Nightforce Choices

Mean Dean

Sep 21, 2020
Almost finished with a new rifle build - 280 Ackley on a Model 70 stainless action, with a 26" Krieger stainless barrel, on a slightly modified Bell and Carlson stock. Rifle currently weighs 7.5 pounds without rings or optics. It is out for Cerakote now. Now my question:

I have narrowed scope choices down to the Nightforce 4x16x50 ATACR, the 5x25x56 ATACR, and the 4x32x50 NX8. Ring recommendations too.

This being my first Nightforce optic, I thought I'd pick the brains of those here "in-the-know", so to speak. I'm new to this forum, although I've been lurking in the shadows for some time.

Appreciate your thoughts and advice - thanks in advance!


Sep 30, 2004
Do you mean the 4-32x50 NX8?

You really can’t go wrong with the nightforce line of scopes. Personally I think it would be really hard to beat the 2.5-20 NX8. It’s a little lighter than the ATACR too.

Where you looking at FFP or SFP?

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Range Officer
Staff member
Oct 30, 2004
I have the ATACR on my 375 BAS and the NX8 2.5-20 on my 30-378 Bee. Both work great.

I use Warne rings on just about everything.


Dec 24, 2017
I have the 5x25x56 ATACR and have found no reason not to love this scope!

Out of your choices this is the one I would defer to ... given the prices of these scopes it's not something you buy everyday & is rather an investment you will use for decades. Given that, why not go for the 5x25x56 ATACR with the 25X ability and the larger 56mm objective. Also, the 5x25x56 ATACR has more elevation and windage adjustment than the 4x16x50 ATACR or the 4x32x50 NX8.

For rings I went with their XTRM - Ring Set - 1.00" Medium - 34mm - Ultralite™, 6 screw rings and also have a 20MOA base as well.

Just my 2 cents.


Feb 13, 2016
I use the 5x25x56 ATACR on all of my rifles except one which uses the NXS 8-32x56, love them. ATACR is slightly heavier than the NSX. I use the turrets to adjust elevation according to my elevation chart taped to my stocks.


Aug 16, 2011
I feel the big advantage to the scopes you have mentioned is long range shooting . these scopes have over 100 MOA total elevation . they should dial up and return to zero flawlessly . the glass used in these are pretty darned good . these are heavy weight scopes , that weigh right around 2 pounds +/- . if you're going to carry the rifle in and stay put for the hunt these scopes would be ok . I have 2 NXS scopes on rifles that I use this way . I'll carry in and watch a clear cut , or a farmers field . I don't move much . I find my target , dial my elevation , and take the shot . on my one rifle I shoot 2375 yards I think I'm around 93 MOA . big heavy scopes require big heavy mounting systems . I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to carry all this around on a days hunt busting brush .

so if I were you , I'd want to ponder on a couple questions ;
how far are you planning on shooting ?
how are you planning on using the rifle ? carry it around , or go in and sit
are you ok with 3+ pounds of scope and mounting ?
are you ok with a big 56mm scope obj bell ?
do you want to deal with side focus with maybe a quick shot ?

edit to add ;

what power on the low setting are you comfortable with ?
big obj bells cause a higher scope , meaning your cheek weld changes . to get the most out of all this elevation adjustment , you'll want a tapered rail with probably 50 or 60 moa . this also causes you to loose your cheek weld . there is a lot to think about on these big scopes .

I'm not trying to talk you out of it , I'm just pointing out some of the side effects . my next long range scope will be an atacr for on my one long range rifle . I think it'll be great for what I do with it .


Dec 24, 2006
Don’t overlook their awesome NXS 2.5x10 Compact. A lot of darned scope for hunting BG. I can’t think of a shot I’d take at a BG animal I couldn’t make with this one.


Nov 17, 2005
I would opt for something that doesnt weigh 2# on a 7.5# hunting rig myself. Not to say NF arent any good, because they clearly are, but damm they are heavy SOBs compared to other manufacturers. I think the 4-16x would be plenty of big game scope for a 280 AI at any sane range, and still allow you to play at 1K on steel, all while keeping the weight down a bit. Just my thoughts anyway.


Jun 19, 2011
^^^ I agree with the two above, and the weight/size issue. I have two ATACR's the 5-25, and the 7-35. That said they're on PRS/Long range target weapons, and a Vudoo M40A1 style 22 LR. I have a USO 1.8-10x37 TPAL on my 280 AI and would never need anything more on it in that same weight class.