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definition of tracking

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/24/2009 at 15:48
onfinal View Drop Down
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What is tracking in a riflescope?  What is taking place when a scope does or does not track properly?

I think I have kind of an idea of what's going on and that a box test is a good measure of it, but would appreciate a more learned description of what makes up tracking than I presently have.

Thanks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/24/2009 at 16:53
silver View Drop Down
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Each adjustment does what is supposed to do.  There are no skips or jumps.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/24/2009 at 17:43
jonoMT View Drop Down
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Before doing a box test, it can be a good idea to first check the scope is not canted (with the reticle at an angle other than right angles to the bore) and that you're not canting the rifle. Then adjusting only the elevation, fire a string of shots, adjusting 8 clicks for a 1/4 MOA knob. If shot at 100 yards, you should have a verticle string of shots spaced as close as possible to two inches apart. You could also shoot this test at 50 yards. Otherwise, if you're running a box test on a scope and had a canting problem, you might think it was the scope. Of course I've shot scopes that were so cheap I'd adjust windage and the elevation would change or vice versa. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2009 at 08:29
Al Nyhus View Drop Down
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   onfinal:   One thing to remember when doing the 'box test':  shoot a group at each adjustment, then use each groups 'center' as the basis for determining how well the scope tracks.
 
     Good shootin'. Smile   -Al
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2009 at 11:28
onfinal View Drop Down
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Thanks to all for the tracking info.  I come to this forum from a hand gun background and am catching up on my rifle/scope theory and practice.

Another question:  In the grand scheme of things, why is the box test important to me?  Or maybe I should ask, is it important at all?  If I have a scope that, regardless of cost, holds zero and helps me put my shots where I want them to go, shouldn't that be enough?

I realize shooting the box successfully is a confirmation of quality optics, but is all lost if my (theoretical) $100 scope doesn't do it perfectly?  Not trying to start a huge "debate" here, just trying to learn.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2009 at 11:58
Dale Clifford View Drop Down
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handguns irons have their tracking errors but it is on the human side of the equation. unless the light bars are always the same thickness when the shot breaks the shot will go left or right, scopes place the cross hairs and the image in the same plane, so errors in this regard are "taken away" from the shooter and placed in a mechanical system, which is if build correctly will negate these errors as much as possible. tracking system errors become more important to people who change the reticle in relation to the image plane frequently. Generally hunters will set there scope zero and never touch the dials for a long time if ever. These is sorta equivalent to fixed iron sights. I've had "cheap" scopes that track very well, but other features weren't up to the task. Another question is how long and under what conditions will they keep doing it. If this is a consideration its time for the big bucks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2009 at 13:17
onfinal View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Dale Clifford Dale Clifford wrote:

handguns irons have their tracking errors but it is on the human side of the equation. unless the light bars are always the same thickness when the shot breaks the shot will go left or right, scopes place the cross hairs and the image in the same plane, so errors in this regard are "taken away" from the shooter and placed in a mechanical system, which is if build correctly will negate these errors as much as possible. tracking system errors become more important to people who change the reticle in relation to the image plane frequently. Generally hunters will set there scope zero and never touch the dials for a long time if ever. These is sorta equivalent to fixed iron sights. I've had "cheap" scopes that track very well, but other features weren't up to the task. Another question is how long and under what conditions will they keep doing it. If this is a consideration its time for the big bucks.


Thanks for that excellent explanation, but why would I want to change the relation of the reticle to the image plane frequently?  Sorry to be thick headed about this part of your explanation, I'm still learning.  I really appreciate the help.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2009 at 17:44
Dale Clifford View Drop Down
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reticle to image planes occur on several levels, those involving parallax, and those involving changes in poi from poa changes such as second focal plane scopes, Or shooter derived changes such as correction for elevation caused by ballistic profile. Ideally the shooter would not want to change outside parameters that affect the system especially  when the system is 2 non-deterministic ones , but due to cost factors, and utility it ends up being the best solution. 
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