I am partial to the NF with the R2 reticle with its range finding and hold point capabilities. My wife will probably get the Leopold though; I would like to have one of each anyway. Money is an issue this time as well, I do know what I am giving up though. If I had the cash, I would get another NF and after that, I would try the Lupy.
It is a decision you have to make based on the features and which one your eye sees as being clearer. My 5.5-22 is clearer than my 3.5-10 Lupy is, but the Lupy does not look like it, as Ian put it lately regarding the Simmons, has Vaseline smeared on the lens. It's a nice clear scope.
I am using a Nightforce 8x32x56 on my 338 Yogi and love it. I had the Nightforce on my 6.5/284 on a prairie dog hunt last summer and the scope worked excellent out to 1200 meters very clear optics. I would like to get a Nightforce 5.5-22x56 for the extra elevation adjustment. I think you would be happy with either scope. What range would you be hunting to?
When you talk about the eye relief on the 8.5-25x50mm LR, did you ever have problems w/ the changing eye relief w/ changing magnification? I had one and maybe it was just the gun it was on not fitting me physically either, but it really seemed like I was having to crawl the stock at 25x, and hold the gun off my shoulder a bit at 8.5x. I sold that scope and another last year, planning to apply the funds to a NF NXS scope, but home ownership being what it is, it didn't happpen images/icons/wink.gif Now Leupold is coming out w/ the 8.5-25x M1, and its looking like it might be still be a good bit less at street price than the NightForce w/ their price-fixing b.s., so I'm wavering in my resolve. Everything else about that scope I liked a lot; just supposed constant eye-relief on the NXS looked very nice.
Ihave been using a leupold 8.5 x 25 for a couple of years on a .308 for long range varminting and tactical matches and the amount of elevation adjustment, clear optics and long eye relief help when shooting gophers at 700 yards. The NF scopes are great but you need to ask "why am I buying this scope?" and choose accordingly.
I just bought my second NXS with NP-R2. I am so impressed with the simplicity and utility of the reticle I just can't buy another scope. The Burris with the Ballistic Mil-Dot or Ballistic Plex approximates its usefulness for up to 700 yards, but not beyond.
If you're not interested in the graduated R2 reticle for its inherent advantages, though, I'd suggest going with a cheaper scope. I wouldn't spend the $$$ for a Nightforce without the R2...