SHOT SHOW 2016: Nikon Focal Plane Reticles
February 10, 2016
To date, you won't find aÂ Nikon riflescope with its reticleÂ on the first-focal plane. But, with a new announcement by Nikon at SHOT Show 2016, they're bringing the versatile second-focal plane reticle placement to several new models of riflescope. This year, Monarch 3 scopes inÂ 3-12x42, 4-6x42 and 4-16x50Â will have a first-focal plane option.Â ProStaffÂ 5 scopes inÂ 3.5-14x40, 3.5-14x50 and 4.5-18x40 will have first-focal plane reticles.
Maybe that's not earth-shattering news to some, but to those who know and love Nikon's Ballistic Drop Compensation, or BDC,Â reticle system, it's huge. NowÂ you can use the reticle at any magnification and the reticle will tell you how much the bullet will drop at any distance on any magnification.
In the past, when you set up your variable-magnification scope using BDC reticles for drop-compensation,Â you had to keep it atÂ one magnificationÂ level for the reticle to be accurate at varying distances;Â the old second-focalÂ plane designs limited the usefulness of theÂ reticle.
Imagine long-range hunting for whitetails, and you see a Boone & Crockett buck at 225 yards. With your old Pro Staff 5 2.5-10x40, you'd know that you'd have to put the magnification to, say,Â 7.5X in orderÂ to haveÂ the drop-compensating reticle be accurate. But what if you wanted the extra power of the 10X magnification? You'd be on your own.
The reticle would not indicate where the bullet would drop. YouÂ would needÂ toÂ keep it at 7.5X for the system to work. That's theÂ way it is with all second-focalÂ plane, also called rear-focalÂ plane, scopes.
Thankfully, Nikon is upping their game in this area. It only makes sense, too. The company has been at the vanguard of drop-compensating reticle designs, as well as online ballisticÂ calculators with their SpotÂ OnÂ siteÂ (nikonsportoptics.com)Â and affordableÂ Spot OnÂ wind meters.