Noob question on BDC reticles

archanfire

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Mar 14, 2016
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Missouri
I am starting to look into BDC reticle scopes, and my biggest issue(that I see), are the majority seem to have exposed/non-locking turrets. So, my question is, why are exposed/non-locking turrets so common when the reticle does most(if not all) ranging and compensating for you? This question is more directed towards 'Christmas Tree' style scopes. My concern would be bumping the turrets(on hunt, competition, etc) and missing your mark when coming time to shoot.

Again, I am new to this concept, so be gentle :p

Thanks all
 
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entoptics

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Jan 16, 2018
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Turret/reticle combinations are always a compromise.

There are many scopes with ranging reticles that don't have exposed turrets, but you are correct about the dangers of a turret getting moved while toting your rifle around.

Also, to clarify terminology, BDC usually indicates "Ballistic Drop Compensation". These are usually tailored for some generic drop profile in yards/meters (e.g "Hold here at 300, here at 400, etc"). These are distinct from "Measuring" or "graduated" reticles, which ignore ballistic information, and simply have angular measurements (MOA or Mils) etched in the reticle (e.g. "The distance between hashes is always 1 MOA"). I personally am not a fan of BDC types, as they are usually a "one size fits none" compromise in my opinion. MOA/MIL reticles are universal and more versatile.

The reason for exposed turrets on any scope is the speed for adjustment. IMO, shooting at longer ranges requires adjustments that are more precise than a BDC, or even graduated reticles, can provide.

For example, in 264, 7mm, and 300 mags (flat shooters by all accounts), the difference in drop from 480 to 500 yds is about 4 inches. Doesn't sound like much, but that's half your vital zone on a deer. Guessing between BDC holdovers, or portions of graduations in a measuring reticle is not precise enough for my taste. Throwing three clicks on the turret is. The problem only gets worse the further out you go.

Anyway, as mentioned, everything is a compromise. For many shooters, the dangers of bumped turrets are outweighed by the ability to make rapid, on the spot, adjustments to ensure the most precise shot placement. On the other hand, holdovers are fine at relatively close distances, so it all depends on what your goal is.
 

bocajnala

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North East Ohio. Hunt OH. and PA.
I used a Nikon bdc to get to 400 and took deer with it at 380. That's not far by comparison to most shooters here.

But for someone who does allot of hunting with open sighted levers, i felt like I was shooting a mile.

It took allot of shooting to figure out the scope. But once I did the system worked well to 500 yards for me out of an R700 in .30-06.

If you're seriously interested in shooting long range, I wouldn't waste time with a bdc

-Jake
 

Tank308

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May 4, 2019
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Texas
I am starting to look into BDC reticle scopes, and my biggest issue(that I see), are the majority seem to have exposed/non-locking turrets. So, my question is, why are exposed/non-locking turrets so common when the reticle does most(if not all) ranging and compensating for you? This question is more directed towards 'Christmas Tree' style scopes. My concern would be bumping the turrets(on hunt, competition, etc) and missing your mark when coming time to shoot.

Again, I am new to this concept, so be gentle :p

Thanks all
I'm assuming your talking about a second focal scope. The exposed turrets shouldn't bother you. You can look at it to see if it is on zero still. But once you get your magnification set so the reticule values matches your ballistics of the round you are using. Then it is very important not to change the magnification. If it is first focal ignore this.
 

Tank308

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Texas
Pretty easy to use a 2nd focal plane bdc reticle with a ballistic program at multiple powers and simple chart. I have killed coyotes out to 780 with one. Key is exact distance in inches between reticle bars.
I have that program. I just found it best for me. To leave it on the power that best marks the distances on my reticule for the cartridge. Then tweak the zoom till they are confirmed. Because I couldn't tell if I was exactly on 8 or any number. Except for max. I wish the zoom was exact clicks. Using multiple powers. That was just to much confirming for me. I have mine set so 500 yards is 3 mils. That's the outer limit for my comfort with bdc.
 

Elkeater

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Dec 3, 2017
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As stated by others it kind of depends on you’re goal. I have a Nikon prostaff 3-9x40 on one of my 300 win mags. Furthest kill is 404 yards. I can hit a 8” steel plate out to 500 yards with it. But honestly if you want to shoot further than about 400 yards I’d recommend turrets.
 

Hand Skills

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Canada
I am generally not a fan of BDC reticles. Like others I prefer a hashed mil or hashed moa reticle for 'long range' (beyond 500yd).

That said, for short to medium range I really like the G4 reticle in the Vortex Razor LH. It's got a floating dot and simple BDC holdover markers that are very well thought out. The turrets are capped, have a simple zero set, and mine have tracked with superb accuracy.

Screenshot_2019-06-23-18-35-06.png
 
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Bob Wright

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Jan 23, 2018
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Litchfield Park, Az.
I use the Leopold Vx3 in 6.5-20 zoom 2nd focal, with target turrets and another in 8.5-25, same scope.
Each has the Varmint reticle, with the BDC subtensions. In the manual, it shows you how to calibrate the zoom to the 500 yard bullet drop with a 200 yard zero for just about any ammunition. I mark my zoom ring for the correct calibration, for that one hunting load. In the end, you can "hunt" from under a hundred out to 600 without touching a turret. If you're going longer, zoom all the way up and click up. It works, but if only if you don't mind your POI moving +/- 1" in the kill zone. For target work maybe you want something different.
I'm quite happy with it's performance for hunting in that 600 yard "no mess" situation. I have target turrets burned for situations beyond 600.
 

archanfire

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Mar 14, 2016
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Missouri
Thanks for all the input; I was referencing FFP scopes. While I can understand/appreciate the desire to want to adjust quickly, it just seemed mostly unnecessary with a reticle that had all the holdovers of say, something like a Tremor/christams tree setup.

Thanks again!
 

Hand Skills

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Canada
Thanks for all the input; I was referencing FFP scopes. While I can understand/appreciate the desire to want to adjust quickly, it just seemed mostly unnecessary with a reticle that had all the holdovers of say, something like a Tremor/christams tree setup.

Thanks again!
To my knowledge, the only FFP scope with BDC is the Burris Veracity. Pretty rare to find a BDC in FFP.
 

yobuck

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east central fl. /n.c. pa.
The various reply’s should be an indication that it really don’t matter much. Especially with the flatter shooting cartridges out to 5 or 6 hundred. Shoot a lot and get to know the gun is the more important thing. Chances are you will form different opinions as you go along anyway, and what seems important now might not be later.
 

Litehiker

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Mojave Desert, Nevada
Q. How are BDC reticles calibrated?
A. At sea level at around 60 F. with a specific bullet weight, shape and velocity

Are you going to be within all those parameters? Likely not.

->After 300 yards BDC reticles begin to lie.
->Laser rangefinders with ballistic programs that give you either MOA or mil holds cannot be used well with a BDC reticle B/C there are no MOA or mil hash marks on them.

Eric B.
 
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