Newbie Reticle Question

Sweetroels

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Nov 25, 2022
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Newbie reticle question. I am an old fart and have only used the standard duplex reticle. I am starting to shoot beyond 200 yards with most of my guns. I have a Christiansen Arms 300 RUM I love reloading for and shooting. I have opportunities to shoot game out 500 yards and would like to upgrade my scope. Some of the guys in camp have scopes they had the manufacture program scope for gun/caliber and they just click to range and shoot. Some of these guys have had issues with the program. But I would prefer to just aim and shoot with hold over and use the B&C (Leupold) or BRH (Swarovski). I am looking at scopes that are around 3k so don’t want to be stuck with something I don’t like or doesn’t work. So click vs. holdover is the question. Is this the correct question? I just want to keep it simple
 

ResearchinStuff

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There are multiple factors at play here - but fundamentally your buddies are having problems because the scopes that have BDC turrets tend not to be reliable at dialing, and even if they were, the distance marks on the dials are only accurate at a specific set of environmental conditions, which may or may not be accurate at the time of the shot.

Using a reticle for holdovers can work, but the further the shot, the further the holdover, and at a certain point the optical distortion between the target and the reticle can cause the holdover to be inaccurate. Plus, holdovers are complicated by whether the reticle is 2nd focal plane (holdovers only work at one magnification, typically the highest), or 1st focal plane (holdovers work at every magnification). Most of the good holdover reticles also appear on scpoes that have some type of dialing capability, so on the first shot most people prefer or learn to dial for distance and hold for wind.

The good news is that you have a great budget and should be able to buy one of the top-tier scopes for long-distance shooting. There's a wealth of information here


If you want to skip to the end, you should be considering a:

Nightforce ATACR 5-25 F1 Mil-R
Minox ZP5 THLR
Trijicon Tenmile 3-18
Nightforce NX8 4-32

for your top of the line options.

Whatever you get, shoot with it a lot, do tall target tests, make sure your scope and set-up work properly, and make sure you are proficient.
 
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Sweetroels

Sweetroels

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Thanks ResearchinStuff good overview. I was looking at a Swaro Z6i 2.5-15X56 Gen-2 BRH-I or VX-6HD 3-18X50 ILLUM B&C These are second focal plane scopes, don't really know the dif between 1st and 2nd. Sorry such a beginner. So this scope would distort with holdover at around 500-600 yards? I can't see shooting much beyond that. I did look at the Nightforce scopes. They are nice but the glass seemed better on the Swaro, especially for dawn and dusk and the reticle seemed very thin.

I reload and shoot a lot so practice is not an issue, I just have to keep it simple and the shots I have at long range don't give me a lot of time to make clicks and scope adjustments. The main objective is hunting so want to keep it easy. I am still confused on which way to go.

 

BjornF16

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Thanks ResearchinStuff good overview. I was looking at a Swaro Z6i 2.5-15X56 Gen-2 BRH-I or VX-6HD 3-18X50 ILLUM B&C These are second focal plane scopes, don't really know the dif between 1st and 2nd. Sorry such a beginner. So this scope would distort with holdover at around 500-600 yards? I can't see shooting much beyond that. I did look at the Nightforce scopes. They are nice but the glass seemed better on the Swaro, especially for dawn and dusk and the reticle seemed very thin.

I reload and shoot a lot so practice is not an issue, I just have to keep it simple and the shots I have at long range don't give me a lot of time to make clicks and scope adjustments. The main objective is hunting so want to keep it easy. I am still confused on which way to go.


You should really read through the rifle eval threads that Researchingstuff posted.

What is more important to you...great glass or a reliable scope?
 

ResearchinStuff

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So this scope would distort with holdover at around 500-600 yards?

I don't know the answer to that question, or a good way to answer it at all without testing that scope on your gun with your load and seeing if the holdovers match what your external ballistics calculations predict.

using a high-mag, 2nd focal plane scope and relying on holdovers is a recipe for missed opportunities. the exit pupil for a 50 mm scope on 18x is 2.78mm, no matter how good that glass is you're still going to be dealing with less transmitted light than even a SWFA scope on 6-10x.
 

SDHNTR

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Your buddies probably have bad dope and that’s why the turret clicks don’t work properly. Reticle holdovers vs dialing the turret is a matter of personal preference. I generally prefer dialing. But the dial is only as good as your dope, so you need to know your velocity, your bullet BC and your atmospheric conditions. Or better yet, you need to shoot it for drops at the various ranges and record your trajectory with your chosen load. Buy a good scope known for reliability and repeatable tracking if you plan to dial.
 

Flyjunky

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Your buddies probably have bad dope and that’s why the turret clicks don’t work properly. Reticle holdovers vs dialing the turret is a matter of personal preference. I generally prefer dialing. But the dial is only as good as your dope, so you need to know your velocity, your bullet BC and your atmospheric conditions. Or better yet, you need to shoot it for drops at the various ranges and record your trajectory with your chosen load. Buy a good scope known for reliability and repeatable tracking if you plan to dial.
I agree with this. Out of all my scopes only 1 uses a bdc reticle and that is for my coyote rifle because in most cases I don't have time to spin turrets.

As far as bdc reticles not being good because of environmental changes, I'm real sure of that in cases where shots are only out to ~600. The difference in inches at 0' or 7000' and 0 or 75 degree temps is only about 3" max so it's not that big of a deal like most people think.

Go with a dialing scope, I think you'll be much happier since it sounds like you practice enough to get accurate info for your dope. If you have issues with the thin reticle of a ffp scope don't hesitate to go sfp. I know many guys who are considered long range experts who only use sfp...Broz being one of those people.
 
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Sweetroels

Sweetroels

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Thanks everyone for the advice. Obviously I have some reading to do but think I have a bead on what to do when upgrading my scopes. I reload and shoot 6 calibers but primarily hunt with 7-08, 30-06 and 300 RUM. Effective range for 7-08 and 30-06 is essentially the same considering the bullet weight and velocities I achieve. 300 for the big stuff and 500 for the Eastern NC deer. So a BRH/B&C reticle would be fine with 50 objective and 12-18 zoom (I am old). I generally kill deer 100-350 yards, rarely beyond that. For the 300 RUM I'll go with the dial option but need to do much more research before I buy. I want to be proficient 500 - 700 yards for some of the western game. I may go to a class before I buy also. Thanks again, good forum, glad I joined. I'll post purchases and results next year
 

Shadow Illude

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Nov 29, 2022
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I would recommend a solid FFP scope that you can dial. Defining a solid scope is a rabbit hole that purely depends on your preferences. (Mag Range, Size, Weight, Tier of glass) The problem with BDC is you cannot change it. I have a BDC scope that I actually like but the max range for my current load with it is 300 yards in certain known conditions and load. Even then, I know I have to set it to a specific magnification, and hold ~4”low at 300. When those envrionmentals and load change, all bets are off. I prefer the precision of being able to dial a specific amount for distances longer than about 300 yards.
 
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Sweetroels

Sweetroels

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Yes Shadow, that's what I decided to do for the 300 RUM, not my other guns which I shoot game 100-200 yards. Thx
 

EdP

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You have gotten some great advice and RS gave an excellent summary, but I think there are a few points not covered that you should consider. These are from my perspective as a 68 y/o guy (with 68 y/o eyes post cataract surgery) that also likes to do a fair amount of shooting.

1) With a first focal plane scope both the image and the reticle are magnified when the magnification is turned up. With a high magnification scope the reticle has to be pretty fine at low power to not be too thick at high power. The higher the max magnification the more potential for an issue. Make sure you can see the reticle well enough at low power and low light. Consider an illuminated reticle.

2) In order for it to be convenient to dial you need to be able to easily read the dial. Even post cataract surgery, which improved both my near and far vision, I cannot easily read the dial numbers w/o glasses, especially from a shooting position. I shoot without glasses so that means messing with glasses on and off to dial and then to shoot. If an animal moves away after an initial shot at distance, redialing for a follow-up gets complicated when things need to be simple.

3) The higher the magnification the smaller the field of view. Very high magnification scopes are all the rage now, with a lot of folks using FFP scopes and dialing. That's fine with FFP because you don't have to increase the magnification to max, dialing works at any magnification. With SFP scopes the image enlarges as magnification is increased but the reticle stays the same size. The consequence is that the published reticle subtension values (holldover) only work at a particular magnification, typically the highest. This pushes a shooter to use the highest magnification once the shot is beyond point blank range (about 250 yds if zeroed at 200 for many big game cartridges). With a scope that has a high max magnification, finding an animal in the scope for a follow-up shot can be an issue, once again when things need to be simple. For shots on big game out to 600 yds and a bit beyond, magnifications beyond 10x or 12x are just not needed.

You have a great budget to work within and should be able to find a scope that fits your needs.

I just spotted this thread that has good info to consider: https://www.rokslide.com/forums/threads/what-magnification-is-preferred-for-long-range-shots.288010/
 
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MED-D-NRG

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It'll be hard to find a BDC reticle that works well for a hotrod like a RUM. Dialing is super easy nowadays and there are quite a few routes to choose from, especially if you plan to keep the scope on the same gun with the same load. Leupold CDS makes it easy, but there are plenty of custom turret makers that have the same program. Most cartridges make it out to 900y+ in one rotation of the turret so you won't be handicapped dialing with a custom turret.
 

Marble

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You have gotten some great advice and RS gave an excellent summary, but I think there are a few points not covered that you should consider. These are from my perspective as a 68 y/o guy (with 68 y/o eyes post cataract surgery) that also likes to do a fair amount of shooting.

1) With a first focal plane scope both the image and the reticle are magnified when the magnification is turned up. With a high magnification scope the reticle has to be pretty fine at low power to not be too thick at high power. The higher the max magnification the more potential for an issue. Make sure you can see the reticle well enough at low power and low light. Consider an illuminated reticle.

2) In order for it to be convenient to dial you need to be able to easily read the dial. Even post cataract surgery, which improved both my near and far vision, I cannot easily read the dial numbers w/o glasses, especially from a shooting position. I shoot without glasses so that means messing with glasses on and off to dial and then to shoot. If an animal moves away after an initial shot at distance, redialing for a follow-up gets complicated when things need to be simple.

3) The higher the magnification the smaller the field of view. Very high magnification scopes are all the rage now, with a lot of folks using FFP scopes and dialing. That's fine with FFP because you don't have to increase the magnification to max, dialing works at any magnification. With SFP scopes the image enlarges as magnification is increased but the reticle stays the same size. The consequence is that the published reticle subtension values (holldover) only work at a particular magnification, typically the highest. This pushes a shooter to use the highest magnification once the shot is beyond point blank range (about 250 yds if zeroed at 200 for many big game cartridges). With a scope that has a high max magnification, finding an animal in the scope for a follow-up shot can be an issue, once again when things need to be simple. For shots on big game out to 600 yds and a bit beyond, magnifications beyond 10x or 12x are just not needed.

You have a great budget to work within and should be able to find a scope that fits your needs.

I just spotted this thread that has good info to consider: https://www.rokslide.com/forums/threads/what-magnification-is-preferred-for-long-range-shots.288010/

Pertaining to #3...

This is why I choose the NF NXS in 5.5x15. I do not like how FFP reticles grow with the magnification.

The dial is easy to see. But I have excellent vision so, not quite the same.

I do not use the reticle for shooting. Ill dial. It's just too easy.

If NF made a reticle like the leopold heavy duplex, that's what I would shoot.

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Marble

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I don’t “like” it either, but…




Where do you hunt? And how do you deal with wind?

Colorado primarily. As far as wind goes, I've never had it be strong enough to move impact to where I could tell. Meaning I have missed or wounded at this ranges. My max distance ive ever killed something was 650. Probably 8 to 10 animals in that 475 to 550 range.

It's generally not windy enough to even consider. Or if it is im straight downwind from the animal.

When I go shoot squeakers with my .223, as the day goes on, the wind gets going throughout the day and I will hold off witha reticle that has it. That's shooting 200 to 450 yards.

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Formidilosus

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Colorado primarily. As far as wind goes, I've never had it be strong enough to move impact to where I could tell. Meaning I have missed or wounded at this ranges. My max distance ive ever killed something was 650. Probably 8 to 10 animals in that 475 to 550 range.

It's generally not windy enough to even consider. Or if it is im straight downwind from the animal.

When I go shoot squeakers with my .223, as the day goes on, the wind gets going throughout the day and I will hold off witha reticle that has it. That's shooting 200 to 450 yards.

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Thank you. I can say in Idaho, and especially MT and WY, I don’t know that I’ve zero wind on an animal yet- that’s a lot of animals. About 80% if the time it’s between 8-16 MPH. Without a reticle and hood holds, hit rates in that are abysmal.
 

Marble

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Thank you. I can say in Idaho, and especially MT and WY, I don’t know that I’ve zero wind on an animal yet- that’s a lot of animals. About 80% if the time it’s between 8-16 MPH. Without a reticle and hood holds, hit rates in that are abysmal.
I had day here at home on the ranch where we shot 600 yards with our rifles. Winds were in the high teens, low 20s, which is a lot. It's been a few years but my impact was nearly 2 feet to the side. Maybe less, but it was a lot. I basically decided then that if I was hunting and had wind like that I would hold off. Or wait for a lull. I dont have the equipment or skills to make it happen.

I guess when it comes to long range for me, if it gets complicated I'm out. Or try to get closer.

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Formidilosus

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I guess when it comes to long range for me, if it gets complicated I'm out. Or try to get closer.

I get it, but we wouldn’t be killing a tenth of the animals we do if we didn’t shoot in the wind. It is something that can be dealt with competently, if sufficient practice is done in windy, broken terrain.
 
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