Which Optic should I Buy?
Trying to find the best scope to suit your shooting needs can be confusing. We've listed some of the most common features along with a brief description to keep in mind when selecting the perfect optic for your rig.
M.O.A. Based Turrets M.O.A. or Minute of Angle scope turrets use a measurement based on minute of arc or angle. There are 360 degrees in a circle, each degree is broken into 60 subtensions called minutes for a total of 21,600 Minutes of Angle or MOA in a circle. 1 MOA will move the point of impact 1.05" at 100 yards which equals 2.08" at 200 yards, 3.12" at 300 yards and 10.5" at 100 yards. Most optics are calibrated in 1/4 MOA meaning it takes 4 clicks to equal 1 MOA. 1/4 MOA moves the point of impact .25" at 100 yards.
MRAD Based Turrets These turrets use a unit of measure based on a radian. A radian is the angle formed at the center of a circle by an arc that is equal in length to the radius of a circle. There are 6.283 radians in a circle and 1000 milliradians in a radian which totals 6283 milliradians or MRADs in a circle. 1 MRAD will move your rifle's point of impact 3.6" at 100 yards, 7.2" at 200 yards, 10.8" at 300 yards which equals 36" at 1000 yards. Most optics are calibrated in 1/10 MRAD which means 1 click will move the point of impact .36" at 100 yards.
Second Focal Plane Reticle This type of reticle does not visually change in size when the magnification is adjusted. One advantage of a second focal plane optic is the reticle will always maintain the same size and appearance throughout the entire magnification range. However Second Focal Plane reticles have to be set at a specific magnification for the reticle subtensions to be correct for holdovers and range estimation. Optic manufacturers will vary as per which magnification setting is used for the correct reticle subtensions, However it is common on Second Focal Plane optics for the correct reticle subtensions to be on the maximum magnification setting.
First Focal Plane Reticle This style of reticle will visually grow and shrink as you adjust the magnification setting. The main advantage of this type of reticle is the reticle subtensions for holdovers and range estimation are correct at every magnification setting. As the magnification setting is adjusted lower, the reticle becomes smaller. The reticle becomes larger as the magnification setting is adjusted higher. This is an excellent reticle choice for range estimation and windage holdovers.
MOA Based Reticle With this type of reticle the subtensions for measure are calibrated in Minutes of Angle. As with the MOA based turrets, 1 MOA of holdover will move the point of impact 1.05" at 100 yards. Optic manufacturers will vary as per the distance between hash marks, however optics are commonly calibrated in 1 or 2 MOA increment subtensions. MOA based reticles are extremly effective for windage holdovers and range estimation. The formula for range estimation for MOA is Target Size (Inches) X 95.5
________________________________ = Distance (Yards)
MRAD Based Reticle Similar to MRAD Turrets this type of reticle is calibrated in milliradian subtensions. 1 MRAD of hold over in the reticle will move the point of impact 3.6'' at 100 yards just like the turrets. Optic manufacturers will vary the increments of calibration, however reticles are commonly calibrated in .5 or 1 MRAD hash mark increments. MRAD based reticles are the most popular tool for windage holdovers and range estimation. The formula for range estimation is Target Size (Inches) X 27.78
_________________________________ = Distance (Yards)
Value Optics In the spectrum of price, these optics are the least expensive. Value optics can be used effectively for hunting and short to medium range shooting scenarios. Typically Value Optics are not recommended for tactical use or for extremely long ranges. In some instances shooters have found that value optics can not meet the standards demanded for tactical shooting scenarios. For long range shooting, an optics ability to track true throughout its entire adjustment range is imperative. If a shooter's financial situation will not allow for a premium grade optic, it is advisable to purchase the best quality optic within your budget. Value Optics are well suited for general target shooting, novice shooters and serve extremely well for hunting applications.
Mid Grade Optics These optics offer the most "bang for your buck'' in terms of features, durability and price. Offering many of the features found on premium grade optics, these optics are well suited for medium tactical use. A mid grade optic will suite the needs of the majority of shooters in many situations from long range precision shooting to light tactical uses. If you are an average shooter looking to extend the legs of your rifle, A mid grade optic is your best option.
Premium Optics if your application demands heavy tactical use or extreme long ranges a premium grade optic is your only option. These optics typically come with a steep price tag, however when your life depends on it your optic had better be up for the task. A premium grade optic gives you the confidence in knowing that your holdovers and adjustments will be true every time. You will never see military or law enforcement officials use a budget optic for demanding situations.
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