Pride-Fowler RR800-1 "Rapid Reticle" Scope


by Doug Mann

photography by Boge Quinn

May 14th, 2008

UPDATED July 9th & 14th, 2008






July 14th, 2008

Pride-Fowler is now offering a 10% discount to readers! Just call in your order and mention that you read the review on to receive your discount.

As an adolescent and budding firearms aficionado in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, I followed the beginning of the then new shooting sports of IPSC and “action shooting” for handguns.  Back then, Bianchi Gunleather started their own action shooting match called the Bianchi Cup. With the advent of these new disciplines, new champions began to emerge.  Two of the early champions of the Bianchi Cup competition were John Pride and Mickey Fowler.

Fast forward about thirty years.  John Pride and Mickey Fowler have pretty much hung up their handguns, but still remain active in the shooting sports.  So much so, that they got together and designed a rifle scope featuring a unique bullet drop compensating reticle.  They formed a business – Pride-Fowler, INC. – and began making scopes.

I stumbled across Pride-Fowler scopes a few years ago in an article in Precision Shooting magazine.  The article I read explored the Pride-Fowler scope’s utility as a “tactical” scope, but noted that its features would translate well to other disciplines.  Since I work for a state wildlife agency, it seemed logical that these scopes could be useful for field biologists when “collecting” deer for biological data.  A letter was forwarded to Pride-Fowler and soon, a cardboard box arrived.

The scope that is the subject of this article is the Model RR800-1. 

The RR800-1 is a 3-9 power variable scope.  It has a 30mm main tube body and the objective bell is a nominal 42mm (or at least, it accommodates a 42mm lens).  It is a sturdy scope but not noticeably heavy or heavier than any other scope of its type.  In other words, it doesn’t look like the Hubble Space Telescope when mounted on a rifle as some “tactical” scopes do.  The Rapid Reticle is located in the first focal plane of the scope.  That little tidbit of information may mean nothing to you as you read this, but when you look through the scope, you will notice that as the power is changed, the size of the reticle increases (with and increase in power) or decreases.  So what?  Well, if you are using the reticle to range a target of a known size, then the reticle can be used to range at any power, since the values or subtensions of the reticle marks stay the same relative to the target size at any power.  Huh?  That’s what I first said, but some discussion with Fermin Garza got my mind right.  More on that later.

When I received the scope, I had just traded into an older Remington Model 700 VLS in .308 Winchester.  One of the cartridges the Rapid Reticle is designed around is the Federal Gold Medal Match .308 round(s) using either the Sierra Match King 168 grain BTHP or Sierra’s 175  Match King BTHP.  There are so many good Picatinny-style scope rails on the market right now that finding one isn’t a problem – choosing one is.  I went with an Evolution Gun Works model which is CNC milled from an aluminum alloy billet.  I still needed rings.  Luckily, while I was telling a friend about needing rings he said he had a pair he would lend me.  So the scope was mounted on the Remington and off to the range we went.

Boresighting and zeroing were uneventful.  If you look at the reticle though, you’ll notice that the 100 yard crosshair is in the top third of the sight picture.  This took some getting used to, but it certainly makes sense when looking at holding over for longer ranges.  Once sighted-in at 100 yards, it was no problem to repeatedly hit a steel silhouette at 150 yards by holding between the 100 and 200 yard crosshairs.

Bad weather kept me from being able to do any more known distance shooting; however, I did take the rig to the annual CSA gathering in Clarksville, Arkansas.  Even though the distances to the various steel targets were approximations, I had no trouble hitting with the rifle and Federal ammo using the marked crosshairs or holding between for the between distances.  Quite simply, the Rapid Reticle works.

Unfortunately, I think that the Rapid Reticle and the Pride-Fowler scopes really need to be “lived-with” for about a year or so to really begin to realize their potential.  I mentioned ranging earlier in this review.  To really make the most out of this scope, I need to take it to some known distance ranges and check the subtensions of the reticle against items of known size.  For instance, an average white-tailed deer is about 18 inches from belly to shoulder.  A target that is 18 inches square needs to be put at 100 yards and checked to see which crosshairs it fits between, then that information needs to be recorded on a range card that will stay with that rifle. The exercise should be repeated at 200, 300 and so on until range data is compiled for known size targets.  Since the reticle is in the first focal plane, that information will stay the same at any power…, and that is the advantage of FFP scopes.  (It is also possible to determine how many mils the reticle subtends and use milling and/or MOA formulae to calculate ranges, but the simplest way to use it is as I described).  In a hunting scenario, you glass the deer, see which and/or how many crosshairs it takes to bracket him, check your range card, then hold on at the appropriate yardage crosshair and shoot. For a hunter who has opportunities to take shots out to 400 yards or more, it makes sense, especially if he has paid big dollars for an elk or some other guided hunt.

The Pride-Fowler scopes are quality scopes assembled in Japan.  The quality is on par with our best made-in-America scopes and approaches that of the high end European optics.  Perhaps the best compliment to Pride-Fowler is that Zeiss has requested and been licensed to use the Rapid Reticle in some of their scopes.  For the money though, the Pride-Fowler Rapid Reticle series scopes are hard to beat.

Check out the Pride-Fowler scopes at:

Doug Mann


July 9th, 2008

I recently had the opportunity to really exercise the Pride-Fowler Model RR800-1 scope which I had previously reviewed.  I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Shootists’ Holiday at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico.  Knowing that the Whittington Center has ranges out to 1000 yards and beyond, I took along my Remington Model 700 which was still wearing the Pride-Fowler scope.  I had also recently traded into the better part of a couple hundred rounds of Lake City M118 Match ammo.  This round is loaded with a 173 grain FMJ Boattail and is/was the standard for 7.62 NATO long range work.  This load has since been replaced by the Federal Gold Medal Match loading using the Sierra 175 grain Match King.

To recap, the Pride-Fowler scopes are made in Japan from premium materials (think Nikon).  Quality is on par with many of the pricier European and American optics.  The Model RR800-1 is a 3 to 9 power variable scope with a 30mm main tube and a nominal 42mm objective.  While it is far from dainty, it doesn’t look or feel like so much cast iron sewer pipe atop your rifle.  It is fairly sleek.  The crowd pleaser in this scope, though, is the Rapid Reticle designed by Mickey Fowler and John Pride.  Essentially, it is a bullet drop compensating reticle with predetermined holdover crosshairs at ranges from 100 to 800 yards.  The reticle is located in the first focal plane of the scope, which means as you change the magnification, the size of the reticle changes. I had been itching to see how well the subtensions of the reticle matched real distances since I had only been able to shoot out to 200 yards or so.  

The first day I dragged the rifle/scope ammo combo out of its case, we were on the Hunter Silhouette range.  The farthest distance there was 100 yards or so, but on the mountainside behind the range are numerous rocks of varying sizes and shapes.  One in particular is known as "The Banana Rock" and has been ranged at 580 yards.  I had not adjusted the scope to the M118 round so I bracketed the banana rock between the 500 and 600 yard crosshairs.  My first shot hit the rock around the middle and to the right consistent with the steady left-to-right wind that was blowing.  I decided to put the rig up until we could get to some longer ranges.

A couple of days later, we began the morning at the Long Range Silhouette range.  This range features numerous banks of silhouettes at known distances… in meters.  I decided to check my zero on the 500 meter standing ram.  I held the 500 yard crosshair on the ram and shot just under it.  Bracketing the ram between the 5 and 600 yard crosshairs resulted in center mass hits.  Remember, the silhouette ranges are in meters – the rams were about 557 yards from the firing line, so this hold was consistent with the range subtensions on the reticle.  Firing at rocks behind the rams using the 600 yard crosshair produced hits with boring regularity.

I was ready to stretch out.  Chad at PFI had emailed me a PDF chart of windage and elevation holds (and come-ups) for the Rapid Reticle, prior to my departure for New Mexico.  The reticle’s longest range, or lowest crosshair, is for 800 yards.  To shoot at 1000 or more yards requires holding over or dialing in enough MOA’s of elevation to put a crosshair on target.  At the range, on the side of the mountain, is a silhouette of an American Bison, a/k/a, a buffalo.  The buffalo is 1000 meters or 1123 yards from the firing line.  I was about to start turning elevation clicks when I took a long look at the reticle.  Beneath the 800 yard crosshair is a short length of thin vertical crosshair that runs into the thicker vertical post at the bottom of the sight picture.  Comparing the number of MOA’s needed to come up versus the length of that skinny vertical hair at the bottom, it occurred to me that the juncture of the thin and thick crosshairs at the bottom of the sight picture might just be the proper hold for a 1000 yard shot.  So, I held that aiming point at center mass on the buff silhouette and launched a shot way downrange.  The dirt under the buff’s belly told me I was low, and why not?  That buff is at 1123 yards, not 1000.  I reset myself behind the rifle and held the thin/thick aiming point on the top of the buff’s shoulder where the “hump” is at its peak. 

It takes a few seconds for the thwack of a bullet on steel to make its way back to the firing line at that distance.  Of course I saw some white paint dust, but the sound reinforces that it wasn’t a fluke.  I repeated the shot a few more times just to make sure.  The holdover was perfect.

The more time I spend with the Pride-Fowler Model RR800-1, the less I want to send it back.  I may end up sending a check instead of the scope back to Chad.  This is an excellent piece of equipment whose practicality must be experienced to be appreciated.  If you are in the market for a high quality optic that will enable accurate shooting from 100 to 1000 yards, and all points in between, look at the Pride-Fowler line.

Doug Mann

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Click pictures for a larger version.




Pride-Fowler's RR800-1 3-9x scope with "Rapid Reticle".



The heart of the Rapid Reticle system.



A gathering of friends waits out the rain on the range at the CSA 2008 shoot in Arkansas. Standing left-right: Ron Brown, Doug Mann, Jeff Quinn, Jimmy Pilcher, Al Anderson, and Chuck Smith. Seated left-right: Boge Quinn (looking like a "celebrity" puffing on his stogie), Mark Roberts, and Charlie Smith.