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Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56 F1


Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56 F1

Rob Wilkinson

Nightforce invited some media members to a product debut in early November.  We were not fortunate enough to get one of the media slots to demo their new optics, but we have been able to talk with individuals who have some significant hands on experience with the new 7-35x56 Nightforce ATACR F1.  Yes you read that correctly a 7-35 power ATACR F1.

At first, you may be asking why you would want that much power and/or thinking that you must be giving up something to get that level of magnification either in length, weight, eye box, clarity, etc.  I'll address those issues and concerns below.

Let’s talk first about the increased power.  I happen to shoot a bit of PRS style shooting.  I find that I am normally running around 8-14 power during matches and will occasionally run the power up on a longer stage when shooting prone or on the occasional paper stage that requires additional power.  A few of those crazy small paper stages in the past have left me wishing for more than 24 to 25 power available in the optics I was running at the time.  I have friends who like to run 15x or 17x optics and on those stages, they have been SOL, being unable to shoot, because the detail on the targets were too small to see without a 25x optic.  If 25x is sometimes essential, why not have a little additional power that can be called upon if needed?  You can always power down, but you don’t have the ability to power up past the max power of your current optic.

On the flip side of the power discussion, I am rarely ever below 8x when shooting matches.  I have found that FFP reticles get pretty small and almost unusable at 5x.  At 8x I have plenty of field of view and have a reticle that is large enough to be able to use for holdover points if necessary.  So, it sounds like a low power setting of 7x really is not going to be a drawback either.

Now the question is what do we have to give up?  When it comes to weight, we are only gaining 1.3 ounces compared to the 5-25 F1.  Maybe overall length?  The new 7-35 F1 is only 0.63” longer than the 5-25.  What about eye relief?  Nightforce claims the new 7-35 has 3” of eye relief.  I thought we would have for sure had to give up a bit in field of view.  The 5-25 at 5x has 5.7m at 100 yards and 1.5m at 25x.  The new 7-35 has 6m field of few at 100 yards at 1.6m at 35x.  Nightforce has performed the unthinkable and not given up any field of view with the higher magnification optic.

One area where the 7-35 gives up a little ground is in total elevation.  The 7-35 has 100 MOA or 27 MILs instead of the 120 MOA or 35 MILs found in the 5-25.  Is that a deal breaker?  Maybe for a few, but not for me.  In a mounting system with 30-40MOA of elevation, you should not have an issue getting a 6.5 Creedmoor with a 100 yard zero, dialed out to a mile before running out of elevation in the scope.  The available elevation in this optic can handle just about anything the PRS series will throw at us with the possible exception of an ELR PRS match if shot with a non magnum caliber.

The other area it gives up a little is not in performance, but in your wallet.  ATACR 5-25x56 F1 scopes will be going up from $2,900 to $3,100 Starting January 2017 and the 7-35 ATACR will have an MSRP of $500 more than the 5-25 ATACR F1.

By all accounts the ED glass in the 7-35 is everything many of us have come to love in the 5-25 F1.  One thing that can be found in higher power optics is losing some clarity at higher power.  Again, according to those with serious time behind this optic, this new scope does not exhibit those issues.

Another specification of the 7-35 that is worth noting is the parallax.  This scope has an adjustable parallax from 10m to infinity.  Many of us may not have come across a need for this yet, but I have been at a few matches where they threw us a stage at 25 yards, which caused many of us to power down our scopes significantly to see the targets clearly.  This is one of my favorite features on the venerable S&B 5-25x56 PMII.  It may also come in handy to law enforcement snipers who may be required to take a close range shot.

The 5-25 ATACR F1 is a fantastic optic and serves tactical shooters very well.  If you own one you’ll need to ask yourself if the upgrade is worth it.  However, if you are looking to get a new optic, you need to ask yourself one important question.  Why should I not be going with the new Nightforce ATACR 7-35 F1?

You can find specs on this optic found at the below link.  A very limited number of 7-35 ATACRs should be hitting dealers in December with more in January.  MSRP pricing on the 7-35 is $3,600-$4,000 depending on the reticle selected.