The Nightforce ATACR has made a name for itself as the tried and true optic for long-range shooters and military snipers. Held to insane durability standards, and using a 34mm tube and multi-coated ED glass, the ATACR series is where quality meets durability. I purchased this ATACR 5-25×56 SFP Enhanced roughly a year ago to see if the optic lived up to its reputation.
TFB Review: Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 SFP + SPUHR
Unboxing and Mounting
The ATACR series comes with the following accessories right out of the box. I wasn’t expecting scope covers or a sunshade to be included and was very pleasantly surprised when they were.
Here’s what the ATACR ships with.
- Tenebraex Flip-Up Covers
- Cleaning Fob/ Cleaning Cloth
- Power Throw Lever or Similar
- Owners Manual
- Windage Beauty Ring (Covers the threads allowing for an exposed windage turret)
The new SFP ENHANCED ATACR features some enhanced engraving on the scope body as well as an integrated power throw lever. The magnification ring on the ATACR is noticeably heavier than that of other optics. This makes the power throw lever a very welcome accessory from the factory.
The optic I’d be removing from this particular rifle was a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22×56. I’d spend a great deal of time behind the NXS over the past few years, and I was keen to see just how much better the ATACR’s ED glass could be.
For the scope mount, I consulted with fellow TFB writer Eric B who recommended this SPUHR SP-4022 mount. Additionally, he pointed me to this article that documents the success of the ATACR and SPUHR mounts in the extreme long range shooting community.
To top things off I added a Flatline Ops 34mm ACCU/Level that folds out and allows the shooter to check level without coming off the rifle.
Zeroing the Optic
To zero the optic I returned to my favorite local 100yd underground range. With factors like wind and climate removed from the equation, this location provides the perfect place to set and confirm zero.
The ATACR I’d purchased came with Nightforce’s MOAR-T reticle. This finer version of the MOAR reticle has 0.0625 MOA lines paired with 1 MOA elevation and windage markings. The fine nature of the reticle was a noticeable improvement over the standard MOAR reticle. In addition, the ATACR comes equipped with Digillum™ digital reticle illumination.
A gold button located on the parallax ring activates the Digillum reticle illumination. This system has five available brightness settings in both red and green to accommodate changing lighting conditions.
Going the Distance
The real test of the ATACR’s 34mm tube and ED Glass would take place in an undisclosed location in Wyoming. Previously I used a 5.5-25×56 Nightforce NXS on this Ruger Precision Rifle to land a shot at the edge of the Salt Flats 1,950 yds (1.1miles). Since then I’ve itched to break this record while improving on this setup.
While I wasn’t able to discern a major difference at closer ranges, at distance the larger tube and ED glass allow for better observation of changing weather conditions. With winds gusting from 15-30 miles per hour this day, the longest shots I was able to land were at 1,127 yards. I took a couple of shots at the 2,000-yard steel and realized I’d just be wasting ammo in an unpredictable wind.
At the lowest magnification, the crosshairs are easy to acquire when getting behind on the rifle. Higher powers are less forgiving, but not enough to be a hindrance. Adjusting the magnification from 5x to 7x you’ll notice the field of view opens up slightly giving you a larger field of view.
Like many higher-powered riflescopes, there is a picture darkening that occurs between 22-25x that is to be expected. This is something you grow accustomed to, but during all the time I spend zooming in and out on various targets, I wasn’t able to spot any imperfections in the glass.
Note: Both reticle photos were taken in high wind conditions that swayed the rifle/optic leading to a slight blur in these photos.
What I really like about the ATACR is the range of windage and elevation adjustment it provides. With 120 MOA of total elevation adjustment, and 60MOA of windage adjustment, you have all the adjustments you’ll need at distance.
Pro’s & Cons
I purchased this scope as an upgrade to the NXS and couldn’t be happier. The glass has in fact been so clear, on multiple occasions I thought the focus was off when what I was really seeing was just poor air quality that day. I had very high expectations for this optic, and so far it has met and exceeded them.
For those who measure their setups in oz, the 39.1oz (2.44 lb) ATACR might not be what you’re looking for. Plainly put the scope is heavy, and at $2,700 it’s not an entry-level optic by any means.
Month’s of research was done before I decided on the exact ATACR reticle combo I wanted. These scopes come in many magnification ranges, with various reticles, and for a wide variety of shooters. Buying this Nightforce ATACR was a punch in the gut (spending $2,700 on an optic is never easy), but it’s the best purchase I made in 2020. As it stands, there isn’t another optic I’d prefer atop this rifle.
So if you’re looking for a riflescope that can withstand high recoil and abuse while maintaining zero. Look no further than the Nightforce ATACR.
- Magnification Range: 5-25x
- Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane (F2/SFP)
- Body Tube Diameter: 34mm
- Overall Length: 14.3 in/363 mm
- Mounting Length: 6.1 in/156 mm
- Weight: 39.1 oz/1108 g
- Click Value: .250 MOA
- Internal Elevation Adjustment Range: 120 MOA
- Internal Wind Adjustment Range: 60 MOA
- Parallax Adjustment: 45 yd–∞
- Eye Relief: 3.5in/90 mm
- Field of View @ 100 yd/m: 5x: 18.0 ft/6.0 m & 25x: 4.9 ft/1.6m
- Exit Pupil: 5x: 10.5 mm & 25x: 2.2 mm
- Illumination: Yes, Digillum
- SKU: C5555
- MSRP: $2700
- Mount Angle: 0 MIL/0 MOA
- Height: 1.5 in/38 mm
- Length: 5.51″ in/140 mm
- Weight: 8.7oz/246 g
- Model: SP-4022
- MSRP: $410
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