SFP vs FFP Scopes

Dec 17, 2017
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#1
I'm a newbie and just getting started...but I have access to some decent stuff thru relatives and Range Buddies. I started with an SFP scope - Vortex Crossfire II 6-24X50 and I'm loving it. For $250 I don't think I'd be shooting any better at this stage with a $1000+ scope but I am finding it's limitations.

My brother is running an FFP scope (Leupold VX-3i) as is my Nephew (Nightforce NXS) and both of them scoffed at my purchase of the SFP Vortex but both of them shoot my Savage 10 in 6.5 CM with the SFP Vortex better than they are shooting "better" guns with more expensive FFP glass. And so the discussion began.

I have noticed a lot of pointed personal opinions of both types and really would like as much perspective as I can get - personally I like the SFP better than FFP. It just works for me better put to longer ranges and higher magnifications. I'm confused when people I respect and who have a lot of experience say they will never run SFP glass for a lot of different reasons.

Can you guys shed some perspective on this dilemma for a newbie? What are the advantages/disadvantages for a guy wanting to shoot for precision at ranges out to 1 mile (eventually) and will not use the gun for hunting. This is a long range precision toy.

Thanks in advance!

VooDoo
 

SLG

Sergeant of the Hide
Sep 2, 2009
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#2
Not to be a jerk at all, but have you searched this topic? Is there some particular aspect that is not covered well that you would like more info on?
 

Fig

Janitor of the Hide
Mar 15, 2018
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#3
I prefer SFP for hunting because I tend to keep my scope on the bottom of the zoom based on my terrain, and 99% of FFP scopes produce a fully annoying miniature reticle on the lowest power setting. To me a FFP on low power is only for milling, not for shooting. If you're going to shoot you at least dial it up so the reticle fills the field of view. Drives me freaking nuts shooting at beasts who are likely to be at less than 300 yds in the hilly woods and fields of Missouri. I had a .308 with a FFP that I tried to hunt one year, and I HATED it. I would never haul a comp gun into the woods (even if it didn't weigh more than 20 lbs) if only because of the FFP scopes.

I'm sure I'd feel different if I typically shot at longer ranges and had the wide open spaces out west.

That said, in a match you are at a huge disadvantage with a SFP scope. You don't want to be paying that much attention to how it's dialed and then doing additional math in your head with ten shots to shoot in 90 seconds.
 
Dec 17, 2017
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#4
I guess I'm not searching correctly - SFP vs FFP and associated searches brings up nothing for me.

I have weeded thru a bunch of posts where folks definitely have preferences (strong ones) but they usually don't define why they have made their choices in a way that I understand. If it's a touchy subject we can just leave it and I'd ask Moderation to delete this thread.

Not trying to stir shit up. I just don' get it probably due to my lack of experience.

VooDoo
 

Bender

Something witty here
Feb 12, 2014
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#6
It’s ok, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Until you understand why the difference is important, you don’t understand yet. But ask away. Sfp as stated above is great for hunting and known distances. But it gets needlessly overwhelmingly complicated to use a SFP at unknown distances.

Ffp, with matching turrets. When you understand it’s intended purpose and how simple spotting splash and holding or dialing corrections really is, it will dawn on you how intuitive it really is.
 

VegasHKShooter

Always Learning
Feb 28, 2013
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#7
I will explain as simple as I can. I hope this makes it understandable. If I’m at a match with my scope; a Schmidt &Bender 5-25 FFP, and I’m shooting 3 sets of targets. First at 350, second at 500, third at 825, but it’s 100* outside. I’m not going to use my scope set at 25x. First off, my field of view is too small. I want to quickly find my next target after each shot. Secondly, at that temperature, heat mirage at 25x is going to be terrible. So I would shoot at 14-16x. I can shoot at less than full power and my mil holds in my scope are all still correct. 1 mil is 1mil at 14x, 16x, and 25x. So if I’m at 16x, and my hold is 4 mils, I go to 4mils on my Reticle and I send it. Bang, locate my next target, find my mil hold, send it. All of that is possible with a FFP.
If I’m running a SFP, my reticle is ONLY true at max power (usually). So if I’m running at 14x or 16x, I have to convert in my head: 4mils at 25x is how much at 16X. It’s a percentage. 1mil is only 1 mil at 25x. At 14x a mil is only .56 of a mil due to being at 14x, not 25x. At 16x, a mil is .64 of a mil. So if I’m looking for a 4 Mil hold at 25x, I have to know I’m going to hold 2.24 mils at 14x. NOT EASY to do at a match while under time constraints.
This is what people mean when they say the reticle is the same at every power with a FFP. With a SFP, the reticle becomes a percentage at anything less than full power.

There are PLENTY of ways to miss while under pressure of a match, or even real life. There is no reason to add scope variables into it. For many of us shooting long range, or matches, FFP is the way to fly.

I’m not sure everyone truly understands that. I think many folks get FFP because they are the hot ticket.
On a scope like a 1-6, where I’m not looking to range, or necessarily dial holds, a SFP can be awesome. The Razor 1-6 comes to mind. Awesome scope, and SFP is perfect in that application.

Hope this helps clear it up a little bit. That is as easy as I know how to explain it.
 
Dec 17, 2017
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#8
I get it...the math, or lack thereof, is a lot simpler with an FFP where one does not have to be at a specific magnification for the hash marks on the reticle to have the proper value. I get it now.

VooDoo
 
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spife7980

Full Member
Feb 10, 2017
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#9
Yep, with front focal it simply is what it says it is. Second focal requires you to scale the measurement for its particular magnification.
Its just simple math to do so, but it is also one more thing you have to keep in mind. And I already have enough to keep up with.
 
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Thunderhorse

Sergeant of the Hide
Jan 31, 2018
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#10
I used to have a SFP, but I found only being able to range at 12X on a 4.5-14 was kind of a boner. Much happier with my FFP, and in situations where the reticle is hard to see I can just turn the illum up
 

fdkay

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 27, 2009
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#11
This is the deal.
There are pro's and con's to each.
Used to be, you could get a tactical scope with any focal plane you wanted, as long as it was SFP.
MANY folks still shoot SFP scopes and many prefer them (especially benchrest and F Class)
Just like some weirdo's won't change from a mil/moa setup.
If you are shooting on a known distance range, then SFP really doesn't matter (though FFP really helps with the wind holds).
Keep rockin' your 250 dollar scope.
My brother shoots SFP mil/moa scopes because that is what he was trained on and he won't budge. Works for him, he does quite well.
If you keep an open mind, and use a FFP scope, it will click and you'll understand.
As far as using FFP scopes on low power, just consider it a duplex reticle and rock on.
 
Feb 7, 2013
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#12
As far as using FFP scopes on low power, just consider it a duplex reticle and rock on.
OMG how could you say such a thing?

I only use duplex reticles for hunting because i need to be fast on the target. I zero on a pie plate 2" high, actually if " I do my part" i zero on my pie plate at 1-1/2" high.. ya, the groups are big , but it's only hunting and I only need one shot.. Plus, with the knockdown power of my 300wm, it doesn't matter. Besides, groups are way smaller at 700 than 100, my huge bullets need long range to go to sleep.

Those stupid FFP things don't work on min power. What if at 50 yards, I need to ambush my pray? Hell I can hardly see those subtension marks.. I mean what is a mil at 50 yards like 6'?

Oh, I forgot, I need low power but don't care about comparing field of view.. good hunters need low magnification and amazing glass cause we shoot shit in low light.

Damn you seem too reasonable to me... ;)

BTW I do hunt - with an FFP
 
Feb 14, 2017
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#13
OMG how could you say such a thing?

I only use duplex reticles for hunting because i need to be fast on the target. I zero on a pie plate 2" high, actually if " I do my part" i zero on my pie plate at 1-1/2" high.. ya, the groups are big , but it's only hunting and I only need one shot.. Plus, with the knockdown power of my 300wm, it doesn't matter. Besides, groups are way smaller at 700 than 100, my huge bullets need long range to go to sleep.

Those stupid FFP things don't work on min power. What if at 50 yards, I need to ambush my pray? Hell I can hardly see those subtension marks.. I mean what is a mil at 50 yards like 6'?

Oh, I forgot, I need low power but don't care about comparing field of view.. good hunters need low magnification and amazing glass cause we shoot shit in low light.

Damn you seem too reasonable to me... ;)

BTW I do hunt - with an FFP
That would be a lot funnier if I hadn't heard people say those exact words and believe what they were saying.
 
Nov 30, 2011
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#14
Since I started shooting matches I only have 1 SFP scope a Nightforce NXS that you mentioned in your first post so maybe brother isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. My first match I tried to do a hold over stage on 22 power got big ole 0 and bought a vortex AMG the next day.
 

SLG

Sergeant of the Hide
Sep 2, 2009
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#16
Heh...that's a hoot. I thought most Nightforce scopes were FFP. Need to do more research and get my Nephew to realize his Holy Grail Nightforce is actually an SFP scope.

That's hilarious...

VooDoo
It may or may not be. The F1 was their first FFP offering and it was an NXS scope, but the rest of the NXS line are SFP.

For what you want to do with your gun, the FFP is likely the better choice. BUT, you mentioned shooting out to a mile, and for that, the SFP can be as good or better.

In your case though, it is probably easier to learn to shoot with the FFP, and see how it goes. There are a lots of yards between getting started and a mile. For dedicated ELR stuff, there is a lot to be said for SFP.
 
Dec 17, 2017
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#17
I'm not having a problem figuring it out with an SFP scope...seems to be working fine for me *but* as already stated my experience is so far limited to a few hundred rounds at 200-300 yards and a lot of dry firing on known targets at known ranges out to 1000.

No doubt if pressured by time and competition I'd be at a disadvantage doing the math especially since my reticle is only calibrated at 18X.

This is all great information.

VooDoo
 
Mar 16, 2008
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#18
For me the major differences are...

FFP - I want to adjust the magnification in respect to the FOV on the fly for the immediate situation.
Reasons could be heavy mirage, faster target acquisition, etc, or I like it right here.
Reticle hashes are a constant value so it's no concern what the magnification is set at.

FFP - using the reticle for holdover and holdoffs which when considering the above is much more convenient.

Therefore SFP is less versitile.

SFP - have certain applications which they excel at like Benchrest with 1/8th moa clicks or F-class with moa based targets when very high magnification comes in handy. These types of matches are at fixed distances, and far from dynamic situations, so versatility is not needed.

The hunting aspect with SFP and FFP is less cut and dry. If a FFP has daylight bright illume it can be dialed to the lowest mag setting and in that situation it's assumed a close shot will be the appropriate shot. If you miss a deer at 50Y, well that's on you not the scope. Otherwise the arguments for SFP vs FFP for hunting are getting gray because most FFP reticles at even medium power are plenty visible.

Let's just say that if a guy is shooting close to medium distances like most hunters do then a SFP is fine. My coyote rifle that sits on the hearth has my only SFP scope left (sold the others), the longest shot I'll make with that rifle is a old school 300Y top of back.
 
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