My friend Darrell Buell is Captain of the US F-Class Rifle Team. We were both at the Berger SW Nationals last week and he was super excited beforehand about testing out new scopes from Nightforce. They made up some prototypes and they delivered them to his hotel in Phoenix just in time for the match. Darrell of course had no fun at all testing out new and shiny product. Yes, I have been shooting with Leupold scopes for my tactical AR but I am a big fan of our US Team and Nightforce has been a huge supporter of them. So here is Darrell’s review. Enjoy!
New Equipment Report: New Nightforce Competition Scopes – Written by Darrell Buell
A few weeks ago at SHOT Show, Nightforce Optics introduced a new Competition Scope. When they heard about the upcoming US Team practice session in Phoenix, they overnighted us two of the prototype scopes to wring out under match conditions.
From the start, the scopes impressed. Darrell mounted one of the scopes on his personal competition rifle, and the other on a mocked up action, so people could hold it up safely in a steady fashion behind the firing line. The new scopes acted like magnets, drawing people from all over the Berger Match to check them out.
The new Competition Scopes are 15-55x52mm. The glass in them is of the ED type (extra-low dispersion), and yields outstanding resolution. Remarkably, the resolution in the Competition scopes is even slightly better than the 12-42 NXS, with it’s larger 56mm objective lens. The color is definitely ‘crisper’ as well. Not surprisingly, the image quality is what most people looking through the scopes noted first (see the associated pictures looking through the scope). Just the glass would have been enough to intrigue many of the people trying out the demo scopes, but Nightforce included a number of other thoughtful features as well. First is the side parallax adjustment that competitors have been asking for for years (and has been one of the draws for the NXS scope in competition). The higher zoom range, and the outstanding 60 MOA of vertical travel is also a much asked for feature.
In competition, the glass was an immediate benefit. The competition was held in Phoenix, in February, so the conditions ranged from cold and windy, to warmer with moderate mirage. In some of the heavier mirage conditions (not massive mirage, by any means, but enough that the magnification on a 12-42 NXS would probably have been turned down to 32-25 power), the Competition Nightforce stayed at 45 power and above. The turrets were the usual Nightforce precision, good defined, tactile adjustment clicks (5 MOA per revolution). The only improvement there would be to have the windage turrets adjust in ¼ MOA clicks (yielding 10 MOA per revolution), which Nightforce assures us that will be done for the Team scopes.
The Team’s response to the prototype scopes was overwhelmingly positive, and Nightforce has generously committed to providing 10 of the new Competition scopes for the USA F-Class Team that will be traveling to South Africa next month. The Bloemfontein Range will be an excellent test of it’s capabilities!
The prototype scopes had to be returned to Nightforce, and as it wasn’t much of a detour, Team Captain Darrell Buell dropped off the scopes in person to Nightforce’s Orofino Idaho production facility. The facility rolled out the welcome mat, providing not only a highly detailed tour of the location, but also the opportunity to say a few words in front of a meeting of all of the day shift and evening shift staff. It was good fun for everyone, the staff seemed genuinely fascinated by what the Team was doing with their scopes all over the world, and Darrell was equally interested in the attention and quality that was invested by the staff there in each scope produced. One aspect of the tour was particularly indicative of the solid nature of the scopes. Each assembly station had a steel pillar fixture near the bench; the pillars were covered in a thin layer of rubber padding. As a scope was completed, the technician would grasp it by the ocular end, and strike the objective end on the steel pillar (quite hard) three times. The scope would then be placed back on a optical test stand, and the image checked for shifting. This ‘strike test’ was then repeated (with associated checks) three additional times (top, bottom, and both sides).
Thanks again to Jesse, Klaus, Corey, Randy, and all of the rest for your enthusiastic welcome, and excellent product.