Dialing or Hold Over?????

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by lerch, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    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???

    thanks
    steve
     
  2. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    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.
     

  3. Shawn Carlock

    Shawn Carlock Sponsor

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    I'm with grouper on this, I dial everything except the twitchy winds.
     
  4. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    me too
     
  5. jwp475

    jwp475 Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  6. tjonh2001

    tjonh2001 Well-Known Member

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    Goodgrouper is spot on i dial for everything unless the wind is back and forth. why guess when you can dial.
     
  7. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    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)
     
  8. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    Kirby,

    The need for speed is a great point. We have all the time in the world while practicing.

    I think the flaw with the hold over comes when you have to hold for both elevation and windage. In this case, you're completely off a reticle. Sure, you can hold close.

    Let's analyse the time difference in a hold over vs turning a knob. When I dial, I set up the rifle, range, dial elevation, than look at wind. I will than dial or hold off for wind, depending on how much wind. Do I spend any more time dialing the knobs than you do counting dots or hash marks? Probably a little. I won't deny the tactical advantage of having a reticle you can hold off with, knowing it, and being able to get a shot in the air right now. Good stuff to know. However, 90% of the time, I'd much rather turn the knob.

    Buffalobob showed a photo of a handy turret wrap. This would eliminate one step (looking at your chart), while leaving your regular numbers visible and available for when you need more accuracy. I think this would be a great way to speed things up.

    Perhaps you're saying the hold over is quicker because Shawn and GG use PDA's. I believe both of them carry charts too ( I think we all do). And would use the chart if time were short.

    Anyway, it's a good topic. I'm glad somebody weighed in with another opinion.
     
  9. tjonh2001

    tjonh2001 Well-Known Member

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    kirby
    i would agree with you only for the fact that if i were shooting a gun that shoots 300 grain smk and isnt affected by the wind. i am personally shooting a 7mm with a 168 berger, but in a different class as your 338. for people shooting guns in the same caliber i would say that wind wont affect you that much. when you are shooting at 1000 yards and the wind shift from 3-5 and back and fourth from left to right, that missle that you are shooting will be affected way less than my 7mm. so my conclussion is that it depends on what you are shooting. and i feel that the dial works for me.

    do what works for you.

    and i am not trying to put a challange out there to you or gg. i know that i would get my butt kicked.....
     
  10. Ernie

    Ernie SPONSOR

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    I use both.
    A MOA reticle Like Holland's ART for the shorter shots under 500-600 yards and then turrets for longer shots.
     
  11. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I use the reticle for holdovers and wind. I use it for holdunders also. I usually sight in for about 450 yds on the crosshair and develop a holdover / holdunder chart for elevation under the conditions I expect to be hunting in. My mil-dot reticle includes 1/2 mil increments and when set on 18X, I have 2 moa between each increment on the reticle. If the scope only has 1 mil increments on the crosshair there are fewer hash marks and more estimation between the available lines is required. With the 1/2 mil increments and an accurate drop chart, I'm comfortable out to 900-1000 yds with a 7mm RM. I develop my drop chart to provide holdovers about every 30 yds, including angled shots from 15 degree elevation up to 45 degrees of elevation in 5 degree angle increments. I use an Excel program to develop the charts which allows me to print charts for differing elevations and conditions pretty conveniently. This chart is printed out landscape on weatherproof paper from a color laser printer. The paper is about 8 1/2x11" - larger than can be taped on the side of the stock. Holdunders are in green ink. Holdovers in red ink. I have a smaller chart on the side of the stock that just covers every 100 yd distance but depend on the larger carry-in-the-pocket chart.

    One comfort I have in this method is that I don't have to trust the scope adjustments or worry about turning the knobs correctly.
     
  12. Coues Sniper

    Coues Sniper Well-Known Member

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    Some of the guys on this thread will forget more about long range shooting than i will ever know, but here's my 2 cents anyway. I have and use both, and think they both have their place. The holdover dots are nice if you are shooting quick and at different distances like shooting prairie dogs, or predator hunting. You don't have to mess with your scope if you go from 200 yards to 800. But for spot and stalk or ambush applications I like the dials. Especially at the longer distances. I killed a Coues deer a few years back when i had dots in my deer rifle and with the vertical correction for distance, and horizontal correction for wind, neither crosshair was touching the deer. This made the shot more difficult IMO as i had to make imaginary lines and approximate where they intersected. With the dial, even if i decide to hold for the wind, I can at least have one line of my crosshair on the deer. To me, it just feels better to have the crosshairs on the animal. Throw in the fact that atmospheric conditions be come more and more important the farther the distance - it seems to me the farther the shot the more of an advantage the dial becomes. Just my experience.
     
  13. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    My little "kink" as Kirby puts it is this: For ballistic reticles to work, the power level must be on a certain setting. Ok, so here's the mean thing I do to my students. I take them up into the mountains here from 8000 to 10,000 feet to do some shooting. The reason for this is because of the differences in mirage. As many of you know, mirage is simply the varying densities of air masses made apparent as sunlight transfers through them. Well, at 10,000 feet, the air is pretty thin and it cools off and heats up very quickly causing huge image disruption and some pretty nasty mirage and the only way to make it bearable sometimes is to turn the power down on your scope. Besides causing a blurred image, the mirage can also affect the parallax setting on your scope. So if you have a reticle that depends on power settings to work, you are forced to use a power that is either too much or too little to make the shot. This problem is unavoidable if you use drop reticles. Students often find themselves wanting to increase the power to see a smaller target, but can't becuase their reticle won't let them. Or they see too much mirage and feel the need to reduce the power but can't because of the reticle problem again.

    Now, throw in a little angle AND mirage and the drop reticles become even more of a burden. A 27 degree angle for example changes which subtend to use and more than likely it will calculate to a very odd yardage. How many reticles have subtends for 872 yards exactly? So you go to your 850 line and hold a little high. Only problem is how much higher and how can you visually represent the difference accurately at that range? I have several sized gongs I put out at varying distance and ask people how big are they. Guys who can tell you rack size of a deer to within half inch at half mile say, "umm geee, maybe a 20" gong and maybe it's 800 yards away". Then they are shocked when I tell them the gong is actually 10" gong and it is 500 yards away. The point is that no matter how good you are at guessing measurements, you're still just guessing. I have yet to meet anyone who can tell me what 8" looks like over or under their subtend line at great distance. Or 6" or 4" or whatever. The bottom line is that mirage, angle, and human guestimations WILL throw a fly in the ointment of reticle aiming no matter if you're Kirby, Holland, Burns, or any of the other good shooters who use this method.

    Now, Kirby and I are buddies and we can jab each other a little because of this fact. But I'm not saying he is wrong. He simply uses a method sometimes that by pure mechanics of physics cannot and will not work every time. I do agree with him however, that reticle aiming is faster. Especially for multiple targets at varying distances. But unless your hunting people like the military, I don't see where this will help you. In a dog town, I suppose it would be faster to use a reticle, but it's a dog town. The dogs aren't going anywhere and you have plenty of time (and usually plenty of ammo!) so why not dial? In a big game situation (unless your culling out the herd) quicker rarely is better. If my deer is moving, I'm not shooting at it anyway. I usually have all the time in the world to adjust a scope for one single target and lie in ambush. And when my target does come out, I can zoom my scope in or take it out as I please to make the shot a comfortable one.
    And the more you practice dialing, the faster you get at it. I'll bet I could engage multiple targets at varying distances nearly as fast as a reticle aimer could. Fast enough for real world situations anyways save hunting humans on the attack.

    This is just my view of the matter and I sure am not going to stop anyone from using a reticle to do their compensating. But I have made a few people try something else.
     
  14. jwp475

    jwp475 Well-Known Member

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    Why won't a MOA Reticle work under all conditions? Especialy when combined with a little dialing to make it exact...