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Dialing or Hold Over?????

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Unread 03-18-2008, 11:08 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: El Reno, OK
Posts: 1,497
Dialing or Hold Over?????

I am just wondering what everyones preferance is on this topic?? Do you prefer to dial for elevation and wind or do you use some form of a holdover method???

me i have tried both methods and variations of each and while i dial everything most the time lately i have been trying to dial elevation and use increments in my reticule for windage. now this doesnt work in my big game rifle, 270AM with the NF NP-1RR reticule, but in my varmint guns i have been using leupold mildot reticule's and trying to develop this method in them. this is mostly due to all the hog hunting we are doing around here and alot of times this is more extermination than hunting so the goal is to get the animal down and dead with as many more following the same path.

Like i said i am trying this method mainly to try and speed up secondary shots but i can see holes in it. i guess it is a easier and quicker way to compensate for constantly changing wind conditions but like i said it has holes. i think constantly aiming with the center cross hair is probably the most precise method but i just wanna know everyone else's opinions

what method do you use and what reticule works best for ya???

Steve Elmenhorst
Third Generation Shooting Supply
"Products for shooters, by shooters"
monday-friday 8:30-5:30 CST
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Unread 03-18-2008, 11:22 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: on the rifle range in Utah
Posts: 2,704
I ALWAYS dial for elevation and it depends what the wind is doing to determine if I dial or hold off. In really switchy winds or gusts/letups, I hold. But if the wind is consistent or/and or really strong, I will dial for it.

I think ballistic reticles and BDC turrets are the number one cause of misses and inconsistencies in trajectories ever dreamed up. Not to mention, most of the bad press that us long range hunters gets usually comes about from someone witnessing a novice long range shooter who has just bought a fancy drop reticle scope and they go out and think they are "pros" now and wound an animal or miss entirely.

The plain truth is that a reticle can never compensate for all the variables and all distances. They are ballpark at best. I always have someone show up to a shooting class and think their bdc turret or fancy reticle will cut the cake. But I have several ways of throwing a fly in the ointment for them and they soon see the errors of their ways.
Find it
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If it's not far, it's boring.
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Unread 03-18-2008, 11:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: North Idaho
Posts: 1,891
I'm with grouper on this, I dial everything except the twitchy winds.
Shawn Carlock

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Unread 03-18-2008, 11:53 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Utah
Posts: 1,375
me too
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Unread 03-19-2008, 12:04 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 2,598
I do both and sometimes a combination of the 2. I use the NXS NPR-2 Reticle and the 2 MOA divisions are as accurate as dialing IMHO. I have used only the reticle out to 1K with satisfing results.. Sometimes I mwilluse line 6 for a 12 MOA correction and dial in a 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 MOA if needed
range it,check the wind, dial in correction, aim and only one shot
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Unread 03-19-2008, 08:49 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: bismarck ND
Posts: 406
Goodgrouper is spot on i dial for everything unless the wind is back and forth. why guess when you can dial.
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Unread 03-19-2008, 09:41 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Fort Shaw, Montana
Posts: 6,848
WHile I am not disagreeing with Shawn and GG, I will say that I use the both methods but mainly hold over using ballistic reticles.

Let me also add, if use a hold over method, there is no one size fits all method. If you develope a drop chart in the summer, its pretty much useless for fall and winter big game hunting. As such, if I will use a rifle in the fall big game season, its set up within weeks of the season in temps that are what I will be seeing during the season.

Using hold over also is more involved to set up then using dial up. It has to be tested and proven much more then the Dial up system. Do not take this the wrong way, both methods need to be tested and proven but using hold over needs specific testing in specific conditions.

I would also like to add, if I am intentionally looking to shoot past 1000 yards, I will dial up for the shot simply because bullet drop is so dramatic at these ranges and hold over just not real apporpriate. That said, I have tested it out to 2200 yards and I have been able to place the first shot within 1/2 moa of my aiming point. This was from field shooting positions. That said, the rifle was also set up in the same conditions the rifle was tested in. I set up a rifle and drop chart in temps roughly in the 20 to 35 degree range.

Using hold over with a ballistic reticle can be amazingly accurate when set up properly. On my hunt with Shawn a couple falls ago, he saw me use a ballisitic reticle and it worked very well. There were some misses but not one was as a result of being off vertically on my shot, every miss was due to windage errors in the canyon area we were hunting. There was not a shot that was more then 1/2 moa off my point of aim vertically using the hold over method.

Again, the rifles and drop charts have to be set up, tested and proven in the temps they will be used at and in the areas you will be hunting. Many have the ability to do this. IF not, then it may be best to dial up as it is the most effective way when shooting in areas that you are not used to or know the known conditions.

For me, 95% of my big game hunting will occur between 200 and 1000 yards in the areas I hunt. I also hunt in areas where the game is generally traveling to and from either feeding or watering locations so they are not stationary targets.

As such, I need speed when hunting. Find the animal, range and get on the rifle and get a bullet in the air before the animal changes its position. Using ballistic hold over is MUCH faster then dialing up. All the range work is predone, again, in the area and conditions I am hunting, at least very close to them.

Also, I do alot of my hunting alone. No one to help set the rifle up, take a range, take environmental conditions, plug everything into the handheld, get a dial up value, get on the rifle and realize it has moved 30 yards and you have to do it all over again!!!!

Using ballistic hold over, I get on the rifle, range the target while in the dirt with the rifle, read the hold off the drop chart on the rifle and shoot.

Optics are also critical. Standard mil dot reticles will work but there is alot of air and yardage between those mills!!! The TMR reticle is much better as it cuts this spacing in half. Which means more dead on holds at different ranges with less holding between the dots shooting.

My personal favorite is the NF NXS NR-R1 reticle. I shoot off 11x when big game hunting so there are 2 moa between each reference line. With my wildcats, This generally means I can get out to 1000 yards easily with very few reference lines used.

Other benefits that can not be argued is that using hold over means your rifle is ready to engage any target from 0 to 350 to 450 yards depending on your sight in zero. This is not the case with the dial up system. At these ranges, shots can often come quickly and having to worry about the dial up will in many cases loose you a chance at a shot. I am a hunter first and if a big game animal trophy shows itself at 350-400 yards and sees me, I want to be able to put that rifle into instant use and take the shot.

Plus comes the need for the dial up shooter to CONSTANTLY turn the scope to zero after each shotting session. I have a great example of how this can really cause problems. I knew a guy that dialed up for all his shots. He took a good bull elk here in Montana a few years ago. Shot the bull, worked perfectly. Got the bull boned out and was making the first trip back to camp when he jumped a 200" class mule deer out of the creek bottom he was walking through. The buck ran up on the side hill at just over 100 yards and turned to look to see what had spooked him out of his bed. The guy lined the rifle up in his excitement and pulled the trigger knowing this was a dead buck. Only problem is that he had forgotten to return the scope to its zero and it was set up for the 700 yard shot on the bull elk...... First shot was a total miss. This suprised the guy so he took another shot figuring he just pulled the shot. Second shot went very high as well, this time it dawned on him what had happened but it was to late.

I give him hell everytime I talk to him about that. Tell him if he had been using one of my rifles set up for hold over, he would have had two trophys to pack out instead of one!!!!

My point is simple, using hold over is not for everyone in every situation. Using dial up is also not for everyone in all situations. You have to decide which serves your needs best.

I can assure everyone that a rifle set up with an accurate drop chart will be more then consistant enough for any big game hunting using hold over out to a solid 1000 yards. This fall I used my big 338 to take a nice pronghorn at 1300 yards using hold over as well. The reticle was set up for shooting from 800 to 1600 yards. I tried the dial up thing the first two weeks of the season but with the movement of pronghorns, this method is extremely frustrating to use just as you get the rifle set up for the shot, the target has moved enough that you need to redo the dial up.

While I will never say that hold over is as precise as dialing up, because it is not, BUT, it is more then accurate for big game hunting out to 1000 yards, IF the rifle is set up properly with a true accurate drop chart and in conditions similiar to those you will be hunting in.

Simply put, use what method you feel most comfortable with.

I can assure GG that if I was able to set my rifles up in his conditions, he would not be able to throw any kinks into my rifles out to 1000 yards and I could engage targets and get a shot off MUCH faster then he would be able to with dial up, especially if we were alone hunting and did not have someone helping get set up.

That is not a challange to GG in any way. but it is the trueth and while I may not be quite as precise in shot placement, all the bullets would still be in the vitals and the determining factor would be wind drift more then vertical error in shot placement.

Good Topic, I am sure it will get warmed up!!!!

Kirby Allen(50)
Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

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Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

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