Let's talk Reticles - BDC/TMR

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Hand Skills, Nov 1, 2017.


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  1. TMR

    90.9%
  2. BDC

    9.1%
  1. Hand Skills

    Hand Skills Well-Known Member

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    Greetings,

    I have been a long-time lurker in the world of shooter forums, but have never felt the desire to involve myself directly in the shenanigans.

    Over time, I have come to respect many of the contributors here in LRH. I appreciate the values shared here, and the culture which members have created.

    I was lucky enough to grow up with a hunting family in western Alberta (foothills), and have inherited a practical approach to this way of life (shooting/hunting). I heard stories of bullet failures from generations before me and was taught to hand load nosler partitions and to practice off-hand. My 'hunting rifle' is an old 700 30-06 with a Zeiss diatal 4x32. Timney trigger, mpi stock. I feel nothing but confidence in that rifle, and together we have never missed. A lot has changed in the last 20yrs, but the fundamentals have not, nor has that rifle.

    A couple years ago I moved to southern Saskatchewan. Wide open country. I picked myself up a tikka t3 .223 and put a vx3 2.5-8 on the receiver. It rides around in the truck with me (coyotes beware). On windy days I might toss in a BLR .308 instead, with a twin optic atop.

    ...But I find myself thinking about trajectory more than I once did...

    I would like to start reaching out a bit more. Utilizing to advantage some of the vast space around me. To date, I've limited shots on furry targets to 300yds, and paper/steel to 500. my goal is to double that.

    I would really value some input on Reticle Choice - what are the choices of experienced LR hunters, and why?

    I understand the compromises of thick vs thin, ffp vs sfp. I have a good brain for numbers, mils/moa's don't phase me (provided they are not mixed!) the Internet has led me to believe most shooters like to dial elevation and hold wind. Is this true for you?

    I suppose after this verbose introduction, the basic question is really simple. BDC or TMR?

    My 'feeling' is the BDC gives up precision for speed - generally when I spot a target, the distance is unknown. I can eyeball the difference between 250 and 300 yards pretty reliably, but 450 vs 500? Not a chance. If I'm going to consider poking out there my first 'shot' will be with a rangefinder. I really dislike SFP BDC. That's one thing I really appreciate about a fixed power scope, the sub-tensions never change!

    I have long dreamt of a FFP TMR, but it seems to be of questionable use on low power, illumination is recommended. In my gut, I suppose I am leaning this way.

    I know most people say this is personal preference, but I'm in the middle of nowhere, lacking the means to compare a lot of what is out there, heck, I don't even KNOW all of what is available.

    What do you look for in a practical reticle and why? Any recommendations to get me started? Ideally the reticle in question would attach to medium mounts, to test the waters;

    3-5x on the low end
    14-20x on the top
    42-46mm objective
    ~1.5lbs

    Not too many compact FFP's out there, and expensive they seem. As much as I prefer to 'buy once cry once', I accept that this is new territory for me. I'm not so much concerned with getting it 'wrong' as finding a tool that I can learn and grow with. If a 50mm can and a new stock/cheek piece is the best way to get there, Please let me know!

    Thank you for reading my story,

    -stephan
     
  2. Canhunter35

    Canhunter35 Well-Known Member

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    Hey I’m also a Saskatchewanite!
    There’s no reason to get a bdc reticle. You get a mil/Moa reticle, you can use the vertical hashes for quick holdovers say 500 yds on calm days. Otherwise I dial and hold wind using the reticle subtensions. Leupold vx3 lrp is offered in ffp with tmr reticle. 4.5-14. That would be a good scope to get started with.
    Personally 14x would be the minimum to myself for lr shooting but it’s very adequate. I have the lrp 6.5-20 with the impact reticle. Great scope! But it’s sfp. Burris xtr2 or veracity with the scr Moa or mil scope is very nice both are ffp. Sightron s3 or stac are also good lr scopes. I haven’t found ffp to be essential for hunting but there’s certainly nothing wrong with it!
    My lr scopes are all 50mm objectives, I use a picatinny 20 Moa rail and mark 4 medium rings and will sit nice on ur rifle. I’m also fond of cheek pads, have several of the hornady ones.
     
  3. Baron528

    Baron528 Member

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    Mar 6, 2015
    I personally dial elevation and hold windage. The only time I don't is with small calibers (17 and 20) in higher winds. I'll dial to get close while shooting prairie dogs and make small corrections with hold.

    You are also correct in regard to BDC. It is a fast and accurate system when used correctly. It isn't as precise as a TMR type retical which can make all the difference depending on your target size. Both have advantages and disadvantages depending on the application. For example, I have a lightweight .280 rem that I limit my shots to 400 yards on deer sized game. In the area I predominately hunt, 200 yard shots are a much higher probability than 400 yard shots. That rifle wears a BDC to keep weight down and for it's use. My long range rifles are all setup to dial with TMR style reticles.

    FFP vs SFP is highly subjective in my opinion. I prefer SFP but understand why FFP is better in some situations.

    One scope you may want to look at is the SWFA 3-15x42. Available in both moa and mil. They track reliably and are good glass for the price.
     
  4. Hand Skills

    Hand Skills Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply CanHunter, I was really excited to see the release of the LRP. They are all 50mm objectives as far as I can tell. if I go that route, it would certainly be the 6.5-20. Leupold's website doesn't show FFP as an option for the 6.5-20. I'm guessing it's just an error, because the other two models in that series feature it. Perhaps I'll give Leupold a ring next week and confirm. Seems this line might be the best value in FFP at this time. Should I be worried about the lack of illumination? Vx-5HD appeals to me as well, great turrets, but SFP only...

    Thanks for verifying 50mm obj will work w/ med rings on a 20moa rail. That is helpful. Haven't run into sightron before, I will check them out too.

    Cheek weld is KING! My first magnum was a .300 win - rem 700 stainless laminate. Boy did it shoot. I got rid of it prematurely because I couldn't resolve why my POI was 3" higher shooting from a rest than it was offhand. The wisdom bestowed on me at the time was the recoil was shifting my POI. Frustrating because it would shoot 1/2moa from the bench and 3moa offhand. 15 yrs (and a lot of powder later) I'm convinced it was a parallax issue, and in all likelihood a different scope (or a CHEEKPAD!) would have solved the problem.
     
  5. Canhunter35

    Canhunter35 Well-Known Member

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    You’re welcome! As far as I know leupold doesn’t make the 6.5-20 in ffp.
    In low light a ffp reticle can be hard to see, illumination would certainly help. Depends how dark it is you will be shooting. Check out Burris scopes if you’re set on a ffp and 20x scope. They r nice and the scr reticle is a good reticle. My cousin has the veracity 5-25, I’ve shot it a lot and like it.
    Sightron are very good scopes especially for the money. They make ffp scopes but I’m not familiar with the ffp
     
    Hse0785 likes this.
  6. martinakl

    martinakl Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Optics planet has a few Leupold Mark 4s. If you bump up to the ER/T model, you can get a FFP with TMR in 6.5-20. Great scopes for a good price.
     
  7. Hand Skills

    Hand Skills Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience Baron, I will check out the swfa also. I have read good things, but they seem rare North of the 49th. I'm only 100mi from the border though... Its weird, but optics have some serious red tape import/export restrictions across that imaginary line.

    Could you share why you prefer SFP in a TMR?

    I get that it's nice to have an easily visible reticle, but say the day is sunny, the ground is frozen, there is a bit of a breeze and you back off your magnification by 15% to see through the mirage. Do you just factor 15% into your dope calculation on the hold? I think that's what I am having the most trouble wrapping my head around.

    Most of the fur I shoot at has been inside 100yrds. Last year was an anomaly - during deer season I didn't see one white tail with horns (during daylight). Lots of big mulies, 4x4+, but they are on a lottery here. I pulled the trigger on a yearling doe just to fill my tag/freezer on the last day of the season. Spotted a group at 600yd-ish, walked toward them to close the gap. due to terrain I was standing, they got skittish as I approached 250yd, so I picked a healthy one and let fly. I have no problem passing on questionable shots. I need to be sure. Scouting this year I have been seeing some big bucks in the 450yrd range and my skills are not up to that task... Yet. Out here on the plains, it may not be possible to get closer to those wary fellows. My plan is to put a new optic on my .223 this winter, and get some experience doping and dialling. ...See where it goes from there.
     
  8. Hand Skills

    Hand Skills Well-Known Member

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    Canhunter> I will definitely have to go to the horse's mouth for a definitive on the 6.5-20 LRP FFP, I will report back. It really is a jungle out there - trying to get what I want, without knowing exactly what I want...

    Martin> thanks for the tip. I'm somewhat familiar with the mark 4, and agree, it's a solid, practical Scope. If I see an ER/T used, I will pick it up in a heartbeat. I'm not a huge fan of the mk4 turrets, and while it will do the job, I'm not in a hurry. I want to make the most well informed decision I can, and until I have exhausted all avenues, I don't feel the need to settle on something I'm not 100% happy with. I really wish the illuminated mark 6 was not $4k up here - I don't mind paying for optics, and it seems there is even a Tubbs reticle available for it;

    http://www.zediker.com/DTR_PDF_links/DTR_DWD_article_testing_2015.pdf

    Interesting read. Sorry im a n00b - I need 3 posts before I can attach a link

    Re FFP/SFP, I'm not decided either way. Without experience, it appears FFP offers a greater degree of precision. To me, that is attractive. The negatives as I understand them are +weight, +cost, and questionable precision at low power. An illuminated reticle generally resolves the last issue.

    It seems a lot of hunters and most target shooters prefer SFP. I would like to hear more about how people are achieving ~moa precision, holding dope, and using variable power. Is there something I'm missing? Maybe it's immaterial, and just my OCD concerned with wind holds and unknown/variable sub tensions unless at max magnification.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  9. AGL4now

    AGL4now Well-Known Member

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    I am shopping for a LEUPOLD VX-6HD 4-24X 52mm (34mm tube) with the "Impact 23 Reticle". I started my quest with months and months of searching to finding a reticle I could love. I am a certified card carrying member of the "I LOATH tall turrets" Club.
     
    Hand Skills likes this.
  10. Baron528

    Baron528 Member

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    I prefer SFP because it's what I'm accustomed to. I prefer MOA/MOA optics and if mirage is an issue I'll turn magnification down to a easily calculated percentage. Simply divide the max magnification by the power you are using, and then multiply by the max magnification increment. The Sightron S3s I have, for example, have a magnification range of 6-24. @24x the hash marks are in 2 moa intervals. This means at 12x they are 4 moa (24/12=2 x 2=4), and 6x is 8 moa (24/6=4 x2=8). 16x are in 3 moa (24/16=1.5 x2=3) increments.

    If you're not on max power, yes there is an additional calculation needed and FFP would be faster and easier. In my opinion however, if you are on very low power the FFP scopes don't offer the precision required for mid-long (400+) range accuracy. The reticle is simply too small. If I am taking a shot at game beyond 400 yards, I will be taking my time and doing everything possible to ensure a good shot. I just don't see a benefit to FFP for my uses and how I hunt.

    Others will disagree I'm sure, but I see FFP as most viable in tactical applications where it must serve multiple purposes from CQC to engaging targets up to 600 meters. Similarly, I'd prefer it for PRS style shooting. Not having to adjust magnification constantly for varying distances would speed up target acquisition and reduce the speed of calculations.

    The Sightrons are good scopes as CalHunter alluded to. I'd definitely recommend illumination on the MOA2 reticle however. That 1/8 moa dot and fine crosshair get awfully hard to see in low light. I've also heard good things about Athlon optics but haven't used them first hand.
     
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  11. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    After shooting for many years, I've discovered the best set up is to ensure your reticle matches your turrets. This means if you have a TMR reticle (my favorite), you want to ensure your turrets adjust in MILs. Also, I prefer FFP so that the reticle is always 'correct'. Whether to go with illumination or not is up to you. I've been in one situation where it would have been helpful and that was a night-shoot.
     
  12. ltgibbson

    ltgibbson Well-Known Member

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    you are right @Baron528 having tried both i noticed SFP is better in low light and the SFP has the finest reticle at highest magnification the FFP is good at precision shooting to distance unknown but the SFP is best for hunting purpose .i would like to see more options i'm following nice topic
     
  13. Jerry M

    Jerry M Well-Known Member

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    I prefer SFP also as that is what I am use to. I have two 3.5x10 Leupolds with TMR reticles installed. I can hold over to 600 yards on steel without dialing. My Nightforce scopes are also Sfp.

    Good luck

    Jerry
     
  14. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Give the leupold VX6 in 3-18x50 and 4-24x52mm a look and look at both the B&C and TMOA reticles a look. At the ranges you are shooting and style of hunting you're doing they will probably fit you very well.

    I shoot in a lot of very open country and usually on moving targets such as coyotes and hogs which leave often no time at all for doping and dialing.

    Generally I set up all my scopes for a 350yds zero and adjust my hold accordingly based on actual range.

    I also like the plain ole mil dot reticles for the same type of shooting and have them on four different Zeiss Conquest and Leupold VX3's and Mark 4 Leupolds.

    If you start off shooting with SFP it's quite an adjustment moving to FFP so for me it's SFP all the way.
     
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