Nightforce now offers a 5-20x56mm SHV scope that retails for $1170.00 (non-illuminated) or $1299.00 (illuminated). This follows up on Nightforce’s successful 4-16x56mm SHV scope. The higher magnification range suits long range hunters and the large 56mm objective provides excellent low-light hunting capability. The 5-20 SHV offers plenty of travel: 80 MOA total elevation, 50 MOA windage.
The 5-20x56mm SHV boasts capped, waterproof turrets with 1/4-MOA click values, and 10 MOA per revolution on the elevation turret. The scope offers a side parallax control (25 yards to infinity), plus a European-style, fast-focus eyepiece.
Two reticles are offered for the 5-20x56mm SHV. The IHR features large dagger-style pointers, an open field at the top, and an cross in the center. The MOAR reticle has 1 MOA elevation and windage markings, with a floating center crosshair. With either reticle, illumination is optional at extra cost.
Our friend Len Backus of LongRangeHunting.com has checked out the new 5-20x56mm Nightforce and he is impressed: “With a 56mm objective the SHV’s light transmission is outstanding even at high power. Nightforce has added a ‘Zero Set’ feature which is a set-screw based stop system allowing you to dial back to your pre-set zero and stopping you from dialing past. It’s not quite as sharp a stop as their ‘Zero Stop’ but it will definitely do the trick. I bought my first Nightforce scope about 14 years ago. In summer of 2012 I had a four-hour private tour of the Nightforce headquarters. I remember being so impressed with the forward thinking going on there. It was obvious they were preparing for a major push on new technology and new products and this SHV is an absolute winner in that regard.”
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Here is a simple but effective product that can benefit varminters and game-hunters. The slip-on, padded RRR (“triple R”) gun rest cushions your rifle on any surface and helps eliminate noise when shifting the gun from one shooting position to another. The RRR slip-on rest is made of neoprene (wet suit material) with a built-in, thick Armaflex foam cushion on the bottom. This $19.95 sleeve protects the finish of your rifle, while providing a cushioned layer between your rifle and the supporting surface.
Hunters will appreciate how the RRR slip-on rest quiets the gun when the forearm is placed on supporting surface (watch video). The padded, neoprene covering acts like a sound deadener. With the RRR in place, the rifle forearm doesn’t clang or rattle, even when you set the gun on a metal frame or hard surface.
Video Shows RRR in Use in the Field
This padded sleeve works great when shooting from a truck, providing a padded surface when aiming from a truck mirror or door frame. Likewise, the RRR rest works well in the field when shooting from a tree-limb, or a boulder.
The patented RRR slip-on rest fits rifle stocks from 1¼ inches to 2¼ inches wide, and will not interfere with your scope. Installation is easy — after unloading the rifle, simply slide the RRR over the barrel and fore-end, with the RRR logo on top, so that the cushion section is under the rifle stock.
► The RRR slip-on rest cushions your rifle. This helps to keep the shot from going high even when the rifle is placed on a hard surface.
► The RRR protects the finish on the stock of your rifle from scratches when resting on hard surfaces.
► The RRR can be slipped over the fore-end with a sling attached.
► The neoprene, water-resistant RRR works well even in wet or snowy weather. (But you should remove from gun after a wet hunting session.)
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American Rifleman TV begins its new season tonight, July 2, 2014, on the Outdoor Channel at 6:30 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET. This week’s episode features the S.A.A.M. Hunter Training Program at the FTW Ranch in Barksdale, Texas. At this facility, ARTV staffers learn the basic principles of long-range precision shooting as part of the S.A.A.M. Safari Course. In the Rifleman Review segment the new Remington R51 is featured, and in the “This Old Gun” segment you’ll see the infamous handgun that started World War I: the FN Model 1910.
Watch Preview of 2014 Season Opening Episode of American Rifleman TV
American Rifleman TV is the on-screen version of the National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman magazine. American Rifleman Television covers firearms, the shooting sports, and gun rights issues. “ARTV is part of the larger American Rifleman brand,” said Editor-in-Chief Mark A. Keefe IV. “It’s a show about guns- we teach the history of them and the people who use them.”
Each episode of ARTV is built around one primary feature segment. In that lead story, ARTV staffers may visit a firearms factory, attend a major shooting competition, or work with elite instructors at one of the nation’s leading training facilities. In this week’s season opener, ARTV’s reporters practice long-range precision shooting at the S.A.A.M. hunter training center in Texas.
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Will you be heading to the varmint fields this summer? Proper planning is key to a safe, satisfying, and productive varmint holiday. Of course you’ll be busy reloading, but you should make a check-list of all the gear and supplies you need. Bring a variety of rifles if possible — you’ll need to switch off as one barrel gets hot, and the chambering that works best for your close shots may not be ideal for those longer shots out past 400 yards. Here are some tips from our Forum members that can help you shoot more effectively, and avoid problems on your varmint hunt.
From PatchHound: “The gear you bring will make or break a trip out to Prairie Dog land. A lot has to do with where you going and how far you are from [civilization]. For starters, bring lots of water. It will be hot in Wyoming in a few more weeks but it don’t hurt to bring warm clothes in case it snows. It’s best to wear leather boots unless you’re real good at dodging cactus while walking around. Good sunsceen will save the day too. [What you need to bring] really depends on whether you’re shooting on some friendly ranch or 100 miles in the middle of [a wilderness area]. Good survival gear is a good thing to have for the latter!”
From Stoner25mkiv: “I’d suggest an adjustable bipod if you are going to do any walking. A laser rangefinder is a huge asset. Have a fanny pack or backpack for extra ammo, water, bore-snake, etc. when you go on your walkabouts. We also take a couple pivoting benches, heavy movers’ pad/blanket, sandbags (Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag) for shooting from near the vehicle. Boonie hat for blocking the sun, sun glasses, sunscreen. High leather boots.
Anyway, on to the rifles…consider bringing a 17 HMR, .223 Ackley bolt gun, .223 Ackley AR, and a 243 WSSM. Some years the 17 HMR isn’t removed from its case. We had a couple windless days and the 17 was lots of fun. I’d walk into the dogtown and then lay down and wait. After five minutes or so I’d have dogs within easy rimfire range, and out to as far as I’d care to stretch the rimfire. 275 yards was about it.”
From CTShooter: “The .204 [Ruger] is a laser beam and good to 400 yards easy. Forget the rimfire! Do you have a portable bench that pivots? Bring bipod, binocs. Bring a LOT of water. I have a milspec sniper shooter’s mat/drag bag with shoulder straps. It is good to carry everything when you want to wander off and shoot prone with bipod. Here’s a view through my 6BR in ND.”
From RJinTexas: “In most of the locations that we’ll be shooting we’ll usually set up a minimum of 200 yards from the edge of a major dog town. We’ll start by working over the close-in dogs and shooting our way out, some of these towns may run in excess of 500/600 yards deep. I believe that a rimfire will put you at a distinct disadvantage. The only rimfire that will somewhat work is the 17 HMR and you can reload for your 204s for close to the cost of HMR ammo and you’ll be less apt to be under-gunned. Your 204 will work well out to 300/400 yards unless the wind is blowing hard. We classify a 10-mph crosswind as a very calm day and what makes it a little more challenging is that it is usually also gusting. I only took my 17 HMR once, I’ve since even quit taking my 17 Mach IV because when the wind blows hard it range is limited to around 200 yards. Gusting wind will play havoc with 25gr pills.”
From Wes (P1ZombieKiller): “[For my first PD trip] there are so many things I was not ready for. The one thing that I did bring (that no one told me about) was a canopy. I’m glad I did. Even though the weather was [near perfect], I know that sun can humble you real fast. With my pop-up canopy, I could shoot all day without getting killed by the sun. You had to tie the canopy down real well or the wind would blow it across the pasture.
We sat on shooting benches that pivot 360°, and are fast and easy to set up. Most all shots were 175-250 yards. I just felt comfortable at that range. It was more fun for me to be able to film the hits, and the camcorder I was using just did not get good video past 350 yards. The digital zoom distorted the image too much. I knew I would only get this one chance to film my first P-dog outing, and I wanted to get it on film for [posterity].” To learn more about P1′s first Prairie Dog Trip, visit his Website.
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Looking for an inexpensive hunting rifle — something to harvest a buck this fall? American Rifleman Magazine has done a comparison review of four budget-priced, American-made bolt-action rifles: Mossberg ATR—$290; Remington 783—$320; Ruger American—$300; Savage Axis—$300. The costliest of the four is $320, leading review author John Barsness to write: “Considering inflation since 1950, they all cost considerably less than the Remington 721/722 did, so they really are valued priced.”
Highlights of Review
The Ruger stood out due to the three-lug bolt and steel bedding blocks, but otherwise the features were mixed up pretty well. Three of the four have adjustable triggers with little tabs in the blades to prevent unintended discharges; the lone exception is the [Savage] Axis. (This is a little strange, since Savage’s Accu-Trigger introduced the concept to American rifle shooters.)
The Mossberg’s action looks a lot like a Remington Model 700, and it’s the only rifle of the four to have a blind magazine. The other three use detachable-box magazines partly made of polymer, though in the Remington polymer parts are combined with sheet steel.
The Mossberg, Remington and Savage all have separate recoil lugs between the barrel and the front of the action, and all four rifles use lock-nuts to attach the barrels, a faster and, thus, less expensive way to set headspace.
All four have “plastic” trigger guards (on the Mossberg and Ruger they are integrally molded with the stock), soft recoil pads and sling-swivel studs.
All four rifles have more from-the-factory features than the typical “affordable” bolt-action hunting rifles of half a century ago, and better trigger pulls than the average factory rifle of any price 25 years ago. They shoot reasonably accurately to really well with the right ammunition, and none of them malfunctioned in any way during the testing. — John Barsness
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Federal has created an award-winning Bullet Breakdown Video (below) that demonstrates how various hunting bullets perform in ballistic gelatin. This and other videos are found on Federal Premium Ammunition’s YouTube Channel. The Bullet Breakdown Video features four bullet types used in Federal Ammo: Nosler Ballistic Tip; Sierra GameKing; Trophy Bonded Tip; and Barnes Triple-Shock X-Bullet. (Note: you may want to turn down the volume before playback.)
Federal’s high-resolution, slow-motion video-graphy helps demonstrate which loads are the best for specific uses. The ultra-slo-mo footage provides a detailed view of each bullet penetrating ballistic gelatin blocks. These blocks closely mimic animal tissue and clearly display performance characteristics.
“The Bullet Breakdown Video is a great tool for hunters trying to decide on ammunition type,” said Federal’s Jason Nash. “Properly preparing for the hunt is crucial-and not all bullets are made the same. The bullet is the one link between hunter and game and can be the difference between success and failure. This video helps show hunters how different bullet construction affects terminal performance[.]” For more info, visit www.FederalPremium.com.
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Here’s good news for varmint hunters. Hornady just announced that it is ramping up production of the 17 Hornet: “For those of you who love the 17 Hornet, we are manufacturing ammunition right now and you should see it back in stores soon!” The 17 Hornet is a fun, fast cartridge that is ideal for ground squirrels and other small varmints. It has light recoil similar to a 22 WMR, but with the ability to reach out to 300 yards and beyond. Since the 17 Hornet is a centerfire cartridge with reloadable brass, it can actually be more economical to shoot than the 17 HMR, provided you “roll your own”.
Speed Kills — 3650 FPS
Based on the 22 Hornet cartridge case, the 17 Hornet can drive a 20-grain V-MAX bullet at 3,650 fps. At this velocity, the 17 Hornet can match the trajectory of a 55-grain .223 Remington load, but with much less noise and recoil. Take a look at the chart below. You can see that the 17 Hornet’s trajectory (blue line) is almost an identical match for the larger .223 Rem (red line) all the way out to 400 yards or so. The 17 Hornet is an economical, fun .17 caliber centerfire cartridge with way more “reach” than a 17 HRM or 22 WMR.
17 Hornet — Trajectory Comparison
3,650 fps muzzle velocity with a 20 grain V-MAX bullet.
Same C.O.L. as the 22 Hornet – uses the existing action.
Trajectory comparable to a 55 grain 223 Rem, but the felt recoil of a 22 WMR.
Lower cost and comparable quality to the 17 Fireball and .223 Remington.
Video Explains 17 Hornet Features and Performance
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At first glance, these handsome illustrations look like vintage advertising sheets from the early 19th Century. But then you’ll smile a little when you read the slogan for “Lesters Ammunition”.
Potential buyers of “America’s Cheapest Ammunition” are assured that “It Usually Works”. Well, that’s comforting. There is also a British version for “Lesters — The Empire’s Cheapest Ammunition”, illustrating a well-fed lion. These Golden Age Parodies are offered as full-size wall posters or magazine-size framed prints, starting at $95.00 from Blue Loon Fine Arts.
Cheap Tin Signs sells a 12.5″ x 16″ retro-style tin sign printed with the Lesters Bear-Eats-Hunter scene. This vendor offers other parody-style tin signs that should bring a smile to your hunting and shooting buddies. In addition, Cheap Tin Signs offers dozens of other (non-parody) tin signs, with vintage 30s-style artwork for Colt Revolvers, Winchester Rifles, and Smith & Wesson pistols.
Great Man Cave Gift
Looking for an amusing gift for your best shooting buddy, or a “conversation starter” to hang on the wall of your local shooting facility or club-house? Consider a frameable parody print from Blue Loon Fine Arts or a “retro-style” tin sign from CheapTinSigns.com. Both vendors offer art that harkens back to outdoor hunting illustrations from the 1920s and 1930s. But when you look carefully, you’ll see there’s a twist that will leave art-viewers chuckling.
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Everybody knows that powerful spotting scopes work best when mounted to a stable tripod or otherwise secured to a steady mount. Yet when most folks use binoculars, they never even think of using a tripod, despite the fact that tripod adapters are available for many premium binoculars. A serious hunter should learn how to glass with tripod support. With binoculars offering more that 8X magnification, you can really benefit from a steady mount. In this article, Mark Boardman of Vortex Optics, an experienced hunter, explains the benefits of using a tripod with high-magnification binoculars.
Remington has just introduced an all-new series of “Ultimate Muzzleloaders” that promise to “raise the bar” for muzzle-loading performance. These rifles, based on Rem 700 actions, feature a new type of ignition system with a special breech plug and a primed, brass case. The magnum-primer-fitted ignition casing is pushed onto the breech plug by the bolt (see illustration below). This creates a tight gas seal for the magnum primer, allowing reliable ignition of up to 200 grains of powder. That translates to higher velocities and more energy.
Video Shows How New AMP Ignition System Works:
Remington reports: “The Ultimate Muzzleloader sets a new performance threshold with the use of a closed breech system that provides a cleaner and hotter ignition. The AMP (Accelerated Muzzleloader Performance) ignition system uses a uniquely-sized brass case with a Remington 9 ½ large magnum rifle primer that is push fed into the breech plug creating a gas seal in the flash hole of the primer (see cutaway below). The result allows the shooter to load up to 200 grains of powder for increased range, energy, and on-game performance.
Using 200 grains of Triple Seven® Pellets in combination with Barnes’ Spit-Fire T-EZTM 250-grain muzzleloader bullets, the Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader gives the shooter the ability to reach velocities over 2400 fps. [A 300gr bullet can travel 2200 fps with 3300 ft-lbs. of energy.]”
Remington claims its new system yields “centerfire-like performance and accuracy out of a muzzleloader” with “higher velocities, greater energy, and further effective range.” In addition, the primed casings are easier to handle in the field compared to small 209 shotshell primers. Spare primed cases can be stored in a compartment below the receiver (see below).
Two stocks are offered — a gray/brown laminated stock or a gray Bell & Carlson M40 fiberglass stock. Both versions come with a 26″ stainless barrel. On the laminated model the barrel is fitted with rifle sights front and rear. The Rem 700 muzzleloader features an adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger, factory-set at about 3.5 pounds pull weight.
M700 Ultimate Muzzleloader – Synthetic
26-inch SS Fluted Barrel
Bell & Carlson Medalist M40 Stock with Storage
X-Mark Pro® Adjustable Trigger, 2.5-5 Pounds
24 Primed Cases and 24 Projectiles
Ships in a Hard Case
MSRP – $1295
M700 Ultimate Muzzleloader – Laminate
26-inch SS Fluted Barrel with Rifle Sights
Laminate Stock with Primed Case Storage
X-Mark Pro® Adjustable Trigger, 2.5-5 Pounds
24 Primed Cases and 24 Projectiles
Ships in a Hard Case
MSRP – $1295
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In the above video, a spokesman for Horus Vision explains how and why scopes can experience zero shift. First, just cleaning the gun can cause a small shift in point of impact. Second, when you re-tighten rings and ring bases, this can cause a change in zero. Horus recommends that you use a torque wrench to confirm that you maintain the same torque settings each time. The same goes for action screw tension — tensioning your action screws can shift the point of impact.
Other factors that can cause a change in zero:
Dramatic ranges of temperature will change your zero, because the air density affects the velocity of the bullet. With increased temperature, there may be a higher velocity (depending on your powder).
Gun Handling and Body Position
You rifle’s point of impact will be affected by the way you hold the gun. A “hard hold” with firm grip and heavy cheek weld can give you a different POI than if you lightly address the gun. Even when shooting a benchrest gun, the amount of shoulder you put into the rifle can affect where it prints on paper.
Type of Rifle Support — Bench vs. Field
Whenever you change the type of rifle support you use, the point of impact can shift slightly. Moving from a bipod to a pedestal rest can cause a change. Similar, if you switch from a mechanical rest to sandbags, the gun can perform differently. That’s why, before a hunt, you should zero the gun with a set-up similar to what you would actually use in the field — such as a rucksack or shooting sticks.
Transportation of Firearms
Even if you don’t mishandle your weapon, it is possible that a shift of zero could occur during transport. We’ve seen zero settings change when a tight plastic gun case put a side load on the turrets. And in the field, if the turret knobs are not covered, they can rub against clothing, gear, storage bags, scabbard, etc. If the knobs turn, it will definitely move your reticle slightly and cause your point of impact to be off.
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If you’ve been considering the new Nightforce SHV scope for a hunting application, head over to LongRangeHunting.com. There you’ll find an in-depth field test of the 4-14x56mm SHV by Nicholas Gebhart. This is a very thorough review — Gebhardt checks every feature of the scope and comparison tests the SHV against the more costly Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x50mm. Gebhardt even put the SHV scope in his freezer for a weekend to ensure there was no fogging.
Overall, Gebhardt was very pleased with the SHV: “Optical clarity, image brightness, contrast and resolution were all extremely good.” The tester also liked the MOAR reticle in his scope. He didn’t think it was too “busy” though he thought the hold-over lines would benefit from numbers: “Nightforce’s MOAR was easy to use and provided a clear sight picture for engaging small targets. The line thickness is perfect for both precise shot placement and visibility. My personal preference however would be for the even hash marks to be numbered for the entire lower portion of the reticle.” Gebhart noted that the SHV’s side parallax knob had yardage marking numbers that proved accurate (and handy to use) — most other scopes just have lines.
Nightforce SHV vs. Nighforce NXS
How did the new SHV stack up against the NXS in a side-by-side comparison? Gebhardt was impressed with the $995.00 SHV, saying it held its own with the pricier NXS model: “I took about 30 minutes to evaluate the optics of the SHV and see how it compared to an older Nightforce NXS 3.5-15X50. Both of these scopes are made in Japan but given the price differential, I expected to see some difference in the optical quality. To my surprise, I couldn’t find any optical difference between the two except for a very slight possibility of a brighter image with the SHV.”
Nicholas Gebhardt has been an active hunter primarily pursuing mule deer, antelope, coyotes and prairie dogs since he was old enough to legally hunt. Nicholas is also a precision rifle competitor and a Captain in the Montana National Guard.
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