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1st Focal plane reticle question.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2008 at 18:44
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I have never used a 1st focal plane scope, and was wondering what those that have think about them. I'm considering a Zeiss Victory T 1.5-6X42 for my 30-06. 90% of my hunting is in the big woods of the Adirondack Mtn's, where I need low power, a large field of view, and  good light gathering. The other 10% are in open country out to about 300yds.. The 1.5-6X covers the ranges fine, but I've heard that the reticle getting larger with increased power is a problem at longer ranges. 
 
Any comments from persons with first hand knowlege will be greatly appreciated.
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Have you looked at U.S. Optics. They are coming out with a new 1.5-6x. It should have the same characteristics as the SN-4 1-4x.

www.usoptics.com
 
The sales contact is Trevor Zantos
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2008 at 19:01
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I've got 2 scopes with FFP reticles. I like them, and I like them even more when the magnification is turned up, but then I hunt mainly open areas in South and central Texas. A lot of people prefer a BOLD reticle in a low power scope that is used for hunting in cover. For me it would come down to what the reticle looked like on the lowest magnification setting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2008 at 19:16
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rkingston,

 
The reticle I'm considering is the #8. It is bolder than the standard plex, and the thin center section is the same thickness as the plex, but quite a bit larger.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2008 at 19:43
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I have FFP scopes in 4A and 7A, both Kahles C's. I find them both to be excellent in low light. The reticle does get heavier when you dial up the power. It is a great bonus in the dimmest light and no problem at 400 yards on deer. One is a 2.2-9x42 and the other is a 1.1-4x24, BTW.
That is an excellent choice you have made!
Welcome to O.T. and we hope you stick around to post pics of your rig.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 00:18
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I think they are great.
Can you get the scope with reticle no11 or 1 it's even better, because then you have the best possible black reticle for low light, and the most accurate reticle for smaller targets.
I hunt driven game (yes we use dogs to get them running) and I cant see any problem at all with your ideas.
 
I would stick to Zeiss and not bother abouth US optics, from what I have seen and owned so far, those two are not playing in the same game, and by the way, Zeiss looks like a riflescope, US optics looks and feels like something cheap russian...........
 
Regards Technika
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The one problem I have with the FFP reticle is that on the lowest setting, the reticle is at it´s smallest.  At the lowest setting one usually hunts in dense coverwith low light, or need a wide field of view.
In my old head that´s the situations I need the big bold reticle to stand out, not the small flimsy one.
Therefore, the FFP don´t work as good for me as the SFP does.
but again, that´s my point of view.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 09:05
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Your observation is an accurate one seawolf. I prefer a SFP for hunting scopes, and don't have a preference one way or the other in tactical, or target scopes. The idea of increasing the size of the reticle with the target does help to eliminate math though.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 09:16
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SFP for hunting at low lower in low light.

FFP has little value in hunting applications unless you are ranging with the reticule or shooting at tiny objects and don't want to obscure too much of the target at lower power.

I own both, I shoot both, I like both, but I don't like the SFP for hunting for reasons stated above.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 11:13
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I find it a bit strange that the FFP is  a Northern European / Teutonic idee.
The Germans do a lot of hunting in dusk /dawn situations for both boar and deer, and the fact that they obviously perfer the FFP surprise me.
 
I´m familiar with the range estimating qualities of the FFP German #4 reticle.
A roe deer fits between the two heavy horisontal bars at 100 meters, and at 200 it fits between the thin senter post and the heavy horisontal bar.
This fact will be the same whatever you crank the magnification up to.
 
It might be a nice feature, but as I have stated before and cyborg and RC confirm, the SFP is a better hunting reticle.       That´s it, that´s a fact.....down from the soap box Big%20Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 14:23
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I hunt a lot a nights and evenings.

When it comes to dark nights the FFP is the king of non illuminated reticles, and espesially no1 or Zeiss no11.
The "thin" lines in No 4 and 8 is to thin so they dissapear in the darkness.
 
A SFP scope regardless of reticle that is unilluminated does have far to thin reticle to be visiable in really poor light.
 
When it comes to fast moving animals on low magnification such as driven game the FFP is still king if the right reticle is chosed,  and again no 1.
 
When hunting at night the magnification is needed and then the reticle gets big and bold, just as it's needed.
 
I know the avalibility of the German no1 is very limited in the US, but do really all of you that are negative to FFP any experience of good quality FFP scopes with german 1 reticle?
If not, then you havent given the FFP the proper chance.
 
Regards Technika
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/21/2008 at 04:15
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technica.
I tend to agree with you regarding hunting in darkness/low light.
My point is that during daytime in close cover  taking short shots, sometimes at moving game, a bold reticle, good field of view, and low magnification is paramount.
There the FFP shines in MHO.
 
The # 1 is undoubtly a first class otpion as such, but I have grown fond of my #4´s and old habits are hard to change .
That said, you have got me interested in the "1 regarding new scope for the 375 Ruger I´m building Wink
 
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May I slip in with a question as well  technica ?
Will the reticle "2 shown on the Zeiss flyer for the Conquest ( thin horisontal and heavy post), do the same job as the original #1 ?
 
They got this on their  1,8-5.5x38.  With 4" eye relief this mught be an option for the 375 Ruger for heavy moose and Africa.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/21/2008 at 06:56
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Originally posted by seawolf seawolf wrote:

May I slip in with a question as well  technica ?
Will the reticle "2 shown on the Zeiss flyer for the Conquest ( thin horisontal and heavy post), do the same job as the original #1 ?
 
They got this on their  1,8-5.5x38.  With 4" eye relief this mught be an option for the 375 Ruger for heavy moose and Africa.
 
Good luck finding a Conquest with the #2, seawolf.  I looked for it in a Conquest not too long ago without success and finally emailed Zeiss.  They responded that they no longer offered it in the Conquest.
 
There has been plenty of discussion on FFP vs. SFP reticles in the past, so I would imagine that the OP will find all the information he could ever ask far with the search function.  I agree and disagree with the comments on FFP reticles for hunting.  Depending on the reticle chosen and the power range of the scope, a FFP reticle is not necessarily too thin on the lowest power.  I do agree on low powered scopes that a FFP reticle can get really thin on the lowest power, but on a scope where you are typically using no less than 3 or 4X, it may be no thinner than a typical SFP reticle, and there is a decided advantage to a FFP reticle at beyond about 4X when used in low light situations, since it magnifies with increase in power.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/21/2008 at 17:43
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OK, time for my first rant.    :D    For the lazy, long story short—in my opinion based upon owning, using and hunting with both FFP scopes are better for hunting, especially in low light conditions with similar reticles.  Hopefully this will help some who dismiss FFP out of hand for hunting better understand the reasons they can perform so well.

 

Not specifically talking about anybody here, but based upon my limited experience with FFP scopes I think the general belief American Hunters have that they won’t be good for low light because they shrink and get too small is born out of simple ignorance; never having even seen one before, much less hunted with one in low light.  They must think the Europeans are crazy for favoring the type for exactly the conditions they think they won’t work in (low light, close range, fast moving).  That’s their thing over there, why on earth would they use such poor tools for the job?

 

Like I said my experience with them is somewhat limited but my opinion is based upon owning, using and hunting with 3 IOR scopes all with very similar reticle design two SFP and on FFP (as well as the regular gamut of cheaper SFP scopes).  The MP-8 is much like an upside down #4 so I think my observations will apply those types of reticles in hunting scopes as well.  It’s possible some brands have better SFP and worse FFP reticles but in low light the FFP isn’t just better than the SFP versions, it’s WAY better.   Not even a contest.  I’ll explain why:

 

First, the “getting smaller” thing.  Yes they do, but depending upon exact power range and reticle design you’ll notice most of the #4a types have posts so thick that even on the lowest power they’re still thicker than a typical heavy duplex and way thicker than the standard duplex most SFP scopes are sold with.  So while they aren’t as “big and bold” as they are on high power, they’re still “bigger and bolder” than what most are used to.  Of course you can get a 4a in a SFP and the posts will remain thicker which brings me to….

 

The open space compromise and center lines.  With a SFP on low power the posts will remain far apart.  So even at close range you need to see the center lines.  You can make them closer together, but then you have a reticle that will cover more of the target at high power.  At some point that becomes annoying which is why you have the open space in the first place.  With a FFP of course, the posts converge toward the center on low power.  At close range you won’t need to see the center lines at all—just bracket the vital zone in the posts and pull the trigger.  I find this is much faster than trying to aim with the center lines in a reticle where the posts, which are thicker at low power, are too far apart to be used alone.  Even when “thin,” the posts on a FFP at low power can be way thicker than the center lines on a SFP—unless you completely give up on having any precision at long range.  Then of course when you do crank up the power the posts pull back and don’t cover your target as they would on a SFP scope with them that close together on low power.  And if taking a shot at longer range in low light the reticle only becomes easier to see….

 

Since this isn’t the tactical section I won’t go too far into all the other advantages of lines or dots “working” at all powers since they’re pretty obvious.  I will say I’m prepared to take shots quite a bit farther than most and do use them for holding into the wind and quick hold over/unders and having to be on one specific power to do that simply sucks—especially when hunting.

 

I’m sure the next thing varies from brand to brand, but at least with the IORs another advantage of the FFP is the visibility of the reticle itself, regardless of thickness.  The reticle stays blacker and stands out/contrasts with the target much better under many lighting conditions—and much, much, much better under some conditions.  The SFP IORs reticle can turn brown/bronzish (you know, what Leupold reticles are famous for    ;)  ) under the right conditions.  Not as bad as Leupold mind you and it doesn’t happen very often in the field…but when the conditions are right and it does the reticle, even the thick posts, can become very hard to see.  This never happens with the FFP.  Under the same conditions it’ll be black as night and stand out against the target beautifully.

 

Like I said, that doesn’t happen often so if that was the only time there was an advantage it wouldn’t be much of one.  But I’ve found long before you get to that point where the SFP is changing colors, it’ll still be black and visible and look just fine…until you compare it side by side with the FFP.  You’ll see the FFP as blacker and simply standing out against the target better.  This can make up for a lot of line thickness.

 

As mentioned this may vary from brand to brand quite a bit—just how well the SFP reticles stay black varies wildly.  It may be with some brands where the SFP reticles stay black better that there may be less or no advantage in this area compared with their FFP.  I’d like to hear from those with high end European FFP and SFP scopes of the same brand and similar reticles how they compare in various lighting conditions.   But I do believe FFP has an inherent advantage in this area.

 

Sorry for talking your ears off, but I really want to encourage many who may dismiss FFP out of hand because the “reticle shrinking at low power” just sounds so wrong to them to actually get their hands on one and give it a try.  Do some side by side comparisons.  Now that my “eyes have been opened” I doubt I’ll ever buy another SFP unless it’s just for a cheap daytime plinker.  Well actually I did just order a scope for a cheap daytime plinker…a Falcon FFP.  So scratch that.    ;)

Big%20Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/21/2008 at 18:09
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Very good summary, thanks!! The only first focal planes I have ever used have been FIXED POWERS, so I'm no expert whatsoever....but I always thought a FFP made a lot of sense ---at least in the woods or low light. Smile          --Ed
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all fixed powers are FFP by definition
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/21/2008 at 18:35
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Jon A, you make many good points.  I favor FFP reticles for big game hunting, but as mentioned, a lot has to do with the design of the reticle itself.  I prefer SFP reticles for target and varmint shooting, because I want the center lines as thin as absolutely possible at high magnification for the utmost aiming precision, and unlike my big game scopes, I'm only using these scopes in good light anyway.  The only other application where I think a SFP reticle scope has an advantage would be in a low powered DGR scope such as a 1-4X, where, again depending on the reticle design, a FFP reticle can be VERY thin at 1X while a really bold SFP reticle design remains the same thickness at 1X as at 4X.  In all other applications, I prefer FFP reticles precisely for the reasons you mention.  I'm glad we have both options because they both have their place.
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Agreed for both low power DGR/CQB scope and daytime varmint/precision/target.  I think a SFP scope specialized to do one thing can't be beat when you throw out the other completely.  Where I see FFP's big advantage is doing both as well as possible.  I may shoot my whitetail as close as 15 yds next year (wouldn't be the first time) but will also kill steel at over 1 mile (that'll be a first though).  I've never had a scope that could do either as well as the 3-18, much less both.    Of course that's not all due to the FFP reticle but much of it is.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/22/2008 at 02:20
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Seawolf

 
No the no 2 is not comparable with the 1 or 11. because you really need the thick heavy sideposts to determine where the top of the centerpost is.
When you have the thick black centerpost in a thick black boar in the middel of the night you have no chance to see the top point, nor the thin sidelines.
 
I like SFP to, all depending on usage.
 
Regards Technika
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Jon A.
You bring a lot of valid points to town, and what you state is well known.
I just speak for my self, the way I hunt, the way my aging eyes work.
 
Last fall I used two rifles on moose hunt in bear infested areas.
One Ruger in 35 Whelen with S&B Classic 1,5-6x42, reticle #4 FFP, and a Ruger 338 Winmag with Leupold VXIII 2,5-8x36, reticle #4, SFP.  
Not comparable scopes optically I must admit, but this was mostly daytime hunting in woodland  on relatively short ranges.
 
And without doubt, I felt moore comfortable with the Leupold set up, than the S&B in close cover.  Optically the S&b was in another league than the Leupold, but the way I hunted, the difference in optical quality did not matter that much.
 
Even though the way you discribe the FFP pros, they dont work as such for me.
I guess old habits plays a major role, one likes what one gets used to ( ref a good single malt from Islay for instance  Smile ) 
 
The point is the way I see it,  that each must determine by himself what feels most comfortable and logical regarding scopes.
But one can also avoid some traps learning about others experience.
And as such, this is an unique site.
 
I never ment to banter the FFP set up if anybody got that impression, there must be something right about it the way the Central Europeeans cling to it Wink
 
Technica.
Thanks for the input, I will defenately look around for a #1 and try it out.
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Thanks everyone, you've given me a lot of information.
 
 I still have a couple questions:  When I look at the pictures of the different reticles available, would that picture be representative of the lowest or highest power setting? I had been assuming it was at the lowest, and that, if a #4 was OK for my purposes at low power for low light, then it should  be fine at higher power in low light also since the reticle would be even thicker and easier to see.
 
Second, can anyone tell me if the reticle on the Zeiss 4a is the same as the #20 Z-plex without the top verticle post? Also, is the thickness of the heavy sections on the 4a, the #20, and the #1 all the same as they appear in the pictures?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/23/2008 at 19:48
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 You should try to look at all the reticle choices you can firsthand. I assure you no one can describe them for you well enough for you to decide on such an important part of  the scope package. I made that mistake once. I personally can not see the need for FFP. SFP works fine enough. If it is too dark to see the reticle it is more than likely past legal shooting time. FFP reticles are not conducive to target shooting. My .02c.
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NO WAY THIS WILL DISAPPEAR IN LOW LIGHT AND YES ITS 2nd focal plane
I won both FFP and SFP and the scope below is my go-to scope
conquest 3-9x40 #4

Measurements 40 and 44 mm Conquest
A (horizontal thick bar spacing) is 50,4-17" @ 100 y,
B (= Thickness of horzontal bars) is 10,8 - 3,6" @ 100 y,
C (= Thickness of thin - aiming - cross) is 1,1 - 0,4" @ 100 y.

So with 17" spacing @ high X you are 17/2 = 8 1/2 inches into the game body silhouette when the still visible edge of the horzontal bar touches the brisket.





Edited by SAKO75 - November/18/2008 at 18:18
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My favorite scope happens to be a sfp scope made by zeiss, 3-12 x 56 w/ no. 40 illuminated reticle.
 
no line is as visible in the dark as a small red dot.
 
I shoot a lot of long range (1k +) and do not like ffp scopes. I understand the idea for ranging, however we all have laser range finders anyway and even though I went to public school I can multiply and divide.
 
I simply do not like the idea of my small target being totally obscured by the "swelling cross hair"
 
My suggestion, get some friends together and go to a place where you are likely to be able to view the various models and determin your preference. As you may have noticed this topic alone keeps many different companies in business.
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