Crossbow Hunting Scope Reticles And Aiming Systems

Crosshair-type reticles are by far the most popular design for hunting scopes worldwide. That in itself indicates that most hunters view the crosshair as the most logical and effective reticle for various hunting needs.

Bromley's Crossbow Reticles and Aiming Systems picture 1 2-15Crosshairs offer precise aiming points with the intersecting part (center) of the crosshair normally covering approximately 1-inch at 100 yards or 1/2-inch at 50 yards. With a multiple floating crosshair reticle, each crosshair can be used for three aiming points. The center intersecting point of the cross plus the top and bottom of the vertical line of the crosshair.

There have been a few recent scope offerings with circular reticles for crossbows. Typically these four circles cover about a 2-inch area at each respective distance of 20-, 30-, 40- and 50 yards (ideally). Those that do not like the circle reticle design almost always say that the design is “too busy” and offers no exacting aiming point at any distance. In fact, looking through the scope’s circles does not offer an exact aiming point, so it depends on the shooter’s ability to center the circle on the intended point of impact. Those that do like the circle reticles say that it does not cover any of the animal where they will be aiming, so they can see where the arrow will hit.

Bromley's Crossbow Reticles and Aiming Systems 2 2-15 picture 2An alternative to the multiple crosshair or circle hunting scope is the adjustable base system using a single crosshair reticle scope. For each shot distance the dial must be changed. I consider this the ultimate in hunting shot accuracy, but in cases where there is no time to dial in the range before the animal is gone, it can become a handicap.

Bottom line is to work out your aiming system to the point that you don’t have to stop and think about it when that shot opportunity presents itself.

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(Article courtesy of Crossbow Magazine,

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4 Responses to “Crossbow Hunting Scope Reticles And Aiming Systems”

  1. Burke Wills

    Hi, I’ve just realized you were working with Sportsman’s Guide. Very cool. I am also a subscriber to Crossbow Magazine. Like you, I also prefer the single crosshair scope with the adjustable base. I shoot an old Horton Hunter Supreme SL. I have seen the most crossbows seem to have the multiple reticle setups, but was wondering if there is still decent selection of crossbows with adjustable bases. I don’t think mine has too many seasons left in it and will be looking to get a new crossbow soon. Thanks.

    • Todd Bromley

      Hi Burke,
      I don’t know of any current manufacturers that are providing the adjustable scope base (dial-a-range) like the older Horton models. HHA Sports markets an adjustable base (Optimizer) that is attached directly to the stationary rail of any crossbow. It’s sold as an aftermarket accessory and works extremely well. This will probably be your only option when you purchase a new crossbow.

  2. jackson

    my crossbow has 3 horizontal lines with a dot between each one and below all of those ther is another dot and i cannot find out wich distances mean wich

    • Todd Bromley


      Generally the dots between the horizontal lines represent 5 yards increments. So if your first horizontal line is sighted in at 20 yards, the dot under it would be on at 25 yards, and the next horizontal line would be 30 yards. And so on and so on.

      The very last dot is generally spaced lower under the last horizontal line and is another 10 yard increment. So if your last horizontal line is sighted in at 40 yards, the last dot would be your 50 yard reference. Sometimes the last dot isn’t always accurate but it should be close.