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Illuminated Reticles

Discussion in 'Scopes & Optics' started by Roop, Feb 20, 2016.

  1. Roop

    Roop La Grande Active Member

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    I've noticed a real trend lately for scopes to have illumination. This seems like a newish thing to me and I am still trying to wrap my brain around it. Maybe it's not new, I just hadn't really been aware of the prevalence prior to a few years ago.

    What I'm wondering is, do they fill a real need? Or is it just extra marketing fluff to make scopes appear more "high-end"? Does anyone here use them on a regular basis? What scenario do you find yourself in that either requires, or benefits from having illumination in your scope?

    In the interest of disclosure, I have one scope with an illuminated reticle, a Burris 1x4 that I use for 3gun. And after the battery died, I removed it so it wouldn't leak and ruin my scope.
     
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  2. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Dusk and Dawn hunting in brush it really helps the cross hair stand out.
     
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  3. eldbillbo

    eldbillbo clackamas New world samurai and a redneck none the less Bronze Supporter

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    to me its about speed . Some usually the Chinese scopes over do it and it becomes a gimick
    but having the that center dot or triangle really does increase speed eye sees dot . Lit cross hairs too distracting. a simple tiny dot.

    With open sites although for many including my self I am faster than say with a magnified scope with cross hairs but with a dot there is no lining up and centering sights granted if you have done may years of shooting you can line up open sights pretty darn fast because your face and eye know exactly where to go. but there still a couple variables

    Where as with a scope with just cross hairs unless its the same scope set up a same way there are even more variables
    position of your head being centered and the right distance from your scope if its zeroed off a bench on hot sunny day and then your all bundled up in the middle of Nov you many have to adjust your head to get a full picture this will slow you down a little. so you have head position and scope position and center the cross hairs in the scope.

    With the right red dot there is 2 variables and that is seeing you target and putting the dot on it.
     
  4. Roop

    Roop La Grande Active Member

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    I do get the speed thing with a red dot type optic, I have a tube style red dot that I have used in competition a few times and it really is fast. I don't use it more because it's only a fixed 1x and the dot is pretty big, 6moa. I was thinking more of the illuminated crosshair type reticles. The one in my Burris tac30 isn't bright enough to stand out during anything but low light situations. Couple that with color blindness, and the lit reticle actually washes out faster for me than simple crosshairs. For me, at dusk and dawn a black crosshair stands out just fine, I would rather just have a lighter scope with better glass than one with a gimmicky lit crosshair.
     
  5. Boboclown

    Boboclown North Carolina Well-Known Member

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    They also help when used against a dark background. A black reticle on top of a black target generally doesn't work out too well. Possible, but for some people its better to have illumination for it. There's another advantage, but I can't explain it well enough. I usually use them on a 1-4x scope but on my Bushnell I need it since the reticle is pretty small. Especially at the low end with it being FFP.
     
  6. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I have a Leupold Firefly which is a tiny dot on the cross hairs, it works great. As for Chinese scopes their not engineered to a standard that allows me to trust them in any circumstance, I have a bucket full waiting for the landfill
     
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  7. Roop

    Roop La Grande Active Member

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    Deer, Elk, Coyotes, Cougars, Big Horn Sheep, Antelope, are all light colored. Bears, Moose, and Wolves can be any version of grey, brown, or black. If I am shooting paper I get to choose a target that works best for me, one that stands out. So far I'm not seeing any real good reason to use one on a a regular basis. "Occasionally might be handy" is not a good enough reason to me to justify the expense, weight and complexity that illumination adds to a scope.
    I'm not talking about cheap Amazon junk. What got me thinking about it was trying to shop for a mid magnification scope (like 2-10X) in the $400-$700 range. It seems like everything that I like had illumination.
     
  8. Boboclown

    Boboclown North Carolina Well-Known Member

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    Some of us actually range our targets, so we use FFP scopes to make it a little more consistent in the mils/MOA measurements. On the low end of the magnification, the reticle is small. Illumination helps there. Adding to that, as mentioned earlier low light. I know you said you'd just get good glass. Good glass is great, good glass still has limits though. Glass doesn't help low light too much (still better compared to cheap scopes), a thick reticle does. Even then, a thick reticle will do nowhere near as much as an illuminated reticle would. They're also great in bight daylight. Another thing to add, hunting in the brush is different than open fields. Sure, open field you don't need illumination as much. Brush? YOU DO.

    Trust me, I used to be like you and not getting illuminated scopes. Now all my scopes have the option of being illuminated because I lost a few deer, and who knows how many boar.
     
  9. Brutus57

    Brutus57 Skagit County Well-Known Member

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    I am considering a Norden GRSC 1x6 for my carbine but I am wondering if the utility of its reticle will be canceled out by my fixed front sight? I have also considered a Vortex Strike Eagle but in the "in for a penny, in for a pound, buy now, cry now" vein I really like the Norden reviews.

    Brutus Out
     
  10. Boboclown

    Boboclown North Carolina Well-Known Member

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    At 1-2x probably. 3, kinda but not really. 4-6 shouldn't. Tbh I have a strong dislike for BDC reticles after trying one out. But YMMV, you might like them.
     
  11. Roop

    Roop La Grande Active Member

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    This is what I think of when people say hunting in the brush. It looks pretty tough to see in, and I would expect all shots to be quick offhand shots. This picture was taken while deer hunting with my brother last September. Ranging your target in this would be impossible, and pointless. If you are zeroed at 100-200yds you would just hold on hair and let 'er rip. I did walk around in this brush and looked through my scope a couple times, but I really don't think illumination would've made or broken my hunt here.

    This is a picture looking down canyon, the brush above is in the creek bottom.
     
  12. Roop

    Roop La Grande Active Member

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    Aside from personal use and justifying a purchase, I wanted to gather more of a general feeling that people had of illuminated scopes. I still get the feeling that people are getting a little defensive about it, if you have one and have used it to take an animal or a shot that wouldn't have been possible without it, I want to hear about it. 40 years ago we would be having this discussion about variable power vs. fixed power vs. open sights.
     
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  13. Roop

    Roop La Grande Active Member

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    Also @Boboclown, I never brought up the discussion of first vs second focal plane optics. That is a discussion for another thread.
     
  14. Boboclown

    Boboclown North Carolina Well-Known Member

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    Ranging your target: Friend's backyard, or hunting in open field when I get the opportunity (so I can figure a holdover when I see game at a certain distance). Brush, not so much. As for low light, more towards night. Open field, not bad. Brush closer to night? Can be a PITA. Sometimes you don't need illumination, sometimes you do. I'm not one for the slots.

    Define being defensive, you asked people are answering. How did I lose a few animals? Low light and brush. There are times where its a PITA and times it isn't an issue. Boar have dark fur, at least the ones here do. Black reticle, dark fur, not fun. Worse in low light. Deer, while having light fur, still aren't too easy to see in low light in brush. Open field, thick reticle would be all that's necessary for me. In brush, not really.

    You asked for a use for illumination. I answered that in a FFP scope it can be useful at lower ends of the magnification (twice). Now if it was SFP vs. FFP, illumination wouldn't be involved in my reply.


    At the end of the day, if you can see that you MIGHT need it, even if only rarely, its better to have it than not need it. There's still decent glass with illumination under 1 grand.
     
  15. Boboclown

    Boboclown North Carolina Well-Known Member

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    This is a picture a friend sent me. Some spots are similar to that here. That was on a bright day and it was fairly close according to him.

    image.jpeg
     
  16. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    For my old eyes,this would be the worst time for them. I would see the reticle and nothing else.
    I personally don't like them. My eyes are just too light sensitive and like I said that's all I would see.
     
  17. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Why get upset when he is ,at least, answering your thread?
    You will always get thread drift,accept or move on in life
     
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  18. Roop

    Roop La Grande Active Member

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    Didn't mean to come off angry. Just wanted to make sure we didn't drift into another hemisphere.:cool:

    edit: My wife says I do that alot. I can get a little passionate about things.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
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  19. Roop

    Roop La Grande Active Member

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    Is there a theory of use on these?

    For example, with my variable power optics, I leave them on low power while moving. When I stop and get into a comfortable shooting position and have identified my target, I run the power up to the max that I can use. If my target is too close that might be only halfway, or it may be all the way.

    So, is there a recommended way to use the illuminated reticles that I'm missing?
    30min before and after sunrise/sunset?
     
  20. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My not very expensive Mueller Scopes have 11 step adjustable illumination on the dot. You can turn it down to the point it is barely brighter then without.

    http://muelleroptics.com/mu3940igr

    This is the view through my Mueller 4-16×50AO Tactical I believe this photo to be with the illumination all the way up.

    http://muelleroptics.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/159.jpg

    In the photo above standing in the sun with your eyes adjusted to the surrounding light. Most people would have a very hard time picking out a black set of cross hairs on that deer. Quickly enough to take a shot.

    Until a few years ago I hunted with either an old Tasco World Class (when they were made in Japan and had really good glass) or a Leupold Vari X II and neither scope would have been my friend in the instance of the above photo.

    One of my favorite spots to hunt is a deep canyon with a small 3 acre grass field surrounded by mature Doug firs it is on an EAST facing slope and goes dark almost 1/2 hour before the legal end of the days hunt at Civil Twilight (1/2 hour after sunset) I have found the lighted reticle in my new Mueller to be of great advantage just like cranking the scope down to 4x instead of the normal 6X I would keep it on during lighter conditions.

    YMMV
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
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