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More confused than ever, please help

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2013 at 23:20
skyhead View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: February/16/2013
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I have just recently been introduced into the world of long range shooting. For years I have been doing the "hold over" with my 30-30. Well last week I went out and bought a .300 WSM. It sits with a junk tasco scope on it I am unable to use the rifle basically because I have been reading about ballistics and optics for days now and feel like I am more lost now than I was when I began researching about scopes.

I thought I had the perfect scope picked out. Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50. I kept getting confused because they had the same exact scope marked at $200 higher with the letters "FFP".

Well now I have researched and understand how Front Focal Plane and Second Focal plane work, I am at a complete loss on what I should get in a scope. I understand to accurately mil a target with a SFP scope it must be at a certain magnification but on the other hand it would be just as quick to whip out a range finder and range it. 

I am not a fan of hold over. I know guys argue that dialing your scope in takes too long but honestly at that long of a range shot the animal has no clue you are even there and is often grazing which gives you plenty of time to figure the MOA and get dialed in.

I have no preference when it comes to using Mils or using MOA and dialing a scope in as I am brand new to long range shooting. My initial thought of making accurate long range shots were to distance the target, figure trajectory and use a scope with adjustable finger turrets and dial it in to be zeroed in at that yardage. 

However, I now understand that you can just as accurately make long rang shots using Mils and figure hold over to be just as accurate as dialing in a turret.

I am absolutely boggled at which route to go. If I choose to go with using mils I would prefer a FFP scope. The ones I am looking at a FFP scope is $200 more but would cut the cost of a $300-$400 rangefinder and be one less piece of expensive equipment to pack through the woods. 

By the way most of my shooting will be practicing long range long before I test my luck in the field on a 500+ yard deer.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2013 at 23:48
Oldtrader3 View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
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If you are going to hunt with the scope, you may want a SFP scope because of reticle size change.  If you are only going to use the scope for long range shooting with a 1/10th Mil Dot reticle, you may want to use the FFP reticle.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2013 at 23:57
billyburl2 View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Well I hate to break it you, but even with a FFP scope and a lot of practice, I still use my range finder. Especially when shooting at game! A low or high hit on paper or steel doesn't cause any suffering... But ranging is still easier than doping the wind!Bucky Honestly, I would go with less magnification. Look at the Votex 4-16, or the Weaver 3-15. Both are really good scopes for the money. And as far which plane the reticle is in, my personal choice will always be Front, or a fixed power scope.
http://swfa.com/Vortex-4-16x50-Viper-PST-30mm-Rifle-Scope-P44561.aspx
http://swfa.com/Weaver-3-15x50-Tactical-30mm-Rifle-Scope-P49448.aspx
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2013 at 23:58
8shots View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Knight
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Using mils, MOA or any other system, other then a rangefinder, will only give you the approximate range. Why I say approximate is because you have to accurately place the object between the marks on your reticle. And there is the first problem. The second problem is that you need to know the size of the object that you are ranging. So if you know the object is 39and3/4inch, and it is 3 and3/8MOA (or whatever) you can now do the maths.
 
Off course you can get by with approximate ranges at distances around 400yds and a flat shooting rifle. But pinpoint accuracy needs better ranging then that.
 
Having said all of that I would spend my $$$ on a scope with reliable turrets, rather then worrying whether it is first focal or second focal. With a range finder and a good reliable turrets, you can dial the number and be sure of the result.
 
On a first focal the the reticle becomes so small on lower magnification it becomes almost useless, unless you are ranging big objects.
 
Off course with lots of practise anything is possible and no doubt some people can range better with a reticle then astronauts can fly to the moon.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/25/2013 at 15:56
Jon A View Drop Down
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Originally posted by skyhead skyhead wrote:

I am absolutely boggled at which route to go. If I choose to go with using mils I would prefer a FFP scope. The ones I am looking at a FFP scope is $200 more but would cut the cost of a $300-$400 rangefinder and be one less piece of expensive equipment to pack through the woods.

By the way most of my shooting will be practicing long range long before I test my luck in the field on a 500+ yard deer.

If you plan to use the reticle for anything other than aiming with the very center of it; I recommend you get the FFP.

The reticle is a great tool which is useful for many things, and yes, that does include ranging.  While it's a nice skill to have in case of an emergency (broken rangefinder) or match stage where they don't let you use a rangefinder, it will not replace a rangefinder.  While the 1 Mil space at the center provides sort of a nice "go-no go" gauge on a deer's chest for quick reference, you're unlikely to ever be good enough at it on live targets in the field to be of much use beyond that.  

When you really do need to range something with your reticle you should turn your scope up to max power anyway for the most accuracy.  So for the most part, forget about "ranging" as a reason to get a FFP.

Hold over can be very useful in the field.  Some people prefer it to twisting knobs, especially on closer to medium range shots.  Even for those who generally dial elevation, knowing your holdovers for medium range shots can be very useful.  If you spot something that needs a quick shot there’s nothing faster and it can be very accurate especially if somebody else ranges it for you.  When hunting, for example, you can walk around with the scope set on a low or medium power and still simply aim and fire without touching the scope.  When shooting multiple targets at different ranges at a match or just for fun the utility is obvious. 

With a FFP scope your holdovers will never be wrong.  That’s big in a hurried, pressured situation.  If you have to crank the scope to max power in order for the holds to be accurate, you could just as quickly crank the elevation knob instead.  Most times in a hunting situation 24X is going to be way too much power unless the deer is a long, long, long ways away, so trying to use holdovers with a SFP scope of such high power isn’t the best idea.

But far and away the most use reticles get is for holding wind.  The vast, vast majority of the best shooters I know hold wind with the reticle instead of dialing it with the turret.  The wind changes so much and so quickly in the places many of us shoot, trying to keep up with the changes by dialing in new dope and then quickly trying to take the shot before the wind changes can be frustrating to say the least and at times an exercise in futility.

Also, in high pressure situations such as hunting (buck fever!) or match shooting (do better than the last guy!...or don’t embarrass yourself!) it is very, very easy to forget what you have dialed in or (and this happens a lot) dial the wrong way.  If holding with the reticle you never forget to “set it back to zero” and since “holding into the wind” is as natural as falling off a log holding the wrong way pretty much never happens.  So if you do much practicing at long range (which you should) with a good reticle, it’s very likely you will find this as your preferred method as so many others have.

Back to hunting—you may be able to practice all summer long with the scope on 24X (if mirage in your area isn’t too bad), but for most situations while hunting 24X is way too much power.  After cranking the scope down to where you have a reasonably comfortable FOV, your best chance at making the shot is to make it the same way you practice and have found to be the best—holding the wind with the reticle.  If your holds are “wrong” anytime you’re not on 24X or you need to try and do math in your head (just what you need in a high pressure situation!) you’re setting yourself up to make a mistake. 

With FFP your hold will never be wrong.  Crank the scope to the magnification that feels the most appropriate for the situation, crank in your elevation, hold your wind and fire.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/25/2013 at 16:31
jonoMT View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Lots of good advice here.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/25/2013 at 17:07
ccoker View Drop Down
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definitely...
I will add "good glass trumps magnification"

A scope with 10-12 with top end glass will enable you to "see better" than a mid range scope with 20x at the top end every day of the week, and especially in low light.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/25/2013 at 17:39
dsr View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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Originally posted by jonoMT jonoMT wrote:



Lots of good advice here.


Second that.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/25/2013 at 17:59
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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I like FFP scopes for shooting mostly at longer ranges, and think that is a good choice for the OP.  The advantages are well laid out by JonA.
 
I do like SFP scopes for general hunting for the reasons Oldtrader mentioned.
 
I do think FFP is generally useable, but I also like the bolder SFP reticles for low light adn lower magnifications.  I haven't really had trouble turning the magnification up to properly subtend the reticle for holding wind.
 
Call me old fashioned.  One of these days I will fully come around to FFP.
 
Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/26/2013 at 00:33
Prieto9000 View Drop Down
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I have a 6-24X50 Viper PST FFP with the EBR-1 MRAD reticle sitting on top of my .338 EDGE and it rocks. The FFP reticle is very nice. Not too small @ 6x and not too big @24x. It works great for shooting without dialing @ any magnification. Most of the time you'll do it just for fun, but still it's nice. 
I was practicing last week and was able to make 1 shot hits on targets between 200yd-950yd just by following my tables and using the reticle.
CRS Zero Stop is very nice. Maybe it's not the best zero stop system, but it definitely works and very few scopes in this price range have one that works like this one. 
My only complaint is that the illumination system doesn't work very well by now. I need to remove and reinstall the battery every time I want to turn it on. For me it's not a major issue since I don't like illuminated reticles, but if they put one, I'll expect it to work flawlessly every time. This problem started after a year or so after i purchased it new. 
Would I buy another one?? Of course. I'm about to get one for my .308 win. I'm just making my mind. I'm very tempted to get a pre-owned Razor HD for about $1,650. If I don't end purchasing the Razor HD, the PST is gonna be the way to go. 
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