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Extreme Long Range Hunting & Shooting (ELR) Over 1,000 Yds.


Is The 5.5~22 Nightforce my only choice?

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Unread 10-09-2012, 10:47 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 619
Re: Is The 5.5~22 Nightforce my only choice?


One of my 7 Dakota's is wearing a March 6-60X, with the MT-1 tactical reticle. Come to the desert and you can look through it all you want. I finally have it shooting well, and its time to see it run at my desert location. Its easily 2,000 yard capable with Berger 180s, we'll see how much further it can run.

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Unread 10-10-2012, 04:39 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Hawkes Bay New Zealand
Posts: 225
Re: Is The 5.5~22 Nightforce my only choice?

Really hard to go past the NF for ELR if you're an MOA kind of guy, which we are too. I can visualize feet and inches at any range but mils??? WTF???
Optically the Swaro Z6's are arguably the best, but they make no serious long range scopes. Same for Zeiss, some nice optics and some tactical models, but not enough up. The March's are awesome, and I love my 2.5-25x42 as Augustus says. Its a superb all round hunting scope and it works really well on our lightest weight long range hunting rifles, but that 42mm objective is definitely marginal if you want to still be able to use a fair bit of magnification in low light. I use 20x max most of the time with the March, and in low light that I could still run 20x with the 56mm scopes, have to come way down to 10 or 12x. The bigger March's are superb, but only 60 MOA up which is marginal for ELR. They have all proved to be indestructible though, even on our 8lb all up 338 Thor's shooting the 300gns at 3100fps with rearward angled brakes. That combo shakes most scopes loose sooner or later, but the baby March's are still going strong! The S&B's are good, but overpriced and dials go the wrong way for me. Too confusing in a hurry unless you run only European scopes. The top Leupy's are nice for lightweight, good enough optics and superb warranty, but not really the best choice for big gun recoil at ELR. We have had a couple of Mk4's shake loose on the big guns. IOR's have some of the same issues, arguably without the same service.

So that leaves NF's. The only issue we've had with our NF's is one that had its parallax and focus out of kilter at long range. You couldn't get the sharpest focus and the parallax out at the same time. NF fixed it no problem. And like Jeff, we always found NF's to be about the only scope whose adjustments religiously turned out to be true MOA - that is until one 8-32 NXS that seemed to shoot bullets flatter than everything else. On the test jig against the grid sure enough, it moved 1.071" instead of 1.047". Until then, we'd almost got to the point we didn't bother to calibrate the NXS's, but now we calibrate everything. You have to be sure and even NF has the odd hiccup.
I agree with the 5.5-22x56 for its extra up. We run a few 8-32's as well, and seem to use them mostly on 22x as the range gets long anyway! Rarely are the ambient conditions good enough to use much more, and we've hardly ever felt 22x wasn't enough. And certainly get the zero stop and don't use winding to the bottom and then back up to find your zero as someone said. Stay away from the extremes of your adjustments and don't hit the ends or you do risk a POI shift.
That's our experience for what its worth!
Greg, NZH
NZ Longranger
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Unread 10-10-2012, 05:37 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Norway
Posts: 69
Re: Is The 5.5~22 Nightforce my only choice?

I have the IOR 12-52x56 Terminator.
Bought it 8 months ago, using it on my 338 LM.
I have shot maybe 1000 rounds using the IOR, with no problems at all.

I have a 60 MOA pic rail, which gives me a zero at 220 meters, and my turret is at the bottom then. Have had no issues doing so. I can dial all the way out to 2100 meters, using the 300 grs Berger OTM. Then I can hold another 50 moa with the reticle, sending the bullets out to 2500 meters (2750 yards) or so.

My nesxt scope for my next gun would be the new Hensholdt 3.5-26x56. With its 140 moa of elevation, it would be a real killer at long range. I know it is MILS and FFP, I am a MOA SFP guy myself, I get harrased alot for that, being a Norwegian ;)
Most LR guys here in Norway use S&B 5-25x56 PMII.
I just want to try something else. IOR was my choice this year.

I only posted this because, I think IOR has made a sollution with the flaws of the Terminator. Mine has been abused, and still works fine. I had Ian Kelbly and Bryce Wells visit me and shoot my gun this summer, and they had nothing bad to say about the IOR
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Unread 10-26-2012, 05:13 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Reno Nevada
Posts: 227
Re: Is The 5.5~22 Nightforce my only choice?

Hey broz,
As always, if there was someting better, Our buddy Mr Carlock would have one.... I think I might need a new rangefinder though.
Just got back from a deer hunt, the G7 actually worked pretty well to 2000 yds.
After shooting their system, I really understand that I need to be thinking 1200 plus to utilize the new project.
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Unread 11-01-2012, 12:00 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 97
Re: Is The 5.5~22 Nightforce my only choice?

I am still looking to replace the scope on my rifle. Currently shooting a zeiss 4.5-14 with rapid Z reticle. My problem is the reticle subtension with the zeiss rapid-z series (too thick). I am completely sold on everything about the NF EXCEPT the glass. For a $2,000 scope you should be getting glass that is approaching the quality of Zeiss, S&B, or Swarovski. Out of the two dozen NF scopes I have looked through side by side with these other MFG's at low light outside the stores there really is no comparison by my eye, the NF is significantly more "grey". The crispness certainly is there, but the color definition (which is important for picking out parts of animals against matching terrain) simply is not what it is in those other scopes, and the low light capability is lacking compared to them as well. I do a lot of low light hunting, and I couldn't be certain that the NF would fill the bill. Being that the NF is the standard for this type of application, I hunger for opinions of those that have gone outside this box in the direction of Sightron SIII, S&B, March, or other scope suggestions. It very well may be that I will end up with a NF, but it will be after a bunch of deliberation certainly as $2k is a big investment for me. I do believe that a high quality scope could be made with the swaro type glass in a magnification of 3-30x with fine reticle subtension in the MOA scale with over 100 MOA travel for well under $2K. While the NF certainly is an impressive tool in its own right it is just my opinion by directly comparing them side by side in dark conditions with others that it falls well short of many others in the glass department.
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Unread 11-01-2012, 12:19 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Reno Nevada
Posts: 227
Re: Is The 5.5~22 Nightforce my only choice?

I read with great interest what you wrote, and agree with you in spirit, I would be nice to have the best of both worlds, and maybe with all the demand for ulta long range, one of the scope mfgs will seize your idea.
That said the true sum of the value in a NF is not designed to be the clarity. It's design is for durability, and repeatability. While the glass is excellent, its the time and effort that go into the scope, to make it reliable that is a must have.
I shoot just about weekly, I have tried other scopes with turrets, but the only one that has consistently not had any drift is the NF.
Leave one of the lesser scopes set in your gunsafe for awhile because you might be playing with other pursuits, then take it out one day and come to the discovery that your expensive calibrated dial for this specific gun is not working beause the scope is not dialing the distance like it should.
Drop your rifle by accidentally stumbling while hunting, then wonder if the zero is still ok.
None of these problems ever plagues me with the NF.
That is why I spend the ever painful price for this scope. I have other optics for spotting game in low light, but have never been in a situation where I couldnt see the target with the NF.
Best of luck !!
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Unread 11-01-2012, 12:47 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Townsend, Montana.
Posts: 8,652
Re: Is The 5.5~22 Nightforce my only choice?

Originally Posted by Terry Scott View Post
but have never been in a situation where I couldnt see the target with the NF.
Best of luck !!
I will concur. I hunt and practice with the NXS year round in many big game situations. Inside legal hunting hours there has never been a problem. We have already harvested 13 amimals this season with the same rifle and NXS scope. All one and done from 200 to 1285 yards with 5 animals over 750 yards.

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