First vs second focal plane for Hunting

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Turkyman, Sep 15, 2019.


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  1. Turkyman

    Turkyman Member

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    the more I read and watch videos the further down the rabbit hole I go. I am new to long range shooting/ hunting. I have been looking at all kinds of scopes and I can’t figure out whether first or second focal plane is what i need. I will be mounting a scope on a bergara ridge hunter 300 wm. My max distance will be about 500 yards. Any help is appreciated
     
  2. PredatorSlayer

    PredatorSlayer Well-Known Member

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    I think 2nd focal is the way to go for hunting. I guess if you preferred hold overs vs dialing, an FFP might make sense. A first focal is way to small at low power to be useful in low light. You could compensate somewhat with an illuminated reticle, but My vote is SFP all the way.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
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  3. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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  4. aushunter1

    aushunter1 Well-Known Member

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    The thing I like about FFP scopes is that the reticle hash mark/subtension values do not change as you change the magnification like they do on a SFP scope.

    So if you aren't dialing in the scope for every shot & using the hash marks for holdover/under & windage then I see that is an advantage.

    Obviously the reticle enlarges as you go up the magnification range but unless you are shooting at squirrels at 500+yards then I don't see that as a problem.

    Imo, try to get into a store & get your hands on one & have a look through a FFP scope, change the magnification from lowest to highest & see if you like it.

    Its a hard thing to do on the internet & best 1st hand!
     
  5. Turkyman

    Turkyman Member

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    That only has affect if I try use hold overs.. correct? But if I range and use my turret it won’t matter what power the scope is on correct?
     
  6. PredatorSlayer

    PredatorSlayer Well-Known Member

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    Correct.
     
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  7. Hondo64d

    Hondo64d Well-Known Member

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    Not completely true. Also affects windage holds, which for me, are harder to get right than the distance hold. For this reason, I prefer FFP.

    John
     
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  8. nvschütze

    nvschütze Well-Known Member

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    I like the FFP on my Vortex 6-25Xx50 Viper PST. I don't know when FFP scopes came onto the market, but I've had mine at least six years; maybe seven. I'd never heard of FFP before buying that one. They're a little more money than SFP scopes but they're available at palatable prices, so there must be a good reason we have them. I suspect that reason is accuracy in ranging versus ranging with an SFP scope.
     
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  9. MJT700P

    MJT700P Member

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    I'd vote ffp unless you plan to dial in for your wind too. It's hard to tell how much your holding off in sfp if your not on max mag where you're reticle is correct for mil-moa hold off. I started out using sfp but I switched to ffp and never looked back.
     
  10. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

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    FFP is not so great on lowest power as the reticle is very thin and hard to see in low light conditions like elk hunting in woods early and late. The solution is to incorporate illumination.

    Last week a friend showed up at the range with a new FFP NX8 4-32 x 50. On 4X the reticle is very thin BUT it has green and red illumination!
     
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  11. lewillia

    lewillia Member

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  12. hunter67wa

    hunter67wa Well-Known Member

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    For hunting and dialing SFP will work. Don't by a high magnification scope as the wind hold sub-tensions only work on highest power as the other posters have stated. A longer shot you will probably be on highest power anyway. Figure out your sub-tensions at mid power also then there will be no guessing on wind holds.
     
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  13. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

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    I suppose a person could use a SFP scope with stadia on midrange power but going from one stadia to another could have huge jumps in POI. The upper magnification would have to be 10X or so. Otherwise spacing for stadia would be huge midrange.

    I had to change out a fantastic Swarovski Z6 2.5-15 x 44 because I couldn't always see a coues wt on max power in early light. The 15 x 56 Swaro's showed the deer with enough resolution to see his antlers BUT scope wasn't up to the task on 15X. Could see the deer on lower powers but stadia become useless. I tried to figure out what the stadia would yield at lower magnifications and discovered a huge jump in POI for the next stadia.

    The Swarovski 2.5-15 on 7.5 power the stadia spacing (in theory) be 1mil, 3 mil, 5 mil, 7mil. That wouldn't work very for LR on coues wt with my 257 weatherby. It is set .8" high at 100. First stadia would add a full mil making it zero at 475 yds. Next stadia would add 3 Mil making it dead on at approx. 860 yds. A very large gap there.

    Solution? Switched to a FFP scope with illumination dot and absolute repeatability and return to zero turret. It is a SWFA HD 5-20 x 50.
     
  14. Orange Dust

    Orange Dust Well-Known Member

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    Depends so much on the rifle and its intended use. Many FFP scopes tunnel badly on low power, also most of them have difficult reticles on low power to go along with it. I would go with SFP on any rifle that I expected most shots to be 500yds or less. They are just more versatile, and perform better throughout their power range. I also think SFP scopes used for this should top out at no more than 20X even if they are 6 or 8x zoom. That being said, a rifle set up exclusively for long range should be wearing a high end FFP scope of 25X or more. Just my opinion. Also a great excuse to the wife to have more than one favorite hunting rifle. If I could only afford one, it would be SFP.
     
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