The riflescope comes in two options of the focal plane. One is first focal plane and the other is second focal plane. There is different magnification option, MOA, MIL but the focal plane options are only two. Both these options make a hunter compare first focal plane vs second focal plane for long range shooting. So, to make your decision easy we will give you the details and performance of each of them.
The difference between the first focal plane vs second focal plane for long range shooting is the reticle movement during magnification. We have done our research based on experts’ experience and opinions to give you the best estimate. Both of them have their own pros and cons. One has a certain advantage over the other and vice versa.
Choosing among them can be very easy once you know the basics of each. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.
First focal plane
The first focal plane scope is a scope in which the reticle is located Infront of the magnifying lens and increases with magnification and decreases with it too The first focal plane scopes are not as widely used as the second focal plane. The hashmark in it can be used very easily for windage. Due to this reason of hash mark representing same value it is gaining popularity in long range hunting. In the first focal plane, the reticle responds as same as the magnification, the reticle is increased if the magnification is increased and it is decreased as the magnification decrease. This will make your units of measure per each hash mark, MOA and MIL represent the same value regardless of the current magnification setting.
The quick shots are made very easy on the first focal plane, because of the windage lines of this scope. It is a very key feature for the hunters who are running in competitions. But this feature is useful for any kind of hunter. The downside of the first focal plane rifle scopes is that if the hunter tries to shoot at a very small target in practice at a longer distance because your reticle may block the target due to it getting larger at max power. The reticle sometimes can cause problems shooting at certain levels due to moving with magnification but this problem can be solved very easily using an illuminated reticle.
Best First Focal plane scope: Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP
If you are looking for a quality first focal plane then the Primary Arms SLX is the best option to go for. It is a shockproof, weatherproof option that is also durable and guarantees to last you a very long time. Apart from being durable and good performing, it is also very affordable. So this FFP is the bang for your buck.
Second focal plane
In this, the reticle is behind the magnifying lens which will not make it grow with the magnification. It stays the same regardless of the magnification size increasing or decreasing. It is the most commonly used plane. This plane doesn’t block the view in any way because it stays the same even if the magnification if fully zoomed in. Unlike on the first focal plane in which the reticle blocked the view in full zoom. That is why it is ideal for long range hunting. Considering the reticle isn’t variable in size, that means the hash marks on the reticle are variable in what they represent. The downside is that the lines will not be accurate when this plane will be used in short distant hunting. The hashmark isn’t good for every type of magnification.
However, the turrets can be dialed very easily also at the middle of the reticle.
Best second focal plane scope: Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes
The Vortex optics is the option to go for if you are looking for an SFP that is a combination of both price and performance. Functions such as fast focus and magnification ring adds to the functionality of this riflescope. We highly recommend you go for this product.
First focal plane vs second focal plane for long range shooting
For long-range shooting, the best kind of plane is the second focal plane because the reticle of this remains the same. It doesn’t block the view at max magnification. But on the other hand, the first focal plane’s reticle blocks the view at max magnification because the size of the reticle increases with the size of the magnification.
But if you look at the short-range shooting, then the second focal plane is not the best because the hash marks don’t play well in short range. For this, the first focal plane can work well. Their hash marks are also accurate.
So, in short, if you are looking for long-range shooting, go for the second focal plane. On the other hand, if short-range then go for the first focal plane. That was 1st vs 2nd focal plane
FAQS about First focal plane vs second focal plane for long range shooting
What is the first focal plane?
First focal plane scope is a scope in which the reticle is located Infront of the magnifying lens and increases with magnification and decreases with it too. It is also known as the front focal plane scope.
What does SFP stand for?
SFP is known as a second focal plane in which the reticle is located behind the magnifying lens and doesn’t move according to the magnification.
First focal planes vs second focal plane pros and cons and why?
All these questions are answered in the article above with the uses as well as pros and cons and differences between the first and second focal planes. After reading it you will be able to get the best one for you among the first vs second focal planes.
So, there you have it first focal plane vs second focal plane for long range shooting. Now choose carefully among the two which suits your need better.
All the best for your next hunt. If you still have a question, feel free to leave a comment.
Also Read: Best spotting scope under 500