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I like 1st Focal plane scopes. Why? - god knows, I just do. It seems that over here in Europe - Yup despite all rumours to the contrary Spain is not Africa - There is a demand for FFP to be filled.
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Chris in Madrid:
I know there are some very experienced long range hunters and shooters who hate first focal plane. There are also a lot of Americans who dislike FFP scopes simply because the Europeans love them. I respectfully believe that this thinking is misguided. Before everyone gets all mad at me, let me start by saying that I am a VERY pro-United States, pro-American guy. I am about as far from being a Euro-phile as it gets. That being said, I think the Europeans (and Canadians) are on the right track when it comes to rifle scopes. I own a U.S. Optics SN-3 TPAL (3.2-17) in FFP with 1/10th MIL click adjustments on the EREK knob. I also own an IOR 2.5-10 in FFP with 1/2 MOA adjustments.
<u>Why First Focal Plane?
First, in scopes with FFP, you can use your ranging reticle to estimate range at any power. There have been a lot of missed shots with Second Focal Plane shots over the years because the shooter THOUGHT he was ranging at the correct power only to find out that he was not. This happened to me once while elk hunting with a 2nd Focal Plane scope. Luckily, the stupid elk stood still and let me set the power to the correct setting. I know what some of you are rabidly lunging for the keyboard right now to type, "Well if you were using a laser range finder, you wouldn't have to worry about using that ranging reticle. Just use the laser range finder and dial for the correct distance!" In a perfect world, that is absolutely the best way to do it. But electric things fail. If one already knows the MIL constants for the specific target, the FFP reticle allows one to quickly confirm the range regardless of the scope's power setting.
Second, hold-overs are correct at any power setting in a FFP scope. Again, I know that some here absolutely disagree with using hold-overs at most any range. We are not so far apart on this issue. I personally would never use a hold-over past 500 yards. After working with them for several years, I am especially against the use of hold-overs with ranging reticles that use MIL dots or "footballs" in their ranging scheme. (Engineers, machinists, and draftsmen don't use round marks to measure distance....why should we? Straight lines, Baby! That's the ticket!) However, with reticles like the IOR MP-8, USO's MIL GAP, and Leupold's TMR, the shooter can use the lines below the crosshair just as effectively as the crosshair itself. If the shooter has rock-solid knowledge of the point of impact for each line below the cross-hair, the FFP scope will allow for very certain and possibly somewhat quicker shots than a 2nd focal plane. One need not worry about the scope being at the correct power setting. Just "point and click."
Just a few days I ago, I spoke with the Leupold LE/Military rep about the possibility of having Leupold make a long range scope
in FFP with their Tactical Milling Reticle (TMR) reticle and centimeter click adjustments (which is the same as 1/10th MIL clicks). He told me that they are about to release two new scopes for long range work:
* 6.5 Ė 20 power FFP with TMR, ľ MOA clicks and POSSIBLY centimeter clicks
* 8.5 Ė 24 power FFP also with TMR, ľ MOA clicks and POSSIBLY centimeter clicks
He said several units within the various branches have been asking for these features on scopes with a couple of them specifically asking for centimeter adjustments to match the MIL reticle. He said the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to them working on some new and interesting stuff. Right now, a lot of shooters with SOCOM (Special Operations Command) are using a 3.5 - 10 Mark-IV in FFP with the TMR and either ľ MOA or 1 MOA clicks. This is perfect for short to medium range sniping and being able to range and shoot quickly at any power at targets that donít stick around too long...like elk, deer, or terrorists.
So, Chris in Madrid, I agree with you on First Focal Plane scopes. I'm glad to see another shooter "come out of the FFP closet!" I dig 'em and I wish more American shooters would give them an honest try. One can still be a proud American and use FFP with 1/10MIL adjustments. That's one of the reasons I went with USO. I use an IOR on my "walking around rifle" because I just couldn't get away with spending the money for another USO. I only wish it had 1/10th MIL clicks so the units of measure matched the MP-8 reticle. (Final Thought: For the life of me, I cannot understand why we continue to use two different units of measure on the same precision instrument. That's like building a house and using both meters and yards and to do it.)
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Now here's the thing. Where do we put IOR in the great scheme of things. And to make this something I CAN RELATE TO some questions.
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Better or worse than Zeiss Victory? <font color="red">Don't know</font>
Better or worse than Swarovski?<font color="red">Don't know</font>
Better or worse than Leupold? <font color="red">Better</font>
Better or worse than NIKON?<font color="red">Better</font>
Better or worse than NightForce?<font color="red">Equal to</font>
Tougher than Leupold? <font color="red"> While I haven't tested any of them for toughness, the Leupold does have a better "feel" and the turrets look and feel like they are tougher than the IOR. The focus, parallax, and illumination controls "feel" like they are equally tough on both the Leupold and IOR.</font>
Tougher than NIKON?<font color="red"> Don't know</font>
Tougher than Zeiss Victory?<font color="red"> Have only looked at them from the outside. Never tested them myself. The Zeiss scope I saw <u>appeared</u> to have a more solid and tougher-looking turret than the IOR.</font>
Tougher Than Swarovski?<font color="red"> Don't know</font>
Tougher than Nightforce?<font color="red"> NO.</font>
More repeatable (box test) than Leupold?<font color="red"> My IOR is 1/2 MOA clicks and all of the Leupolds I have ever used were 1/4 MOA clicks so it's not a direct comparison but I could tell no appreciable difference between the two. Both the Leupold and IOR performed well in box tests.</font>
More repeatable (box test) than NIKON?<font color="red"> Don't know </font>
More repeatable (box test) than Zeiss Victory?<font color="red"> Don't know</font>
More repeatable (box test) than Swarovski?<font color="red"> Don't know</font>
More repeatable (box test) than Nightforce?<font color="red"> Never personally conducted a box test on the Nightforce but I have seen plenty of them done by other shooters. Again, my IOR performed very well in the box test so I will say that it is the equal of Nightforce in repeatbility.</font>
I apologize if I got too preachy on FFP and centimeter adjustments....it's all just my BS opinion. Hope it helps.