Heritage Defined: The Premier Reticles Story By Steve Adelman


Mar 6, 2008
I was still wet-behind-the-ears in the accuracy game in the mid '90s when I first realized how complex magnified optics can be. My epiphany occurred during a complimentary "Optics 101" class provided to a group of new and old military snipers by Dick Thomas- then owner of Premier Reticles, Ltd. While the instruction boggled my young mind, eventually the salient points settled in and helped me understand the capabilities and limitations of scopes I'd come to rely on down the road. I paid a visit to Premier Reticles' Winchester, VA shop several years later and received a refresher class from Dick's son and current president /part owner, Chris Thomas. Three generations of the Thomas family have taken care of military and civilian shooters in similar manner and decades of shooters have Premier Reticles to thank for much of the technology their scopes incorporate, if not the actual reticles themselves. That this small company is thriving after 63 years in the very competitive riflescope market is testimony to their good work. To better understand how a one-man, home-based reticle repair shop became a full blown company making premium scopes on both sides of the Atlantic, it's necessary to start at the beginning. Read More...
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Great story and well told. As a recent purchaser of a PH 3-15X50, I have nothing but good things to say about this scope and the company behind it. I wish them continued success.
I knew Dick Thomas professionally and as a friend. We exchanged emails about optics and sniper issues on a regular basis.

The article is nice, but has some serious mistakes.

1 - The relationship between Premier Reticles and Leupold did not end in 2005, but much earlier - it started to show signs of trouble around 2001 and then died in an overnight decision by Leupold in 2002, IIRC. The ending of that relationship caused Premier Reticles a lot of pain and difficulty, because PR had all of their tooling set up for Leupold scopes, and was dropped cold. Leupold did not make any friends in the sniper community that day.

At that time, Leupold shut Premier Reticles off from any parts or products, and refused to honor warranty work on any more scopes sold by Premier Reticles.

2 - on the statement:
"Premier licensed US Optic's patented "More Tactile Clicks" (MTC) elevation knob feature on this scope. MTC provides pronounced stopping points at every whole mil position, resulting in rapid and positive gross adjustments for elevation."...

... is entirely wrong.

I developed that system in 2003 and gave it to Dick Thomas for free. At the time he was up to his arm pits with law suits over the Gen-II reticle, and did nothing with it. It is detailed in the archives of SniperCountry.

See the post in the archives:

[FONT=Times New Roman, Times]Sniper Country Duty Roster

[/FONT]... it says,
"Sharon,... (bal bla bla)... then

Undude/Mike Miller...
I was on the phone with Dick Thomas a few days ago. I had this ides about changing the clicks on the MK4-M3 and the M3-LR scopes so they would have light and heavy clicks.

Right now, they are the same and you have to look at the numbers to see where your are - if you are a snipie dude, and it is evening, and your spotter has ranged a target at 650, you can't see the little numbers on the turret, so you try to "count clicks" (BADD!!), or you get out your tiny light to see the numbers (VERY BADD!!).

Now, if, instead of the uniform detents in the turret cap, you did a heavy cut at the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 yds markers, and light cuts at the x.25, x.50, x.75, (where possible), then, when your spotter called out 650, you would (in the dark) run the cam to the bottom 100yds, and count 6 BIG clicks, and the two little clicks (in 3 seconds) and you would automatically be at 650 without looking, and then let the round fly.

I thought it is a cool idea, so I called Dick Thomas and we talked about 900 different things, including the crap he is perpetually going through with Leupold. So he said a few things about it - mostly that since his relationship with Leupold is going south, he doesn't trust them with a new idea like this, and since he won't be selling either of the M3 scopes, that he wants to sit on it for a while.

Give me a call some night - I want to talk to you about this and something else.


Spring has sprung, The creek has riz, I wonder where dem kitties is? - Wednesday, May 7, 2003, at 23:22:31 (ZULU)


Then later, after Dick's death, when Chris decided to to something with the idea, US Optical had filed a patent on it (pending), and threatened Premier Reticles with a patent infringement law suit.

When Mike Miller heard of the suit, he reminded Chris of the SniperCountry posting in 2003 that documented that the idea was given to his father many years earlier. After reading the archives (and sending a copy to US Optical's attorneys) Chris told US Optical to go pound sand... since I posted the idea in open forum, with no copyrights or patent pending notices, the idea became "public art" which means that anyone can make the idea.


Meow :)
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