50 or 56mm Nightforce

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by blygy, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. blygy

    blygy Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    So I've pretty much decided I'm buying a Nightforce.. now how much of an advantage is the 56 over the 50mm objective.

    Should I get the 3.5-15 or the 5.5-22.

    Or my other option is a 3-18X42 IOR.

    What are the pros and cons of these options...

    The rifle is a 300 win mag necked down to 6.5mm. I'm hoping to reach 1000yds with this rifle it is a 24" varmint weight barrel.

    The IOR is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper but that isn't really enough to really swing my decision but your guy's opinions definately can...

    Any questions just ask.. I'll try to lay out my situation...

    Thanks for the help.
  2. Jon A

    Jon A Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2001
    What is your intended use and which features to you prefer?

    Are you planning on shooting very long range in really low light?

    Do you carry the rifle, hunt in thick stuff?

    Do you care about the size/weight at all?

    Do you prefer FFP or SFP?

    Are you in a big hurry to get it?

    Many different features that could sway you one way or the other--not because one thing is better than the other but you just may want something more.

    For example if you want FFP, IOR is the only choice--for now, at least, I've heard rumors Nightforce is working on it. That's probably the biggest one.

    There's a pretty big size difference between the 3-18 and a 5.5-22X56. This may matter to you or it may not. I guess if it mattered much to you you probably wouldn't be considering both.

    If you plan to use the reticle mostly you may not care, but I mostly click elevation and really like being able to get to 1300-1400 yds on a single turn of the knob.

    Nightforce has one hell of a reputation for toughness. Not that IOR's rep is bad, but I'd say not as good yet.

    Anyway, to me it's about getting the features you want. I think Nightforce scopes are absolutely wonderful. But I just really want FFP for many reasons which means they weren't in the running for me (when spending that much money). I'm just happy we have such choices now in this price range.

  3. blygy

    blygy Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    I do hunt in some low light but I ussually wait until I can see when calling coyotes...so it isn't really long range...

    This will go into the truck and be carried some to call stands.. but I would ussually use my 204 for that.. so I guees mostly truck and bench work..

    Not to wooried about weight.. I am short and wide.. meant to carry heavy loads over long distances..LOL...

    Not in a big hurry..My dies aren't here yet.. and I think I'll throw on a 3-9 until I find a load that groups half assed well...

    I was looking @ the SH I.O.R. but getting it into canada seems to be a problem...

    I like the idea of a FFP reticle

    Thank you for your time
  4. justgoharder

    justgoharder Well-Known Member

    Sep 17, 2005
    I was in the same boat as you NXS 3.5-15x50 or the IOR 3-18

    I finally went with the nightforce mainly because i didn't like the 35mm tube on the IOR and the NPR1 reticle on the NXS looked amazing to my eyes in the side-by-side comparisons i did between the two.

    I can't offer anything on 50 or 56mm objective but I my opinion the 3.5-15x50 looks pretty big on my sendero but if weight and the ability to carry it isn't a big deal maybe the 56 would be better

    no matter which way you go I bet you'll be happy as they are all good scopes, happy shooting!
  5. jimbo300

    jimbo300 Well-Known Member

    Sep 2, 2007
    I can't give any advice on the 50mm, but I do own 3 Nightforce 56mm and they are great.

    I have a 3.5-15x56 w/NP-1RR recticle on a 6mm AI custom Rem 788 (varmint/target gun) but really wish it was a 5.5-22x56. The extra power would do more justice to the gun. I've owned this scope for 8 yrs.

    I also have a 5.5-22x56 on a 7mm Rem Mag 700 w/a 30" Hart barrel. This scope also has the NP-1RR reticle. This set-up is great for 1K shooting.
    I purchased this scope in 1995 for $600 new.

    Last year I picked up a 8-32x56 Benchrest at Sportsmen's Warehouse for $1100. It had the NP-1RR, but I just sent it back to the Nightforce shop to have the reticle changed to the NP-R2 reticle. This reticle has verticle references every 2moa and windage references every 5 moa. I purchased this scope for my next long range gun. Which will be built by Kirby.

    On all of the scopes I have a quick reference card for shooting various ranges. You won't go wrong with the Nightforce.

    Hope this helps
  6. Down Under Hunter

    Down Under Hunter Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2007
    I asked the exact same question to everyone about 3 months ago and ended up going with 56 5-22 NXS because it aint much bigger and would fit in the same height rings. Also its on a Shawn Carlock 338 edge that has been built to hit big animals at extended ranges in less than ideal light conditions. I went NPR1 because of all around 1 moa hash marks.

    Good luck
  7. blygy

    blygy Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Thanx guys.. if the 50 and 56 both run the same rings then I'll be going with the 56mm.. Same height above bore and larger objective just makes sense to me...
  8. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    In my experience the 50 and 56 mm scopes definitely require different ring heights and Badger Ord makes rings optimized for each type. The determining factor is the contour of your barrel below the bell or objective of the scope. Barrels with minimal taper require taller rings with the 56's, otherwise they rest on the barrel. Been there. If your barrel tapers relatively quickly you would probably be OK but my #7's and M24 contour barrels do not like 56mm NXS scopes with standard rings.
  9. NYLES

    NYLES Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    I read an article once about 50 or bigger objective scopes...seems they were saying that our eyes(rods cones) CANT use the light provided by larger scope objectives once they change over into our night vision mode.

    I read that a long time ago and wish I knew where Id like to re read it.

    But I wil tell you what I think of a 50 NXS tonight.

    Optics usher light to your eye
    The human eye is wonderfully designed to gather more, or less, light as conditions around you change. Even state-of-the-art optics can't compete with the ability of your eye's iris to control the pupil size, which acts much like a variable aperture for the retina. The aperture for a binocular, spotting scope or monocular is fixed and limits the amount of light gathered through an optical lens. This is why it's important that you select a model that provides the amount of light you need to view as conditions grow darker.

    How your eye responds to light
    The eye pupil can change in size from about 2mm in bright light to up to 8mm in low light. As you grow older, the ability of your eye pupil to dilate slowly decreases. For example, most eyes dilate to about 7mm or 8mm at age 20, but by the time you reach 50 your eyes may only dilate to around 5mm. Keep in mind that hereditary and environmental factors may also affect how much your eye dilates at various stages in life.

    How the exit pupil affects viewing
    The exit pupil is an indicator as to how well you will see an image on a bright day, at twilight or at night. Knowing the exit pupil can help you choose a binocular that is well-suited to the light conditions you are viewing in.

    Exit Pupil = Objective Lens Diameter divided by Magnification
    The exit pupil is the magnified image in the eyepiece as it leaves the binocular to enter your eye. You can actually see the exit pupil of a binocular, monocular or spotting scope as a circular beam of light when you look at the eyepiece from arm's length.

    2mm to 3mm for viewing in bright light conditions.
    4mm to 6mm for observing at most any time of the day.
    6mm to 8mm for viewing in the darkest conditions.
    When the exit pupil is smaller than the pupil of your eye, the amount of light falling on the retina will be less than what you could really use — and the image appears less clear and dimmer. When the exit pupil of the binocular is larger than the pupil of your eye, some of the light coming through the binocular will fall on the iris where it doesn't get used at all (follow the path of the 5mm exit pupil in the diagram above). However, if you find yourself boating a lot, you may find it easier to keep your eye centered in the larger 7.1mm exit pupil of a 7x50 binocular.

    This is not the article I was refering to but covers it pretty well.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
  10. gafferq2xl

    gafferq2xl Well-Known Member

    Dec 15, 2005
    Short answer...I have 3 NF NXS and 1 of them is in 50. If I could do it over it would be a 56. ;)
  11. blygy

    blygy Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    I'll be running Near Mfg rings and rail on the Parker Hale.. It has a Varmint weight barrel....