The new Nightforce Optics Shooter Hunter Varminter (SHV) riflescope is directly aimed at the shooting, hunting, and varminting market areas as indicated by the name. This optic is loaded with premium features, comes with the famous Nightforce durability as well as warranty, but can be had for less than $1,000.00 for the non-illuminated model. Nightforce is obviously looking to get their products into the hands of shooters that don’t need the price tag associated with their more expensive lines of optics but who desire all of the benefits associated with the Nightforce name.
This riflescope is built on a one-piece scope body, has a 30mm main tube, a 56mm objective lens, a magnification range of 4-14X, has ¼ MOA click adjustments for both elevation and windage control with a total of 100 MOA of elevation and 70 MOA of windage available. This all comes in a 14.8” long package that weighs either 26.9 ounces for the non-illuminated model or 28.5 ounces with illumination. Two second focal plane reticle choices are currently offered; the excellent MOAR or new IHR reticle.
These specifications spell out a successful package! The 30mm main tube allows Nightforce to provide a generous amount of internal elevation and windage adjustment. Designing the scope with a 56mm objective will surely please the varmint and big game hunting crowd as more available light will be allowed to enter the scope and provide a brighter image during those critical dawn and dusk periods when critters are more likely to be active. The magnification range of 4-14X is perfectly suited to the task as well. The low end of the magnification range is about perfect for those times when a maximum field of view is desired such as hunting in thick timber or still hunting along river bottoms. The high end of magnification is also adequate for long range hunting and shooting, allowing precise holds on the quarry or target. As best as I could measure, the SHV has approximately 4” of eye relief at 14X. For a scope designed to suite a very wide range of end users, this scope has the specifications to deliver on all levels.
The Nightforce SHV was mounted on top of a custom built rifle using Nightforce Ultralight medium height rings. The rifle has a standard target contour barrel from a premium barrel manufacturer and uses a trued up Remington M700 receiver. This particular rifle was selected to test and evaluate this optic as the rifle was built for use as a dedicated coyote rifle and has seen use in precision rifle competitions across the United States. The accuracy of this rifle is superb so my confidence in bullet placement was extremely high, allowing me to concentrate on making sure the scope was working correctly. The purpose of the rifle fit the intended use of the scope as well since the scope is designed to be used in a multitude of roles. This combination of rifle and scope seemed like a perfect unison of intent.
The Nightforce rings were first mounted to the scope base and torqued down to 65 inch pounds. After setting the scope in the lower half of the rings, obtaining the correct eye relief, and ensuring the scope was level with the action of the rifle, the top half of the rings were torqued down to 15 inch pounds. There was an adequate amount of clearance between the heavy contour barrel and the scope objective bell to still fit the nice bikini scope covers to protect the lenses. With the scope mounted all I had to do was wait for the Montana winter weather to provide me with a decent enough day to conduct a thorough evaluation. As luck would have it I didn’t have to wait too terribly long.
Testing and evaluation of the Nightforce SHV came on an early April afternoon when the air temperature was 50 degrees and winds were only about 4 mph from the seven o’clock position. After arriving at the shooting range I quickly bore-sighted the scope on my target at 100 yards and fired the first round. Impact was five minutes of angle (MOA) low and 2.5 MOA to the left. This amount of correction was determined by simply looking through the scope and using the MOAR reticle as a ruler. I dialed on the correction to both the elevation and windage turrets and the second shot impacted just over ½ inch high but centered left and right. Another small correction to the elevation had the third and fourth shots centered nicely over the top on my point of aim. Zeroing the Nightforce SHV was straightforward and extremely simple.