First Focal Plane vs. Second Focal Plane Scope

When picking out the best scope for your rifle, one of the most common questions to arise is whether you want a scope with the reticle etched on the first focal plane (sometimes referred to as front focal plane or FFP) or on the second focal plane (SFP)?  If the reticle is etched on the first focal plane, as you increase the magnification, the reticle appears to grow with the increase in magnification.  With second focal plane, as magnification increases, the size of the reticle does not change.

In order to understand the difference between FFP and SFP, one must understand Minutes of Angle (MOA). A Minute of Angle is an angular measurement, equal to 1/60th of a degree.  1 MOA grouping on a target is 1.047 inch group at 100 yards.  1 MOA grouping grows as the distance you shoot, increases, 2 inches at 200 yards, 5 inches at 500 yards, 10 inches at 1000 yards etc.  

For More information on MOA, here is a link to an excellent article by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Lines or dots in the reticle are normally associated with MOA measurements, on the highest magnification.  If the reticle is advertised as 10 MOA on 12x magnification, then it is 20 MOA if you have the power level set to 6x magnification.  Some scope manufacturers, such as Zeiss, offer a ballistic calculator that figures out what power to set your scope to, so the reticle drop lines match up with 100 yard increments for your rifle and ammunition load.  

With a FFP scope, as the magnification increases, so does the size of the reticle, keeping the MOA the same, no matter what magnification the scope is set on, so any calculation you make for bullet drop will not change with increases in magnification. FFP rifle scopes are excellent for bench / target shooting, but on low magnification, the reticle can be very small and fine, making it hard to see in low light hunting situations, with dark colour backgrounds. 

On the other hand SFP scopes are more commonly recommended for hunting purposes as the reticle stays the same size regardless of current magnification.

With a Ballistix custom yardage turret you eliminate the need for bullet drop compensating reticles altogether. When installed on a rifle scope, simply dial your custom turret to the yardage your aiming at and hold the centre of your reticle directly on your target. 

Check out all of our Ballistix Custom Turret options

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