First focal plane vs “traditional “ reticle

Forums Optics, Scopes, Rings, & Mounts First focal plane vs “traditional “ reticle

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    kingston73
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    I’ve never used a ffp scope and wanted to know what the advantages are for one vs a standard reticle scope.      I shoot mainly at close ranges from 10 to 30 yards, would one be better than the other?  Any thoughts and opinions welcome, but I’d especially like to hear from people who have used both.

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    addertooth
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    The key advantage to first focal plane FFP scopes over classical second focal plane SFP scopes is in the fact the hold over on the reticle remains the same at any scope zoom/magnification.  i.e. One mill dot, or one MOA remains accurate at all magnifications.  With a less expensive SFP scope, your mil dots or MOA is only accurate at ONE magnification, typically 10X magnification.  This means that at other magnification, your mil dots or MOA will be wrong (and you must do math to allow for the  difference).

    With a FFP scope, as you zoom in your target gets larger, your reticle gets larger too, and stays in scale with the size of the target.  Or to put it another way, if you zoom in so that the target looks twice as big, your reticle will get twice as big as well.  Some people feel this make the reticle too thick under high magnifications, and too spidery thin at low magnifications with a FFP scope.  

    But with all things, application matters.  At 10 to 30 yards of distance, you should have almost NO holdover with most airguns.  This means it will be unlikely you will be doing any holdover adjustments at that distance.  You may have to do some hold-UNDER adjustments at 10 yards, depending upon the distance you zeroed your scope, and the height of your rings.  I shoot a lot of 50 and 100 meters.  My scopes are zeroed at 50 meters, and my holdover at 100 meters is a bit over 3 mildots.  In that application, having mildots which are accurate at all magnifications is important to me.  

    Lastly, most (but not all) First Focal Plane scopes are built to a higher quality, than the run of the mill second focal plane scopes.  Yes, you can find cheaply made FFP scopes, and you can find truly superlative Second Focal Plane scopes, so I speak in generalities here.  

    Other features for you to explore: Etched reticle and Side Focus.

     

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    Hynzie
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    +1 for addertooth great explanation. I use a aMTC VIPER PRO SFP. THATS PRETTY GOOD BUT I HAVE 2 SWFA 3 15 42 ffp built originally for the US ARMED FORCES there glass is great hold zero forever and built like a SHERMAN TANK .THE LATEST THING IS 1ST AND 2ND BEING BUILT IN ONE ..not a lot of info on theese going around. Good luck PAT

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    Centercut
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    Interesting. And of course, an opinion about the quality of one compared to the other. I don’t have a FFP scope, so I can’t compare. I do know you’d have to spend many thousands of $ like Matt Dubber (his Nightforce costs $3600) to get a scope with better glass than the Vortex Razor HD LH 3-15×42 that I got for about $600. Its SFP, side focus, etched reticle, lightweight, etc…

    But I can say that most of my guns are zero’d at 42 yards (for my .22s and .177s – the .30 is zero’d at 50 meters), and that gives me a point blank of 15 to about 50 yards. Doesn’t matter what I have the magnification at, just put the crosshairs on the target and shoot.
    It also depends on if you use holdover, or dial a yardage (elevation turret).

    With holdover, if the target is greater than 50 yards, I spot the target, get the yardage, then dial to the magnification that the scope is calibrated at (usually the highest mag that the scope has – the only ones I know of that are 10X are Hawke and MTC), then ensure correct holdover and take the shot. Perhaps since I don’t use extreme mag, and my scopes are up to 15x or 16x, its sensible to do it that way.

    With dial a yardage, I’d get nothing from an FFP scope. On my .30 Bobcat with Hawke Sidewinder 6.5-20×42 scope, I have it set up with an accessory elevation knob that has yardages marked on it. So once I get the yardage with my laser rangefinder, I dial up the yardage, put the crosshairs on the target, and take the shot. It doesn’t matter what mag I have the scope on. FFP, SFP, doesn’t really matter in this case.

    Just some food for thought…
    Mike

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    addertooth
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    Centercut,  True about using your turrets, as versus holdover.  The challenge then runs into characterizing your scope (Much like our beloved eye-patched reviewer).  Most people are not as much into characterizing whether a change in magnification or change in parallax adjustments, or a change in turrets give a nice consistent box-test result.  For those people, holdover is the safest approach.  This is especially true for those who don't have the deep wallet to purchase one of the higher end scopes.  

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    peole
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    FFP scopes traditionally considered sniper scopes for about 100 years now. Reason – shooter can do pretty accurate rangefinding using mil dots.

     

    as of past decade laser rangefinding equipment advanced very well. 

     

    For example defacto standard sniper cartridge lapua 338 will drop 303in at 990 yards and 312in at 1000 yards.

     

    So 10 yard error in range causes 10in difference in POI.

     

    it is pretty much impossible to establish 10yard range accuracy using mil dot at 1000 yards. All modern long distance shooting totally depends on rangefinders.

     

    all of that that said – ffp and mil dot is thing of the past for precision shooting.

     

    But if you are preparing for SHTF ffp is preferred cause when SHTF your rangefinder battery will be dead.Military uses ffp for that reason. 

     

    PCP air rifle is defacto not SHTF weapon cause your Chinese compressor will be dead and you will be eaten by zombies while hand pumping. So all of that said there’s no use for ffp on pcp air rifle.

     

     

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    nomojo65
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    Ok guy’s my opinion, SFP for me…, I’m a clicker! I use the turrets, so SFP is what I use and have used for years, ( I do have One FFP hawke it’s nice!), because I use the turrets I mainly have come to the conclusion that only 3-scope manufactures come into play for me, WEAVER, SIGHTRON, NIGHTFORCE! WHY…, because they track consistently, accurately, and repeatedly time after time! I do own a leupold comp. 45x but not using it on a airgun, the glass is the best, but it is not as repeatable as the weaver! Now if you know where these three Manufacturers Build there high end (Used to be all there Scope’s!) you will understand why they are so repeatable! SORRY! kinda went off on a tangent.

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    kingston73
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    Thanks for all the thoughts on this.  I bought a BSA FFP 4×14 and got it today and wow, not a keeper.  I know it's not anything compared with a $1000 scope but I wasn't expecting what I got.  It may just be my eyes (I wear contacts) but anything under about 20 yards was either a blurry reticle or blurry target, I could not get a clear picture of both target and reticle to save my life.  I put my UTG scope on (which cost a little less than the BSA) and didn't have any issues at all from 10 to 50 yards getting a clear picture.  Also the UTG seemed brighter and clearer at all distances.  Last issue I was surprised at was the BSA gave me a very clear view of my own eyeball if I shifted even just a little bit.  Before anybody tells me 'thats what you get with a cheap scope'  my UTG hasn't given me any of those issues.  Did I get a bad scope or am I just doing something severely wrong with this FFP?

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    allan_wind
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    You get a sharp reticle by adjusting the eyepiece (once), and a sharp image by adjusting the objective.  This is exactly the same as with a non-FFP scope, so if you did that, then it likely the scope is a dud.  Shifting, refers to eye relief, maybe the BSA has very little while your UTG is better?

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    kingston73
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    I think my scope must be a dud then because I tried focusing the eyepiece as you said and there was no focusing of both target and reticle.

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    kingston73
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    New question, for under $300 what would you recommend?

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    Paul_R
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    I prefer FFP except on very low power CQB type scopes. At low magnification the reticle is tiny on a FFP scope making it a fine reflex scope assuming it's illuminated (and all mine are).

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    kingston73
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    So weird and I don’t understand it but I decided to give it one more chance but took my contacts out and wore my glasses, problem solved.  It must have something to do with how my eyes focus when wearing contacts but I don’t know why.  I’m wondering if it’s just this scope or of it’s going to happen with any FFP scope.  Have any of the rest of you ever had this issue?

    i hate wearing glasses so I’ll be selling this scope here, from what I can tell there’s nothing wrong with it when I’m wearing my glasses and my wife looked at it and said everything was clearly focused so it’s just my old, worn eyes I guess.

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    Bob_O
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    I have two FFP scopes.  My first one is the Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50.  Second is the Hawke Sidewinder 30 6-24×56.

    If I had to buy a third, it would be the Athlon.  It's every bit as good as the Hawke, even better in some aspects, and comes in at around $150.00 less.

    I shot it on both my FX Streamline 22 and Wildcat 25, no problems.  It has about 250 rounds on my 6.5 Creedmoor in the last three weeks, no problems there either.

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    Hookster
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    Athlon sits on 3 of my PCPs and for the price they are tough to beat. I shoot long ranges so having FFP for me is a must. But I am a holdover guy not a clicker so that is probably why. Like most of these threads though it comes down to what you like, the purpose and wallet. Best of luck. 

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    kingston73
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    What athlons are you specifically using?  I was looking but the ones I saw are out of my price range.

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    Hotbrass
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    I also have Athlon Argos BTRs. Two 6-24x50, and an 8-34×56. Going to order another 6-24×50. All Mil-Mil.

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    SvilenP
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    +1 "…Going to order another 6-24×50. All Mil-Mil. "

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    umoP3piSdn
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    Anyone looking for high quality FFP scopes at budget prices needs to look at Athlon Optics.

    The Argos BTR FFP is easily on par with Vortex Razor HD..hands down. Same Chinese Factories, Same glass, or better in many cases, Athlon uses Argon gas over Nitrogen which is better. Same 100% no questions asked warranty… but an Athlon is HUNDREDS less than a Vortex.

    Ive owned 3 Athlon optics products, 2 scopes and a set of Binos.  I have owned 4 Vortex scopes. Dollar for Dollar its not even a far fight. a $300 Vortex is equal to a $150 Athlon Optics. Now you use the same specs between the two and dont worry about prices, and they are equal.

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    kingston73
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    Where are you getting athlons for $150?  I keep looking and seeing $300 to $400 prices, am I looking at the wrong thing or in the wrong place?

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