Even some urban environments may require a patrol officer to deal with shots beyond 100 meters. It may be a street, a ball field or a mall parking lot. Add terrorists to the mix, and it's even more likely. In rural environments, longer engagement distances are the norm, especially for park rangers, wildlife officers and Border Patrol agents.
When a threat arises, these personnel will have little time to calculate the range to the threat, convert the math, turn knobs on a scope and engage—all actions typical of previous doctrine.
And at longer distances, red-dot sights don't provide the ability to identify the threat let alone determine the range. Given this scenario, the latest fast-action reticles mounted in medium-power optics may be incredibly useful.
Early fast-action reticles were taken from the hunting world and altered to work in combat. Horus reticles like the H58 and H59 were less cluttered and more useful than hunting versions. Ranging brackets in the H59 allow you to range, hold and hit threats as far away as 600 meters. Measurements below the centerline allow for wind holds.
Horus' newer TReMoR reticles enhance your speed while maintaining accuracy. With the TReMoR2, you can range and engage without ever leaving the reticle's vertical stadia line. You estimate the wind and then hold for it using calibrated dots. The TReMoR3 uses the same dots but moves the ranging brackets back to the horizontal line.
I wanted to try this reticle out for myself, and Buck Doyle's Follow Through Consulting offers a Scoped Carbine class that focuses on using TReMoR reticles to engage 12- inch targets out to 860 meters. You learn to control your breathing and buck the wind to make accurate shots.
So, I needed a good optic for this class. Nightforce answered the called with its Advanced Tactical Riflescope (ATACR). The company offers 4-16x42mm and 5-25x56mm models with a range of reticles, and I ordered the former with a TReMoR3 reticle mounted in the first focal plane. This scope's size and magnification make it perfectly suited to an AR.
Nightforce's ATACR scopes use L multi-coated ED glass for excellent light-gathering capabilities and a crystal-clear picture. Etched into the first focal plane, the TReMoR3 reticle is precise at any power. My test 4-16x42mm scope offered 0.1-mil adjustments with 12 mils per revolution and 26 total mils available.
The elevation knob utilizes Nightforce's low-profile ZeroHold feature and has large, easy-to-read numbers. Windage can be adjusted across 18 mils (nine in each direction) via a capped adjustment knob. Parallax is adjusted on the left side.
The scope has a 42mm objective with a 34mm tube diameter. The eyepiece features enhanced engraving, an integrated Power Throw Lever (PTL) and an XtremeSpeed thread for making a fast diopter adjustment. Finally, the scope came with Tenebraex flip covers to protect both lenses.
My carbine for the course was a custom Seekins Precision build with a LaRue Tactical 18-inch barrel and MBT-2S two-stage trigger installed. For ammo, I used Black Hills' 77-grain TMK rounds, which are similar to those used by designated marksmen in the military. I mounted the scope on top of the rifle in a Nightforce Unimount to keep things lightweight yet rock solid.
Installation and zeroing was simple and straight-forward. Set for proper eye relief, I leveled the scope using a plum line at 50 yards.
The Unimount adds 20 MOA of elevation, allowing the scope to reach way beyond the range of the 5.56mm NATO.
Setting the scope's ZeroHold is pretty simple. Zero as usual and then remove the top cap. Carefully loosen the four Phillips-head screws using the provided driver one full turn. Turn the ZeroHold plate clockwise until it stops and tighten the screws. Reinstall the cap on zero, tightening the turret screws. Press the button and you can go down a few clicks if needed.
Now it was time for the Scoped Carbine class. After zeroing the scope, I used the TReMoR3 reticle to range a 12-inch target at 381 meters. It was easy to range, hold and pull the trigger to hit the steel. Repeating this a few times provided the chance to confirm the reticle's wind dots.
After a few more confirming shots, we moved to the "truing" range for shots out to 760 meters with our 5.56mms.
Using Black Hills' 77-grain TMK ammunition, my rifle trued at 6.8 mils, shooting quite flat. This tells you whether your rifle is slow or fast, determining whether your holds are best low or high on the target.
Once trued to your gun and ammunition, the reticle remains accurate at most ranges, as I confirmed by ranging 12-inch steel from 300 to 500 meters. Place the target in the correct brackets, halve the number in the bottom, hold those mils on the target and press the trigger. Read the wind, and as it increases, add dots as needed.
As mentioned, the Scoped Carbine class requires using your scope's reticle to range and engage targets out to 860 meters. The shooting ranges designed around targets at 300 meters or closer duplicate real battlefield conditions.
Once dialed in, you shoot from barricades after running between placements, and there is always wind. And those wind dots really helped for this portion of the course. Range, find your hold, estimate the wind and pick a dot. Watch your splash (or a miss), adjust and hit.
Second-shot hits were pretty common, even in stiff winds. Once I got accustomed to the ATACR scope, it was fast - very fast at times. Where more precision was required, the reticle offers usual mil measurements, so it really does it all.
Nightforce has done an excellent job black-hiils.com on this scopc. The glass is bright and clear while the numbers on the adjustable knobs are large, bright and easy to read. The adjustments are tactile with an absolute return to zero. The adjustments also subtended correctly, and the reticle was precise no matter the power setting. danieldefense.com TheTReMoR3 reticle was a good choice for me. Initially the dots looked "busy," but after a little time behind the scope, I saw how fast and easy it was to use the reticle.
No matter which reticle you use, the 4-16x42mm ATACR is an excellent scope."
By the end of the second day of training, it was ranging, holding and getting first-round hits on steel from 300 to 700 meters regularly. For those accustomed to the H59 reticle but looking for a bit more speed with fast wind holds, the TReMoR3 is the ticket.
But, of course, there is no magic here. You need to true your rifle and ammunition to get repeatable hits. After you do that, this scope/reticle combo is very consistent. No matter which reticle you use, the 4-16x42mm ATACR is an excellent scope.
In fact, it's the best Nightforce scope I have ever used. This is a high-quality optic, and its design is incredibly useful, especially in this power range. I will definitely be using this scope more often, on many different platforms, to great effect and with considerable enjoyment!
|NIGHTFORCE ATACR TReMoR3 4-16x42mm SPECIFICATIONS|
|OA Length||12.6 inches|
|Eye Relief||3.35-3.54 inches|
|Exit Pupil||10.3mm at 4x; 2.7mm at 16x|
|Field Of View||26.9 feet at 4x; 6.9 feet at 16x|
|Adjustments||0.10 mils per click|
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