Puzzled by the wide choice of reticles

Q: I am in the market for a scope for my new 7mm magnum and am baffled by all the reticles available. I mostly hunt deer and pigs at ranges from 30 to 300 metres and don’t want one of those intricate reticles that’s like looking through a thicket and prevents you getting a good look at the animal. 

I note that you prefer a duplex-type reticle for hunting. Is that what you would recommend for my purpose?

Dick Hodgson

A: Reticles can be divided into three classes: simple, ballistic drop compensator (BDC) and graduated. 

A simple reticle features a plain crosswire, a dot or duplex. BDC may have mil-dot or minute-of-angle based reticle. 

Beyond that we get into expensive ranging reticles in the new-generation sniping scopes that are often set up using a phone and computer. They allow you dial in the range and hold dead-on out to goodness knows how far. 

For me, a simple reticle like the duplex is all I need. If properly calibrated and etched on glass, there’s nothing to shift or break. 

For a hunter shooting big game out to, say, 300 metres there really is no reason for anything more sophisticated than a duplex. 

With your rifle zeroed for its longest point blank range, a 200 or 250 metre zero will allow you to hold on even a smaller deer’s chest and still land a bullet in the vital heart/lung area. 

I am not enamoured of complicated reticle systems and leave them to long-range target shooters. 

I place my trust in a flat-shooting cartridge and in knowing the trajectory of my rifle and prefer to adjust my hold rather than tinker with an elevation turret. 

In my book, this is exponentially faster than turrets when it comes to making that first shot or following-up shot with a correction for elevation. 

But what do I know? I’m just a simple country boy! My motto is KISS (keep it simple, stupid).




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.


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