Re: Reticle help...
I too am a hunter who 8 years ago decided to stretch my range. Originally I became enthralled with BDC type reticles and own a few Conquests as a result. Best glass for the money of any scope, but not necessarily the best system.
Now I focus more on dialing for the shot. The downside to dialing is taking the time to plug in variables, or look at charts, or having a photographic memory. Some times you need to make a fairly quick set up and shot. Of course I would never take a quick set up and LONG shot.
So now I prefer a good dial system with a good BDC for 1) quicker shots to ~500yds and 2) backup if my Shooter App or Chart somehow fail me.
The first limitation to BDC reticles of any kind is to know what the drops are and see if they can match your load, or be close enough to make the kill with confidence. For example, the Zeiss 600yd reticle and most other BDC reticles are the equivalent of about a .500bc bullet launched at or just under 3000fps. Even if you shoot say a .600bc bullet at the same speed you will be fine to say 500yds, so you have some leeway. What you can't really do is use an UltraMag of 3300fps, or a 308 going 2600fps and expect the same. The Zeiss 800yd is more for the UltraMag, and suprisingly the Zeiss 1000yd is more for a 308.(Confirm these as I'm saying this from memory).
The other big factor is wind correction on a reticle. Zeiss has the dots, which I like, BUT again they are for that same .500bc at 3000fps, not a .617 berger. I much prefer the MOA hashmarks on the horizontal stadia line.
So my go to reticle right now is the Vortex Dead Hold with the 2 moa wind hashmarks and drop lines down to ~600 yards. I have/had the 3.9x44, 4-16x44, and 4-16x50 all with the same reticle. Last 2 are the HS version with .50moa clicks. I always try and dial first, but have that reticle for back up.
In 2010 I lost my drop card while making a 2hr stock on a 188 muley. I used the reticle and made a 1 shot 575 yard kill, holding 1moa for wind.
On FFP vs SFP, I would think about in which situations would you find yourself using less than full power in the field? Well at shorter ranges and quick shots, so no adjustments needed there, think SFP. Secondly only if you have a very high magnification scope, so stick with the 4-16power.
I do like the XLR type MOA based reticles, but they just duplicate what the dial does and while you may be able to save a second from having to dial, you still will NEED to have access to that drop data and won't be able to just pick the pre-designated vertical hasmark for 450 yards and focus on the trigger. Certainly if you get and intend to use any holdover type reticle, make sure you get a good bubble level attached correctly and make sure that gun is lever when you shoot.