The NX8 optical sight – the compact superiority of the US troops on the battlefield
An amazing review of the NX8 4-32 × 50 optical sight by Anton Digam. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.
PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – My relationship with Nightforce sights is rather complicated. Once upon a time at a shooting range, I looked into the sight of a colleague, and what I saw did not like at all – the picture had a pronounced greenish tint.
Sometimes I even allowed myself to say that “looking at the Knight is like aiming through a beer bottle” (the funniest thing is that I don’t even remember what kind of model it was). Since then, a lot of water has flowed, and I managed to look into the most diverse sights.
The latest was the current flagship Nightforce Optics – ATACR 7-35 × 56 scope. He impressed me: of course, not least by its price, but mainly by the characteristics and quality of the optical elements. However, it would be rather strange to expect something different from the flagship model of the famous company.
Now, for testing, I got a novelty from Nightforce – a 4-32 × 50 sight from the new NX8 model line. Fans of the company’s products are well aware and appreciate the products of the long-produced NXS series – primarily for their reliability and excellent balance between performance and price.
What NXS sights could not boast of was the ideal quality of optics. Now, Nightforce Optics has released a new series; and now I have in my hands the most interesting representative of her.
The new NX8 4-32 × 50 sight immediately attracts attention with its performance characteristics – in fact they are unique, and the sighting market was unlikely to see anything like that.
Variable magnification from 4x to 32x is almost unbelievable for a sight with a 30-mm central tube, it is technically very difficult to implement. Add to this a highlighted reticle in the first focal plane, a margin of vertical corrections of 26 mrad and a mass of only 810 g – all together it sounds fantastic. In fact, this is a sight for all occasions – from hunting to high-precision long-range shooting.
Of course, to implement such characteristics, I had to make certain compromises: for example, the scope lens has a diameter of 50 mm, and not 56 mm, as it could be. However, this also provides a reduction in the total mass and dimensions of the sight. There are no compromises in optical elements – the lenses in the NX8 series are exactly the same as in the older ATACR line; and in terms of the choice of reticle, she also will not give in to her.
Why, in fact, such a sight is needed – after all, there is the same ATACR, and other brands are releasing their lines, many offer a greater supply of vertical corrections, have larger lenses, etc.
However, all such sights are, as a rule, the flagship models of their manufacturers, which affects both their cost and weight and size characteristics. And if our NX8 weighs a little more than 800 g, then the masses of its “colleagues” start from 1 kg – and for some “heavyweights” they already go to completely indecent figures.
These aspects are very important depending on the specific application of the sight and the rifle complex as a whole. If you have to not only lie with the rifle in position, bringing it and taking it there by car, but also drag it on yourself, moving on your own two over rough terrain, wade through thickets and shoot mainly from unstable positions, then every extra gram of weight and every additional centimeter of weapon length will soon become very tangible.
I suspect that Nightforce engineers could make the NX8 even easier – for example, by slightly reducing the wall thickness of the case. However, the reliability of the sight itself directly depends on the wall thickness of the case; a sturdy and tough case is a guarantee that, with shocks, bumps and shaking, the internal filling of the sight will remain intact.
And if some manufacturers allow themselves to make sights, the body of which can literally be pushed with a finger, then Nightforce is not one of those. The reputation of the most durable and reliable sights in the world has earned Nightforce Optics products for a reason; and if our NX8 weighs 810 grams, not 710, then that’s how it should be.
It turns out that in theory we have a sight that can cover any needs of a person with a rifle; except perhaps for ultra-long range shooting – but there you already need a completely different margin of corrections, the maximum possible resolution of the optics, and there are no restrictions on weight and dimensions. So it’s time to open the box and look at the NX8 4-32 × 50 live.
The first thing that catches your eye when you open the box with the sight is a complete set. I remember how surprised I was to learn that some manufacturers didn’t even equip their sights with cheap protective covers.
At Nightforce NX8 this is all right: our 4-32×50 is equipped not just with some caps for the lens and eyepiece, but with Tenebraex protective caps – one of the most expensive and high-quality on the market.
In addition to the covers, the sight is equipped with a removable lever for quick change of magnification ratio, a branded bag with a rag for lenses and a special key of a cunning shape.
I quickly install the sight in the Spuhr monoblock and drive to the landfill. “Cold sighting” through the trunk does not take much time, and now I am making the first shots at 100 m.
The MIL-C reticle with a dot in the middle allows you to catch on to the smallest targets and shoot exercises from the arsenal of police sniping easily and naturally, and detuning the parallax from 10 yards makes it possible to clearly focus at any distance.
After shooting, I go to a distance of 300 m; the set maximum multiplicity of 32x allows you to easily see holes in the target sheet from bullets of caliber 6.5 mm. I have no complaints about the optical quality of the sight lenses – everything is extremely clear, the colors are not distorted at all.
The MIL-C grid is not overloaded with unnecessary information and does not interfere with firing at paper targets. Observation and aiming at gongs at long distances is also carried out without problems – the numbers of gongs are quite readable even in conditions of strong evaporation from the ground.
The gong at a distance of 800 m was struck by the first shot – the calculation of the amendments turned out to be accurate. This suggests that the magnitude of the click of the sight corresponds to the declared one (however, I will check this with a separate test).
My rifle complex ballistically matches the .308 Winchester caliber with medium and heavy bullets – it’s 6.5×47 Lapua with a short barrel 16.5 “long.
The stock of vertical corrections of the sight allows you to enter corrections up to a kilometer and further, completely closing the capabilities of the caliber – and this without additional tilt of the bar or monoblock. The grid also allows you to do this without entering vertical corrections at all.
The main complaint about sights with a reticle in the first focal plane is the small visible size of the reticle at a minimum magnification, which, accordingly, significantly reduces the comfort of effective aiming.
I transfer the NX8 to the minimum 4x and try to catch the center of the grid on the chest target at a distance of 100 m – there are no problems. If you additionally turn on the backlight, then aiming at the target is even easier and faster.
The opportunity to continue the test fell in a week. It was another rifle, although for the test it did not matter. The task this time was to verify the conformity of the click price to the declared one – and to make sure that the sight precisely “returns” to zero after twisting the vertical corrections drum as high as possible.
The repeatability of the corrections mechanism is the most important quality of any optical sight; without it, any other advantages cease to matter.
The test itself can be done in different ways, but the main thing is a fairly high target, the presence of a level on the rifle and a small shooting distance; it is necessary that the height of the target shield is sufficient for the entire stock of corrections, and that the wind and other external factors minimally affect the result.
Therefore, I set the target shield at 45 m from my position, select the aiming point at the very bottom and take the first two shots with the vertical correction drum set to “zero” – this will be our starting point. After that – 20 clicks on the drum up, the aiming point remains unchanged, again two shots; and this cycle repeats until the stock of vertical corrections runs out.
After 18 shots and 180 clicks of the drum, the limit is almost reached – making 20 more clicks is no longer possible, after 194 clicks from zero in total, the drum stops spinning. I spin the drum back to zero and do the last two shots – they go to the same place as the first two, from which it all started. They returned to zero successfully!
Now – roulette in hand and forward to the target. The click price of the sight is 0.1 mrad, that is, 0.45 cm at a distance of 45 m; accordingly, after 180 clicks we had to go up 81 cm. I measure the distance from the first pair of holes at the very bottom of the target shield to the last at the top – and get 83 cm.
That is, it turns out that somewhere 2 cm are lost – but where? In my opinion, this error is due to the fact that it is not clear from what point the distance to the target should be counted – either from the muzzle of the rifle barrel, or from the sight of the sight, or from the drum of vertical corrections? Somewhere here, probably, these lost centimeters are hiding.
Nevertheless, we established the main thing – the intervals between the holes on the target are the same, and the sight itself successfully returned to zero. So you can trust the sight boldly and completely – and this is important if we want to shoot far and accurately and each time get a predictable result.
If we talk about the cons of Nightforce NX8 4-32×50, I only note that it didn’t seem to me optically as bright as my usual Zeiss – although this may be explained by the presence of a 56-mm lens in my Zeiss sight.
Also, I was somewhat confused by adjusting the magnification factor – I don’t see which value I stopped at (but this is rather the habit of using a scope with a reticle in the second focal plane).
In general, the new NX8 scope from Nightforce Optics left me with the most positive impression. NX8 4-32 × 50 is really universal, and all its characteristics exactly match the declared by the manufacturer.
This sight covers all the needs of a shooter who plans to participate in sniping or PRS competitions, and will be no less magnificent when hunting from a tower, from an approach or in the mountains. Perhaps I will not use my passage about the “beer bottle” for Nightforce sights anymore.
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