Nightforce NXS 2.5-10x42 Zerostop
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- Last updated: 27/07/2018
Nightforce are a premium American brand and have recently celebrated 25-years in the business. Their reputation has become synonymous with ultrarobust, super refined products, and when you consider they have supply contracts with the US Military and other special forces around the globe, it soon becomes obvious that we’re looking at seriously technical kit, designed for professional use.
On test, here, is the Nightforce NXS 2.5-10x42 Compact Zerostop model, which as the name suggests, is super compact, yet still comes packed with a technical specification to impress. Build quality, and extreme robustness come as standard, but admittedly, all this fine pedigree doesn’t come cheap. If an asking price of £2086 doesn’t encourage uncontrollable sobbing, then read on.
Built around a super robust adjustment mechanism and a 30mm body tube, this NXS offers variable magnification between 2.5 and 10x, and a front objective lens of 42mm. For the record, the outer bell is actually 50mm, but weight is still very acceptable at 20.5-ounces. Finish to the body tube is a highly practical matt black, and with a minimum parallax figure of 25-yards, this model is very adaptable to airgun use. My test model came fitted with exposed Tactical target turrets, clearly marked in .25 MOA click values, but there is also the option of completely concealed low profile screw capped turrets and also .1 Mil Radian clicks. Opt for the target turrets, and they are nicely in proportion, and far slimmer than many rivals; so, no problem with finding a case padded enough, as with some!
This model also comes fitted with what Nightforce term Zerostop, and this allows for a quick return to zero in the field if required – a feature I’ll come to in a moment. Further options come with illumination on certain reticle designs. Nightforce call it DigIllum illumination, and it offers red and green.
Magnification is variable between 2.5x and 10x as mentioned, and this is altered by gently twisting the magnification ring just forward of the quick focus collar at the rear. Nightforce include a small knob, which comes supplied in the protective carton, which allows the mag to be adjusted in field scenarios, with gloves on. Called the Power Throw Lever (PTL), it just needs to be screwed into the collar, in place of the neat blanking screw. A reassuring amount of resistance means that the collar is unlikely to move accidentally, and in keeping with the rest of the mechanics, movement is silky and ultra-refined.
The turrets themselves are .25 MOA and the clicks are super positive and audible. Both elevation and windage turrets offer 100MOA of internal adjustment through the range, and my zero box test proved the system to be pin sharp in tracking back. Back to that new Zerostop function – it allows the shooter to make adjustments and then feel the turret return and stop when it reaches back to zero. This is initially set by slackening the top turret screw after zeroing, removing the turret, then gently adjusting the internal mechanism as per the instructions, which registers at what point the zero lies on the spindle. The top turret is then replaced, and thereafter, the mechanism will stop at the zero point by feel alone. Okay, It’s not relevant for HFT admittedly, but handy perhaps, when using the same rifle combo in a hunting scenario. This model also features, as mentioned, side parallax adjustment- crucially down to 25-yards, which is a big help, allowing clarity to be usable through the usual HFT target distances of 8-45-yards. The side parallax adjuster on the left isn’t marked up with any distances, rather just white dashes, but you can add your own distances if you wish, or take my route, and just mark the point where the dial has been left at, basically to keep a check that it hasn’t accidentally moved. Movement has some resistance, so it shouldn’t move too easily, but peace of mind is everything in competition.
Not too good at making decisions? Well, Nightforce don’t help the issue, since there’s also a choice of four different reticles. The ‘IHR’ design has three large hollow posts with points surrounding a floating cross, then there’s the MILDOT, and MIL-R designs, and finally, the MOAR reticle, that came fitted to my scope. I have to say, this is one of the best reticles I’ve seen in a long while, and the combination of a bold design, that can’t easily be lost when viewing targets in dark trees, whilst still maintaining a precise aim point, is perfect for accurate shot placement in testing conditions. The floating cross and clear and precise multiple aimpoints down the upright, are just perfect for me, but personal eyesight and preferences will play a part here. Aim points are perfectly proportioned for airgun use, and I wouldn’t hesitate in competing with this scope in an HFT event.
To illuminate the reticle stadia, just press and gently hold the centre of the left turret. Further pressing and holding can switch between green and red, and also different brightness levels. I’m never bothered about illumination, but I know several shooters that are and it’s here if you want it!
Image quality, brightness, colour vibrancy, edge to edge clarity and resolution on test, were all impeccable, and with multi-coated lenses and a strict build regime adopted by Nightforce, the end result is an upmarket product, that not only ‘does the business’, but really inspires confidence. All the usual guarantees are here too, so our investment is sound
Just lately, several shooters have been experimenting with high sight lines, but many HFT shooters still strive to keep the sight line as low and as near to the bore as possible. Streamlined, relatively low profile models, such as this NXS, are therefore ideal. Ultra-robust, and with a precision feel, it’s difficult not to get excited when handling this NXS Compact. I just love that reticle too, but of course it is pricey. Whether this particular model is worth substantially more than many of its rivals is up for debate, but one thing is for sure, image and build quality are simply superb, to the point where I am seriously tempted to empty the bank account! Watch this space!
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