If you shoot long range to extreme long range, the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 will do you a yeoman’s service. It will not let you down.
If you have the right gun, the right ammo and do your part, you will be in the winner’s circle.
Before you ask if the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 is worth the price, you first need to decide how you are going to use the scope.
Our nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 review will give you the information you need to decide. For instance, if you are plinking or shooting under 200 yards, no matter what gun you have, you can get the same performance from another scope at a much lower price.
I attended the 2023 50 Caliber World Championships, and saw that Nightforce dominated. Pick any 10 shooters on the line and at least 9 of them have a Nightforce on their rifles.
Let’s dive into the review.
Should I Buy the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56?
You should buy the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 if you are interested in long range and extreme long range shooting. It is what the pros use.
Military snipers also use Nightforce scopes. For instance, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle preferred the Nightforce to all other scopes. With 150 sniper kills, maybe more, he holds the US military record for enemy kills as a sniper.
Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 Features: A Breakdown
Nightforce was the first reliable modern optics company to make high-zoom rifle scopes. You can get a higher magnification. Most 1,000 yard shooters find this one is ideal.
Your field of view (FOV) is 17.5 feet at the lowest magnification setting. That is about equal to 3 average-sized deer standing nose to tail at 100 yards.
At max zoom, you get a FOV of about 4.7 feet at 100 yards. You could not see all of an average-sized standing broadside at 100 yards.
Extending this out at 1,000 yards, you have a FOV of 47 feet at max zoom. To put that in perspective, the Vortex Strike Eagle gives you a 19.2-foot FOV at 100 yards at the 1x setting.
In other words, at 1,00 yards, the NXS 5.5×22 lets you see a lot of detail.
2. Click value
Long range and ELR shooting requires precision scope adjustments. Your click value must be tight. The Nightforce NXS 5 offers ¼ MOA adjustments. An MOA is about 1 inch at 100 yards. At 1,000 yards, an MOA is 10 inches.
At 1,000 yards, each click will move your crosshairs 2.5 inches. World record groups at 1,000 yards are just over 2.5 inches.
So that ¼ MOA is good enough to put you in the winner’s circle in tournaments.
The NXS 5.5×22 has three turrets or knobs. One is for elevation, one is for windage and another is for parallax. Each knob has ¼ MOA hash marks. This lets you dial in for the shooting conditions of the moment.
The elevation and windage are also field adjustable. You can remove the caps to sight your rifle in, zero it at your preferred distance, and replace the caps.
Take your shot. See where the bullet hits and turn the knobs to make ¼ MOA adjustments for shooting conditions without removing the caps.
This does not permanently change the zero. When you are done shooting, turn the adjustment back to zero on each one. The Zero Stop means you are back to your original sighted-in setting.
At the 2023 50 Caliber World Championships, the range went from dead still to wind flags standing straight out during the day. Shooters had to make allowances for the wind.
They made changes to their turrets to correct for wind. When done, they reset the adjustable knobs to zero.
The adjustments may throw some people off. You get 100 MOA of elevation and 60 MOA of windage. A majority of scopes give you the same adjustments for each.
The Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 is a long-range scope. Elevation is more important than windage.
Parallax adjustment starts at 50 yards and goes to infinity. Correcting the parallax means your crosshairs are centered on the target, even if you are not centered behind the scope.
At distances under 200 yards, parallax is important but not critical. At 75 yards and less, it becomes even less important. At 1,000 yards, it is vital.
6. Second focal plane
The scope is a second focal plane. As you zoom in, the reticle stays the same size. A first focal plane means the reticle enlarges as you zoom in.
Second is best for long distance shooting. You may need to use all of the reticle hash marks to get precisely on target. If the reticle enlarges, you lose the outer edges of the reticle.
The objective lens, the front bell, is 56mm. That gathers a LOT of light. This is important. As you zoom in, the scope transmits less light down the tube. At max zoom, you need a lot of light.
The NXS 5.5-22 has a tactical reticle. The hash marks on the reticle are 1 MOA apart.
The reticle gives you an additional 20 MOA left windage, 20 MOA right and 20 MOA drop elevation.
If you are sighted in at 100 yards and need to shoot closer, you have 10 MOA of up elevation on the reticle. It is lighted.
Another thing that sets Nightforce apart and adds to its durability is the 30mm tube. It is machined from a solid piece of 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. Most other scope tubes are extruded or formed. This is a weaker tube that one milled out.
Pros and Cons of the Nightforce NXS 5
The Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 has a long list of pros and a short list of negatives.
- Accurate – The Nightforce is a better scope than many shooters.
- Warranty – Lifetime, transferable warranty. If it breaks, you get a new one or yours repaired.
- Tough – Nightforce HQ has a scope that took a 30 caliber bullet and still kept going.
- High zoom – The 22x zoom pulls the target in close.
- Reticle – The tactical reticle is good for long range work.
- Elevation – You get a huge amount of elevation adjustment.
- Expensive – You can buy 2-3 good deer rifles for the cost of one Nightforce.
- Long range – The negative here is the scope is not suited for close work.
Nightforce is better than Vortex. Vortex has greatly improved in recent years. For overall quality, Nightforce still has the edge.
Leupold is not better than Nightforce. In most cases they are equal. When you shoot 2 miles or more, Nightforce is slightly better.
The military uses Nightforce. SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle preferred the Nightforce to all other scopes.
Nightforce is made in the US except for the glass. The glass parts are made in Japan. Japanese glass quality is on par with German glass.
If you want to nail the X ring at 1,000 yards, Nightforce is the scope to get. Many long range and ELR shooters use this scope than any other by a very wide margin.
In fact, I have talked to long range shooters from around the world. They swear by Nightforce. The next 50 BMG rifle I get will have a Nightforce sitting on it.
I hope this article helped!