After reviewing the Nightforce NX8 1-8x scope and being very impressed, I have been not so patiently waiting to get my hands on one of the higher-powered versions, either a 2.5-20x or the 4-32x. Important things like fulfilling government contracts and surviving COVID slowdowns took priority but these situations have finally eased up enough so I could get one for review as we roll into hunting season.
The NX8 4-32×50 F1 may be a bit over the top for me as a hunting scope, but for those like me that have been bitten by the long-range precision shooting bug or have vast amounts of wide-open big sky spaces, it is certainly a great option. All through the testing, I found myself becoming a power hog and using every bit of the magnification that the mirage would allow.
I’ve used one of the Nightforce ATACR 7-35x scopes for precision rifle matches before so I certainly can appreciate the option of having a greater magnification for smaller or more distant targets. A side by side comparison of the two illustrates the size and weight savings of the NX8 line compared to the bigger ATACR, obviously somewhat different markets.
I mounted the 4-32 on three different rifles during the testing. Its size didn’t totally overwhelm the 18” AR-15 I mounted it on, so I think it would make an impressive combination for precision gas gun matches, but it did fit more naturally atop both the bolt guns.
Magnification- 4-32 power
Length- 13.4 inches
Tube Diameter- 30mm
Weight- 28.6 ounces
Adjustments- .1 MRAD
Elevation Range- 26MRAD
Windage Range- 20 MRAD
Illumination- Yes,Redor Green selectable
Battery Type- CR2032
The NX8 4-32x weighs 28.6 oz., with a set of NF rings it tipped my scales at 32.25 ounces, and was 13.4 inches long. The clarity was excellent, as I’ve come to expect from Nightforce, and it was easy to zoom in and pick up small targets.
As always, when power increases light transmission decreases, this was not a problem at all during daylight shooting sessions; there was more than adequate light transmission. As the light faded in the afternoons, it was easy to compensate by decreasing magnification power to get a bit more light on the targets. It’s different having the capability to change your magnification by a factor of 28, 4-32x gives a wide range of viewing options. Definitely a whole new world from the olden days of 3-9x hunting scopes.
As with the other NX8 models, the 4-32 has an exposed elevation turret that is well marked and has positive clicks for making range adjustments. The model I tested was in Mils, with 10 mils per revolution of the turret in .1 Mil increments.
The elevation turret has two set screws to allow resetting the turret to “0” once your gun is zeroed. Under the elevation turret is the zero stop that allows setting the bottom of turret movement to ensure the shooter is able to determine which rotation of the turret he began from.
The windage turret is capped to prevent inadvertent adjustments. This turret is in .1 Mil increments as well. The scope body and tops of both turrets are marked to indicate the direction of rotation to move impacts up or to the right. Each Mil unit on the windage turret is also marked with an “R” or “L” to assist in keeping shooters on target during adjustments; under pressure, I’ll take all the help (reminders) I can get.
The parallax adjustment is on the left side of the scope and this knob also has a button in the center that controls the reticle illumination. The NX8 has Nightforce’s DigIllum which illuminates the reticle at several intensities in either a red or green color.
Pushing the button once turns the illumination on and it comes on back to the last setting you were using which is convenient. Pressing the button changes the intensity level until it reaches the end of the direction it is moving (brighter or dimmer), then the reticle flashes and changes to the other direction.
Holding the button in for about 5 seconds changes the color between green or red. The background and lighting determine which color or just plain black is most optimal. Pressing and holding the center of the parallax cap for about 3 seconds and releasing turns off the illumination. The battery is located under the parallax cap.
Every model of the NX8 line comes standard with Nightforce’s Power Throw Lever (PTL). This is a small stud that can be attached to the magnification control ring to allow faster, easier changes in scope magnification. They also come with a great set of scope caps that flip to the side to protect the lenses and keep them free of rain and dust.
As I said before, I became a little bit of a power hog when I took the 4-32x down to the range. I can’t say you need 32x when shooting 100 yards or even 300 yards, but it makes it a whole lot easier to see your bullet holes.
The Mil-XT reticle is as expected Mil based. It is easy to understand and without any extraneous information or clutter. At the medium to higher end of the magnification scale, it was easy to see, read, and make both elevation hold overs and windage holds using the reticle.
At the lower end of the range, in the 4-6x area, the reticle left me a bit wanting. The primary horizontal stadia has 10 Mils of small incremental markings to both sides of center before it becomes a thicker easier to see line.
The vertical has no thicker line at all, above or below center; the 42 Mils of .2 Mil increments below the center line for hold overs is very fine and while readable does not make for a fast aiming reticle at lower power.
I understand the dilemma, the reticle has to be sized properly as to not be too thick at higher power, and changes size with the power so this is the compromise of having magnification increase 28 power from 4-32x.
Don’t get me wrong, I still feel I could hunt or shoot targets at 100 yards on 4x. I think I would have felt better about the reticle if it had thicker stadia coming in a bit closer to center for faster low power shots, but we all know you can’t make everyone happy and I certainly don’t know all the reticle patents and issues that have to be dodged in these current times.
I ran the 4-32 F1 through several tracking drills and it performed better than the groups of the gun I was shooting. I tracked it vertically up and down 8 Mils several times, and did box drills taking it up, left, down, and right 3 Mils each direction back around to the starting point and it came back to where we started every time.
I mounted the NX8 in both a one-piece AR style high mount and a set of regular rings for the bolt guns and had no issues with zeroing, tracking, or parallax adjustments.
If you are looking for a scope for precision competition or the hunt of a lifetime you owe it to yourself to give the NX8 offerings a serious look. I think the NX8 F1 line of scopes with the wide range of magnification choices, focal plane options, Mil or MOA adjustment options, reticle options, and illumination choices leaves little else to be desired.
Nightforce is offering so much magnification in such small packages, the only thing you could wish for is a bit lower price tag, but performance like this will never be inexpensive, you pay for what you get, and would you really want to trust a trophy hunt or major tournament to anything less?