Review: SilencerCo Radius Rangefinder
June 20, 2016
I expect firearm-'‹mounted rangefinders to become equally crucial on sniper rifles. When mounted on a rifle, rangefinders can be employed much faster than handheld models. There is no need to break from our shooting position, grab the rangefinder, range the target and then get back behind the rifle. All that gun juggling takes time, and time lets Charlie slip away. Not my war, but you get the idea.
Snipers should pay attention to the firearm-'‹mounted rangefinder trend. LE snipers might think that rangefinders don't really apply to them, and that assumption would be incorrect. If the rifle is zeroed at 100 yards and the sniper needs to slip a bullet through a window that's only been cracked open an inch, knowing the precise distance to the opening becomes crucial.
The SilencerCo Radius represents the first time this type of rangefinder has been within reach of the mainstream long-'‹gun community, and boy have they set the bar high. The SilencerCo Radius is 5 inches long, 3 inches wide and 2 inches deep. It can be mounted above the scope or on the side of the forend.
Mounting the laser up top is the simplest solution because all it takes is a rail section on top of the forward-'‹most scope ring. Mounting to the side of the rifle can be equally simple if the rifle has sections of rail located there.
If the Radius is mounted to the left side of the forend, the display is visible from the shooter's non-'‹dominant eye while behind the rifle. However, the Radius blocks some of the shooter's field of view in this location.
I placed the SilencerCo Radius above the scope and had no problem zeroing it. Once mounted, I turned on the visible laser and moved the laser until it was the correct height above the crosshair. As long as we can clearly see our crosshair and the red dot, the distance to the "zeroing" target doesn't matter — 30 yards works as well as 200 yards.
Since our line of sight has no trajectory, and neither does a laser beam, make sure the distance between the two on the target board corresponds to the distance between the center of the scope and the opening for the visible laser on the Radius. The Radius mounted on my rifle was 3 inches above my line of sight.
The SilencerCo Radius will work with any scope, but shooters who hold instead of dial will be faster at multiple target engagements. Weapon-'‹mounted rangefinders get zeroed with our turrets dialed to zero. In order for the two to work together, the rangefinder requires that all targets get "ranged" with the elevation turret zeroed out.
Snipers that dial will need to zero their turret, range the target and then dial prior to shooting. When that sniper moves to a new target, he must return the elevation turret to zero prior to ranging the new target. The sniper that holds never touches the turret anyway, so he can just range the target, holdover, shoot and move to the next one.
Getting the test rifle set up with the Radius took about five minutes and zeroing took another five to 10 minutes. The majority of that time was spent putting up the zeroing target that comes with the Radius.
Once zeroed, I moved to the 1,000-'‹yard range and ranged steel targets to see if the Radius picked them up. It was an overcast day, 54 degrees and 46 percent humidity. I had no problems hitting all the steel plates out to 1,000 yards. The targets were 18 inches wide and 30 inches tall, so I didn't expect any problems.
For the next round, I only aimed at the head portion of the steel targets. These measured 6 inches by 6 inches. Once again, the SilencerCo Radius made it easy. I moved from the head plates to the dirt berm behind the 1,000-'‹yard target, and the Radius gave the range for that, too. I moved from there to the stand of trees behind the berm, which also worked with ease. The trees were my last hope to defeat the Radius, so I packed up and called it a day.
The SilencerCo Radius is a fantastic piece of gear for any long-'‹range shooter. It allows the shooter to remain behind the rifle as they work from one unknown distance to another. It also allows civilian shooters and snipers a cost-'‹effective way to accurately range targets at night. Once zeroed, the SilencerCo Radius is high enough to see over clip-'‹on night vision equipment that's in front of the objective lens. Police departments and nighttime hog hunters will both benefit from this new capability.