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Reply with quote  #1 
Soon enough I'm going to have to make a choice as to what scope to put on my project rifle. I'll likely go with a Nightforce BR model with a 2DD ret, but it's not set in stone yet. An LRT is also a very attractive prospect.
Of real concern to me is that I've "heard" that the side focusing models are squirrely, something having to do with needing to go all the way over to infinity and then backing it off to where it's needed. Also problems with lash. Having never used a side focus I'm basically clueless. I'm currently using a Weaver T-36 on my Remmy and except for the microscopic exit pupil, it outstanding. Your thoughts? Thx! -Rod-

Reply with quote  #2 

Never heard of the problems you mention in regard to Nightforce....then again you never hear of any Nightforce problems, they are that good.

Here's a couple of things to think about in regard to Nightforce.

The Br model is cheaper by quite a bit

The Br model is clearer due to one less mirror.

The NXS and BR model have some different reticles available, so if you just got to have reticle XXX that might make the choice for you.

The NXS has nice target knobs

The side focus is a pain in the ass if you shoot left handed!

The BR model has 1/8 minute clicks

The NXS model has 1/4 minute clicks

The NXS has more adjustment available for those looooong yardages.

Both are great scopes, but my preference runs to the BR model for target work. Military and LE will opt for the NXS.

Either way I think you'll be happy and never look at another Leopold as long as you live!
Reply with quote  #3 
Here is the "skinny" on the Leupold side focus scopes. Sorry it is so long but that is what it takes to explain.

This from Benchrest board. Those who frequent SH know that many of use have been frustrated with the Side Focus (SF) Leupold LRT Scopes. In particular the near impossibility, at some distances to have zero parallax and maximum target sharpness. This posting, from a professional optics tester helps explain why, and tells you how to get properly use the "side focus adjustment".

Read carefully, I know I learned a thing or two--that Leupold didn't even tell me when I called their tech support more than once.

The author is a man named Paul Coburn and his job is evaluating optics for a living. He is highly regarded in the field and does testing for some major companies. So no if's, and's or but's regardless of if you agree or disagree with the writting style he is giving the straight poop on the subject. Here it goes...

Thread link:

I've answered questions about scope parallax about 300 times, and it's always a long drawn out thing, going several e-mails, and a few phone calls. It doesn't seem to make any difference how long the guy has been shooting, this one always keep screwing guys up.
OK... here goes (Whew, this is gonna be a long one).
There are several things that go on inside a scope, and in the eyes at the same time. Some of them workie against each other.
But some terminology first... and we'll leave out lenses that are there to correct some optical or color errors, but don't have anything to do with image forming.
We'll start at the front of it all, and work back.
1 - The "Object"... the thing that you are looking (shooting) at.
2 - The "Objective". The front lens is called the "Objective"... it forms the first image of the "object" we are looking at (that why they call it the Objective
It is the lens that "captures" all the light, that is solely responsible for the image quality of the scope... if it is poor, you can't fix the poor image later.
This lens is usually made of two different types of glasses (called "elements") sandwiched together, and is called an "Achromat".
The Achromat is fully color corrected for blue and green. The red wavelengths are partially corrected, but have what is called "residual color errors".
This is the normal type of objective used in shooting and spotting scopes. In quality, they can vary from badd, through sorta OK, to pretty damn good.
If one of the elements is made of an "ED" glass, or a "Fluorite" (CaF) glass, the two element lens can be very good to friggin' outstanding.
In some instances, objective lenses are made of three elements, and all three colors (blue, green, and red) are completely corrected. This type of lens is called an "Apochromat", and this is the finest lens that can be bought. The best of these can also have "ED" glass, or Fluorite as one of the elements.
3 - The "First image plane". The Objective focuses the light to make an image of the subject, just like a camera lens. This image is upside down, and right/left reversed. This is the first image plane, but NOT the "First image plane" that is talked about when shooters talk about reticles.
4 - The "Erector lens"... (if it is a group of lenses, it is called the "Erector cell"). Because the first image is upside down/wrong way around, we (as shooters) can't use it... so we flip it around with a simple optical group called the "erector cell". This cell gives us a new image that is right way around, called the second image plane. Moving this cell causes this second image plane to move... so micrometer spindles are put against the cell, to get elevation and windage adjustments.
5 - The "Second image plane". This is the second real image plane in the scope, and this is the image plane that shooters call the "First image plane" when talking about reticles. In a fixed power scope, or in a variable with a "First image plane reticle", the reticle would be placed in this image plane.
This is where Premier Reticle puts those magical "Gen II" reticles.
6 - The "Zoom group". In a variable scope with standard (non-magnifying) reticle, the zoom group of optics would follow #5. This group of lenses can change the size of the image plane in #5 and then form a new (third) image plane behind it.
7 - The "Third image plane" In variable power scopes, this is the plane that the reticle is placed in. By being here, it allows the image to change sizes, but the reticle to stay the same size. In the context of reticles, this is the image plane that is referred to as the "second image plane"
8 - The "Eyepiece". This optical group is like a jewelers loupe. Is is (or should be) a super fine magnifier. It's only job in the whole world, is to focus on the reticle.
Let me repeat that for those that live in Rio Linda...
It CANNOT adjust, or compensate for, or do anything else when things look bad in the scope, or when you can't hit the target... and you CANNOT use the eyepiece to try to correct for parallax. That is sheer folly at best, and raw stupidity at worst.
If you expect it to do anything else, then stop wasting your time with long-range shooting, cuz you are never gonna make it past mediocre... and take up golf!!
OK... now that you know what the insides are like... lets move on. We'll use the zoom scope for our examples. cuz if you can understand the zoom scope, then the fixed scope is a walk in the park.
In the scope that is set for infinity range, the object forms an image behind the objective (the first image plane)... the erector cell "sees" that image, and flips it over and makes it right way around in a NEW image plane (the Second image plane). The zoom group adjusts the size of this image plane, and makes a NEW image plane (the Third image plane) that is the desired size. There is a reticle placed in this last image plane, and the eyepiece focuses on the reticle AND the image at the same time.
When things are good, that's how the scope workie!
But... now the booger falls into the soup... IF the third image plane and the reticle are not exactly, (and I mean EX-ACT-LY) in the same place, then your eye cannot see them LOCKED together as one picture.
It sees them as two separate pictures, and the eye will look at each separately, and the eye can also look AROUND one to see the other.
Lenses are measured in metrics (aka Millimeters). Not because the Europeans wanted the metric system 20 years ago, but because optical strings and chains of lenses (like scopes) are really a string of numbers.
There are constant ratios of "this divided by that's" that give image sizes, "F-ratios", and image locations. It's so damn easy to do the engineering using a 10 based system that the optical guys were using the metric system way back in the 1800's.
The objective has a "Focal length"... this is the distance behind the lens that the first image plane falls when making an image if a subject that is at infinity (or very damn far away).
If the objective has a focal length of 100mm, then the image of that 1000 yd target is 100mm behind the lense.
But the problem with geometric optics (which is what we are dealing with here), is that they follow the laws of geometry... and optics make triangles like rabbits make babies.
AND... in an optical chain, when you change one thing, one angle, one ANYTHING, everything else follows along and changes BASED on the ratios involved at THAT stage.
If we take that same target, and move it to 100 yds, the image in the scope moves BACKWARDS, going further into the scope. Not by much, but it doesn't take much, cuz we're dealing with very small distances inside the scope, and very high magnifications.
How far the image moves back, and what it's new position is, is predictable by the mathematical ratios of the angles formed by the subject and the first image... OR (for us dummies that lost our slip sticks) by the ratio of the distances to the Target and the focal length, multiplied by the focal length. then ADDED to the focal length.
The target is at 100 yds (91440mm), the focal length of the objective is 100, so the displacement is 1/914 x 100, which means that the first image is now at ~100.1mm. Hmmm only .1mm, that doesn't seem like much.
Read the following paragraph twice...
In a 1x scope, 0.1mm would mean nothing... but this displacement is repeated throughout the chain, AND if any of the optical groups change the image ratio (aka image size), then the displacement (aka ERROR) is changed in direct proportion to the increase in magnification. So in a 3x scope, it would be .3mm, and in a 10x scope, it would be 1mm, and in a 30 power scope, the image would be 3mm behind the reticle.
Now, you should have seen a pattern in this last paragraph.
With the same error in the objective (scope focused at 1000, and target at 100), the parallax INCREASES WITH MAGNIFICATION... got it?
OK... now, if we do the same math for closer distances, like 50 yds, and 25 yds we will see that the error gets really big, so that with a target at 50 yards, and the scope set at 35 or 65 yds, the parallax makes the combination un-usable.
Parallax is... when the image of the target, and the reticle, are NOT in exactly the same plane, and by moving the eye up and down... or side to side, either the target OR the reticle appears to move in relation to the other.
You might see the target move and the reticle stay still, or you might see the target stay still and the reticle move over it... both are exactly the same, and which you see, is only a matter of your OWN perception.
It is NOT possible to have parallax while moving up and down, but not have it when you are moving side to side.
If you think that is what you have, you have other problems... either you are moving the rifle, or you have eye problems.
This is the only way to do it...
First, screw the eyepiece out (CCW) all the way, until it stops.
If you wear glasses, put them on.
Hold the scope up and look OVER the scope at the sky, and relax your eyes. Then move the scope in front of your eye.
The reticle should look fuzzy
Turn the eyepiece in 1/2 turn, and do the same thing again. You will have to do for a while before the reticle starts to look better. When you start getting close, then turn the eyepiece 1/4 turn each time.
Do this until the reticle is fully sharp and fully BLACK immediately when you look through the scope.
Than back off one turn and do it again to make sure you are in the same place.
Then LOCK the ring on the eyepiece, and leave it alone forever!
Set the scope down on something sold, where it can see something at a long distance... half a mile of longer is good.
It can be on the rifle, and rested in sand bags at the range... but pick something at least 1000 yds away... even further if possible.
If the scope has an "AO" Adjustable objective, then set it for infinity, and look at the distant object, and move your head from one side to the other, or up and down if you prefer.
If the reticle seems to move, there is parallax.
Change the distance setting and try again... if you are very careful, you can move your eye, and adjust the distance at the same time, seeing which direction gets better.
With front objective adjustments, you can turn them either way without worry... BUT with side adjustment scopes, like the MK4-M3, the M3-LR, or the other LR family of scopes, the adjustment must ALWAYS be made from the infinity end of the dial. Turn the adjustment all the way until it stops (past infinity), and then start turning it in a little at a time, until there is no parallax. If you "overshoot" the proper setting, you can't just turn back a little, you must go back to stop at the end of the dial, and start over again.
While "AO"s dials are locked in place, and if the indicated distance doesn't match the real distance, there's nothing you can do about it... the side focus dials are not locked in place.
Once you have found the setting for infinity on the side focus models, then (CAREFULLY) loosen the screws, and set the dial so that little sideways infinity symbol is lined up with the hash mark, so it is calibrated. You can also make little marks or put on a paper tape for other ranges instead of using the round dots that don't match any range.
Now you can set it to infinity, but remember that you MUST turn the dial all the way past infinity to the stop, EVERY TIME before going from a close range to a longer range.
If you are set for 500 yds, you can go directly to 100 yds, but if you are set for 100 and want to set it to 500, you MUST go all the way back to the stop, and then go to 500
This is because there is a fair amount of backlash (aka SLOP) in this wheel linkage to the focusing cell, so you can set it only from one direction to make sure the slop is always on one side. The other problem with it is, even if you decided that you wanted to calibrate from the other end... the recoil will push the cell back. SO you must ALWAYS set these dials from the infinity end of their scales.
To make it easy to not have to remember... I always start from the end stop, when I change range, no matter which direction I'm going in... it adds about 0.023 seconds!
Now... you gots a friend that says to set up a scope a different way???... he don't know doodly-squat about scopes.
The guy at the range said to do it a different way... he don't know either.
You know some guy who's in the Marines says to use your eyepiece to correct parallax... he doesn't know about optics either.
You got a friend that shoots benchrest and says something different... he don't know crapola!
This is the way, the only way, there is no other way.
... as Rushbo would say... this is from GOD-da .
You gots questions, just e-mail me.
You wanna "debate it", then go play golf, cuz you're wasting my time!
'lito (gettin' grumpy in my old age!)
Reply with quote  #4 

Thanks for posting that piece of wisdom.

"Pablito" if you are reading this, you never cease to amaze me!

Reply with quote  #5 
This is a great, informative post on optics. In fact, I would respectfully suggest that pin this post (for those who have not already printed and filed it).

Jim Hardy
Reply with quote  #6 
This is a great post on rifle optics, but I just wondered why the need to repeatedly use profanity in such a post? You seem to be very intelligent and have a good vocabulary. Why stoop to such?

Roy in NC
Reply with quote  #7 
Roy -- well said.

Reply with quote  #8 
Originally Posted by RoyinNC
This is a great post on rifle optics, but I just wondered why the need to repeatedly use profanity in such a post? You seem to be very intelligent and have a good vocabulary. Why stoop to such?

Roy in NC

After about 5000 times of answering questions about scopes, and getting a bunch of crap thrown back at him, Paul posted this and then pretty much stopped posting. Anywhere. (a loss for the community IMO, but Paul was very direct and rubbed many the wrong way) This post was a direct response to a poster who was "misguided", and liked to argue about it.

This came from Snipercountry orignally, about 3 or 4 years ago. Being salty is not discouraged over there, nor is it discouraged on many of the site taylored to tactical shooters. Many, if not most, are ex-military or LEO of one ilk or another,, and harsh language isn't an issue.

For those offended, copy it, remove the language you don't like and drive on.

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