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You never forget your first, and the first piece of nice glass I ever peered through was a Nightforce scope. I was sold right up until it came time to whip out my credit card, at which point cooler heads prevailed. Nightforce glass is many things and expensive being one of them.

Nightforce scopes are also optically precise giving one of the best images I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. Beyond that, I love the precise clicks of the turrets, the way everything feels in your hands, and the fact that their scopes can take a tumble off the side of a mountain and still keep working.

Durability notwithstanding, the Advanced Tactical Riflescope (ATACR) line is Nighforce’s flagship; stout, reliable competition and tactical duty optics. New for 2017 is the 7-35×56 F1 model that brings a few new features to the table.

As a whole, the optics industry in America seems to be embracing the first focal plane in a way that our European brethren did several decades ago. While the merits of first versus second focal plane warrant another article entirely, it’s encouraging to see that Nightforce isn’t sitting back, relaxing, and counting their cash. They’ve put together a high magnification first focal plane scope at the request of the consumer.

The 7-35 model allows parallax adjustment from ten yards to infinity for those competition stages that require very close and very long shooting. With a 34mm tube and 56mm objective, the new 7-35 model ensures that you’ll have maximum range of elevation adjustment (100 MOA/27.3 MILs) along with excellent light gathering ability.

Most importantly, MAGNIFICATION! The big boy ATACR offers a borderline benchrest level whopper of 35X magnification for those that really, really, really need to see what’s downrange. While I personally don’t love that much magnification, I appreciate that it exists. Included with that much magnification is an illuminated reticle of your choice paired up to the turret adjustment system you select.

All of the ATACRs offer zero stops for the elevation turret and this one is no different. At a street price of ~$3500, the big magnification ATACR isn’t a cheap date, but then again, it goes to 35X and can be tossed down a hill and still work.

Ever so slightly more affordable is a new entry in Nightforce’s line of Competition optics, the SR Fixed 4.5X24, designed for the competitive service rifle shooter looking to work within the confines of the rules presented to them.

The new SR Fixed offers a fixed 4.5X magnification range along with a parallex set at 200 yards for the new 2016 rules issued by the CMP on optics in service rifle competition. Those optics must be fixed at 4.5X power, have an objective no larger than 34 mm, and optics equipped rifles must weigh no more than 11.5 lbs. Real world pricing on the new SR Fixed scope seems to be hovering at a shade under $1900.

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  1. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the eye pocket at 35X was quite usable. When I spoke to Todd Hodnett, long distance shooting instructor extraordinaire, he said the loved the new 35X scope — thats a great recommendation.

    I have an order in for one.

    • Last time I was out with Todd Hodnett, we were shooting 14″ wide steel at 1700 yards (1 mile) with .308s. My gun was a LaRue Predatar which shoots 1/2MOA with factory ammo. And yes, we were hitting them 🙂

      Considering how tiny the steel was at 25x, it can only get better at 35x.

  2. There needs to be objective, clear, standardized test data available on scopes…like percentage of light transmission, clarity, etc. I’m tired of people offering their UNSUPPORTED OPINION on how superior one brand of scope is to another based on what name they like, or the country of origin. No offense is intended towards the author of this article, I’m just speaking in general terms.

    • There are such tests, and there are standards for testing optics – ISO, ASTM and military. I don’t think that you will see such tests performed here at TTAG. After all, TTAG won’t even buy into a Ransom rest for accuracy testing of handguns, and that’s a cheap testing fixture, with a low-price buy-in for a standard testing ammo, at short ranges. For less than $1500, I could have a complete setup for structured & repeatable accuracy testing of pistols.

      Want to start testing optics in a structured and repeatable manner? Bring your checkbook, a bunch of time, and a technical education.

  3. Gosh I would really love to have one of those 35 power that is magnificent. I just can’t spend $3,500 on a rifle scope. I don’t get that much money in every month the old lady would have my head in a bag. LOL

    • It’s the $2k for a fixed power 4x that gets me. It’s a 4x on a fun gun, you could go through 10 Leupolds for that. How long are these stages anyway? Because out to 3 or 4 hundred yards my sub $200 FX1 works just fine and isn’t particularly fragile.

  4. All of my rifles wear Nightforce scopes, or they wear nothing at all ( I wish!). I guess 3 out of 5 ain’t bad. They do make really nice glass. You can spend more (Swarovski, Schmitt & Bender, etc.) but I consider them to be the “low” end of the high end scopes.

  5. “Nightforce glass is many things and expensive being one of them.” It’s all relative. Like with just about anything paid for with disposable income, you can spend as little or as much as you want. Compared to the European high end scopes, NF is a bargain. Just bought my second and will be ordering a 3rd very soon. Zero Stop is the shiznick. In the heat of battle or competition, it’s damn near necessary to be able to get back to zero in a hurry and then dial up where you need to be. Great glass.

    • That’s what I remark when people complain about the price of NF glass. Look at the competition (which is the high-end German/etc Euro glass). NF is about half the price of comparable scopes from the EU.

  6. Nightforce makes great gear. It is very expensive. But you really do get what you pay for. I own an NXS 3.5-15×50 on a 300 Win Mag. I was contemplating the Leupold Mk 4 and the Nightforce just blew it away for clarity. Would I be upset with the Mk 4 no but I am glad I spent the extra on the Nightforce.

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