July 13th, 2008

Nikon Earns Patent for BDC Reticle — Shooter Reports are Mixed

Nikon Sport Optics now has a patent on its BDC (Bullet-Drop Compensating) reticle design. While many other, previous reticle designs have featured multiple hold-over points, Nikon managed to convince the United States Patent Office that its BDC reticle design is indeed new and different. Nikon’s BDC reticle is now officially protected by U.S. patent number D530,776.

Nikon BDC reticle

Nikon’s BDC reticle features a conventional medium plex crosshair augmented by four hollow circles placed below center on the verticle line. The small circles provide additional aiming points corresponding to Point of Impact at different distances. This way, the theory goes, a hunter can easily move from one distance to another without the need to click different elevations with his scope turrets.

The standard Nikon BDC is designed to be used with most standard centerfire cartridges with typical bullet weights, providing aiming points out to 500 yards with a 100-yard sight-in. With magnum cartridges and typical bullet weights, the same scopes with BDC reticles offer aiming points out to 600 yards with a 200-yard sight-in.

BDC Concept is Good, But Reticle Needs Work
Our FORUM members recently debated the merits of the Nikon BDC reticle. Opinions were mixed. The Nikon is a reliable scope, and is priced attractively, but some users noted that the reticle is too thick for its intended use.

Fireball10X reports: “I have the 6-18×40 Buckmaster with the BDC and I like the scope but the crosshairs are thick and I don’t use the BDC. I dial my shots….”

Bhoges adds: “My buddy had the 5-16×44 w/BDC and [the reticle] is too large. When we hunt chucks it blocks out the targets. It would be useless on Prairie Dogs.”

JB77 concurs: “I have one on a 7-08 used for deer hunting, I would think that the reticle is a little heavy for anything but close up work on varmints.”

On the other hand, Cheaptrick says the BDC reticle works fine on Prarie Dog-size objects out to 300 yards, and he has the target to prove it: “I’m not a prairie dog hunter, but I used a Nikon Monarch with a BDC reticle on small targets (prairie dog size) out to 300 yards with my factory .308 fairly proficiently.”

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