If you’re looking for a practical hunting riflescope that will allow you to stretch the distance and do it well, Nightforce’s SHV 3-10x42mm is your scope. Built on a 30mm tube, it’s a second-focal-plane optic, and my sample came with the MOAR illuminated reticle.
With an overall length over 11.75 inches and a mountable tube length of roughly five inches, it’s compact—and it’s a sturdy piece of gear weighing 22 ounces.
The scope was mounted on a Mossberg Patriot Predator in 6.5 PRC—in Nightforce’s excellent Ultralite low rings. These are top clamping instead of side clamping, and thank goodness for that since I find side-clamp rings to be a hassle to set up.
I’m on record as not being a fan of 30mm tubes for hunting scopes, and that’s because I don’t shoot at distance, but I know many people do. I counted the clicks and determined the scope offers 104.5 m.o.a. of elevation adjustment. The 1/4 m.o.a. clicks proved accurate and repeatable during testing.
The turrets are capped on this model, and resetting to zero is so simple I can’t believe more optics companies don’t do this. Instead of having to remove the cap by unscrewing two or three tiny, tiny Allen or Torx screws, on the SHV all you have to do is unscrew the top portion of the cap with a coin. Then simply lift off the cap, line up the “0” with the index mark on the scope and set it down.
You can do this with both the elevation and windage turrets. Too often it’s not possible to reset the windage turret on a scope, and I get that it’s not as crucial because few people click for wind in a hunting situation, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.
Both turrets also have numbered scales—even numbers on the left, odd numbers on the right—to make it easy to tell where you are in rotation travel.
If you prefer to hold instead of click for elevation, and if you’re looking for a good reference for Kentucky windage, the MOAR reticle has you covered. It gives you 30 m.o.a. of elevation holdover and 10 m.o.a. of “depression” on the vertical crosswire. The bottom portion of this wire thins to a point at the top, giving you a solid, quick reference point just below the 30 m.o.a. mark. You get 20 m.o.a. of wind holds on the horizontal wire.
On both wires you get reference numbers every 10 m.o.a. On the vertical wire, there are unnumbered markes every one m.o.a., and every second mark is wider. The horizontal wire also features unnumbered marks in the same intervals, but they don’t extend to either side of the wire like those on the vertical do.
The center of the crosswire has an open area surrounding a small crosshair. I like this design because it draws the eye to the very center, and it’s easy to pick up. If you’re having trouble seeing it, simply turn on the illumination.
Illumination is powered by a CR2032 battery, and the control rheostat is on the left side of the scope. With this model there is no parallax control, so it’s uncluttered, and you can dial up quickly without worrying you’ve changed the parallax setting.
The illumination on the SHV is more powerful than you’ll find on other scopes because the dial goes up to 11! (That’s a joke, in case you’ve never seen “Spinal Tap.”) There are Off positions between each number.
Nightforce has made an excellent name for itself in the riflescope biz, and this SHV is a good example of why it has. I’m seeing street prices for this model just under the $1,000 mark, and it’s a lot of scope for the money.