Tips For Asking Advice About Rifle Scopes

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wjm308

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Tips For Asking Advice About Rifle Scopes
09/02/2016 Last edited 01/05/2017 by wjm308
(11 votes)
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Not that this would be a "rule" but more a "guideline" for members when they'd like to ask about what scope is best, I thought it might be good to put forth some bullet points on information that would help others better answer the question.

Help us Help You

Because there are so many different scopes, and each year manufacturers come out with new models and upgrades to existing models, the options are in constant flux, so I understand why we might get similar questions from different folks throughout the year (this community has been great to share advice and experience to help others make those decisions). But when a question is asked that simply states, "I have a 308 and want to know the best scope for it" well, you're going to get a hundred responses that may not fit your specific criteria. So in order for the SH community to better help you, may I be so bold as to make some suggestion for when you are asking the community about what kind of scope would be best for you.

Please consider including the following when asking the SH community what scope we'd recommend for you:
  • What is the platform for the scope? (Examples: Rifle (Bolt or Semi-Auto), Pistol (Semi-Auto or Revolver)
  • What cartridge are you shooting? (Examples: 22LR, 223, 308, 338 Lapua, etc.)
  • What is your intended use for the scope? (Examples: PRS, Benchrest, Hunting, Target, Steel, etc. or any combination thereof)
  • What type of conditions will you typically shoot in? (Examples: Daylight, Lowlight, Nighttime, etc. or any combination thereof)
  • What are the typical distances you intend to shoot? (Examples: 1000+ yds, 600-1,000 yds, 300-600 yds, 100-300 yds, under 100 yds)
  • Are there any specific specifications you would like? (Examples: FFP/SFP, 30mm tube, 50mm objective, focus below 50 yds, low turrets, mil or moa, weight, etc.)
  • What is the price range you can afford? (Examples: Under $500, $500-$1000, $1000-$1500, etc.)
And then obviously any other input you would like to provide, but having the above information from the get go will help the community understand more specifically your needs and in return you will receive much better answers sooner.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and I'm sure there are some things I missed so please feel free to reply and add to this. Thank you.

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Legend

Often times we get carried away with acronyms and end up not understanding what someone is referring to, so here is a quick list of rifle scope acronyms to help out (I'm certain I have missed some so please feel free to respond and I'll add to the list):
  • Mil/Mrad = Milradian (1/1000th of 3600 inches. Equal to 3.6 inches at 100 yards, 1 mil is a different size at different distances, 36" at 1,000 yards is also 1 mil)
  • MOA = Minute Of Angle (1/60th of a degree. 1 MOA is about 1" per 100 yards. (actually 1.047") 1 MOA is a different size at different distances, 10.47" at 1,000 yards is still just 1 MOA)
  • FFP = First Focal Plane (the reticle grows or shrinks in size relative to the magnification of the scope so that a mil or moa is accurate at any given magnification)
  • SFP = Second Focal Plane (the reticle stays the same size regardless of magnification so that a mil or moa is only accurate at a specific magnification)
  • IQ = Image Quality (often referring to how good the glass is)
  • FOV = Field Of View (refers to how wide the image is at bottom and top magnifications measured at 100 yards or meters)
  • POI = Point Of Impact (where the bullet strikes the target)
  • POA = Point Of Aim (where the sight or reticle is aimed)
  • CCW/CW = Counter Clockwise/Clockwise (referring to the direction the turret travels to move the POA up, most scopes in the USA are CCW while most in Europe are CW)
  • CA = Chromatic Aberration (also referred to as color fringing or just fringing, this is the phenomenon of different color shifts that are typically seen on edges of high contrast)
  • HD = High Density (refers to the type of glass used)
  • ED = Extra-low Dispersion (refers to the type of glass used)
  • RTZ = Return to Zero (the ability of the scope to return to zero after going through the full range of turret travel)
  • LT = Locking Turrets (the ability to lock the turret position and protect against accidental movement)
  • CT = Capped Turrets (refers to caps that screw on over the turret for protection - typically found on windage)
  • DT/ST = Double Turn/Single Turn (the limit of how many full revolutions the elevation turret can turn)
  • ZS/CS = Zero Stop (a locking mechanism that restricts the elevation turret from being turned past 0 when dialing back down - some mfr's allow a few clicks past 0)
  • LP = Illuminated and Parallax (typical of Schmidt & Bender to designate an illuminated reticle and parallax control)
  • MTC = More Tactical Clicks (typical of Schmidt & Bender for turrets that have a stronger detent every 1 mil of revolution)
  • LSW = Left Side Windage (windage turret is located on the left side of the scope)
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lashlaroe

X52 MONTHS
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Re: How to ask the community about rifle scopes
09/02/2016
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Good public service announcement.

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morganlamprechtXFirst Sergeant
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Re: How to ask the community about rifle scopes
09/02/2016
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good list

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NateVAX17 MONTHS
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Re: Tips on asking advice about rifle scopes
09/02/2016
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Solid post. It's a good format for requests.

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fursniper

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Re: Tips on asking advice about rifle scopes
09/02/2016 Last edited 09/02/2016 by fursniper
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Great post and something that's been needed! I would only add that indicating ones desire for 1st or 2nd focal plane when inquiring for input would really help responders as well (might involve explaining what the differences are as well in some cases).

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MStew308XSergeant
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Re: Tips on asking advice about rifle scopes
09/02/2016
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Someone make this a sticky immediately! Great post.

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wjm308

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Re: Tips on asking advice about rifle scopes
09/02/2016
(1 vote)
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fursniper wrote:
Great post and something that's been needed! I would only add that indicating ones desire for 1st or 2nd focal plane when inquiring for input would really help responders as well (might involve explaining what the differences are as well in some cases).​
Thank you fur, I have updated the post to include FFP/SFP as well as provided a new Legend to help out with acronyms.

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surfingsk8rX9 MONTHS
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Re: Tips For Asking Advice About Rifle Scopes
09/04/2016
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Your definition of a milradian is incorrect partially. A milradian is 1/1000 of a radian. A radian is a unit of measure for angles that is based on the radius of a circle being equal to the distance around the circumference of that circle to meet the angle. This can be represented in degrees as 180/Pi (Pi = 3.14 for short). This will be equal to 1 radian no matter the radius as it is independent of the size and is an angular equivalency. 180/Pi = roughly 57.3 degrees so 1 milradian = .0573 degrees which is approximately 1/17.45 of a degree. The above is why at 100 yards (3600 inches) 1 mil is 3.6 inches (3600 / 1000 = 3.6). Just wanted to clarify that as the above saying a milradian is 1/6400 of a degree is not correct and in general most people really don't understand it and most get into an arguement about metric vs non metric, which it is really neither it is a metric base representation of a non metric unit of measure for arc angle.

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wjm308

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Re: Tips For Asking Advice About Rifle Scopes
09/04/2016
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Thank you surf, my bad, that is what I get for being lazy and just grabbing some info quickly, I have updated my post and also included a link to Franks great article on mil vs moa which is what I should have used to begin with.

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sirhrmechanic

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Re: Tips For Asking Advice About Rifle Scopes
09/04/2016
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Well done, sir!

A similar 'tutorial' in the Bolt Action and Semi-Auto rifles areas would also be a fantastic guide for new members.

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

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JohnWebbXPrivate
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Re: Tips For Asking Advice About Rifle Scopes
09/28/2016
(1 vote)
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I found a really good video for that yesterday by a guy named Ryan Glecker( think that’s right). Do a search for “scope basics/ tracking your scope”

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6fiveN7XPrivate
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Re: Tips For Asking Advice About Rifle Scopes
09/29/2016
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Good list! Just one point of note, the "HD" definition isn't completely correct. People often refer to it as "high definition" but it really stands for "high density," describing optics with high density, low dispersion lenses that are matched or "apochromatically-corrected" to reduce chromatic aberrations. Thanks for a good write up!

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MrShotgunXPrivate
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Re: Tips For Asking Advice About Rifle Scopes
10/21/2016
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Finally! Great list! It looks like the full list of abbreviations, isn't it?

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BavariaXOberleutnant
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Re: Tips For Asking Advice About Rifle Scopes
12/21/2016
(2 votes)
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JohnWebb wrote:
I found a really good video for that yesterday by a guy named Ryan Glecker( think that’s right). Do a search for “scope basics/ tracking your scope”​
He has a book called The Long Range Shooting Handbook that is very helpful for people getting into distance shooting you should check out.

In the next edition of the book, I'm actually cited.
 
Feb 13, 2017
116
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#4
I wish I had this when buying my scope! Fortunately, I got ended up with a scope I needed, it just took me a bit longer and a lot of unguided research to get there.
 
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Dr59860

Guest
#11
Good information. Budget should be your primary driver. We don't emphasize fiscal responsibility like we should.
 

mjsand44

Online Training Member
Jun 3, 2017
10
0
1
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#12
Thanks for the help to clarify my question. It will be on a bolt action 6.5 CM. LE competition are usually under 600 yards, however I would like to hit a few prs style competitions. There are only a few local prs style matches in my area, but they may stretch to just over 1000. Moving stages have been 500 and in. Most targets will focus on crappy firing position positions 600 and in. I would like to use the LE competitions to help learn and train for the prs style competitions. I would like to purchase the FFP NF ATCAR; I am just not sure if the 7-35 power range would be difficult to use the reticle a lower powers. I was looking the TREMOR 3 and was concerned that something that busy would be unusable until it hit 15 – 20 power, due to the scale of the reticle as it moves through the magnification range. I use the wide field of view when I shoot movers or have several targets in a tight time line and cannot dial. Does the 7-35 reticle look like a thumb print at 10-12 power, or is clear enough that you can make accurate hold overs and leads. My .308 has a NF SFP ATCAR on it and it sucks to always have to do math on the fly and make sure I am truly on half power. (I work in LE for a reason). My question relates to reticle usability throughout the mag ranges as apposed to what scope is the most awesome. I see the top shooters in LE competitions (who get to pick their gear) are running 5-25 or 3-27 splitting the difference in power, travel, and field of view. (Maybe that should answer my question). However, the 7-35 has not been around long enough to know if it is good to go for my intended purpose or if it is more of an elr scope. I am in Canada and there is not a local shop I can check them out at. Thanks for your patience with my questioning. I have found lots of info on the difference between scopes, power range glass quality, but very little the reticle usability at lower powers.
 
Jun 26, 2012
1,291
148
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N. Carolina
#13
Thanks for the help to clarify my question. It will be on a bolt action 6.5 CM. LE competition are usually under 600 yards, however I would like to hit a few prs style competitions. There are only a few local prs style matches in my area, but they may stretch to just over 1000. Moving stages have been 500 and in. Most targets will focus on crappy firing position positions 600 and in. I would like to use the LE competitions to help learn and train for the prs style competitions. I would like to purchase the FFP NF ATCAR; I am just not sure if the 7-35 power range would be difficult to use the reticle a lower powers. I was looking the TREMOR 3 and was concerned that something that busy would be unusable until it hit 15 – 20 power, due to the scale of the reticle as it moves through the magnification range. I use the wide field of view when I shoot movers or have several targets in a tight time line and cannot dial. Does the 7-35 reticle look like a thumb print at 10-12 power, or is clear enough that you can make accurate hold overs and leads. My .308 has a NF SFP ATCAR on it and it sucks to always have to do math on the fly and make sure I am truly on half power. (I work in LE for a reason). My question relates to reticle usability throughout the mag ranges as apposed to what scope is the most awesome. I see the top shooters in LE competitions (who get to pick their gear) are running 5-25 or 3-27 splitting the difference in power, travel, and field of view. (Maybe that should answer my question). However, the 7-35 has not been around long enough to know if it is good to go for my intended purpose or if it is more of an elr scope. I am in Canada and there is not a local shop I can check them out at. Thanks for your patience with my questioning. I have found lots of info on the difference between scopes, power range glass quality, but very little the reticle usability at lower powers.
At 7 power the trmr3 is very useable. I have an H59 in a 3.5-21 and I can use it at 3.5. Of course I’m not holding over at that power at longer ranges. I used to really like the Horus Christmas tree reticle (58, 59; trmr) but I find myself moving away from them now, except on my 308. Just food for thought. NF makes some good reticles so it might be worth looking into the MIL-C or the MIL-R instead in the 7-35.

I suggest reading this:
https://forum.snipershide.com/threa...nett-is-a-witch-doctor-discuss.6303791/page-2
 
Last edited:
Jun 26, 2012
1,291
148
63
N. Carolina
#15
At what power are you able to start using the reticle?
It can be used at any power. For me, and this is subjective, at around 10 is where I find it most useful. I can see a good amount of the tree at this power. But that only works on larger targets. If I was shooting a coke can, I would power up for a more refined hold.
 

TEVYA

New Hide Member
Feb 10, 2018
9
0
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#17
Great article by WJM 308. I have been dealing with the confusion of MOA/MILLS for a long time. It was easy to understand the #s the way
it was presented. SH is a wonderful forum to have. Cant thank you enough. :D