When it comes to comparing two scopes (or more) from the same category, it comes down to actual comparative shooting results on the range and in the field. Luckily, there are a few professional competitions where top shooters (snipers) can check out their level of competence against one another. IN one such completion, over 40 professionals competed, and guess what, 60% of them had either a RAZOR® HD GEN II 4.5-27X56 or a Nightforce ATACR™ 5-25×56 F1, which goes to show you how powerful these two scopes perform in day to day application. Let’s take a look at both of them and decide which one is the better scope.
Here are the products I compare:
|Product Image||Product Name||More Information|
|1. RAZOR® HD GEN II 4.5-27X56 RIFLESCOPE||More Information|
|2. Nightforce ATACR™ 5-25×56 F1 Riflescope||More Information|
|RAZOR® HD GEN II 4.5-27X56||Nightforce ATACR™ 5-25×56 F1|
|Magnification||4.5-27 x||5-25 x|
|Objective Lens Diameter||56 mm||56 mm|
|Eye Relief||3.7 inches||3.35-3.54 inches|
|Field of View||25.3-4.4 feet/100 yards||18.7-4.92 feet/100 yard|
|Tube Size||34 mm||34 mm|
|Adjustment Graduation||.1 MRAD||1/4 MOA|
|Max Elevation Adjustment||28.5 MRAD||120 MOA|
|Max Windage Adjustment||10 MRAD||80 MOA|
|Parallax Setting||32 yards to infinity||45 yards to infinity|
|Length||14.4 inches||15.37 in|
|Weight||48.5 ounces||38 ounces|
The Vortex Razor was designed as a solution for the long shot when compared to the other high performance sniper scopes on the market. As usual, Vortex wants to compete with the big boys by presenting a more budget-friendly alternative and hopes to deliver as clear optics with as great adjustment performance. In many cases they succeeded, however, in this category, there are some serious heavyweights to contend with.
Let’s take a look at the scope and its features without comparing it.
This models optics are exceptional, and Vortex has not spared any expense in delivering quality optics in the Razor HD Gen II models. This one comes with an apochromatic objective lens system that uses index-matched lenses to correct color across the entire visual spectrum. It also comes with optically Indexed Lenses to optimize image sharpness and brightness; this is achieved by using Premium HD (High Density) extra-low dispersion glass that is coated using XR™Plus proprietary coatings with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. These coatings, together with the anti-scratch ArmorTek is applied using the latest Plasma Tech systems for perfect precision coating surfaces.
This scope is an FFP scope, using a First Focal Plane Reticle that is etched onto the glass and illuminated for top performance.
The body is constructed from a 34mm hard anodized, single piece of aluminum alloy, and is sealed with O-rings, purged with Argon gas and constructed to withstand recoil shocks. Essentially, a perfect waterproof, foolproof and shockproof scope.
The turrets use L-Tec that integrates a locking mechanism to prevent accidental adjustments. They also come with an External Rotation Indicator and a Locking Illumination system.
The adjustments are located on the side for easier application in the field.
The L-Tec Zero Stop is engineered to prevent the elevation turret from dialing below the sight in range, and the turret design scope offers 33 MRAD total elevation adjustment and 14 MRAD total windage adjustment when the when L-Tec zero stop feature is disengaged for zeroing purposes.
You also get infinite zero setting positions with the Micro Adjust Zero Setting, and the performance is pure and smooth using their patented Friction Reduction System for a steel on steel contact that is reached by applying a Heat-treated, hardened-steel pad that floats on the end of the turret screw, interfacing with a hardened steel ring on the erector tube.
The Turret Screws are precision-machined silicon-brass alloy, and the Erector Tube System is also made from a brass alloy integrated with a chromium-vanadium erector spring.
The reticle is an EBR-1C (MRAD) design, that uses MRAD-based subtension lines for ranging, holdover and windage corrections.
- An apochromatic objective lens system
- Optically Indexed Lenses
- HD Lens Elements
- XR™Plus Fully Multi-Coated Optics.
- Plasma Tech applied ArmorTek anti-scratch optic surfaces
- First Focal Plane Reticle (FFP)
- Illuminated glass-etched Reticle EBR-1C (MRAD) reticle
- Hard Anodized Aircraft-Grade Aluminum 34 mm diameter Single-Piece Tube
- Waterproof, Fogproof and Shockproof
- Stealth Shadow Finish
- L-Tec Turrets with L-Tec Zero Stop
- External Rotation Indicator
- Locking Illumination
- Side Focus
- Friction Reduction System
- Fast Focus Eyepiece
- Optical Coatings
The Nightforce is the heavyweight of the two and is a perfect combination of exceptional optics with rugged build and perfect performance.
This is the original ATACR™ that uses a First focal plane reticle placement and ED glass optics with an ultra-accurate MOAR™ F1 reticle that gives you 1 MOA elevation and windage markings for accurate range finding and hold-offs. The MOAR reticle comes with a floating center crosshair, and bold 3, 6 and 9 o’clock posts, as well as an elevation scale that extends to the edge of the field of view.
A closer look at the optics shows me a color accurate surface coating that gives an exceptional low light performance. The generous eyebox is a stand out features and made it easy for target acquisition, this is an extremely important part of any long-range tactical scope, and allows you to acquire targets even from the most unusual angles accurately.
The adjustment mechanisms on the F1 are beyond reproach, and they are smooth, accurate and precise. The turrets dial perfectly, and I have yet to handle a scope that outperforms this level of confidence. Add to this the 30 MOA per-revolution elevation turret, that comes with easy-to-read value markers, and you get faster target engagements, with fewer chances for making mistakes.
Since this is a MOAR reticle in FFP, you don’t need any corrections, and on occasions when I needed to dial back from a better FOV (15x-18x), the FFP delivers excellent results without having to figure correction values for different magnifications.
- ED optics
- Sound mechanics
- Standard adjustments with Hi-Speed ZeroStop™
- Capped windage adjustments
- Parallax adjustment is marked with approximate numbered distances
- DigIllum™ digital reticle illumination
- Eyepiece with enhanced engraving,
- Integrated Power Throw Lever (PTLTM)
- XtremeSpeed™ thread
- MOAR F1 Reticle
This is a heavyweight battle between two giants that stepped into the ring rather recently. Both have a staunch following, and both perform exceptionally well.
Vortex has delivered, they didn’t pull any stops here and gave you the ultimate in their arsenal, as such you get extreme clarity, focus, brightness and quality of light, color and index all in one anti-scratch product. Nightforce didn’t make any changes to their already perfect optics, and they do not need any introductions in this area. As such, both devices provide excellent optics, and this is a tie.
Both devices provide excellent reticles, the F1 gives us the MOAR which is an excellent choice, and the Razor gives us their EBR-1C which is slightly better in my opinion, but reticles have to be extremely bad not to be gauged as equal, and in this case, both reticles are perfect, again a tie.
The field of view on the Razor is slightly larger than that on the F1, and this is actually a useful feature to have when gauging different shots. However, Chris Kyle, America’s most successful sniper used the Nightforce, and I think that when the best sniper uses a specific scope, it means that scope is as perfect as you can get. So in this instance, the wider FOV is for us lesser mortals that need some extra help.
Both devices provide excellent performance; I have to say that the Razor surprised me since I did not expect a Vortex to prove as equal in performance as an NF, but it did, so this is a tie.
This is where Vortex crashes, the weight is a full 10 ounces in favor of the Nightforce, and 10 ounces is a shit load of weight. As such, there is no other way to look at this; the NF wins hands down on weight.
The Nightforce is more expensive, in fact, this is a Vortex trademark, be cheaper than all the competition, if possible. It is possible, and they made theirs significantly less expensive by around 35% than the Nightforce model.
Some User Statistics
From 2015, Vortex has shaken the market, and their Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 grew by 80% in user preference. Against this, you get the Nightforce FFP ATACR 5-25×56 F1 scope, and in the competition I visited, 86% of the Nightforce scopes were an ATACR F1. I guess this is the Chris Kyle effect.
While the Vortex is an exceptional scope at an exceptional price, the Nightforce is a perfect scope that is absolutely everything proof. It withstands all shocks, it is totally waterproof, there is no fogging, and the speed and accuracy of dialing and shooting are beyond reproach. Essentially, this is the ultimate scope, and the weight issue dials in preference to the Nightforce, which makes up for the price difference too.