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Scope Reticles or Crosshairs - Types of Reticles and Their Uses


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The Original Plain Crosshairs
Scope reticle crosshair plain

This scope reticle illustrates where the name "crosshairs" came from; just a simple pair of perpendicular lines that intersect in the center of the scope. It's not a bad crosshair, but in my opinion it's not the best.

Photo © Russ Chastain
Scopes have become a mainstay for most hunters these days, and they can be very useful for target shooting, too. All scopes need to provide an aiming point, and all conventional scopes use a reticle, or crosshair, for that job.

In the past, the portion of the scope that makes up the aiming point was sometimes called the reticule or graticule, but these days it's simply known as the reticle - and even though not all reticles are simple crosshairs, "reticle" and "crosshair" are often used interchangeably.

Let's take a look at some different reticles and what they're good for.

In the photo above we see a plain crosshair, which was for many years the best and only choice of reticle. Its simple arrangement of perpendicular intersecting lines creates an aiming point in the center, and simple is often the best approach.

For hunting, this is not the best choice because the fine hairs can often be tough to see when using the scope in low light or trying to aim in a hurry. Making the lines darker would make the central aiming point less precise. Various solutions to this have been attempted in the past; let's look at a few.

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