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Scope Reticles and Focal Planes Explained

The first question any of us must answer when choosing a reticle is which end of the scope's magnification range we expect to use the most.

Scope Reticles and Focal Planes Explained
Where the shooter lives on the magnification ring determines which focal plane will be most useful. The rest of the reticle selection process relies on the shooter’s preference.

There are so many reticle choices these days that it can be difficult navigating through all the options. Not only must a shooter contend with choosing between first-focal-plane (FFP) reticles and second-focal-plane (SFP) reticles, they also have to choose between traditional crosshair and so-called “Christmas tree” or “holdover” models.

The first question any of us must ask ourselves when choosing a reticle is which end of the scope’s magnification range we expect to use the most. This is by far the most overlooked aspect of reticle selection, yet it drives the choice between FFP­ or SFP reticles.

The best guidelines when selecting a...

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