Many rifles are manufactured yearly around the world, but only a fraction will send projectiles into a target area the size of 1-MOA (minute of angle) on a regular basis. That kind of accuracy is critical to a sniper and sharpshooter tasked with hitting a target at long ranges.
So, where does one obtain such rifles? One place is Nighthawk Tactical. Their Tactical Rifle is equipped with a Nightforce scope, and weighs about 15.75 pounds unloaded before adding a sling and Harris bipod, but it is accurate. Humping it around the Gunsite Ranch at 4,400 feet elevation from FFP (Final Firing Position) to FFP while testing how it performed in the Precision Rifle 7 course was a chore, but I found it would put rounds exactly where desired out to 1,000 yards if the wind dope was right.
Nighthawk Tactical started operation only a few years ago and quickly established a reputation for making fine 1911 pistols. When I learned from Nighthawk’s Craig Gholson that the company was going to design and produce its own series of tactical and hunting rifles, I was immediately interested. It took over a year to finally get a Tactical Rifle, but it was worth the wait. Nighthawk took its time and got it right.
The Tactical Rifle was chambered in .308, an excellent cartridge for deer, two-legged enemy combatants and for long-range engagements out to 800-plus yards. The gun is also available in other chamberings – both short and long action – including .338 Lapua for those who think 1,000 yards just isn’t far enough.
Nighthawk Custom Rifles are built on Nighthawk’s proprietary receiver that is manufactured in-house of 416R crucible stainless steel on CNC equipment. Bolt raceways are cut using electrical discharge machining (EDM) and the material is heat-treated prior to machining in order to minimize variations and tolerances. Being a custom shop, Nighthawk will build a rifle on the proven Surgeon receiver if requested.
Atop the receiver, Nighthawk has machined a MIL-STD-1913 rail for attachment of optics, in this case, a Nightforce 5.5-22x56mm NXS long-range scope with illuminated reticle delineated in MOA hash marks. The rail has an elevation of 20-MOA built-in to facilitate zeroing the scope at long range without running out of adjustment. A 40-MOA rail is also available. I checked for proper mounting with a Wheeler Level-Level-Level and found the reticle to be level with the receiver. It turned out that the gun had already been zeroed for 100 yards.
Many rifles are manufactured yearly around the world, but only a fraction will send…
by Denis Prisbey / Apr 2, 2010