Rifles, Optics & Ballistics: Finding the Best Solution

Whether you’re competing, or gearing up for hunting season, having a reliable rifle is a must. However, the optics and ballistic solutions you choose matter just as much. Josh is getting ready for an elk hunt and walks through some of his favorite options and shares the highlights, and drawbacks, of each solution.

It is our goal to help our customers build exactly what they’re needing. They are able to select the model, caliber, color, barrel length, length of pull, and more when creating their custom H-S Precision Pro-Series® rifle. Oftentimes, we talk through options with our customers based on the application they’ll be using the platform for. Through this conversation, we also discuss optics.

From the optic standpoint, there are a lot of ballistic solutions available. There is smart technology ran off of apps and data, and then there is the other side of the spectrum where data points are entered into a kestrel. Each solution has its own place, but what it comes down to is how the shooter is using the ballistic equipment and what their personal preference is.


Swarovski Optik dS
“Very quick, very easy, accurate system.”

This is a new scope that has been shortlisted to Josh’s top favorites. Swarovski Optik is known for being one of the best in the industry, but the ease and responsiveness of the dS tops the charts.

“I wouldn’t call myself a technologically advanced individual, so I was a little cautious with it,” said Josh. “But, now that I’ve seen how simple it is to use, I wish I would have been using one a long time ago.”


The scope is programmed to link via bluetooth to the dS configurator app on your phone. When you get the app, you can set up all of your ballistic parameters: scope height, sight height, ammo, velocities, etc. Once you pair your phone with the scope, that solution is automatically incorporated and ready to use. 

All you have to do to use the dS is to simply find your target, and then you’ll hit the range finding buttons above the eyepiece. This will send a laser to your point, range it, and tell you exactly where you need to hold your center to gain the perfect shot – even in windy conditions.


Swarovski Optik z5
“Very popular; it’s light and versatile.”

At H-S, we see quite a few z5’s come through – and it’s no question why. This is a great set up for medium range use (or one full revolution of your turret; generally 500-600 yards).

“I like to set these up with a 100-yard zero and then set the colored indicators for 300, 400, and 500 yards,” said Josh.


Once you’re zeroed in, visit Swarovski Optik’s website to look up the ballistic solution. This will give you the information of where your hold will be. Once you’re set up according to the information online, all it takes is a simple turn of the dial dependent on your range.

The highlights of having a ballistic turret opposed to the PBC is having the ability to change up your configurations when needed. This includes switching ammunition and you’re seeing faster/slower velocities or if your gun is running a little differently. Having the ballistic turret, you will be able to make the adjustments necessary to get it back to the detailed information you need.

PBC (Custom Turret)

Nightforce NXS
“The most popular long range ballistic solution.”

Custom turrets are rifle and ammunition specific. Each turret is engraved with the ballistic solution for your particular rifle and ammunition.


We sent the information off to Kenton Industries, and they burn the turret. Once it’s shipped back, you replace the existing turret on the scope with your customized one. 

Customized turrets are very quick, and very easy to operate and calculate in the field; it’s a very accurate solution. The drawback to custom ballistic turrets is that it is designed for one specific environmental condition, including elevation, temperature, etc. A way around this is getting multiple turrets burned, or testing your turret in the condition you’re shooting and make note of the adjustments you need to make.


Kahles 3.5-18 & Hornady 4DOF Kestrel
“The lengthiest, but most accurate solution.”

With this option of ballistic calculation, there is nothing within the scope itself that is customized. The information is run off the stats computed within the kestrel.

“This is a system that I have used for several years,” said Josh. “It’s probably the most precise system, yet the lengthiest.”


When you arrive at where you will be shooting/hunting, capture the environmental conditions. Then, write up a DOPE card to refer to throughout the match/hunt. Each time your range changes, dial your kestrel to the yard and with your ammunition and other information added into the calculator, it will let you know the precise adjustments you will need to make on your turret.

There are several options available to you to get the most accurate ballistic solution. Whether you’re looking at shooting medium or long range, there is going to be a solution that will work for you. Our goal is to get you into the right rifle for your upcoming hunt or precision match, yes. But we also want to make sure you are set up with the optics and ballistic calculations that will gain you the most success.

If you have questions, reach out and give us a call at 605-341-3006 or contact us here.

Related posts