Gone are the days when riflescopes were simple. Today there is a growing demand for all-purpose, target-hunting-tactical scopes that may hopefully improve one’s shooting skills. Nightforce is one brand that’s gaining popularity within the hunting fraternity.. How do they compare to the top-end European scopes?
The NXS rifle scopes have been developed for military or tactical applications and boast a strong 30mm tube made of high-grade aluminium, which Nightforce claims to be two or three times thicker than most other scopes’ tubes. The NXS 5.5-22×56, as with most other tactical-biased optics, comes with chunky elevation and windage target turrets, giving it 100 and 60MOA of adjustment respectively – it will accommodate a .50 cal shooting out to 2,000 yards!
The parallax or focus adjustment is nicely located on the left-hand side, while to turn on the illuminated reticle, you just pull the knob outwards. The brightness can only be pre-adjusted by removing the knob and battery assembly and resetting it with the use of a small screwdriver. With regards to reticles, available in either first or second focal plane, Nightforce boasts a range of standard types, most of them suitable for a range of hunting applications.
Moving to the back, the dioptre or eye focus can be easily adjusted. When adjusting the magnification, the whole rear body turns. This can be a little tricky when rear scope covers are fitted, as they turn with it! On the 5.5-22, you can fit the cover in such a position that it will not interfere with the bolt when cycling a round, but on the 12-42, on the highest settings, the cap is directly in the way. So why have most other manufacturers not adopted this set-up? The NXS also comes with its own rubberised scope covers as standard.
On targets from 300-800 yards, after careful adjustment of both ocular and parallax focus, once again, in full daylight there was very little to separate any of these scopes. The Nightforce reticles are very thin but you will face little problem acquiring targets and seeing the point of aim.
Overall, from a hunting or sporting rifle point of view, can the NXS compete with its European competitors in the field? Yes, it can. If you are a shooter, who is involved with deer and fox control at shorter ranges, but also long-range varminting and target practice out to over 1,000 yards, there are huge savings to be made. If you are only interested in the culling of deer and foxes out to 250 yards, then probably a European scope will be favoured, But the quality of the glass of the Nightforce NXS is irreplaceable. If they are good enough for the military, there is no question about their rigidity and reliability for the sporting rifleman.