Long Range hunting and shooting distances in the olden days were around 300 yards. Hunting was usually done with a .30-06 or .270 Winchester; and more often than not, assisted by a straight 6x Redfield scope. The shooter would usually crack one off and say, “Where did I hit?” The guy next to him would squint through his eight-power bino’s and shout out the appropriate adjustment, which was wrong two out of three times, because he couldn’t see well enough through the glass to be accurate.
A side-by-side comparison draws different pros and cons from each scope. While the Nightforce is nearly $1000 more than the Vortex, the range goes to 70x power, offering a little extra zoom.
In today’s long-range shooting world, shots are taken anywhere from 500 to 1,000 yards. When you spend time on a busy range here in the west, with plenty of room to stretch your barrel out, you can often find guys shooting beyond 1,000 yards. The difference between the old days and now is due to a plethora of reasons; the most notable being the presence of comrades standing next to the shooter, spotting the impact of the bullet through high quality spotting scopes.
These optics are not only crucial for spotting the impact of the bullet at these long ranges but are also critical to spotting game during low light conditions. Therefore, a good spotting scope has to be part of your arsenal for long-range hunting and shooting.
In the past, European-made optics have dominated the high-end spotting scope market; but times are changing. New optics companies come and go about as regularly as the eruption of Old Faithful; however, a few of these relatively new companies will be around for a long time.
I had heard a lot of buzz about two particular spotting scopes that I wanted to get my hands on and try out, since most of my personal scopes are from European descent. In particular, the Nightforce TS-82MM Xtreme Hi Def, with a 20-70-power eyepiece, and the Vortex Razor 85 MM Ultra High Def with a 20-60-power eyepiece were the ones I was interested in.
A few phone calls and both scopes were in my hands for testing. Before I start my review of both optics I do need to be fair and let you know that price-wise, I am not comparing actual apples to apples. The Vortex has a street value $1,599 while the Nightforce Spotter comes in at $2,522…nearly $1,000 more.
The Nightforce is a cool looking spotter with some aggressive knobby knobs on the focus and power rings that give it an original look. The objective lens is big at 82 mm, which means the scope is heavy at 67 ounces or 4.2 lbs. It is not a backpacking scope, where every ounce counts. The magnification is 20-70x. Most spotters only go to 60; but there have been many times when I was in the field and wished I had just a little more magnification. The Nightforce provides that advantage. The quick-release, bayonet mount allows for quick and secure changing of the eyepiece. The field of view when on 20X is 123.1 feet, which is a very good sight picture to spot your target. Today, most quality brands offer a lifetime warranty; Nightforce is no different. They offer a limited, lifetime warranty; which pretty much guarantees that as long as you don’t run over the optics with your truck, they will take care of you. By the looks of this scope, I don’t know if that would do anything to the spotter. It looks rugged and durable, just like their riflescopes.