Please explain R2 reticle advantages.


Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2003
Everyone here seems to praise the Nightforce R2 reticle.

I know nothing about them. They interest me. Can anyone explain why everyone loves them?

Do you happen to be an archer - if so, do you shoot a bow with sight pins? R2 is the same thing for smokepoles!

Put another way...

I have found through testing that none of my scopes (Leupold VXIII, VXII, (2) Bausch and Lomb Elite 4200 and (2) Nightforces) perform the way most people think they do after an elevation adjustment.

Specifically, they all "settle in". That is, the POI creeps slightly after an adjustment. Even the mighty Nightforce. This one creeps about 3/8 to 1/2 MOA... Takes two shots to settle down. Also, extreme cold affects the adjustment as well, causing additional erratic affects on the adjustment of the erector tube.

Now, what if we could shoot from (in my case, 100 to 1200 yards) without adjusting elevation? Well, that's the big benefit of the R2.

Oh, it allows for passive ranging of targets, and, uh, it looks cool... But the big benefit to me is the ability to quickly and accurately produce a shot at anything but insane ranges without having to move anything. Right now, 0 to 1200 or so is my limit on game anyway due to my skill level. So it fits me perfectly...

Now if we could just get 60 MOA on an R2 reticle - we could shoot waaaayyy out there - look ma, no knobs!

[ 01-05-2004: Message edited by: STL ]

Cecil Tucker has been doing a conversion for 10 years or more that will stop that creep you are talking. [email protected] (432) 530-2919. Never heard of anyone who had the conversion ever experienceing creep again.

second way to stop the creep is come up past 5 clicks and then come down. Need up 3 clicks, go up 8 and come down 5.


[ 01-05-2004: Message edited by: BountyHunter ]
Is the R2 something like a mildot. I just got a mildot scope and am learning how to use it. So far I love it and with a little practice ranging and holdover shots should be quite accurate.
BountyHunter, thanks. Respectfully, I believe what I've described, especially with regard to the extreme cold temperature behavior, is part and parcel of systems that depend on movement. The R2 is now so ingrained in my shooting behavior, and is so fast in use, that I have no desire to go back to clicking elevation.

Harv, yes, the R2 functions like a mil-dot, except that the spacing between the ticks is, quite importantly, 2 MOA. This fits the trajectory of many fast, high BC bullets to 600 or 700 yards perfectly.

For instance, look at a picture of the R2... See the main crosshair? On my 30 Wolf, it's sighted dead on at 600 yards. The tick above kills at 500, the tick above that kills at 400, the tick above that kills at 300, the tick above that kills at 200 and 100...

In each case, POI isn't more than .25 MOA or so from the tick mark, which, as I've proven to myself at least, is as good (actually better if you include the creep factor) than the "actual click resolution" of scopes that are dialed for elevation.

From 700 to 1200, the trajectory of the bullet steepens beyond "2 MOA per hundred yards", but I have that mapped out and recorded on a retractable Leupold range tape mounted on the scope. I just use the graduated reticle to perform the holdover.

So, bottom line, call me out a range from 0 to 700 and I can break a clean shot almost immediately. From 700 to 1200 (farther at high elevation, of course), I have to think just a wee bit harder, but it's still much simpler, faster and less prone to user error than clickin'...

[ 01-05-2004: Message edited by: STL ]
If you find yourself in the clickin situation ever again, which is unlikely now that you've switched to the dark side
, but in case you do, and as BH said above, when I dial "up or to the right", I don't rely on the spring to move the erector tube, so I dial past a minute and then back in against the spring to take up any backlash in the threads that might be present. Recompressing the spring like this has always worked for me, and I don't take chances with my NF either, they all rely on the spring when backing the turret away from the erector tube to keep it tight against it.

Like you though, I use the R2 out to 600 yards and is very fast, mine is still zeroed at 100 yards though.

Ranging with the R2 is much easier and more accurate than mildots too.

Here's something S1 posted a while back:

Half the Size of Target (inches)
________________________ x 100 = Range (Yards)

Size Target (lines)

Notice my modification to the formula for use with the R2 reticle and the 2 moa line (tick mark) spacing.

This cuts each of the numbers in half and makes for quicker math in your head under pressure.
Thanks, Brent. I am familiar with the "twist past and back" method you and BH are talking about. The only time I use it is when re-zero time comes, or when I need to shoot past 1200/1300. And I still don't trust it when things get really, really cold...

For hunting, the "past 1300" scenario is really highly unlikely for me, in that I hunt in a mobile fashion from a drag bag (no benches, turrets, shooting huts, humvees or aircraft carriers allowed!).

My personal limitations, the requirement to "travel light", the need to really identify and select my target, hunting in new and unfamiliar terrain, etc, dictate such a realistic limit.

Now, for the non-serious occasional target/plinking blast or like last year with Mach V and his Prarie Dog Hit Squad, shooting out to 2000 or so - well, that's another story and I must submit to clickin'...

[ 01-05-2004: Message edited by: STL ]
I figured you understood it thuroughly, I just wanted to say even with my NF, I don't trust not doing it and that I really have had great results dialing this way.

Unless I'm in dim light conditions where this rangefinder works best, I'm limited to how far it works. That, and I don't practice out beyond 1200 yards anyway, and then practice beyond 1000 is not enough for me to say I'm comfortable hunting there yet.

Out to 1000 yards I've held over with the R2 and dialed both, I can say I've seen no difference, just that the way my rifle is zeroed on the main crosshair at 100 yards, at 600-1000 yards I'm quite a ways off the center using holdover, where you are not. Canting the rifle becomes less critical for you as it increases for me, as the referance bar I'm using is aways away from optical center, and you are much closer.

As for cold weather, most of this back and forth between the two methods were all done during the summer time, not very cold at all, so I guess I could, and should check it again here while it COLD, real cold.

Do you think I'll come up short, need to dial more in, or the opposite?

The one load I tested here when it was cold, I never did test it yet with the R2, but it did take less MOA. I just figured the JLK might be shooting faster, as it did increase over the Berger a little in MV when it settled in. I'll match 'em up next time I'm out and see what turns up, about zero deg out today.
You know, Brent, the only target I remember clearly from my tests last January is one where I dialed down 1/2 MOA in elevation on the NF, and it gave me between 3/4 and 1 minute of POI shift that would creep back up where it should be by the third shot.

The reason I remember this so vividly is that when you use the R2 the way I do, you absolutely must have a perfect zero. If the center of your group is 1/2 MOA off at 600, you are hosed the farther out you go...

I was driving myself crazy trying to get perfect zero when I realized I just needed to put a few downrange each time I made an adjustment to take care of the issue!

Other than that, I got all kinds of crazy results with the other scopes that only served to prove the concept to me, and I quit.

I'll be amazed and pleasantly suprised if you don't find the same thing. But even so, the benefits of a system that requires no interaction from the shooter are still there, and would keep me on the dark side!
I'm kind of surprised that when you dialed and it crept back on you, you had dialed "down" when it did that. "Up" I could see, but how it creeps against the turret which is solid, I can't wrap my head around. I'll look for the vertical string after the adjustments at each range I shoot next time. My load with the Berger had roughly twice the vertical spread as it was horizontal, but was consistant from group to group, but did not shift shortly after an adjustment. This load with the JLK appears at first to be more round, but I've got a few more groups to test before that's really confirmed, that and it's grouping ability. So far it looks good, but with the small sample I fired I can't be too sure yet. It looks to be running right near 3200 fps, and would be okay to use, although I hope I could run it to 3300 as it would integrate even better.

I remember one night my Dad and I were out clangin steel at 500 yards, don't even remember what rifle I had my new NF on back then (300 Ultra?) but it was a bitch to see the vernier scale on the turrets so I went to hold over as soon as we moved back from 200 where he'd zeroed in his Springfield scope on his 308 at. I remember 7.5 MOA as the dope and I held for that and was on ctr first shot before he set down at his bench to shoot.

Love that lit reticle at times, but the R2 was what made the shots happen. His BDC reticle didn't quite work out with that load at 500 and was shooting off the steel for what seemed like 10 shots before he landed one. I know what MOA I need, and the scale is right there in view, his scale is??? for the 308 match load and everything else deviates. Now that the Springfield scopes of his rest on a 300 WSM, and the 300 WM, neither of them two integrate. The other SA scope is mildot on the 338 WSM, so it's not as bad. The 6.5 WSM has the 8-32 NF R2 and works perfectly with 140's.

I do know what you mean about being dead zero. I scratched my head once just last year shooting the A-Max at 1k yards, only to find in the end that I was off 3/4 MOA on my zero. I knew my MV was dead nuts on, and the BC wasn't over .6 for the 178, so that left one thing...
Another advantage I learned from prairie dogin with STL is that you can gauge your spotter shots a lot better with the R2.
This came in very handy the next trip out.We where shooting past 2000 and the other guy had a 30WSM shooting 240MK @ 2450fps.He had a Harbor engineering mount and a 24x Leupold.As I remember he had to dial 170MOA to get that far and even if the prairie dog ran a few yards we had to adjust.By useing the R2 I could tell him how many MOA his last shot missed by and he could dial the correction.
I have a question for you guys that seem to know alot about the R2 reticle, as Im seriously considering buying a NF scope. As I understand it, the R2 is designed to integrate with a high BC bullet moving around 32-3300fps? I have a 300WM and am waiting on a 6.5 x 284 to be built. How hard would it be to get either calibers to "work" with this reticle? What BC bullet at what velocity would make it work the best in either caliber. Thanks in advance

Here's an easy way for you to find out approximately how the R2 would work for you.

Use any ballistic program you have some degree of faith in. Plug in the numbers from your load. If you don't have one, here's a link to start with...

Now, generate the ballistic solution using varying zero distances. For instance, here's mine using a 600 yard zero.

Range Vel Energy Drop

0 3305.2 5093.9 ---
100 3150.4 4627.8 7.9
200 3000.8 4198.7 7.2
300 2856.1 3803.5 5.8
400 2716.0 3439.6 4.1
500 2580.5 3104.8 2.1
600 2449.2 2797.1 -0.0
700 2322.3 2514.6 -2.3
800 2199.3 2255.4 -4.8
900 2079.5 2016.2 -7.5
1000 1963.4 1797.5 -10.5
1100 1851.6 1598.6 -13.6
1200 1744.3 1418.6 -17.1
1300 1641.7 1256.6 -20.9
1400 1544.0 1111.6 -25.0
1500 1452.2 983.4 -29.5

Note that the drop column is in MOA.

Now, notice that closer than 600 yards, the POI are basically on the 2 MOA tick marks (with 100 and 200 yards being so close as to be a non-issue)?

If you're familiar with the R2 reticle on the 5.5x22, you know that 20 MOA are printed on the reticle below the main crosshair, so how far can I shoot without making an elevation adjustment? In the conditions I specified in the ballistic solution, out to 1300 yards...

Now, in your case, simply vary the range at which you zero the rifle, and watch the MOA drop numbers until a suitable solution appears. My .223 requires at 200 yard zero, my 6mm Rem shooting the 105 AMax at 3250 fps fits a 300 yard zero well, and the Wolf works excellently with a 600 yard zero.

There's a number of combinations that come to mind, once you understand the simple principle.

You'll note for all except the fastest, highest BC cartridges, that mil-dot spacing may work better than 2 MOA. But for the fast, really flat stuff - give me as many ticks as you can separated by 2 MOA!

I don't use the mil-dot (3.44 blah blah blah, huh?!?) even for the slow stuff because I want the math for only one system imprinted in the old noggin...

[ 01-08-2004: Message edited by: STL ]
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