first focal plane vs second focal plane

This is a discussion on first focal plane vs second focal plane within the Optics forums, part of the Sniping Related category; I am hunting for a new scope since the one that came with my thunderstick is of zero quality. While I am searching for the ...

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  1. #1
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    first focal plane vs second focal plane

    I am hunting for a new scope since the one that came with my thunderstick is of zero quality. While I am searching for the best that my finances can pay for I have run across some terms that I don't understand. What is the difference between a first focal plane scope and a second focal plane scope.
    More importantly, why is one better than the other? I have tried the search function and have not found an answer to my question.
    .308 Howa 1500 w/24" heavy varmint barrel
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  2. #2
    Senior Member frzburn's Avatar
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    Search function gave me this as the second result (the first one being your post)

    http://www.snipercentral.com/forums/...st+focal+plane

    Read the posts, and you'll find your answer around mid-page.
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  3. #3
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    With a first focal plane scope (FFP), the reticle shrinks/grows with the adjustment of magnification (Mils always read true). With a second focal plane scope (SFP), the reticle stays the same size while what you are looking at shrinks/grows with magnification. (Mils are only true under one magnification setting)

    Im still a newbie, but it seems like most people prefer a FFP scope because the mil readings are always true. I personally just picked up a bushnell elite 4200 that is SFP. I like the SFP with this scope because it is based on the magnification setting of 12, allowing you to drop the scopes power to 6 or up the power to 24 allowing you to get a more accurate mil reading then just dividing/multiplying by two.

  4. #4
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    While I agree and prefer an FFP scope, I must say that most tactical sniping is ultimately done from a hide where ranges (to landmarks) are calculated/estimated in advance. With that said, and in the event that one must shoot quickly at unknown distance, it really doesn't matter what focal plane your scope is unless you absolutely 'must' get a hit on the first shot. I say this because regardless of FFP or SFP... when you see where your first shot hit... or missed, the correction (hold over) is almost always accomplished without utilizing your knowledge of mrads and range. You simply correct the first few shots by mentally repositioning your POI onto your target and hold for lead (if moving... they will be.). When/if time permits... dial in the changes if necessary.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by adictionbass View Post
    With a first focal plane scope (FFP), the reticle shrinks/grows with the adjustment of magnification (Mils always read true). With a second focal plane scope (SFP), the reticle stays the same size while what you are looking at shrinks/grows with magnification. (Mils are only true under one magnification setting)
    That can be confusing just saying the reticle shrinks and grow. It actually stays the same size in relation to the target, which is how it stays keeping the reticle graduations the same. So as it appears to shrink and grow to the eye, so does the target.

    Both have their place and it's up to the end user if they want SFP or FFP. Using SFP and using half and double math to make the reticle work sounds good on a slow controlled firing line but there are a couple problems. Once you start using them under pressure the mistakes start happening and it takes time. Also you really need to check the scope to make sure it is subtending correctly at that half and double spot. Just because it says 24x on the power ring doesn't mean it is 24x. If you are going to use the scope like this you need to go to the range and test it on a mil chart at 100 yards.

    OP here is an article by Orkan on the subject which might help
    Primal Rights ? Primal Rights -- Rifle Sighting Systems - Part 3: SFP vs FFP

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