First or Second focal plane Rifle scope

ejg

Well-Known Member
As is so often the case on forums, the OP and his question becomes totally forgotten. Would those rabitting on about what PRS competitors and snipers use please read the OP's post. He isn't a PRS competitor, or a sniper, or anything else. In a crisp 16-word post, he asks about long-range target shooting and F-Class at that.

As for variable scopes



only someone who doesn't compete in top level F-Class matches would say that. Sure, competitors tend to stick to one scope setting in a match but sometimes reducing light levels or mirage getting up make a change in power setting unavoidable. ....... and believe me, these people shooting into the very small small targets used in the discipline notice any change in POI that arises outside of wind changes. The philosopher's stone that everyone seeks is perfect elevation for 20 shots over a 30 or 40 minute match at 1,000-1,200 yards, every one 'on the mid-point waterline' and on some ranges in some conditions that exactly what people achieve in addition to sub half-MOA grouping.
Laurie, what I meant is the F-Class shooter gets his sighters, can set the magnification that he thinks is right and make a correction. A hunter can't. Loosing a match is not as bad as loosing a deer or issues a sniper might have. yes I understand the competition aspect but also understand that the gear is in dynamic development and you might have a first focal plane target scope at some stage. They have some advantages. I personally have not measured or knowingly noticed any problems with my SFP scopes but also zero at max mag and shoot longer ranges at max mag with them. Prefer my ffp scopes for hunting.
How much does the centre dot or crosshair line on a typical sfp F-Class scope cover at 1000m nowadays?
edi
 

PKL

Well-Known Member
On my Zeiss 3-9x36 Diavari-C (an SFP I now know it as) the instructions, I think, always said to zero with it set at 9x maximum magnification. I've never much worried though if I did zero with it at 4x as the poi didn't move if I then increased the magnification.
ha! that's my 2nd favourite scope after my 4x32 zeiss diatal ZA T*
 

Laurie

Well-Known Member
How much does the centre dot or crosshair line on a typical sfp F-Class scope cover at 1000m nowadays?
Points taken.

Re dot sizes, they vary according to maker and customer tastes, but they've become very small indeed on L-R match scopes. My original first production year Sightron SIII 8-32X56 LRTD of nearly 10 years ago had IIRC a a 0.2 or maybe even quarter-MOA dot and everybody complained it was too big. On the first production update Sightron went to 0.125-MOA and that eighth-MOA size is probably the most widely used these days in L-R target scopes irrespective of what else is on the reticle in terms of plain or with hash marks.

In the past I usually set my scopes at around 20-22X to see the fall of shot on the target on either side of mine at long range as a wind-reading aid, but this has become largely redundant now with the move to e-targetry and I suppose I'll increasingly use max power in most situations for a 'finer aim'. (That's 32-power for all my scopes bar one venerable 12-42 NXS.) The American 'Effers' all set their Nightforce 'Competitions' to the max 55 power and rarely change even if it rains. (And somehow they learn to live with serious mirage too at that sort of setting - don't know how to be honest.) We're too dark here half the time to play that game but with scopes offering up to 80-power these days and 55/60 as common as dirt, there are a lot of people running at 50 power plus if the conditions allow. At these magnifications with a small dot and with the superb contrast and resolution the top models offer now, you have no trouble picking out even a very fine reticle on a black target and you'll see small details clearly on the target centre at 1,000 - patches, a minor tear or two, a horsefly on a clear day and with an eighth-MOA dot, shooters literally select a tiny point for 'aim-off' on the target centre. We're probably talking aiming to within less than a half-inch square at 1,000 yards, less for some people with the latest and most expensive scopes and better eyesight than mine.

I'm unusual in that I do most of my adjustments, through 'clicking' ie on the turrets. Most F-Class shooters set the turrets at the beginning of a match after two or three shots to a mean setting for the conditions and often shoot the remainder of the match without touching them again, aiming-off (often on either side for wind) according to what the last shot and the wind flags tell them using the target ring dimensions which are both known and uniform as a guide to the actual windage change being aimed for. I do that for small aim-offs - up to half-MOA, but then prefer to change the turret setting for larger amounts. Various methods are used on the plotting sheet to record estimated wind / setting and actual wind encountered, the latter shown by the POI. Many aimer-offers put two marks on the plot for each shot, one where they aimed, the other for the fall of shot. (Americans and Aussies don't plot as they 'string-shoot' and shoot very fast, but the UK and Canadian practice of paired (or often three to a target in club matches) shooters operating sequentially make it essential to plot as the gap between shots are long enough to see big condition changes.
 
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johngryphon

Well-Known Member
Would those rabbiting on about what PRS competitors and snipers use please read the OP's post. He isn't a PRS competitor, or a sniper, or anything else. In a crisp 16-word post, he asks about long-range target shooting and F-Class at that.


he asked about the below....


First or Second focal plane Rifle scope
 

Laurie

Well-Known Member
yes .......... specifically for long-range F-Class, not unknown distance tactical or sniper applications or for that matter deerstalking in the woods. Many posts simply don't mention anything relevant to precision L-R shooting at known distances and instead 'rabbit on' about the best type of scope for completely different applications.

If you asked on a motoring forum about Porsche v Ferrari supercars for a bit of trackwork would you be impressed by people telling you that their SUV is an ideal shopping trolley, or that Toyota Land Cruiser is the bee's knees for crossing the Aussie 'Great Blue'?
 

johngryphon

Well-Known Member
If you asked on a motoring forum about Porsche v Ferrari supercars for a bit of trackwork would you be impressed by people telling you that their SUV is an ideal shopping trolley, or that Toyota Land Cruiser is the bee's knees for crossing the Aussie 'Great Blue'?

No need to go onto a motor forum all of the above happens right here on the Sales Directory.
 

ejg

Well-Known Member
Laurie, I am not sure if I don't have a mistake along here somewhere. If I understand right the only reason for SFP is that one can make a crosshair with a smaller dot at higher mag. If my guess is right F class hardly ever use under 20 mag meaning a 20 to 50 mag scope or 25-50 mag would be ideal for this competition. You mentioned 0.125MOA being acceptable which would be roughly 3.2mm diameter at 100m. Now even my bog standard FFP tactical/hunting scope 6-24x56 has reticle and centre dot of 3.6mm at 100m. Not too far off at all. Crank the mag range up on a ffp target scope and one could possibly half the size or at least be in the range of what is wanted. If you shoot your given target at your given range would you use the reticle or centre dot to judge the hold off? With a ffp the size of the centre dot in the reticle would stay the same size in relation to the target and even if you need to change mag for whatever reason your centre dot can still be used to judge the hold off. This coupled with a sturdier mechanical design of ffp (according to S&B) would in my books lead to a better scope.
edi
 

Laurie

Well-Known Member
You mentioned 0.125MOA being acceptable which would be roughly 3.2mm diameter at 100m. Now even my bog standard FFP tactical/hunting scope 6-24x56 has reticle and centre dot of 3.6mm at 100m. Not too far off at all.
No, I grabbed the original Sightron LRDT target reticle from the wrong end of the stick thinking it was reduced to 1/8-MOA in the update. Instead it started at this size and after criticism was reduced.

Looking at today's in-scopes makers' specs (which I don't own, can't afford, and to be honest don't miss), 3/32 or 0.095-MOA give or take a hundredth or so seems to be the norm for the dot and thinner thickness reticle lines, 0.016-MOA in the simple no embellishment traditional crosshairs Nightforce CTR-3 for instance. I presume these measurements subtend at maximum power in the older model 8-32-power scopes, but in today's higher mag L-R precision scopes from March and Nightforce, they subtend at 15 to 20-power below the maximum setting typically around 40X.

At 100, 0.095-MOA is a shade under a tenth of an inch or 2.5mm in newfangled metric. This sounds around right as in 100 yard load development I use the downloadable Targets.com half-inch red dots on a 1-inch square grid variant. At 32X which I'd use invariably at this distance with a pedestal rest / rear bag supported and benched rifle, I have effectively five aiming marks on the target dots - centre, 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions usually choosing the 12 o'clock. For those with the March 6-60 and NF 5-55 comp models, that will be smaller still at full magnification, and these magnifications can be (and are) used on most days up at Diggle where I test-shoot as mirage is usually light to non-existent.

Very few people will buy these scopes for 100 yard shooting so it is mid to long-range where their suitability or otherwise shows up. So a 0.095-MOA dot at 1,000 yards at the 40X setting equates to a 0.99-inch dia. circle presented on the 5.23-inch 'V' Bull ring. In dot v ring area terms, that's 0.77 sq in v 85.93 or under 1% of the area. HOWEVER, I bet I've got that wrong in some way as I never understood the physics of optics.

Looking at Nightforce's catalogue though is instructive. The king of the SWP range is the aforementioned 5-55X52 'Competition' offered with four reticle forms two with and two without centre dots. Both dots are 0.095-MOA and all stadia lines or hash marks are 0.016-MOA thickness.

The much larger FFP range is lower power across the board with the majority of models at or under 25X maximum.

Nightforce Optics - Rugged. Reliable. Repeatable. | Riflescopes & Sport Optics | Nightforce Optics, Inc. ...... and click on 'MENU'

Only one model offers a higher power, the 34mm tube ATACR 7-35X56 F1 model. The UK price of this apparently PRS discipline orientated model is £3,625 at Optics Warehouse UK, and that's 'on offer' from a higher price level. That's some 45-50% higher than the 5-55 Competition, although it's for an illuminated reticle (ATACR) model and I can't work out if there is a non-illuminated version. (F-Class and BR shooters never specify illuminated types if there is a plain alternative - more cost, weight, something else to go wrong, and nobody ever uses the illumination except maybe on days of drizzle, low cloud and such low light that most competitors reckon the match should be abandoned.)

On reticles, only one Nightforce FFP offers a centre dot form, again the ATACR F1s in 16, 25 and 35 power versions with its new MIL-C F1 ret. It is listed as 0.05 MILs diameter (0.17-MOA) which is 0.178 inches / 4.5mm at 100 yards The norm in all other reticles is a centre-cross whose variants are very much larger, 0.2-MOA in the MOA-R and 1-MIL / 3.44-MOA tip to tip in the MIL-R type. Stadia lines are much thicker than those in the SFP target scope reticles too at 0.1-MIL / 0.34-MOA. That 0.2-MIL (0.69-MOA) centre-cross covers 0.72 inches tip to tip at 100 yards, or 18.26mm in newspeak. The much larger (1-MIL/3.44-MOA) tip to tip cross in most NF FFP reticles covers most of the F-Class target's centre as the 3-ring is 3.5-MOA diameter.

(Note that all FFP reticle dimensions are quoted in MILs (3.44-MOA) and all SFP equivalents on the company's spec sheets are MOA. It is very easy to make an invalid comparison and care must be taken to do the appropriate sums before further conversions to inches and millimeters. I imagine other scope manufacturers also use this convention.)

With the highest magnification FFP model in the range a very expensive 7-35 and the others peaking at 25X, most F-Class shooters won't even consider these scopes. 32-power is regarded rightly or wrongly as 'tame' by most and at least 50-power is regarded as essential now by many competitors.

This is one company only, but even with March, Sightron and Vortex challenging NF in the premium scope markets it is still a main player, maybe in world terms the largest for civilian markets and I'd suspect the other quality makers' ranges will be similar.
 

Laurie

Well-Known Member
This would be enough to make my mind up re which I prefer
S&B's scope range in this segment is called PMII, that is Polizei u Militar II. They are built accordingly for those users as big, tough, and as near unbreakable as is practicable. The downsides are size, cost and weight.

If you intend to throw your scoped rifle over a wall to be followed by yourself whilst under fire, this is an excellent combination of product features (cost aside). Most 'Effers' and BR L-R precision shooters treat their equipment a shade more gently.

S&Bs are still occasionally seen in F-Open with its generous weight allowance, never in the F/TR division where the weight ceiling makes it essential to save weight on the scope, bipod and even action to be able to put it into the barrel instead. March has sold a lot of its high end SFP models here in both classes, partly on glass and magnification, but also because when first introduced they were 6-8 ounces lighter than equivalent target scopes and 1lb or more lighter than PMIIs.

On top of that, until relatively recently S&Bs came with turret rotations the opposite to the US / GB target equipment norm only so it was very easy to dial in wind or elevation the wrong way and throw points away. The turret clicks were (are still?) very positive but also very hard work to operate and therefore unattractive to target shooters who 'click' rather than aim-off. This is 100% correct for a military / police scope - once set, the turrets won't turn inadvertently even if the user loses his footing and falls down a scree slope in Afghanistan a*se over tip while stalking Taliban fighters and bashes the rifle and scope around.

So, whilst S&B PMIIs get a lot of use in tactical, practical, sniper and similar fast firing and running-around disciplines their representation in F-Class is minimal, close to nil. It's not therefore a company to quote for this discipline as it has failed to make any inroads there through unsuitable products.
 

Sako75Hunter

Well-Known Member
So, whilst S&B PMIIs get a lot of use in tactical, practical, sniper and similar fast firing and running-around disciplines their representation in F-Class is minimal, close to nil. It's not therefore a company to quote for this discipline as it has failed to make any inroads there through unsuitable products.
Fair enough. My sole use and interest is hunting - often in extremely rough terrain, so ruggedness is very important to me in a rifle scope. But the OP's question was only with regard to target shooting, and I accept that.

Regardless, I've learned a few useful and interesting things from this thread already (especially from @ejg, as so often - thanks), which is what I come onto SD for!
 
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ejg

Well-Known Member
Laurie, I know there is nothing or little on the market at the moment in regards to high magnification light weight ffp scopes. Recon if everyone is happy with sfp then it is OK..... until someone wins with something else. One seems to hear that quite a number of scopes pack up in F-Class shooting?? Also NF. any truth in that?
Now my spotting scope has a ffp Similar to my MSR reticle with 20-40 mag, it's bigger brother has ffp 30-60 magnification. What I am trying to say is that I am sure it is no problem to manufacture a 2x or 3x mag scope in ffp with a small reticle that also has advantages that a SFP does not offer.
I am more interested in what scopes will be used tomorrow... and if it would make sense to think about ffp in F-Class. I am interested in the technology that is used in F-Class which lead to those fantastic results however never been interested in competing. Since starting my apprenticeship at 16 I am involved in designing new products or processes.
The PMII range, of course... horses for courses, tactical scope is made to shoot body sized targets in rough environment often as quick as possible, not small targets.
edi

Sako 75, I have also learnt plenty on here. Lots of talent on this forum from all areas of shooting.
 

Ronin

Distinguished Member
Conversely many people in F class use the March 5-40 FX (FFP Scope with Moa graduated ret FMA2 and in my case 1/8th Moa adjustment

Seems to work ok for target work at International Level competition (when I was playing at F Class properly)
 

Rider

Well-Known Member
Laurie,
even though I am a FFP protagonist I have to admit that with the explanations you have provided us with there are obviously sensible applications for SFP scopes.
My view is, and still is, that I want a first-shot-hit, without sighters. But with respect to the OP's question, SPF may be his means of choice.
 
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Laurie

Well-Known Member
Conversely many people in F class use the March 5-40 FX (FFP Scope with Moa graduated ret FMA2 and in my case 1/8th Moa adjustment

Seems to work ok for target work at International Level competition (when I was playing at F Class properly)
Thanks for that Andy. I'm not exactly au-fait with the current March range as whatever it is lies outside my price bracket. (£2,729.26 for this one looking at Gary C's March UK site). It looks an eminently sensible model, although the 1/8-MOA dot is a bit fat for my tastes.

You obviously coped OK with the reticle expanding alongside magnification. (I'd find that hard to live with.)


Laurie, I know there is nothing or little on the market at the moment in regards to high magnification light weight ffp scopes. Recon if everyone is happy with sfp then it is OK..... until someone wins with something else. One seems to hear that quite a number of scopes pack up in F-Class shooting?? Also NF. any truth in that?
Ah, I am the wrong person to ask for future optics trends in any discipline being a registered Has-Been in top level competition. All I know is that the top makers keep producing new stuff and apparently useful innovations at a time when you'd think that anything worhwhile must have been done already and no more improvements can be made. Many, many years ago I had similar thoughts re Japanese SLR cameras, but lo and presto the innovations kept appearing and just when manufacturers might have been running short of bright ideas, the digital age arrived and now compacts (or phones Lord Help Us!) produce as good images as many mainstream 35mm SLRs of that era, video too, and no taking a film cassette to Jessups or mailing it off to Max Spielman for processing.

I imagine that's where the next big changes will come - inbuilt microprocessors and ballistics programs. I know that some sporting scope manufacturers have been working on compact 'smart-scopes' for the 'hunting market'. Who knows what you could produce there? Pre-enter your cartridge's ballistics, download your Kestrel's take on the ambient conditions in the field (or maybe the scope does that too), tell it the target is a roedeer (select large, small or medium), scope the beast, let the scope range it automatically and select/apply the correct elevation and windage and all you have to do when the in-vision LED flashes up green is put the crosshairs on the animal and squeeze the trigger. Top of the range has NV or low-light capability too? Sounds like Sci-fi, but riflescopes are still in the digital dark ages compared to cameras and other optical equipment. I'd imagine that it'll be the 'hunting' side that sees the changes, first because that's where the volume sales are, but also because target shooting's regulators will almost certainly ban 'smart-scopes'.

When Andy ('Ronin') and I were returning from the 2013 FCWC at Raton via Denver Airport, the friendly TSA officer who checked our rifles out pre-boarding told some of us that his team had checked in a 'super-sniper' rig that morning which allegedly guaranteed hits out to incredible distances using smart technology to do all the adjustments. It was being taken to some military facility for a demo to the guys in camo' suits. Five and a half years on nobody has adopted such a system that I've ever heard of, but I'm pretty sure it's coming sooner or later.

On reliability, a member of the Canadian F-Class team to the World Championships in Ottawa, 2017 had the temerity to report multiple failures of a newly introduced American model on the Accurate Shooter Forum and was virtually trolled out of the website. A lot of people got really upset about it. The guy is personal friend from the previous (2013) FCWC and emailed me afterwards that that this isn't the first time he'd had this reaction, but assured me this was the case as some of the failures had occurred to his fellow team members. There were vague murmurs about the NF 'Competition' in its early days too, but this never got beyond gossip and innuendo. If there was anything in it, I imagine both of these makers quickly issued replacements. The one thing in common with these stories is usually that the scope is new and has been rushed into service for a major event often with team sponsorship involved. As with the bad old days car industry it appears that being an early adopter of a new model to use the marketeer's jargon carries risks. (Some would say, what bad old days with cars? - still happens!)

I'll stress all this is plain hearsay - no issues with scopes owned by people I know. I have seen failed target scopes, but invariably as a result of on-range accidents - rifles falling over, their owners falling over (ranges often get very muddy and slippery behind the FPs at large meetings), parked rifles being kicked by people walking over them etc. Unlike S&B PMIIs, a lot of match products are pretty fragile!

What isn't hearsay is that the NF Competition's first specification wasn't 100% perfect and NF made a fair few changes after about a year on sale, the main one being to increase the change a turret revolution produced from 6-MOA (IIRC) to 10-MOA.
 
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Laurie

Well-Known Member
By coincidence, the Accurate Shooter site (some here will know it better by its former name 6mmBR.com) has a report of the upcoming annual Berger South West Nationals about to start in Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday on its daily news Blog or 'Bulletin'.

Daily Bulletin

Scroll down the photos (archived from 2016) and there is a shooter's eye view of a target through the scope and you can just make out the very fine reticle typical of those used by most people and how little of the view it covers. The 'scope is obviously set on a very low magnification as the entire frame only occupies a small part of the FOV instead of the 'black' filling it as it will in a match. (Even at a super-low setting, the mirage on this desert range looks forbidding too.)
 

ejg

Well-Known Member
I remember that coyote tan stock in the opening picture of the link.... first E-Tac for an RPA we did.
We were at a meeting last Friday discussions were held about future developments in SF military equipment. Very interesting stuff. Electronics will move in everywhere. Of course at some point weight reduction via modern materials will be taken very seriously... just adding gear won't do.
edi
 

Ronin

Distinguished Member
Some of the best scopes for F class are the Nightforce NXS 8-32 - they are about perfect with the NP R2 ret (sadly no longer an option for the NXS scope)

Very good alternative to the March scope FX for those on a budget
 

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