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Scopes with good BDC features

Discussion in 'Long Gun Accessories and Optics' started by D.B. Cooper, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    I'm looking to replace my rifle scope because the BDC isn't terribly useful. It's a Redfield and the manual says something to the effect of for all non magnum calibers 3-06 and below, zero at 200 yrds, use the dot for 300, and the post for 500. We all know how well that isn't going to work.

    Excluding Zeiss and Swarovski, recommend a rifle scope that will let me have 200 yrd zeo, 300, 500 and maybe 600 yards holds that are all spot on. Pretty tall glass to fill.

    Oh yeah. If it's relevant, rifle is an OLD Savage 110 in 243 Win. (Old as in flat black receiver, pre-accutrigger old.)
     
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  2. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    There is no scope with “good BDC features.” It’s a terrible gimmick, and a half-solution which complicates something it pretends to simplify.

    Hard pass.
     
  3. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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    Get a mil-dot with as good glass as you can afford. I Like FFP scopes as they make ranging easier.

    Some of mine I'm very happy with:

    3622_2.5-10x42-FFP-Illuminated.jpg


    IOR Valdada 2.5 - 10x42 FFP Illuminated I got 10 years ago for $1000, but it looks like prices have gone way up to $1400
    https://www.outdoorsbay.com/product/ior-valdada-2-5-10x42-ffp-illuminated-riflescope/


    Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 FFP MRAD, should run you less than $900, The only FFPs I see sold now start at 5x. I know I had to wait on mine to be in stock.
     
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  4. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I strongly disagree. For hunting they are great. Something with dials is more precise, but dots are faster to use. Dials are great for target shooting, but all of my go-to scopes have multiple aiming points. You're not going to find one that is "spot on" and that isn't a negative.

    I have several and this is my approach. I zero ALL of them at 100 yards. For hunting purposes the other aiming points are "close enough" at 200, 300, 400 and 500 yards regardless of the cartridge I'm using.. With my 30-06 it is really close enough to not worry about it. My 308 isn't perfect, but not off enough to cause a miss on big game.

    You still have to go to the range and verify POI. What I've found is that the actual POI for the 200 yard hash mark might actually be 185 yards, or 1-2" lower than the POA at 200 yards. I'll see similar things as the range increases. At 400 yards my 308 is hitting about 4" lower than POA. Hitting 4" lower isn't going to cause a miss, and if you need to hold over it is a heck of a lot easier to compensate for 4" of drop than the normal 4' you'd have to compensate for.

    Why is that NOT a problem. In the 40+ years I've been hunting I've NEVER had a game animal at EXACTLY 100, 200, 300, or 400 yards. They always seem to be at 186, 213, 279, 385, or 410 yards. Even if you have the other hash marks calibrated EXACTLY for 100, 200, 300, yards etc., you still need to compensate. There is no substitute for getting to the range and knowing your drops. But having multiple aiming points will mean you only to hold over/under by a few INCHES rather than a few FEET.
     
  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    To add. If precision drops are your goal then you need to be using something with a custom set of dials for your rifle and load. They are slower to use,but combined with a range finder offer true precision.
     
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  6. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    I'm gonna be odd man out on this one....

    In SFP
    I LIKE holdover reticles, especially on cheaper scopes who's turrets I don't 100% trust.
    I've used the Burris, Nikon, Zeiss, and Athlons MOA marked reticles. For the kind of hunting and plinking I do they are fairly useful, as long as you know what power to have your scope on, and what hash mark equals what range.

    Right now I've got a Zeiss Z800 3-15x42 conquest on my Ridgeline .280AI. I've only shot it at 2 and 300yds but so far I like it. Now that I can access maunakea again I should have a chance to see how it works out farther. I'll also get to play with the wind compensation and see if that works for me.

    the hardest to use I've found are the Nikon circles, but with practice you CAN get decent hits as far out as 500-600yds. Again, I wouldn't CHOOSE these as as an option, especially for hunting, as it usually takes me a couple shots to hit something about 6-8" round outside of 300yds.

    One thing you MUST know is at which power your hash marks are valid, and they won't always be the same power if you want spot on accuracy. They also won't be spot on if your environmental changes arnt taken into account.


    In FFP (which I've decided I really don't like) I think the set moa/mil hash mark scopes make more sense than a drop compensation reticle. These will also match your turrets, or should anyway. They also usually have has marks along the horizontal lines of the reticle. if you know your drop and have time you can dial, then use the windage hash marks to help with a wind hold. If you don't have time, you just hold the correct hash and and eyeball windage. Not as accurate for sure, but I've seen plenty of stuff get wacked by folks using that method.


    End of the day and for most applications I think dialing drop is a better option than drop compensating reticles. but they do work if your willing to put the time into them.
     
  7. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    IF I was seriously on the fence (and I'm not because I use both BDC and Mil Dot depending on use) I'd invest in a ballistic program like Strelok (even the free app will work) and play a bit with BDC reticles and your load/ ballistic data. You can choose a reticle and play at various distances and see what the holdovers true ranges will be. You can also switch the reticle easily to a mil dot and play with that too.

    Like the other guys I've found BDC reticles to work within their limitations at practical hunting distances, out to 500 yds or so. For instance, on a rifle I'm working with now, based on my chrono data the holdover values at max zoom are really:

    300 = 290
    400 = 396
    500 = 501

    When I run the ballistic software the delta is less than 1/4 to .3 MOA "error" in the holdover lines IF I clicked into them. By holding on the top of the holdover 'bar' rather than centering it on the target, I effectively compensate.

    For the precision rifle stuff and varmints I like Mil Dots, but I'm running a heavier rifle for a smaller target and or greater distance. I'm also using a tablet with ballistic software and a Kestrel weather meter.
     
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Didn’t say anything about dialing.

    BDC reticles are nearly worthless. Graduated reticles, with regular intervals, are exceptionally valuable.
     
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  9. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Very few people with experience in the arena of “precision drops” would agree with this statement.

    Those of us who do it on the regular realize custom dials might be correct at 8am, and wrong by noon - just like a BDC reticle.

    Regular graduations, on the reticle and on the knob, with an appropriate understanding of environmental effects and appropriate volume of confirmed DOPE is where we live.

    Custom turrets and BDC reticles don’t have any play.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  10. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    Now I'm really confused lol
     
  11. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    The question is "how wrong"??

    Because if temp, humidity and pressure changes are a concern between 0800 and 1200 then at what exact time is your drop chart correct??
     
  12. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    What Redfield and what reticle do you have? Using Strelok, I plugged in their Accurange reticle at 6x in a 3-9x with 75 gr Speer HP just to get an idea and the drops actually aren't crazy far off from what you want. Might be worth it to try out Strelok and see if what you have might actually do what you want. At 9x, its more of a 300,400,500 drop setup.

    Screenshot_20190813-064934_Strelok Pro.jpg
     
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  13. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    At all times, because it includes corrections for shifts in DA.
     
  14. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    "A man's got to know his limitations."

    There is more interest now than ever in long range shooting that's being translated into hunting. BDC's and custom dials will get you on the paper at longer ranges but will rarely be as precise as the people who sell them claim. Not to mention wind. The longer the range, the more chance for error.

    Set a maximum range that you can consistently make first round hits, and stick to it. Very few people have the experience, equipment, and enough DOPE to make 400+ yard shots.
     
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  15. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I’m cheap and use a few Primary Arms scopes. I have one of their ACSS scopes along with a couple of their Mil Dot (mil/mil) scopes. I personally prefer the Mild Dot over the ACSS. I find the Mild Dot to be more accurate for me.

    With either type of reticle, you should shoot at different distances to verify POI vs POA.

    And I really like and use StrelokPro,
     
  16. Jessesky

    Jessesky Member

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    Steiner GS3 for hunting
    Steiner T5XI for Targets
    CFFF0032-254D-4E1E-B0CE-67DE4048D17C.png D45C1DAF-F5BA-4C23-8B84-B266558CF0B3.png
     
  17. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    Well, the image matches the reticle in my Redfield Revolution 4-12x32. But what that software might tell us isn't applicable because I've shot it at 300 yards in real life, and it doesn't work. (Unless you count 6" low as acceptable.) Also, I keep m scope on 12x all the time and never turn it down, if that makes a difference.

    Although...I can kind of see in that image what you guys are talking about. Perhaps I need to find what ranges the dot and post really align with, rather than expect them to match what the manual says (300, 500).
     
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  18. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    This ^....once you add the current environmental conditions, along with your captured zero data (to include weather) the software will paint a picture of what distance each dot/hash mark corresponds to.

    You can also then play the "what if" game based on changing temps, humidity, pressure, not to mention altitude and angle to TGT. All that 'stuff' that goes into making 1st rd hits with a mil dot scope. Just like a mil dot scope, a 1.7 Mil holdover at 0800 isn't the same effect on target as a 1.7 Mil holdover at 1200 once the temperature has increased (it's worse for non-temp stable powders). How much of an effect really depends on distance.

    Strelok will also let you play with limited "corrections" to bring your 'dots' into closer, such as changing the magnification and sometimes adding a click or 2 to elevation.
     
  19. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    Well. Unfortunately, Strelok is not available for an actual computer, and I use a flip phone, so I won't be using Strelok.
     
  20. wally

    wally Member

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    IMHO if you are going out past 300 yards you need a Mil-Dot type reticle (they also make them calibrated MOA). Under three hundred yards consider that with a 50 yard zero the "point blank range" is ~250 yards (typically defined as a trajectory that is with +/- 5" of the line of sight) for common "hunting calibers". I'm on board with the BDC reticles being a gimmick. At long range wind drift is the real problem, not the easily calculated and compensated for bullet drop.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  21. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    What OS are you running on your computer? May have a solution.
     
  22. wally

    wally Member

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    Try JBM Ballistics calculations, its web based: http://www.jbmballistics.com/ballistics/calculators/calculators.shtml
    maybe start with this one: http://www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmcard-5.1.cgi.

    Another good one is: http://appliedballisticsllc.com/ballistics/

    Hornady has a nice on-line calculator but it only has data for their ammo and bullets: https://www.hornady.com/team-hornady/ballistic-calculators/#!/

    The online ones are pretty nice, but a computer is a lot to drag to the range, so see if you can get a cast-off smart phone without cell service. If necessary put it in "AIrplane Mode" and then separately turn on WiFi to load your apps. I keep an old (Android 4.4) phone in my range bag to run Strelok or Nikon Spot On. Spot on is nice as you can evaluate all the Nikon BDC reticles along with their MilDots/MOA ones.
     
  23. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    I use the same Zeiss scope as Loonwulf. It zeroes at 200 yards and has graduated reticles for 100 yard intervals out to 800. It comes with a ballistic app where you input data including muzzle velocity and the type and weight of bullet you're shooting. The app tells you which magnification to use with the reticles, and you just go and hunt from there. Just remember to not change ammo. Not a bad package for $700.
     
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  24. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    The headache, of course, with the Zeiss app (and others like it) is the fact it locks you into a magnification to calibrate the SFP reticle to the appropriate subtension for the range. It’s much like having a fixed power scope in that regard.

    But what happens if you’re shooting a small target and need to zoom in a bit? Or what if you’re shooting a moving target, or in a high mirage condition where you need to zoom out? What if your target is walking in and continually changing range?

    Or also very likely - what if you forget to adjust your zoom to match your range?

    What happens to the relevancy of windage reference marks in a BDC reticle as you zoom in and out? There aren’t hashes in most of these, but there are indicators, like the width of the yardage stadia.

    None of these are issues with FFP scopes, and corrections can be made to calibrate zooms quickly and easily with non-BDC, regular graduated reticles.
     
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  25. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    My favorite is the Shepherd scopes, they have two reticles one in the FFP and another in the 2nd.

    Both can also move independently from one another. Handy for zeroing or temporarily using a different load, just go right back to the other zero when you are done.

    Not as nice as a lot of my others but for a “jack of all trades” it’s my favorite system. No computer, no charts, don’t even have to take my eyes off the target.
     
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