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SP Sniper Chat > Equipment > Optics, Rings, Bases, & Accessories
Windage and Elevation
OK, So I'm old school. So ILLUMINATE me (pun intended) rolleyes.gif Why is one better (worse). I guess I want to believe that lighted reticles are a good idea, but I am SO anti-gizmo concious. I've seen rifles with every concievable bolt-on, hang-on, clip-on, picatinny from hell known to man, and the shooter still can't hit his own a** in the dark if all 10 fingers are flashlights! are lighted reticles a good tool? If so, what makes them better/worse? What do you look for?
Illuminated reticles, if very good ones, can provide a much enhanced "cross hair" view, especially when the background is confused gray or black. Most people that "hunt" or shoot after sundown will admit that fine duplex reticles can almost be lost in the background maze. If you cannot distinguish your aiming point, it may be difficult for you to place it over your intended point of impact.

Most hunting scopes of quality such as Leupold use only a tiny + in the center of the duplex reticle and then they provide 11 levels of illumination. Burris provides a single dot at the POA and multiple levels of illumination. If you have the illumination set too high it will provide a halo effect and the light can actually block vision of the target by a form of halo glare. The lowest level of illumination should be used at all times to avoid this.

A very illustrative advantage of an illuminated reticle militarily would be something like this. On a total black night with no moon and few stars, a target at some distance is enjoying a cigarette. You know this because the bright, varying to dim, red coal out there is not all that difficult to see. The cigarettes operator can probably even be viewed in quality optics due to the glow reflecting off of the features. Problem is, that with no external natural illumination and no IR or thermal sighting equipment your reticle is not visable for aiming. A nice level two or three on illuminated reticle and the little red + goes to one side of the little red coal and the target is neutralized. Hopefully, no one viewed the momentary presence of your rifles muzzle blast.

Disadvantages of the illuminated reticles hover around the battery. Batteries tend to become disfunctional at very cold temperatures and their performance can be inadequate. The batteries are usually located under a cover on the illumination level knob. If a second battery is carried in an inner pocket where body heat can maintain its warmth, it can be changed out with the operational battery as the time of need arrives.

If I had an option, I would choose the quality illuminated reticle. If you have never shot an illuminated before, so be it, leave it off and you will never miss it. On the other hand having it when you could really use it at least gives the opportunity to improve your aiming capability. Keeping the battery in operational condition would only be a minor line on a good shooters page of readiness.

Seeing is Believing

HB blink.gif
I agree with HB. I am a hard core Leupold fan but when it comes to the Night Force illuminated Rets they rock. If you can shoot a few before you spend the money on one.
Before shooting with a lit retile I found ways to see the cross hairs when it was almost impossible because of light conditions. After shooting the USO/Horus scope with lit reticle, I havenít wanted to shoot my Leupold at night! The USO.Horus combo wasnít perfect and I gave them 2 suggestions, but that was me being picky. Even if they didnít make either of the changes, it was still 1000% better then shooting a non-lit reticle.

Yes they take batteries, BUT if the battery fails, guess what? You still have a reticle and you can still shoot. It just wonít be as nice as you are used to.
Most hunting scopes of quality such as Leupold use only a tiny + in the center of the duplex reticle and then they provide 11 levels of illumination.

Leupold has since gone with a fully illuminated mil-dot reticle, even the hash marks are clearly lit.
Wow Snip1er,

What happened to that $1000 max on optic's you were engraved in? J/K I would buy one also if I could afford one.

As far as the new "gismo's", I'm all for them as long as the basic markmanship skills don't suffer. Join the Army get the best.

Another thing to look for when getting a lighted reticle is a quality rheostat. One of the biggest issues is having a lighted reticle that is too bright, and it washes out the whole target. It is almost like looking into a light bulb. The good ones give you the ability to keep them very dim, just enough to illuminate the reticle in "low" light conditions. The brighter adjustments are useful too, but it really needs to have pretty fine adjustments.
IMHO a illum reticle is a must for a scope with a first plane mil dot reticle (or any other design with line lines or dots). When you use the scope at night you zoom down the magnification to get a better exit pupil and low light performance, but doing so makes the apparent size of the reticle to get smaller and very difficult to pick up. It REALLY helps if the reticle and rheostat are high quality, some designs appear blurred at the higher illumenation settings.

Edited to add: IMHO a first plane reticle in a variable scope is the way to go, I'm a big fan of the mil dot Gen II.
What happened to that $1000 max on optic's you were engraved in

That's why I'm still shooting my Leupold drool.gif I haven't seen the new Leupold lit reticles so I guess I better get my hands on one and check it out. It might be time to replace my dinosaur and get with the current program.
Windage and Elevation
Outstanding discussion, all! Thanks for the great input. I will check again on this thread, in case of some late comers. I really appreciate the knowledge shared. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks!
Hey Guys,
I'm probably wrong huh.gif , but I was under the impression that Premier Reticles couldn't do an illumintated FFP scope unsure.gif . You could get it illuminated in the second focal plane, but not the first...
You are right, Harry, an illuminated Gen II reticle (first plane) is not available, due to the fact that Premier changes the position of the reticle to the front (actually the middle) of the scope.
Leupold puts the reticles (and the turrets for the light and rheostat in the illum models) in the second plane, near the ocular piece, and in this position the rheostat cannot be used to illuminate the front reticle.

I love firstt plane reticles and the Gen II mil dot, but I think it needs an illuminated reticle... i wish they would find a way to do it.

S&B scopes do have an illuminated first plane mil dot wink.gif
Springfield shitty "tactical"scopes as well winky.gif
Kevin R. Mussack
Be careful using illuminated reticles when you have a technically sophisticated adersary.

A USO ST-10 reticle on a medium setting when viewed from the front through a Gen III night vision device:
Hey Kevin,
Good point, Bro. Thanks for bringing it up and for the picture, as well.
Just curious if you have tried that with an ARD in place or the USO diffuser? Wondering if it made any difference?
Also, what was the distance to the shooter?
Kevin R. Mussack
An ARD will not mask the light emitted from an illuminated reticle. Since the light source is inside the scope and the scope must be pointed at the NVD to be detected. I donít know what the USO diffuser is.

In the photo the distance was only 85 yards.

I like the Gen III example and it brings up a question. Do the night vision devices have the ability to see all colors of light (Red,Green,White...etc) given the same example or just certain colors?

Linked below is a picture of the lit recticle on my Horus Falcon scope shown on it's highest magnification and brightest. The picture doesn't really do any justice for the actual sight picture as you view it under the cover of moonlight. This shot was taken in my basement. rolleyes.gif

The lit recticle was a real advantage for me this past month while hunting for Black Bear in Canada. Usually the last hour of hunting is done under nightime conditions. I set the scope illumination on 5 and the magnification on 6 and I could see the target very clearly. It is especilly useful when hunting dark coated critters like the bear when an unlit rectciles crosshairs would disappear due to the aniamls dark coat causing a less then ideal aiming point.

Horus Falcon
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