Nightforce SHV 4-14X56 Riflescope ReviewBy Nicholas Gebhardt
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I decided to attach a suppressor as this is the configuration I use while actually hunting coyotes. There is a small impact shift with the suppressor attached to the rifle but I did not immediately correct for it. My next shot fired was at the expected location: 2 MOA low and 1 MOA to the right. This is exactly where the reticle showed the impact to be. Again, the correction was dialed onto the scope and the next two shots impacted at the point of aim. I was sufficiently pleased with my established zero on this new scope and decided to set the scope turrets to their “0” setting.
Nightforce SHV in the field.
Removing the elevation and windage turrets on the Nightforce SHV is simple. There is a single stainless screw that is located on the top-center of each turret that needs to be removed after which the turret pulls outward and is removed. Forget the antiquated method of tiny allen head set screws around the perimeter of the turret. To reinstall, just line up the “0” mark on the turret with the index line and slide it down. After the turret is reinstalled, screw down the stainless screw while holding the turret in place and everything is finished. This is the most straightforward method of setting the zero on a scope I’ve used in a while and it can’t get much easier.
While establishing the zero on my rifle I found the turrets to track exactly as they should, but these were fairly small corrections. I didn’t have the time for a dedicated “box test” as I would normally prefer to conduct so I instead checked return to zero while at the 100 yard range. I first dialed up 10 MOA and then back to zero and fired one round. Then 20 MOA was dialed on the turret and again straight back to zero for another round. The windage turret came next with one complete revolution to the right and returning to zero for a single round and the process repeated to the left. After returning to zero all rounds were within the accuracy of the rifle which is less than ½ MOA. Return to zero was spot on and no anomalies were present in the group. For a simple elevation check, I added six MOA to the elevation turret and held my point of aim at a target dot near the bottom of the paper and fired one round. Impact of this bullet appeared at the 5.5 MOA point in the reticle. The turret was returned back to zero for another round and this impacted exactly with the point of aim. I repeated this elevation check a second time and that bullet was slightly higher than the first, but still a touch low of the six MOA hash mark in the reticle. These impacts were outside my expectation so I repeated the return to zero and then back up to the six MOA mark on the turret. This third round went exactly as expected.
Nightforce SHV in foreground, NXS behind.
Now that I was satisfied with the adjustments and operation of the scope, I took about 30 minutes to evaluate the optics of the SHV and see how it compared to an older Nightforce NXS 3.5-15X50. Both of these scopes are made in Japan but given the price differential, I expected to see some difference in the optical quality. To my surprise, I couldn’t find any optical difference between the two except for a very slight possibility of a brighter image with the SHV. I say possibility because the sky was partly cloudy so shadows and sunshine kept coming and going sooner than I would have liked. I can’t really say with any confidence there is a difference in the optics between the older NXS and the new SHV.
Optical clarity, image brightness, contrast and resolution were all extremely good. During the 30 minutes spent trying to discern the finer details of these characteristics, I was looking at a distant hillside at about 700 yards that was covered in grass, bushes, dirt, fist sized rocks, and larger rock outcroppings with cracks and fissures providing shadows and texture. I was easily able to distinguish individual stems of dead bushes with a darker background, individual blades of tall grass, distinct rock edges, and lichen on the rock outcroppings. Suffice it to say that the new SHV has the same optical qualities as the renowned NXS series, which is to say it is very good.
The next thing I wanted to check on this scope was how well the reticle worked for taking shots at intermediate range distances. The turrets on the SHV were confirmed at the 100 yard zero setting and then the protective caps were installed. Using the reticle I first engaged a clay pigeon at 685 yards. I held over a tiny bit less than 13 MOA and also held left just less than one MOA. My bullet impacted off the top right edge of the clay pigeon at nearly 700 yards! Had that been a coyote, my bullet would have perforated his chest cavity quite nicely. I don’t give up that easily though so another round was sent down range at a different clay pigeon, which also merely got showered with some surrounding dirt. The impacts were very close to their intended target and I was happy with the reticle providing the correct amount of hold over required for that distance. I continued to engage targets at 300, 450, and about 550 yards using the reticle for elevation correction. This was my first time using the MOAR reticle and I quickly developed an appreciation for it. The reticle is fairly simple but has some very nice features and everything laid out in MOA which marries up nicely with the MOA turrets.
Nightforce MOAR in the SHV scope.
The next testing I conducted was placing the scope on my home freezer for an entire weekend while my family and I were out of town. Upon our return the SHV was removed from the freezer and all controls were checked along with verifying there wasn’t any internal fogging. The magnification adjustment ring remained smooth but was noticeably more difficult to turn. Both the elevation and windage turrets turned with the same feel as before freezing while the parallax adjustment was extremely difficult to turn. Had I been wearing gloves, I doubt I would have been able to move the parallax adjustment after the scope was frozen for three days. The reticle illumination still worked without issue, no fogging was present inside the scope, and the diopter adjustment also turned but with slightly more resistance. Overall, I’m pleased with the freeze test but would like to see the parallax adjustment refined so it doesn’t get froze up as much.
The Nightforce SHV passing the freeze test.
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