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Hands-On: Nightforce SHV Part II

Our latest project sent us to the range with a Nightforce SHV and a Surgeon Scalpel rifle – a combination that would prove to be an absolute tackdriver.

The Surgeon Scalpel Rifle platform with Nightforce SHV mounted.

Jonah and I set out to the range with the Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 C534 with the MOAR reticle. To examine the precision of a scope’s range of adjustments, one procedure we can use is called a “box test”. A box test is an evaluation of the scopes ability to move point of impact a designated distance by making adjustments to the turrets. This test provides information on how accurate the click values of the scope are, and how repeatable as well.

To perform this test, we setup a Surgeon Scalpel chambered in .308 Winchester supported by an Atlas BT10 bipod.

Upon mounting and bore sighting the optic we set to zeroing the scope. Caps are installed over the turrets on the SHV, Once these caps are removed you can easily make your windage and elevation adjustments.

SHV Scope with Windage and Elevation caps removed.

The scope was zeroed in a handful of shots by making the proper adjustments to the windage and elevation turrets.  Now the turrets could be re-indexed to zero, and we could set the stop on the elevation turret using the ZeroSet feature.

In order to adjust the ZeroSet once your zero has been obtained, the following steps are performed.

  • Loosen two set screws just enough to lift off elevation cap.
  • Re-index the cap so that your zero lines up on the rear index mark.
  • Firmly hold the cap down while re-tightening the two set screws to 4 in/lbs.

Re-Indexing the turret and setting the ZeroSet.

Zeroset, which varies from the ZeroStop feature of the NXS scope, does not utilize a clutch system as in the other Nighforce models. It will, however, stop your turret at your predetermined zero, and as this test will illustrate, proves to be a reliable feature of the SHV line.

The procedures of performing the box test are fairly simple. First lay out a grid of targets at predetermined distances apart. In this test we planned on setting up a grid of targets spaced 10” apart center to center horizontally, and 20” between centers vertically. This would require us to traverse 10 minutes of windage and 20 minutes of elevation.

The target frame with targets spaced accordingly. The Center target was used for zeroing.

The first series of three shots were placed on the target at the lower left corner. It should be noted that this is the target that the shooter will hold on for the entirety of the test.

At the conclusion of these three shots, 10 minutes of windage were dialed on the turret to move the impact right. Then another series of three rounds were fired while remaining to hold on the lower left hand target.

Target #2 located at the lower right hand corner.

Next, a correction of 20 minutes was dialed on the elevation turret to move impact up. Another series of three rounds were fired, and as before the hold was the target at the lower left.

Target #3 located at the upper right hand corner.

More than midway through the test the results were starting to take shape. Please note, one improvement we could have made in the test setup was to ensure the target was placed on level ground prior to starting – a slight deviation from level can be observed here, resulting in a small change in elevation impact from the targets on the left versus the targets on the right.

Next was to dial back left 10 minutes on the windage and repeat another three round group, still maintaining a hold on the lower left target.

Target #4 located on the upper left hand corner.

The final series of shots will be placed back on the target at the lower left, after dialing back to the stop that the ZeroSet feature provided.

Target #1 located on the lower left hand corner.

Target# 1 reflects the scopes ability to return to the original POI (Point of Impact). As you can see in this photo the SHV scope returned to its zero flawlessly. The flyers on this group were by human error, as the SHV and Scalpel clearly out-shot me. One happened to be from the first group of shots, and the other is from the last series of shots.

Target Board at the conclusion of testing, reflecting the full range of elevation and windage adjustments.

After Action Report of the SHV is exceptional, we were very impressed by the scope in several aspects. The scope, equipped with top quality glass, provided excellent clarity and color contrast at its peak of 20x magnification. The turrets adjusted the Zero of the scope quickly and effectively, and the ZeroSet feature proved to be not only easy to set, but provided a rock solid, repeatable stop when returning to zero. As the photos of this test will confirm, this scopes turrets provide accurate adjustments when traversing the SHV’s windage and elevation.

The Surgeon Scalpel Proved to be an absolute pleasure to shoot and happened to be a used rifle that I pulled off shelf. This Scalpel can be purchased on our website here.

Surgeon Scalpel .308 Win UA-1047

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