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Nightforce 4-16x42mm ATACR F1 and Global Defense Initiatives mount

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  • Nightforce 4-16x42mm ATACR F1 and Global Defense Initiatives mount

    I'll freely admit to being an Optics Snob. Buy once, cry once. You can't hit what you can't see. Insert additional catchy phrase here.

    What optics I haven't owned I've seen come through my school on a weekly basis. I've shot them, run them through drills, tested them, beat them up and compared them to each other. I've trained and shot with LE and military folks from around the world. Not saying I have seen every model made, but I've certainly handled more than most.

    Quite a few years ago I gravitated towards the rifle scopes from Nightforce and have replaced nearly all my precision optics with models from that company. Nightforce's overall combination of features, combined with superb glass, tough as nails construction, and unmatched reliability, have made them the rifle scopes that I use personally as well as recommend to my students. Nightforce Optics are the scopes that I outfit SWAT Snipers with more than all others combined.

    Recently, I received the new Nightforce ATACR 4-16x42mm F1 optic with MOAR-T reticle and .25MOA turrets, along with a Global Defense Initiatives P-ROM L-Model 25MOA mount. I mounted the new setup to my 18" JP Enterprises LRP-07 in .308. I commonly use this rig when teaching Urban and Guerilla Sniper courses and the new scope and GDI's mount is the perfect rifle topper.

    The optic is one of Nightforce's newest offerings in their ATACR line of F1, or First Focal Plane, scopes. The 4-16x42mm is 12.6" long and weighs 30oz. The 34mm tube is machined from solid bar stock 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum and mil spec hard coat anodized. Company literature states that this model has 89MOA / 26mils of elevation and 60MOA / 18mils of elevation. I found that mine has 90.5MOA of elevation.

    The Zero Stop elevation turret is of the uncapped variety and has 30MOA per revolution. When at the Zero Stop position the turret is locked. In order to make an adjustment off of your zero, you depress a tab towards the top of the turret and hold it when beginning to turn the turret. Once you are off of your zero, it is no longer locked and you will not need to continue to hold the locking tab, or hold it again. The design seems secure and is definitely easy to use.

    Those of you familiar with setting the Zero Stop on the NXS series will find this particular model of ATACR to use a slightly different method. If the shooter desires, once you set your Zero Stop, you can have an available 5MOA/2mils below zero.

    The windage knob is a bit different from others I have seen. As it comes out of the box, it is a capped design. However, if you decide that you prefer to use it uncapped, Nightforce supplies a "beauty ring" with the scope that is basically a thread protector. Screw it on in place of the turret cap and it will protect the threads from damage. Nice and neat. Both the elevation and windage adjustments are crisp, solid and quite audible.

    The parallax adjustment is at the standard 9 o'clock position, directly opposite the windage turret. If you push on the outside flat of the parallax knob the reticle illuminates. In the case of my MOAR-T, the entire reticle lights up. Push again, hold for a few seconds, and the illumination shuts off.

    The MOAR-T has 20MOA of hashmarks to the left and right of center. There are 8MOA of hashmarks above the horizontal and 30MOA below. All horizontal and vertical hashmarks are in 1MOA increments. The reticle is easy to use, offers an uncluttered view and is capable of remarkable precision, whether you are shooting, ranging, leading targets, or applying hold-offs.

    I gotta say, I am enamored of the provided and pre-installed lens covers. Comparing them to the ubiquitous Butler Creeks lens covers is like comparing an Abrams tank to a riding mower. Sturdily constructed, they ratchet as they rotate so you can put them at any position. This is especially handy with the eyepiece, as it rotates when you adjust the power. Speaking of adjusting power, Nightforce provides a Power Throw Lever that you can install or not, to your liking. I like the PTL, so installed it on my scope.

    So far, I only have one complaint on this Nightforce scope. I would like to see windage and elevation knobs that locked at all times; unlock to make an adjustment, release and it automatically locks until you need to make another adjustment. The "clicks" are very crisp and I don't see this lack of an "all the time" lock being an issue, but I do like the feature. Honestly, that it is the only criticism I can find and it is very minor.

    The best scope in the world, atop the finest rifle, is worthless if the mounting system is not up to the task. The Global Defense Initiatives P-ROM L Model mount is the finest one-piece mounting system I have ever used.

    I was already familiar with the GDI mount, as I currently own one in 30mm. The new 34mm mount I received from GDI is every bit as rugged and well-made as the 30mm version I've owned for years, and has 25MOA of built-in elevation. It is hands down the toughest and most reliable QD mount I have ever used. The twin locking levers have adjustable tension. They are easy to operate but lock the mount securely in place. Once I get this setup to the range, I am expecting to see the same return-to-zero capabilities that my previous mount exhibited. GDI claims a live-fire shift in POI of less than .20MOA when removing and reinstalling the mount.

    One of my favorite things about the mount is that it has never left any marks on my rails. I've used several other QD mounts that were rugged and repeatable (in some cases) but nearly every one marred the Picatinny rail in some manner, especially when the rail is aluminum. Not so the GDI mount.

    The GDI mount is precision CNC machined from aerospace grade aluminum and mil-spec hard coat anodized. The locking hardware and crossbolts are stainless steel. You can order it in any color you want, as long as you want black. If that doesn't float your boat, you could have it Cerakoted/KG Gunkoted/Duracoated, or rattle can it yourself. The integral rings are split horizontally, which I prefer over the vertical type. The vertical types always have a protrusion at the top which can sometimes interfere with your view of the elevation turret. The top halves of the rings have slots and threaded holes for the attachment of optic-specific mounts for devices such as Trijicon RMR or OTHER OPTIC. I have such a mount for a Trijicon RMR for my older 30mm setup and it works exceedingly well, if you go in for that sort of thing.

    I checked both the older 30mm and newer 34mm mounts with the Kokopelli scope alignment bars. Both were dead on balls accurate (it's an industry term) and required no lapping whatsoever. I'm a big proponent of lapping scope rings for best results and am hugely pleased to not have to do it in this case. I have never mounted a scope as easily as mounting one in a GDI mount. You haven't seen OCD until you've seen Rob Sheppard mount a rifle scope. I use levels, plumb bobs, the Mark II eyeball, dohickeys and gizmos galore to get everything leveled up and flying straight. The hardest part is usually tightening the top halves of the rings to the bottoms without causing the scope to rotate. Easiest way to do this is by tightening in small increments, back and forth and crisscrossing the screws you tighten, like tightening lug nuts. Invariably, the scope will still rotate to some degree. I have never mounted a scope as easily as I did the Nightforce 4-16x42mm ATACR FI in the 34mm GDI P-ROM mount. I don't think I could have done it much faster if I had just slapped everything together with no attempt at keeping things square. To me, this just screams out how well made the mount is.

    Looking at the GDI mount and trying to find a flaw, I can only come up with one thing that may be an issue for some folks. The beefy, solid construction that makes this the most rugged QD I have ever used comes at a price; weight and size. It's made out of aluminum, so it's not exactly heavy, but it is heavier than similar systems sold by Nightforce, American Defense and the like. This does not bother me in the slightest. Quite frankly, I'm a bit fed up with folks I hear whining about how heavy their SWS rigs are. When I'm asked what to do about a rig that is "too heavy", I invariably answer, "Go to the gym." I toted a 14.5 pound M40A1 all over the US and across 16 foreign countries as a USMC Scout/Sniper. The weight never bothered me and the current USMC M40A3 weighs 16.5 pounds.

    For both pieces of kit, all these nicky neat features, over the top quality and hard corps reliability do not come cheap. MSRP for the Nightforce scope and the GDI mount are $2400 and $570 respectively. In my opinion, these prices are commiserate with the return on your investment and well worth it. I've found you can get top quality kit, or cheap kit, but that they are never one and the same.

    Sadly, it doesn't look like I will get this system to the range until April 17-18. I am running the Precision Applications, LLC/Sniper's Paradise Rendezvous at Legion OTG in Blakely, GA that weekend, on their 2500yd Unknown Distance range. She'll get quite a workout then!






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    www.precision-applications.com

    It's knowing that when I get up in the morning and my feet hit the floor, the Devil says, "Shit! He's awake!"

    Shortly before World War I, the German Kaiser was the guest of the Swiss government to observe military maneuvers. The Kaiser asked a Swiss militiaman: "You are 500,000 and you shoot well, but if we attack with 1,000,000 men what will you do?" The soldier replied: "We will shoot twice and go home."

    "There are so many Russians, and our country so small, where will we find room to bury them all?" - anonymous Finnish soldier

  • #2


    www.precision-applications.com

    It's knowing that when I get up in the morning and my feet hit the floor, the Devil says, "Shit! He's awake!"

    Shortly before World War I, the German Kaiser was the guest of the Swiss government to observe military maneuvers. The Kaiser asked a Swiss militiaman: "You are 500,000 and you shoot well, but if we attack with 1,000,000 men what will you do?" The soldier replied: "We will shoot twice and go home."

    "There are so many Russians, and our country so small, where will we find room to bury them all?" - anonymous Finnish soldier

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    • #3
      Nice. Did you get a new purse too?

      "Do the right thing even if it means dying like a dog when no one's there to see you do it." Vice Admiral James Stockdale, NAVY PILOT

      "Honor, Integrity, Commitment to core values. When they become abstract concepts or "ideals", all is lost." Me.

      "Character is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking." J.C. Watts

      "I have never seen a projectile turn in flight and come back at the ship that fired it, I cannot however make that same statement regarding missiles." Me.

      Deus lo vult! = "God wills it!"

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      • #4
        Nice review. That certainly looks like a rock solid mount; very nice kit!
        I'm also a NF fan, I've had 3-4 of them so far.

        "Kill evil. It's how quality of life is achieved. Carry on."---Ted Nugent

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