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There’s a reason physicists love frictionless planes with negligible air resistance: it makes calculating things a whole lot easier. There’s just one problem with that — nowhere in the universe does such a place exist. Definitely not on a shooting range. For long range shots not only do you have to compensate for air density and gravity, but arguably the biggest component of accurate long range shooting is compensating for the wind. Even a gentle breeze can blow your round off target, but Nikon thinks they have a solution for that . . .

From the press release:

Nikon is pleased to announce the availability of the MONARCH 5 riflescope line, an exciting 2015 introduction that will surely be a flagship product for years to come. Not only does the MONARCH 5 riflescope line feature Nikon’s legendary ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass lenses, it is also the first Nikon riflescope to utilize the new Advanced BDC reticle and has an incredible 5-time zoom ratio for superior close-quarters and long-range effectiveness.

The new glass-etched Advanced BDC reticle, similar to the standard BDC reticle, has unique open circles going down the vertical sight post that are used as aiming points to compensate for bullet drop at extended ranges. What differentiates the Advanced BDC reticle is that it also has windage marks on both the left and right side of the post. Each windage mark is calibrated for a 10-mile-per-hour cross wind when the rifle is zeroed at either 100 or 200 yards. Even if the cross wind is more or less than 10 mph, shooters now have a reliable benchmark to compensate for the effect that a strong gust of wind can have on their point of impact.

In other words, they’ve got a new reticle that pairs with their app, and it will tell you which hold to use in order to hit a target at a given distance. Which is cool, but there’s a catch.

The range I regularly used when I was a budding long range shooter was the known distance range at Marine Corps Base Quantico. While any old stretch of 1,000 meter dirt would do the trick, Quantico is a unique property that makes shooting both infuriating and educational.

The trees on either side of the range funnel the wind in such a way that the apparent wind at the shooter’s face is not representative in any way shape or form of the actual wind across the range. It might seem to be flowing gently left to right at the shooting position, but the wind probably is shifting three times as the bullet flies downrange, changing the point of impact a little with each move.

That’s the problem that TrackingPoint has been grappling with unsuccessfully for years. Being able to read the wind at the shooter’s position is one thing, but being able to read it over the course of the bullet’s entire trajectory is quite another. That said, while this system probably won’t be 100% dead-on for every shot, it does look like a handy integrated system to give shooters a leg up in long range situations

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  1. BDC’s, what you buy before you have any bloody idea of what you’re even doing.

    Why don’t they call it the wounded and lost reticle. At least then it’d be accurate about what it’ll get ya.

  2. So in other words what Nikon is saying is that if you aren’t shooting long range with one of their scopes with that reticle then you are definitely compensating for something.

  3. The reticle looks like elements of the Primary Arms ACSS reticle.

    Yes, to some it may be a crutch. But if it gets people into long range shooting, it’s start.

    • I scrolled down to say exactly this. The primary arms reticle has been doing this for a while. I have one, but I haven’t had the chance to try out the windage marks yet. It seems to be dead calm every time I am out shooting lately.

      And to the BDC naysayers… It works great as long as you do what you are supposed to and check how it actually shoots at range. It is no different than adjusting your scope up 4′ for a 323yd shot except you don’t have to change anything since the 4′ crosshair is already there.

  4. The big problem with bullet drop reticles is that they are calibrated for one cartridge and one barrel length. Change the bullet, the powder, or barrel specs and its will only get you close, but not accurate

    • No they’re not. They’re calibrated for 1 ballistic coefficient, 1 specific air density and 1 specific muzzle velocity.

    • Meh. Long time ago I got a cheapass 4x scope with a BDC for an AR, calibrated for 20″ barrel, of course. My AR was 16″, and I sighted it in for 100 yards as advertised, and when my son started playing with it, he dialed in 400 yards and immediately started ringing the gong at that distance. Whatever your load or BC, it is better than nothing.

  5. ” the apparent wind at the shooter’s face is not representative in any way shape or form of the actual wind across the range. “

    That’s pretty much true for any true long range shooting, not just at Quantico.

  6. I have a Nikon with a ( useless ) BDC on my Savage… I have tried many times unsuccessfully to dial it in. I really need to send it back and have it either replaced or repaired.. Maybe Ill ship it in the redfield Box that I replaced it with Just to send them the message… I dialed in my redfield in 3 shots

  7. Call me old-school, but a BDC is no substitute for practice. I have a notebook in the ammo can for my scoped rifle. It has the scope settings for 200, 300, and 400 metres. With the load I use (.308, 44g AR2209, 155g JW Dwyer projectile), I find these settings instantly repeatable with the Leupold Vari-X III scope (6.5-20×40 AO).

    If I was hunting (and using appropriate bullets, and not the target bullet listed above), I would set the windage to the zero position (it is adjusted each time I use it) and keep the shots within the 6″ circle point-blank distance of 250 metres. Even a strong cross-wind will still land in the 6″ zone.

    The other rifle I used to use was a scout-scoped (Leupold M8 2.5×28) on a M48 Yugoslav Mauser. With reworked Turkish 8mm (replaced the 154g FMJ with a 170g Hornady RNSP, dropped the powder charge to 44.5g of the original powder). This combination brought home the bacon literally with shots out to 200 metres being taken easily.

    Long-range shots should be apologised for and not boasted about. Would you hunt with a .38SPL revolver, is a question I have asked. The answer is always no, that is cruel because it isn’t enough to get humane kills. But look at the ballistics of most standard hunting cartridges at extended ranges, and many will be about the same is a .38SPL.

    A man has to know his limitations.

    • “But look at the ballistics of most standard hunting cartridges at extended ranges, and many will be about the same is a .38SPL.

      A man has to know his limitations.”

      And yet competent long range hunters successfully kill varmints and big game at really long ranges all the time, so for some folks, it’s not a “limitation.”

      Weird how the real world trumps theory, eh?

    • A BDC does the exact same thing as your settings, except that you never have to change those settings. I shot expert 5 times in the Marine Corps with iron sights on the M16A2, then once with the ACOG on an M4. The ACOG was so much easier to use at 500 yards and didn’t involve any fiddling with the elevation wheel. Anything that makes shooting easier is a plus in my book, as long as you have mastered the fundamentals of shooting.

  8. “…nowhere in the universe does such a place exist.” Not to be TOO pedantic, but pretty much anywhere outside the gravitational influence of any large mass in space…

    Just sayin’.

  9. Now I have a currently (I’m on the rig and will send it back for refund once I’m home) a EOTECH Holographic on my .308 carbine and having shot in service rifle matches with iron sights for years, I find it a very useful thing. I was able to test it out on actual distance though and since I typically only fire nato standard rounds through it, I find it to be quite useful in that regard. It is accurate though. I wouldn’t think of putting one on a bolt action rifle, that’s what a range card is for.

    • In my very limited experience at long range, other than dreaming, I learned that reading mirage through a spotting scope equated to applying about that many clicks of windage (iron sights) for this much wind, and then fine tuning your TLAR (that looks about right) along the way. What hash mark equates to 10 mph of wind would have been useless information, not certain where you get that kind of average wind data to input. It seemed to me as though wind was not all that important ’til you got past around 600 yards anyhow, became a crisis around 800, and 1000 demanded some serious training.

  10. I wonder about adding tracking of your fired rounds, sure, science fiction today, but how far off is it really? Then you have to guess about your first shot, but each following one should be more accurate.

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