Very few hunters will venture out into the wilderness without a scope on their rifles. When you decide to hunt without one, you leave yourself vulnerable to environmental conditions. Even something as simple as a light wind can cause your shot to go off target and miss what you wanted to hit.
While there are a number of companies making rifle scopes and similar products today, we wanted to do a comparison of Nightforce products to Leupold products. Though both companies make some solid products that will work for different types of hunters, you’ll likely find that you prefer Nightforce or Leupold over the other.
Let’s Compare The Two Products
If you only go hunting a few times a year or less, the prices on Nightforce products can send you into shock. Though Nightforce scopes are quite impressive and come with lots of amazing features, you can easily spend a grand or more on one of these telescopes. Some of the manufacturer will cost even more.
Leupold makes scopes that cost less than a grand, and you can even pick one up for less. Before you hand over your credit card number though, look at the features of those telescopes. Leupold models generally come with less features than Nightforce products do.
Light and Illumination
Nightforce gives you the option of using a telescope with or without illumination. Its illuminated models are suitable for using in areas when there is not a lot of natural light available. When you hunt on a bright and sunny day, you may prefer one without any illumination.
Many Leupold products come with a light management system that actually adjusts the level of brightness that you see when looking through the telescope. This provides more contrast between your target and other nearby objects.
In a direct competition in terms of eye relief, Nightforce beats Leupold. Eye relief with a higher number means that you will not strain or wear out your eyes when looking through it. Nightforce products have a greater eye relief that Leupold products do.
Top Nightforce Picks
Nightforce Optics 5-25x56
The ultimate scope from Nightforce is this Optics 5-25×56 ATACR Series Rifle Scope, which is part of the Optics line that the company designed to work with new forms of technology. It has a MOAR-T reticle that most hunters and shooters claim is the best and a matte black finish. Its illuminated reticle helps you better line up a shot and keep a target in your sights, even if you need to track an animal moving through the wilderness.
Nightforce created the lens on this model from a special type of glass with several unique layers of coating on the front that reduces fog and enhances your clarity. It provides you with a clear view of objects and targets up to 100 yards away and has an eye relief of just over three-inches to help you track those targets for longer without suffering from eye strain.
Hunters and those who love entering competitions will love this 15-55x52mm Rifle Scope, which was designed specifically for those who enter contests and those who want to practice their shooting or do target shooting. It has a 3.15-inch eye relief that significantly cuts down on the pressure on your eyes as you stare through it and a 30mm tube diameter, which is the industry standard. With internal adjustments, you can adjust the telescope based on the wind circling around you as well as your current elevation.
All the adjustments are accessible via knobs on the outside of the scope, which Nightforce designed for you to turn and twist with bare hands or with gloves on your hands. At under 28-ounces, it packs a lot of great features into a design that weighs less than you expect. Once installed on your rifle, it lets you see clearly and set up your shot.
Whether you’re at sea level, or you’re on the top of a mountain, you’ll want to use this Optics 5.5-22×56 NXS Rifle Scope as you set up a shot. It features adjustment knobs along the sides and on top that let you change the way the scope works based on your elevation. You can use those same knobs to compensate for the high winds you might encounter that can send your shot off course too.
Though this is one of the heavier models that the brand makes, it still weighs just 32-ounces, and the two extra pounds that it adds to your gun won’t keep the rifle from weighing down your hands or leaving your arms feeling tired. It also features zero stop turrets for returning settings to zero and a 3.9-inch eye relief, which is one of the highest numbers you’ll find across telescopes from most major manufacturers.
For precise shooting in the morning or nighttime hours, you can’t go wrong with the 8-32×56 Precision Benchrest Illuminated Rifle Scope. This is one of the top choices for use at short distances, and while you can use it at longer distance, you may have a hard time getting the target in your cross-hairs and using the sightings. Customers love just how responsive it is and how quickly it responds to all the adjustments they make.
Designed for use at distances of up to 100 yards, it offers the crystal clear clarity that you want when looking through the scope. It has an extended eye relief that reduces fatigue and keeps you from straining your eyes and an anodized aluminum outer shell. It also has an illuminated reticle and will work with the mounting gear and rings that you can purchase from Nightforce.
Affordable may not be one of the names that you use to describe Nightforce, but you just might start using that word after seeing this Optics 12-42x56mm BR Benchrest Series Rifle Scope, which is one of the lowest priced telescopes available from the company. This scope works with almost all types of ultra long range rifles and works at both long range and ultra long range distances. It helps you spot your target and get that target in your cross-hairs as well as track that target as it moves.
Though it won’t work effectively at shorter distances of a few feet, it does work well at a distance of 25 yards or more from a target, and you may find that you can stand back even further from that target. It uses true calibration to help you set up your shots, and you can return settings to zero in seconds.
Top Leupold Picks
Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm
Matte scopes like this Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm Matte Duplex Scope are the best choice for those who hunt in the daylight because the matte finish will not reflect light around you the way that telescopes with a shinier finish can. This ensures that you can get closer to your target without the light giving away your location. It features dual-spring adjustments that let you make more precise adjustments too.
One reason why Leupold models are so popular is because of the Twilight Max Light Management System that the manufacturer designed. This system brightens the colors of each object that you see through the telescope and increases the contrast between different colors and objects to help you identify other hunters and any other objects that might be near the target. It also has watertight seals that keep it from fogging up and a power selector that you can use and turn while wearing gloves.
Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm
Are you tired of searching for hunting supplies and finding that most companies import their products from other countries? When you buy this Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm Matte Duplex, you support the American economy because the company makes this scope right here in the United States. It is suitable for use with a wide range of rifles from companies like Ruger and Kimber and will work when hunting for large or small prey, though depending on the gun you have, you may need a separate mount. It is also great for tracking moving animals and other types of prey.
Though it does not come with the rings or the mount necessary for installing on your rifle, it does feature a light management system that increases the contrast that you see. It also features an anodized metal shell and a one-inch tube on one end.
Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm
Made from anodized aluminum, this Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Matte Duplex has a matte black finish that lets you hide in the woods or any other location to target your prey without that prey seeing you. To ensure that you understand how to use a gun safely and that you find other hunting enthusiasts in your city, Leupold even includes an NRA membership card in the box with it, which you can use to join the NRA. It has three adjustment knobs moving down the length of the telescope that you can turn with gloved hands.
Do you sometimes have a hard time identifying your target because there are other animals or plants nearby? The light management system that this scope features increases the sharpness and contrast between the objects, animals and other things in your surroundings. This helps you keep an eye on your target, even if that target moves.
Leupold VX-2 3-9x40mm
Are you in the market for a new rifle telescope but assume that one will set you back $1,000 or more? You might be surprised at just how affordable some of the models from Leupold are like this VX-2 3-9x40mm Rifle Scope. As one of the cheapest telescopes from all companies on the market, it is essentially a no frills model that can help you hunt until you save up enough money to buy a better model. It’s also great for new hunters who want to see the benefits of a scope before spending more money.
It has a magnification range of between 3X and 9X, but even if you use it on the highest magnification setting, it won’t leave the viewing area looking blurry. Leupold used watertight seals on this scope too, which keeps out water and prevent fog from building up on the lens.
Leupold 114933 VX-HOG
When hunting in humid or cold climates, you might notice that the lens on your scope becomes foggy because of those temperatures, but this 114933 VX-HOG Rifle Scope has a watertight seal that keeps all types of moisture from getting inside it to prevent fog on the lens. It weighs just over eight-ounces, which won’t add extra weight to your gun. With an eye relief of four-inches, it can also keep your eyes from feeling tired and worn out while hunting.
Thanks to the light management system designed by Leupold, it will also provide all the brilliant contrast you need to spot a target hidden deep in the woods, even with plants and other animals moving around. A power button on the scope which the brand makes in America will adjusts the power and allows you to keep both eyes open as you track a moving target.
Who Wins The Battle?
Though some people might look at this list and say there is no clear winner, we feel that Nightforce is the clear winner over Leupold. Leupold scopes are really best for those who want to save money on a telescope and those who do not do a lot of hunting. If you go out even once every few months, you’ll find that a Nightforce scope will perform much better than a Leupold scope can.