Custom Turrets from Nikon and CTS
Being the curious person that I am, I decided to see what a custom turret would do for or against my hunting. I bought a Nikon Buckmasters 6-18X40SF with mildot. A pretty decent scope, I like it anyway. Also, Nikon offers a custom turrent for this scope and the price for the scope was right ($325).
I spent a few hours getting my exact dopes out to 1013 at the following distances: 408, 522, 726, 925 and 1013. I used these distances to validate my trajectory with the G7 ballistic calculator. I then used these values until I was able to correctly get the same results with my Applied Balistics app in my Droid. The Droid was my in the field ballistic tool.
During Antelope season, I used the dopes supplied by the Applied Ballstics with great success. Antelopes taken at 633 yards and 435 yards.
Sticking to my original plan, I decided to order a turret from Nikon. Once again matching the Nikon Spot-On ballistics with the G7 calculator. My hope was to have this installed and verified before Deer season opened. I placed my order on October 10th. Expecting to have the turret by the end of the month, giving me over 3 weeks to validate how the turret matched my dopes.
October 29th, I get ahold of Nikon Tech Support and am told that it will be 3-4 more weeks before my turret is ready as they make them by hand (have my doubts about that). Wanting to have a custom turret for actual hunting evaluation, I went to Customturretsytems.com and ordered my custom turret labels, with dopes at 25 yard increments out to 1000 yards. Also included my Nikon turret measurements (circumfernce and height for the labels). I emailed Dan Nichols that I was not concerned with having wind value adjustments on my turret. I did this to maximize the distance that could be printed on a label and still maintain large enough print size to be seen quickly. The Buckmasters has 6 moa of adjustment per revolution, so there were going to be 5 layers/revolutions of print to get me to 1000 yards.
To shorten my story a bit, I received the Nikon turret the day after they told me it was going to be 3-4 more weeks, which also happened to be the day after I ordered from Custom Turret Systems (CTS). I had my custom turret labels from CTS in 3 days.
I had made a mistake in my measurements, and Dan was more than a great guy about everything. He immediately sent me his CTS tool, which you use for measuring both the height and the total distance around your turret.
I used the Nikon turret during the 1st deer season and it worked just as well as using my moa turret. Range, dial and a wind check, no need for the Droid. I keep a wind dope taped to my stock.
As the first deer season ended, I took the measurements of my moa turret using the CTS tool and emailed CTS my results. 3 days later and a new set of labels arrived, at no charge. I had made the mistake and he took the time, effort, and at their expense to get me replacement turret labels.
I applied the label to my moa turret and everything looked great. But, as we all know the proof is in the pudding. Yesterday, I had the chance to check just how well these labels work. I went out and shot various distances, until I reached 900 yards. Every yardage mark was right on the money! I am expecting good things during the 2nd deer season, when I use the CTS labeled turret.
I found that using a custom turret did allow me to get set for a shot a few seconds quicker. A pretty nice addition for hunting.
The Nikon turret works well, a direct replacement for a moa turret, is accurate to 800 yards (it's max distance in my instance). The down side with Nikon, $100, the wait time, and one hand not knowing what the other one is doing.
The CTS turret also have worked well, can be changed to different atmospheric conditions by changing the labels, goes to 1025 yards (once again in my instance), $20-$25, and great customer service. Not sure I can find a down side to CTS, unless it's the fact that they are labels. More use will see if that becomes a factor or not. But, if you take care of your scope, I don't see that ever being an issue.
Anyone who is thinking of trying a custom turret and just not sure if they are worth it, spend the $20-25 and try CTS. Just spend the time to get your ballistics perfect and use the CTS tool that they will mail you. It was still faster than waiting on a manufacturer of a complete turret. Besides, you can change them out quickly and inexpensively.