Best Nightforce Scopes [Short to Long Range]

The NightForce scope brand is one that I have had some dealings with, but for the most part only when one of the scopes comes in for testing a new cartridge, or a new rifle. At times the industry will pre-mount a scope or any one of a number of systems in readiness for testing. For the most part, NightForce riflescopes are not readily available to writers for review. It would seem as though they don’t feel they need the exposure as such.

When the scope is featured on major films of the day as a combat snipers tool, retained in a glass case in a major big-box sporting goods stores, and held at a price point that is off the chart for most shooters, there is little doubt that this glass sight is considered an elite, high-quality optical system. But is it the best scope for you?

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR EXTREME RANGE

NightForce Benchrest 8-32x

NightForce Benchrest 8-32x

  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 8-32x
  • Length: 16.6 in
BEST FOR LONG RANGE

NightForce ATACR 5-25x56mm

NightForce ATACR 5-25x56mm

  • Diameter: 56mm
  • Magnification: 5-25x
  • Length: 14.3 in
BEST FOR LOW LIGHT

Nightforce 2.5-10x42mm NXS Scope.

Nightforce 2.5-10x42mm NXS Scope.

Nightforce 2.5-10x42mm NXS Scope.

  • Diameter: 42mm
  • Magnification: 2.5-10x
  • Length: 11.9 in
BEST FOR HUNTING

Nightforce NXS 5.5×22×56

Nightforce NXS 5.5×22×56

  • Diameter: 56mm
  • Magnification: 5.5-22x
  • Length: 15.2 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Nightforce Beast 5-25x56mm FFP C635.

Nightforce Beast 5-25x56mm FFP C635.

  • Diameter: 56mm
  • Magnification: 5-25x
  • Length: 15.37 in
BEST FOR LONG VIEW

Nightforce SHV 5-20x56mm

Nightforce SHV 5-20x56mm

  • Diameter: 56mm
  • Magnification: 5-20x
  • Length: 15.2 in
BEST FOR WIDE RANGE

Nightforce SHV 4-14x50mm F1

Nightforce SHV 4-14x50mm F1

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: Magn
  • Length: 14.8 in

There is no doubt that Nightforce Optics builds high-end glass. In most cases, anything I have ever been informed of regarding problems is inquisitional at best, and for the most part, just made up stories. The bottom line is this is an outstanding sight based on what I have been able to bring together during the previous field applied for reviews. 

My motto is don’t shoot it in most cases don’t write it. Nightforce has been shot by me over some good long-range rifles on very mission-specific long-distance setups out here in the wild American West.

7 Best Nightforce Scopes

1. NightForce Benchrest 8-32x.

nightforce long range scopes

This NightForce scope is designed for the shooter that wants to take on precision bench rest style events at extreme long-range or independent ballistics work regarding bullet/load development. These scopes are designed for the rail rifles or heavy class bench rest target rifles that will drill out single rough holes in paper at 200 yards. 

This scope retains a second focal plane system SFF, and in effect, the sub tensions display a consistent crosshair against an expanding target as power is increased. These scopes have been with NightForce for about 25 years to date. and have not changed as they will do the task assigned and require no additional bells or whistles to get a better grade of performance out of them.

This scope is built off a large 30mm main tube. That means it holds larger and more robust internals that will not fail when you need them. This is a big glass sight in that it measures a full 16.6 inches, and carries a weight of 36.0 ounces.

Windage and elevation adjustment turret click value is .125 MOA, making it a very fine-tuned method for dialing very small impact changes downrange. When I worked with The Varmint Hunter Association over some 19 years I was assigned to write the review around the 600-yard bench rest events held by them each year. 

I not only write the event for the magazine but spent a good deal of time on the range when it went hot and helped measure and score target. When doing that you learn very quickly how effective a bench rest rifle is and what line of optics it takes to gain solid event-winning scopes.

Side parallax adjustments from 25 yards, eye relief 3.0, generous field of view, turrets capped finger adjustable.

NightForce Benchrest 8-32x.

The price of NightForce Benchrest 8-32x. varies, so check the latest price at

2. NightForce ATACR 5-25x56mm.

nightforce long range scope

In the case of this Nightforce scope, we are talking about a sniper grade optical system, designed for the extra long shot downrange, though the magnification range offers plenty of versatility for medium-range shooting as well. Shooting beyond a mile or even up to three miles is possible when running big heavy loads for record book scores. Yes, tree miles is the current investment in long-range yardage of late.

This scope makes use of turret settings that run .250 for very tight group adjustments on target, retains a turret total elevation setting of 89 MOA/25 MILS, which will put a 338 Lapua bullet pm target at well over a mile because I have done it with an MRAD optical system, and retains a wind drift correction range of 60 MOA.18MIL.

The ATACR also features NightForce's DigIllum reticle illumination system, which is built into the side focus control so that it doesn't require fiddling with another knob. On the ATACR, that means a choice of two colors and 10 daylight intensity settings, as well as two settings that are night-vision compatible.

The scope retains a zero stop so as to prevent run over by the operator. It is also set up in the FFP meaning the target increases with power settings and the crosshairs match the same setting. This is almost sniper grade standard in long-range optical systems. Sub tensions in MOA or MRADS. Check with the manufacture regarding this area of presentation.

This scope is not a backyard plinker system, Professional grade without question.

NightForce ATACR 5-25x56mm

NightForce ATACR 5-25x56mm

The price of NightForce ATACR 5-25x56mm. varies, so check the latest price at

3. Nightforce 2.5-10x42mm NXS Scope.

cheapest nightforce scope	20	60

In this scope, we have power and overall setup regarding size and weight that can work out on smaller receiver rifles. This scope is solid to 1000 yards or more, is adaptable for both target long-range and hunting with the MOA reticle, and offered with zero stop setting and capped turrets. 

The scope makes use of the Illuminated reticle and that brings it into the dual-use category of operation field optics. Day-night and right in the middle this scope will keep on returning a target image with its lighted crosshairs, and its hash marked sub tensions. 

Marketed in the middle of the road regarding pricing this scope will compete with several other brands easily. The glass is a good quality, good brightness qualities, and we;; made with its 30mm main tube of one-piece high-grade aluminum,

 Nightforce 2.5-10x42mm NXS Scope

Nightforce 2.5-10x42mm NXS Scope

The price of Nightforce 2.5-10x42mm NXS Scope varies, so check the latest price at

4. Nightforce NXS 5.5×22×56mm

nightforce hunting scopes

This scope is a massive glass sight that uses a 30mm tube, MRAD turret click graduations, an illuminated reticle, and an objective lens opening that is again almost off the charts, making it a great performer in low light conditions.

Using the SFF, the scope's sub tensions will remain the same as the power settings are increased. This is more directed to sporting use than military/police functions, at least in today's longer-range shooting requirements. At one point this scope was military-based, but currently, it is a specialized scope used for shooting to 2000 yards and even beyond.

Massive turrets that hold ample elevation and windage corrections, and the use of the lighted reticle/ If your going for the two-mile shot in long-range or even trying to gain the three-mile record this telescope-like glass sight could be the answer.

Nightforce NXS 5.5×22×56

Nightforce NXS 5.5×22×56

The price of Nightforce NXS 5.5×22×56 varies, so check the latest price at

5. Nightforce Beast 5-25x56mm FFP C635.

nightforce hunting scope

The Beast is a good name for this long-range optical system in this case I have spent a good deal of time with the scope when writing material for my books and also Gun Digest Magazine a few years back. The Beast was used for wind drift studies at long range, and also for distance shooting to 1500 yards on my home range in western South Dakota.

This scope retains zero stop turret controls, rapid advancing MRAD clicks with 1/10 sub graduations for pinpoint accuracy, ample light control with the massive objective lens, Sub tensions designed for long-range competition or sniper work re rural police or military types of operations, and if you are a predator hunter that likes to own the valley, this is the go-to system to be sure.

When shooting this scope I was able to track hits on white paper to 400 yards without leaving my bench rest. Bullet splash was detected with ease to 1000 yards during that element of my work with an Ithaca 308 /7.62 NATO sniper rifle.

Later I took the Beast to a one-mile course off a high overlook ridge in my home area and shot to a stock pond against white boulders in the water, I was able to walk in the bullet splash for consistent hits. 

In this case, the scope had been reinstalled on the 338 Lapua sending Hornady ELD’s based on the Ruger chassis rifle. I will say that any target on that section of waterhole was in trouble with the rifle and the Nightforce Beast owning the whole valley.

Nightforce Beast 5-25x56mm FFP C635

Nightforce Beast 5-25x56mm FFP C635

The price of Nightforce Beast 5-25x56mm FFP C635 varies, so check the latest price at

6. Nightforce SHV 5-20x56mm.

nightforce scope review

This scope is another long-range specialized glass sight. The tube diameter is 30mm, the turrets are MOA and carry a full 250 clicks advancements, and the basic scope is a nonilluminated scope with the Nightforce X534 reticle. This is an affordable better-grade optic, and it will do the job down range to 1500 yards by example all day long.

I believe this scope is offered as it stands as a compromise without sacrificing image quality or durability when checking out other brands. There are a large number of good scopes on the market in this price range from competitors like Leupold, Zeiss, and Burris, and Nightforce knows it.

Glass quality in this scope is high grade with solid light-gathering abilities, the tube housing is using a very high-grade aluminum alloy, and the internals as applied to turret parts are top end.

Nightforce SHV 5-20x56mm

Nightforce SHV 5-20x56mm

The price of Nightforce SHV 5-20x56mm varies, so check the latest price at

7. Nightforce SHV 4-14x50mm F1.

nightforce scopes reviews

This scope carries 230 MOA, is illuminated, and uses the Nightforce Moar Reticle C556. The scope uses the almost standard 30mm tube for a long-range scope, runs open tactical style MOA turrets that are easy to use, and makes quick observations in terms of exact click settings. This scope is again a model right in the ballpark of several others by different brand names.

I have used Nightforce in several models over as many years and found them to produce the desired results. What can go wrong? 

The scope fades in terms of a sharp image as the range extends, the edge areas of the reticle will hold rainbow color effects, the turret settings are not repeatable, and the turret clicks are not sharp and solid when turned many times over a long period of time. In the case of this scope and variants that are very much like it in the Nightforce line, I have found no issues with the glass sight whatsoever.

When selecting a Nightforce scope and spending the kind of money involved in a class one-level glass sight take a hard look at the rings and bases built and offered by the brand. Bases and rings can differ and to be sure Nightforce wants the shooter to get the very best results possible from the total scope setup. 

Consider the materials used in the Nightforce rings versus some soft aluminum low-grade junk found on the budget models some of the time. In general, Nightforce will want to stand out, and in no way limit the effectiveness of their product line. The best rings and bases possible will take care of any issue in this area of scope installing, and performance.

Nightforce SHV 4-14x50mm F1

Nightforce SHV 4-14x50mm F1

The price of Nightforce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 varies, so check the latest price at

Nightforce Scope Mounts/Rings

Nightforce Scope Mounts Rings

1. Nightforce Ultralite 30mm Titanium rings.

Nightforce  Ultralite 30mm Titanium rings.

When buying into the Nightforce line of riflescopes a primary consideration is staying with the brand in terms of getting the correct rings and bases to mount your scope with, or making an error and buying something that is going to detract from the best possible performance that can be generated with this advanced glass sighting system.

The titanium rings offered by Nightforce use the Weaver-style claw mounting system. This is common for Weaver rail systems and also to be called pertinacity rails. These rails are almost standard on military long-range rifles ( sniper,) and also all manner of AR-15 / M-16 rifles.

These mounts are made from ultra-hard titanium as the name would suggest, that when lapped and finished by the factory, they do not require any additional touch up or other adjusting for correct mounting by the owner or gunsmith

The mounts use a four-screw system, and that is a bit of a surprise to me as I would have thought they would have gone with the military six screw mounts so common among sniper rifle mounting systems.

These mounts are built in the medium-high range, and that means bell size needs to be addressed if the rings are to be considered. When tieing these mounts and rings into the rail system use of threaded link shafts and heavy nuts are used versus straight away screws. This will produce much-added strength in the event the sight system is mounted on a heavy recoiling rifle.

It should be pointed out that Nightforce offers additional ring sets that are varied in height for different scopes, and run all the way to a heavyweight class mounting system for up to the massive 50 BMG sniper rifle.

Nightforce Ultralite 30mm Titanium ring

Nightforce Ultralite 30mm Titanium rings

The price of Nightforce Ultralite 30mm Titanium rings varies, so check the latest price at

2. Nightforce 30mm Steel Ring Sets.

Nightforce 30mm steel ring sets

This is an example of the Nightforce steel ring set. These rings are much like the previous rings illustrated but the grade of material has come down to what is almost a standard in other brands. These rings can be obtained in a number of sizes and height standards.

A point in fact is that Nightfrce offers over a dozen different rings and base setups for their scopes. What you will find in these steel rings is correct milling, detail in terms of alignment for accuracy, and quality materials overall.

Nightforce 30mm Steel Ring Sets

Nightforce 30mm Steel Ring Sets

The price of Nightforce 30mm Steel Ring Sets varies, so check the latest price at

3. Nightforce Unimount.

Nightforce Unimount

This is the final design I will cover in terms of ring/base offerings by Nightforce. This unit is among my very favorite because it will do it all in one solid piece of steel/ This mount illustrated here is a 30mm ring size mount, makes use of a 20mm MRI-MOA raiI and locks into the receiver using the Picatinny/ Weaver claw - rail system.

These mounts go onto the rifle fast, carry all the load for recoil and accuracy as well, and with AR platforms or turn bolt rifles can be considered among the best in my opinion.

These mounts can offer very flexible positioning of the scope due to the cantilever system designed into the mount, and eye relief is always an easy fix with this element of flexible placement on the rifle receiver's mounting rail.

Nightforce Unimount

Nightforce Unimount

The price of Nightforce Unimount varies, so check the latest price at

Frequently Asked Question [FAQ]

Is Nightforce Worth The Money?

When the question arises as to the Nightforce being worth the money for long-range shooters, I like to look at it this way. I have found that you get what you pay for in this business. Nightforce is good quality as for the scopes pushing $4000.00 and change regarding some models, I reserve that decision for the individual buyer.

In my mind, that’s enough money to buy a good used Harley Davidson motorcycle, but that’s just me. I have scopes costing half the figure of the upper-end glass offered by Nightforce. My scopes by several brand names shoot headshots and torso hits to one mile. They cover sniper setups as in taking out mortar positions, and teams of cardboard troops, then slap steel the next day at better than 1500 yards.

How Good Are Nightforce Scopes?

Beauty and performance are in the eye of the beholder, and I am not anyone's judge and jury in this case. What I do know is for those of you that believe Nightforce is a scope that is used by the US Army and other services think again. 

What Night force has done is sell and great ad campaign to the shooting public. American Sniper the film has the Nightforce logo standing out several times on a sniper scope illustrated in that flick. While time will not allow here to dive deep into this subject I have observed Nightforce logos in sniper-type films over and over again. Nice work if you can get it nowadays.

Does The United States Military Use Nightforce Scopes?

A point in fact according to the material used in all three of my books covering long-range shooting, and countless articles over the past decade alone, the US military has a totally different take on the subject and the brand used as a standard squad issue for sharpshooters and snipers is not Nightforce. 

To be completely fair however according to a very solid source that was a lifer, officer, and dirt grunt for three runs in Afghanistan, the Navy Seal Teams did have a credit card for the unit and could buy about anything they wanted. In that mix were for the most part some Nightforce optical systems.

As a police officer retired, and one who trained with snipers on the side, ( Minneapolis PD ) I got a taste of what they turn to most often, If I were in their shoes the mid-range priced scopes interest me in the Nightforce line. However, that stated, I would have to gain far more time over the rifle receiver using one of them to make a final decision in this matter.

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