Reticules for Africa


By Pierre van der Walt


crosshair Crosshair Reticule
Advantages: The fine lines do not obscure small targets at range and it therefore is a suitable for long-range application on small animals and varmints. Quite acceptable for African plains game hunting during daytime
Disadvantages: The fine lines are difficult to see in poor light or against dark backgrounds. It is a bright light only option for good eyes and slow shooting.
dot Dot Reticule
Advantages: The dot provides an uncluttered image of the target and provides a very natural point for the eye to use as reference point. It mostly provides a bit faster target acquisition than the stand-alone Crosshair. Not popular in Africa.
Disadvantages: It provides a single reference point, and if that is not visible in poor light or on dark target, then the hunter has no other means of aiming. That can be circumvented by opting for an illuminated dot. If the dot is large it limits the riflescope’s application to closer ranges or larger species.
target-dot Target Dot Reticule
Advantages: It employs the strengths of both the Dot and the Crosshair designs and provides a natural reference point that can be used under a wider range of conditions and backgrounds than the stand-alone Dot. It is a bit more visible than the stand-alone Crosshair, especially when illuminated. It is an excellent choice for shooting at round targets as in target shooting. It is fine for African plains game hunting across bush and medium ranges
Disadvantages: It provides a single reference point, and if that is not visible in poor light or on dark target, then the hunter has no other means of aiming. That can be circumvented by opting for an illuminated dot. If the dot is large it limits the riflescope’s application to closer ranges or larger species.
circle-dot Circle Dot Reticule
Advantages: The circle dot provides a large, readily visible target-encircling reference point that is very quick to acquire with a finer aiming dot providing precision if needed. It is very suitable for the hunting of moving targets at close range and is fine for thick-skinned African game, especially with illuminated capability.
Disadvantages: It does obscure more of the target and, unless illuminated, it is not much better than the normal Dot design for normal hunting
duplex Duplex Reticule
Advantages: Justifiably the most popular reticule in the New World and probably the most sensible general hunting reticule, the Duplex offers the fine central aiming point in combination with bolder sections that remain visible under most daylight hunting conditions. It also offers the tips as reference points for windage and elevation.
Disadvantages. The fine section of the reticule can still be ‘lost’ in some light and the bold sections obscure some target. This is resolved by using illuminated centre sections or the addition of a dot, black or illuminated.
cpc CPC Reticule
Advantages: It offers the advantages of the Duplex, with the additional benefit of tapered posts which are less intrusive of the sight picture. It is an excellent design for normal hunting in Africa across all ranges. Companies such as Schmidt & Bender offer a variety of German reticules options with CPC-style tapered posts.
Disadvantages. It is useable in more light conditions than the normal Crosshair, but not as versatile as the Duplex. It also does not offer any alternative aiming points to the hunter.
german-4 German #4 Reticule
Advantages: The bold posts are visible in almost any light conditions, and the absence of a heavy post above the aiming point provides a fairly good image of the target. When placed in the first focal plane of the riflescope, as often is the case with European riflescopes, the reticule size will appear to change with magnification.
Disadvantages: The fine aiming section of the reticule is very narrow and a lot of the target is obscured by the heavy posts. It is not a fast reticule to use with precision. There is a shorter post version known as the German #7
cd CD Reticule (German #9)
Advantages: A very fast and intuitive system combining the German #7 reticule with the Circle Dot. It is an excellent African dangerous-game reticule, and in illuminated configuration it does not disappear on the dark skin of pachyderms. It essentially is a short-range system.
Disadvantages: It is not suitable for long-range hunting or small game. As with all illuminated reticules, one has to be constantly aware of the state of the battery and carry extras, but battery life has improved dramatically over last few years.
german-post German Post (German #2)
Advantages: An excellent African reticule, especially on dangerous game, as it is bold enough to work in almost any light. It offers a very simple and uncluttered sight picture and can also be had configured with an illuminated arrow tip for fine aiming.
Disadvantages: It obscures the body of small targets at range. The flat top is not as precise as a sharp tip or fine line, but it primarily is a large-game, short-range reticule.
german-1 German #1
Advantages: A bold reticule that works well in poor light and jungle conditions, especially when the post tip is illuminated. It provides the hunter with better vertical referencing than the German #2 post. It is a fine large- and dangerous-game system for short-range use.
Disadvantages: The sharp tip can be lost in some light conditions and it also obscures small targets at range.
german-56 German #56
Advantages: This reticule has no notable advantage unless the dot is illuminated, in which case it offers a natural and easy to acquire reference point for short and medium ranges.
Disadvantages: It does not offer the fine aiming reference of a crosshair or post with tip at perceived point of impact. If the dot is ‘lost’ on a dark target the hunter is in trouble as he will have to guess point of impact.
trajectory-comp-custom Trajectory Compensating Reticule (Customized)
Advantages: Some companies such as Leupold offer hunters reticules with alternative elevation aiming points customized to the exact bullet and velocity combination used. This offer an uncluttered sight picture, very little guesswork, as it is only affected by atmospheric variation which is not that much across hunting ranges. Generally based on the Wide Duplex reticule, this most likely is the ultimate African hunting reticule. These reticules are best combined with a laser rangefinder for exact measurements.
Disadvantages: The reticule is bullet- and velocity-specific, and the riflescope is forever tied to a single load that may become unavailable in time, and animals do not always stand at precisely calibrated ranges. It is also costly and time-consuming to send the riflescope to the manufacturer for the retrofit. The Ballistic Turret system is most probably a better option.
trajectory-comp Trajectory Compensating Reticule (General)
Advantages: These reticules enable the hunter to predetermine reticule reference points for bullet drop at different ranges. They are fast to use provided range is known. Some, such as the Swarovski TDS (not pictured), also provide range-finding capability based on fitting the animal chest or whither height between lines and calculating the range. Having the alternative bullet-drop aiming points reduces the amount of guesswork the hunter has to engage in, and also the degree to which he has to compensate for wind or elevation
Disadvantages: Again these reticules, depending on actual design, do not always work that well in poor light. The SA Hunter depicted reticule is one of the better designs, from both visibility and simplicity perspectives.
range-finding-mil-dot Range-finding Reticule (Mil-Dot)
Advantages: The Mil-Dot enables the hunter to scale the target of known size in relation to the Mil-Dots and use the result to calculate the range to the target. The reticule itself offers enough reference points to compensate accurately from the fall of a missed shot for a precise second shot.
Disadvantages: The system requires some experience in the correct and accurate placement of the reticule on the target for the Mil-Dot reading, and is further dependent on the correct assumption of target size. It is a slow system that requires time to read and make calculations for which a calculator or reference sheet is required. It is easy to get confused by all the dots. Some designs alternate dots and bars and that improves the concept from a hunting perspective.
range-finding-animal Range-Finding Reticule (Animal-Scaling)
Advantages: Hunting-dedicated reticules employ a system whereby animals are fitted between scaling lines and the range then calculated by a variety of means. It enables the hunter to make a highly informed range estimation and offers windage referencing to various degrees. These reticules, such as on the Horus Vision versions can become very complicated and extremely cluttered. The South African Lynx RF reticule depicted works very well on African plains game.
Disadvantages: It takes a bit of time to fit the target between the correct lines and make calculations. Sometimes grass and other objects affect the ability to place the correct animal parts between the lines and that affects the accuracy of results. Depending on the complexity of the actual design, hunters have to engage in the effort to really familiarize themselves with the system. These reticules often are difficult to use in poor light.