If you Cannot See It, You Cannot Hit It

There is a very useful – but still secret – piece of shooting gear in this photo that will be released at the 2016 SHOT Show.

In an unusual choice, I took a long-range rifle with a long-range riflescope on a deer hunt. I’m more of a carbine kind of guy but I was testing Hornady’s new ELD-X bullet, which has been purpose-built for long-range hunting. Figured I need the gear to go with the bullet to conduct a true, real world test.

The rifle was from Proof Research and I must say I was impressed with its minimal heft and accuracy, given the carbon fiber barrel. The scope was a new ATACR from Nightforce Optics. I had the opportunity to try out this scope on the range out to almost 500 yards and it also put down two buck in as many shots.

The appeal of this scope is its power and compactness, delivered in a crowbar rugged package, with an illuminated, first focal plane reticle. (In my mind, if you are going to use a reticle for correction, it should be a first focal plane reticle.) The 4-16×42 ATACR is just about perfect if you are into long-range hunting and the optics were brilliant in their clarity and low light performance. I also like the MOAR reticle parried with the MOA adjustments. And, I especially liked the integrated Power Throw Lever and the lockout on the elevation turret. Both are something that every long-range hunting scope should have.It also has more than 28 MOA of correction in one rotation of the elevation turret. That’s more than 280 inches!

The downside – there’s always a downside – is the weight; at 30 ounces this scope is not on the light side of anything except maybe a tripod mounted spotter. And, at about two grand, it’s not cheap. Of course, it will last you a lifetime. If you do manage to break the thing by – I don’t know – maybe clubbing a hoard of terrorists to death with it, Nightforce will fix it.

There’s no question the 4-16X42 ATACR is one of the best long-range hunting / tactical riflescopes in the world. Its price and your shooting will reflect that and, that’s as it should be.