A lot of articles have been written lately about the new age long range rifle scopes available the last few years. I for one am easily amazed by some of the shots I see made on TV and the ability of these companies to make rifles and scopes that can make these shots. But for me, your average obsessed hunting nut, that sticks to hunting public lands and private ranches that will allow me to hunt, I am not sure that I would or could reasonably take a shot over 400 to 500 yards.
To this point, I don’t have a rifle scope that would allow me much more than that. In fact, one of my rifles still has an old faithful scope on it with simple cross-hairs that I sight in for 100 to 200 yards. I have killed more deer and antelope with this scope than with any other scope and although I now have other guns with other scopes, as soon as hunting season comes I dust the old deer slayer off and away I go. I’m not sure of this, but I would bet there are quite a few hunters just like me that have a favorite gun with an accurate scope and will go kicking and scratching their way into the 21st century.
Without boring everyone to death and admitting I still do not have a firm grasp of how ballistic coefficients and turrets all work, I am still fascinated by the long range scopes and how they work. One scope that I have and have used with fair success is a Nikon Monarch with their new BDC (Bullet Drop Compensating) reticle. The great thing about this scope is that I do not have to make any adjustments when I get ready to shoot; I simply judge the distance and use the proper circle. There are a couple of things to remember with BDC scope however, first, your gun and ammo has to be compatible with it. With a magnum round you will probably have a bullet that travels around 2800 to 3000 feet per second. With that you should probably zero your cross-hairs and 200 yards. Then, by using the circles you should be sighted in at 300, 400, and 500 yards. This is usually a pretty accurate deal with the Nikon as I have found it to work pretty well with my gun. The thing that would change it would be if you were to have a gun that didn’t have this high of velocity on the bullet. Also, the BDC reticle circle only works if the scope is set to maximum 303 British ammo power. This is because the BDC scope has the reticle on the second focal plane of the scope. If it were on the first, as you lower the power the target would look proportionately smaller. With it being on the second focal plane it creates the problem of that while the marks on the BDC reticle correspond accurately to the bullet drop at the known distances 200, 300yds etc. What happens when you lower the power from the scopes maximum power to any other lower power is the reticle stays the same size and the field of view within the scope increases which means that the distance between these marks on the BDC reticle no longer corresponds to the point where the bullet will strike.
Whew, that makes my head hurt. Anyway, with a scope like this and a little practice you are able to shoot your rifle accurately out to five hundred yards or better and for me this qualifies as being a long range rifle scope. Technology is advancing so quickly that to some hunters 500 yards is not far enough but for me and my fading eye sight I will take it and be extremely happy.