What You Need to Know About Rifle Scope Reticles

When you are in the market for a new rifle scope, make sure you consider the type of reticle it offers. Read on to learn more about rifle scope reticles.

When many people, particularly newer hunters, start looking for a new rifle scope, they consider the durability of the scope, the magnification, and the quality of the lenses. While these are all important factors that need to be weighed and considered when making a purchase, they are not the only things that you have to keep in mind. It is also important to think about the rifle scope reticle.

This is an area where many people lack knowledge, though, and it often goes overlooked when people are making their final decision. There are many different types of reticles, and it can seem overwhelming to know about each of them and to make the choice that’s right for you. However, we hope to help to demystify the rifle scope reticles, so you can make a better and more informed choice with your next scope purchase.

Below, you will find information on reticles, and we will discuss three high-quality rifle scopes that have great reticles that could be perfect for your hunting and shooting needs. It’s time to get a closer look at the reticle and why choosing the right one is so important.

What is the Reticle on a Scope?

Reticle refers to the markings that are inside of the scope used for aiming in the point of view, or sight picture, of the scope. These are also called crosshairs in many cases. The reticles may be etched into the glass, or they could be made from wire. The scopes might also have other technology that creates an illuminated reticle.

They might be in the shape of a cross, a dot, a chevron, or another pattern. You use the reticle to get on target before you pull the trigger on the rifle and take your shot. They are essential whether you are shooting at a stationary target or one that is moving.

Basic Types of Reticles

Different types of reticles can work well for certain settings. For example, some reticles are best used in tactical situations, while there are also reticles that work well for hunting, for range finding, shooting in low light, compensating for bullet drop, and more.

Holographic Reticle

You can also find holographic reticles today, which are far more complex. They include a collimated laser diode and they are bright enough to see in just about any condition. One of the advantages of using a holographic reticle is that it eliminates issues with parallax. If you are buying a more traditional scope that has high magnification, you will want to be sure that it has a focus turret on the side for parallax adjustments.

Crosshair Reticle

Crosshair reticles are common, and the overall design is often used as a base from which other models are created. A basic crosshair reticle will feature two lines, often made from wire. One of the lines is horizontal while the other is vertical. They point where they cross is where the bullet should hit after the scope has been properly zeroed.

Some of these will have illumination, and they might include a small red dot at the center. This can make it easier to get on target quickly.

Duplex Reticle

Duplex reticles are crosshairs that feature thick lines toward the edges of the scope with a thin crosshair at the center. These are common and popular whether you are a beginning shooter, or you have been shooting for years. The variable width of the lines helps your eyes to focus at the center where your aiming point is located.

Bullet Drop Compensation Reticle

Bullet drop compensation reticles are another option. These reticles can provide you with variable points at which to aim for known distances. They look similar to a duplex reticle, but there are dots on the line below the crosshairs. Each of those dots represents where the bullet will hit at different distances, so you can aim appropriately.

Wind Drift Reticle

This reticle features hash marks on the lower part of the vertical line. These hash marks grow longer the further down they go, which looks similar to a tree. Reticles like these can be found in hunting scopes, as well as tactical scopes, such as those used by the military. These reticles tend to be difficult to use for those who are just beginning.

MIL-Dot Reticle

MIL-Dot reticles are ballistic reticles that feature dots on the lines that lead to the center of the crosshair. These dots are measured in milliradians, which each of the dots equaling one Mrad equal to 3.6” at 100 yards and 36” at 1,000 yards. These are typically used in the military, but you do not find them as often on rifle scopes used for hunting.

Those who are shooting at extremely long distances will find that this type of reticle is an ideal solution. This includes hunters that might have to shoot at long ranges, not just target shooters.

What Type of Reticle is Right for You?

Above, we’ve talked about some of the most common types of reticles that you will find on rifle scopes today. Which of these reticles will be the best solution for your needs? How do you know which of the reticles you should choose?

For most who are going to be hunting or who might head out to shoot some targets from time to time, choosing a traditional style crosshair or duplex reticle is likely all that you need. These are the simplest reticles to understand and to use.

However, the option that you choose will depend on your preferences and how you plan to hunt or shoot. You have to think about the types of features that are important to you. Will you need to account for bullet drop? If you are hunting at great distances, then this might be important to you, and you might want to choose a scope with a reticle that can help.

When you are making your choice of a reticle, there are also some things that you should keep in mind, particularly when it comes to the center feature of the reticle. This is the location where the bullet is going to hit.

The amount of space that the crosshairs cover of the target is called “subtension”. Thinner crosshairs tend to have less subtension, making it easy to see the target. However, if they are too thin, it can make them difficult to pick out in a busy background.

Do You Need Illumination?

Some of the scopes available have reticles that are illuminated. This will make the reticles much easier to see, particularly when you are shooting in conditions that are cloudy or that otherwise put you in low light. However, this doesn’t mean that having an illuminated reticle is always needed.

Plenty of hunters have been successful without an illuminated scope, so don’t think that this is necessarily a make or break feature. It’s nice to have, but it will often add to the cost of the scope.

Remember the Rest of the Scope

Reticles are important, but you also have to remember all of the other elements of the scope mentioned at the beginning of this article. You also need to be sure that the scope is durable and is made from quality materials. You need a scope that has a quality turret system and that is easy to use, and that will remain zeroed.

All of these elements are essential when you are choosing a scope. Just make sure that you give the reticle the importance that it deserves.

Rifle Scopes with Great Reticles

Below, we will be examining three scopes with high-quality reticles and that could work well for your needs as a hunter. Check out these options and the various types of reticles to see if one of these could be your next hunting scope. We’ve included an image of the reticle, as well, for each of the scopes.

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Scope

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Scope

The 3-9×40 scope from Bushnell provides a scope that features a Multi-X reticle that’s easy to use, so you can get on your target quickly and accurately. The scope uses great materials and has a design that is both rugged and aesthetically pleasing.

The scope features ¼ MOA finger-adjustable windage and elevation knobs, along with multicoated lenses to provide brightness and clarity. It can provide you with the light you need when you are hunting at dawn and right at dusk.

The scope measures 12” and features a fast-focus eyepiece and 3.3” of eye relief. Hunters will also be happy to know that the scope’s construction ensures that it is fog-proof and waterproof. This is an easy to use and cost-effective scope that features a nice duplex-style reticle.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

The Crossfire II from Vortex Optics has a range of scopes in the line, including this model, which features a V-Brite Illuminated Reticle. There are also options for a Dead-Hold bullet drop compensation reticle and a V-Plex reticle. Each of the reticles is high-quality and can provide hunters with an easy way to find their target as they peer through the sight picture.

The scope has a forgiving eye box and long eye relief, along with a fast-focus eyepiece. This will make reticle focusing fast, easy, and comfortable. Users will also appreciate the multicoated lenses, which provide bright, clear views.

The elevation turret for the scope allows for a max elevation of 60 MOA. The capped reset turrets are easy to use, as they are finger adjustable using MOA clicks. You can reset them to zero easily after you have sighted in.

The durability of the rifle scope is topnotch, as well. It is constructed from a single tube of aircraft-grade aluminum. It is strong and shockproof, and thanks to the O-ring seals and nitrogen purged nature of the tube, it is also fog-proof and waterproof.

Athlon Optics Argos BTR

Athlon Optics Argos BTR

Athlon Optics offers a 6-24×50 first focal plane scope that features an illuminated APMR MIL reticle that is etched onto the glass. Since this is a first focal plane reticle, it will stay the same at all of the power settings and allows the shrink and grow with the target when you zoom out and in.

With the advanced multicoated lenses, you will find improved light transmission that improves not only the brightness and clarity but also the color fidelity. It can even work well in low-light conditions thanks to the light transmission.

The scope has argon purging, which provides excellent thermal stability and better waterproofing. The tube is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, which provides the scope with excellent strength and durability.

The shockproof nature of the scope provides excellent resistance for withstanding recoil. The manufacturers claim it can withstand 1,000G recoil for 1,000 times.

The fact that the reticle is illuminated helps to make this a standout scope option, as well. It can provide you with excellent visibility even during the dusk and dawn, or other lighting conditions that are less than ideal.

The features of the scope and the reticle make it a good option for hunters, especially those who need to compensate for bullet drop over longer ranges.

Conclusion: Choose Your Rifle Scope and Reticle Today

Conclusion: Choose Your Rifle Scope and Reticle Today

By now, you should have a better understanding of the reticle and why it is so important to consider when you are buying your rifle scope. You know more about the various types of reticles, along with what each of the reticles can provide. Now, it’s time to make your choice.

Which type of reticle will work best for your needs as a hunter or even a target shooter? We’ve provided you with three great options for different types of reticles from which you can choose. These are durable, high-quality scopes that can work well for hunters on the search for a new scope. One of these might be the right choice for you.

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