What is the difference between a front focal plane (1st focal plane) reticle and a rear focal plane (2nd focal plane) reticle?

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Most riflescopes utilize a rear focal plane reticle design, creating a situation where the apparent size of the reticle does not change as the magnification is adjusted. In these scopes, the amount of target area covered by the reticle is inversely proportional to magnification; as the magnification is increased, the amount of target area covered by the reticle is decreased. This can be seen by looking through a variable magnification scope and increasing the magnification setting. As the power is increased, the apparent size of the target is increased, but the reticle appears to remain the same size; the result is that the reticle covers less of the target when the magnification is increased. Rear Focal Plane Reticles – In general, hunting scopes are designed with rear focal plane reticles; this allows the reticle to appear bolder and heavier when set to low magnification, but appear thinner and more precise when set to high magnification. Most hunters set variable magnification ... more
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