FFP vs SFP

Discussion in 'Optics Talk' started by Flashpoint, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    So school me on the advantages of FFP, 'cause I'm not seeing it. I can see if you are in a situation that requires you to adjust your magnification to a specific value, possibly to cover a specific fov it would be good, but other than that I don't see it being advantageous.

    With an SFP scope if I ever wish to use the reticle at reduced magnification (and this has never been necessary although I have done it) I can use it at 1/2, 1/4, etc. magnification and just do the simple math. This preserves the size of the reticle so I can still easily see the graduations and to me that's more useful than making it smaller and saving me from having to multiply/divide by 2.

    I see a lot of scopes for sale with FFP for a premium, even relatively low powered (i.e. 1-6x) ones where IMO FFP doesn't make much sense. Ever looked through a FFP scope at 2x? LOL

    Unfortunately I think it's become a marketing thing more than anything else, just something to charge more money for. What grinds my gears is that there are several mid range scopes that come in both versions but the FFP versions have much better reticles. I see no reason for this other than the manufacturers thinking SFP is not for serious users. I beg to differ!
     
  2. hp468

    hp468 Member Supporting Member

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    Tagged to keep up with this. I have nothing to add (always used SFP simply because I couldn't afford FFP at the time) but will be buying some more glass in the near future. I like the idea of FFP for long distance viewing especially with some of these busy recitals floating around but have no experience with them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  3. SCshooter57

    SCshooter57 covfefe Charter Life Member Life Member

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    Likewise tagged for interest.
     
  4. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    FFP may have advantages for you but it shrinks reticles, I don't think it helps with busier ones.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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  5. BurnedOutGeek

    BurnedOutGeek What's this button do? Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I think the biggest "pro" is not having to be at a particular magnification to do any ranging.

    Let me edit that to say get an accurate measurement for help in ranging.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  6. REELDOC

    REELDOC EYES OPEN, NO FEAR Benefactor Supporting Member

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    What he said ^^^^^^^
     
  7. Matt.Cross

    Matt.Cross Well-Known Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    It also provides immediate 1:1 feedback for dialing adjustment, whatever the indicated difference in the reticle is, that's how much you adjust your elevation or windage without regard to changes in the reticle magnification.
     
  8. BowWow

    BowWow Happy to be here

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    It should be easier to adjust for mirage on hot days by reducing magnification without adjusting scope settings. I just got my First FFP scope, so this year will be a learning experience for me on this topic. But ranging at any magnification is convenient.

    I'm with you on the reticle...… it gets a little too small at lower magnification on a scope with a wide range of power...…. I'm not sure how small a reticle might be on a lower power scope say a 3x9.
     
  9. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    BoG and Matt, yes those things are well known, but to me I don't see a reason to ever have to be at anything other than full or .5 magnification (low power 1-n x scopes excluded). I don't ever just use any random magnification and am curious about why/when that is necessary.
     
  10. Matt.Cross

    Matt.Cross Well-Known Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I agree with you for what it's worth, but there's a sucker born every minute and some folks hate math so bad they'll literally pay to avoid it.
     
  11. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    I feel the same way about MOA vs MIL, I won't buy MIL scopes anymore. I think in inches and my targets are marked in inches, why would I want to have to do the math to get inches (you know, multiply by 3.xx) which is much harder to do in one's head than dividing or multiplying by 2 as above.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
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  12. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    I had a 1-4 FFP and it was ridiculous. At 4x the reticle was usable but not at any anything less than that because it was too small. FFP was useless in that scope.
     
  13. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member

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    so you have a few assumptions that are not accurate and do not work at all. Let go there first then we will get in the weeds a bit.

    1. "can use it at 1/2, 1/4, etc. magnification and just do the simple math The optic range doe not scale as you assume. The magnification value as reported on the ring is not accurate for math use.
    2. "Ever looked through a FFP scope at 2x? LOL" the idea on a LPVO is to create a RDS below 4x. so on a FFP the only illuminated aspect is near the center. As the power drops down, the field of view widens and the illuminated parts shrink, the illuminated parts perform like a red dot sight.
    3. "Unfortunately I think it's become a marketing thing more than anything else, just something to charge more money for." nope you just are not educated.

    So lets go down this path. A first focal plane optic places the reticle in the same focal plane "1st" as the field of view. as the magnification is added, the field of view shrinks. Thus the reticle is easier to see. going in the other direction, if the magnification is lowered the reticle gets smaller. this all happens because the reticle subtends a value of angler distance. since the field of view also subtends a angler unit of measure calibrating the two is simple for representing the same value. As an example:

    Optic in use:
    https://www.leupold.com/scopes/compact-scopes/vx-6hd-3-18x44mm
    Linear FOV (ft/100 yd) - Low 38.00
    Linear FOV (ft/100 yd) - High 7.00

    So to put this is perspective the low field of view "38 feet" is equal to 435.5 MOA | 126.7 Mil . The high end of the field of view "7 feet" is equal to 80.2 MOA | 23.3 mil

    Notice this is a switch between a linear unit of measure "feet" to a angler unit of measure "MOA | MIL"

    Since the reticle subtends a value "MOA | MIL" and its to scale, plus on the same focal plane as the field of view, the visual range of adjustment of the reticle is directly related to the amount of field of view given in the optics design.

    Why does anyone give a crap? Well in the most simple aspect, for proper wind holds or bullet drop or both. Example:

    You are hunting and have a first focal plane riflescope 5-20xin MOA and you are scouting with 8x bino's . You spot a elk at 350yds with your binos, your optic is set at 15x and you are having a devil of time seeing the Elk. so you drop down the power and scout a bit and BAM you see the Elk but it's walking away. You know you have a 200yd zero and you also know to 350yds-375yds is a extra 3 MOA. so you hold the 8 MOA line of your reticle just on the belly of the Elk, and you lead it by 3 MOA in the direction its walking and send the shot.

    Try that sequence of events with a 2nd focal plane optic and have the same level of confidence.
     
  14. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member

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    any LPVO below 5x should not have a unit of measure reticle for any use beyond taking up space in a safe. If one buys a 1-6 or higher LPVO and it is in FFP the illumination needs to be daylight bright or its a as useless as the 1-4x LPVO with a unit of measure reticle.
     
  15. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member

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    Again you are making bold statements that are not wise. To learn MIL just relate it as 1/3rd MOA
     
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  16. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I've spent much of the last couple years dipping my toes in the long range game. FFP and MIL dominate here without question. I'm not an expert, but here are some of the advantages I gained when I sold off my SFP scope(s).

    - A MIL is a MIL is a MIL. No matter what magnification I'm on, I can see my impacts and get immediate - accurate - feedback for adjustment using the MIL reticle. This is the A1 purpose for me.

    - Changing magnification DOES matter, it's not always 0 or Max.

    For example, at higher magnification the mirage on a longer ranger target can get overwhelming. At higher magnification, the wobble from my poorly constructed position and racing heart can be overwhelming. So back down that magnification from 24x to 15x and solve those issues.

    If I'm on the clock at a match, I may need to quickly adjust from a 200 yard target to an 800 yard target. Throwing the lever to dial up some magnification, and still having my MIL reticle be accurate for hold over is critical.

    - MIL is simpler than MOA if you can stop thinking in inches. It's awfully hard for a spotter to say "hey, you missed left by - ohh...I dunno....maybe 18" " when you're spotting impacts 500-1,000 yards away. Your eye just isn't that accurate. BUT....with a MIL reticle, it doesn't matter if your target is 100 or 1,500 yards away...calling a "you missed left .2 MIL" needs no translation. It's simply more accurate. Granted you could do this with an FFP scope in MOA as well, but the most common language is MIL.

    It truly matters what your purpose is. Are you a bench shooter that needs finely graduated adjustments for known distance? MOA is your choice and SFP is OK.

    Are you a hunter where Minute of Kill Zone is acceptable? SFP and a BDC are OK

    "Precision" shooting inside 500 yards? Whatever you're comfy with.

    Precision shooting in field conditions (i.e. PRS/NRL/DMR matches)? FFP and MIL are the clear winners.
     
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  17. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member

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    @Tim

    fully agree 95% with what you posted.

    The quote you wrote "MIL is simpler than MOA if you can stop thinking in inches. is half true. The key is for EVERYONE to quit blending linear and angler units of measure. One must know the output of linear from angler, but not blend them.

    MOA and MIL are the same in all regards except 1.
    • MOA is 1/60th of a degree
    • MIL is 1/1000 ratio
    Both output in linear and angler units of measure values, knowing the difference is the key to this conversation and understanding whats going on down range.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  18. Chuckman

    Chuckman Senior Member Sponsor

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    I have *some* experience in LRS. That said, I am not nearly in the same range (see what I did there?) as @JBoyette , especially in terms of optics. I learned with the M3A (Leupold 10x42 mil-dot) and the Leupold M3 MR/T 3-9, both of which were very capable but are considered antiques by today's optics. All that is to say, the tech changes pretty often, and with it the precision and ease of use. John and some other schools have shattered my paradigms, and now would use nothing other than FFP/MIL. I have an emotional attachment to the Mk 4 10x mil-dot, the same way I have an emotional attachment to my first M4 with round hand guards with my maglite taped on with duct tape. It got the job done, but there are just SO many better options.
     
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  19. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Quoting myself 'cause I'm just that good...

    This is as much a part of it as anything. If you're shooting the long range competitions or doing serious work (.gov work), having a common language is critical. @Matt.Cross and I shot a 'team' match last year. He was shooting MOA, and I had MIL. It made it nearly impossible for us to spot or help each other.

    So, no matter how it got there, the fact is that MIL is the common language. That alone is worth a check in the plus column for why you ought to use it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  20. NKD

    NKD Senior Member Benefactor Kimberless Supporting Member

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    I feel FFP is pointless/useless in a LPVO, at least for my use. You never have time to use it in anything practical. That's why nearly all top 3gun scopes are SFP and have a basic crosshairs, basic BDC, and a daylight bright center dot. It's what you need for targets between 5-500 yards. It needs to be as close to perfect on 1x as possible, where it will remain 90% of the time. Mil or MOA. Makes no difference to me other than if the stadia thickness is affected.
    Just my opinion.


    But seems super useful for long range precision, of which I have little experience.
     
  21. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member

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    fully agree,
    If you are ever in mixed company again, a MIL is 1/3rd MOA so 1 mil right is equal to 3 MOA fyi
     
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  22. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    This is the only technical thing you say in this post that pertains to the topic. You have a point somewhat, but it is a simple thing to mark the scope body with the precise magnification point to truly be 1/2 or 1/4 full magnification. It just takes a target marked in inches or MILs depending on your reticle. Hit me up and I'll show you how. :p

    Correct, but irrelevant. FFP in such a low power scope is still ridiculous.

    Please, stop with all the technical crap. There is nothing above that is either relevant or I don't already know except the scenario which explains a possible reason for needing to use a random magnification which is what I was asking for so thank you for that.
     
  23. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Bullshart John. I don't have to learn MIL. Why would I use MIL and have to do any math at all? Again you say something that has no relevance, I stated in my post you quoted that the difference is 3.xx (3.38 to be exact).

    I understand you want to impress everybody with everything you know but please keep it relevant.
     
  24. BurnedOutGeek

    BurnedOutGeek What's this button do? Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Screenshot_20200217-185659_Chrome.jpg

    Mmmmmm... snickers
     
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  25. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member

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    Ok then.

    Have a good one.
     
  26. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    An MOA is an MOA is an MOA.

    Thanks for the scenario, this s what I'm asking for, examples of when I would need to be at a specific magnification rather than just 100%.

    Afraid I'm going to have to take issue with this. an MOA reticle w/MOA turrets gives the same capability and simplicity.

    An MOA/MOA optic is not any less precise than a MIL/MIL optic all else being equal with similar reticles. The scenario above as well as the one John provided do give me insight on why one would need to range or holdover at varying magnifications, thanks.

    I have always thought FFP would only be useful to me with a very high power optic (24x etc.) so I could use lower mag at closer range. I never intend to shoot long range, its not that useful a skill around here. I like shooting subs at shorter distances but with rainbow trajectories so precision in ranging and holdovers is still important.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  27. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member

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    MOA is finer in its graduation then MIL due to it being based on 1/60 of a degree and MIL based on 1/17

    Again as I posted MIL in 1/10th click is damn near 1/3rd MOA adjusted. So close that I had a USO in 1/10th MIL turrets and SMOA reticle at one point to take advantage of both systems.

    FFP is best between 3-20x. After 20x SFP is best. FYI
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
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  28. hp468

    hp468 Member Supporting Member

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    I had that exact pic uploaded, almost hit send and then decided to just let the updraft fuel the fire.

    Bravo sir, bravo.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  29. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    True of course. I should have been more clear that I was making an argument for FFP with that statement.
     
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  30. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    The argument many would make for MIL being “easier” is also a mark against it being more precise. Because MIL adjustments are somewhat coarser, the numbers are easier to relay and compute on the fly.

    For example, ~6 MIL vs ~20 MOA

    not looking to “win” any argument, just relaying what I’ve learned while getting into long range stuff.

    Like you said (and I did as well), YOUR purpose and needs and FFP/MIL aren’t aligned. Ain’t it great having choices?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  31. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Do you mean SFP is better for:
    1. Any variable optic that extends beyond 20x, or
    2. If you plan on primarily using full magnification, in which case SFP would be better because FFP is not needed and is lower price

    Otherwise or if it's #1, why is SFP better past 20x?
     
  32. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Doesn't the loss of precision make it a wash, or are you not worried much about that level of precision when doing those calcs?
     
  33. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member

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    Sorry,
    You told me not to get technical.
     
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  34. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    trading speed for fine precision is the dilemma.

    Most targets at these comps tend to be generous enough that the coarser MIL adjustments are not a handicap.

    Of course the “coarse” adjective is relative. Most MIL scopes adjust in 0.1 increments, or 3.6” at 1,000 yards. Still a pretty minor adjustment. By comparison, a top quality MOA scope will move 2.6” (1/4MOA) per click at 1,000.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  35. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    You just have an annoying tendency to try and school me on things that it should be obvious that I know from what I've already posted and aren't even directly relevant. It's like you see the topic and just go into brain dump mode without comprehending what the OP is really asking. Maybe its my character flaw but I find it exasperating.
     
  36. 11B CIB

    11B CIB Administrator Staff Member Charter Life Member

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    I am shooting both in moderate range competition and recreational shooting at the moment, max distances between 600-800yds

    SFP MOA (6-24) and a FFP MIL.(3-18)

    I’m using both pretty heavily and shooting a lot of ammo through each rifle. I’m learning the pros and cons and seeing what works better for me. I will say I had an MOA bias but I want to learn MILs and be more effective with the system. But like @Tim said the competition is dominated by MIL/FFP for the most part.


    As an oddball, I have a 2.5-10 FFP MOA but not using it quite as much. Have had no issues with it though and like @JBoyette mentioned, on lower power, it’s for rapid shooting (basically just a crosshair) versus measuring holds.

    I realize I didn’t add much substance here but I don’t have much outside my own observations and preferences at this point
     
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  37. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Somebody point it out if I missed it but so far the only advantage of MIL over MOA I've seen presented here is the one Tim brought up about using smaller numbers for in the head calcs. If you decide MIL is right for you for some reason other than everyone else is doing it I'd be curious to know why.

    Yes I had a FFP 1-4 illuminated, definitely a red dot at low mag. BTW is that 2.5-10 a Bushy Engage or Nitro?
     
  38. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    You’re right, it’s really such a minor difference between the systems. Pick one and go.

    I picked MIL because it’s the “language” of the people I was choosing to hang with.

    I bookmarked this article when I got started. I don’t like that he puts so much emphasis on “if you think in yards or meters”, but it’s a good article.
    https://precisionrifleblog.com/2013/07/20/mil-vs-moa-an-objective-comparison/

    The more interesting question - to me - in your OP was the SFP v FFP.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  39. KnotRight

    KnotRight Well-Known Member Charter Member Benefactor Life Member

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    I have been looking at this for a year or so. I started with M.O.A. and know M.O.A. and I am comfortable with M.O.A. Started to buy a scope that was on sale but it was a MIL scope and walked way.

    I would like to see the same power scope that is FFP and SFP at the range to try to comprehend the difference at 500 yards.
     
  40. 11B CIB

    11B CIB Administrator Staff Member Charter Life Member

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