First vs second focal plane for Hunting

yobuck

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east central fl. /n.c. pa.
Well as for how long FFP scopes have been around, that would be for a very long time. The Bausch&Lomb Balvar line of scopes for example which were popular in the 60s were FFP.
That also included their 6x24 power target model scope which was very popular with long range hunters for decades, after a change of the type of external adjustment setup from the standard one. The reticle was a tapered crosshairs setup because of the FFP. I used one for about 25 years before changing to a Nightforce, and I’m still not convinced it was a good or at least a necessary move for me.
As for holdovers, rest assured that if you hunt long range you will be at some point be using them. The longer you hunt you will come to realize that although dialing is wonderfull, and the best, it isn’t always in all situations.
Never take your eyes off the animal, especially in wooded terrain. And you can use the animal or the rock your shooting at as a gauge as to where to hold for follow up shots as easily and maybe even faster than using a reticle.
Any of the different type scopes will work just fine, use what you have if you have it.
The difference will ultimately come down to you, not the scope.
If i had an old Leupold laying around, I’d be apt to be sending it off to them for a target knob Installation at least for starters till you got your mind wrapped around things more.
 

Toolhand

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Jan 30, 2017
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162
Location
Louisiana
If u strictly plan to dial elevation I would go 2nd. If u want a scope with hash marks and plan to use them to range game or for taking extended shots then definitely go first. In the heat of the moment; it’s easy to forget to make sure u are on the right power for your hash marks predetermined distance. ...ask me how I know.
 

408w

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Apr 19, 2018
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7
Location
Western ny
I choose 2nd focal plane every time for my uses and here are my reasons why. I use a pst gen 2 3-15x scope btw.
1. Reticle thickness is the same and that matters to me at 3x on the lower range of magnification.
2. If I am going to take the time to dial elevation or worry about it then I will be on 15x anyway and can hold for wind and elevation using the reticle.
3. So in my opinion ffp makes no sense to me for hunting.
 

bigngreen

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Nov 24, 2008
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SW Montana
I only use FFP on a hunting rifle that is for ranges where I can run in the mid power range where the reticle I'd fully functional but does not look like Lincoln logs in the optic. I pretty much run SFP for general hunting rifles and long range rifles, I try every couple years to run FFP and it already just makes me mad cause I don't ever have what I need when I need it.
 

kynjm82

Active Member
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Mar 31, 2011
Messages
29
Location
Boston KY
My vote is FFP , dial for wind and hold for elevation. I have a nightforce SHV on my 300WSM that works awesome. I have a friend that says if he’s dialing the scope will be at highest power on his second Fp Leupold so what’s the difference, but when your cold , excited and trying to connect on game it’s easy to turn second fp to 10X instead of 12x and you just blew your chance. But whatever works for you go for it. Theres a reason why baskin Robbins makes 31 flavors of ice cream.
 

25WSM

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Oct 17, 2011
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New Castle PA
I want to put vortex 3-15 pst2 on all my guns. I love that scope. But I want a regular crosshair on the sfp for my woods guns. Their ffp is awesome for long range. Put it on 3x and you have to be superman to see the reticle. I know it has a lighted reticle but even on the lowest power light setting it puts to much light in for me. I also have astigmitism and when I turn the light on it gets really bad in there for me. Vortex please make me one in ago with just a normal x_hair.
Shep
 

JustMe2

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Feb 18, 2012
Messages
121
Here's a graphic I made for our hunting club that may help you understand 1st vs 2nd Focal planes.

As said above numerous times, the thin reticle of a FFP at low magnification can be overcome by using an illuminated reticle scope which makes the reticle very obvious and easy to see at low magnification.

I love FFP reticles for hunting because I know the holdover will be correct no matter what magnification setting I use. Sometimes you just don't have time to dial the range with your turret and have to use the holdover reticle. Look at the Shepherd scopes https://shepherdscopes.com/. They have a unique reticle that solves many problems with FFP reticles and are very quick for judging range without using a laser rangefinder.
 

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KS2506

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Jun 21, 2015
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64
Why do you need to dial for under 500 yards? Find an accurate load for what you shoot. Go to a range and shot at the actual yardages with your load and rifle. Make a set of drop tables and tape to the stock. No need for dialing.
 

yobuck

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east central fl. /n.c. pa.
Kind of hard to visualized 30 to 40 inches of holdover.
Shep
Well in fairness to the guy, he is probably making his chart based on certain lines or marks on his reticle. So by looking at the chart he has on the stock, he knows what a line in his scope represents as for distance for (his gun). He of coarse needs to shoot a lot in order to find all that out, but once it’s known, it’s known, and it want change unless he changes his load.
Picture if you can that prior to the 80s this entire conversation wouldn’t even be taking place. And the reason for that is that most of these favorite scopes were now discussing didn’t even exist, including the big names.
The names like Leupold and others who did exist at that
time, didn’t have the ability to be dialed. The decade of the 80s saw all that slowly change. Leupold for example offered scopes that could be dialed during that era. But interest in hunting long range and introduction of many of the various scopes we see today, didn’t really take place till Algore created the internet.
I joke, but I’m also serious, as that’s when the L/R train left the station, and soon many vendors were and still are clamoring for a seat.
So what did average Joe long range hunter do for scopes (before) that world finally came of age with scopes that could be dialed and argued over?
Well many of the even then many L/R hunters, used target scopes like Unertle and a few others of similar design that could be dialed. In fact if you go into the deepest hollows of the area i hunt, you might just find a few who still do.
But there were also a few people who had perfected ways of creating reticles for scopes that were accurate to very long distances without dialing.
One such guy was Dick Thomas, who owned a company called
Premier Reticles in WV, later moved to Winchester VA.
He made a reticle of multiple dots, placed at the proper distance apart based on the cartridge and the load.
So in effect, it works the same as what KS2506 is doing.
The most successful L/R hunter I’ve known as for kill numbers,
Is a guy by name of Larry Smith, of York PA.
He used a Rem 700 in 7 Mag, i doubt he ever killed many deer much past 600 yds and never dialed a scope.
Now in his 90s he no longer hunts.
He introduced me to Dick Thomas in the early 70s, and i have his reticles in several of my scopes my scopes that i still use.
Ive killed one PA black bear in my more than 70 years of hunting, and that was at 700 yds with a first round hit without dialing, using a 3.5x10 Leupold on 10 power with one of Dick Thomases reticles. And lord willing I wouldn’t hesitate trying it again with the same scope.
Know your gun and it and your own limits, and none of the rest matters very much.
 

25WSM

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Oct 17, 2011
Messages
935
Location
New Castle PA
No doubt this have change for the better. In the 80s a rangefinder was 4ft wide and needed a tripod. That why I shot a 257wbymag. 30 inches drop at 500 yards made shots not to bad. Speed was king. Now with good rangefinders under 500 bucks in your shirt pocket range isn't the problem. Wind is. So the slower high bc bullets rule long range hunting now. Anybody try the Sig that puts a dot in your scope via Bluetooth with the rangefinder.
Shep
 

yobuck

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Aug 23, 2008
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Location
east central fl. /n.c. pa.
Well some were about that wide, but most were a bit less than 3’. Although i have a lazer and prefer using it, My old Wild military unit is still always in my vehicle. Reason being, that so long as the target is visible to the eye, you (will) get a range.
And that isn’t always true with any of the others, regardless as to what make and who is claiming it.
 

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