Nightforce ATACR 5-25X56 F1 Review – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: November 18, 2020

Looking for a military-grade long range high precision rifle scope? The Nightforce ATACR may be your answer. Designed with immaculate detailing and a comprehensible set of features for the price. This is one helluva scope for extreme precision shooting. Let’s review this scope and find out the good and the bad about it. 

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • 5-25x magnification with ultra-crisp brightness
  • 30 MOA per rotation turrets with Zerostop feature
  • Patented Digillium reticle in two illuminated colors
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Pros

  • Digillium Reticle Retains Previous Settings 
  • Precise, Robust and Accurate Turret Adjustment
  • Exceptionally Clear Images Even at the Farthest Range

Cons

  • Big in Weight and Size
  • Overly Expensive For Most Buyers

Nightforce ATACR Specs

Eye Relief: 3.5 inches

Adjustment Options (Parallax, windage, elevation): E - 120 MOA/35 MRAD, W - 80 MOA/24 MRAD. P - 45 yards to infinity

Type of Reticle: Digillum PTL MOA/M-RAD

Image of Reticle:

Magnification: 5 - 25 x

Focal Plane: First Focal Plane

Objective Lens: 56 mm

Field of View: 18.7 - 4.9 feet at 100 yards

Weight: 37.6 ounces

The Nightforce ATACR is a first focal plane scope with a large objective lens and an appropriate field of view. The eye relief is close to perfect but the weight is slightly extra. The scope is offered in MOA and MRAD illuminated reticles.

Pros

Nightforce scopes have been a favorite of the elite sniper units of the U.S Military. Including the Navy Seals. These scopes are built to exact tolerances and with zero errors in design and for quality. The ATACR is one such scope with some very amazing traits to offer.

Exceptionally Clear Images Even at the Farthest Range

The scope features a 56 mm objective which is absolutely necessary for a scope of this power. A common issue found on many low priced long range FFP scope is the blurring of images at the top power settings. But this scope is absolutely immune to that. Whether it's 5x or 25x, you’ll always find a bright and crisp image on your eyepiece. Even low light conditions like dawn and dusk won’t hinder that clarity. 

Digillium Reticle Retains Previous Settings 

The ATACR scope features an extremely fine Digillum PTL reticle. Available in MOA or Mil graduations. The reticle is illuminated and can be used in red and green color.

The unique and differentiating feature of this scope is the digillium reticle. With the unique part being that it maintains the last reticle settings of color and holdovers when it is turned back on. This ensures that you are instantly ready for a shot and your night vision device usage is not affected. No doubt why the military went with this reticle!

Precise, Robust and Accurate Turret Adjustment

The ATACR offers windage, elevation, and parallax adjustments. With a 30 MOA per revolution adjustment turret for trajectory settings. There’s a push button located right above the parallax adjustment dial that controls the reticle’s brightness intensity, color and power. The push button offers a compact and simple control mechanism to manage reticle settings, without any fancy mechanisms.  

The turrets are very crisp and aptly audible. The turret also features a Hi-Speed ZeroStop™ that helps with maintaining turret settings at varying ranges. The magnification ring also has a PTL (Power Throw Lever) for easy and quick magnification changes. Plus, the XtremeSpeed™ thread near the eyepiece offers a fast diopter adjustment. 

NightForce ATACR 5-25x56mm F1 ZeroStop Riflescope

Cons  

The Nightforce ATACR is a great scope. But still not impervious to a few drawbacks. Let’s take a look at them and find out if they are a deterrent or a mere consideration. 

Overly Expensive For Most Buyers

The Nightforce ATACR 5-25x F1 is priced close to $3000. That’s about five times of the most common good quality scopes and about 8-9 times the price of low level long range scopes. This scope costs more than most rifles being sold on the civilian market. So it is absolutely a no-go for low budget buyers. While this scope was designed for extreme precision uses, it has a justifiable price tag for pro shooters.

Big in Weight and Size

The scope weighs 38 ounces or 2.3 pounds. That’s quite an issue when you plan on mounting it on rifles that weigh 6-7 pounds. This scope is not small and will cause extra fatigue if you have to carry it on long treks through woodlands. 

Best Uses For the Nightforce ATACR 5-25X56 F1

The ATACR is a military grade long range riflescope. It features an illuminated FFP digillium reticle and has been exclusively designed for high precision applications. 

This scope is best suited for PRS competitions, long range hunting, night time hunting, and tactical operations. Benchrest shooting and practice is also a viable application for this scope. But you don’t have to spend three grand to just sharpen the basics. 

The ATACR scope features a digillium reticle technology that is a great feature for night time hunting with night vision devices and low light shooting. Plus the color changes are also a great feature for day and low light. Since green color is better during the day and red works great at night. 

The turrets allow 30 MOA or 8.72 MRAD of adjustments in one single rotation, and the ZeroStop™ feature is an absolute necessity for long range scopes. 

This scope can easily dial past 1500 yards and offer fine precision. Even when hitting egg-sized targets. 

This is a versatile scope for everything long range and especially for applications like competitions and tactical operations. 

Is the Nightforce ATACR 5-25X56 F1 Compatible With Any Rifle?

The Nightforce ATACR 5-25x is suitable for heavy caliber rifles. We’re talking about .308 caliber and above. The scope is best suited for 338 Lapua and .50 cal rifles. That present unforgiving recoil and have the power to suit appropriate long range. This scope is not suitable for assault rifles and that completely phases out its use with AR-15 and AK-47 rifles. 

The scope will suit big rifles with at least 18 inches of barrel and having a bipod becomes essential due to its heavy weight. 

What Do I Need to Know About Mounting the Nightforce ATACR 5-25X56 F1?

There are quite a few things you have to consider during and after mounting the Nightforce ATACR scope. The scope isn’t supplied with mounts, and given its weight, you have to choose a good and sturdy one. Nightforce has a lot of mounts to offer and can be brought separately from their website. 

Attach the base and rings torquing them to the specifications mentioned by the manufacturer. For initial mounting of the scope on the rifle. Set the scope to maximum magnification, mount it on the rifle with slightly loose screws and position it to your desired preferences. 

The Zerostop can be accessed by removing the elevation turret cap and using a hex key to set it to the desired specifications. The setting is delicate and you should reference the detailed instruction manual included inside the package. The O rings inside the turret assembly and turret screws should be oiled regularly to maintain the waterproof characteristics of this scope. 


What Makes the Nightforce ATACR 5-25X56 F1 Stand Out From the Competition?

The brightness, clarity, and unique reticle design are what differentiate this ATACR scope for the competition. Nightforce scopes are also used by some of the elite units of the military. Which also adds a ‘trusted & proven’ tag to these scopes. Perhaps this is also a driving factor why people are willing to spend extra for them. 

The digillium reticle is a unique feature and can be found on high-end rifle scopes. The high speed Zerostop, fast diopter adjustment, and an overall durable design with immaculate precision are also some notable features of this scope. 

Nightforce ATACR vs The Competition

Nightforce ATACR vs BEAST

The two top of the line products from Nightforce. Sure there are other scopes that can be compared with the ATACR. But the closest comparison when you have to make a buying choice is BEAST. 

BEAST stands for ‘Best Example of Advanced Scope Technology’, and is older than the ATACR F1 model scope. Both these scopes offer the same magnification, eye relief, parallax adjustment, and FOV. Even the same size of objective lens and turret adjustment range. 

Both these scopes are almost the same in design and specifications. But one part where the BEAST excels is clarity. Especially in the higher power scopes. Both these scopes offer a variety of reticle options and are suited for extreme long range use. 

For the differences, the BEAST is a bulkier scope than the ATACR and weighs 3 ounces more, and also costs about $1100 more. The turret design of BEAST was different from normal scopes and many users didn't like the adjustment system. 

While both scopes are equally comparable to a significant extent. Spending your money on an ATACR will likely be a wiser choice. 

Conclusion

The Nightforce ATACR 5-25x56 is a high precision long range rifle scope that can be used for the most dedicated sniping uses. Including tactical applications. The scope offers a Digillium reticle, durable construction, and crisp turret adjustments. The price, however, is way more than expected for a daytime use FFP scope. But the quality is still worth it. 

People Also Ask

The Nightforce ATACR is an amazing scope. But also has a heavy price tag on it. Which makes it essential for you to learn about a few important aspects of handling this scope. 

How to Set The Zero on ATACR

Ensure the rifle is unloaded and safe. Place a target at 100 yards range, whichever is visible with the naked eye. Open the action and center it with the barrel bore, now adjust the turrets to bring this target in the center of the reticle. Proceed to live to fire and make further windage/elevation adjustment to center the shots with 3 or 5 shot groups. 

Can You Use the ATACR in Low Light Conditions?

The ATACR comes with an illuminated digillium reticle, night vision compatibility, and a large 56 mm objective lens. It performs exceptionally well in low light conditions and can be used for tactical applications. 

How to Clean a Nightforce ATACR Scope

  • Mount lens covers on the scope before cleaning the exterior

  • Use some clean water or alcohol-soaked in a cloth to wipe the body

  • Coming to the lenses, use a soft cloth and solution to clean them. You may also buy the Nightforce Cleaning Kit A130. 

  • Use a swab only once to clean the lens as it may contain dirt. Do not use compressed air or harsh solvents.  

What Comes With ATACR Nightforce Scope?

The Nightforce ATACR scope comes with a 3-inch sunshade, a bikini style lens cover, and a set of flip-up lens caps manufactured by Tenebraex. However, it does not include a mount which would have been great, especially at this price point. 

What Does PTL Stand For on a Nightforce ATACR Scope?

PTL stands for Power Throw Lever. It is a lever attached to the magnification adjustment ring of the Nightforce ATACR scope and helps with quick and easy power adjustments. Sometimes even without shifting your eye from the eyepiece.



Ankit Kumar is an engineer turned writer who specializes in topics related to firearms, gun safety and weapon tech. His passion towards enrolling in the Army drifted his interest towards light and heavy firearms. He’s a qualified competitive air rifle shooter and an avid nature lover. His other areas of expertise include survival, prepping and firearms/ammo storage. When he’s not writing, he’s either learning a new skill, trekking or enjoying a long drive.