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Thread: Mil-dot reticle in low light ?

  1. #1

    Mil-dot reticle in low light ?

    Who uses the Mil dot in his stalking scope? I used Edi's (Ejg) Zeiss Conquest 6.5-20x50 when I was over in Ireland. Would like to get a similar scope to put on a 243 to practice on the range a mid range ( 200-400m) and to use it on fox from the high seat. I realy like the n4 reticle, but this is no longer available in this scope. A few years ago I used a friends Nightforce and was realy disapointed about the plex type reticle. My 48 year old eyes couldn't see it properly in last light.
    Would the "dot's" be better visible in low light than the plex type reticle ? I don't want the mil dot as a range "finder" but more to be better visible in low light.
    These scopes don't excist with illimunated reticles. I already have considered the new Meopta 2.5-15x56, but this scope is a lot heavier.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Hawke makes some illuminated Mil Dot scopes in the Sport HD line, in 4x32mm, 2-7x32, and 3-9x40mm. Very inexpensive way to try it out.

    Many mil dot reticles are pretty fine, down to 1/4 MOA.

    I am using 2 Hawke 4x32 HD ( no IR) now, ordered a 2-7x32AO mil dot. Have used 10x42 mil dot in the past, no problem, but I am used to fine crosshairs, and prefer lower power scopes, even shooting vintage rifles with 2.5x, 4x and 6x fine crosshairs at normal hunting ranges ( out to 350 yards ). I don't use them in dusk and dawn situations, though.

  4. #4
    Every Hawke scope I looked through were so lousy in low light conditions that I would not even consider ever touching one again. I have three 6.5-20x50 conquest and shoot them without illumination without problems to the last light, would not rate them worse than my 3-12x50 S&B Zenith with illumination. I used my Kahles 624i quite a bit in the last two years, often at last light and got on great with the mil dot mostly don't even switch on the illumination. For me the limiting factor is making out the deer and it's position rather than seeing the crosshair, don't seem to have a problem with that, be it Zeiss plex on the conquest or mil3 on the Kahles. The Zenith FD7 is extremely light at 3 magnification, mostly have the dot on with that one.
    Hales you are younger than me...

  5. #5
    Of course a $50 Hawke 4x32 scope is not as good as any S&B, and not good for low light. But its etched reticle is very sharp, and you can assess the worth of any mil dot scope with it, even if not a few minutes later than you can with a scope costing 50x as much.

    Mil Dot scopes are for ranging targets at long distances ( relative to the cartridge). Shooting before daylight or just after sunset is not a long range proposition. You don't need much magnification. You need light transmission and clarity, 6 to 8x max. To my mind, it is like playing golf: use several clubs.

    And it is better to spend $50 on a scope and sell it for $30 to learn something about a feature unknown to you, than it is to try to select a $2,000 scope from reviews and opinions of users.

  6. #6
    Mil-dot sccopes are not for crap in low-light. As has been said many have very small dots and even if they are on the large size (for mil-dots) they are going to be hard to pick up against any dark background since there is not enough mass to make them standout. The German #1 or the 1a are both good low-light reticles

    The value of the mil-dot is not for range-finding although it can be be done but rather for hold-overs/unders if you know the actual ballistics of the cartridge you are shooting. In the Army I always zero'd my M24 at 500 for elevation (200 for windage) and when I did not have time to make an actual elevation correction using the knob I could use my pre-determined holds. Worked pretty good.

    Some try to range-find with the mil-dots on animals, people, trees, etc. Problem is that all are not created equal so if you are using a constant for a 1.6m man it can cause significant errors if your target is 1.8 and you don't know it. Same for trying to use the "average" size of trees in the area. Ranging on inanimate objects like vehicles or bulding windows/doors can be a bit better but angles and light can adversely affect this as well. I don't want to teach a range-finding class but having done this at SOTIC I can tell you using mil-dots for range-finding is not a good solution.


  7. #7
    I used a Nikon Monarch BDC recently and couldn't see any appreciable difference at last light between it and a couple of vastly more expensive options from the bigger names.

    Mil dots and BDC only work if you know your range and have mapped your impact points accordingly. Provided you put a little effort into getting to know your impact points and provided you have the means of establishing the distance to your target, I find them very workable.

    Nikon have a blindingly accurate online application for working out your impact points in relation to various factory rounds at different magnification with their ret options:

    If nothing else it's worth a peep to see what various rounds are doing.

    I know it might not be a mil dot but I do like Meopta's graduated ret...

  8. #8
    I use a Mil-Dot mostly for hold-over and offset. Having all the spacings constant makes it easy to just figure the span at any given range and how much that is above or below your current zero range. You just need to be able to estimate range or use rangefinder. I am having fun shooting out to 200 yards wth a .22 LR and a Hawke Sport Mil Dot, with the rifle zeroed at 75 yards.

    In another thread on this section, right beside this one, is a discussion of illuminated dot 1-4x, 1.25-5x, 1.5-6x scopes with German #1 and #4 reticles.

  9. #9
    I laser my shoot if I'm static and build a mental map of reference points at known range.

    You don't always get time to laser a deer but you can often pick particular and obvious reference points and build a picture in increments.

    That said, the distances involved are quite significant and while mil dots can give you your vertical they can't help you deal with eddies and cross wind, which has to be the biggest enemy of long range shooting...

  10. #10
    The Nightforce made me scared to use/buy thin reticles. Using the German n4 ret is like putting on my favourite boots, it's like coming home. I start considering the Meostar R2 2.5-15x56 with ill ret. 15 mag will probably already help for informal target shooting. This scope will also be great for foxing or winter hind shooting on a dark hill. I am born and raised with the number 4 and it just feels right for me.
    I can imagine that a mil dot is very practical for holdover shots.

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