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Illuminated reticle, what are they?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2008 at 17:36
casio02478 View Drop Down
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and do I need them? Hi, long time lurker and newbie to the optics field. I am in the market for a new riflescope but can't decide wheither I need a illuminated reticle? I really need some wisdom from from experienced shooter out there to help me with the pros/cons of this feature. Thanks ps
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2008 at 17:43
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Welcome to The OT!
 
Please describe your usual shooting situations for us please. 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2008 at 19:28
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Mainly hunting whitetail from the treestand. Max shooting range is around 300yds. See alot of deer at dawn and dusk. Do I need the reticle for near dark hunting or is it better to go with a bigger objective?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2008 at 19:44
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Cheap optics with even cheaper lit reticles are more of a liability than a benefit, if you ask me.
The cheaper illuminated reticles will be too bright even on the lowest settings, making them mostly unusable. Good illuminated reticles cost more money.
Depending on your $$$ budget, a larger objective may be a better choice for you.
 
Do you have a budget for a scope in mind? 
 
I sent our resident hunting expert "Rifledude" a PM about your thread and I'm sure he can shed "some more light" Wink on this subject for you.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2008 at 19:57
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a budget would help us along, i agree with mark cheap glass with cheap ill reticle are a huge handicap, your better off buying a scope with superior glass and no lit reticle than a cheap lit reticle.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2008 at 20:30
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 Also, I personally think that a fairly stout reticle is important for those conditions. The best glass in the world won't help you see a fine reticle in the twilight, especially in brush.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2008 at 20:35
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absolutely i forgot that, another excellent point ronk!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2008 at 20:38
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Maybe you should go with a Trijicon if low light shooting is your biggest issue.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2008 at 20:41
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thats not a bad option wish we knew how much he wants to spend
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/23/2008 at 08:20
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thanks for all the input guys, my budget is around $500.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/23/2008 at 08:21
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you wont touch a trijicon for less than $600
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/23/2008 at 09:31
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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

I sent our resident hunting expert "Rifledude" a PM about your thread and I'm sure he can shed "some more light" Wink on this subject for you.  
 
Embarrased
Well, I don't know about that "expert" part, but thanks for the vote of confidence!
 
Welcome casio02478!
I am a big fan of well designed illuminated reticles and I do hunt in very low light and at night for hogs in the off-season, so I get an opportunity to use them often.  Whether or not you will benefit from a lit reticle depends on which scope you choose and what type of hunting you do.  There are some very good lit reticles and some very bad ones.  A very good lit reticle will always outperform even the boldest conventional reticle in low light.  Unfortunately, most of the good ones are in scopes costing way over your $500 stated limit.  If I were looking for a lit reticle scope for low light use and my budget was $500 or less, I would go with one of these 3 scopes:
 
 
All 3 have good optics, but I must tell you upfront that I don't have any experience with the illuminated versions of these particular scopes.  I am basing my selections on the fact that the Elite 4200 with lit dot and the Monarch with lit Nikoplex both have a relatively small area of illumination and adjustable rheostat for adjusting brightness.  I think these are critical features in a good, useful lit reticle for hunting.  More on that later.  The Elite 4200 with Firefly reticle may be a good choice as well, even though the entire reticle is illuminated, provided that the glow is dim enough that it doesn't overpower your vision through the scope too much in low light.  Again, having not used the lit versions of these 3 scopes personally, I can't confirm that they have truly useful reticles, but they look good on paper.  I don't know how much longer you'll be able to get them, however, since both Bushnell and Nikon are discontinuing these lines for new models.
 
If you can up the ante a little $-wise, you might also look at the Trijicon Accupoint scopes.  They use an innovative combination of fiber optics and tritium, so they don't require batteries.  The reticle used in these scopes is also a nice, small triangle, which provides a bold aiming point with an uncluttered view of the target.  I haven't used one of these scopes either, so I don't know how good the optics are in low light, but I have seen the reticle in person, and it is very nice.
 
As fond of lit reticles as I am, a poorly designed lit reticle is almost useless IMO.  If you've ever had someone shine a flashlight into your eye at night, then you understand the momentary loss of good night vision that causes.  The same thing happens to a lesser degree with a lit reticle that won't adjust down to the proper level.  If the reticle is too bright, it will cause your pupil to dilate, hampering your ability to see in low light and hazing out the target image in the scope.  So, I've found that the best lit reticles for hunting are those that can be adjusted to a very dim setting and the lit portion isn't too large.  All you need is a small dot, dot and circle, or "+" in the center, and you need just enough illumination to see the aiming point, no more.  If the lit portion of the reticle is too large and/or too bright, you just have too much light inside the scope.
 
The 3 lit reticle scopes I use for low light/night hunting are expensive and have both very well designed reticles and very good optics.  This gives me a tremendous edge in low light or a moonlit night.  But if I had to make a decision between a scope with poorly designed lit reticle and fair optics or a scope with a non-illuminated reticle with thick posts and great optics, I would choose the non-illuminated scope with better optics every time.  No matter how good the reticle, if the scope doesn't have excellent light transmission in the blue light spectrum, it won't be useful in extremely low light.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/23/2008 at 09:53
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 As always as the others said ... DO NOT BUY a bad glass scope .... there are good scopes out there with IR capabilities and it is a very useful addition when needed . Especially when scoping into a shaded area or lower light . Don't be fooled by huge glass either ... does'nt always improve light gathering . Coatings and glass quality are the most important factors and do ...research ... make sure the IR does'nt flood the area with blurry lighting .  I use a Mueller IR for those conditions .... top japenese glass with high end german coatings . Have been using it for over 3 years ... all kinds of conditions hauled on my ATV taking a pounding in rain .... snow .... and heat and is clear as a bell and dead on . Mueller has their illuminated rectiles down pat for fabulous quality .
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/23/2008 at 10:11
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8528 IOR 4-14x50 Hunting Matte finish, 4A reticle, 30mm tube, side focus, 1/4 moa windage and elevation, ring marks. $1,050.00 $649.95
Above is a nice bright scope with no illumination but likely more than adequate for your hunting needs.  I personally prefer a scope with the ability to reach 14 to 16 power to evaluate the racks on deer at distance hunting from a fixed position.  When I hunt stalking or in brush I like an aimpoint with no magnification or would like a Trijicon accupoint 1.25 to 4x.  The place where I find an illuminated reticle helpful is against black targets. Illuminated reticles running on battery power can present several problems - cold weather kills batteries, batteries can corode and leak and ruin electrical devices.   So I use one of each for still hunting I use a traditional optic and for stalking in brush an aimpoint.
 
other items of possible interest:
8605 Kahles 1.5-6x42 Helia C 51611, Matte finish, first focal plane 4A reticle, 30mm tube, fast focus eye piece, light ring marks. $1,171.00 $699.95
6238 Kahles 3-10x50 Helia CL Multizero 51724, Matte finish, 1" tube, 4A reticle, side focus, fast focus eye piece, Allows you to zero your scope at five different ranges, super light ring marks. $1,315.00 $749.95
I'm figuring the $500 as being the conservative end however if it is really the top end see:
424164M Bushnell%204-16x40%20Elite%204200%20Rifle%20Scope%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20 Bushnell 4-16x40 Elite 4200 Rifle Scope
  • Matte
  • Multi-X
  • 1"
  • Rainguard
  • Adjustable Objective
  • Free 5" Sun Shade w/ Purchase
SWFA: $389.95
More%20Info... Buy%20Now
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/23/2008 at 10:32
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On the issue with batteries, I look at it this way.  All the lit reticle scopes out there that I'm aware of use the wafer style watch batteries.  I have never found these batteries to leak.  Secondly, assuming your battery goes dead, it doesn't render your scope useless, as without illumination turned on, the reticle works the same as any other conventional reticle.  If you've selected a good, bold reticle and good low light glass to begin with, then without illumination, you still have as good a scope for low light hunting as any other high quality non-illuminated scope.  Third, some of the better lit reticle scopes have an extra battery storage area in the windage cap, so you have a backup battery readily available. 
 
Then, again, there's the Trijicon Accupoint that doesn't require batteries, though the tritium glow dies off after 10-15 years.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 10:51
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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

Cheap optics with even cheaper lit reticles are more of a liability than a benefit, if you ask me.
The cheaper illuminated reticles will be too bright even on the lowest settings, making them mostly unusable. Good illuminated reticles cost more money.
Depending on your $$$ budget, a larger objective may be a better choice for you.
 
Do you have a budget for a scope in mind? 
 
I sent our resident hunting expert "Rifledude" a PM about your thread and I'm sure he can shed "some more light" Wink on this subject for you.  
 
 Who said buy a cheap low end illuminated rectile scope ? Look ... if you don't want a box of junk scopes .... want all the newest features ... and want to buy one good scope ... hold off and get a good one . Illuminated rectiles are great when you need them . Quicker target aquisition especially if all your shots are'nt in bright sunlight and some are in darker or shaded areas . It seems all the scope manufacturers will be adding it into their lines .... BUT - go to a gun shop or store and try them first ! Take no one's word here or on any internet review site ! Pull them out of the boxes and really put them through the tests side by side . If they're not in a box = plastic sealed .... they're junk ! No " one " manufacturer makes the best scope .... no matter what idiot anywhere tries to tell you that .... and not to mention a certain brand ... are way overpriced and yes they do break !
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 11:12
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[[/QUOTE]
 
 Who said buy a cheap low end illuminated rectile scope ? Look ... if you don't want a box of junk scopes .... want all the newest features ... and want to buy one good scope ... hold off and get a good one . Illuminated rectiles are great when you need them . Quicker target aquisition especially if all your shots are'nt in bright sunlight and some are in darker or shaded areas . It seems all the scope manufacturers will be adding it into their lines .... BUT - go to a gun shop or store and try them first ! Take no one's word here or on any internet review site ! Pull them out of the boxes and really put them through the tests side by side . If they're not in a box = plastic sealed .... they're junk ! No " one " manufacturer makes the best scope .... no matter what idiot anywhere tries to tell you that .... and not to mention a certain brand ... are way overpriced and yes they do break !
[/QUOTE]
 
Though this thread has been dead almost a month, the O.P. asked for advice. He received it from some well respected members here. I think it is good advice to take with him when he gets some actual hands on experience.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 12:43
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Gotta agree with T here. I would add that there are some manufacturers that are inherently better than others and by virtue of this make better scopes. The best will always be a very subjective issue and open to debate.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 14:08
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Does Trijicon make those reticles glow again after fifteen years?  Where are are you "Warranty Dudes" when you need one? Wink  HA!           --Ed
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 14:21
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Originally posted by Ed Connelly Ed Connelly wrote:

Does Trijicon make those reticles glow again after fifteen years?  Where are are you "Warranty Dudes" when you need one? Wink  HA!           --Ed


They can replace the tritium element.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 21:36
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I've had good luck with this Leupold VX-111 3.5-10x50, my first illuminated reticle.  I have trouble seeing a black reticle, no matter the size, on a dark surface like a black coated wild hog.  It can be turned down so faint that you can hardly see it, even in complete darkness.  Although the VX-111's illuminated reticles are not designed for bright daylight conditions I understand the new illuminated VX-L's have brighter reticle settings that are so designed.  One thing, if you forget to turn it off it will run the battery down overnight.  I usually carry spares.
 
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nice set up!!!!!
One of the fastes set ups I've ever worked (rifle matches) with is the SPR mk 4, a very thin reticle, illuminated , turned on during the day. Going from targets in the dark, even though it is daylight hours gives a sight picture equal to an eotech. and in the bright sunlight the red "goes out" and the dark reticle takes over. This situation is somewhat different than the hunters need, but non the less. To test the difference put it on an electronic timer.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2008 at 22:24
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Wow!  Looks good.  Love the knobs on those Mark 4's.  I see you've got Butler Creek lens covers.  I like them better than the Leupold 'Alumina's' I used on the objective lens.  I thought the Butler Creek's would touch the barrel but I think now it would have cleared.  The cap isn't fully closed in this picture.  Leupold uses magnets as well as a physical interface - I just forgot to push it closed. 
 
Mine is the standard duplex illuminated and has the exact same reticle subtensions as the un-lit version.  I want to test one of the new illuminated Leupold VX-L's.  I called customer service and they're suppose to be able to be seen in daylight conditions.  It appears they have the same number of settings (1-11 & off) so I guess the gradations between settings are larger/wider.  They're so close on mine it's difficult to tell the difference between, for example, 3 & 4.  FYI, the QDMA illuminated reticle on the new VX-L's is identical to the standard illuminated duplex.  CS said it was just marketing.  I think I've posted this picture before but it's a sweet looking Sako 85, 30-06 so this is as good excuse as any. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/21/2008 at 06:59
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Really nice rifle, timber!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/21/2008 at 08:17
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http://www.swfa.com/pc-5769-259-zeiss-3-9x50-conquest-rifle-scope.aspx
 
 
 
 Kahles 3-9x42 American Hunter TDS bullet drop reticle
 
I tried to stick pretty tight to your budget. The team primos is an excellent buy, but don't know how the reticle would work in low light conditions as mine just got here, same for the TDS on the Kahles, but I am told they have great glass. I can't say having never looked through one. I don't ever hear of an unhappy 4200 elite owner, and they have been praised by intelligent OT members time and time again. I do have a Conquest but in a 4.5-14x44 with the Rapid-Z reticle, which is not as thick as the #4 and with the smaller objective, probably not as bright, but I could shoot at any thing I want up to the last possible second of LEGAL shooting light here. (1/2 hour before and after sunrise& sunset. I can still see very well even after that. Sorry for the lengthy post. Just thought I would throw out some ideas. Maybe a smart member will chime in, like Ilya Koshkin and suggest something I missed. Welcome to the OT.
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