Scope reticle choices are numerous today. This week we want to discuss some of the different features that are out there. We also want to discuss a trend that we’re seeing and why it’s a good one. The reason for this should be fairly straight forward. A scope reticle is a very personal choice to make. In all honesty it can be even more important than the brand of scope you buy. What I mean is which scope reticle choices are available can actually drive sales of a given scope brand.
These days most guys are using the reticle to make wind adjustments rather than dialing. We’re also seeing time constraints in different matches forcing shooters to use holdovers for speed. The point is the scope reticle you wind up with can be very important when it comes to actually getting out and shooting. This is particularly true in a competitive setting. So let’s look at some features, trends, and options that are available today!
Scope Reticles 101
Here we have the Bushnell G2 scope reticle. This is an extremely popular reticle. It is found in a lot of the Bushnell DMR/ERS/XRS scopes you see out there today. It incorporates a lot of features that are desirable to shooters. Most shooters like a hash style reticle over dots and other shapes. It makes for precise holds when compensating for wind or elevation. This reticle is MIL based which is one of the trends we mentioned in the opening. MIL based scopes are pretty popular these days. There’s nothing wrong with MOA, if that’s your thing. We call things like this a trend for a reason though, it’s the direction things are moving in. This reticle also has sort of an abbreviated “christmas tree” below the main crosshair intersection. That’s useful for elevation and windage holds where you may not have time to dial.
Scope Reticle Resolution
The other thing to note about this reticle is what I’m going to call the scope reticle resolution. It’s graduated in half MIL increments. The first hash mark left or right of the main crosshair intersection is a half MIL. The second hash mark represents a full MIL. This has been pretty popular and the standard for a long time. It’s what resolution most of my scopes are graduated in. However, as other technology advances so does scope reticle technology and innovation.
The Kahles SKMR1 is a very traditional looking reticle. It’s simple and clean. There is no “christmas tree” beneath the main intersection. This is the sort of reticle most people think of when envisioning a scope reticle. However, it’s more advanced and with the times than it seems. The windage hash marks have a .2 MIL resolution. This has become extremely popular recently. We’re starting to see other companies adopt reticle designs with 0.2 MIL resolutions. I think the reasoning behind this is fairly simple. With a half MIL resolution you can fairly easily halve a half MIL. That allows you to make a fairly accurate quarter MIL hold. What if you need something that falls between 0.25 MILs and 0.5 MILs? Now you’re “SWAGing” it a bit. SWAG meaning Scientific Wild Ass Guess.
0.2 MIL Scope Reticles Offer More Accuracy
A scope reticle with 0.2 MIL resolution offers more accuracy. You can halve 0.2 MILs by holding between the hash marks. That means if your wind call is 0.4 MILs, you can make that hold accurately. More accurately than guessing where 0.4 or 0.3 MILs lands between a half MIL and full MIL hash mark! Whether or not you want the Christmas Tree feature is a personal preference. I’ve come to like the extra reference points.
You can make accurate holds without a tree. People have done it plenty of times over years and years. Some people like the tree, some don’t. One thing I really like about the reticles without the tree is the unobstructed view. It’s nice to have all that open area to look for targets. Some reticles can take the extra reference points to the extreme. I find those to be rather busy and cluttered. However, it really is a personal preference. The nice thing is when the company offers a scope reticle choice for both.
Kahles is one company that offers reticles both with and without the Christmas tree component. Another example is Vortex Optics.
Other Scope Reticles
Nightforce has a new reticle due out this year. The MIL-C reticle! I’m pretty excited about this reticle because I’m a Nightforce fan. The first scope I bought was a Nightforce and it has served me well and never let me down. Nightforce has a reputation for extreme durability and reliability. The problem for me in recent years has been their scope reticle choices. I’ve not been a huge fan of their reticle choices and that’s made me hold off on another purchase.
The new MIL-C reticle has a lot of the features I’m after. I’m ready for another non-Christmas tree reticle. I want 0.2 MIL resolution on the reticle so I can split the 0.2 MIL hashes down to 0.1 MIL if needed. Nightforce has also done something a few other companies have dabbled with when designing the MIL-C. They went with an open center and dot design at the main crosshair intersection. I had a Vortex Razor years ago with an open center and really liked that. An open center reticle doesn’t have the crosshairs meet in the middle. The middle is left open so you can see the target.
I find the open center very appealing at distance. Instead of obscuring the target, you can still see it! The MIL-C has a modified open center where there’s a floating center dot. The dot has open space around it on all sides. This way you put the dot on the target and can see some of the target surrounding the dot. Pretty cool! The MIL-C scope reticle should be available on the 5-25x ATACR and the new 7-35x ATACR this summer!
There are lots of things to look at when evaluating a scope reticle. Is the reticle offered in MIL or MOA? Is there an option to buy a version of the reticle with a Christmas tree of reference holds if you want it? Do you want a closed or open center? Maybe a floating dot? Lastly, what resolution do you want? These are all questions you have to answer for yourself. Most of my shooting is either recreational and for articles on this site. I try to squeeze local and national level matches into my schedule whenever possible. They’re excellent training and a fun way to test yourself.
The point is most of my shooting is what we’d characterize as “tactical” these days. Bigger targets from harder positions and without any warmup or sight in rounds. For those purposes I’m finding myself gravitating towards the open center or floating dot crosshair intersections. I shoot with half MIL resolution reticles on a regular basis and find myself desiring a 0.2 MIL resolution reticle. So that’s what I’ll be purchasing next. Whether it’s something from Kahles, Minox, or Nightforce remains to be seen! Planning a purchase of your own? Tell me about it in the comments!