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Nightforce v Swarovski - Pros & Cons ?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 13:50
DonDavis View Drop Down
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These scopes are out of my league ($400 is my limit) but I have a friend who wants a new scope for varmint and benchrest shooting.
 
He is considering Swarovski V6 or a Nightforce NXS. Could anyone comment on the pros or cons of each in terms of
 
Reticle durability
Optical clarity
Low light performance
Mechanical precision & reliability
Warranty & service
Anything else you can think of
 
Thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 15:10
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The Swaro will have better glass, the Nightforce will take a beating better, both have great warranties.

These are fairly dis-similar scopes.  The Z6 will have a broader zoom range (6X vs. NXS' 5X.)

Nighforce has more reticle options.

On what would it be mounted?  And at what ranges fired?  And will it be mostly a bench gun or mostly a varmint gun?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 16:13
DonDavis View Drop Down
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I think he intends to mount it on a heavy barrel Rem 700 in 308. He lives near a 1000 yard range, so I expect he'll be doing some longer shots too. Most of his shooting seems to be off bench at 100yds. He shoots groundhogs out the back of his house (probably an ocassional coyote too) and an annual trip to WY to shoot prairie dogs (he may use a 22-250 for that, but i don't recall).
 
I think his main criteria are
Magnification range of approx 4-20x (I think the swaro he's looking at is 3-18, and the NF 5.5-20) but I'm not too sure, never really looked at these scope lines myself.
 
He seems to want something rugged that dials in correctly and holds a zero
 
He wants good low light performance
 
He has plenty of $, so I don't think price is a factor, he just wants the best.
 
One thing he seemed impressed by was the NF etched reticle v the wire Swaro reticle. I don't know if that is correct, let alone if it is a big issue or not.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 16:15
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 Also, he wants to stick to a standard plex / fine plex reticle
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 17:31
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Both the Swaro and NF reticles are etched.  NF has much better reticle selection for precision shooting.  The Swaro reticles are better for big game hunting.  Since you said he wanted the scope for target and varmint shooting, the NF is a better choice, as it has better reticles and knobs as well as greater elevation adjustment travel.  As a bonus, it is much less expensive.

Z6 has appreciably better optics, better low light performance, and wider FOV.  Optically, very few scopes will compete with it.  NF has a well earned reputation for being very durable and mechanically bulletproof, however.  I have no reason to doubt Z6 is durable as well, it's just that rock solid durability and mechanical repeatability is perhaps what NF is best known for.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 17:43
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Plex reticle, target turrets, get the Z6 (if they make one with target turrets.)  He will appreciate the glass.

The NXS is a purpose-built tactical scope.

I like them both, but they kinda do different things.

Get the Z6.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 19:29
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Swaro doesn't really have a good target turret.  They offer what they call the Ballistic Turret, which is sort of a target turret, but isn't as well suited to that application as the NF turrets IMO because it has no MOA or Mil markings; it relies only on lining up colored dots on plastic rings.  NF has their version of the plex called "NP-1."  They also have a simple thin crosshair for super precision benchrest type work called "CH-1" and a variation of the same that is open in the center with a dot called "CH-3."  Then there's also the "NP-2DD."  All of those are thinner and therefore better suited to extreme precision and varmint shooting than anything Swaro has to offer.  NF reticles are just better precision shooting reticles, plain and simple.  In the long range BR and F class world, NF is one of the most common scopes seen.  Swaro is a very fine hunting scope, but it is not a player in any competition shooting for a good reason -- it wasn't designed for that.  No doubt it will smoke NF optically, but it isn't as good a choice for varmint/target as NF.  Swaro is way superior in low light, and it has a much better illumination system in the Z6i series.  However, you can add nearly $1K to the price of a typical NF to get it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 20:46
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Thanks for all the useful input. I'll print it for him. This guy is a retired lawyer, so pleanty of time and plenty of $. I suspect that he will probably buy both brands and do his own assessment.
 
He was under the impression that the S had a wire reticle, so he has much to learn
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 06:34
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i would say the nightforce will be better for long range shooting. massive moa adjustment to on them
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 06:57
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Zeiss 6-24x56 Tactical Hensoldt Telescopic 30mm Sight
Illuminated Mil-Dot Zeiss 6-24x56 Tactical Hensoldt Telescopic 30mm Sight
Stock # - 3302979001
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$3,499.95
US Optics 5-25x58 SN-3 35mm Riflescope
US Optics 5-25x58 SN-3 35mm Riflescope
Stock # - USOSN3A
  • Matte Black Type III hard Anodizing
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  • 35mm
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  • T-Pal Left Side Parallax/Focus
$3,059.95
I"d say the Swarovski is out and the Nightforce is almost what you want but the top of the line scoes will be Heinsoldt or U.S. Optics

Edited by Urimaginaryfrnd - July/25/2010 at 06:58
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 09:00
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I would go with the NF, and never look back.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 09:19
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I have a similar dilemma right now...  Custom 338 Lapua on the way...
 
1) Nightforce... durability, repeatability, price, but fluctuating glass quality... always adequate (a U.S. Military term)
2) Hensoldt... everything, including a price nearly twice the NF,
3) US Optics.. nearly everything, slightly lesser glass than Hensoldt, price pretty steep, but not WAY out there... not fearful of putting a scratch on it,
4) New SS 5-20x??  delivery date, UNKNOWN, price UNKNOWN.  Reputation for quality and service unequaled, expect an outstanding product... CAN I WAIT???
 
I really want to go back to iron sights...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 09:24
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Those two are definitely superior to NF by most measures... except for the stated purpose -- benchrest and varmint -- where I believe NF is still a better choice because of their reticle selection.  The OP specified a simple reticle.  A SFP reticle is best for both, where you benefit from as fine reticle subtension as you can possibly get, and in benchrest, you are shooting at known distances.  For BR especially, any FFP reticle is a liability.  NF offers some thinner reticles than just about anyone.  On addition, those 2 scopes are 2X more expensive than NF. 

The Z6, Hensoldt, and USO are all no doubt superior optically and would also provide better low light performance, but NF is certainly adequate in this regard.  If the OP's friend also wants super premium glass in the Hensoldt class and is willing to pay the price for it, I believe he should look at something like the March 5-32X52 with SFP crosshair or plex reticle.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 09:32
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

  The OP specified a simple reticle.  A SFP reticle is best for both, where you benefit from as fine reticle subtension as you can possibly get, and in benchrest, you are shooting at known distances.  For BR especially, any FFP reticle is a liability.



I could not agree more since I own both FFP and SFP in different styles of reticles.
The FFP gets larger with magnification increases, if the OP is unaware. This is okay for large game and I like them for low light. On the other hand the reticles are two large at high power for small varmints. I would look into a second focal plane scope.


Edited by tahqua - July/25/2010 at 09:32
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 09:33
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I know Nightforce is based out of Idaho and assembled there.....just wondering where their glass is made? I'm assuming its Japan, maybe LOW plant?

On a scale of 1-10 where do you put nightforce glass compared with other top tier makers?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 09:43
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Yes, Japan
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 09:50
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Originally posted by tahqua tahqua wrote:

Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

  The OP specified a simple reticle.  A SFP reticle is best for both, where you benefit from as fine reticle subtension as you can possibly get, and in benchrest, you are shooting at known distances.  For BR especially, any FFP reticle is a liability.



I could not agree more since I own both FFP and SFP in different styles of reticles.
The FFP gets larger with magnification increases, if the OP is unaware. This is okay for large game and I like them for low light. On the other hand the reticles are two large at high power for small varmints. I would look into a second focal plane scope.
 
 The way I understood the FFP vs. SFP issue was that the FFP reticles remained constant in relationship to the mag level. Hence being able to mil the target at any mag. While I will agree that many FFP scopes have a heavier reticle than SFP scopes, they do not "cover more" as magnification increases.
  If anything the opposite is true, inversely. A SFP scope reticle "covers more" of the target, at lower magnification.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 11:16
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Originally posted by DonDavis DonDavis wrote:

Thanks for all the useful input. I'll print it for him. This guy is a retired lawyer, so pleanty of time and plenty of $. I suspect that he will probably buy both brands and do his own assessment.
 
He was under the impression that the S had a wire reticle, so he has much to learn


If money isn't of primary concern, get the Hensoldt or Zeiss, no question, beats the hell out of Swaro's or Nightforce's offering (for glass clarity, ease of use, and turret options.)


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 11:26
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Be advised: we are oversimplifying something that is far from simple.

SFP would probably be preferable for several reasons.

One note on long range hunting and/or shooting: people get WAY too hung up on "best glass."  Nightforce makes a fantastic product, benchrest shooters the world over trust Nightforce (and their less-than-best glass) because the glass is reliably "good" and the mechanicals and durability are consistently fantastic.

If your lawyer wants best glass, he wants Hensoldt.  Period.  End of discussion.  If there are other criteria, it would help if he could answer the following questions:

On what rifle (make, model, caliber) is the scope going?
What is his skill level at this moment (F-class champ)?
At what specific ranges will he be shooting (target and varmint)?
Does he want mil turrets or MOA turrets?
What zoom range does he want - or need?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 11:31
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Shoot, if he's well off and i'd have to think he would be, as a retired lawyer, then just buy 1 of everything already listed! Big Grin

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 11:37
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Originally posted by billyburl2 billyburl2 wrote:


While I will agree that many FFP scopes have a heavier reticle than SFP scopes, they do not "cover more" as magnification increases.
  If anything the opposite is true, inversely. A SFP scope reticle "covers more" of the target, at lower magnification.


Correct on the first statement.  A FFP reticle does not "cover more" of the target at any magnification.  HOWEVER, at high magnification, a SFP reticle "covers less" as magnification is increased, and continues "covering less" the higher the magnification goes.  Even if a FFP reticle doesn't subtend too much of the target, finer is always better for benchrest and varmint (except for shooting varmints in low light).

Your second statement is not necessarily true.  It depends on how thick the lines are to begin with on the SFP reticle in question.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 11:51
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Best glass is certainly a good thing to have, all else being equal.  But, for small targets and super precision shooting, I would much rather have the right reticle and merely "good" glass than superb glass and the wrong reticle.  Plus, why pay a premium for things you don't really need?  Hensoldt makes superb tactical scopes, but they aren't very well suited as varmint & benchrest scopes.  The similar Zeiss FL series scopes with SFP reticles have the same or very similar glass to Hensoldt but are better choices for BR/varmint use because of the much more suitable reticles offered.  Even so, they still aren't quite as good for that purpose as NF's selection of super thin crosshair & plex style reticles IMO.

NF takes a backseat to nothing in terms of mechanical reliability and repeatability.  Its reticles are second to none for target/varmint/benchrest.  FFP reticles are the best choice for ranging targets, since you can do so at all magnifications.  On a big game hunting scope, FFP can be an advantage because you can magnify the reticle and make it easier to see in low light as you turn up magnification.  As a BR & varmint scope, SFP is an infinitely better choice, though.


Edited by RifleDude - July/25/2010 at 11:54
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 12:21
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My thought on the FFP especially in a mil mil scope is that if you are shooting prairie dogs at distance and your reticle is the same mil dot based reticele as your target knobs when you see how high or low impact of one shot is you can dial in or correct with either the reticle or the target knobs which just makes so much sense to me rather than add math equations in.  the fact that you can use the FFP reticle as a measuring device at every power means that you can use it to measure the distance from where the strike is desired to where it actually struck and instantly correct you cant do that with second focal plane.   I like the fact that the FFP reticle becomes finer as you lower the power but I do not feel that most of the reticles cover that much more or less of the target so at to prevent strikig it.  I would want the Heinsoldt mil mil FFP  but I could certainly see him liking this and the glass and reticle. 
Zeiss 6-24x56 Victory Diavari 30mm Rifle Scope
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I hate to say it but the Nightforce scopes I looked over didnt seem that much better than my Leupold Mark 4's as far as the glass I thought they were not that impressive.

Edited by Urimaginaryfrnd - July/25/2010 at 12:45
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 12:44
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Reticle is more important than good glass. With either sfp or ffp with the correct reticle shots can be made with a higher percentage of hits. Take the Z1000 and EBR2. As hunters and recreational shooters, military and police needs are one thing and ours are another. If one wishes to "carry over" techniques to avoid another learning curve , thats another thing again. Back to the reticles- with either one take a shot note the strike and its location on the Z1000 or ebr reticle move the  poi to that point, bingo, no need for dial in either situation.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 12:47
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Just a qualification, really good scopes have really good AO adjustment. The AO adjustment of the BR series NF is pretty hard to beat.
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