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Hold Over Reticle, vs Ballistic Turret, vs MOA.

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  • Hold Over Reticle, vs Ballistic Turret, vs MOA.

    Since the beginning of time, American's have strived to get the maximum potential out of everything we do. For shooters and hunters alike, it was only a matter of time before we were going to find a way to shoot rifles out to a 1,000 yards and beyond!

    With any new quest to push the limits further than previously thought possible, comes trial and error, as well as different strategies on how we can make it happen. Shooting a projectile from point "A" to point "B" would be no exception. Case and point, for as long as I can remember, when your target was beyond your sight in distance, one would hold over the target. "How much?" you ask. That is simply a guestimation based on how far you perceived the target to be and how many inches you guesstimated your aim point to be above your target. Like anything, using a method like this can work sometimes, but actually works a lot less than one would hope for, hence, the hold over reticle system was born.

    Hold over reticles added some intelligence to this method. For a period of time it was thought, that with a decently working yardage rangefinder, these hold over reticles would give us a sure fire aiming point. I'm sure that a lot of hunters hit the woods with these systems and had immediate success. Heck, I was one of them, however, as you begin to run this system through the paces in a few different sets of conditions, several flaws come to the surface. Why? It could be one of many reasons, but let's stick to the reticle itself. First, in order for many manufactures to cut down on SKU's, they made a reticle that was a come one, come all approach. Meaning, if you mount his optic with this reticle on your rifle, your going to hit perfectly where you aim, in reference to which reticle line you choose. That approach seemed like a good one at the time, however, it did not account for different velocities for a given cartridge, nor did it account for the ballistic coefficient of many different bullets the shooter might be using. They were based on generic estimations for many calibers.

    The next generation seemed to go toward Ballistic Dial Compensation. This method has really taken hold with a fairly large group of guys that have implemented extended range shots into their hunting tactics. This method seemed to add some of the missing pieces the hold over reticles did not have. Having the ability to laser etch certain ballistic details on the turret cap itself, shooters are now able to add the detailed velocity and bullet information for the exact rifle they will be shooting. However, with these improvements, there still is similarity to the hold over reticle due to the static information that has been given to the shooting system.

    Static? What I mean by this is fixed information. Even with the information that has been compiled to make the above scenarios work, it leaves out the most important situation of all. Always Changing Atmospheric Conditions. More commonly known as Air Density, Density Altitude, Barometric pressure, etc. Up to this point, the most important variable in shooting a projectile from point "A" to point "B" accurately, has been neglected. Admittedly, through the evolution of the above scenarios, there has been the introduction of the the reticle calculator and the implementation of several different turret caps, but one would have to ask, why go through all of this when you can now incorporate the very software used to get us to this point right into your own shooting system? This leads us to our final stop, " MOA"

    "MOA"= minute of angle = 1/60th of 1 degree of angle. To keep things simple, MOA is a term that describes a unit of measurement. This unit of measurement is what most trajectory programs are based on. It also is how most optic manufacturers build their turret adjustments, 1/4 MOA per click. We now have rangefinders that can be set to give "MOA" output as a standard. When working your shooting system in "MOA", as opposed to hold over or yardage, you can become proficient in simply utilizing the amount of angle needed to make any shot in any conditions at the time of the shot. When given the correct information, Air Density, "MOA" works no matter the distance of the shot. It simply accounts for how much angle is needed to get the bullet from the muzzle to the target, based on how thick or thin the air is at the time of the shot. Similar, yet gravitational principles are used when shooting at severe angles as well. By using "MOA" as your standard method, this allows the needed factors to be applied before taking the shot of a lifetime. As we say in my shooting school, when your hunting, treat every shot you get, like it is the only shot you will get. After all we are in the business of first shot kills!

    When looking back through the evolution of products, it is interesting to me, that I have found the best products use the facts at hand, to get me to my desired result. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, all the rave is long range shooting, however, I will be certain to prepare myself for what the next era brings!

    Remember what makes us a responsible shooters is, practice, practice, practice. When you're tired of practicing, practice some more!

    Bob Beck
    Extreme Outer Limits TV.
    MOA Rifles LLC.
    Hold Over Yardage Minute Of Angle

  • #2
    Great post and information Bob. Thanks.