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Swfa vs Nightforce #7487323 04/14/19 11:19 PM
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aggiegolfer09 Offline OP
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I am thinking about getting a new scope for my Creedmoor. Was thinking about getting a night force nxs 5.5-22 or ATACR 5-25 but I see the swfa is on sale right now. Anyone have experience with these 3 scopes and how do they compare? I know the price range really carries. Just wondering if itís worth it to get the ATACR over the swfa. Will be used for target shooting and hunting. Maybe an elk hunt someday

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487330 04/14/19 11:24 PM
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NF scopes have earned their amazing reputation for quality. It would be our pleasure to discuss a NF scope with you

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487334 04/14/19 11:29 PM
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The SWFA is a quality scope, particularly at that price. Youíll honestly need to see them side by side to judge if the extra money is worth it. If youíre thinking NF Iíd step to the ATACR.


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Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487364 04/15/19 12:06 AM
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I've got a 7 year old SS 5-20X and an ATACR F-1 5-25X. You are welcome to come look through both of them, hopefully with heavy mirage. You are in two distinctly different price ranges here. The SS 5-20 is worth every penny. I have not managed to ever tear it up through years of hard use. I need to take lots of pictures of it to show the scars, and missing annodizing. The turret hashes are not white anymore, they have been stained with the oils from my hands, and who knows what else.

Glass: the SS is very good, the ATACR is better

Reticle: the SS Mil-Quad is very simple, and very useful. I like its' simplicity to teach someone how to use a Mil reticle. Being very, very experienced with Mil reticles, I love the Mil-C in the ATACR. I can hold to the 1/10 Mil, which is what it was designed to do.

Turrets: they have both always tracked perfectly. They both have positive, audible clicks. The ATACR has a Zero Stop, the SS does not. The ATACR completely free-spins with the screws backed out, enabling a perfect zero setting. The SS has a one screw design, one screw on top. Therefore there is a female gear in the turret knob, and a male counterpart in the actual turret moving part of the scope. What you get, often is a zero that is .05 low, or high. The gears mesh, but the zero is not sitting on the scope's zero tick mark. SS is 10 Mils per rev, ATACR is 12 Mils per rev. I have dialed both up beyond a full rev, and they've both returned to zero, many times.

Objective: SS is 50mm, ATACR is 56mm. I can't tell you a big benefit of one over the other.

Size: they are both large, the ATACR being larger, with a larger tube, and more travel. So, if you ever wanted to reach out to a mile, the ATACR is going to be the better tool for the job.

Illumination: SS can be off, 1, off, 2, off, 3 and so on, and it is red. I prefer it over the ATACR. The ATACR is one push button, repeatedly pushing it changes brighness. It can be green illumination or red, whichever you prefer. It has an auto-off feature, which is handy. I've killed the battery in the SS more than once.

Magnification: SS is 5X on the bottom 20X on the top. I have hit a mile with it. ATACR is 5X on the bottom, 25X on the top, been a mile with it too. Most of the time, it will cut through the mirage where you still can use 25X, but if not, of course it is FFP so turn it down if you need to. At 100 yards, 25X will show me to control my breathing, I assure you.

ATACR is 2.5 times the price of the SS. Is it 2.5 times the scope? That is subjective to the user. I wanted a Nighforce for a long time. They have a reputation for good glass, reliable as hell tracking, and tough as an anvil. Thus far (2 years) it has lived up to the reputation. However, the SS has earned its' stripes as far as I'm concerned. If I were going into some far off back country, and my life depended on a rifle scope, both scopes would be one of my picks.

I'm sure I left out something, don't hesitate to ask.


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Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487507 04/15/19 02:21 AM
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Iíve got a swfa SS 5-20 and a NF ATACR 4-16.

SWFA is one of my favorites. Love the reticle, turrets, eye relief, tracking. Glass is fine. Just donít look through a NF before you buy the SWFA ó that way youíll never know what you are missing. The ATACR glass is superb

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7487655 04/15/19 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by QuitShootinYoungBucks
The SWFA is a quality scope, particularly at that price. You’ll honestly need to see them side by side to judge if the extra money is worth it. If you’re thinking NF I’d step to the ATACR.

Agreed. I'd go SWFA if you're staying in the $1200 range, and I'd go ATACR if you want to go more expensive.

Honestly, each is a great value in its price range, but they're not in the same price range. If money is important, the SWFA will likely never hold you back glass-wise and certainly won't from a build quality standpoint. The reticle is good for hunting and target shooting. Turrets are serviceable, but nothing to write home about. If you have the extra cash, the ATACR is really a nice alpha-level scope that competes with anything else on the market in the precision tactical realm. It's just easier to use in a lot of respects. But the price difference is significant, so you'd expect that.

Really, they're both good options. How much does the extra money matter? For me, I'd only own half the scope after the impending divorce, so I'd rather have 100% of an SWFA than 50% of an ATACR. But everyone is different.

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487670 04/15/19 12:54 PM
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Hummmmmmm eek2

"The turret hashes are not white anymore, they have been stained with the oils from my hands, and who knows what else. "


"some people say I got a drinkin problem........I got no problem drinkin at all......."


Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487728 04/15/19 02:00 PM
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FJG, have you seen the MIL-XT reticle in person?


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Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487730 04/15/19 02:02 PM
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Hopefully not off topic... but the OP did mention an NXS as well as the ATACR. What is the quality difference between the SHV, NSX, and ATACT?

I handled an SHV, as well as a few others the other day but wasn't able to compare it to an ATACR or NSX.

Im probably going to be buying another scope in the coming future, part of me wants to buy the ultimate ATACR, but the rest of me says its really more than I will ever need.... but it would keep me from probably every wanting to upgrade again like I have done now and am in the process of doing again.


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Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487769 04/15/19 02:51 PM
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Redchevy I havenít compared the scopes you listed but have had the SS 5-20 and the NXS 5.5-22 side by side. Everyone there including the owner of the NXS said the SS had better glass. Theyíre both heavy. They both track perfectly. If I canít play with the big money scopes the NXS will never be an option. Iíll take another SS 5-20 any day.

I donít think the ATACR plays second fiddle to anything in its class.

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487772 04/15/19 02:55 PM
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Someone jump out there and get the Kahles 525i so I can have scope envy.

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: redchevy] #7487804 04/15/19 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Hopefully not off topic... but the OP did mention an NXS as well as the ATACR. What is the quality difference between the SHV, NSX, and ATACT?

I handled an SHV, as well as a few others the other day but wasn't able to compare it to an ATACR or NSX.

Im probably going to be buying another scope in the coming future, part of me wants to buy the ultimate ATACR, but the rest of me says its really more than I will ever need.... but it would keep me from probably every wanting to upgrade again like I have done now and am in the process of doing again.


NXS is extremely high quality, and really what Nightforce built its' name on. It is second focal plane, so for the reticle to be correct, you have to be at maximum magnification. That is why, in PRS type shooting, there were not many NF scopes seen for years. SFP is a no-go for many of us. For competition as well as hunting, FFP is all many of us use. NF came out with the BEAST, and did alright with it. The ATACR really reduced the street value of the BEAST as a FFP Nighforce offering. They really got it right with the ATACR.

If you do take the plunge, and spend that level of money, I would think you would have the attitude so many of us have, which is "this scope will last me the rest of my life". Jeffbird made me feel better after buying the ATACR two years ago. He said "take what you spent, and chop it up into tenths. Then ten years from now, when that scope is still working fine, it won't feel so bad."

Yeah, they are heavy, but to me that is part of reliability. I know when I mount it to my 7 Rem Mag, and go on a SW Texas mule deer hunt, or back to the mountains on an elk hunt, my scope can be depended on.


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Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487807 04/15/19 03:24 PM
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I will 2nd the SS edging the NXS on glass quality but the NXS beats it on features. Zero stop being #1.

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7487992 04/15/19 06:35 PM
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I wonder why SWFA has not added zero stops to that model? Even if it made the sale price go up some, I doubt it would reduce sales.

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: FiremanJG] #7488071 04/15/19 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by FiremanJG
However, the SS has earned its' stripes as far as I'm concerned. If I were going into some far off back country, and my life depended on a rifle scope, both scopes would be one of my picks.


There is something to be said for that...you use your stuff as the tools they are, that scope has been through some stuff and still as consistent and accurate as when you got it.

I agree with the others on this thread and it's pretty much unanimous feedback.


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Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: cxjcherokec] #7488100 04/15/19 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by cxjcherokec
I will 2nd the SS edging the NXS on glass quality but the NXS beats it on features. Zero stop being #1.


I think you can buy some shims online that work as a zero stop on the SS scope.

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: JTS] #7494151 04/22/19 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JTS
Originally Posted by cxjcherokec
I will 2nd the SS edging the NXS on glass quality but the NXS beats it on features. Zero stop being #1.


I think you can buy some shims online that work as a zero stop on the SS scope.

True. User TimK on the Hide sells them.

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7494233 04/22/19 09:53 PM
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Pretty sure the shims are a no go on the 5-20 unless something changed recently.


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Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7494560 04/23/19 11:35 AM
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The ATACR is a once in a lifetime purchase, and well worth every dollar. There are a lot of extra features that really add up to a better overall experience over the SS if you are really out using your equipment, whether that be hunting or target shooting. Those have been outlined very well above so no need to reiterate. I've tried a LOT of $1k-$1,500 scopes (including a few NXS.) My ATACR is just in a different league. I really wish I had just got one from the start instead of wasting my money on all the "get the job done" options I went through first.

On another note, you might consider the 4-16x42 F1 as well. They can be found for ~$1,800 used on some other forum classifieds. It has the same quality feature set as its big brother, in a nice compact package. Mine is used for a lot of hunting and a decent amount of target shooting. I don't feel like the max magnification is limiting in any way, unless you plan to shoot out past 1000 yards. And let's face it, we all like to talk about it, but that is a very specialized thing. For the regular guy that does a lot of different things 16x is way more than enough, especially when it comes in such a nice compact package.

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: Crews] #7494629 04/23/19 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Crews
For the regular guy that does a lot of different things 16x is way more than enough, especially when it comes in such a nice compact package.


You could run my entire rifle range with a 16X scope. Maybe the 1 MOAs at 600 to 800 would be tough, but I doubt it. 16X and great glass, is better than 20X or 24X with not so great glass. And I'm not meaning that toward the SS.


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Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7494825 04/23/19 04:13 PM
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If there is any assistance I may be able to provide, please let me know if you have any additional questions.


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Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: aggiegolfer09] #7495115 04/23/19 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegolfer09
I am thinking about getting a new scope for my Creedmoor. Was thinking about getting a night force nxs 5.5-22 or ATACR 5-25 but I see the swfa is on sale right now. Anyone have experience with these 3 scopes and how do they compare? I know the price range really carries. Just wondering if itís worth it to get the ATACR over the swfa. Will be used for target shooting and hunting. Maybe an elk hunt someday



I have the exact NFS on my 6.5x47L and I have to say, not one complaint, just durable, tracks and low-light is extremely good. As for the SWA, that is certainly a scope for the price that is hard to beat.

Re: Swfa vs Nightforce [Re: FiremanJG] #7495501 04/24/19 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by FiremanJG

You could run my entire rifle range with a 16X scope. Maybe the 1 MOAs at 600 to 800 would be tough, but I doubt it. 16X and great glass, is better than 20X or 24X with not so great glass. And I'm not meaning that toward the SS.


Agreed, great glass @ 16X is more than you'll ever need for a majority of circumstances. If it means you can afford a NF, then by all means don't let 16x hold you back from making that decision. Plus, if the smaller scope size makes you think it's more versatile, useable, and easier to carry, you are right.

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