Range finding or BDC?

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by Sqdqo, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Sqdqo

    Sqdqo Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    Are BDC's worth having for long range deer hunting? I'm saying 400-500yds. Or are you better off ranging with a range finder and judging hold over. Do products like Leupolds CDS system work well? Obviously any of this is only possible if your target is standing waiting for you to shoot at him.

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2008
    depending on rifle caliber at those ranges ie. below 500m you will be fine.

  3. Brewer

    Brewer Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Less than 500 yards is correct, but make sure you know where your bullet is going to land at 300, 350, 375, 400, 425, 450, 475, and 500 yards with a zero at 200 yards. when you get to these ranges, 25-50 yards can make a big difference. you have to shoot and shoot at all these ranges to find out where your bullet lands with respect to aiming point. as most of us have tried, this doesn't work nearly as well as a range finder and dialing your shot in. its a big investment but the BDC reticles are a joke out of the box. you have to shoot them, you for sure cant depend on the dots or holes or extra crosshairs to be on for your particular rifle and load. besides its a lot funner to use the gadgets. you will also find at 500+ yards that the deer often do just stand there and wait for you to shoot them.
  4. theEMP

    theEMP Well-Known Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    In my opinion if you want to use a bdc scope you still need a range finder as well. I have a Nikon with the BC and it works great out to 600 yards on game. I think that dialing up the correct moa is still the better way to go. But both the BDC and dialing turrets take time shooting to know where they will hit at any given range. So I would recommend both not just one or the other.
  5. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2008
    In a perfect world ranging a animal out level from you standing still and then guessing the hold over amount is difficult at best. Hunted that way for years and screwed up enough to know it does not work well. Was not fair to the animal or myself. Am not personally familiar with the BDC systems available but understand how they work and would not waste my time. Purchase a scope you can dial come ups and develop a system that fits you. With a quality scope it will become very very accurate with experience.
  6. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

    May 22, 2011
    I'm not sure if you're referring to simple BDC reticles, or to range finding reticles that rely on matching a game animal's height or width to a scale on the reticle. If it's the latter, accuracy is not quite good enough for 500 yds, IMHO. Variations in animal torso height will limit accuracy out to about 300 yds for your caliber. That may be good enough for most shots. If the scale is for antler width, however, accuracy will be even worse.

    In my experience, BDC reticles can be accurate out to 500 yds or more when used with a rangefinder. The linear reticles that are based on mils, like Horus and Swarovski BRH, are very accurate when used with a ballistic computer. Just range the target, calculate the drop and read it off the reticle. Some people calculate drop tables and attach them to their rifles. You have to know your round's BC, and interpolate between reticle lines (for most shots), which takes a little practice.

    For BDC reticles with nonlinear line spacing, like the Zeiss Rapid Z, Burris E1, Nightforce Velocity, etc., you need to calibrate the reticle too your load. I do that by first zeroing the rifle at 100 or 200 yds. Then I reduce the magnification slightly to get the 500 yd reticle line to coincide with the point of impact at 500 yds. Once that is done the intermediate ranges are usually accurate. Again, you have to interpolate between lines for shots at odd range values.

    Beyond 500 yds, I recommend that you dial elevation. That also requires range time to determine your round's BC and calibrate your elevation turret.

    Each system takes practice to use accurately and reliably.