This post is about what scopes and reticles the best precision rifle shooters are using. It is based on what the top 50 long-range shooters nationwide brought with them to the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) Finale a couple weeks ago. Target engagements for a PRS match can range from 25 to 1,200+ yards, but there is definitely a focus on the “precision” rifle part regardless of the range. For more info on who these guys are, and why you should care what they think scroll to the bottom of this article.
Best Long-Range Scope
It probably didn’t surprise anyone that Schmidt & Bender continued to be the scope of choice among the pros. 40% of all shooters were running an S&B scope. That is pretty dominating. It takes the next 3 most popular brands combined to beat the number of Schmidt & Bender scopes represented at the finale.
Bushnell and Vortex both gained a little ground this year, while Premier and U.S. Optics both lost market share among these shooters. Steiner and Kahles also broke into the action this year, although it was only in small numbers. Nightforce, Leupold, and March were represented once again … but in fairly small numbers.
The only optics information gathered from the competitors was scope manufacturer and reticle, but it is pretty easy to infer the scope model from that information in most cases. There are a few that could have been a couple different models, but here are some of the most popular scopes most likely topping the pro’s long-range rifles:
|Precision Rifle Scope||Model #||Street Price*|
|Schmidt Bender PMII 5-25×56 MSR||677-945-842-B2-A8||$3,950|
|Schmidt Bender PMII 3-20×50 H2CMR||668-945-942-B2-A8||$3,500|
|Bushnell Elite Tactical 3.5-21×50 G2DMR||ET35215G||$1,400|
|Vortex Razor HD 5-20×50 EBR-3 MRAD||RZR-52008||$2,000|
|Premier Heritage Tactical 5-25×56||PRH-10011||$3,200|
*All prices reflect what you could buy it for from a reputable dealer online as of Dec. 2013.
Best Long-Range Reticle
Last year there were 10 shooters using the MSR reticle, and that was the case again this year. But, this year it had to share the top spot with the H2CMR reticle, which gained popularity from 7 last year to 10 this year. Bushnell’s G2DMR (aka GAP) reticle held strong once again, and actually picked up one more shooter over last year. There were 3 fewer shooters using Premier scopes, so the Gen 2 XR dropped in popularity over last year. View last years results.
The reticles the majority of the shooters chose to use didn’t change much from last year’s list, but there were a couple of new-comers on the scene. Here is a list of the reticles used at this year’s finale that weren’t represented last year. There are diagrams of all of these reticles at the bottom of this article as well.
- Leupold TMR Reticle
- Horus H58 Reticle
- Nightforce NP-R1 Reticle
- Nightforce MIL-R Reticle (I think this was released within the past year)
- Kahles Advanced Milling Reticle (AMR)
The MSR reticle was the favorite among the top 20 shooters. While it had to share the top spot with the H2CMR overall, the MSR was clearly the reticle of choice among those in the chase for the top spot.
The Rise of the Christmas Tree Reticle
It seems like there is a growing number of shooters using “Christmas tree” style reticles, which allow for quick hold-offs (instead of dialing for elevation adjustment). The diagram below illustrates what I mean by “Christmas tree” reticle. It is essentially a gridded reticle that allows you to hold for elevation and wind. Most people associate these with reticles by Horus Vision, but there are now several companies offering these types of reticles. I thought it’d be interesting to look at what percent of shooters were using these compared to more standard milling reticles.
The gridded reticles still aren’t more popular than the standard milling reticle, but it may be surprising how many guys have started using them. While the format of the Precision Rifle Series matches varies, there are some that impose strict time limits or are scored in a way that promotes quick target engagement. Being able to hold for elevation and wind, instead of dialing for elevation, can shave off some time and help make you more competitive in those types of competitions. Some shooters believe the “Christmas tree” style reticles are too busy and distracting, but Todd Hodnett of Accuracy First (a very respected long-range trainer) is a huge proponent of the Horus reticles and says most shooters get used to it very quickly. Todd says you really don’t even notice the grid after you’ve used it for a while, but it’s there when you need it. He believes it also easier to correct for a follow-up shot when using one of these reticles. Here is a quick 1 minute video from Todd on this style of reticle:
Full-List of Reticles Used in 2013 PRS Finale
Here is a list of the reticles used by shooters in this year’s PRS finale, in order of popularity.
|Brand & Reticle||MOA/MIL||Image|
|Schmidt & Bender MSR|
View S&B MSR Reticle Data Sheet
|Schmidt & Bender H2CMR|
View S&B H2CMR Reticle Data Sheet
|Bushnell G2DMR (aka GAP)|
View Bushnell G2DMR Reticle Manual
View Vortex EBR-3 mrad Reticle Manual
|Premier Gen 2 XR|
View Premier Gen 2 XR Reticle Details
|US Optics MPR|
View US Optics MPR Reticle Details
View Steiner Reticle User Guide
|Schmidt & Bender P4L Fine|
View S&B P4L Fine Reticle Data Sheet
View Bushnell Horus H59 Reticle Manual
View Vortex EBR-2 mrad Reticle Manual
|MIL or MOA|
View Vortex EBR-1 MOA Reticle Manual
|MIL or MOA|
|US Optics GAP|
View US Optics GAP Reticle Details
View Leupold TMR Reticle Details
View Leupold’s H58 User Manual
View MIL-R Reticle Details
(Advanced Milling Reticle)
View Subtension Diagram
View March FML-1 Reticle Details
|MIL or MOA|
Meet The Pros
The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) is a championship style point series race based on the best precision rifle matches nationwide. PRS matches are recognized as the major league of sniper-style rifle matches. At the end of each year, the scores from 15 different matches are evaluated and the top 50 shooters nationwide are invited to compete head to head in the PRS Finale Match. The info below is based on the equipment those pros brought with them to the most recent finale. This is a great set of data, because 50 shooters is a significant sample size, and this particular group are also considered experts among experts. Thanks to Rich Emmons for allowing me to share this info. To find out more about the PRS, check out What Is The Precision Rifle Series?
Other “What The Pros Use” Articles
This post was one of a series of posts that look at the equipment the top 50 shooters in the country use. Check out these other posts:
- Best Rifle Calibers & Cartridges
- Best Long-Range Scopes
- Best Gunsmiths
- Best Actions
- Best Barrels
- Best Stocks
- Best Precision Bullets, Powders & Brass
- Best Muzzle Brake & Rifle Suppressor
- Best Shooting Rest Bags