Nightforce vs Leupold Mk5

Spark352

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Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
127
Looking for a new scope for a do-all 300 WSM build I'm almost finished on. This will be the primary rifle that I will use for hunting and ringing steel at the range. I am not fixed on an FFP or SFP scope. I really want something that has exposed elevation and illumination. Durability is a top priority with glass quality following shortly behind. Not really looking for anything over a 4x on the low end, as I hunt some pretty thick areas, and don't "need" more than 12-15 on the top end.

After reading just about everything there is online I've narrowed it down to the Nx8 4-32x50, Leupold Mk5 3.6-18x44, and possibly a used ATACR 4-16x42, although they are hard to come by used. These seem to be the best optics in my budget. I like the ATACR and Mk5 for the locking turrets but it is not a must. I've heard the Nx8 can be a little hard to get behind. Not sure if this applies to the 4-32 as well though. The Mk5 seems to fit the bill although there are a few reviews online that make me question the durability.

All of these scopes are hard to find locally to spend some time behind so yalls opinions are much appreciated.
 

MidGAHunter

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Feb 28, 2019
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Having used all three, my recommendation would be a used or demo baby ATACR. If that doesn't work, the NX8 (really not difficult to get behind in my opinion).
 

General RE LEE

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Dec 28, 2019
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708
I owned a Mark 5HD. Excellent scope and glass but I have to ask, have you looked through a FFP scope yet on low power? The reticle is very small and hard to see in low light. I sold my Mark 5HD for that reason. I do want a Mark 5 HD again for a primary range rifle with some hunting but illumination is a must and anything under 5x is not really usable in the woods. I would recommend the 3.6-18x44 Mark 5HD since it is lighter weight.
 

BIG_KUMAR

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Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
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I have used the Mark 5 and the NX8 2.5-20 for the last 18 months or so, and I like them both. My Leupold isn't illuminated, but I don't really need it for what I'm using it for. My NX8 is more particular about the parallax adjustment, but it isn't bad enough to be burdensome or frustrating to me. There is a lot of discussion about the eyebox on the NX8's, but I haven't had any issues with any of mine AFTER I took the time to fit everything to me. I wouldn't be upset taking either of them into the woods, but I also understand their limitations.

Going from your list I would really look at the ATACR. It has been a year or two since I really spent any time behind one, but I really like them as well. It is actually the next scope on my list to buy as soon as I get done moving. IIRC, the reticle was still usable at the bottom end due to the smaller magnification ratio for those close shots.
 

TK-421

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Oct 28, 2018
Messages
1,268
The premium Leupold charges for illumination is a joke. I’d cross off the MK5 if you absolutely need illumination. Otherwise, I’d take an unilluminated MK5 over an NX8. The MK5 directly competes with the ATACR line, so I’d pick based on reticle or maybe weight.

No question that I’d take an ATACR over an NX8. You can regularly find used 4-16x42 ATACRs in the $1,800 range, and I’ve seen many used Mil-Rs go for about $1600. Everything about the ATACR is superior to the NX8.

I don’t think the ATACR “glass” is very good compared to true alpha tier scopes, but it’s generally useable. If you shoot smaller targets and/or in challenging conditions, the ATACR will struggle comparatively.
 

AkMtnRunner

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Jul 24, 2016
Messages
620
I am not sure if you considered it, but the Trijicon Tenmile 3-18 meets your criteria, has shown as great durability as any other, and can be had for a bit less than the ones you mentioned. People who have far more experience than me have nothing but good things to say about them.
 

General RE LEE

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
708
Before anything I recommend looking through a FFP scope on low power first. You mentioned you hunt a lot of thick areas. You may be better off with a SFP.
 
OP
Spark352

Spark352

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
127
I've had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time behind the Mk5 along with a few other FFPs. I do find the reticle a little small on the low end and I could see it being a challenge. That's why I'm thinking an illuminated scope is a must. The Nightforce illumination system seems nice because of the auto-off feature. Kick it on if I'm in thicker stuff or right before dark and not have to worry about turning it off.

The mini ATACR with the 30 MOA reticle seems as if it would help with the smallish reticle because of the fairly large post. I think this might be the perfect combo. I guess I'll be on the hunt for a used mini ATACR or possibly an SFF Nx8.
 

amassi

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 26, 2018
Messages
2,366
The mark 5 pr 1 ffp reticle is useful for my poor eyesight from 6-18. In dark broken terrain and timber
It could benefit from heavier posts

Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
 

aggiegolfer09

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2021
Messages
17
I have heard there are tracking issues with mark 5hd. For that reason I would go with a nightforce. If you have the chance to test out the NX8 vs the ATACR then that would be best. I love my NX8 in ffp but the reticle is small in the lower power. I do mostly target shooting with it so it works fine for my use. For hunting I would prefer 2nd focal plane
 

PredatorSlayer

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Joined
Jul 20, 2019
Messages
1,343
Looking for a new scope for a do-all 300 WSM build I'm almost finished on. This will be the primary rifle that I will use for hunting and ringing steel at the range. I am not fixed on an FFP or SFP scope. I really want something that has exposed elevation and illumination. Durability is a top priority with glass quality following shortly behind. Not really looking for anything over a 4x on the low end, as I hunt some pretty thick areas, and don't "need" more than 12-15 on the top end.

After reading just about everything there is online I've narrowed it down to the Nx8 4-32x50, Leupold Mk5 3.6-18x44, and possibly a used ATACR 4-16x42, although they are hard to come by used. These seem to be the best optics in my budget. I like the ATACR and Mk5 for the locking turrets but it is not a must. I've heard the Nx8 can be a little hard to get behind. Not sure if this applies to the 4-32 as well though. The Mk5 seems to fit the bill although there are a few reviews online that make me question the durability.

All of these scopes are hard to find locally to spend some time behind so yalls opinions are much appreciated.
I would go NX8. I have a 4-32 F2 and love it. I really like the NXS line as well. I have a 5.5-22x56 and the 2.5-10 compact on order. 5.5 on the bottom end isn’t bad with the FOV. I would stay away from FFP on a hunting rifle…i have had several and always try and talk myself into loving them, but can’t get there. I had a VX6HD 4-24x52 for a while. Glass was amazing and loaded with features.
 
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Spark352

Spark352

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Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
127
I had a NSX 2.5-10 for awhile and really liked it. I just felt like I wanted a little more optically and mag range for this build.

I’ll have to try and do some research to see if anywhere has an Nx8’s I could get behind. I just wish there SFF offerings were a little better in the Nx8 line.

How useable is the 4-32 on the upper magnification range? I’ve seen some reviews that state it’s basically unusable past the 24ish mark.
 

amassi

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 26, 2018
Messages
2,366
I had a NSX 2.5-10 for awhile and really liked it. I just felt like I wanted a little more optically and mag range for this build.

I’ll have to try and do some research to see if anywhere has an Nx8’s I could get behind. I just wish there SFF offerings were a little better in the Nx8 line.

How useable is the 4-32 on the upper magnification range? I’ve seen some reviews that state it’s basically unusable past the 24ish mark.
Nonsense about the 4-32 it's usable through the entire mag range.
Admittedly mine is essentially a 4-16 but that's due to my style over its ability.

Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
 
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Spark352

Spark352

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Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
127
Good to hear. Any one have input on how it performs optically compared to a Swaro Z5? Are you giving up much with the Nx8 as far as color and resolution? Low light ability?
 

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