Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 was introduced after the hunters, especially the varminters, sought for an affordable but reliable and precision riflescope that helps them hunt the predators and small animals that infest farms and endanger livestocks. SHV’s full form is Shooter Hunter Varminter and the name itself says it all. This is the first ever budget riflescope introduced by Nightforce Optics, especially to meet the needs of hunters and varminters who need to hunt predators at medium-to-long range distance. Nightforce SHV riflescopes can be bought at a price within $1,000-$1,500 price range, which is significantly more affordable (by around $800 less) to the standard Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 model.
Though some shooters are apprehensive about SHV’s quality, we found this riflescope to be sturdy and at the same time coupled with amazing optical quality (including exceptionally well color contrast, crispness of image, and superb optical clarity throughout the entire magnification). As Nightforce SHV model is available at an affordable price, many consider this scope to be low in quality. However, at the time of testing this riflescope we found out that unlike many other variable scopes where optical quality dramatically deteriorates at high level magnification ranges, we found no such problems with SHV. Nightforce Optics has incorporated 30mm main tube, multiple reticle options, ZeroSet feature (a similar feature as patented ZeroStop), and illumination options. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, an adventure shooting lover, or a varmint hunter, you will find this affordable Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 Zeroset .25 MOA MOAR Center Illuminated C535 riflescope useful and handy.
Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 comes with some notable features:
1. The first important feature of SHV scopes is reliability. No matter how adverse the weather and field condition is, the rugged construction makes it sail through comfortably in all conditions. Repeatable nature of the scope, coupled with affordability makes this riflescope that more buyable. These three features (repeatability, reliability, and ruggedness) makes it a versatile scope, which can be used for varmint hunting, big game shooting, long range target shooting, and many others.
2. As Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 Zeroset .25 MOA MOAR Center Illuminated C535 comes at an affordable price (in the $1,000-$1,500 range), many shooters think that it is qualitatively compromised. However, we found Nightforce engineers’ skilled workmanship in this riflescope too. It comes with precise tolerance level so that users can use it in any kind of field condition without compromising accuracy. Just like any other Nightforce scopes, Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 also has been manufactured from quality materials. In fact, one aspect that made us put faith in this robust riflescope is its ability to withstand heavy recoil of magnum caliber rifles for long range shooting.
Now, you may ask, how was Nightforce Optics able to deliver such a high quality scope at near-$1,000 price level? Lowering of SHV’s price can be attributed to selective screening of certain features and putting them aside. In fact, what Nightforce actually did is cut the bulk associated with the combat-proven Nightforce NXS.
One such example of cutting the robust feature is surely the choice of ZeroSet feature in place of the patented ZeroStop one. The shooters will no doubt get a similar experience as they get from ZeroStop feature (found in Nightforce NXS) but not as good as that. This is one of the examples of compromise Nightforce had to make for providing high quality shooting experience at such low price. After doing our field tests on this SHV scope, we believed that Nightforce has only curtailed the overbuilt features of NXS that was originally created for withstanding combat conditions of military and law and order situations. As SHV scope was built for hunters mainly, they really don’t need the overbuilt features of NXS.
Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 comes with a 5x to 20x magnification range, 56mm objective lens diameter, reticles located in the Second Focal Plane (SFP), internal adjustment of 80 MOA (21.8 mil) elevation and 50 MOA windage (13.6 mil), and standard 30mm or 1.18 inch tube diameter. It comes with parallax adjustment – right from 25 yards to infinity. For providing enough safeguard for massive recoil, Nightforce has provided enough eye relief here – 80mm to 90 mm (or 3.15 inch to 3.54 inch).
Exit pupil diameter ranges from 8.7mm (at 5x magnification) to 2.5mm (at 20x magnification). Long range hunters and shooters will find SHV scope especially useful because of the fact that they can use it for observation for long hours over a vast plane. Field of view of this scope is significantly wide, right from 17.9 feet to 5 feet per 100 yards (or 5.46m to 1.52m per 100 meters). Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 Zeroset .25 MOA MOAR Center Illuminated C535 comes with .250 MOA click value and 20x calibrated ranging power. Nightforce SHV is a significantly long scope (15.2 inches or 386 mm) but still has a moderate weight of 29.1 ounces or 825 grams. 6.5 inches (or 165mm) is the mounting length of this riflescope. While front mounting length is 2.81 inches, the rear mounting length is 2.04 inches.
Though we expected Nightforce to provide Power Throw Lever (PTL) as standard equipment, they actually made it an accessory. The manufacturer is providing two reticle choices with Nightforce SHV riflescopes and they are MOAR and IHR. The SHV 5-20×56 Zeroset .25 MOA MOAR Center Illuminated C535, we are discussing here, comes with MOAR reticle. Illumination of reticle is also optional. It is up to you to choose between an illuminated and non-illuminated reticle. Elevation features comes with ZeroSet feature. So, once the zero is set in a riflescope, you don’t have to remember where you set the zero because the same is maintained through ZeroSet.
While testing the Nightforce SHV, we decided to compare it with Vortex Viper PST riflescope. One of the biggest advantages we have found here is the significantly large adjustments in both windage and elevation. This feature makes it easier for the long range shooters and hunters to take long range shots. Though we loved almost all aspects of Vortex Viper PST, our final recommendation will be to go with Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 Zeroset .25 MOA MOAR Center Illuminated C535.
Now, you may ask why Nightforce SHV? There are various reasons for that. The objective lens has been optimized in such a manner that it is perfect for use in low light conditions. In fact, the resolution of the lens is amazing. Another aspect we loved about Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 is the fast focus eye piece, which is European-styled. This helps in easy and quick diopter adjustment. We always loved the fact that MOAR reticle is a very simple reticle to use. Same is the case for the other reticle option available and that is IHR (illuminated or non-illuminated). For providing rugged characteristic feature to this riflescope, Nightforce Optics has manufactured this SHV scope from aircraft grade aluminum (machined 6061 T6). No matter which dial you are using, each one of them is put under waterproof cap. Nightforce has provided superior resistance as well as greater strength in SHV 5-20×56 scope to point-of-impact shifts.
If you are looking for a high quality riflescope for varmint hunting, big game shooting, and long range target shooting, Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 Zeroset .25 MOA MOAR Center Illuminated C535 is the right scope for you.