What are the different telescopic sight reticles

Buyer's Guide: Riflescopes for Long Range Shooting - What Do They Need to Know to Get You Top Performing?

In addition to the established VX 6 series (the 7-42x56 variant above), Leupold now offers the new VX 3i Long Range Precision series (here the VX 3i LRP 8,5-25x50 FF).

Their usability stands or falls with the equipment or function of the so-called ballistic towers. Here, large and light, but also not too light, locking rotary elements are desirable, with which you can clearly hear and feel every adjustment click. It is even better if the tower has a quick-release function that engages more strongly with a certain number of clicks. Well-readable scales should be a matter of course here. Some height adjustment towers also indicate the plane of rotation in which they are located. Towers that can be zeroed without tools should also make the long-range heart beat faster.

For the long-range hunter in particular, some optics manufacturers also offer so-called quick reticle adjustments (ASV for short). These are special height adjustment towers that can be equipped with a distance scale designed for the trajectory of a previously selected load. Thanks to this, the shooter should only have to set the distance to the target on the tower in order to adjust the reticle to the holdover point required for the selected distance.

Oliver Louven, © Oliver Louven
Zeiss equips its hunting riflescope Victory V8 4.8-35x60 with a quick reticle adjustment at the customer's request.

In terms of adjustment range per click, adjustments of ¼ Minute of Angle MOA (~ 0.7 cm at 100 m) or 1/8 MOA (~ 0.4 cm at 100 m) or 1/10 milliradian have been found in the long-range range mrad (= 1 cm at 100 m) established. It is important here that when choosing the reticle, one falls back on one that is based on the same angle. Then you can set the positions determined with the riflescope on the towers without having to do any major conversions.

Every riflescope has at least the three components objective, erecting system and eyepiece. The incident light from the target reaches the telescopic sight through the objective, which usually consists of a system of several lenses. Behind the lens, a reversed and upside-down intermediate image of the target appears. The area where this first image is created is also called the lens image plane or simply: 1st image plane (1st BE). This is followed by the inversion system. As its name suggests, this ensures that an upright and laterally correct image of the target is created in front of the ocular system, i.e. in the ocular image plane (2nd BE). In the case of riflescopes with variable magnification, the lenses of the eversion system can be shifted against each other in such a way that the intermediate image in the 2nd BE is displayed in different sizes. In the case of variable riflescopes, it therefore also plays a decisive role in which of the two image planes the reticle is installed. If the target mark is in the 1st BE, it is enlarged or reduced to the same extent as the target image when the magnification is changed. If, on the other hand, the designers attach the reticle in the 2nd BE, the target image is enlarged or reduced accordingly when zooming, but the reticle does not change its size here.

Both construction methods have both advantages and disadvantages:

In addition to the USSOCOM, the Schmidt & Bender PM II 5-25x56 was also able to convince many LR shooters.
  • With the changing reticles in the 1st BE (English: First Focal Plane, FFP for short), the coverage always remains constant. This is understood to mean the areas of the target that are covered by the marks of the reticle. The distances between the individual elements of the reticle also always remain the same, regardless of the magnification. Therefore, if the target size is known, the marks can be used very well to determine the distance. However, at very small magnifications, the marks are also very fine and, depending on the background, difficult to see.
  • A reticle in the 2nd BE (Second Focal Plane, SFP), on the other hand, always remains the same size when changing magnification. With high magnification, the marks also cover more of the target, but are easy to see even with lower magnification. If you look at the instructions for your riflescope with reticle in the 2nd BE, you will also know how to use it to determine exact distances. But this is only possible with a certain magnification.

The selection of reticles now seems to be almost as large as that of riflescopes, so that every long-range shooter is spoiled for choice here too. Classic Mil-Dot or MOA reticles are recommended for beginners.