Custom Turret Systems Review
By Justin Hyer
A small rock glistened in the fading sun, enjoying the last few minutes of the warming sunlight before the freezing winter temperatures took over for the night. Carefully positioned down the draw, a shooter spotted the unsuspecting rock and quickly began to set up for the shot. He ranged the rock at 660 yards on a slight uphill angle, spun the turret of the scope to the 650 yard mark and slowly squeezed the trigger on his 6.5 Creedmoor. The silence of the evening was shattered by gunfire as a 140 grain Hornady BTHP Match bullet rocketed down range and hit the unsuspecting rock right in its center.
The rock was visibly wounded, evidenced by the innumerable rock shards that now surrounded it, but the shooter wanted to make sure it was down for the count with a second hit. He grabbed a second round, this one loaded with a Hornady 123 grain A-Max, made a quick correction on the turret to the corresponding 650 yard mark for this bullet and sent the round downrange. He watched through the scope as the bullet split the 4x7 inch rock in half. The shooter smiled as he admired his handiwork through the scope: 2 shots within a few inches of each other at 660 yards, using two different loads, and completed in less than 30 seconds.
It is crazy to think that 10-15 years ago the scenario described in the previous paragraph would have been considered impossible by all but the very elite shooting crowd. The long range revolution is now in full swing; shots that were deemed impossible just a decade ago are now considered doable by anyone who can invest a little time and money and has a place to practice. This revolution has largely been made possible by recent technological advances that allow the necessary gear to be affordable to the average hunter.
One of the most groundbreaking revolutions to hit the long range hunting market is the development of custom bullet drop compensating (BDC) turrets. Custom BDC turrets were introduced to the masses through The Best of the West hunting show and Huskemaw optics. The show had episode after episode of shooters ranging an animal, dialing to the corresponding yardage mark on the BDC turret, and then killing it at ranges out to 1000 yards! The BDC turret systems made the daunting task of long range shooting seem as easy as spinning a knob to a yardage mark and pulling the trigger. The popularity of these turrets quickly spilled over into the mainstream and custom BDC turrets are now offered for many popular scopes.
While the simplicity of BDC turrets makes them alluring to many shooters, they are not without limitations. In order for a custom turret to work correctly it is vital that drop data be collected and analyzed for each individual shooting system and environmental conditions. A shooter cannot assume that ballistics data off an ammo box or out of a reloading manual will be accurate for their system; it is crucial that each shooter confirm actual bullet drop from their own rifle. Once properly set up the turret will work correctly as long as the designated load and environmental conditions stay the same.
Consider these scenarios: What if a shooter hunts most of the year at an elevation of 500 feet but has a special hunt at 9000 feet? Or what if the shooter sets up the turret for 75 degrees Fahrenheit and goes on a hunt in zero degree weather? Both these situations would require that the shooter set up a new turret to ensure accurate shot placement at extended yardages. Setting up new turrets is not terribly difficult but they usually cost between $50 and $100 and take several weeks to deliver. If a hunter chooses to take an extra turret or two on a hunt, for alternate loads or environmental conditions, these generally require the use of some tool(s) to replace them in the field.
What if a system was available that allowed for rapid BDC turret switches without the use of tools? What if this system was almost weightless and took up less room in your pack than a 3x5 notecard? Best of all, what if this system cost less than $35, was completely customized by you, and could be to your doorstep within days of placing your order? Such a system does exist from Custom Turret Systems in the form of custom turret labels.
About Custom Turret Systems
Custom Turret Systems (CTS) is a company that has designed a unique turret label system that is meant to be a cheaper alternative to custom laser engraved turrets. Additionally, while some consumers have struggled finding companies to make them custom turrets for their particular scopes, CTS can make custom labels for any scope that has a vertical turret surface that is at least 0.1 inches tall.
When the company first started, consumers would send in the necessary scope and shooting data to CTS and Dan Nichols (owner) would construct a turret label and ship it to the customer. While this system worked well, it was difficult for customers to ensure that the labels would look and function as they desired. To allow customers to personally customize their own labels, Dan recently introduced a “Create a Label” section on his website. Detailed instructions on how to use this label creator can be found on the CTS website (http://www.customturretsystems.com) but I will give a brief synopsis of how the software works.
Steps to create a custom turret:
1. Create a free account on the CTS website.
2. Click “Create a Label”.
3. Select one of the predefined scope options. If your scope is not listed you will need to select “Other” and then enter information into the Click Value, Clicks/Revolution, Turret Diameter, and Turret Height fields that define your scope.
4. Select what style of label you will be using (see CTS website for information on label styles).
5. Select how many revolutions of data you want to appear on the turret.
6. Add yardage numbers or marks in the corresponding “click” field for each revolution. It is necessary to click on the Revolution 2 or 3 tabs to get yardage marks to appear in the 2nd and/or 3rd row of your label.
7. Review your label and verify that all data input is accurate and the label looks how you want it to.
8. Order your labels from the “My Labels” page.
• When placing an order you will receive four printed labels for $25. Having four labels means you can make a mistake while installing a label and still have three labels to get it correctly installed or have three additional labels to take with you in the field. The labels cannot be reused after being removed from the scope, so make sure you keep the three extra labels if you plan on using the same style label again.
• Your account allows you to store multiple labels and edit them as you please. It is important to note though, that once a label has been ordered it will not allow you to edit it. If you wish to make changes to a label you have ordered, you simply need to click on the Copy button and an identical label will be created that can be modified.
9. Install the labels on your scope turret and enjoy!
• Installing the labels is fairly straightforward and is explained on a sheet of paper that ships with every order. For this review, I installed seven different labels without a single issue. Labels are offered in a laminated (glossy) or non-laminated (matte) finish; CTS claims the labels are heavy duty and will not scratch or come off under most field use. After testing labels with both finishes for several weeks, I fully believe their claims.