🔴 Scopes for Turret Dialers 🔴
When I started shooting and shopped for my first scope I had no idea of what I was looking for:
So many features and numbers, so much money one could spend, so many details and specs, and the widespread tendency of "bigger is better — so don't sweat the details"…. Rrright?! Nah, not how it usually works, at least not well…..
So far, I have been a die-hard turret dialer for my short airgunner life 😄 — I have my range finder or visual range estimation, then my Strelok range card, then I dial my elevation on the turret — shoot! 👍🏼
However, as my quarry sometimes gets away before I get off a shot at it 🤦🏻♂️ —
the appeal to become a hold-over'er is real…. 😄 It's quick and dirty/ deadly.
A post-covid resolution (New Year's is too far away):
I promise I will be practicing to shoot with holdovers — if the Peruvian government ever allows us to leave our houses again….. (It's been 60 days that we've practically been locked up, no walks except the supermarket, no driving at all).
🔶 So, why choose to use turret dialing over holdovers/ holdoffs?
▪I guess holdovers are kind of OK if the point of aim (POA) only requires an elevation adjustment. The shooter can just use the appropriate hashline or mildot on the vertical crosshair as the adjusted POA.
➔ Though, while tracking your quarry, you have to keep remembering what that hashline is for this particular shot….
➔ And simply using the intersection of the crosshairs comes much more natural….
➔ If I'm using my illuminated center dot, I'll want to aim with that dot.... not with something else.
▪It gets much more complicated if the POA also needs to be corrected for wind drift.
Because now the POA is in the vast emptiness of the no-man's land of one of the quadrants of the scope — with no hashlines or mildots to place as POA on the target/quarry…. 😟
(I respect you very much if you can consistently make good shots using this technique! 👍🏼👍🏼)
▪Sure, there are reticles that have a grid of hashlines in the bottom two quadrants to help with the wind+elevation holdoffs.
➔ Though in $500 scopes and under they are very few….
➔ And the gridded reticle appears to many shooters very busy, distracting….
🔷 That is why I have so far preferred turret dialing — at least when I'm not taking a hurried shot.
Now, as far as turrets for turret dialing go… — there are two main qualities of turrets that are good for dialing
🔶 (1) The turrets are repeatable (= the turrets track)
This means that when you dial any elevation or windage, the crosshairs and the reticle will move into the same position every time you dial that same turret setting.
🔶 (2) The turrets are true — i.e., they move the reticle exactly the stated amount.
Typically that is 0.1mil per click, or 1/4moa per click (cheap scopes sometimes have 1/4" per click).
If they do not, find out how much they actually move it — and enter those adjustments into the ballistic calculator (Strelok, ChairGun, etc.). Then you're all set.
🔶 Testing these two qualities —"the tall box test."
Tall box test with two people:
(a) Put the gun in a vise or mount the scope to a stable object. Put a poster or large paper at exactly 100 meters (110 yards) from the scope (if it's a mil turret). For moa turrets, place it 100 yards away.
(b) Person 1 marks the spot on the paper where the crosshairs are when starting out. Person 2 then dials the turrets 10mil (25moa) up. Person 1 marks the spot again. Person 2 dials 5mil (15moa) to the right. Person 1 marks it again. Then 10mil down. Then 5mil left = back to where it started.
(c) Now Person 2 dials these adjustments again, but in reverse order. Person 1 checks if the crosshairs are consistently on the spots that had been marked on the paper before.
(d) If they are, great = the turrets have proven to be repeatable (for now, they could get used up eventually and become non-repeatable….).
If they are off by a lot — become a holder-over'er — or get a different scope….
(e) Measure the distances between the marks on the paper. 10 mil at 100 meters are 100 centimeters. 25 moa at 100 yards are 25 inches.
Like most scopes (even the four-digit priced ones) they won't be exact.
Measure the error, and enter this adjustment into your ballistic calculator (Strelok, ChairGun). From now on, the calculator will take into account the turret error you measured.
🔶 There are a few other features desirable for turret dialing….
Those are often ignored by the scope makers, even the more expensive ones…. 😖
(3) Exposed turrets (instead of capped ones = 🙄)
If I want to dial my turrets (at least the elevation turret) for many of my shots I don't need a turret cap get in the way.
Actually, to me capped turrets is the manufacturer's way of saying to the scope owner: "Hey, zero the scope with the turrets, put the cap on, and leave it alone!
"These turrets aren't made to be changed with every shot — why would I have made a cap for it?!"
Locking turrets are a welcome feature, but capped turrets…?
(4) A large max. elevation adjustment range
If you have a mid-range powered PCP (30FPE in .22cal) and plan to shoot to 100y or more, you'll need to make sure you have "enough clicks in your turret" to reach out there. Some scopes are a bit limited in that department….
Now if you have a low-powered gun and want those long shots, you bet you want at least 70 or 80 moa max. elevation adjustment….
Do some calculations in ChairGun/Strelok, or measure the drop of an actual group to figure out how much elevation adjustment you'll need for your kind of shooting.
Most likely you'll also need to get some adjustable rings or at least a rail with a 20MOA cant.
(5) Turrets with 10mil/ 25moa per revolution
Typical turrets have 5/6mil or 15moa per revolution.
So, when dialing a lot of elevation you'll turn the turret a full revolution and then some. And then — how do you remember if you're one (or two!) full revolutions up or still in the first…?! 🤔
Better are turrets that won't even get your a full revolution up (and use even numbers). So, I prefer a turret that has 10mil per revolution (25moa).
I've come accross a few scopes that have odd-numbered adjustements per turret revolution, like 4.6 mil?!? That's just plain 😖….
Two features that also help with this issue of confusing which turret revolution you're on:
It allows you to set the turret to stop where you have zeroed the scope.
So, after taking a shot you can blindly turn the elevation turret down until it doesn't go any further — and you're back to your original zero (well, you might have to adjust a mil or two).
If your scope does not come with this feature, sometimes inserting some kind of plastic ring or washer into the turret can do the same thing — check YT and the forums and search for DIY Zero Stops for your scope brand and line.
▪Turret Revolution Counter
These are just a few lines at the base of the turret that show how many revolutions the turret has been turned up.
Just little bit of white paint… — so helpful — and so few scopes come with this feature…. 😕
Happy scope shooping and testing….! 😊