My stunning lesson in hunting vs tactical rifle scopes today

Where's Bruce?

Well-known member
Took a few rifles to the LA Range today to zero the scopes but the Mark IV on Howa .243 was giving me fits. Other rifles-no probem. The Howa was shooting cloverleafs at 50 yards but at 100 my groups went to poo-poo.

After a box of ammo I turned to my range buddies Kenny & Tom (serious FN shooters at the LA range) and learned something NOBODY EVER TOLD ME. You can sight in a tactical scope but unlike a typcal hunting-type scope, a tactical scope will not shoot the same at different magnifications. If you shoot a 3X9 tactical and try to shoot it like a 3X9 hunting scope, fuggettaboudit. Zero a tactical at a specific power and shoot that power. Then (as I did) you'll shoot center bullseyes. Change the power and you're gonna have fits trying to get a nice group.

Live & learn. Posting this for those who are considering or recently purchased a tactical scope.
 
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henmar77

Well-known member
What classifys as a tactical scope? I have had numorous guns from 22s single shots to assault rifles. All have been scoped. All have magnification, eye relief, adjustable turrets (capped uncapped). Some with crosshairs, heavy duplex, illumination, dots, drop compensators. However, every one of them pretty much sighted in the same from 20 to 200 yards. So I'm curious to know what he means. Sounds more like an accuracy problem with the gun or ammo.

Or the shooter ;)

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2
 

myfriendis410

Well-known member
Could it be that this scope had adjustable parallax? That's the only thing I can see that might cause groups to open up with a change in magnification. Usually a standard hunting scope is parallax free at 300 yards, effectively infinity. One can always determine if there is a parallax issue by clamping the rifle down on a target and then moving their head around behind the scope to see if the crosshairs "walk" around the target. A properly fit rifle will mitigate this to a great extent as one's head is going to go to the same spot every time.
 

#1Predator

Well-known member
I got this from shootersforum.com:

This change in the point of impact (POI) is due to manufacturing differences (first focal plane versus second focal plane) when it comes to the location of the reticle. A second focal plane scope is more likely to have POI problems than a first focal plane scope. In a SFP scope the reticle always appears to be the same size. In a FFP scope the reticle increases in size as the power is increased. This will not be a problem on a hunting rifle, but on a target gun this can be a problem since the reticle conceals or covers so much more of the target. If what you need is a quality scope for hunting, then first focal plane is fine. Generally speaking a scope with first focal plane reticles are higher quality.
The FFP scope are the most rugged and less likely to shift POI. Most (not all) American scopes are SFP and most European scopes are FFP.

To check for problems, anchor the rifle to a steady platform, then rise and lower the power setting of the scope. If the reticle "walks" vertically up and down the target, the POI will shift when the scope's power setting is adjusted.

FYI - Mil-dots are only accurate at the highest setting on variable power scopes (some German scopes have the mil-dots etched on the lens rather than actual wires - German scopes are the exception to the rule here).
 

Where's Bruce?

Well-known member
I got this from shootersforum.com:

This change in the point of impact (POI) is due to manufacturing differences (first focal plane versus second focal plane) when it comes to the location of the reticle. A second focal plane scope is more likely to have POI problems than a first focal plane scope. In a SFP scope the reticle always appears to be the same size. In a FFP scope the reticle increases in size as the power is increased. This will not be a problem on a hunting rifle, but on a target gun this can be a problem since the reticle conceals or covers so much more of the target. If what you need is a quality scope for hunting, then first focal plane is fine. Generally speaking a scope with first focal plane reticles are higher quality.
The FFP scope are the most rugged and less likely to shift POI. Most (not all) American scopes are SFP and most European scopes are FFP.

To check for problems, anchor the rifle to a steady platform, then rise and lower the power setting of the scope. If the reticle "walks" vertically up and down the target, the POI will shift when the scope's power setting is adjusted.

FYI - Mil-dots are only accurate at the highest setting on variable power scopes (some German scopes have the mil-dots etched on the lens rather than actual wires - German scopes are the exception to the rule here).
Yep! That's what the range guy told me. Once I stuck to a single power I was fine again.
 


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