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I sent a query to Nikon about how they derived their 4 circles in the reticle and in the reply they said it was "not caliber specific, it is based on an average drop." They further provided me with a link to a "gucci" (that's "fancy" for you non-married types :)) piece of software to help figure out what each of these circles meant based on a series of factors. I'm wondering if anybody has working/practical experience with this or a similar Nikon scope/reticle that could give me some reliable information about how well their scope worked, and if there's anybody who's used their "Spot On" program and can confirm/deny it's validity I'd appreciate the inputs!
 

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I've used a couple of different types of range-finding scopes in my lifetime, which is why you'll never see a "BDC" scope in my shopping cart at Gander Mountain.

Big game, center-fire, hunting rifles are best equipped with scopes of low-to-modest power, with a single, uncluttered reticle that is either a fine wire, or some kind of duplex reticle. Added lines, or what I refer to as "silly circles" just confuse the issue and give the shooter a false impression concerning the relative capabilities of the cartridge or scope on their rifle. Such a scope can even mislead the shooter into thinking he's justified in attempting 400 yard shots, when he hasn't practiced at that distance very much, if at all. I know, because I made those mistakes when I was shooting with scopes of this type.

The better solution is to chronograph your bullet (if you don't, the BDC is useless, anyway), use any decent ballistics software to print a drop chart and sight in for maximum point-blank range. For most cartridges, you're going to be between 250 and 350 yards, and that is PLENTY, for 95% of the shooters out there. Then, most important of all: Practice at 200, 300, even 400 yards, so you actually know what your gun is capable of at those distances, and whether or not YOU should even consider shots that long.

Back when I had scopes that were supposed to help me shoot at 400 yards, I was NOT capable of doing my part. Later, after I had practiced quite a bit at 300 yards, I actually came to realize that 300 was quite far enough, thank you. I also learned that you don't need 16 power, or even 12 power magnification to shoot to the max PBR of most guns, and you certainly don't need any confusing lines or circles to "help" you do it.

I know I'll get flamed, and that's fine. This is really just my opinion, although it is one I share with a lot of experienced shooters/hunters. YMMV, n' all that. ;)
 

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Nikon's does work if your well informed on your ammo's load data. Muzzle velocity and ballistic coefficency of the bullet is very important to know when using their program. If your "iffy" on your numbers, then the circles will be too. With today's technology there is no reason to use kentucky windage, those crazy circles and dumb dot's don't work if you don't practice with them. But competition shooters and military snipers prove that those reticles do work and are deadly with practice.
 

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I'm not a military sniper or long range competitive shooter. I just hunt a lot.
Nikon has produced a scope that I think started out for blackpowder shooting and now everyone is buying these scopes for their high power rifles.
For 300 yds and in, there is no reason to own one. It just clutters the sight picture and confuses the issue. To me, its just something to buy in hopes of giving you longer range effectiveness. But it really doesn't help you shoot the rifle any better.
I don't have a lot of use for the Nikon/TC banner, way overhyped in my opinion.
I bought one and got rid of it.
Guess I'm old fashioned, but I'll live with it. Flame away-
 

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You're right on TVP!

I have always sighted in my 30 cal rifles at +3" @ 100 yds. that puts them dead on at 300yds.

+ or - 3" from 0-300 yds will kill anything from a coyote on up.

The only way to really see what the 0's are is to shoot it! You can do the ballistic calcs if you shoot at 100 yds. and chrony them but finding out what each 0 is more fun! :D
 

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You're right on TPV!

I have always sighted in my 30 cal rifles at +3" @ 100 yds. that puts them dead on at 300yds.

+ or - 3" from 0-300 yds will kill anything from a coyote on up.

The only way to really see what the 0's are is to shoot it! You can do the ballistic calcs if you shoot at 100 yds. and chrony them but finding out what each 0 is more fun! :D
 

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Yep, Tom nailed it: The BDC reticles make some sense for guys shooting rainbow trajectories, with front-stuffers or punkin-chunkers (slug guns). The silly circles are like pins on a compound bow, and in the same sense, are useful because the trajectories of less efficient projectiles allow them to be an aid for aiming. However, modern center-fire rifles have no need of this "aid" because they shoot much faster, more streamlined projectiles that fly almost laser-flat, out to a distance that is greater than most guys are justified in shooting.

In general, high-powered scopes are good for varmints rifles, target rigs, and over-compensating. Range-guesstimating reticles are for muzzle-loaders, slug guns and would-be snipers. If you just wanna hunt; a 2-7X or 3-9X, and more time at the range, is whatchya need. Like Jack says in my signature...
 

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Like the other guys said, I personally have no use for a BDC reticule. They are too "busy" for me. I wouldn't trust the marks without checking them out on my rifle and with my loads.
 
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