March 2016

Dear  ,

Spring is always a busy time around the Nightforce office.  Recently we've been to Arizona, Germany, back to Arizona, and a few spots in between.  The IWA Outdoor Classics in Nuremburg, Germany was an excellent show for Nightforce as well as our sister company Lightforce.  The Berger Southwest Nationals and the Cactus Classic matches saw top competitors in the long and short range games respectively come together for some tough competition at the Ben Avery range near Phoenix, AZ. We not only sponsored these matches, representatives from Nightforce competed in both. Congratulations to Larry Costa, overall winner of the 2 Gun Grand Agg at the Cactus.  Also, congratulations to Derek Rogers (F-TR) and John Myers (F-Open) as the overall winners at the Berger SWN.

There were some other exciting things happening on the range as well.  Sean Murphy and Matt Reed were down at the FTW ranch in Texas last November, along with the folks from Hill Country Rifles, to support Jim Spinella's efforts at capturing a 4,200+ yard shot on video, which is now available ( Watch).  And finally, the Nightforce Sales and Marketing team ventured out locally for a corporate range day.

Further down in this newsletter is a note regarding the efforts of the organization. If you are not familiar with their organization, please take a few minutes and learn about the work this 100% volunteer organization does to support our U.S. military snipers. 

We hope you enjoy this edition of the Nightforce Newsletter.


The Nightforce Team

P.S. If you like this newsletter, please forward to a friend!


We'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to connect with our Customer Service Department at

Nightforce In Action


IWA Outdoor Classics is a gathering of premium brands supporting the target sports, nature activities, and personal protection markets.  Each year, over 1,300 vendors from well over 100 countries descend upon the Exhibition Centre Nuremburg to display their product portfolios to some 40,000+ visitors.  The new for 2016 SHV 4-14x50 F1 first focal plane riflescope we introduced at the 2016 SHOT show received much attention as did the Competition Fixed 42x44.  The SHV was welcomed by the the international shooting community which are known for their strong support of first focal plane technology. And the purpose built Competition Fixed 42x was noted as a solid addition to the optics choices available to the short range benchrest, air rifle, and rimfire shooting community as well. 

Here are a few highlight images from the show floor, and our Flickr album has some additional images capturing some of the local flare. 

NF LPL Team Photo
(The combined Nightforce/Lightforce crew of the 2016 IWA Show)

The quiet before the storm...Day 1

View the  Flickr album

Berger Southwest Nationals

Nightforce Optics was proud to continue our support of the Berger Southwest Nationals.  The match was held at the Ben Avery range near Pheonix, AZ in early February.  Sean Murphy and Wayne Dayberry from the Marketing Department were in attendance and even sent a few rounds downrange.  Sean shot on the US Rifle Team/Team Virginia and helped the team to a second place finish in the F-TR Team match.  Wayne competed individually and finished 6th Master and 11th overall in F-TR as well as shot with Team Virginia which finished 4th. 

View the  Flickr Album

See the  Results

The Sales and Marketing team burned some powder at our spring "range day" on the 17th.  A variety of pistols, rifles and shotguns made an appearance for some learning and a little fun at the Georgia Mountain Shooting Association range.  Pistols and pistol caliber carbines were shot on steel and paper in the short range bays.  Rimfire shooters had a plethora of targets at 50 and 100 yards including lollipops, paper and small steel plates. Center fire rifles had their choice of many steel targets at 200, 250, and 300 yards.  The "know-your-limits" rack at 300yd, which went from 4 MOA down to 1 MOA, was a good challenge for all. Below left is one of our Strategic Account Managers, Ashley Kerr, seen here running an MP-5. Below right is "Double-Tap" Debbie Spratlin, who enjoyed the fun of sending rounds down-range for the first time. Debbie proved it's never too late to start shooting and received the "top gun" award of the day since she was able to run the plate rack with Glock 34, hose targets with the MP-5, as well as engage almost any target on the rifle range with ease. 

Tess's Elk
by Levi Bradley - Nightforce Quality Control

Here is a picture of a bull elk the wife of Nightforce QC technician Levi Bradley took using an SHV 3-10x42 with the IHR reticle.  The scope is mounted on a CZ 550 American Safari rifle chambered in 375 H&H.  She took the shot from 275 yards and he only went about ten steps.  

Tess said, "those SHV's are great hunting scopes!"

Tess_s Elk
Guest Column
Caught in the Crosshairs
by Tom Bullock

In this two part series, Tom provides expert insight into the selection of an optic for various shooting applications.  Choosing a reticle first and the optic second may sound backwards, but after reading what Tom has to say, it may in fact be the best choice for many shooters. 

If you have your sights on a new riflescope, you might want to think about your reticle first.  Here's what you need to consider.

Hunting was a lot simpler 30 or 40 years ago. Riflescopes came only in a few basic flavors, and about all we had to worry about was the scope's magnification range and if it was of reasonably decent quality. Rarely was a choice of reticles even offered, and most hunters accepted the basic "crosshairs" that came as standard equipment because there simply weren't any other options.

As with other aspects of modern life, radical new technologies have arrived in optics result being a vast, albeit sometimes confusing, array of new reticle designs. The good news is that in conjunction with remarkable advances in riflescope design and quality, and vastly improved bullet construction for flat-shooting calibers, today's rifle/scope/reticle combinations are capable of pinpoint precision at extreme distances unheard of just a couple of decades ago.

The bad news? Choosing a reticle now requires a great deal of thought and soul-searching. Some are extremely sophisticated and user-friendly. Others, frankly, are little more than marketing gimmicks. A reticle must be appropriate to the type of game pursued by the hunter, his hunting environment, and perhaps most important, to his attitude. The right one can be your BFF. Make the wrong choice, and a reticle could prove to be your worst enemy.

There is a reason why the riflescopes available from the handful of manufacturers building the very best optics can cost well into four figures.
 These companies are crafting scopes using the finest raw materials and most advanced manufacturing processes possible, scopes capable of previously unobtainable resolution and repeatability. 

2.8 inch group
Actual Group - 2.8 inches at 1000yards
This is why skilled shooters are able to push the envelope of distance and accuracy ever further. Consider, for example, one of the recent world records, shot by Matthew D. Kline using a Nightforce scope. Mr. Kline put 10 shots into 2.815 inches at 1000 yards. There are days I would be happy with that at 100 yards.

The reticle is what translates all the inherent capability of riflescopes like these into something you can see-and ultimately apply to your target. This is why the proper reticle/scope combination for your application is so critical.

For the purpose of this article, we're going to concentrate on what the hunter needs to consider, especially the mountain hunter, and leave the radically different concerns of tactical professionals, competition shooters and military snipers for another day. I am indebted to my friends at Nightforce Optics, who long ago realized that exceptional riflescopes and extremely precise purpose-built reticles are inseparable, for much of the information that follows.

To illustrate just how important reticles have become in the buying decision, I asked Sean Murphy, marketing project manager at Nightforce, what their customers say about reticles when they're considering a new riflescope. "Sometimes I think we sell just as many riflescopes because of our reticles as due to the scopes themselves," he laughed. "We created most of our own reticle designs," he said, "and they have proven to be so effective that many of our customers request a specific reticle first, then choose a scope it is available in."   More...
In the News

"The SHV 4-14×50 F1 scope is an amazing product that packs serious features that will more than satisfy most shooters.   Nightforce   accomplished all of this while keeping the price tag within reach of many shooters. Not cheap by any means ... but reachable if you're serious!" More...
Photo courtesy of

Nightforce has donated an NXS 5.5-22 as part of the fundraising  rifle raffle which will conclude on May 22nd. 

The rifle package is a PDC Custom 7mm Remington bolt action topped with a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22 and includes a Kelbly Tactical Atlas action, Shilen trigger, Krieger 26" barrel, plus many other goodies.  Tickets are only $10 and p roceeds go to support actively deployed U.S. snipers around the globe. is a 100% volunteer run organization.    (Enter the raffle here)

Nightforce's Sean Murphy and Matt Reed were on hand for this absolutely incredible feat of long range shooting.  

On November 22nd 2015, Jim Spinella hit a 36" plate at 4210 yards with a Hill Country Rifles 375 CheyTac topped with a Nightforce B.E.A.S.T. We'll do the math, that is 2.4 miles!

Spinella hit a 36" plate at 3600 yards, 3800 yards, and on November 22nd, he hit a 36" plate at 4210 yards.

One of the most interesting aspects to these shots is the engineering of custom mounts to be able to execute the shot. A 230 minute of angle (MOA) rail was machined for a 20 MOA Nightforce Unimount for a total of 250 MOA.  The sight-in target at 100 yards was mounted to a 16 foot pole!


Tech Tip
Bullet Trace

Spotting bullet trace can be a very effective tool in the field.  If you're not familiar, spotting trace may be a worthy addition to include in your long range shooting repertoire.  
What is bullet trace?  
Bullet trace is the light distortion/refraction due to the changing density of the air as the bullet is passing through.  In other words, it is the "Matrix" like effect that you see when observing a bullet travel downrange. 

What does it look like?
In slow motion, it will look something like this.        And in a still image, like this. 
Photo credit_ Andrew David Hazy_

Why is this important?
Often times "spotting trace", or observing the bullets path/trace as it travels downrange, can be a very reliable tool for getting on target when field conditions do not provide the necessary feedback to spot hits. An example of this is shooting at steel targets set on soft ground which absorbs the bullet impact and does not provide feedback on your miss. Observing trace can help either the shooter, or their spotter, obtain a visual reference of where the impact of the round may have occurred.  

How to use trace while shooting long range?
Here are a few tips for learning to spot trace and use is it to your advantage. 

If spotting for yourself
  • Ensure the riflescope is set on a magnification setting that allows enough field of view to see the bullet's arc of travel/flight down range
  • Establish a very solid and symmetrical shooting platform which will allow the rifle to track in a straight a line during recoil. This will help to keep the optic centered on the flight path of the round.
  • After firing your round, your focus may have to quickly back off from a hard focus on the reticle/target, to a broader view within the field of view in the optic. The bullet trace will come into view from the bottom of the optic, and arc from low to high, then back down again.  Sometimes you may only be able to see towards the top of the flight path due to the target backrop.
  • Be patient and practice.  Spotting trace can be challenging at first,  and also in low contrast conditions.
If spotting for another shooter
  • Align yourself as close to the shooter as possible.  If spotting next to the shooter, your view of the bullet trace will be slightly off axis making interpreting the point of impact a bit more difficult.
  • If possible, use a spotting scope above and behind the shooter.  This works easily when the shooter is prone, but also possible if the spotter is standing behind the shooter on a bench.
  • Ensure the rifle or spotting scope is set on a magnification setting that allows enough field of view to see the bullet's entire arc of travel/flight down range.
  • Have a "softer focus" when looking through the scope.  Try and take in the entire image as a whole so you will be able to pick up the bullet trace in your periphery more easily than if you had a hard focus on the target. 
  • Be patient and practice. 
A few other considerations:
  • Environmental conditions affect the amount of trace you can see.
  • Short distances have a shorter time flight, therefore there is less to see.
  • Your time of flight and elevation adjustment influences how high your bullet travels, affecting how much trace one can see.
Note: Occasionally, bullet trace is referred to as "vapor trail".  Although this is a long accepted term within the industry, vapor trail is more commonly identified as a drop in pressure behind an object passing through the air which causes water to condense momentarily leaving a visible "cloud" like image (ex. jet contrails).
Meet Nightforce

Before working for Nightforce, Tanya owned and operated a successful silk tree business for 18 years.  A decision to move away from entrepreneurship and into the corporate environment led her to the Nightforce Optics sales team in Georgia.  From having to learn the intricacies of riflescopes to now managing some of our premier key accounts, Tanya has quickly become a valuable member of the team. The loyalty of the people and the quality of the products is what Tanya likes best about Nightforce Optics. 

Away from work - Tanya grew up in England and traveled extensively. Her favorite vacation was the three weeks spent during Christmas in Exuma, Bahamas with her entire family, two years ago.  The fresh caught seafood and quiet, white sandy beaches were paradise!   Tanya loves shooting sporting clays as well as 100, 200 and 1000 yard benchrest.  Outside, she  enjoys hunting, boating, and riding ATV's. In addition to her outdoor hobbies and activities, she also likes to make home accessories and design jewelry.    

Values - Tanya values integrity - "your word is gold" and being dependable, "doing what you say you are going to do."  

Guilty pleasures - She admitted her guilty pleasure is eating a large bucket of buttered popcorn at the movies all by herself!   

We asked Tanya to describe herself in just one word:  Enterprising!
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