In recognition of the growing long-range market segment, best-selling models from the ATACR, NXS, SHV and Benchrest families are available via Bass Pro Shops. These optics will pair well with both new and existing rifle, ammunition, accessory and reloading offerings Bass Pro has in its product portfolio related to hunting and shooting.
“We are very excited for this opportunity as it represents another big step forward for Nightforce Optics,” says Gordon Myers, Director of Sales and Marketing. “Bass Pro Shops is a leading retailer in the outdoor and firearms industry, and their commitment to providing quality products and recognition of the growing long-range market segment makes this a great fit for Nightforce.”
Nightforce is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium sport optics and related products, including riflescopes, spotting scopes and accessories. We are known for our rugged, high-precision engineered designs that are capable of holding up to punishing conditions. Based in Orofino, Idaho, Nightforce has established a benchmark for high-quality, high performance products that have accompanied soldiers into battle, world champion shooters to the winner’s podium, and helped hunters take the trophy of a lifetime.
About Bass Pro Shops® Bass Pro Shops is a leading destination retailer offering outdoor gear and apparel in an immersive setting. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today 102 retail and marine centers host 120 million people annually. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America’s Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is known as a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors.
As the competitive shooting sports grow, so do the style and complexity of matches competitors will face. In the past, and for the shorter range matches, the competitor was faced with the problem of needing a true 1x scope that also allows them to shoot targets out to four or five hundred yards. With the growth of more matches that make the shooter engage targets at mid to long range, with minimal targets under twenty or thirty yards, new optics are being considered as top choices for these matches. I recently had the chance to use a Nightforce NXS 2.5x10x32 and the versatility this optic offers is certainly advantage.
I mounted this scope on my Lancer Heavy Metal .308 and took it out to do some practice for next season. The scope was exceptionally clear and, although slightly larger than the 1-6x scopes on the market, I felt the extra magnification more than justified a larger optic. I chose the MIL-R reticule since I am familiar with using mils, and find it the best reticle to use when the possibility of using the scope with different calibers is probable. I also chose the 32mm scope over the 42mm because of the fixed parallax it offers. While shooting an adjustable parallax scope in sniper or long range type matches will offer an advantage, for DMR, Two Gun, and extended range 3 gun matches, this can be more of a hindrance since ensuring parallax is always adjusted out can take too much time while on the clock. Throughout the testing which involved shooting targets from 10-600 yards I did not feel this was a disadvantage in any way.
The first drill I performed was shooting close targets inside of twenty yards and then transitioning to targets from 100- 250 yards. I did this drill with the scope on 2.5 then switching it to a higher magnification for the further targets. Times were comparable to using a 1-4 or 1-6 scope although the true 1x scopes did prove slightly faster on targets under 15 yards. I then performed the same drill using roll to side 45 degree offsets sights and started with the scope turned up to the desired magnification for the longer targets to start. After a few warm ups to get used to the offset irons I ran the drill again and was very impressed. Times were much better, not only did I save time not having to turn the scope to a higher magnification but the 2.5-10 NXS allowed me more magnification for smaller targets at distance.
The next drill I performed was where this scope really shined. I placed a number of targets across the range from 100-600 yards. I then shot all the targets from a few different positions as fast as possible, and then again using the fewest number of shots possible not worrying about the time. In both scenarios it was no surprise that the NXS 2.5×10 allowed me to shoot the stages a considerable amount of time quicker than the 1-6 I was using on the other identical rifle. The extra magnification made it much easier to engage the longer range targets and the MIL-R reticle made it easy to make quick adjustments for targets at different ranges. Although some may think the extra magnification which does lesson the field of view could be a disadvantage in finding targets on the range I did not see this displayed on the timer. The other big advantaged to the 10x scope was being able to see misses at extended ranges and being able to quickly make adjustments. Out past 300 yards or so the 6x scope made it difficult to see impact when missing targets due to wind, but with the 10x NXS this was not a problem. I would have loved to have the 2.5×10 on my rifle for the Hyperfire rifle match last year, as the extra magnification would have been a big help, and the tough weather conditions made it difficult to see impact on misses.
The last two drills I performed were a standard box test and then targets at extended yardages while dialing up and down instead of using the reticle. For the box test I shot the box drill two times and it was no surprise that the Nightforce performed excellent.
All four corners of the box were five shot groups at 100 yards under 1”. This drill was shot under less than ideal conditions as the 30 degree windy weather did not help my groups, and am sure they could have easily been much smaller. I then shot targets from 200-600 yards using my known dope and dialing up and down, shooting each target a few times. (never shooting the same distant target more than once at a time) I had no problems hitting 8” plates at all the distances and was even able to easily hit clay birds at 600 yards. I then returned the scope to zero and shot a group at 200 yards. (my initial zero) This group was within a 1/4” of the spot as the initial group, which very easily could have been shooter error.
As the popularity of 3 gun matches that make the shooter shoot the rifle like it was intended (from 50 yards and out), and the rise of DMR matches grow, I feel the mid level variable scopes like the NXS 2.5x10x32 will become more and more popular. I expect to have the scope mounted on my rifle for a number of matches next year and am anxious to take advantage of what it has to offer.
In order to meet customer requests for the discontinued NXS 2.5-10 x 24 compact riflescope, Nightforce is manufacturing a limited run this fall. The NXS 2.5-10 x 24 is unique in that it has a straight body tube to the objective lens, which provides for a very compact package (9.9 inches in length).
For many years, the Nightforce NXS 2.5-10x family —proven in the hands of the U.S. military—has been renowned for performance far beyond its size. The NXS 2.5-10 x 24 was an original contract riflescope on the U.S. military Mark 12 5.56mm Special Purpose Rifle (SPR) program.
This limited run will see the NXS 2.5-10 x 24 receive modern enhancements over the original production models. Included will be an integrated Nightforce PTL™ (Power Throw Lever), allowing instant magnification changes even while wearing gloves. The elevation and windage adjustments are of the most current design, providing extremely positive click feel and easy to read numbers. Adjustment configurations are in .250 MOA (20 MOA per revolution) or .1 Mil-Radian (5 Mil-Radian per revolution) increments, with an exposed ZeroStop™ elevation and a capped windage adjustment as standard. Reticle choices include the MOAR™ and Mil-R™.
As with all of the NXS 2.5-10x models, they prove that size is no substitute for quality, providing performance that exceeds most riflescopes of any size. In addition to being extremely popular on the various AR platforms, the low mounting profile, versatile magnification range and streamlined proportions also make it ideal for a mountain or safari rifle.
There, I was greeted by my guide Tanner Puegnet of Western Lands Outfitters, and Paul the Gunwerks cameraman. The Ensign Ranch is a privately owned ranch comprised of 200,000 acres that spans across Northeastern Utah as well as into Wyoming. Known for 200 + inch trophy mule deer, my expectations ran high wondering what the week of hunting would hold. After getting settled into camp, our group headed down to the range to become familiar with the Carbon LR-1000 Gunwerks rifle chambered in 6.5×284 that we would be using for this hunt. The rifle, topped with an NXS 5.5-22×50 G7 riflescope, was a true example of the high quality reputation Gunwerks is known for.
Two quick practice shots at 600 yards and we were ready to start glassing. This was a great opportunity to test out the ED Glass equipped TS-80 spotting scope. The weather conditions were turning overcast, spitting snow and rain, but the spotter made easy work picking apart the dark canyons. After checking out several vantage points only to find up-and-comer bucks, we decided to switch gears and move to a an area where the guide had spotted a wide management buck in the weeks prior to my arrival. To our surprise, we were able to locate the buck less than 100 yards from the area he had been spotted in just recently. With darkness quickly closing in, we glassed the canyon for vantage points and formulated a game plan for the morning to come.
Day two started with a first class early breakfast. Before daylight, we were perched on a high vantage point hoping that the buck would be in the area. As light began stretching over the mountain tops, we were on the TS-80 and scanning the mountain faces for the previous day’s buck. The light transmission capability of the TS-80 was as good as anything I had ever tried before. Long before the naked eye could make out the surroundings, the superb ED Glass of the TS-80 was picking the canyon apart. After 30 minutes of glassing, Tanner announced to the group that he had spotted the buck and as luck would have it, less than 100 yards from where we put him to bed. A quick discussion of a game plan, and we were off, hurrying up a distant pass hoping to get into position before the buck followed his small group of does over the skyline.
As we crept over the top of the pass to get into position, Tanner relayed a yardage and dope correction from his G7 Br-2 Rangefinder. 873 yards was the distance to the buck. I dialed the correction into the ZeroStop elevation turret and settled in for the shot. The buck had other plans as he beaded down on the hillside. While his vitals were clearly exposed I quickly learned some of the frustrations when attempting to capture film to be aired on a television network. No bedded shots. So at that point it was a waiting game. The buck clearly wasn’t ready for a nap, keeping a close eye on his nearby does, thrashing his head back and forth and shifting positions in his bed. I pulled myself out of the shooting position, hoping to briefly rest my head and neck, when I heard Tanner tell me the buck was attempting to stand up. By the time my eye made it back into the scope I saw the buck had risen to his feet and was standing perfectly broadside. As I settled the G7 reticle on his vitals my long range training checklist began rolling through my mind. Check the position of my body behind the rifle to ensure my body was as flat as possible, legs in line with the rifle, ankles down. From there I made sure my reticle was level, parallax adjusted properly and my magnification on max power. I reassured my elevation call and asked for the wind. With a steady, but light right to left wind, Tanner called out a 1 MOA hold. Finding 1 MOA in the reticle came easily, and I settled in for the shot. Once I was able to draw a bead, I slowly squeezed the trigger. As the round went off, the buck never budged as I watched the bullet impact just slightly high over the buck’s back. It was a clean miss. The buck was so focused on his does, that the shot never spooked him. He quickly got on the trail of the does and followed them over the skyline. After the miss we made a move to try and get a spot on the buck. From a new vantage point we searched high and low for the group of deer. After 20 minutes or so we caught a glimpse of the buck making his way into a heavily wooded canyon.
With no clear stalk opportunities, we decided to head back to lodge for lunch to get a new plan for the afternoon. On the ride back to lodge, I kept replaying this miss in my head. What went wrong? I felt rock solid on the shot but obviously I left something out on my mental checklist. Just for reassurance we made a quick stop at the range. A painted piece of steel at 900 yards is where I chose to reboost my confidence. Two shots found me tracking high just missing the top of the plate. Then a light bulb went off. In the mix of setting up for an 873 yard shot on a giant 30” buck, I failed to load my bipod. Without that extra pressure into the stock to load up the bi pod, I was creating an inconsistency from how the rifle was designed to be used; in turn causing the report to print high.
With my confidence now back we headed out to the same canyon where we last spotted the buck. It was early in the afternoon but we were confident that the buck would work his way down the pass to the creek before dark. With spotters and binos in action we picked the entire canyon apart in hopes of finding the buck bedded in the heavy timber. After a short while, several does and a decent management buck appeared. After giving the buck the pass we returned to search for our missing buck. Around 3:30 I heard Tanner say that he may have found him. Once the buck emerged into a small opening we knew we had located our buck. I quickly got into the shooting position in case a shot opportunity presented itself. The buck worked the timber over stopping to thrash his horns in various sage bushes along the way. Finally the buck was approaching an opening. The adrenaline began to build as I knew this may be our only chance if the buck decided to turn back up into the timber. Much like the morning’s hunt, Tanner was quick to read out an elevation call from his G7 rangefinder, 530 yards actual distance was the call. With the steep canyon the corrected distance came in at 490. With a quick dial on the ZeroStop turret, I was back into checklist mode in preparation for the shot. The winds began to pick up and another 1 MOA wind call was announced. As I neared the end of the checklist I made sure that loading the bi pod was in the mix. I settled the G7 reticle on the point of the buck’s shoulder and squeezed off the shot. With the cameras rolling we watched the 140 grain Berger bullet impact the buck. Executing a first shot harvest at this distance was the culmination of a number of critical elements including; a proper stalk, solid pre-shot routine, expert elevation and wind calls, and accurately delivering a 140g Berger through a Gunwerks LR-1000 precision rifle system.
After all the high fives ended, a grueling 125 yard up-hill drag ensued to recover the deer and load the buck into the Ranger. On the way back to camp, we found one the prettiest peaks on the ranch and finished the picture taking. That evening at the skinning pole we were greeted by two other management tag hunters who also found success in two mature Utah Muleys. It was a quick turn back home to Georgia the following day but you can’t say enough good things about the 1st class operation that Travis Murphy and his Western Lands Outfitters team are running. From quality accommodations, delicious meals, to breathtaking views and giant Mule Deer bucks, this place is definitely everything and more that you hear amongst the chatter in the industry. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to join the Gunwerks team to see first- hand the quality and expertise that goes into every product they sell. A final big thank you goes out to Tanner Peugnet, our guide. His knowledge and expertise was much appreciated and certainly would recommend to anyone in search of giant mule deer bucks. As an added bonus, look for this hunt to air on Long Range Pursuit, sometime in 2016.