The Reticle Dance

Watching your heartbeat in a crosswire is both comforting (you’re alive) and disconcerting (you can’t control the movement). Timing a shot to break with a reticle pause is devilishly difficult. The best you can do is minimize wobble and center it so the reticle spends more time near the middle than at orbit’s edge.

You can also throttle this frenetic dance by pruning magnification because at 4X your pulse is scarcely noticeable. Modest magnification also mutes the more unsettling shake of articulating joints and twitching muscles, unsteady field positions and the tug of gusty wind.

In both target and hunting scopes, magnification has climbed steadily. Soon after WWII Lyman sold huge 6X, 8X and 10X Targetspot scopes. Their legendary Alaskan model was 2-1/2X. Fecker listed target scopes of 4-1/2X to 16X. Its hunting models — 2-1/4X to 4X, competed with Weaver’s 3X, 4X and 5X scopes.

Hunters now fuel a market in variables to 18X, even 20X. Deer big as the Goodyear Blimp now float across the field of view. Target sights exceed 40X, double the magnification of the spotting scopes I used in competition!