The Ultimate Guide to BDC Reticles For Precision Long-Range Shooting

What is a BDC Reticle?

To begin with, the reticle is the marking within the rifle scope used for aiming.

Traditionally, rifle scopes have a simple cross-hair to aim at targets. The scope would be zeroed in at a predetermined distance, typically 100 yards.

An experienced rifleman knowing the DOPE (data on previous engagements) for his rifle and ammunition would then, dial the scope for each shot beyond 100 yards to account for ballistic drop. Or he will use “Kentucky Windage”, which is simply holding the zero mark above the target at an estimated hold for the impact point.

The evolution of the crosshair led to a reticle based on a unit of measure. The measure is a minute of angle (MOA) or milliradian (Mil or MRAD) with markings in the increment of measure.

Based on mathematical calculations, these markings could be used to holdover on a target farther than the zero distance and range of known size objects. Shooters could also add or subtract clicks to the scope to adjust the reticle to give a precise aiming/impact point.

For example, if the scope is zeroed for 200 yards, the shot is 400 yards away, and the cartridge is a 168 grain .308 with a muzzle velocity of 2650 fps, then there would be approximately 6 MOA (24 inches) of actual holdover to hit the target.

If the clicks on the turret knobs are ¼ MOA (1-MOA=1.046” @ 100 yards), it will take 24 clicks up to set the cross-hair correctly at a 400-yard impact. 

As technology improved, it became very possible to customize the markings on the reticle, especially with laser etching technology.

The BDC (Ballistic Drop Compensating) reticle could finally become its own. There have been many iterations of the BDC reticle as technology evolves by different companies.

BDC Reticles in Second Focal Plane

Pride Fowler Industries worked with Zeiss Optics to design the reticles for their Rapid-Z line that utilized the BDC reticles in second focal plane (SFP).

Because the reticle does not change in size relative to the magnification in second focal plane, the BDC could be used with certain calibers when the scope was set at particular magnification settings.

The holdover markings would equate to different distances depending on which caliber was being shot. Still, knowing these values, the shooter can make accurate shots out to various distances without adjusting the optic. 

Our BDC Reticles in First Focal Plane

Pride Fowler Industries set out on a different route. We wanted to design BDC reticles in first focal plane (FFP) for particular calibers or ballistic coefficients. This made the BDC designs match with a wider group of calibers.

In first focal plane, the BDC would change size relative to the magnification setting allowing the holdovers to be true at any magnification. PFI designed a series of reticles that covered the most common calibers used by riflemen regardless of profession or objective.

When paired correctly with specific but common ammunition and rifle barrel lengths, the Rapid Reticle BDC reticle provided the data for long-distance impacts without the need for adding or subtracting clicks. We designed each reticle to provide the rifleman with the full capability of the weapon system and the confidence to take the longer shots. 

Pride Fowler’s RR Evolution Series

PFI took things a step further when designing the BDC reticles, especially with the latest line of optics, the RR-Evolution Series. Each reticle includes the ability to range on 9” and 18” objects via a bracketing system down the center on each holdover.

This allows the shooter to instantly estimate the target’s range without going to another device.

The reticle also gives wind data for each distance for 5mph, 10mph, and 15mph for the calibers for which the BDC was designed. This could be used to compensate for a wind value or lead moving targets.

Our BDC reticles now include a second set of numbers on the left side. These numbers show the impacts of a drastic elevation change or using a longer barrel than specified at around 500ft elevation. 

Rimfire, LPVO, and Long Range in the RR-Evolution Series

The RR-Evolution Series comprises three categories of optics: Rimfire, LPVO, and Long Range.

  • Rimfire BDC reticles: .22LR, .22Mag, and .17HMR/.17WSM.
  • LPVO Reticles: 1-6x optics made for 5.56×45/7.62×51 and .300BLK/7.62×39.
  • Long Range Reticles: RR-Evolution-5.56/7.62 is designed for longer-barreled rifles shooting 5.56×45, 7.62×51 (168-175gr), and other ammunition with similar ballistic coefficients.

The RR-Evolution-H reticle matches over 200 of the most common hunting rounds, including .243, .270, 150gr .308, .30-06, and more.

The newest addition is the RR-Evolution-6.5, which features a new 5-25×50 body and is designed for 6.5 Creedmoor. Although it can be used with any 6.5 Creedmoor bullet weight to a certain distance, the 140gr is ideal for the entire BDC to 1,200 yards!

Each of these optics is also compatible with other calibers, which are all listed on our website.    

These advancements in BDC design help riflemen worldwide take confident shots at greater distances with much more ease. Shop our line of BDC Rifle Scopes.

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