NightForce NXS 12-42x56 Illuminated NP-R2 Reticle


Dec 8, 2003
I've been longing to get this: NightForce NXS 12-42x56 Illuminated NP-R2 Reticle.

Has anyone used this at max power? I have a Premier Reticle 20x50 and it gets dark when cranked up to 50x magnification. Is the NSX dark?

Any help is appreciated, thanks
exit pupil will affect your ability to see at high magnification.

Divide the objective by the magnfication, or 56mm/42. The result is 1.33 mm, which is certainly on the real small size. Consider that the human eye can dilate to 7mm at night in a healthy youngish person. Explaining why one of the most popular and useful binocular version is 7x50.

High mag is going to give you a darker image than lower mag. Lots of 1,000y BR shooters like and use the 12-42x56 NF. But the sucker weighs more than two pounds, and certainly won't be a practical hunting scope for low light conditions.

I'm with the other poster -- if you think you want to use this rig in the field, then you'd be better off with the 5.5-22 (which also has a LOT more internal elevation).

Or, compromise and get the 8-32, which will get you excellent low light performance at lowest power, with a 7mm exit pupil.
I have the NF 8x32 NXS. I love the scope the clarity is more important to me than the magnification. I compare the NF to a couple of other top models in low to no light and it beat the tar out of the others. It is hard to beat the NF.

my $.02
My mates have Nightforce and I manage to play with one in the field but never tried the 12x42x. The 8x32 was real easy on the eye even at 40-50 yards, and that surprised me.

I'm also keen on an USO SN9. Love their external elevation (+/-300). The model I'm looking at costs about US$4-5k (12-50x) ouch!!! Do they offer discounts? I am not familiar with USO so I was thinking since I have a 50x now I should go for a 50x next. And since my Leupold gets dark when cranked up to 50x I was thinking I may need 70-80mm objective. But I might not be comparing apples to apples here. To see clearly, I prefer something that can show very clear and sharp pictures at +1000yards. I prefer not to spend more than $2.5k on a scope. Would you know what models are compatible at 1000yards up? None?

Back to the Nightforce
Affordable and clear. (I think). So, you reckon at 44x is gonna be dark as well?
I have a BR version Nightforce 12-42x56mm with an NP1-RR reticle. It's clear as a bell on a decent day to 40x then darkens up. I routinely shoot groups at 35-40x. At dusk, 22x is about it, but still very crisp. Bullet holes at 600 are easy to see in the fact a black target paster will do well as a target at that range.

I was first drawn to the NF by a buddy who had two. When I lined up on a plastic 2 liter soda bottle at 600 yards & centered on the little white cap, the reticle was clear & fine enough to allow the cap to be quartered with white showing in all four quadrants. SOLD!

[ 01-10-2004: Message edited by: speedbump ]
Hallo Mate

Remember when using high powered riflescopes, there will be an appearance of "darker on the higher powers" due simply to the exit pupil and how the human eye sees the light reflected off what is being observed, then refracted through several lenses. To determine any optics exit pupil, you divide the size of the objective lenses by the ( power ) magnification. This will yield the exit pupil in millimeters. For the human eye to view all the light being transmitted through the scope, an exit pupil of about 4 millimeters is ideal. But when you are using high magnification or smaller objective lens, the exit pupil can get below the optimum 4 mm's in a hurry. This does not mean that you can no longer see the light and image transmitted, but because of the smaller exit pupil factor, the image appears darker.

For example:

Leupold 8.5x25x50 with a Premier Reticles 20 x 50 power boost
50mm objective divided by 20x magnification = 2.5 mm exit pupil
and / or
50mm objective divided by 50x magnification = 1.0 mm exit pupil

Nightforce 12-42x56
56mm objective divided by 12x = 4.6 mm exit pupil
and / or
56mm objective divided by 42x = 1.33 mm exit pupil

Those figures, combined with the knowledge that Nightforce scopes are equipped with excellent glass, will show that the Nightforce will convey a brighter image at its highest power setting.

Leupold 8.5x25x50 with a Premier Reticles 20 x 50 power boost
50mm objective divided by 42x magnification = 1.19 mm exit pupil


Nightforce 12-42x56
56mm objective divided by 42x = 1.33 mm exit pupil

For a difference of 0.14mm's when set at the same power settings. Not really a whole lot of difference.

So, it's a give and take situation. Because of the larger objective lens and lower maximum power, the Nightforce will convey a brighter image, but at the expense of more bulk and a loss of the highly prized reticle set in the first focal plane.

My two cents is that 0.14mm's is not going to transmit enough light to justify the additional $1200 - $1500 USD's for a new scope. Nor is ANY daylight optic on the planet worth $4-5,000.00 USD's!
Hi Big John!!!

Solid stuff!! Makes a lot of sense. No wonder the 8x42mm PSOP on my Drgunov is so clear!!! I was watching David Tubb's video today and was doing some calulations but myself

My mate had a Nightforce with the sexy NPR2 reticle on his TRG42. We shot side by side. Of course my Blaser outshot his TRG
but I couldn't find anything better on his Nightforce when I had a go with it.

And you're right about the weight of the Nightforce.

Re 4" shades: Do you think shades will help clarity at high magnification or are there lens filters like in SLR cameras to brighten things?

[ 01-11-2004: Message edited by: ScREWtop ]
Hi All, I just stumbled on to this board by searching for scope mounting. I have just ordered a Nightforce 5.5x22. I am going to mount it to a Rem.VS.308. I am about to orded rings and bases. I am looking strongly toeard the G-Force mount (20moa), and a pair of ARMS throw lever rings.(I want to quick change to Starlite). The Nightforce catalog says "no" to the adj. rings. Anyone have experience. Also, what height rings are req'd for the 56mm bell and 20moa down angle.
Whew that was long... KaBoom
I find that 4'' sunshades darken the sight picture too much and therefore, use only 2 1/2" shades. I keep a threaded on both ends 4 inch shade in the ruck for extreme circumstances such as fresh snow in bright sunlight, but the vast majority of the time the 2 1/2" shade works best. Even during night fire I only have to remove it on moonless nights to see the targets, with the magnification set on the lower powers - of course.

I am aware of no add on filters to enhance image brilliance outside of nighttime observation devices, but know that Leupold used something they call "Multicoat 4" that is supposed to serve the same purpose. It's nothing you have to buy, all Leupies ship with it applied at the factory.

In short, I don't see a magical or mechanical solution to solving your problem of darker image at ultra high magnification. It's all a matter of engineering, and the only way the engineers can brighten the image is to increase the size of the objective or decrease the maximum magnification. Again, a give and take scenario, and no gain comes without a cost.
Thanks again Big John! Actually, I'm quite happy with my Leupie 20x50x
I normally use it at a tad below 50x magnification for 1000 yards. I find that I can't focus at max power and it is too dark. But I have never used it at lowest setting (20x) because I don't need too. The mirage is OK too.

KaBoom, I have a set of Arms throw level rings and I think they work well with assualt rifles, not sure about them on bolt action rifles. There are other quick release rings which are better I think.

[ 01-11-2004: Message edited by: ScREWtop ]
In regards to not being able to focus at maximum power, try and adjust your cheekweld. Focus the scope as best you can on the distant target then move your head slightly back and forth over the comb of the stock without adjusting the parallax adjustment, if that does not work, then play with the parallax adjustment while finding the "sweet spot" cheekweld. It will focus right for you

Also check your ocular lens adjustment too.

Some scope models are not as forgiving when it comes down to proper eye relief. I recently T&E'ed a Nikon Tactical and found that it was very unforgiving as far as focusing and eye relief were concerned. ( But overall quite a nice scope ) Remember the human eye is a series of lenses too, and the parallax adjustment on us is to change our perspective of what is being viewed.
Warning! This thread is more than 21 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.