Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 vs Nightforce NX8 4-32×50 F1 Comparison

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Recently, I had a web site visitor send me an email message asking the following question:

“I looking for a rifle scope to mount on my Tikka T3X Tac A1 (in 6.5 Creedmoor). I am looking at both the Vortex Razor Gen II, 4.5-27x 56mm (in MRAD), as well as the Nightforce NX8 4-32x 50mm (in MRAD) scores. Unfortunately, my local hunting stores do not have either one of these scope in stock for me to look at each of their optical quality, eye-box, nor eye relief.

Based upon your experience and knowledge of these two scopes, which would you recommend for long range target shooting (900+ yards)?”

This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked that question, so I thought it might make sense to put my answer down on paper.

In my perspective, I’m being asked to do the following: compare the Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 vs Nightforce NX8 4-32×50 F1.

Vortex Razor HD Gen ii 4.5-27x56 vs Nightforce NX8 4-32x50 F1

Here’s a quick overview of each scope model:

Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 FFP

This scope is part of Vortex’s Razor scope series, which is their top-of-the-line offering (at present). Within the Razor scope line, the HD Gen II is not the absolute top of the line but is certainly up near the top of the Razor scope hierarchy. The current top offering within the Razor series is the Razor AMG model.

As the name implies, the Razor HD Gen II is the HD series’s 2nd generation offering. This series was designed specifically for the AR platform and consists of two scope configurations, a 4.5-27×56, and a 3-18×56. Even though this scope series is more designed for AR use, they work just as well on a bolt rifle, especially for medium to long-range shooting applications.

Nightforce NX8 4-32×50 F1

The NX8 is Nightforce’s most recent addition to their rifle scope line and is marketed as a more evolved version of the Nightforce NXS scope series. The NX8 series is designed as a lightweight and compact scope series made for medium to long range shooting. This family of scopes is available in both first focal plane and second focal plane configurations, and those configurations are denoted with either an “F1” for first focal plane or an “F2” for second focal plane.

The NX8 series currently consists of 5 scope models ranging from a 1-8×24 up to the 4-32×50 model being discussed. Like most all the Nightforce scope models, the 4-32×50 F1 version is available in 4 different reticle options.

A Comparison of the Basic Specifications

Here’s a top-level side-by-side comparison of the more common technical specifications

Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56

Nightforce NX8 4-32x50 F1

Power Range

4.5x to 27x

4x to 32x

Objective Size

56mm

50mm

Tube Size

34mm

30mm

Focal Plane

First focal Plane

First Focal plane

Length

14.4 Inches

13.4 Inches

Weight

48.5 Ounces

28.6 Ounces

Reticle Options

EBR-7C (MOA)
EBR-7C (MRAD)
HORUS H59
HORUS Tremor3

Horus TREMOR3
MIL-C F1
MIL-XT
MOAR F1

Illuminated Reticle

Yes

Yes

Field of View (FOV)

4.5x = 25.3 feet @ 100 Yards
27x = 4.4 feet @ 100 yds

4x = 26.1 feet @ 100 Yards
32x = 4.6 feet @ 100 yds

Internal Adjustment Range

Max Elevation = 71 MOA
Max Windage = 34 MOA

Max Elevation = 90 MOA
Max Windage = 70 MOA

Eye Relief

3.7 Inches

3.5 Inches

Let’s dive deeper into the comparison using the following criteria:

  • Glass Quality
  • Operational Controls
  • Tube Size
  • Focal Plane
  • Reticle Options
  • Field of View (FOV)
  • Warranty
  • Costs

Glass Quality

When you talk about glass quality, you are really focusing on aspects like brightness, clarity, and resolution. Remember that these are challenging factors to quantify as the quantification or rating is solely based on opinions.

That being said, I’ve always struggled to evaluate the optical quality of a rifle scope as it’s just my own opinion based on experience and having had the opportunity to look through and shoot over a wide range of riflescopes made by different brands.

Now that I’ve gotten my unofficial disclaimer out of the way, the question to answer is how do these two scopes stack up against each optically?

First, let me state that both of these models come equipped with exceptionally good glass. Is it the absolute, best glass I’ve ever seen? No, but it’s very good, high-end glass. Given the costs associated with these two specific scope models, one would expect that the glass was excellent.

In a side-by-side comparison, I would give the edge to optical quality to the Nightforce NX8. To my eye, the images in the NX8 seem just a bit brighter and more distinct compared to the HD Gen II.

Vortex Razor HD Gen 2 4.5-27x56 Scope

Operational Controls

From an operational control standpoint, both scopes feature similar operational controls. Both have the following operational control features:

Side focus – Both have side focus but offer slightly different configurations of side focus. The NX8 will focus down to 11 yards, while the Vortex will focus down to 32 yards. Given the types of shooting these scopes are designed for, the shorter focus distance on the Nightforce may or may not offer an additional value.

Zero Stop – Both riflescopes feature a Zero Stop feature that seems to work very well, but I prefer the zero stop design on the Nightforce over the Vortex, but that’s just a personal thing. The Vortex Zero Stop design functions just as well.

Illuminated Reticle Settings – Both feature illuminated reticle options, and with those options, both scopes offer well thought out illumination controls integrated into the side focus adjustment knob.

Tube Size

Now, this is an area where there are some differences between the two scopes. The Nightforce is built on a 30mm tube, while the Vortex is built on a larger, 34mm tube.

Like most anything in life, the 34mm larger tube size offers some pros and cons, and those include:

Pros

  • The larger tube typically offers a wider range of internal adjustments for windage and elevation.

Usually, that is the case. However, it’s crucial to compare the technical specs to confirm that. In this case, the 34mm tube on the Vortex doesn’t offer a broader range of internal adjustment compared to the NX8.

Cons

  • A larger tube equals more weight

Most long-range shooters are not concerned with a little extra weight, but the difference is more than a little compared to these two scopes.

The Vortex weighs 48.5 ounces, while the Nightforce weighs in at 28.6 ounces. In this comparison, we’re talking about a 19.9-ounce difference in weight, which converts over a difference of 1 pound and nearly 4 ounces.

If you plan to shoot long-range off a bench, then the heavier weight may not be an issue. However, if you’re buying for a long-range hunting trip, then the added weight of the Vortex may come into play.

  • A larger tube means more expensive 34mm rings

When the 34mm tubes first entered the market, rings or bases for the larger 34mm tube were hard to find and costly compared to 1 inch and 30mm models.

However, even though the cost of quality 34mm rings or rings and bases has undoubtedly become less expensive, I still find that most 34mm rings tend to cost more than their 30mm counterparts.

Nightforce NX8 4-32x50 F1 Riflescope

Focal Plane

Not much difference here as both of these scope models are built as First Focal Plane (FFP). The FFP design has some obvious benefits for long range shooting and is becoming quite popular for that style of shooting and hunting.

Reticle Options

The Nightforce NX8 is currently available in 4 different reticles with MOA and MRAD options. In comparison, the Vortex Razor HD Gen II is available in 4 different reticles with MOA and MRAD options.

Solely from a reticle standpoint, these two scopes are relatively comparable. Both have a HORUS option, and both offer several illuminated reticle choices.

I’d be surprised if a long-range shooter could not find a reticle choice within either of these scopes that would not meet his or her needs.

Field of View (FOV)

If you are shopping for scopes in this price range, then you most likely already know what a riflescope field of view is, so I won’t go over those specifications again.

Field of View is commonly seen in the technical specifications of a rifle scope as FOV. This specification is typically measured in inches of view at 100 yards and uses a scope’s lowest power setting and highest power setting as the actual measurement points.

In a head to head comparison, the Nightforce offers slightly better FOV specs, but the differences are minuscule.

Warranty

Riflescope warranties have always been an interesting topic at my day job as some customers pay close attention to a warranty associated with a brand, while others don’t. However, those opinions seem to change as the purchase costs associated with a scope go up. The higher the costs, the more important and relevant the brand warranty appears to become.

And, I completely understand that way of thinking as warranty matters to me as well, especially when you’re talking about riflescopes in this price range.

Both Nightforce and Vortex offer two of the most customer-focused warranty programs in the scope industry from a warranty perspective.

Vortex provides what they call their “VIP Warranty,” which is an excellent warranty with no small print, hidden surprises, or restrictions. Their warranty is an unconditional, lifetime warranty regardless of the issue. That warranty automatically transfers to any owner, and no proof of purchase or receipt is needed.

At my day job, I’ve assisted several customers engaging the Vortex warranty, and it’s one of the easiest warranty programs that I’ve encountered in the scope business. I like the Vortex warranty because any owner is covered by the warranty, whether you are the original owner or the 5th owner.

Nightforce offers what they call a “Limited Lifetime Warranty,” which covers defects in workmanship or materials. This warranty is transferable, and no proof of purchase is required.

Like the Vortex warranty, I also have some experience with the Nightorce warranty personally and via my day job. My warranty experience with Nightforce has been excellent and very positive as well.

I’ve mentioned this experience before on the site, but it bears repeating. Several years back, I purchased a pre-owned Nightforce Varminter scope off eBay. When I received it, the scope seemed to have an issue with the windage adjustment being maxed out and off zero.

Rather than send it back to the seller, I opted to contact Nightforce support to see my options. Even though the Varminter model has been discontinued, and I identified it as a pre-owned model off eBay, Nightforce support approved a return under the scope’s original warranty (probably at least 12 to 15 years old).

Nightforce repaired the scope with no out of pocket costs on my part other than the shipping costs associated with getting the scope back to Nightforce.

So who’s the winner in the warranty department? While both have outstanding warranty programs, I’d give the advantage to Vortex as their warranty program offers better overall coverage and is more flexible than the Nightforce warranty.

Vortex covers any damage, regardless of how it occurs, while Nightforce does not provide coverage to that level.

Scope Costs

When it comes to rifle scope costs, there are generally two types of pricing to be aware of. The first is the MSRP, which is an acronym for Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price. This is the suggested selling price of the scope coming from the scope maker or brand.

The second number to be aware of is commonly called the “street price” or standard price. This selling price is usually less than the MSRP and is the scope’s standard market price.

Depending on the reticle, the MSRP on the Vortex scope ranges from $2899 to $3399, while the MSRP on the Nightforce model ranges between $2400 to $2600.

In terms of a street price, the Vortex is priced anywhere from $1999 to $2500 (depending on the reticle). The Nightforce, also depending on the reticle choice, seems to have a street price of $2100 to $2300.

Here are some of the best prices I could find for each model and reticle options below:

Nightforce NX8 4-32x50 F1 For Sale

$2,100.00
in stock
5 new from $2,100.00
as of June 12, 2024 9:56 am
$2,100.00
in stock
12 new from $2,100.00
1 used from $1,770.00
as of June 12, 2024 9:56 am
$2,150.00
in stock
15 new from $2,150.00
as of June 12, 2024 9:56 am

So, Who’s the Winner?

First, let me be clear: you really can’t go wrong with either of these scope models if they meet your needs.

Here are my thoughts:

  • If you are strictly shooting long ranges off a bench and scope weight is not a factor, either is an excellent choice.
  • If scope weight is a concern or something to be factored into the decision, the Nightforce is a better option.
  • If you are purchasing for any type of hunting, then the lighter Nightforce would be my suggestion.
  • If the minimum focus distance (or parallax distance) is important, then the Nightforce is a better choice as it will focus down to the closest distance.
  • If you have it narrowed down to these two models and all things are equal, but you want a better warranty, then the Vortex is a better option.
  • If optical quality is the main factor in your buying decision, then I’d look more towards the Nightforce over the Vortex.

Again, neither of these scopes would be a “bad” choice for mid to long range shooting.

Here are some frequently asked questions that I’ve seen regarding these two scope models:

Have you done a Vortex razor HD Gen ii 4.5 27×56 review? If not, can you point me to some reviews online?

This article is really more of a comparison between the two scope models versus an actual review of the Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56. While I may end up doing a review of that scope at some point, your best bet is to run an online search for “Vortex razor HD Gen ii 4.5 27×56 review”, and you’ll get enough reading material to last for hours.

Can you hunt with a Vortex Razor HD gen ii 4.5-27×56 scope?

While I wouldn’t say that hunting is really what this version of the Razor Gen II scopes are designed for, there’s no reason that you couldn’t use one for specific hunting scenarios. I certainly wouldn’t want a riflescope of that weight on a mountain rifle where I covered miles of terrain daily, but it would potentially work fine for mid to long-range hunting situations.

What are the best Vortex Razor HD gen ii scope rings? 

While a “best” rating is strictly based on an opinion, I’ve always been a big fan of the Talley line of scope rings. I feel the same way about Talley’s offering of 34mm rings or 34mm rings and bases.

They offer 34mm ring options to fit most any rifle brand or configuration, and their products are well made and worth the cost. 

What are the Vortex Razor HD Gen 2 torque specs?

This question is a bit misleading as it deals with the suggested torque settings of the scope rings versus the scope itself.

Torque specifications refer to the suggested amount of torque force used when mounting the rings or bases to the rifle and the amount used for mounting the scope within the rings. That force is usually measured in inch/pounds.

Those suggested specifications for 34mm rings vary greatly depending on the ring brand and base material. Each maker of scope rings has its internal specifications or recommendations for the torque setting.

Rather than provide or offer an approximate value for the torque specifications, I’d suggest referring to the ring manufacturer’s recommendations.

I’ve read about some Nightforce NX8 problems online? Are you aware of any known issues with the Nightforce NX8 scopes?

In my day job, I have seen the occasional issue here and there with different NX8 scope models. However, those occasional issues are not outside the expected norm based on my riflescope industry experiences.

I am not aware of any type of known or common issue or complaint with any of the Nightforce NX8 line of scopes. Having dealt with Nightforce customer support over the years, I’m very confident that they would quickly correct or address any common or known issues with any Nightforce series.

As I come across other meaningful questions about these two scope models, I’ll try to update this section.