This photo is one of Nightforce’s series of picturesque “Gunscapes”. SEE MORE HERE.
This story is not (directly) about firearms, or reloading gear, or any of the little details of our sport. It, instead, is about life… and, sadly, about death. The recent passing of a friend (and fellow shooter) got me to thinking, “I’m sixty — what if I only had ten more years to live — how would I want to live my life? What really counts the most? What things would I do differently? What dreams would I pursue?”
From the demographics of this website, I know we have thousands of readers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Hopefully we will all live long, happy, and fruitful lives. But it’s not a bad idea to consider that we are all mortal, and the clock is ticking. Consider this — in the United States, the average male life expectancy is 77 years*. Using that number as a benchmark, I personally may have just 17 more years to enjoy life and to do the things I love — shooting, traveling, sailing, camping, listening to music, being with friends and family. Breaking that down into months, I have 204 more months to do fun and rewarding stuff. Just 204 months — that’s a real number my brain can comprehend all too well. If I live an average lifespan, that means I also only have 935 more weekends to do all that I want to do. With less than 1000 weekends remaining, I don’t want to waste a single one.
Living a Life with More Good Times, and Fewer Regrets
Recently, a group of men, very near the end of their lives, were surveyed. They were asked if they would do things differently if they could live their lives over again. The vast majority of these men gave surprisingly similar responses, which fit into five “Life Lessons”. These “Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” were reported in a story by Bronnie Ware, writing for the AARP online magazine. Ware writes: “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced.” Here are the five regrets most often mentioned by older men:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. ”
Lesson: Don’t wait to follow your dreams. Be true to yourself.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
“This came from every male patient [surveyed]. All of the men… deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
Lesson: Don’t let your work crowd out other important aspects of life.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.”
Lesson: Express yourself truthfully. Don’t suppress your feelings for decades.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort they deserved. Many [were] so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years.”
Lesson: Take an interest your friends’ lives; keep bonds of friendship strong.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“This is a surprisingly common [regret]. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.”
Lesson: Affirmatively pursue the things that bring you happiness. Don’t just stick to old habits.
Turn Off the Computer, and Do Something Memorable with Your Friends Today
How does this all apply to our shooting hobby? Well, if (like me) you are middle-aged (or older), go have some fun this weekend! Load up your rifle and get to the range. Don’t put off doing the things that make you happy. Call those old buddies you may not have seen in a long time. Renew friendships. Get out into nature. And start figuring out how you can live your dreams. As the saying goes, “Time waits for no man”.
*One of our readers pointed out that the numbers actually work out better than this, because once a man survives to later life, men of his surviving age cohort enjoy a projected lifespan longer than the average projected lifespan from birth. For example, using actuarial tables, a man born exactly 60 years ago (still alive today), has a calculated life expectancy of 23.4 years… meaning he would live to age 83.4 years, on average. CLICK HERE to see actuarial-predicted longevity based on your birthdate.
Practicing What I Preach…
As you read this, your Editor will NOT be sitting in front of a computer. Instead he will be on a boat, taking him 30 miles offshore to this beautiful spot. Three days with no internet, no TV, no Schedule Cs, and no traffic. Just good friends and unspoiled nature. Living like a kid again.
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We first ran this article in 2012, and it was very well received. Since then, many Forum members have requested an explanation of MILS and mildots, so we decided to run this feature again…
In this NSSF Video, Ryan Cleckner, a former Sniper Instructor for the 1st Ranger Battalion, defines the term “MilliRadian” (Milrad) and explains how you can use a mildot-type scope to range the distance to your target. It’s pretty simple, once you understand the angular subtension for the reticle stadia dots/lines. Cleckner also explains how you can use the milrad-based reticle markings in your scope for elevation hold-overs and windage hold-offs.
Even if you normally shoot at known distances, the hold-off capability of milrad-reticle scopes can help you shoot more accurately in rapidly-changing wind conditions. And, when you must engage multiple targets quickly, you can use the reticle’s mil markings to move quickly from one target distance to another without having to spin your elevation turrets up and down.
WEB RESOURCES: If you want to learn more about using Milliradians and Mildot scopes, we suggest the excellent Mil-dot.com User Guide. This covers the basics you need to know, with clear illustrations. Also informative is The Truth about Mil Dots by Michael Haugen. Mr. Haugen begins with basic definitions: 1 radian = 2 PI; 1 Milliradian (Milrad or ‘Mil’) = 1/1000th of a radian; 1 Milliradian = .0573 degrees.
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Here’s a comprehensive “reveal” of the latest and greatest rifle optics for 2017, thanks to our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys. These two hard-working dudes visited dozens of product booths during SHOT Show, producing over 40 video interviews for 6.5guys.com. Below we’ve included the 6.5 Guys’ videos for Nightforce, Vortex, and Schmidt & Bender. Plus you’ll find links to other videos for Burris, Bushnell, Steiner, and U.S. Optics. Enjoy these videos, and for more great coverage of SHOT Show, visit the 6.5 Guys’ YouTube Channel.
NIGHTFORCE Optics — New for 2017
The big news at Nightforce’s SHOT Show booth was a new First Focal Plane (FFP) ATACR with a five times zoom range. The new 7-35x56mm ATACR offers tactical and long range shooters the ability to go from a wide field of view at seven power, all the way up to very high 35X magnification. That makes this one scope that can truly “do it all” — from short-range moving targets to 1000 yards and beyond.
VORTEX Optics — New for 2017
Vortex is releasing a new “Gen II” series of Viper PST riflescopes. The versatile Viper PST series can work for many disciplines — Target Shooting, 3-Gun, Hunting, or Precision Long Range. The new second generation PSTs offer many improvements.
NEW 2-10×32, 3-15×44, and 5-25×50: Vortex offers a wide magnification range with these three new PSTs. Each offers tall tactical turrets and side-focus parallax adjustment with integrated illumination. To ensure reliable return-to-zero, all new models feature the patented RZR Zero Stop from the Razor HD 5-20×50 riflescope. Reticles include Vortex’s new EBR-4 and EBR-2C with MOA or MRAD stadia to match your turrets. First Focal Plane reticles are available on select models.
SCHMIDT & BENDER — New for 2017
Schmidt & Bender had many premium riflescopes on display, none more impressive than the recently-introduced 5-45x56mm PM II “super-zoom” optic. This impressive (and razor-sharp) scope offers a remarkable 9X zoom ratio. That makes it suitable for a wide variety of shooting disciplines. A tactical competitor can dial back to 5-power for a wide field of view on close-in targets. Or, for 1000-yard shooting, crank the scope all the way up to 45-power. S&B says the scope is intended for “tactical ultra-long-range shooting”.
Also on display was the 5-25x56mm PM II Digital BT — this Bluetooth-enabled scope can project data from external devices, such as laser rangefinders, into the field of view. S&B is leading the way in the integration of optics and digital devices.
And There’s More — Burris, Bushnell, Steiner, and U.S. Optics
The 6.5 Guys also visited other optics makers including Burris, Bushnell, Steiner, and U.S. Optics. There were interesting offerings from all these scope manufacturers. Click the links below to watch four more 6.5 Guys videos covering new developments in the sport optics arena. The videos focus on products for tactical/practical and long-range shooting.
Our British friend Vince Bottomley has had a chance to test the new Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle scope, priced at $1499.00 in the USA. How does this affordable, high-magnification target scope compete with other comp scopes that cost hundreds (or even thousands) more? Very well indeed according to Vince. He says the Golden Eagle can definitely run with other “big name” high-magnification zoom optics designed for F-Class, Benchrest, and Long Range competition. Vince has written a detailed 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle review for Target Shooter Magazine. Shooters looking for a high-magnification zoom optic should definitely read Vince’s review.
Vince notes that the Vortex Golden Eagle offers impressive performance for the price: “The stunning March 10-60 is the current choice of the serious F-TR shooter – this hand-built scope weighing just 25 oz. from the Deon Optical Corporation of Japan is as near to perfection as any long-range competition shooter could wish. There are several other scopes which have also stood up to scrutiny against the March — the 7-42 Leupold and the Nightforce 15-55 Competition for example. So, why are we getting so excited about the Vortex? One reason – the price!
Sensibly, Vortex manages to offer a product which ticks all the boxes but comes in at around two-thirds of [Leupold 7-42, Nightforce 15-55]. Fantastic value for a top-quality Japanese/American scope, especially considering the dollar/pound exchange rate following Brexit.”
Useful Reticle Design and Innovative Windage Knob
Vince liked the scope’s ECR-1 Reticle which provides true MOA-value hold-off/hold-over stadia (hash marks) at 40X. The Golden Eagle also offers an optional new type of windage knob that provides an increasing value count on both sides of the windage Zero. Vince says this was a smart feature: “The ‘both ways’ windage knob was great. At the end of the shoot, it was easy to know which way to turn it back to zero.”
Should You Buy One?
Here’s how reviewer Vince Bottomley answered that question:
“Well, a high-magnification zoom scope seems to be an F-Class essential, judging from the number of 10-60 March and 15-55 Nightforce scopes in evidence at any GB F-Class League match. If these three scopes were all in the same price-bracket, then the decision in choosing the Vortex 15-60 Golden Eagle would be more difficult but, when the Vortex is only two-thirds the cost of the other two. However, weight-wise, there’s a small penalty – at a tad under 29 oz., the Eagle is 3 oz. heavier than the March but, if you choose your rings carefully, you could pull some of that back.
Finally, Vortex offers probably the best ‘no quibble’ guarantee on the planet and, if you had any wavering doubts about buying a Golden Eagle, that should clinch it.”
UK readers interested in purchasing the Golden Eagle should Contact Osprey Rifles on OspreyRifles.com or e-mail Stuart on email@example.com
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As part of its weekend-long Black Friday Sellathon, EuroOptic.com is offering numerous Nightforce “Demo” scopes at deep discounts. These were typically show models that have seen very little (if any) use. The full Nightforce Lifetime factory warranty still applies to all these demo optics. You can save hundreds of dollars with these Nightforce Demo Deals this weekend. The EuroOptic team tells us: “Most demo items are like new. However, some may have a few marks. Read the description to learn the condition of each product. Call (570) 368-3920 with questions.”
There are twenty or so Nightforce demo scopes on sale. Here are three representative examples. To see all the Demo Scopes, CLICK THIS LINK. Then, from the Black Friday II Page, click the “NF Demo Riflescopes” button.
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What is Parallax?
Parallax is the apparent movement of the scope’s reticle (cross-hairs) in relation to the target as the shooter moves his eye across the exit pupil of the riflescope. This is caused by the target and the reticle being located in different focal planes.
Why is it Important?
The greater the distance to the target and magnification of the optic, the greater the parallax error becomes. Especially at longer distances, significant sighting error can result if parallax is not removed.
How to Remove Parallax
This Nightforce Tech Tip video quickly shows how to remove parallax on your riflescope.
While keeping the rifle still and looking through the riflescope, a slight nod of the head up and down will quickly determine if parallax is present. To remove parallax, start with the adjustment mechanism on infinity and rotate until the reticle remains stationary in relation to the target regardless of head movement. If parallax has been eliminated, the reticle will remain stationary in relation to the target regardless of eye placement behind the optic.
This Parallax Discussion first appeared in the Nightforce Newsletter. To get other helpful Tech Tips delivered to your mailbox, CLICK HERE to open the Nightforce Newsletter sign-up page.
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Derek Rodgers, the only shooter to win both the F-Open and F-TR National Championships, has done it again. While shooting the Santa Fe Trail LR Regional match in Raton, New Mexico, it looks like Derek set a new 1000-yard record. Derek nailed his 1000-yard target, recording a 200-14X score — that’s twenty (20) shots for record, all tens with 14 in the X-Ring. Derek told us: “Yesterday at Raton New Mexico’s Whittington Center, I shot a 200-14X, which should be a new pending F-TR National Record at 1000 yards.” Derek took special pride in this accomplishment, as he held the F-TR record before: “I’m happy to have the record back. I have had three of the last four records”. Well done Derek!
Derek Rodgers .308 Win F-TR Rifle Equipment List:
McMillan Xit stock, Kelbly Panda LBLP action, Bartlein .308 Win barrel (32″, 1:11.25″ twist), Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope. Note that Derek shoots right-handed, but with a LEFT BOLT. This allows him to stay in position better while cycling the bolt with his LEFT hand.
This impressive performance by Derek shows that the best F-TR rifles can rival the big F-Open rigs for pure accuracy, even though the favored F-Open chamberings, such as .284 Win and .300 WSM, are still ballistically superior to the venerable .308 Winchester used by nearly all F-TR competitors. For his record-breaking load, Derek used Berger 200gr Hybrid Target bullets in Lapua .308 Win (small primer pocket) brass, pushed by Hodgdon Varget powder.
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Need a high-magnification scope for long-range competition? Among quality scopes with 40+ power, we think the Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm scope may be the best value on the market right now. For a limited time, these scopes are available through Amazon.com for under $980.00. That’s less than half the price of a Leupold 7-42x56mm VX-6, and about 42% of the cost of a Nightforce 15-55X competition model. The Sightron is a good product with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
Half the Cost of Leupold 7-42x56mm
Proceeds from Each Sale Help Support Shooter’s Forum
Target Dot Reticle
Fine X-Hair Reticle
NOTE: There are a variety of reticle options and both 1/4-MOA and 1/8-MOA click versions are offered. Read the product description carefully when ordering to be sure you’ve selected your preferred reticle type and click value.
Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz has been preparing for the King of Two Miles match next week. He’s been out testing a VERY high-BC bullet — Berger’s new prototype .375 caliber 400-grainer. In the photo above, you can see Applied Ballistics intern Mitch Fitzpatrick (flanked by twin LabRadar chronos) shooting at a target set at 2400 yards. Next week, at the King of Two Miles event, the challenge will be even greater — Bryan and his team will be shooting out to roughly 3600 yards.
Bryan reports: “We’ve been preparing for the King of Two Miles match next week. Last Friday we shot 2400 yards at Thunder Valley Precision in Ohio, measuring time of flight and refining the custom drag model for our bullet. We are logging flight times over three seconds and the bullet is still supersonic at 2400 yards! Tomorrow we’re shooting 1800 yards as a final verification before we load up and begin traveling out west.”
OPTICS for Extreme Long Range
Bryan is running Nightforce ATACR scopes on his .375 rifles. These ATACRs offer 120 MOA (or 35 Mils) of elevation. That’s impressive, but you still need more “up” for these extreme distances.
Bryan notes: “No scope has enough elevation to dial direct to two miles even with these large-caliber, high-performance rifles. You need some kind of external adjustment, or use a steep rail (e.g. +80 MOA). This works but can sacrifice your ability to zero under 1000 yards.”
This video shows a hit at 2400 yards with the .375-caliber bullet. The target is 8’x8′ square. The targets Bryan will shoot at next week’s King of Two Miles competition will be up to 1200 yards further than this. (Two miles is 3520 yards).
If you’re interested in this kind of Extreme Long Range shooting, consider attending the Applied Ballistics Seminar. The next seminar will be held July 18-19 in Michigan. Bryan says: “We’ll be sharing our experiences and lessons learned in the Two Mile shooting match among many other things we’re working on.” CLICK HERE for Seminar INFO and Registration.
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Nightforce has released an all-new 4.5x24mm scope for Service Rifle Competition. Nightforce’s new Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm riflescope is purpose-built for the CMP’s new Service Rifle rules that allow scopes with max 4.5X magnification, and max objective lens diameter of 34mm. Nightforce made this new scope quite light in weight (just 15.4 ounces), recognizing that Service Rifles will now be limited to 11.5 pounds for optic and gun combined. MSRP is $1950.00.
FIELD TEST COMING — Accurateshooter.com will get one of these new 4.5x24mm Nightforce scopes for evaluation soon. We will provide a complete field test, and our tester Dennis Santiago will use the new scope in actual Service Rifle competition.
The new NF Competition SR 4.5x24mm scope provides 100 MOA of both elevation and windage adjustment, with .25 MOA clicks and 20 MOA per revolution. Parallax is fixed at 200 yards. The main tube is 30mm. This scope features a handy ZeroStop on the elevation knob that allows instant, positive return to the shooter’s chosen zero setting.
Photo shows Nightforce’s new, lightweight Unimount. Half the weight of a similar steel unit, this alloy mount offers +20 MOA taper.
The new non-illuminated SR-1 reticle features heavy posts at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions, and a 10 MOA center circle with 8 MOA crosshair. The Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm will retail at $1950.00 and the UnimountTM SR will retail at $260.00.
Product tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Nightforce’s 42x44mm fixed-power Benchrest scope mounted on James Mock’s 6mm Dasher.
Nightforce 42x44mm Comp Scope for Benchrest Shooters, by James Mock
Among long range shooters the name Nightforce has long commanded respect because of NF’s great optics and durability. However, the Benchrest disciplines that require either a 10-lb or 10.5-lb rifle had to forego the use of the Nightforce scopes because of their two+ pounds of weight. Some used the Benchrest model in the Heavy Varmint category (13.5-lb max weight) but not many in the Light Varmint, Sporter, or Hunter categories. That may change thanks to a new scope from Nightforce.
The folks at Nightforce Optics listened to benchrest shooters in the lighter classes and developed a new, light weight 42x44mm Competition Scope that weighs just 20.7 ounces. This scope comes as a fixed-power 42X and is without some of the “bells and whistles” of its larger cousins.
Key features of this scope important to Benchrest shooters are: ED glass, 42X power, 44mm objective lens, 88mm eye relief (~3.5 inches), 45 MOA elevation adjustment, 35 MOA windage, 10 MOA per revolution, 2.87-foot field of view at 100 yards, quick focus, click value of .125 inch, parallax adjustment from 10 meters (~33 ft.) to infinity, and an overall length of 15.2 inches. Also, you can set a “zero” easily. After obtaining conventional zero simply loosen one set screw per turret and set the dial at zero.
I received this scope on Monday, February 15th and mounted it on my BAT-action 6mm Dasher and zeroed it for a 600-yard match on Saturday, February 20th. My first impression of this scope was the amazing image produced by the ED glass. Although it is made with a 44mm objective lens (to save weight), one cannot say that the image is not clear. The image is outstanding from edge to edge and the image color is true. Nightforce offers two reticle options: the CTR-2 and CTR-3. Both reticles feature .016″ MOA vertical and horizontal lines, but the CTR-2 includes a .095 MOA center dot.
It took a small amount of faith to shoot the scope in a 600-yard match a few days after receiving it. Although I had shot only a few rounds with the scope mounted on my BAT Dasher, I knew that the Nightforce reputation was solid and my results would depend on the “nut” at the end of the rifle.
At the match, I fired a few shots to confirm zero and really appreciated the scope’s crisp 1/8th-MOA clicks. The adjustments were spot on at the 600-yard range and there was no problem getting my zero at the 600-yard distance. Remember, I had not shot at 600 yards with this scope, but I dialed in 11.5 MOA from my 100 yard zero and the resulting impact was correct. Each eight clicks delivered a precise one-MOA movement (about 6 inches) on the 600-yard target. The picture below is at the range as I was preparing for the first relay.
Our 600-yard match (non-registered) features 20 record rounds fired on the IBS target with steel gongs for sighters. The winter mirage can be brutal in this part of the country, but the Nightforce handled it without problems. Before the match was over, the left to right wind caused me to dial in two minutes (~12 inches) of windage and the scope was precise and I posted my 3rd best score with 191/200. The very fine .095″ dot allows for great precision in aiming.
Actual target shot by James Mock at 300 yards using Nightforce 42x44mm scope. James won the match.
My next match to use the scope was a 300-yard score match on March 5th. I had one chance to zero my rifle for this match and again I had no trouble changing the zero with the crisp, repeatable adjustments of this fine scope. The day was cool with bright sunshine and switchy tail winds. The new Nightforce handled the conditions very well, even with the horrible mirage. We shot two, 10-shot targets on the IBS 300-yard target. I shot 99-3X on the first and 99-3X on the second to win the match by one point over Mitch Young. Above is my second target, and the new scope let me see every shot through the mirage. There were many others who said that they could not see their bullet holes.
Summary of Nightforce 42x44mm Review
This 42x44mm optic is everything that I want in a scope. The 1/8th-MOA adjustments are crisp and repeatable. The center dot is small (.095 MOA). The image is sharp and clear all the way to the edges, and the ED glass provides a sensational image. The turret markings are distinct and there are 10 MOA per revolution. And you get all this in a scope that weighs 20.7 ounces with a 44mm objective lens. The low weight makes this scope viable for all benchrest classes. I believe the short range Benchrest shooters will welcome this scope and pay the sales price of $1742.00 (MSRP is $1795.00). Good shooting — James Mock
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If you’re planning a significant purchase, such as a new riflescope, or a couple new barrels, then head over to Bruno Shooters Supply in the next two days. Now through 8:00 am on May 31st, 2016, Bruno’s is running a Memorial Day Sale. You can get 7% off ALL online orders (other than firearms or actions). So you can save 7% on optics, 7% on powder and primers, 7% on barrels, 7% on reloading tools… you get the idea. Doing the math, seven percent off a $2000.00 scope is $140.00 — that’s a fair chunk of change.
NOTE: This deal applies to Online Orders Only, placed through www.BrunoShooters.com. (Phone lines will NOT be open over the holiday.) Bruno’s stocks all your favorite products, including brass from Lapua and Norma, bullets from Barts, Berger, Sierra, and Nosler, dies from Redding and Wilson, and Powder from Hodgdon, IMR, Norma, Alliant and Western. Bruno’s also has a large selection of optics including comp scopes from Leupold, Nightforce, Sightron, and Weaver.
Sale tip from EdLongrange. We welcome Reader Submissions.
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Recently the CMP adopted new rules that allow the use of magnified optics, up to 4.5X power, in Service Rifle competition. The Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm Compact Riflescope, while not designed specifically for Service Rifle competition, complies fully with the new Service Rifle optics rules and works very well. In fact, our correspondent Johnny Fisher used this scope to take third place in the recent California State Service Rifle Championship. Here’s a run down of the scope’s features and performance. Johnny says this is a “great scope” and “results are extremely promising” so far.
Gear Review: Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm as Considered for Service Rifles by Johnny Fisher
2016 has brought with it a long anticipated rule change that allows for the use of optics in Service Rifle competition. The rule allows scopes (fixed or variable) up to 4.5 power with an objective lens no greater than 34mm. Given the strict limits on max magnification and objective size for Service Rifle optics, there are somewhat limited options on the market at this time. Service Rifle competitors are now challenged with selecting an optic that fits the rules while offering high-end performance. Thus far, it seems the biggest concerns that Service Rifle shooters have when considering an optic are: quality, repeatability, parallax, reticle choices, and durability.
Click Image for Full-screen Version.
The vast majority of Service Rifle Rule-compliant scopes currently on the market have a fixed parallax. That means there is no separate focus knob to adjust parallax to target distance. Accordingly, there has been much concern about the potential for parallax error over the three different distances in Across-The-Course competition. It is possible that the repeatably-indexed head position maintained while shooting a Service Rifle, along with a little extra emphasis on sight alignment to ensure that the shooter’s eye is directly behind the scope, can greatly mitigate the potential effects of parallax error.
The Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm comes with the parallax factory-set at 75 yards. Combined with the right amount of eye-relief and low-enough rings to ensure an easy-to-maintain and clear/full sight picture, it seems like the fixed parallax is not really the problem some folks think it may be. Below are two, 10-round test strings shot at 300 yards (each with a magazine change). Note that I didn’t drop a point, even with the non-adjustable parallax.
The Fixed Parallax is not a “deal-breaker”. Witness 20 shots at 300 yards — all 10s or Xs.
For the NXS 1-4x24mm scope, Nightforce offers two reticle types: the International Hunting Reticle (IHR) and the FC-3G (with 5.56 NATO or .308 NATO BDC hold-over features). My scope has the IHR Reticle, which provides a very clear, unobstructed and simple sight picture. The IHR reticle for the NXS 1-4x24mm boasts an illuminated center cross-hair. Unfortunately, the red-color illumination is really only intended for low-light situations and is not bright enough to offer any aid to National Match shooters competing in broad daylight at stationary targets.
For Service Rifle shooters accustomed to keeping track of their sight settings as “clicks from bottom”, the optional Zero-Stop might be welcome. After loosening the turret and establishing the desired Zero-stop location, tightening the set screw blocks rotation below this point. NOTE: Once set, the Zero-Stop turret only allows for one full revolution of elevation adjustment. However, the Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm offers 20 minutes of elevation adjustment per revolution. That should be more than enough elevation adjustment for come-ups to 600 yards (even with a 100-yard zero established near bottom).
PRICE and DURABILITY
The Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm carries a price tag of just over $1500.00. The scope just feels solid –nothing plastic — especially when compared to some of the other consumer- or recreational-grade options on the market. All touchable tolerances feel extremely tight. There was quite an amount of attention given to every little detail, as you would expect from an optic at this price point. It is hoped that the scope’s mil-spec robustness will assure continued excellent performance — even after seasons of the kind of abuse that High Power shooters put on their equipment. More will be revealed as I use the scope at future competitions, but initial results are very good. This is a quality optic. I have high hopes that it will prove a good investment.
Here are some great rifle-centric landscape images courtesy of Nightforce Optics. Perhaps these “gunscapes” will encourage you to grab your rifle and head out into the woods this weekend. These images are part of an ongoing series of rifle photos posted on the Nightforce Facebook page. Can you identify the optics, and any of the locations? To see a full-screen version of each image, just click on any photo, and a larger version will load.
CLICK Any Image for Larger View
This is NOT a Photoshop job — that’s the actual view through a Nightforce scope of a deer. Photographer (and rifle-owner) Brandon F. says: “Ya’ll might enjoy this picture of a Fort Hood white tail… 400m away.”
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Midsouth — Major Brand Blem Bullets (.204 to .50 Cal)
Right now Midsouth Shooters Supply is running a big sale on Major Brand Blem Bullets. You can save 50% or more on a wide variety of bullet types and calibers. Whatever your preference — Poly Tips, BT Hollowpoints, Soft-Points — you’ll find something on sale. In all 42 types of bullets, from .22 to .50 caliber, are deeply discounted. Here are just a few of the great deals we found:
.204 (20 Cal) 45gr SP, $17.06 per 100
.224 (5.56 mm) 55gr SP, $9.53 per 100
.243 (6 mm) 87gr BTHP, $15.08 per 100
.264 (6.5 mm) 120gr Poly Tip, $18.54 per 100
.308 (7.62 mm) 195gr BTHP, $22.96 per 100
.338 (8.58mm) 225gr Poly Tip, $27.22 per 100
2. Grafs.com — Magnetospeed Sporter $179.99
If you have been waiting to get a Magnetospeed… wait no longer. Priced at just $179.99 at Grafs.com, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetspeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily from the display module to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review.
3. Bruno’s — Once-Used Nightforce Scopes, Save Hundreds
Bruno Shooters Supply currently offers six (6) Nightforce targets scopes that were used one-time-only at the Cactus Benchrest match. These were “previewed” for evaluation on a rifle but are virtually brand new. And yes they come with full factory warranty. Choose either the 15-55x52mm Comp model or the NEW fixed-power 42x44mm scope, with either Fine Cross Hair (FCH) or Target Dot Reticle. You can save some hundreds on these scopes. For example, the 15-55X scope is offered at $2125.00, compared to the $2352.00 normal price at other vendors. That’s a $227.00 savings.
4. CDNN Sports — Ruger American Ranch Rifle (Tan), $389.99
Here’s a nice little varmint rifle from Ruger with some nice features at a very attractive price, $389.99. This .223 Rem rifle features a 16.5″ hammer-forged barrel barrel threaded 1/2″-28 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The crisp trigger adjusts down to 3 pounds. With a weight (before optics) of 6.1 pounds, this is a handy carry-around varminter.
5. Natchez — 300 Rounds .45 ACP in Can, $69.99 After Rebate
The classic .45 ACP is probably our favorite handgun cartridge for target work. Inherently accurate, the .45 ACP delivers big, easy-to-see holes on the target. Right now you can get 300 rounds of quality American Eagle 230gr .45 ACP FMJ ammunition for just $69.99 after the Federal Premium MFG Rebate. This Natchez .45 ACP Ammo Deal includes a rugged, lockable Federal Premium plastic Ammo Can.
6. Cabelas.com — Lyman Power Case-Prep Tool, $20.89
This Lyman cordless power tool is now just $20.89, marked down from $39.99. That’s a steal for a tool that handles most case-prep chores. The high-torque rechargeable driver runs at the correct speed for deburring and chamfering. The accessories have hex shafts that snap in and out of the driver (much like with a cordless screwdriver). The kit includes the power unit and seven (7) accessories: two case neck brushes, two double-ended primer pocket tools (large and small), an outside 45° neck-chamfer tool, an inside 30° neck-chamfer tool, and a combo standard/phillips screw-driver bit. Grab one for $20.89 at Cabelas.com.
7. MidwayUSA — Padded Scoped Rifle Case, $24.99
This 48″-long, thickly-padded gun case will hold most tactical-style rifles and hunting rifles. At a fraction of the cost of a big, cumbersome drag bag, this case may be all you need. The heavy duty padding is over 1″ thick on both sides to protect your rifle and optics investment from rough handling. A large pocket will hold a couple boxes of ammo and other accessories. We like this bag much better than the typical gun-store soft cases. It offers much better padding and more room for large scopes. It is on sale this week at MidwayUSA for just $24.99 in four colors: black, tan, OD green, and gray. In addition to the 48″ case shown, 40″ and 44″ versions are available.
8. Amazon — Two Rolls of 3″ Neon Target Stickers, $14.95
We like these bright Neon 3″ target stickers. They are big enough to see easily at 600 yards, giving you a 1/2 MOA target center at that distance. For $14.95 at Amazon.com, you get 250 3″-diameter self-adhesive centers (125 targets per roll) that stick to almost any surface The high-contrast fluorescent red/orange color provides an excellent HI-VIZ aiming point, along with good contrast for bullet holes that fall within the 3″ circle. To help line up your reticle cross-hairs, the target centers feature black markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 0’clock.
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Are you looking to improve your long-range shooting? Doubtless you’ve been thinking about upgrading your rifle or optics, but wonder what to buy (and how to get the best “bang for your buck”). In this video, Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics offers “solid gold” advice on equipment selection for mid-level shooters (i.e. those who are somewhere between “newbie” and “Master of the Universe”). Bryan explains the logical first step is a barrel upgrade — a new tube from a top-barrel maker can make a huge difference. Then you should research the best factory ammo for your rifle, or get started in precision hand-loading. Bryan also offers advice on choosing a scope and optics accessories.
Equipment Upgrades: Barrel, Optics, Ammoby Bryan Litz
Every equipment element can be upgraded. You can run that factory rifle for a period of time, but the barrel eventually is going to be what holds you back. The twist rate probably won’t be fast enough to stabilize the high-BC bullets that you want to shoot at long range. So, the first thing you want to upgrade on your factory rifle is probably going to be the barrel. [With a new custom barrel] you’re going to get a fast twist rate, you’re going to get a chamber that’s optimized with a throat for your … bullet. And a good quality custom barrel is going to be easier to clean, won’t foul out as much, and it’s going to improve to overall accuracy and precision of your shooting. Barrel swaps are very common and routine thing for gunsmiths to do.
The next thing is improving your scope. If you don’t have a quality optic it’s going to hold you back. The job of the scope is to precisely and perfectly delineate [the target] within a half a degree (from 100 to 1000 yards is only a half a degree). The scope has got to put you on the money within that half a degree. So, it’s not a piece of equipment you want to go cheap on.
The other big factor is your ammunition. Getting into hand-loading is meticulous and it takes a long time to learn, but ultimately you’ll be making ammunition that is tailored for your rifle, and there simply won’t be anything better for your rifle than what you can develop through individual handloads.
So that’s typically the upgrade path: Get your factory rifle re-barreled, don’t skimp on a scope (or anything that attaches to it), improve your ammunition (whether by upgrading to better factory ammo or hand-loading on your own). All through this process is continuous learning… Once you have the best equipment (and it doesn’t get any better), the process of learning and education never ends. That is something you build on every single time you go to the range, and it’s what going to allow you to continually improve your skills.”
No matter what kind of rifle you shoot, whether it be an AR or a brenchrest rig, the principles are the same — develop a good load, learn the gun, hone your wind-reading skills, and practice in all conditions. Making a video of a practice session can help you identify and correct bad habits.
Bryan Litz says “don’t skimp on your scope”. Purchase a quality scope, rings, and scope level. Successful long-range shooting all begins with your view of the target.
Even with a top-of-the-line F-TR rig like this, you still have to practice diligently, putting in the “trigger time” needed to improve your game.
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Lapua Supports U.S F-TR Rifle Team
Lapua continues its support of the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR) by donating Lapua factory-loaded .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition as part of a raffle package to raise funds for the Team. The raffle will take place this evening, on March 8, 2016.
The U.S. Rifle Team is raffling off a .338 Lapua Magnum Tactical Rifle donated and built by Kelbly’s Rifles. The raffle package includes a Nightforce Optics ATACR 5-25x56mm scope, 100 rounds of .338 Lapua Magnum 300gr OTM Scenar ammunition, plus a Gemtech Arrow suppressor
The total package value is over $9,000!
All of the proceeds from this raffle will be used to train and equip the U.S. Rifle Team as the team prepares for the 2017 World Championships in Canada.
About the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR):
The U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR) is the two-time, Farquharson Target Rifle (F-TR) discipline World Championship winning squad. The U.S. Rifle Team competes regularly against other nation’s F-TR squads. At the 2013 World Championships, 17 nations were represented. The next World Championships will be held at Connaught Range near Ottawa, Canada in 2017. All of the rifles used in the F-TR class are chambered in either the .308 Winchester or .223 Remington calibers. This ensures a level playing field for all competitors. Every match winner can rightly say that it was their skill, not their caliber, that won the day. Most of our team events are fired at targets 1000 yards away. The inner-most scoring ring on our target is five inches in diameter. The next ring is ten inches in diameter. These shooters manage to put the vast majority of their shots inside that 10-inch ring at 1000 yards! Learn more about the US Rifle Team at www.USRifleTeam.com.
The U.S. F-TR Team Raffle, report by Ray Gross, Team Captain
Our raffle has been a huge success thanks to a number of sponsors who stepped forward to help out. A special thank you goes to Ian Kelbly, who offered to help out before I even asked. Kelbly’s became the first new sponsor of our team after I became Captain. Nightforce has been a long-time sponsor of our team and has been a huge help this cycle. Bryan Litz is a member of the team and his company, Applied Ballistics, is a sponsor. Bryan contacted Applied Ballistic Munitions and they happily donated ammo to our prize. Adam Braverman of Lapua, also a long-time team sponsor, sought us out, to help with our raffle.
What’s great about all of these companies is that we were already using their products, they didn’t have to sponsor us to get us to use them. We are in the business of winning and we have to use the best products. It speaks very highly of each of them that they are committed to supporting the shooting sports.
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Our nominees for the “Hardest-working Heroes” of SHOT Show 2016 are our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys. Over the course of four days, this tireless duo completed over FIFTY short videos. They visited dozens of manufacturers, finding the “latest and greatest” rifles, stocks, actions, scopes and other hardware. While in Vegas, the 6.5 Guys managed to visit most of the top-flight optics-makers. Here are videos reviewing products from Nightforce, Vortex, and March. To see 50+ more videos, visit the 6.5 Guys YouTube Channel.
2016 SHOT Show Highlights — OPTICS
Nightforce Optics — New SHV 4-14x50mm (FFP)
The new 4-14x50mm SHV scope from Nightforce is available with either 0.1 Mil or 1/4-MOA clicks, with two reticle choices: MIL-R and MOAR.
Vortex Optics — New Razor 6-24x50mm AMG (FFP)
The new 6-24x50mm Razor HD AMG is a made-in-USA scope with a full 25 MOA of elevation in one turret rotaion. Vortex says this scope rivals anything on the market in its category.
March Optics — 3-24x52mm (FFP)
March’s popular 3-24x52mm scope is offered with either 0.1 Mil or 1/4 MOA clicks. The particular model featured in the video has 0.1 Mil clicks and an illuminated reticle. March Optics USA also offers a remarkable 5-50x56mm scope that can work for everything from short-range practical matches to extreme-long-range shooting. One of our staffers has the 5-50X March and he uses it for both Tac Comps and 1000-yard F-Class matches.
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Here’s a “spy photo” of the new scope. Price and release date are yet to be determined.
If you’ve been planning to purchase a premium, high-magnification, variable-power competition scope this year… you may want to hold off for a few weeks. We just learned that Schmidt & Bender will be introducing an all-new, “super-zoom” optic for 2016. Schmidt & Bender’s impressive new 5-45x56mm PM II High Power, offers a remarkable 9X zoom ratio. That makes it suitable for a wide variety of shooting disciplines. A tactical competitor can dial back to 5-power for a wide field of view on close-in targets. Or, for 1000-yard shooting, crank the scope all the way up to 45-power. S&B says the scope is intended for “tactical ultra-long-range shooting”. With its ultra-bright, ultra-sharp German glass, this new scope could also become popular with F-Class competitors — if it is priced reasonably. We called Schmidt & Bender USA, but we were informed that no further product details or pricing information could be released prior to SHOT Show.
In addition to the new 5-45X comp scope, Schmidt & Bender plans to introduce six other new scope models in 2016. There will be two Polar T96 models, a 3-12X and a 4-16X. The current 2.5-10X Polar T96 boasts an industry-leading 96% light transmission. S&B claims this is the “brightest low-light hunting scope in the world”. For 2016, S&B will also introduce two PM II models with digital reticle display features, the 3-27X and 5-25X “Digital BT” scopes. Finally, two new PM II “Ultra-Bright” scopes will be added to the lineup. We believe these will be a 3-12X and a 4-16X.
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Here’s big news for target shooters (especially benchresters). There’s a new, premium fixed-power scope option with ED glass. Nightforce Optics just introduced its 42 x 44mm fixed-power competition scope. This 20.7 ounce lightweight is a “clean-slate” design, all new from the ground up. Clicks are 1/8 MOA (0.125″ at 100 yards), while the side-focus parallax control adjusts all the way down to 10 meters. Two glass-etched reticle designs are offered: CTR-2™ and CTR-3™.
Nightforce is proud of the engineering that went into this new optic: “By eliminating the inherent weight of a variable-power mechanism, we were able to build the Competition™ 42 x 44mm at just 20.7 ounces without sacrificing the stunning images produced by ED glass and the robust mechanics for which we are known.” MSRP for this new scope is $1795.00, but expect the “street price” to be lower.
Nightforce tells us that the 42X Competition was built strong to handle the recoil of the large cartridges used in F-Class and 1000-yard benchrest. In addition, new 42X Comp scope will focus sharply from infinity all the way down to 10 meters, making it an excellent choice for short-range rimfire and air gun competitions, as well as long-range target applications. Other scope features include: high-visibility engraving and fast-focus eyepiece. The scope ships with a screw-in sunshade, plus objective and eyepiece lens covers. Nightforce says: “ED glass provides exceptional resolving power and color contrast [and the] 44 mm objective lens gives excellent light transmission without adding unnecessary weight.” For more information call (208) 476-9814 or visit NightforceOptics.com.
Story tip from EdLongrange. We welcome submissions.
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