How big a disadvantage is FFP for small targets at "long range"?

Wannashootit

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Considering purchasing my first FFP for a .338 Lapua.
Our shooting has always been known ranges, never a need for ranging so I've always used SFP scopes.
Currently "only" 600 yards available, but if JTAC range ever opens we'll be able to go to 1k, 1500, and beyond.

So, having never owned a FFP optic- how big a disadvantage is the proportional reticle with say, minute of angle size targets at longer ranges?
Better to stay with SFP unless ranging with the reticle is needed?

Looking to stay under $1k, and I'm thinking SFP will go further with that budget.
 

Rant Durden

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The only issue might be shooting varmints, but for your 338, I don't think the error from a thick cross hair would matter.
 

hlee

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Reticles on FFP scopes typically subtend about 0.1 mil, which is just over 1/3 MOA. So, unless you're shooting targets smaller that that, you won't lost the target behind the reticle.
 
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Old_Longhair

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With FFP scopes, the proportion of crosshair to target never changes relative to target size regardless of magnification or distance. The downside to FFP optics is one of the crosshairs becoming too small to see well when lower magnification for wider field of view is preferred.
 

Diver160651

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Reticles on FFP scopes typically subtend about 0.1 mil, which is just over 1/3 MOA. So, unless you're shooting targets smaller that that, you won't lost the target behind the reticle.
No thats wrong, .1 is usually the smallest subtension-

The center dot or cross hairs is usually it s something like .035 for the finer cross hairs..to .05mil or a floating center around .06 that allow you to bracket.

^And like alluded to in above the SPF guys get it totally wrong when they need to dial down to maybe 15x to deal with heavy mirage and their SPF reticles actual cover more of the target.

For the ops budget and elevation needs a used Gen1 5-20 Razor, if he likes the floating .06 floating center might be the best buy.
 
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Lynn Jr

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Just what is First Focal Plane? In simple terms, the reticle size changes as you turn the magnification up or down, keeping it a constant in relation to the size of the target. When you increase the magnification, the target appears larger and so do the lines of your reticle.
Second Focal Plane
Alternate Text

Our second focal plane scopes all feature a reticle which maintains the same ideal size throughout the entire magnification range. A major benefit of a SFP is that you won't lose your reticle at your lowest magnification

From the March website if that is allowed? If not please delete.
 

Diver160651

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Just what is First Focal Plane? In simple terms, the reticle size changes as you turn the magnification up or down, keeping it a constant in relation to the size of the target. When you increase the magnification, the target appears larger and so do the lines of your reticle.
Second Focal Plane
Alternate Text

Our second focal plane scopes all feature a reticle which maintains the same ideal size throughout the entire magnification range. A major benefit of a SFP is that you won't lose your reticle at your lowest magnification

From the March website if that is allowed? If not please delete.

For a last few years as ELR became popular, many converting from the bench said you should not use FFP because they are too fat and it covers up too much of the target. Granted, some battle rifle FFPs are not suited to any long range, but the statement was generally false for the proper heigh travel scopes with good reticles.

Here is what really is happening:
7077314
On this SFP, anytime @ 24.3 zoom or below, you are effectively thicker on target than the FFP (comparing scopes with similar reticles - please excuse my round errors)

Few ELR guys are going to shoot much below 10x as that clears up most mirage and the target itself starts looking small. In the last 3 months I think I've shot 9 matches, while not ELR, several of them well over 1k, the point is, that I was generally between 10x and 12x for the majority of the targets and the FFP reticle with a .035mil center was fast to acquire and usable for all wind and drops.

I find that laying on the ground shooting ELR, in a flat environment (not peak to peak or from/to an elevated area), that mirage is a real issue. I rather go from .035 to .036 any day in order to have accurate subtensions for wind, drop and comunication with the added benefit of actually being smaller on target for the majority of the time, use than the equal type SPF.
 
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THEIS

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Hi,

Well hopefully the JTAC guys will eventually get that range open :).
Any "real world" update in regards to the new (hundredth) time frame?

But getting back to your question....
I am not sure if I have ever been behind any of the FFP scopes used in the ELR world and said "shit, my reticle is covering too much target".
Especially considering a 1 MPH wind difference would give you more headaches at those ranges in relation to target size vs reticle size.
IF a typical FFP reticle covers your target at distance...that target is such a size that a 1MPH wind difference is going to be a larger margin of error than your actual target size itself.

Sincerely,
Theis
 

Lynn Jr

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Diver
I can't read your numbers on my phone what are you comparing?
 

Lynn Jr

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Again if this is not allowed please delete.
I dial my scope and don't use subtensions.
 

Diver160651

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Again if this is not allowed please delete.
I dial my scope and don't use subtensions.
That has nothing to do with reticle coverage.

The cross hairs still stay exactly the same size while the target shrinks when zooming out on a SFP, so in essence, they actually do the opposite of what most long range SFP users argue.


Btw nice find- the Hamilton family really gives back to the shooting community, especially PRS events. Jimmy’s, podcasts are enjoyable as well.

Also why apologize for posting content? Did someone say something?
 
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THEIS

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Hi,

He is saying that because the copy and paste scammer issues that the forum has had and the results and outcome they have had.

Sincerely,
Theis
 
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Diver160651

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Do you always dial, even when trying to shoot quickly in changing winds?
Sean,

Lynn can still answer and should.

I am going to stick my head in to help expedite the key misunderstanding issues.

Some guys coming from BR are setting ELR up to duplicate their BR process as closely as possible (obviously no pits and the only concentric ring the target). Prior to that, we had set a new “set” of targets every time we when out — long story short, one has ranging, LOS work to be done and lots of targets to be set and general new each time, the other is to repeat as closely as you can the previous set up. 2 completely different approaches even though they are both ELR.

For the BR guys, BR ideology makes sense, they are always thinking linear inches and it seems hard for them to transition to field ideology. That’s said, I am NOT discounting the huge benefits br has given us.

When we shot/shoot together, we might have 20-50 random targets with random DOF, AOF and the BR stuff just doesn’t come close to working. Communication for corrections in drop and in wind are key so you can use math to shoot another value of wind, without “sighters”.

These two camps very far apart. But both could be better if we listen a bit to the other when applied to ELR, 6bra is an example for us..

I’ll let the scope thing go because you can set the environment to be BR or field style and then make any argument 1/2 work. My personal issue with the last 3-4 years is guys like success and to do so, are taking the field elements out of ELR to replicate the BR environment as closely as they can.
 
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Lynn Jr

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Do you always dial, even when trying to shoot quickly in changing winds?
In a situation like that I would make a hold which doesn't matter what power setting I am on.
I don't shoot PRS matches only ELR URSA type matches past 1 mile.
I have looked through most long range scopes in the 42 matches I have personally ran myself and a clear scope is more important than ffp sfp in my opinion.
I still believe in aim small shoot small and don't see my crosshair ever getting larger as was posted earlier about sfp scopes.
When a call is made by a spotter I never use the reticle I instinctively go for the turret and it doesn't matter ffp sfp moa or mil the correction is always right regardless of scope used.
What I see a lot of at matches is shooters getting a good spot and clicking incorrectly because they don't understand there scopes.
 
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Diver160651

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I still believe in aim small shoot small and don't see my crosshair ever getting larger as was posted earlier about sfp scopes.
Lynn, I know where you shoot mirage is not an issue, so I get that mirage may not be in play for you - you must of had some mirage when you went down south the last couple of times. I have to assume at some point you've shot your SFP zoomed out - if you never do great for you.

Or are you saying you have a special kind of SFP where the target gets smaller and your reticle thickness stays the same relative to the target? Nobody said the cross hairs get physically larger, but rather proportionality larger on target as the SFP zooms out and the target shrinks, so your aim small miss small is flawed if not on max power.
 
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Diver160651

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I have looked through most long range scopes in the 42 matches I have personally ran myself
Lynn,

I think it is kinda key to be on the level here. Oscar started this in 2014, with matches in 2015 ( I know this because he had location and target questions of me). You started doing this 2015 it would be very hard for you to actually put on 42 matches.. that seems like a stretch even for you, the fires and closures I remember canceling the shoots, seem to line up with the schedule and maybe overstated by a fair bit. I found about 20. Posted below and highlighted in yellow.

Also lets put this into perspective the matches are very small and usually with a very small pool of shooters. I'm not saying 8 is typical, but it is not much more and it's not 40-200 like most of the guys on here think when talking about matches.

From the 4-19 combined Norcal Socal event
Those numbers were not the numbers of folks that actually showed up - there were 8 shooters
I like Oscar because he is honest -


LINK to URSA
7077297
 
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seansmd

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In a situation like that I would make a hold which doesn't matter what power setting I am on.
I don't shoot PRS matches only ELR URSA type matches past 1 mile.
I have looked through most long range scopes in the 42 matches I have personally ran myself and a clear scope is more important than ffp sfp in my opinion.
I still believe in aim small shoot small and don't see my crosshair ever getting larger as was posted earlier about sfp scopes.
When a call is made by a spotter I never use the reticle I instinctively go for the turret and it doesn't matter ffp sfp moa or mil the correction is always right regardless of scope used.
What I see a lot of at matches is shooters getting a good spot and clicking incorrectly because they don't understand there scopes.
Thank you for the clarification, I can't imagine not wanting a reference for a hold vs using instict, just my engineers brain.

I am learning thank you.
 

hlee

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So, this is the fundamental misunderstanding about FFP scopes, and Diver has done a great job of working though the math to make it clear...

Using the same scope as an example, Nightforce ATACR with MILR reticle- one in SFP and one in FFP- at maximum magnification, the crosshairs subtension is nearly equivalent between the two. The SFP scope covers 0.035 mil of the target. The FFP scope covers 0.036 mil of the target. The reticle in the FFP scope “grows and shrinks” as one increases and decreases the magnification, the effect being that the reticle is always the same size relative to the target. At any maginification between min and max, the reticle always covers 0.036 mil of the target. This is not the case with the SFP scope. In this scope, the reticle “is always the same size.” The effect of this is that as the magnification is decreased, the reticle grows relative to the target. At 10 power, the SFP reticle covers 0.098 mil of the target.

The SFP reticle is almost 3 TIMES thicker at 10x magnification than the FFP reticle (0.036 vs 0.098 mil). In fact, the SFP reticle covers more of the target at all magnification levels, other than max- where they are essentially equivalent (0.035 v 0.036 mil). If you are concerned that a FFP reticle will cover too much of the target, because it “grows when the magnification is increased,” your concerns are misfounded.

Lynn says that he never sees his reticle grow. But, if he dials down from max magnification- and he is using a SFP scope- then is reticle absolutely grows relative to the target. If he dials from 30 power (for example) to 20 power, his reticle will be 1.5x fatter (relative to the target) than it was at 30x. If he goes from 30 power to 10 power, the reticle will be 3x fatter, relative to the target. The reticle in a SFP scope absolutely grows, but it is only relative to the target- which should be the only thing one is concerned about.
 
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TIMMYTOY

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maybe I'm wrong and my eyes are bad and shake but when I zoom at 20x at 100 yards with sfp it's way easier to put 22lr bullets in a single hole than using ffp at the same power setting. just saying
 
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hlee

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maybe I'm wrong and my eyes are bad and shake but when I zoom at 20x at 100 yards with sfp it's way easier to put 22lr bullets in a single hole than using ffp at the same power setting. just saying
In this case, SFP v FFP is nearly meaningless without understanding more about the scopes in question. Are you comparing the same brand and model of scope, or 2 random scopes? Same reticle, or whatever you have on hand?

For sure, not all FFP scopes are the same. For example, my vortex razor has a 0.06 mil open center and the cross hair lines subtend 0.07 mil. That is different than the Nightforce scopes discussed above. But, if vortex were to make a 5-20 power SFP razor, using the same reticle, I would expect the reticle to subtend the same at max power. That would make the scopes equivalent at max power. If you are shooting equivalent scopes (same manufacturer/model and reticle) and do better with SFP at equivalent magnification, I’d suggest the difference is you.

The above notwithstanding, shoot what makes you :love:.
 
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Lynn Jr

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maybe I'm wrong and my eyes are bad and shake but when I zoom at 20x at 100 yards with sfp it's way easier to put 22lr bullets in a single hole than using ffp at the same power setting. just saying
Exactly and all your testing and load development are done well short of 500 yards and at your max power setting.
If I didn't own several rangefinders I might need a ffp scope but I do so I stick with what works.
If I was a brand new shooter I would use whatever the big dogs are using and learn how to use it but the original poster has never used ffp.
 

Diver160651

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TIMMYTOY If I was a paper shooter with my subtension information on the target, with basically one DOF, no FOV issues or large elevation needs, I'd be selling one of my scopes to fund a high power SFP BR scope. But Wannashootit was asking about an ELR scope for this 338; generally high travel, subtensioned scopes in that 5-25/7-35 range.

FWIW most of us are NOT using our scopes to range find, that's kinda missing the use case today. The value is in wind and drops, especially using wind info at one target that might be 1/2 value at 500 then bouncing to a full value target at 400 then over to another at 875 with some other wind value. The ranges are not really relevant, just as an example.
 
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Strykervet

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I think for the OP the bigger issue here isn't SFP vs. FFP but $1000 as a total budget for scoping a .338LM. I plan on getting one, some day I guess, I have the can and brake for a TRG42... Anyway, I prefer FFP but I use the reticle (yes, even to range) and need it to be consistent through the magnification range.

Now SFP for a target rifle, especially at KD ranges, ain't gonna be a deal breaker exactly, and you can certainly get more SFP scope than FFP scope for the money. I'd want really good glass for longer range though, bottom line, THAT should be one of your top concerns with a budget.

FWIW, I typically buy used scopes from guys on here when they need the money to upgrade to the latest and greatest. They keep me flush in quality optics for half price, maybe a little more depending. Killer deals on USO's if the weight and fucking with an adj. erector doesn't put you off (an adj. erector may be just the ticket for a long range .338LM, simply more usable elevation) which would be my second factor, how much elevation can I get? I've had to buy one scope purely on that alone. Only one really fit the bill.

Last thing you wanna do is go budget, then find out it doesn't work and now you get to spend more. Buy once, cry once applies here. A used USO, PM2, ATACR, etc., that's the way to go. Warranties on quality shit follow the product so there isn't really a downside to this.
 

TIMMYTOY

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best thing to do is go to a prs match or gun club and see if you can look through a bunch of scopes out in the real world and make a determination what will work.
 

gnochi

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The $1000ish scope range now is really not bad at all, especially compared to a few years ago. Koshkin has images and videos of a distant church viewed through different scopes, and while nothing is perfect, the image is certainly usable. I could identify the badge on an older white truck a mile and a half away as “Ford” with my Cronus BTR, I can spot my own 6.5CM impacts at 1000yd, and I didn’t pay much more than $1000. The Ares ETR doesn’t lag that far behind.

Is the image quality better when you’re talking spending more for a Razor II, S&B, NF, ZCO, or TT? Absolutely! Is it necessary? I’d argue that for the vast majority of people in this sport, it isn’t. The OP seems to be with me in that “vast majority” category.

There’s a separate argument to be made for durability. Can I toss the Cronus off the side of a cliff, then shoot it with a shotgun a few times, and expect it to hold zero? A USO or Nightforce probably would; Athlon would merely replace the scope. If we’re talking about a shooter who hasn’t done anything at unknown ranges, I highly doubt they need that durability; the warranty itself should suffice for the possible accident.

So, @Wannashootit, to answer your questions and the implied value discussion above:
  1. Modern FFP reticles typically have aim points substantially smaller than moa, and as such tend to be more troublesome at the extreme low end. Typically by 6-8x zoom they’re perfectly usable.
  2. Modern scopes in general trend towards FFP once you’re past ~$500 MSRP. (Note that there are unicorns out there at all price ranges.) I don’t know about your range days, but mine tend to be in gloomy weather and late afternoon, so I can rarely sit at max zoom, which would make spottig and adjusting for windage very frustrating with SFP. (Note that a more expensive scope will often have better light transmission, but still not enough to be at 25x or more in overcast twilight).
  3. Modern $1000 FFP scopes from reputable companies are perfectly capable of handling the recoil of 338LM.
  4. Modern $1000 FFP scopes from reputable companies are perfectly capable of letting you identify your targets, deer prancing near your targets, and dirt clouds out well past 1000yd. Spotting said dirt clouds tends to depend more on bullet momentum, so with a 338LM I wouldn’t be surprised if you could spot your own shots out to around 2500yd.
You can find some great stuff on the PX, but at your budget I’d just call Doug at CameralandNY about an Ares ETR. I’d be very surprised if you weren’t perfectly content with it for your purposes.
 

Wannashootit

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^^^
Thanks to all; truly a ton of valuable information and I appreciate the thought and time spent on the replies.
I'm still digesting it all, a lot of technical info that I need to punch through to get a better understanding of the reticle subtensions.
Where we shoot (Theis must be in my area), rarely could I go above 20x, and usually much less- at 1k due to the mirage off what's basically a sandpit in the FL sun. But we know we can always dial it down, so makes sense to have a bit more on the max end for those rare circumstances where it can be utilized.

Been a Vortex fanboy for many years, and I have been looking at Athlon- so I'll take a hard look at the Ares ETR you recommend. Now, to school myself on reticles...

Hadn't thought about checking for used here at the Hide- so I'll peruse that as well. My younger son's last summer before shipping out for pilot training next year so gotta give him a new toy to play with :)
 
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THEIS

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Hi,

Actually I am not in your area lol, it is just that I have been involved indirectly with attempting to expedite JTAC range for quite some time now because of mutual interest in it getting up and running.

Sincerely,
Theis
 

BurnOut

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I've popped a few prairie dogs out at 600-650 yards with a FFP scope... no problems for me (gen 2 XR reticle).
 

Lkwoolsey

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Considering purchasing my first FFP for a .338 Lapua.
Our shooting has always been known ranges, never a need for ranging so I've always used SFP scopes.
Currently "only" 600 yards available, but if JTAC range ever opens we'll be able to go to 1k, 1500, and beyond.

So, having never owned a FFP optic- how big a disadvantage is the proportional reticle with say, minute of angle size targets at longer ranges?
Better to stay with SFP unless ranging with the reticle is needed?

Looking to stay under $1k, and I'm thinking SFP will go further with that budget.
Never had an issue using FFP scopes at longer distances. Get a scope with an open reticle center. I use a Vortex Viper PST Gen II, its fairly inexpensive, relatively speaking, and not a bad deal at all. You can find them for pretty cheap if you search.
 

Diver160651

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My point exactly. The ranging claim is a joke.
Why are you fixated on the ranging?

For the most part, ranging is a marketing hype if even that today, or referenced by people not really understanding what we are doing with comunication, mil wind and drops. People that keep coming back to ranging as point to even argue over, obviously don't understand the scope of use.
 
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chevy_man

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I have grown quite fond of the simple TMR in the Leopold. Open center, easy to use holds but without clutter.


I would argue it's easier to aim at a 12" steel plate at 600 with my TMR, than my 1/8th moa target dot in my sfp sightron. While I love the sightron (sII big sky 6-24) for doing load development at 1-200 yards, the TMR is 100% easier to use at extended distance and under time constraints.

I moved my HST VMR-1 to a .22, and I'm tempted to glue the mag ring on 8x. Since any change in magnification makes the reticle change it also makes the reticle almost useless under stress and time constraints.
 

Steel head

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Lol!


I moved from a SFP to a FFP about a year ago.
I can’t say I miss the SFP except for sitting at a bench trying to shoot small groups.

I much prefer shooting steel at distance and can’t say the reticle thickness bothers me at all.
My friends and I like to place steel at random distances and roughly range them using our rifle reticles then send shots.


I could see SFP being having a place at extreme long range shots, say maybe 3000+ yards provided you know your reticle at various powers.

This is a 16” target at I think over 1000 yards.
Maybe 1100ish
Not like the reticle is blocking much.

7078566
 
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Diver160651

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I could see SFP being having a place at extreme long range shots, say maybe 3000+ yards provided you know your reticle at various powers.
Any chance you really read post #7 and looked closely at the chart???

I’m not suggesting it must be a cluttered FFP or thick battle reticle.

But comparing heigh travel scopes for ELR, like the 7-35 or the 4-27 class scopes, with the same thinner style of reticles, your money ahead if the aim small, miss small, mantra is your go to quote.

Really encourage you to look at the spread sheet.

Now again, your 55 power low travel benchrest scope thing is a bit different in that the target mag is so great; but not a good choice for ELR.
 
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THEIS

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Hi,

Can someone please show me a S&B FFP P4F covering their ELR target up?

Sincerely,
Theis
 
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Steel head

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Any chance you really read post #7 and looked closely at the chart???

I’m not suggesting it must be a cluttered FFP or thick battle reticle.

But comparing heigh travel scopes for ELR, like the 7-35 or the 4-27 class scopes, with the same thinner style of reticles, your money ahead if the aim small, miss small, mantra is your go to quote.

Really encourage you to look at the spread sheet.

Now again, your 55 power low travel benchrest scope thing is a bit different in that the target mag is so great; but not a good choice for ELR.
I see your point but something like a MOAR-T or a specifically designed SFP reticle could Change that.

I’m certainly not being limited by my FFP reticle at the distances I shoot.
 

Lynn Jr

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Why are you fixated on the ranging?

For the most part, ranging is a marketing hype if even that today, or referenced by people not really understanding what we are doing with comunication, mil wind and drops. People that keep coming back to ranging as point to even argue over, obviously don't understand the scope of use.
Diver
I am not at all fixated on the ranging. In fact I read about it all the time and get a huge laugh at those posting that you have to do your ranging at 22 power.
With today's rangefinders guessing the distance with a ffp scope is not a productive use of your time.
But as you know I only shoot matches starting at 2000 yards not PRS type events.
 

Diver160651

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Ok not sure where you're getting “ranging” or why you keep bring it up on Calguns and here. It must be a misunderstanding the context of mil wind communication and such.

Obviously you don’t understand and always crowbarring the 2000 yard comment is pale and it doesn’t make your lack of understanding go away. Many people have been shooting ELR for a lot longer than it was vogue and yes with FFP scopes.

Again, it really has nothing to do with ranging even though the scope needs to be calibrated at all powers to have it work well for all the non-ranging features that make FFP so highly useful.
 
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