Nightforce Decisions

Jud96

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Messages
213
Reaction score
266
Points
63
Location
Michigan
I’m looking to upgrade to a Nightforce scope for my next build. I’ve never owned a NF and the highest level of scope I currently own is a Sightron SIII. This scope will be going on a custom 7mm Rem Mag, but will most likely go on other hunting rifle builds in the future. I want something I can use at close ranges hunting ~50 yards, and something I can bang steel and shoot out to ~1000 yards and everything in between. I want MOA and SFP. I want a NF because of their reputation and durability. I want to buy one and be done and stop my process of buying and trying a new scope every couple years. I also want something I don’t have to question or worry about breaking or shifting zero when I’m counting on it.

I’m really liking the NXS 5.5-22x50, but I fear that 5.5x might be a little overkill for hunting in the woods. I’ve previously used several different scopes for hunting with their lowest power being 4x and haven’t had a problem. I feel 1.5 more power won’t be a deal breaker, but I don’t want to paint myself into a corner. The 3.5-15x NXS is nice, but I feel 15x isn’t quite enough magnification for target shooting and banging steel beyond 700-800 yards. I think it would probably be fine for big game, but I still feel a little handicapped with 15x being at the top end. The NXS attracts me because of its proven track record and it’s in my price range.

The NX8 seems to be the obvious answer, but it’s $300-400 more than the NXS, and I’ve heard some negatives about the eye box and mounting it. The NX8 2.5-20x sounds about perfect for me, but the short tube with a long action scares me. I don’t want to compromise the positioning of the scope just to make it work but have an uncomfortable cheek weld and/or head position. The 4-32x sounds like the solution, but the cost of it is about the only thing holding me back, and the finicky eyebox issues I have read about. Also, 32x is way more than enough for anything I’ll use this rifle for. My SIII is 8-32x, and it’s on a dedicated target and Varmint rifle and I rarely have it above 24x. Sorry for the long winded post, I just want to be thorough with my wants and needs, and with the research I’ve done so far. Thanks!

 

Broz

LRO Owner~Editor~Long Range Hunting Specilist
Joined
Apr 17, 2013
Messages
15,662
Reaction score
12,065
Points
113
Location
Foot of the Big Belt Mountains near Townsend MT.
NXS 5.5~22x56 SFP , .250 MOA, with a MOAR or MOAR T Reticle. Either reticle would work, but if you do a lot of timber hunting go MOAR and the 56mm for light gathering.

That said, I have never had the eye box issue with my NX8's. But since this is your first NF scope, get the ICON... a NXS
 
Last edited:

Jud96

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Messages
213
Reaction score
266
Points
63
Location
Michigan
NXS 5.5~22x56 SFP , .250 MOA, with a MOAR or MOAR T Reticle. Either reticle would work, but if you do a lot of timber hunting go MOAR and the 56mm for light gathering.

That said, I have never had the eye box issue with my NX8's. But since this is your first NF scope, get the ICON... a NXS
Thanks Broz! I was leaning towards the NXS and I think you may have already convinced me. Your opinions are very much valued and appreciated by me. Thank you!
 

Willys

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2022
Messages
1,105
Reaction score
863
Points
113
Nx8 4-32 gets you more on low end and high end and 1/4 pound lighter - its the easy button!
 

Broz

LRO Owner~Editor~Long Range Hunting Specilist
Joined
Apr 17, 2013
Messages
15,662
Reaction score
12,065
Points
113
Location
Foot of the Big Belt Mountains near Townsend MT.
Thanks Broz! I was leaning towards the NXS and I think you may have already convinced me. Your opinions are very much valued and appreciated by me. Thank you!
I will never be without an NXS 5.5~22. Right now I have two and I keep my eyes peeled for any that come up for sale at a good price. They check a lot of boxes
 

Dave Wilson

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
560
Reaction score
377
Points
63
Location
Greencastle, Pa.
i'd say the 3-15 would be the ticket. i have no trouble lining up on pigeons at 915 yards on 12x with my Nightforce. was shooting milk jugs at a tad over 1k with my 3-10 shv Nightforce a couple years ago.
 

Gord0

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2017
Messages
1,483
Reaction score
1,603
Points
113
Location
Michigan
I've got an NXS 5.5-22 x 50 sfp with moar t. I don't find the 5.5 to be too much magnification in the woods. The reticle is a little thin, but the illumination takes care of that. It's a great scope overall, and they can be had in open box demos for a great price.
 

Alex Wheeler

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
797
Reaction score
2,740
Points
93
Its still hard to beat the nxs. I like the nx8 for range use because of the extra power. But for practical uses, the nxs is just so hard to beat. Even in BR the original LR BR scope, the 12x42 BR is still very hard to beat. The original NF scopes are still to this day at the top.
 

xsn10s

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
229
Reaction score
139
Points
43
Location
Eastern Oregon. 3 miles from a 800 yard range :)
Well thanks Jud and Broz. I've always favored low to mid magnification scopes. But like Jud I've been wanting to build a 7mm RM or 300 WM and thought of a higher powered scope. Looks like the NXS 5-22x56mm will be on the shopping list. I've gotten used to mil reticles but can adapted to moa. Math is math.
 
Last edited:

SoTxShooter

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2022
Messages
342
Reaction score
380
Points
63
Location
Texas
If you decide to give the NX8 another look, I also have never had any eyebox issues on my 4-32x NX8’s. I will also say that the MOAR CF2 on my SFP NX8 has become my favorite reticle that I have ever owned.
 

zrodco

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
69
Reaction score
38
Points
18
Location
Wyoming
I dunno if this is the eye box issue others have described. In my NX8, you cannot lay behind the rifle at say 5x and crank it to 20x without breaking your cheek weld. You have to adjust your eye closer or farther away from the scope an unreasonable amount in my opinion.

I have not noticed this in the mark5 hd, AMG, or Khales scopes I have experience with.
 

Broz

LRO Owner~Editor~Long Range Hunting Specilist
Joined
Apr 17, 2013
Messages
15,662
Reaction score
12,065
Points
113
Location
Foot of the Big Belt Mountains near Townsend MT.
I dunno if this is the eye box issue others have described. In my NX8, you cannot lay behind the rifle at say 5x and crank it to 20x without breaking your cheek weld. You have to adjust your eye closer or farther away from the scope an unreasonable amount in my opinion.

I have not noticed this in the mark5 hd, AMG, or Khales scopes I have experience with.
Have you tried building your cheek weld with the scope on 20X first? That should work as we all know the eye box on any scope is way more forgiving on the lower magnifications. Just a thought.
 

Willys

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2022
Messages
1,105
Reaction score
863
Points
113
Zrod I’ve heard the 2.5-20 have that issue but not the 4-32. Which is yours?
 
Last edited:

SoTxShooter

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2022
Messages
342
Reaction score
380
Points
63
Location
Texas
I’ll second this @zrodco. On my 4-32x, I can sit in the same position and go through the entire power range. I don’t really use the scope up at 32x, as I feel there are some diminishing returns up there in terms of image quality. But in terms of cheek weld and fullness of the scope, I have no issues. Consider resetting the scope in the rings using a higher magnification.
 

Jud96

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Messages
213
Reaction score
266
Points
63
Location
Michigan
Thanks everyone for the replies and help. I think I’m going to get a 5.5~22x with the standard MOAR reticle. If the 5.5x is too much for hunting in the woods, then I’ll sell/trade for an NXS 3.5-15x or consider an NX8 at that point.
 

xsn10s

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
229
Reaction score
139
Points
43
Location
Eastern Oregon. 3 miles from a 800 yard range :)
Thanks everyone for the replies and help. I think I’m going to get a 5.5~22x with the standard MOAR reticle. If the 5.5x is too much for hunting in the woods, then I’ll sell/trade for an NXS 3.5-15x or consider an NX8 at that point.
I'll be a copycat lol. I may try to look through these two scopes first. As I get older I appreciate a more forgivng eyebox. And Broz made a good point on eyeboxes and magnification.
 

lamiglas

Active member
Joined
May 30, 2013
Messages
480
Reaction score
26
Points
28
Location
North Idaho
Either choice (nx-8) or nxs is a great choice. Regardless of what you decide, give sport optics a call. They will save you money either way.
 

Boardsighter

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
62
Reaction score
39
Points
18
Location
Northeast Ohio
One question for the OP; are you located near any type of store or range where you could get some hands on experience with the different models first? Even a few hours of driving might be worth the investment in research. What really gives me pause was a line in your first post: "I want to buy one and be done and stop my process of buying and trying a new scope every couple years."

My journey into long range shooting and optics began with a Sightron SIII 8-32x56, and through various influences I was led to "upgrade" to a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x50. From all accounts I could find, I thought that NF was the pinnacle of optics, and if I could just get to that level, I'd be satisfied and set for life. That was not the case, and for all the dollars involved it felt very much like a lateral move. Maybe it speaks to the quality of the Sightron- or I had a poor sampling of the NXS- but the differences were far less obvious than I expected. Folks love the NXS, and part of that equation is having a proper match to the intended use. I get that, and may have been part of the reason I never really enjoyed mine. Just noting that your expectations seem very high, and don't want you to be underwhelmed.
 

Gord0

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2017
Messages
1,483
Reaction score
1,603
Points
113
Location
Michigan
One question for the OP; are you located near any type of store or range where you could get some hands on experience with the different models first? Even a few hours of driving might be worth the investment in research. What really gives me pause was a line in your first post: "I want to buy one and be done and stop my process of buying and trying a new scope every couple years."

My journey into long range shooting and optics began with a Sightron SIII 8-32x56, and through various influences I was led to "upgrade" to a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x50. From all accounts I could find, I thought that NF was the pinnacle of optics, and if I could just get to that level, I'd be satisfied and set for life. That was not the case, and for all the dollars involved it felt very much like a lateral move. Maybe it speaks to the quality of the Sightron- or I had a poor sampling of the NXS- but the differences were far less obvious than I expected. Folks love the NXS, and part of that equation is having a proper match to the intended use. I get that, and may have been part of the reason I never really enjoyed mine. Just noting that your expectations seem very high, and don't want you to be underwhelmed.
The sightron s3 has some great glass, there's no denying that. The upgrade from that to say an NXS is reliability and the peace of mind that comes with it.
 

Jud96

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Messages
213
Reaction score
266
Points
63
Location
Michigan
I have an SIII and have had a couple STAC scopes. The SIII is awesome, but I want the dependability of the NF. I would consider an SIII PLR more if they had a 4-20x model, like offered in their cheaper STAC lineup, but instead their lowest power is a 6-24x. I have nothing bad to say about Sightron other than their MOA reticle in a FFP scope is impossible to see on 4x. I feel NF will give me the confidence I need in a scope so I won't have to worry about it.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2015
Messages
49
Reaction score
16
Points
8
Location
Northern Idaho
I’d still consider a 3.5-15 NF NSX for hunting. I bought my first one back in 2004 for my 300 Jarrett. Great for a wide field of view to locate game/targets. You may not feel like 15x is enough but I’ve used them for years out to almost a mile at the NF ELR Match since 2018.

Less mirage is a good thing for one thing. Too many times I watch shooters dialed up/down to find their target and dialing back up when had they just left it at 11x-12x they’d be shooting more targets in less time.

Now if you’re getting older, and I’m no spring chicken, having more magnification can help but on game movement after the shot you might lose your target.

FWTW!

I’ve owned a 7-35 ATACR since they first brought them out and honest never shot a match with more than 19-22x. I eventually moved it to my Vudoo in 2019 and bought another ATACR in 5-25. It to never gets past 19x while shooting it, and most of the time I’ll set it at 11-12x and leave it for the entire two days at a match.

Up to you, it’s your money so take my advice with a grain of salt.
 

zerosprk

Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2023
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Points
8
Everything I routinely shoot has a Nightforce ATACR, 5x25x56, SFP, MOAR, Nightforce rings and a Seekins 20 MOA rail on top. Works great!
 

Jud96

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Messages
213
Reaction score
266
Points
63
Location
Michigan
I just wanted to update this thread and thank everyone who contributed. I picked up a used NXS 3.5-15x50 MOAR for a great price. It will be going on a custom 7mm Rem Mag that I’m just waiting on the reamer for. I wanted to make sure the scope would be useable at the closest ranges and out to 600-800 yards. If I find myself needed more scope, I’ll get a 5.5-22x and trade/sell this scope. As I previously mentioned, I’ve never owned a NF, but after playing around with this one I’m impressed. Obviously the NXS isn’t the latest and greatest, but it just feels like quality and I love the ergonomics and feel of it compared to other scopes I’ve owned and messed around with. I can see myself getting a couple more of these to upgrade my other scopes. Thanks again!
 

kgarrett

Member
Joined
May 12, 2022
Messages
75
Reaction score
67
Points
18
I just wanted to update this thread and thank everyone who contributed. I picked up a used NXS 3.5-15x50 MOAR for a great price. It will be going on a custom 7mm Rem Mag that I’m just waiting on the reamer for. I wanted to make sure the scope would be useable at the closest ranges and out to 600-800 yards. If I find myself needed more scope, I’ll get a 5.5-22x and trade/sell this scope. As I previously mentioned, I’ve never owned a NF, but after playing around with this one I’m impressed. Obviously the NXS isn’t the latest and greatest, but it just feels like quality and I love the ergonomics and feel of it compared to other scopes I’ve owned and messed around with. I can see myself getting a couple more of these to upgrade my other scopes. Thanks again!
Great choice. I think you’ll be very happy. How’s it been treating you?

 

Forum Sponsors

Top