I'll start my review of the new Nightforce ATACR with some first impressions and a little bench testing. Both the windage and elevation turrets have nice firm detents that click positively into place. Spacing of the newer 20 moa high speed turret on the ATACR is closer together but distinct and easy to read. The Nightforce ATACR scope does weigh in heavier than the tried and true NXS at 38oz. I will assume that is from the larger tube and higher quality ED glass. But it does come in a bit shorter, right at 3/4" shorter than a NXS 5.5~22. Eye relief is 3.54" and I found the eye box very easy to get in on full magnification. Field of view is great at 17.96' on 5x and 4.92' on 25x. To give a comparison here, that is larger at both ends than the S&B 5-25 that has 2' less on 25x.
I removed the elevation turret of the Nightforce ATACR scope and set the zerostop to allow me to count the total amount of internal elevation. This scope came up with 133.5 moa. Pretty generous when it is advertised as having 120. Thatís cool! Running the turret all the way up and down is smooth with no hard spots. The last few clicks on the ATACR have the same feel as the ones in the middle. Magnification ring rotates firm and smooth as well.
Ok, so letís get this baby mounted up and ready for the field. I used a set of the light weight NF rings in 1.125 for the job. It came out nicely still allowing installation of the bikini covers. I also installed a rail mounted anti-cant level and checked it to be true. Then off to the plumb line board to true the reticle to the world. The clarity on the Nightforce ATACR at 60 yards was very good. I plumbed the reticle on a piece of chalk line string and it was crisp and clear.
Rifle is a new build by Score High Gunsmithing in .338 EDGE. Barrel is a 29 3/4" Hart 1 in 10 with a Holland brake. Load is 92.5 gr of H-1000, a CCI 250 under a 300 gr. Berger OTM Hybrid seated .065" off the lands. Brass is some of the new EDGE match brass Shawn Carlock is marketing.
I liked what Jeff said about the Nightforce ATACR enough that I decided I'll be using one on my primary rifle this year. I can well utilize the added magnification which is achieved with no loss in field of view, clarity or brightness. We also now sell the Nightforce ATACR in the LRH Store.
--Len Backus, Publisher--
100 yard sight in on 25x was easy. Reticle subtensions are close to 1" at 100 and allow for easy measuring of corrections needed. Only a few shots and we were on zero. I also shot a 6 moa square known as the "box test" just to see if basic tracking was good. The Nightforce ATACR scope did fine and was well within the accuracy of the rifle ammo and shooter skill. Parallax seems to be running very close to a crisp focus as well. That is nice as I have used plenty of scopes where, to get all the parallax out, you were just to one side of the clearest sight picture. Also, parallax adjustment on the new ATACR is a little higher geared than what we are used to on the NXS, meaning it comes in faster with less dial movement. It surprised me at first but I soon grew comfortable with it and was making fast corrections without even thinking about it.
After the zeroing was done I was off to my range to check the elevation tracking up the board. For this I set up a 4x8 sheet of OSB with a paper running vertical.
I shoot at a point of aim at the bottom for each shot, and crank in 20 more moa for each additional shot. Then I measure from the first bullet hole up to see if the Nightforce ATACR scope is indeed tracking in true moa - or 1.047" per moa dialed in.
Results for the Nightforce ATACR scope were as follows:
Zero to 20 moa up measured 21.125". Perfect would have been 20.9". This is inside the accuracy of the combination of rifle, ammo and shooter skill, so I call it good.
Zero to 40 moa point of impact was at 42.25" perfect would be 41.88" so again we are on.
Zero to 60 moa impact was 63.375". Perfect would be 62.82". Just over 1/2 moa off perfect and I am still happy with this as I will take 1/2 moa accuracy anyday for an average. Only shooting one shot at each dial up is not the best way to do this. But shooting a .338 edge, I will call this a win and save the barrel and components for longer stuff.