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Sep 18, 2022 | 03:39 am 70 0

Rifle scope turret systems

Rifle scope turret systems

Optical sights are actively used in the military and civil spheres. They help to cope with various tasks, from hunting animals to conducting combat operations. To control the sight and adjust it to changing conditions, you need to be able to use turret systems. They are equipped with all modern optics models, regardless of dimensions, characteristics, and purpose.

What do turrets do?

No optical sight is imaginable without turrets. They are small cylindrical items located on the sight's side and the top surface. These structural elements may have different sizes, but their purpose will remain identical in all cases.

The main task of turrets is the zeroing of optics. In addition, they will be helpful during the sighting, helping to correct the position of the reticle. Such actions give a chance to make changes depending on the current external conditions, achieving the maximum accuracy of shooting.

Turrets and their purpose:

  • Top. This control is responsible for the vertical aiming plane. Its rotations to one side or the other allow you to change the position of the aiming mark, moving it several units to one side. The top turret often helps compensate for the fall of ammunition during their flight. With fine-tuning, it will be possible to find the optimal aiming point, which will take into account any changes in the trajectory of the bullet (for example, due to precipitation, wind, gravity to the ground, friction against the air). This approach will reduce the percentage of inaccurate shots and simplify the shooter's task.
  • Side. This turret controls the horizontal plane of aim. By turning it to one side, the user achieves a shift of the reticle to the left or right. In most cases, this control is used to adjust the center point's position depending on the wind's strength and the precipitation's intensity. This adjustment allows you to compensate for any deviations of the bullet from the optimal trajectory, maximizing shooting accuracy.
  • Parallax adjustments. An essential element of sight control is the parallax adjustment turret. It is used in cases where the optics are operated under various external conditions. Most often, parallax is adjusted to a certain distance. Further, it is adjusted depending on the approach or removal of the shooter from the target. With the correct settings, it is possible to achieve greater comfort during aiming and firing and improve accuracy.

Different types of turrets

There are many turrets, each of which is used to achieve specific goals. All of them differ from each other in configuration, purpose, as well as method of operation. The most popular classification of products is their division according to external features. It helps to group the turrets into four different groups.

Types of turrets:

  • Exposed. Models of this type are considered the most simple and widely used. They are equipped with most sights designed for military, sports, recreational, and protective purposes, where you want to hit the target from a long distance. The main feature of these elements is the simplicity of design. They do not have any protective devices, so it allows you to make changes to the scope settings as quickly as possible. An essential characteristic of exposed models is the accuracy of the correction. Thanks to this, it is possible to minimally adjust the position of the aiming mark, considering changing external conditions. The adjustment process is carried out manually. However, this work is performed in some cases using a particular hexagon with the optical device. The only drawback of such products is the likelihood of an accidental shift in the position of the grid. This happens due to the lack of fixation in a particular place.
  • Capped. Such products are considered the exact opposite of exposed. They are characterized by the presence of a unique protective cap (plastic or metal). This addition eliminates the possibility of accidental rotation, resulting in a shift in the reticle. It is thanks to this protection that capped turrets got their name. Once the cap is removed, position adjustment is as easy as exposure. You can use a unique tool or your fingers to turn the turrets. The top negative quality of capped products is the impossibility of instant amendments. To change their position, you will first have to remove the protective cover and only then perform the required actions. Such a minimal delay can create many problems for the shooter, especially in cases where it is essential to prepare for shots quickly. Because of this shortcoming, capped are only suitable for civilians.
  • Ballistic. Products belonging to this species are specific turrets, which are unsuitable for all situations. In most cases, they are used by professional shooters who need the ability to change the position of the aiming point quickly. Because of this feature, ballistic turrets are found among military personnel, law enforcement officers, and representatives of security organizations. An essential part of such products is the high speed of operation. Thanks to this, it can instantly adapt to changing environmental conditions. Ballistic turrets become practical and most useful with frequent changes in the distance to the target. This became possible due to the quick adjustment of the optics, even if it is necessary to set radically opposite values ​​(for example, alternately turning the turrets to the right and then to the left limit). The primary and only drawback of ballistic products is the need for data on the distance to the object. Only in this case will the turrets allow you to adjust the position of the reticle correctly. Laser rangefinders are used, built-in, or attached to the optics to determine the length.
  • Adjustable with fingers. These turrets are the easiest to operate. They have a unique design that simplifies the adjustment process as much as possible. During turns, small clicks are created that allow you to change settings without visual contact with the product itself. In addition, the point of contact with the fingers has a grooved surface that creates a tactile sensation that further simplifies even the most precise adjustment. Models of this type can be open and closed. In the first case, they do not have any protective devices and can be rotated from accidental contact with a hand or a hard surface. The second option has a particular blocking system that eliminates any spontaneous turns.
  • Adjustable by special tools. These turrets are of the most straightforward design and are the cheapest available. They provide for adjusting the position of the head using a unique device or various improvised means (for example, coins, any metal products, etc.). This feature creates specific difficulties and makes the shooter spend much time adjusting the sight. Problems with turning the turret exclude its independent shifts in any direction. All of these nuances make products of this type ideal for beginners who can afford to adjust the optics for a long time. However, such turrets are not suitable for more responsible tasks.


Turrets used in scopes can adjust the position of the reticle in milliradians (MIL) or minutes of angle (MOA). Both units of measurement are standard, so there has long been a debate among shooters about which one is better to choose. To determine this, you should study both options, looking for their advantages and disadvantages.

A slight angle is a unit of measurement that changes depending on the object's distance. One MOA is equal to 1 inch at 100 yards. This correspondence makes the setup process as simple as possible. You do not need to use a calculator or carry out complex mathematical calculations on paper. An alternative to MOA are milliradians. They are a thousandth of a radian and are about 3.6 inches at 100 yards. The approximate value complicates adjusting the optics. Still, measuring with an accuracy of 0.1 gives a chance to achieve a minor step of the changes being made.

In most cases, MIL is used in scopes designed for military purposes. This is due to the ability to fine-tune the optics necessary when performing critical tasks. In addition, milliradians are convenient to use in cases where it is needed to measure the dimensions of an object observed with the help of optics—convenient MIL and, if necessary, taking into account distance compensation. The main disadvantage of milliradians is the difficulty with calculations. However, this negative point will become invisible after a few weeks of practice. In this case, the positive aspects will be visible, much more significant than those of MOA.

For civilians, it is best to use a minute of angle turrets. This unit of measure allows you to quickly make calculations, which is essential for most hobbyists and shooters just getting acquainted with optics. In addition, MOA is found in scopes designed for shooting at short and medium distances. The main disadvantage of such a unit of measure is the error arising from the adjustment step 1 (for MIL 0.1).

The choice of one of the two options depends solely on the needs of the user and his personal preferences. For the military, solving complex combat missions, and people performing responsible tasks (for example, law enforcement officers), the MIL should be used. At the same time, the MOA will be an ideal option for ordinary users who use sights for hunting, sports, entertainment, and self-defense.

Turrets are essential controls for any scope. They allow you to perform various tasks, from zeroing to adjusting optics settings. There are many types of such turrets. Each of them has its characteristics and specific advantages and disadvantages. Having studied this information, it will be possible to use turrets and maximize their life correctly.

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