Looking at scope options for long range and precision rifle shooting? Here’s a look at the Nightforce NX8.
With the abundance of scopes available to the long range and precision rifle shooter, one company stands out. Nightforce’s motto is ‘Rugged, Reliable and Repeatable’. Reading about Nightforce scopes being selected for several military contracts in the United States, you can see their motto is no joke.
For a military application, tracking and accuracy are incredibly important factors that get serious consideration when selecting an optic.
These factors are becoming more important to the modern hunter and precision rifle shooter who have been stretching out shots to further and further distances.
In short, the modern shooter, looking to make hits at greater distances has many similar requirements to that of the military user. With this in mind, I was excited to spend some time behind the NX8 when I got the chance.
The optic is high-end and does come with the associated price tag of a high-quality optic. However you do get what you pay for with this scope. The Nightforce NX8 comes in three variants, 1-8x, 2.5-20x and 4-32x. I had the long-range shooters dream, the 4-32x variant in first focal plane (FFP). The NX8 comes with features you would expect on a high-end scope such as zero stop, parallax adjustment and a built-in throw lever for changing magnification more easily.
From first picking up the scope you can see it’s a well thought out optic that is built to be used in the field. The build quality is excellent and the design is well executed. The scope is made of a thick titanium case and covered in a black matt finish. The 30mm tube provides a surprising 32mil of elevation for the long range shooter to reach out.
I had high expectations for the glass in the NX8 due to the scopes price point and I wasn’t disappointed. Looking down range I was impressed with the crisp and clear sight picture. The glass is bright even at higher magnifications which made target acquisition a breeze.
A long-range scope’s turrets are going to get more of a workout than most scopes that are just used for quick shots in deer season. With this in mind I was impressed with exactly the right amount of resistance when dialing the elevation and windage turrets up and down.
The zero-stop feature made it easy to return the scope to its original sight in setting at 100 yards. This ensures when dialing back down after shooting at longer distances, you don’t go past your sighting in setting. Tracking was on point with the NX8, as expected with the brands reputation the scope was very reliable.
The Nightforce NX8 comes in a variety of reticles to suit different users. I was using the MIL-R F1 reticle. This allowed me to have a clear view of my target’s at the range and easily adjust for hold over shots.
The NX8 comes in several other reticles including MOAR, MIL-C, MIL-XT and TREMOR3.
The NX8 is without a doubt robust, it’s very well put together. However, durability does come at a cost to weight, with the scope coming in at 28.6oz or 811grams. For range use, the weight of the optic isn’t a big deal as the rifle isn’t going far from the carpark to the bench.
For lightweight hunting applications weight can have bigger impacts and is usually a more important factor to consider. Especially after all the expense, effort and organisation that goes into some hunting trips, the last thing I want is for my optics to let me down. With this in mind, I often make exceptions when hunting for heavy, more durable optics, as more durable optics survive taking hits.
In the Field
I mounted the NX8 on a .308 Ruger Precision Rifle. The Ruger launches 175grain Sierra Match King projectiles at 2600 fps when squeezing the trigger.
This is my long-range target rifle and the perfect rifle to test the tracking and sight picture of the NX8.
At the range the Nightforce NX8 was easy to sight in at 100 yards and when pushing it to longer distances I began to get a feel for all its features such as the zero stop, parallax and throw lever. After shooting out to 200 yards on paper targets, I moved to shooting steel gongs from the prone position at 200, 300, 400 and 500 yards. The optic performed flawlessly and was a pleasure to use. Winding up and down the turrets was a breeze and the audible clicks were satisfying. The target acquisition was made extra easy with the simple reticle and bright glass.
From spending time behind the NX8, I can see how Nightforce have managed to carve their way into becoming one of the leading choices for long range shooters around the world. If you are looking for a robust optic that can take a beating in the field combined with clear glass resolution, you can’t go wrong with the Nightforce NX8.
- Quality Glass
Mounting the Nightforce NX8 to Your Rifle
Don’t forget when mounting the scope to your rifle that you will need some tools and equipment to get the job done. These pieces of equipment aren’t 100% necessary to mounting a scope but they do make the job a lot easier.
A torque wrench makes sure that the exact amount of pressure is used to tighten up your scope rings. If you over tighten them, it can damage the optic and it wont function correctly.
2. Gun Rest
A gun rest also helps keeping your rifle level when working on it. This has been one of the best purchases ever for the workbench as it helps with cleaning the rifle also, by having the rifle upright and steady.
Extra Accessories for the Nightforce NX8
Replaces the top ring of Nightforce Unimount, Direct Mount and standard rings without a Mil. Std. 1913 base. Fits 30mm Rings/Mounts only.
After dropping the money for a high end optic, you need to take care of it. Offered from Nightforce is cleaning kit to make sure the optic stays in good condition.