Help me decide, NF SHV vs Leupold VX5HD

mfloski

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Jan 3, 2011
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49
Location
East Texas
Both have side focus.
Leupold is 3-15x44
NF is 2-10x42
Both are right at 20oz (this is for a “lightweight” mountain “elk” hunting rifle, so weight is key!)
Leupold has zero locking elevation turret, NF is capped
Both are right around 900.00

Leupold wins on paper in almost every category, so why would I consider the NF. Well, I have first hand experience with the ruggedness/durability of the NF in the mountains, and have first hand experience of their highly repeatable and reliable tracking. I don’t have either with Leupold (I don’t own any currently). I have seen NF dropped hard and never lose zero, I have cranked on the dials all day and never have a tracking issue. If I thought that VX5 would offer the same, I wouldn’t hesitate to go with it for the extra mag range and zero locking turret. What does everyone think?
 

bkillion28

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Feb 3, 2018
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125
There is a nf just like you want for 750 in the optic for sale part of this forum, but it looks like he is waning to go to Leopold, I personally don't like Leopold, turrets are mushy to me, but I don't want capped turrets either so idk
 

RiverSink

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Dec 18, 2013
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I have owned many Leupolds over the years and the VX5HD is the best one yet. I have a 3-15x56 Firedot and it is my favorite hunting scope of all time. I've never owned a SHV but have had several NXS's and an ATACR. There as tuff as they come but the glass is sharper in the VX5HD than either of my NXS's and would be a toss up with the ATACR. I can't imagine that you would be displeased with the SHV but I would go with the Leupy. Goodluck
 

wbm

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Dec 18, 2008
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New Mexico
Serious question from someone who truly does not know. Why are NF and Leupold's expensive models better? Besides lens quality, what is inside the tube that makes them so expensive or "better"? In other words, if I asked a NF salesman "why should I pay 2500 for your scope? What would he say that would convince me it was worth it.
 

mfloski

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Jan 3, 2011
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49
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East Texas
Serious question from someone who truly does not know. Why are NF and Leupold's expensive models better? Besides lens quality, what is inside the tube that makes them so expensive or "better"? In other words, if I asked a NF salesman "why should I pay 2500 for your scope? What would he say that would convince me it was worth it.
Take a tumble on a rugged mountain on day one landing on gun/scope with no real way to target practice to make sure zero hasn’t been lost and you be very happy to own a NF caliber scope. No way a 200 or 300 scope survives....then there is the issue of repeatability in tracking when dialing for distance. If you don’t shoot past a hundred or two yards you don’t need to crank on dials so it’s a non issue. But if you do shoot at distance, having full confidence in the tracking of your scope is highly necessary. I owned a Zeiss 1200 scope that had great glass but didn’t track for crap! Again, 200-300 scopes don’t cut it at all.
 

mfloski

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Jan 3, 2011
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East Texas
Not to mention big improvements in glass quality as you get to the higher end scopes. Look through one at dusk and compare to a couple hundred dollar scope and your question will be definitively answered!
 

bob4

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Nov 10, 2012
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549
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Naples Fl.
Serious question from someone who truly does not know. Why are NF and Leupold's expensive models better? Besides lens quality, what is inside the tube that makes them so expensive or "better"? In other words, if I asked a NF salesman "why should I pay 2500 for your scope? What would he say that would convince me it was worth it.
Light transmission... Without question I paid so that I can hunt/see an extra 10+ minutes at dawn and dusk.
 

brentc

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Apr 3, 2009
Messages
2,525
The SHV is Nightforce by name only. It's durability is not too be confused with the NXS or ATACR.

Leupold gets a lot of flack. Some of it is warranted, but I know that the new ZL2 scopes like the VX-5HD and the VX-6HD are excellent optics. I haven't found any problems dialing the CDS on four 5HDs and two 6HDs. Furthermore, the adjustments are not mushy like previous generations. The VX-5HD is a solid offering. I wouldn't drive nails with it, but I'm not into beating up on my precision equipment anyways.
 

codyadams

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Jan 7, 2015
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Southwest Wyoming
In almost all occasions I would go with something other than Leupold. But, if you want to go light weight and long range, that is where I would pick the vx5hd or vx6hd over nearly any other optic. The ones I have seen track excellent, and are lighter than other scopes in the same magnification range. The vx6hd is especially appealing because it has an anti cant built into the scope, so that helps to shed the wieght of a bubble level as well. Only a couple ounces, but if the point is light wieght.....
 

B-P-UU

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Dec 16, 2010
Messages
359
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ND
The SHV is Nightforce by name only. It's durability is not too be confused with the NXS or ATACR.

I don't think that is true. The 4-14 F1 is basically the old 3.5-15 NXS in design. sure, there are probably some minor differences, but even NF reps will agree a lot was borrowed from the old design. Also, one can't help but see the similarities in the 3-10 SHV and 2.5-10 NXS. Also, the scopes all go through the same testing/inspection process in ID, per NF.
 

Timber338

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May 10, 2011
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1,816
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Colorado
Leupold hands down. Ive has such good luck with several VX6HD’s and a VX5HD. I used to own the SHV 2-10 and just was not happy with the glass. In my opinion the Leupold VX5HD’s and 6HD’s are the best thing out there for a light-weight long-range hunting rifle.
 

shphtr

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Jul 7, 2006
Messages
247
Location
Alaska
I backpack hunted sheep in Alaska for 20 years using only Leupold scopes without any failures. 10 years ago I started hunting sheep internationally once sheep season closed in Alaska and although many of my friends always carried two scopes when hunting I decided to purchase just one scope that would be bomb proof and therefore only carry one scope. I choose a Nigntforce 2.5 x 10 NSX when they first come out. I booked three mountain hunts back to back all in different mountain ranges and different countries. On the third hunt for one of the Spanish ibex I set up on a 400 yd shot in clear weather on the last day to find my scope fogged and in the end went home empty handed for the ibex. After that I went back to the Leupold Mark 4’s and now the VX6HD without any more failures. Nightforce scopes have an admirable reputation and any scope can have a failure but for me reliability is the most important feature of a scope I look for since all the other features are valueless if it fails. That has been my experience and is why I have gone back to Leupold. The only Leupold I have had fail was after it fell after being hung on an ice ax - the Night force had no such history.
 

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