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Hands-On: Nightforce SHV Part I

With the beginning of fall comes the desire many of us feel to get back into the woods in search of our favorite game animals. What better time to take a closer look at the relatively new Nightforce SHV scopes. This scope has been found to be extremely proficient in the stand, as well as on the bench.

Zeroing the SHV 5-20×56 mounted atop a Surgeon Scalpel in .308 Win.

In this 2-part article I will highlight the features and characteristics of the SHV scopes, and then evaluate the accuracy of the turret adjustments with hands on testing at the range.

The Nightforce SHV line of scopes have been on the market for a couple of years in the 4-14×56 and 5-20×56 models. The recent release of the 3-10×42 scope really rounds out the line and makes it a perfect match for the needs of many hunters around the world.

Nightforce SHV 3-10×42

The SHV is a scope which still exemplifies Nightforce’s commitment to superior quality, and its attractive pricing makes this line more attainable to additional hunters and long range target shooters.

Features of the SHV scope include a European-style diopter adjustment, capped windage and elevation turrets with ZeroSet, side-focus parallax, and illuminated reticle as an option on the 4-14 and 5-20 models. The reticles offered with these scopes are the IHR (International Hunting Reticle) and the extremely popular MOAR reticle.

IHR Reticle Non-Illuminated

MOAR Reticle Non-Illuminated


SHV scopes are built on a machined 6061 T6 aircraft aluminum body, the main body tube on this line is 30mm in diameter. This allows the SHV to provide an abundant amount of elevation adjustment, between 80-100 MOA depending on the model. The glass quality of this model, as with all Nightforce scopes, is exceedingly impressive. Utilizing the same glass that is used in the Nightforce NXS line of scopes, clarity and contrast are exceptional, and the high light transmission in the twilight hours allow hunters to extend ethical shooting times by crucial minutes.

Elevation and windage turrets on the SHV scopes are capped. Removing these caps provides similar turret adjustments to that of the NXS line of scopes.

SHV 5-20×56 with Turret Caps Removed

Side-focus parallax of these models feels familiar and is also the Illumination control on models that are equipped with that option. The ZeroSet feature on the elevation turret is not only easy to set, but also reliable and repeatable. We will dive further into the SHV turret adjustment accuracy, and the ZeroSet feature in the next part of this article, when we put this scope through its paces by preforming a “box test” using the 5-20×56 model.

When handling the Nightforce SHV it becomes easily apparent that this is a scope that will find itself at home both on the range and in the field. Nightforce has really hit the mark with this line, and proves once again to be an industry leader that knows how to deliver quality and affordability.

Nightforce SHV 5-20×56

Coming in Part II of this article: we will be taking the 5-20×56 SHV to the range, mounted on a Surgeon Scalpel rifle, to evaluate the accuracy of the turret adjustments.

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