Tips for Choosing the Right Nightforce Optic for Your Hunting Rifle

An embarrassment of riches is considered to be a desired state of the market. More is better, or so we are believed to think. However, when it comes to picking a particular product, people are often perplexed. It doesn’t really take much to get lost in all the options one is given. Sometimes, it leads to a person making no choice at all, leaving the store or closing the tab with a feeling of frustrated confusion. To preclude the very possibility of such a thing happening, our Gun Store compiled a buying guide. As you might have deduced from the title, the hero of the day is Nightforce with its abundant collection of top-notch riflescopes.

A Few Words About the Brand

Nightforce is no newbie in the field of optic production. The company has been around for more than thirty years already and within this time, has managed to acquire the expertise few other optical brands have. Nightforce riflescopes are known for many things, but unprecedented ruggedness is arguably the brand’s hallmark. All riflescopes are put through torture tests and torture is indeed the best word to describe those ordeals. The devices are thrown around, smashed against hard surfaces, frozen in blocks of ice and shot at from shotguns. Worthy of the place in riflescope heaven, such models suffer to let the rest of their kind make their way into your hands, having seen none of those horrors but capable of withstanding them nonetheless.

Factors to Consider

As with everything else, there are several things that need to be taken into account when choosing a Nightforce scope for your hunting rifle. Hunting is a quite varied activity, and different models can meet different needs hunters have. 

Shooting Distance

We suggest you first determine the distance from which you plan to shoot. Different models of Nightforce riflescopes are designed for specific shooting ranges. The first thing that comes to mind is zooming power. There are magnification ranges standard for riflescopes (1-8x, 4-16x, 5-25x), others are seen less frequently (2.5-20x, 3-10x, 4-14x). The further you plan to shoot, the more magnification you’d want. In any other case, we would say that you sacrifice image clarity for higher magnification power, but with Nightforce that tradeoff is minimal. 

The zooming range is not the only deciding factor. Reticle type also plays a significant role in determining which Nightforce riflescope suits your needs. There are two different types of reticle focal planes: first focal plane (FFP) and second focal plane (SFP). FFP scopes have a reticle that scales with magnification, while SFP scopes have a reticle that remains constant regardless of magnification.

FFP reticles are suitable for long-range shooting as they allow for precise adjustments at any magnification setting. The reticle’s size increases or decreases proportionally with the magnification range, giving shooters the ability to make accurate holdovers at long ranges. On the other hand, SFP reticles are ideal for close-range shooting as they remain consistent throughout the entire magnification range.

Objective lens diameter is part of the same story. While it’s generally true that the bigger the objective lens, the better, such benefits don’t come without drawbacks. Such scopes are heavier and cost more

Chosen Terrain

The second factor is closely related to the previous one. The clarity of the terrain should also be accounted for. For example, if you’re hunting in densely wooded areas, a scope with a lower magnification power may be more beneficial. In case you’re hunting in open plains or mountains with vast expanses, a higher magnification power may be preferred.

The reticle configuration is another thing to consider. We’ve covered FFP and SFP variations, but reticles can be different in other ways as well. Every reticle is designed to provide the user with some information, and different reticles communicate different facts. 

The MOAR (Minute of Angle Reticle) offers hash marks that are placed in one-minute increments, making range estimation easier. The reticle’s design is ideal for hunters and competition shooters who need quick and precise holdovers.

The MIL-R (Milliradian Reticle) is another popular reticle type in Nightforce riflescopes. This type of reticle is a variant of the MOAR reticle, using milliradians instead of minutes of angle. The hash marks are placed at 0.5 milliradian intervals, allowing for quicker range estimation and easier adjustments.

The Mil-C reticle features a center crosshair along with a series of dots and hash marks that are spaced in 0.2 mil increments for easy holdover and range estimation.

An inexperienced eye may notice no significant difference between various reticles as it fails to read the data they provide properly. If you are new to world hunting optics, we suggest you go with a reticle with a simpler design. The chances of you turning to a premium-quality brand for your first scope are not that high, but if that’s the case, opt for reticles like Forceplex or CTR. 

Making an Informed Purchase

Choosing the right Nightforce optic for your hunting rifle can become a game changer. Consider the shooting distance and the geographical location, the reticle and magnification power, and the visibility in different lighting conditions when getting one. By taking all of these factors into account, you can make an informed purchase that will surely enhance your hunting experience. With that being said, any Nightforce riflescope is a full-fledged investment that will help you make every shot with precision worthy of the best competitive shooters.

Leave a Comment