exactly right, it can get you close. However, utilizing what Vortex is calling a “patented wind bearing capture mode,” users can simply point the rangefinder in the direction the wind is coming from, hit the center button to capture that direction utilizing the onboard compass, and then range anything in any direction thereafter and the Razor will utilize the same heading to calculate the correct ballistics solution.

I am a big fan of this design and the ability to calculate everything all onboard the rangefinder without having to pair any devices via Bluetooth. However, pairing a Kestrel with the Razor is also an option and would be the quickest way to get real-time ballistic solutions with changing wind conditions. I just like to know that wind speed can be manually entered as well. For those who want to pair a Kestrel with the Razor, the video below is quite helpful.

Housing

The Razor® HD 4000 GB is constructed from a magnesium chassis, featuring rubber armor, a reversible belt clip, a tripod insert, and additional buttons that relate to wind modes. While the body is noticeably wider than my Vortex Viper HD 3000 rangefinder, it is only 1oz heavier coming in at only 10.1 ounces. It feels quite light in my hands for the size, yet still easily fits in a cargo pocket or pouch. One thing I noticed about this Razor is that the rubber armor is not as grippy as other rangefinders Vortex has made. While it provides some good texture and protection, I wish it was not quite so slick. 

Designed to be waterproof, the Razor held up to the elements throughout my testing. While I didn’t fully submerse it, everything feels solid and looks well-sealed. 

Buttons

Rangefinders are typically pretty straightforward and easy to use and even with all the capabilities the Razor® HD 4000 GB has, it is no exception. Featuring two main buttons for adjusting settings and ranging targets, there isn’t much to fumble around with. Unique to this rangefinder are three additional center buttons that are used for calculating wind holds. The two outside center buttons are for adjusting left and right wind directions while the center button is the wind bearing capture button for locating the direction the headwind is coming from. 

Glass

Optically the Razor performs well and is clear with its set magnification coming in at 7x and utilizing a 25mm objective lens. There is some distortion on the pre-production model I received where the image gets blurry on the outside 10% of the glass. This is mainly noticeable on the bottom left when looking through the rangefinder. While not ideal for scanning, this doesn’t really hold me back as my focus is through the center of the glass anyways.

Battery

The Razor® HD 4000 GB is powered by a single CR2 battery and when the battery runs lower than 25%, a battery indicator will start flashing on the top left of the display. Deciding between the four display brightness settings will also affect battery life, but a cool feature is an auto-shutoff which will go into effect at 30, 45, 60, or 180 seconds of inactivity as set by the user. Replacing the battery is quick, utilizing a flip-up finger tab. This keeps the device tool-free and is an improvement over other caps that take a flathead screwdriver, coin, or casing to replace the battery.

Performance

Vortex specifies the accuracy of this rangefinder as +/- 0.5 yards out to 200 yards, +/- 1 yard between 200 and 1000 yards, and +/-2 yards past 1000 yards. Wanting to test out this precision in a short and quick test I marked every 5 yards out to 100 yards using a tape measure, I then tested and recorded the range measured with the Razor® HD 4000 GB and each location was not even 0.1 yards off of my physically measured distance. While I didn’t pace out to 4,000 yards, I can say other objects ranged with this Razor at distance seemed spot on. 

Vortex gives maximum distances that the Razor will be able to range based on the mode used and the object measured. For “normal mode” the max reflective, tree, and deer ranges are 2400 yards, 1800, and 1600 yards respectively. Also, when in ELR mode, the max reflective, tree, and deer ranges are 4000 yards, 2500 yards, and 2200 yards respectively. I can say from my testing that these readings are pretty accurate if not understated. Sometimes I find the actual values to vary a fair amount from these stated values, but I was able to range trees to around 2100 yards in normal mode and could range a building out to 4260 yards in ELR mode which I verified to be very close using satellite imaging with a measuring tool. Either way, this range finder is capable of ranging well beyond the distances anyone but the craziest of ELR shooters will ever be attempting.

Summary

Overall, I think the Vortex Razor® HD 4000 GB is quite impressive. Vortex has paired the powerful GeoBallistics software with the tried and true hardware of the Razor lineup. This device calculates elevation and windage holdovers nearly instantly, enabling shooters to make accurate long-range shots with confidence and precision. I found the rangefinder offers accurate distance measurements while the ballistics calculator works well with unique user-defined ballistic profiles. The Razor® HD 4000 GB is now available and shipping with an MSRP of $1,199.99. 

is passionate about hunting and competition shooting. During college he was the shooting instructor for Oklahoma State’s Practical Shooting Team, and these days he spends as much time as he can chasing after pigs and coyotes with night vision and thermals. You can follow Mitchell’s adventures over at his Instagram @That_Gun_Guy_

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