Maven is kind of the new kid on the block in the world of optics, but they’ve made a huge splash right out of the gate. Creating products with optical quality that rivals the big names in the industry has garnered them a bunch of attention. Their hunting optics have earned them the "Great Buy Award" from Outdoor Life, plus a spot on Field & Stream’s “Best of the Best” list.
While Maven has made waves with their spotting scopes, binoculars, and riflescopes, the RF.1 is their first foray into the world of hunting rangefinders.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the first models this hunting season. So, how did they do? Let’s take a closer look at the new Maven RF.1 and find out.
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Maven RF.1 Rangefinder - The Specs
Maven is...well a maven when it comes to optical quality. (A maven is another word for “expert” or “connoisseur”, in case you were wondering.) Take one look through one of their spotting scopes or binoculars, and you’ll be hooked.
They didn’t skimp on the optical quality when they designed this rangefinder, either. It features fully multi-coated optics and a 25mm objective that deliver 77 percent light transmission. That’s pretty impressive for a rangefinder.
During archery season, I usually range a few landmarks for reference as soon as I get to my stand. This means I’m ranging trees and stumps when it's barely light enough to see. The Maven RF.1 is plenty capable of ranging close-up stationary objects (within 100 yards) in extremely low light. Just be sure to dial down that reticle brightness before you range. That reticle is super bright on the highest setting and could compromise your own valuable low light vision if you aren’t careful.
Construction and Durability
The RF.1 is made with a lightweight aluminum housing and a tough magnesium chassis. It weighs about 10 ounces and has pretty compact dimensions (approximately 4.7” x 3” x 1.9”). It fits easily and conveniently inside the pocket of your hunting jacket or backpack.
I haven’t dropped it from my treestand (yet), but it is solidly built and seems perfectly capable of surviving a 20-foot drop.
The RF.1 is waterproof and is IPX7 compliant, which basically means you can plunge this device in a deep mud puddle, leave it there for half an hour, and it will still perform flawlessly. I haven’t tested the claim, but I can vouch for its survival of one pretty nasty downpour with no adverse effects.
Ranging with the Maven RF.1
Maven claims the RF.1 can range deer out to 2700 yards. For those of you who don’t want to do the math, that’s more than a mile and a half. Since my hunting opportunities are mostly in thick river bottoms or across modest peanut fields, I haven’t had the opportunity to test out the rangefinder’s abilities at that distance.
Honestly, the RF.1’s range capabilities are kind of overkill for me, especially since the majority of my ranging is done within archery distances. However, the RF.1 ranges down to five yards and offers accurate readings to within ½ a yard, which is everything I need for bow season.
I have ranged a few deer across open cropland, but mostly inside of 500 yards. While I haven’t been able to really let the RF.1 fully test its legs, it offers readings almost instantaneously. Plus, the device’s optical quality makes it incredibly easy to locate deer, even when they are silhouetted against dark brown crops. That wasn’t so easy with my previous rangefinder.
Ranging one-mile targets is no easy feat. Even with a steady hand, it can be difficult to keep the dot on target for an accurate measurement. If you do need to range targets at extreme distances, the RF.1 can be easily mounted on a tripod for a rock-steady ranging platform.
If you’ve ever made any high angle shots (either from a treestand or over steep terrain), you know how shot angle can complicate things. When you add elevation into the shooting equation, it changes the line-of-sight distance while horizontal distance remains the same. When shooting either a bow or a rifle at an incline or decline, you need to compensate your point of aim for a shorter distance than the line-of-sight distance. To make accurate shots, hunters need to know the horizontal distance to their target.
The RF.1 has two different angle modes: Line of Sight (LOS) and Angle Compensating (COMP).
In COMP mode, the RF.1 senses the angle to your target and does all the complex math to determine horizontal distance. However, if you prefer to do all the hard calculations for your high angle shooting yourself, you can always switch the device to LOS mode.
Field and Forest Modes
With the simple flip of a lever, you can switch the RF.1 from Field to Forest Mode. Perfect for ranging deer or other animals against a distant treeline, Field Mode helps you zero in on small distant targets while ignoring larger objects in the background. If you’re a long-range shooter, this mode is perfect.
Forest Mode places the ranging priority on a more distant target. This is perfect for ranging animals in the woods as they move behind trees, branches, or underbrush. Forest Mode (sometimes called “far target priority” on other rangefinders) is a major asset for bowhunters.
Unconditional Lifetime Warranty
Maven covers all of their optics with an unconditional lifetime “idiot-proof” warranty. If your RF.1 rangefinder becomes damaged or defective, they will repair or replace it, even if it’s your fault. Since I am pretty likely to drop my gear from my treestand or accidentally run over it with my truck, this is a serious selling point for me.
What I Would Change
While it’s easy to tell how much I love the Maven RF.1, our relationship isn’t all sunshine and roses. While the performance is great, there are a few things I wish were different. First, the RF.1 is kind of beefy for a rangefinder. Although it slips easily into the pocket of my hunting pants, it’s a tight fit. At 10 ounces, the RF.1 is also one of the heaviest rangefinders I’ve ever carted into the woods.
Despite the chunky size, the RF.1 has a nice ergonomic design that fits comfortably in my hand. I wouldn’t mind some sort of grippy, non-slip coating, however. It can be kind of hard to keep hold of when my hands are wet or when I’m wearing gloves.
The Final Verdict
Accurate ranging is something you expect from a rangefinder, but the razor-sharp image clarity of this model offers a whole other level of performance I wasn't expecting. The RF.1 has insane optical quality, especially in low light. I can easily locate and range dark brown deer against dark brown peanut hay and soybeans across open fields, something that wasn’t so easy with my previous rangefinder. It also offers spot-on ranging in the woods, where deer like to skulk behind tree trunks, leaves, and branches. Now, I just leave my binos at home. The RF.1 is all I need in the field.
The low light performance, angle compensation, and forest mode make the Maven RF.1 perfect for bowhunters. However, the maximum range capabilities are perfect for long-range shooting. If you need one rangefinder that offers everything for both archery and rifle season, this is it.