Long range shooting is extremely difficult and one you cannot learn in a single day. Expert long range shooters recommend two things for precise shooting; skill and equipment. You need to have the skills and the right gear. Skill is something you learn over the years as you practice. Some of the best long range shooters are patient, disciplined and ethical in the hunt.
Apart from skill, you need to have the proper equipment to precise hit targets at 1000 yards or more. You need the right rifle, round of ammunition and a high quality sniper scope.
The reticle of the riflescope is one of the crucial considerations to bear in mind. So, which is the best reticle for long range shooting? Also known as crosshairs, a reticle is a crucial riflescope component to shoot targets precisely.
What is the best reticle for long range shooting?
There is no-single-best reticle for long range shooting. The term long range is open-ended. It can mean shooting at 500 yards, 700 yards or 1000 yards. You need to define long range shooting bearing the shooter objective in mind. There are usually two types of long range shooting. These are the target shooting and hunting.
Target shooting is about accuracy and precision done at 600-1000 yards. You have enough time to focus and the target is stationary. You just need to compensate for wind and bullet drop. However, hunting at long range is done at about 300 yards. This is considered the humane range to kill your target ethically. When hunting, the target is mostly on the move hence the need to choose your reticle carefully. You also need to zero on the target pretty fast before it moves.
Why choosing the right reticle is important
The ideal reticle for long range shooting can help compensate for wind. Wind can take your bullet off the target by a few inches. The strong winds in the air can push your bullet taking it off the trajectory. You need the correct reticle to compensate for the wind.
As the bullet leaves the muzzle, gravity starts to play its role creating a drop in the bullet. Just like things fall because of gravity, the bullet also falls as they fly downrange. The longer the range, the further the bullet will fall.
You also need the means to compensate for the bullet drop. Otherwise, you’re going to hit a few inches below the dead center. It is worth noting that different calibers and guns are affected differently by bullet drop. A powerful rifle with powerful calibers tends to have few drops since the bullet moves pretty fast.
Types of reticles to consider
When choosing the right long range rifle scope, there is no single best reticle and the choice comes down to your range. Below are the common types of reticles to consider.
Bullet Drop Compensators Reticle (BDC)
A BDC is a specialized reticle designed for a specific caliber. It automatically calculates the bullet drop points at different ranges. You need particular calibers with known weight and velocity to compensate for the drop.
With a BDC reticle, you get to hit the crosshairs as indicated. However, you must fire the right round and load. BDC reticles are great for beginners taking the challenge of compensation out of the equation. They make long range shooting easy and enjoyable.
This is another modified form of crosshair reticle using dots. The dots are called Milliradians with each dot on the reticle representing 1 Milliradian (Mrad). 1 Mrad is equivalent to 3.6 inches at 100 yards. Adjusting the turret at one dot equals 3.6 inches right or left at 100 yards. This translates to 36 inches at 1000 yards.
Mildot reticle is precise for long range shooting but you must learn how to calculate for bullet drop. You can then adjust the reticle dots bearing in mind how further down the range the bullet trajectory changes.
A dot reticle is one of the simplest reticles with an enclosed circle and a dot in the center. The reticle uses one dot as the aiming point.
This is by far the most common type of reticle for most hunting riflescopes. It is an all-purpose reticle with four crosshairs than thin towards the center. This reticle is considered the best for hunting in thick brushes.
Different manufactures might call it different names but the concept remains the same.
There are several other types of reticles to consider like the Christmas tree reticle, illuminated, non-illuminated and much more. Beside the reticle, there are several other factors to consider. These include the magnification, first focal plane or second focal plane reticle, build quality, waterproofing levels, etc. The best choice for long range shooting comes down to purpose and exact shooting range.