We were surprised to find out that after writing tons of reviews on so many leading riflescopes, binoculars, rifles, and other hunting products, we have not written review on one of the most popular combat proven tactical riflescopes – Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56. It surely is odd on our part. However, we realized that people generally don’t ask questions on some of the most popular products available in the market. In fact, this is the only plausible reason we came up with for not writing a review on Nightforce NXS.
Getting an Initial Idea
For writing a comprehensive review, we selected Nightforce C434 NXS 5.5-22×56 Zero Stop MOAR riflescope for our test. It comes at an above-$2,000 price point and that’s why people get finicky about every feature and specification about it before buying. Before getting into the details of Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56, it is important to check out the specifications first.
Nightforce Optics has incorporated this mid-to-long-range tactical scope with a magnification range that varies from 5.5x to 22x. For allowing more light to pass through the scope, this NXS riflescope has been provided with an objective lens having 56mm diameter. The standard 30mm tube body ensures enough light gathering capability for production of brighter image with more contrast. In fact, with this scope attached to the rifle, shooters will be able to spot even the animals camouflaging behind the shadiest woods.
As Nightforce NXS is used with magnum rifles having strongest recoils, Nightforce has given a comfortable 99 mm or 3.9 inches eye relief. Even if you wear glasses or like to shoot with the sunglasses on during daylight, you will find this eye relief comfortable enough for taking shot. In fact, this scope can be used comfortably for observation over a wide area because the field of view here is 17.5’ to 4.7’ per 100 yards. The click value is 0.25 MOA, elevation adjustment range is 100 MOA, and windage adjustment range is 60 MOA. Nightforce C434 NXS 5.5-22×56 Zero Stop MOAR riflescope comes with MOAR reticle, located in the second focal plane. This scope is significantly long (15.2 inches) and weighs 32 ounces (which is not at all light in weight).
Getting started with the Review
Nightforce NXS is produced by a US-based company, which is considered among the leading manufacturers of optical devices for hunting, tactical, and competition gaming community. Though it is true that the scope belongs to US, some parts of the device are chiseled in Japan, especially the optics. Essentially, the entire assembling part is done in the US by hand in the Idaho facility. It must be said that there are many companies in Japan that are renowned for producing some really good optical products and Nightforce has opted for utilizing the best they can get from these companies. However, it is also a fact that Nightforce optics is moving more and more of its manufacturing aspects in the USA, which is evident from the fact that except for the optics, Nightforce NXS F1 and Nightforce Compact riflescopes are almost entirely manufactured and assembled in the USA.
The first thing we noticed is the unique Nightforce triangle box in which it comes. There is lot of space within it, which ensures that the scope gets all the required protection from external harm that can be caused during shipping or transit. The lifetime warranty card can be found inside the box. We conducted a survey among the long time users of Nightforce products and almost all of them said that it was rather easy availing the warranty needs. When compared with other European scopes, availing the warranty was easier in case of Nightforce because of the factory location in central Idaho. Another aspect we inquired while writing the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 review is that every scope is subjected to tough quality testing to check whether it is capable of withstanding the toughest environment and field conditions. That’s why every Nightforce scope comes with a sticker that bears the signature of the person who quality checked it.
Reviewing different aspects of Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 Scope
Just by taking the scope in hand, you will feel how large the scope is. Both from the perspective of size as well as shape, the scope can be put in the “large” category in addition to putting it in the premier riflescope category. It is a 15.2 inches long riflescope that comes with pretty heavy weight of 32 ounces.
Design & Shape
As already mentioned in the specs section, Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 C434 Zero Stop MOAR comes with a 30mm standard body where the body is manufactured from 6061-T6 aluminum. This ensures that no matter how harsh the condition in which you use this scope, you will not face any problem. In fact, when compared with other established scopes, this NXS scope’s body is found to be 2 to 3 times thicker. One thing that needs special mention is the fact that the tube body has not been manufactured from a single block of aluminum. However, the assembly has been done in such an advanced manner that there is not a pinch of doubt in the device’s durability. The manufacturer has applied a nice black anodized finish to the entire riflescope body, which looks to be considerably thick as well as rugged. If the entire design and shape of this riflescope is considered, it has got everything that a well designed high end riflescope should have.
We loved the large exposed knobs in these riflescopes because they can be hold with ease and adjustment done even from behind the scope. The three large sized knobs come with adequate serrations. The numbers marked on them come with adequate gaps between them so that there is no chance of overlapping between two settings. Most importantly, the clicks are distinct and audible, in addition to clear markings on the same. While testing the scope, the weather was chilly and we wore gloves. Even with these gloves on, we had no problem in making the adjustments. We hardly made any mistake while adjusting the elevation knob because of the availability of distinct and spacious markings on the same. 10 revolutions are possible on the elevation knob to maximum elevation, which is 100 MOA. With every revolution of the knob, you will get 10 MOA elevation.
Windage knob also comes with a similar size and shape as elevation knob. The clicks are similarly distinct and spacious from one another so that there is no problem for the shooter to get the precise windage setting. Users will find 1 MOA per revolution of the windage knob handy. We also found the same set of screws as found in elevation knob here at the top for allowing exact setting. Counting up of windage knob in either direction is present and overlapping takes place at 5 MOA. If you are using the scope with long range 308 loads having 175gr class bullets, you will be able to get 10 MPH cross winds up to around 600 yards. The overlap starts after you need more over 600 yards. In such a case, a shooter simply needs to remember the windage where it is set and needs to be diligent at the time of tracking.
On left side of Nightforce C434 NXS 5.5-22×56 Zero Stop MOAR, there is the focus knob. This has a basic similar shape as the windage or elevation knob but it is a bit taller as well as longer. The focus range is significantly wide and the indicator marks are decent. However, no marking can be found with the indicator markings. Infinity marking is definitely there on one end. This is the knob where a shooter will find the switching on/off facility of the illuminated reticle. For illuminating the reticle, you simply have to pull the focus knob out. To turn the reticle illumination off, simply push the knob in.
Brightness of the reticle illumination can also be done but doing that is not as easy as turning on or off the illumination. For brightness setting, first you have to remove focus knob upward, followed by removing of the battery located there. Now, use a small flat blade screw driver for adjusting the brightness by turning a little brightness control screw in there. However, the shooter must keep in mind that the brightness setting screw is a sensitive area. However, we found out that the brightness setting has been set by the Nightforce engineers at an intermediate position so that it is capable of covering almost all the field situations (95 per cent of them). In only 5 per cent of cases, hunters and shooters will have to adjust the reticle illumination brightness.
Patented Zero Stop feature is extremely helpful for shooters in the field as they don’t need to remember zero in the elevation anymore. To make it easier to understand for the dummies, this feature helps in finding the initial reference point easily and quickly. Just after setting the zero at Nightforce C434 NXS 5.5-22×56 Zero Stop MOAR, a shooter simply has to set the knob at zero, which will help in setting the zerostop. With this point at the reference point a shooter can adjust the elevation to whatever level he/she wants. We simply loved this feature.
Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 Zero Stop MOAR C434 come with MOAR reticle so that the shooters are able to acquire target quickly because of the ease of view through this reticle. There is hardly any complexity in MOAR but that doesn’t mean that you will not be able to range the targets through it. For a precision long range shooter, ease of view coupled with ability to range are the two most sought after features and this reticle is capable of providing them with just that. Precise aiming point in this reticle is provided by the floating center crosshair. Both elevation and windage spacing are of 1 MOA. Best aspect about this reticle is that it can be used in almost all kinds of applications – right from tactical competition, long range hunting, varmint hunting to field tactical. Line subtensions in Nightforce MOAR reticle is thicker than that of the traditional ones and the elevation markings are done at 10 MOA, 20 MOA, and 30 MOA. No matter which field condition you are using this Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 Zero Stop MOAR riflescope, typical MOAR design makes it easier and faster in target acquisition. In fact, we were able to view the reticle against dark backgrounds and in low light conditions. For quicker target acquisition, the posts present at 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock positions come extremely handy. Though this reticle design has originally evolved from NP-R1 reticle design, MOAR is way ahead in terms of ease of use as well as preciseness for long range shooting.
Optics and Others
Just like any other scope of Nightforce Optics, this NXS line of scope comes with high quality optics. Though it is difficult to say whether the optical quality is better than that of Schmidt Bender, Hensoldt, or Zeiss scopes, it is definitely one among the best scopes available in the market currently. Image clarity and brightness are certainly two main aspects that are the highlights of this riflescope. Almost 4 inch eye relief ensures that Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 can be used with the heavy caliber magnum .50 BMG rifles, making it the perfect optical companion for long range precision shooters.
For adjusting the diopter, eye piece rotates in the traditional manner. Once reticle focus has been adjusted for your eye, you will get a locking ring for lock. For better gripping of the ring to tighten or loose, the manufacturer has provided serrations on it. To enables users get proper setting on power selection ring, indicative white markings are provided on it. However, during testing we found out that the marking can’t be read from behind the scope because of their flat characteristic feature. To read the marking, one has to raise head. We felt that this minor aspect could have been dealt in a better and more user friendly manner by Nightforce.
Another thing we thought could have been dealt with in a more user friendly manner is the rotation of entire eye piece. In this NXS 5.5-22x riflescope, the entire eye piece rotates, which to many users is a bit uneasy because the flip up caps also rotate with the eye piece and is surely an annoying feature for a long distance scope like this where a shooter or hunter has to rotate eye piece frequently for adjustment. When we inquired the Nightforce guys out there, they reasoned that this allows them to provide users with a more rugged eye piece, which is capable of withstanding the harshest environmental conditions. Though rotation of the eye-cups along with the entire eyepiece is extremely annoying, trading off is not at all a problem here. If you are in love with the eye-cups, you may find this entire rotating feature of the eyepiece annoying.
What’s the Final Verdict?
Nightforce C434 NXS 5.5-22×56 Zero Stop MOAR is definitely one of the best scopes we have tested and reviewed. There’s no doubt in it. It is the perfect riflescope a long range precision shooter should have in his possession. The overall optical performance is amazing. Durability and ruggedness of the scope is one of the best in all field and weather conditions (inspite of the fact that it is not manufactured from a single block of aluminum and is essentially assembled) and that’s why is perfect for use in combat operations including military. It is especially a military standard scope and the features are surely far more robust than the usual high quality long range scopes.
It is considerably long in size and has got a considerable weight too. If you are going to buy a high quality hunting scope for extreme long range hunting, you can definitely choose this NXS line scope. However, if the need is for stalking, go for Nightforce SHV rather than this. As already mentioned in the review, we found the full eyepiece rotation annoying because the attached flip up cap rotates with the eye piece every time you adjust it. In a long range scope like Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 Zero Stop MOAR C434, eyepiece needs to be rotated frequently by the user. Another aspect that could have been incorporated is easy adjustment feature of the reticle illumination. However, overall this scope is surely one of the best long range scopes available in the market.
If you are comfortable with shelling out over 2,000 bucks and really look forward to having a high quality long range scope in possession, Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56 C434 Zero Stop MOAR is the one you should buy.