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1st plane vs. 2nd plane reticles

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2007 at 18:57
tbone1 View Drop Down
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This has been on my mind for some time and I think about every time everyone rushes to defend one inch scopes and how 30mm dont gather any more light.

 

I remember about 8 or 9 years ago when I was a Leopold fan, a friend asked me what I thought about an older Kahles 3-12x56 used scope that he was considering to buy.  I remember my main dislike about it was that the reticle grew as you increase magnification.  This bothered me because I was not used to it.  Looking back, I realize how wrong I was.  Several years later I got to hunt with a 1st plane scope and after I got used to it, I realize all of the advantages that it offers.

 

It reminds me of the debate between the metric system and American standard system.  Those of you who have ever taken a science class probably realize how much easier the metric system is to use.  The metric system is simple, straightforward and makes conversions easy.  The American standard system is so complicated that it is almost useless in any science calculation.  Now don't get me wrong, I am a proud to be an American and all that we stand for but it's really hard to come up with any advantage to the standard system except that it is American.  However that is what we are used to so we think it's better.

 

This brings me to the debate between the !st focal plane (European reticle) vs. 2nd focal plane (American reticle).  Lets look at the advantages of each.

 

The FPR grows as the magnification increases.  This means that it always stays in the same relation to the target.  Which means that if you are using any kind long range reticle Mil-dot, Swarovski TDS, Leupold B&C. ect.  that they will work at any magnification.  With a SPR, it will only work at one magnification and you better know what that magnification is. 

 

Another advantage of an FPR is that it is better in low light.  Since it grows with magnification, you can adjust the power until it is thick enough to see.  This feature allowed me to take a deer in almost total darkness last year. I personally don't see a need to have an illuminated reticle on a scope with an FPR.  With a SPR whatever reticle you choose you are stuck with.  If pick a standard or fine duplex, it is fine most of the time except in low light.  If you are hunting in woods at dark or even in an open field and the game is standing against the treeline, you will lose sight of the reticle long before you lose the outline of the game.  Hence the need for a lighted reticle.  If you choose a heavy post for low light,  it will cover up the target on long shots.

 

There is only one real advantage that I see that a SPR has over a FPR.  Since it doesn't grow as magn. increases it will not cover up a small target at long distances.  This would be an advantage mostly to varmint hunters and some target shooters who are shooting at small targets.  There could be a slight arguement made for Leupold users who acutually use the range finding system on all Varix III and VXIII scopes, but I don't know how many people actually attempt to use that feature or even know its there.

 

For big game hunting, a scope with a 1st plane reticle is preferable and I have no doubt that if people were used to it, they would prefer it.  For varmints, I would prefer a scope with a 2nd plane reticle.

 

It is funny to me how the marketing departments at the scope companies always spin things in their favor.  For example Swarovski and Zeiss always claimed that a FPR was better and listed it as an advantage to their scopes.  Leupold always claimed that a SPR was better and had it as an advantage.  Now we see Swarovski jumping ship and make SPRs because America is the biggest market for hunting scopes. 

 

They all used the same spin with the eyepiece as well.  Swaro and Zeiss claimed the advantages of the fast focus european style eyepiece.  Leupold always had the locking eyepiece (which I personally hate because it is nearly impossible to use).  The Leupold marketing team always tried to spin it as an advantage to their scope by claiming it was better since it locked in place.  Now we finally see that the Euro companies are finally winning that spin contest and Americans are seeing the advantages of the fast focus eyepiece and how much easier it is to use.  Now we see Leupold jump ship and are putting a fast focus eyepiece on their higher end scopes.

 

I guess my point to all this is don't knock it until you try it.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2007 at 19:11
TPS_Phil View Drop Down
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Nice post......
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2007 at 19:17
Trinidad View Drop Down
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Great post tbone1....

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2007 at 19:30
koshkin View Drop Down
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While I generally agree with you on SPR vs FPR issue, there is one other consideration.  That makes a difference for certain uses:

In some scopes at the lowest magnification, FPR reticle becomes very thin.  Incidentally, the lowest magnification is what is sometimes used for fast target acquisition with both eyes open.  If the reticle is very thin, fast target acquisition becomes pretty complicated.  This problem can be avoided either by using a thick SPR reticle or by having an illuminated FPR reticle.  For example in my front focal plane IOR 2.5-10x42 the illumination allows me to quickly acquire the target with both eyes open at 2.5x   When I turn the illumination off, it just does not work as well.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2007 at 20:57
B&C Buck View Drop Down
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Long time lurker here...

 

I have never shot or even looked thru a scope with FPR, but I can't imagine how the reticle doesn't either disappear at low power as koshkin points out, or likewise doesn't just competely cover up a deer at 350-400 yards when the power is cranked up.  I guess I will have to try one to see for myself as I value the opinions on here. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2007 at 21:14
koshkin View Drop Down
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Originally posted by B&C Buck B&C Buck wrote:

Long time lurker here...

 

I have never shot or even looked thru a scope with FPR, but I can't imagine how the reticle doesn't either disappear at low power as koshkin points out, or likewise doesn't just competely cover up a deer at 350-400 yards when the power is cranked up.  I guess I will have to try one to see for myself as I value the opinions on here. 



It is not that extreme, especially on well designed FPR scopes.  It does not disappear at low magnification it just gets sufficiently small to be hard to see in a hurry.  Same with high power, while it does get big, it is not quite a big enough to obscure a deer (certainly big enough to obscure a varmint though).

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2007 at 21:25
tahqua View Drop Down
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Nice post, tbone..................thanks SVD
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2007 at 22:03
www.technika.nu View Drop Down
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I am a strong fan of FPR, but there is a few things to think about.

 

I belives you have to choose reticles after the scope.

I have a SuB 4-16X50 that had a varmint reticle that was impossible to see at 4X, and it was actually very difficult to see at 16x as well.

In dusk it dissapeared.

That reticle is now changed to German no1, german no1 is always big enogh to bee seen in mostly low light situation, and it's so big that its very easy to find i quick.

At the same time German no1 is the smallest of all reticles as it's sharp, so you can actually aim at the corner of a target patch or in some cases the bullethole.

It's a lousy hold over reticle for varmints but I don't like hold over and have BDC installed instead.

 

There is another big adventage of FPR and that is shift.

A FPR scope does never have shift while many SPR have shift.

 

6X zooms like swarovski Z6 does probably requieres SPR as the reticles otherwise would be far to thick.

And I think that a hold over reticle is difficult with a SPR scope, so the Z6 for long range would really need BDC.

 

It's also interesting to see how many military/police snipers prefers FPR as they don't have  to consider magnification and shift. It's two variables to is cut away and that is great.

 

Regards Technika

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/24/2007 at 21:25
RifleDude View Drop Down
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Very good explanation, tbone1!  For precison work, I prefer a SFP reticle, but a FFP reticle definitely has advantages in poor light hunting of "larger than varmint" game.  The FFP reticle is immune to potential POI shift when changing magnification as well.
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