NOBLEX NZ8 2.5-20x50 inception riflescope: live fire test

The Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 is in my opinion the most interesting riflescope of the entire Noblex Inception line of optics: it has the highest content of features, performance and a suggested price that is just right. I consider it a perfect “hybrid” riflescope because it appeals to both hunters and long range sport shooters – and due to its affordability, it is also great entry glass for who is becoming serious about the sport. 

The Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 Inception hybrid hunting/sports and long range shooting riflescope.

Just think about it, it checks all the boxes – 34-mm single-piece maintube, 8x optical scheme, the highest in all the Inception line, with a magnification range that goes from a very low 2,5x all the way to 20x, a front focal plane illuminated reticle optimized for both hunting and long range shooting, three-turn elevation turret and a lockable windage turret with 0.1 mil (1cm/100m) clicks and a total elevation range of 32 mils… and lots more, all at a MSRP of less than 1,500 euro.

The NZ8 2.5-20x50 Inception’s 50mm objective vs a 56mm means the wall thickness is increased to allow NV and Thermal add-ons to be safely mounted on the objective bell.

For a complete list of specs, figures, and features, as well as the use cases in which this riflescope can be used for, check out our introduction article here

The turrets of the Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 Inception riflescope feature 0.1 Mil clicks, equivalent to 1cm movement of the reticle at 100m.

I hear it – when something looks too good to be true, then there must be something wrong. So I mounted the Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 on top of my semi-custom Remington 700 with blueprinted action, Jewell trigger and brand-new Hera Arms H7 chassis stock and headed out to the range to prove all this to be right – and, TLDR: this scope is one of those rare times when you actually get what you pay for.

A disclaimer here, I actually tested a preproduction model of this Noblex scope in Germany at 300 m in a military range two years ago and found it at the time to be an extremely promising scope…

A hybrid riflescope for hunters and long-range shooters

Both brightness adjustment and parallax focus control knobs are coaxial and located on the third turret. They are a bit stiffer that I’d personally prefer. Brightness knob features OFF positions at each setting.

Mounting the Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 Inception on the Picatinny rail of my Remington 700 I did note something slightly off: using a pair of TierOne Medium height scope rings, the lever on the magnification control ring, at the highest power setting, interferes with the knob of the rifle’s bolt operation. 

Using oversized bolt handle knobs on high lift bolts – such as two lug lock designs – could be a problem with the Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 Inception riflescope as the magnification ring lever may interfere bolt operation.

To be fair, my bolt has an add-on oversized rubber ball mounted over the knob, but even without it, the zoom lever would be too close for comfortably operating the bolt for a follow up shot. Indeed, due to the design of the 700 action, the bolt lift is higher than a three locking lug bolt design; neverless, Noblex could modify slightly the magnification ring and move the zoom lever, from the present 3 o’clock position at 20x to a 2 o’clock position for the same magnification, clearing completely the knob travel of even greater lift bolts. As it is, I just have to be careful using it in my very specific configuration.

Many features of the Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 Inception riflescope are designed to appeal the long range shooter: lots of elevation, 34-mm maintube, FFP HMR reticle, zero stop turret with three turns…

Apart from this, the zoom control is quite stiff, and well-braked – even a tad more than necessary. I like rather stiffer controls than not, however for this I’d prefer more fluidity. It takes exactly 180° or half rotation to go from 2.5 to 20x. Eyepiece diopter setting is of the fast type; it’s fairly easy to bring the reticle into perfect focus observing it against a clear background. 

And at the same time, other features are perfect for the hunter: the same reticle is perfectly visible at lower magnifications, low end starts just at 2x, possibility to limit elevation travel to just one turn, great brightness settings…

The parallax adjustment is on the third turret, coaxially to the illumination knob, and also has a perfect half rotation travel to go from 10 m to 500 m and then infinity. The illumination has an off position between every one of the six brightness settings, and the scope takes standard CR2032 lithium batteries. Both the side focus and illumination knobs are quite stiff, so my opinion on the zoom ring also applies here.

Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 Inception riflescope, right side with the windage turret.

The illuminated part of the FFP HMR, or Mil-Hunting-Reticle, includes all the mil hashmarks and is finer than the supporting outer portion, never obscuring clear view of the target; dialing down the magnification power pulls in the FOV the thicker portions which aid in aiming at the low end of the magnification range. The HMR has subtensions that due to the high 8x zoom ratio are only comfortably useable from 10x to 20x.

Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 Inception riflescope, left side with the brightness/side focus third turret.

The elevation turret features three turns – but for hunting, it is possible to limit travel to a single turn – with tactile and audible clicks, and even at the extremes the clicks are clean and free from “mushiness”. Rotation turns are indicated by lines etched on the drum revealed as the turret lifts. To operate the windage, the turret must be unlocked by pulling it out; it can be pushed locked in any position.

The eyepiece of the NZ8 2.5-20x50 riflescope: it features a good eye relief and the eyebox is fine until zoom is cranked up to 20x where it decreases a bit -  normal for such a high zoom ratio optic. Diopter ring is well braked.

Zeroing is simple and fast, using the top and side screws to free the turret and align the dials to the markings on the scope body and tightening back. Out of the box, the scope already printed on paper at 100 m (I actually tried first at 30 m) and I had to move just a few clicks to zero it, a testament on the rifle’s build and quality of the rings and mount.

Clicks track reasonably well, the box at 100 m falls back to the start point, really nothing to note. Glass quality is good, eye relief is good: there’s just a bit of decreased eyebox at the max 20x setting, normal for such a high zoom ratio optical scheme, no rolling effect, limited geometric (pincushion) and chromatic aberrations, great color and decent sharpness. Edge to edge sharpness specifically is great almost throughout the magnification range, falling slightly to reasonable at the upper end. Some very light fringing at very high contrast targets, i.e. dark tree branches against skyline, but only at the edge of the FOV. Brightness of the scope at dusk and low light conditions falls rapidly but is still usable beyond the 12x magnification mark, again quite in line with the typical 8x zoom range optical scheme the scope employs.

The battery used for the reticle illumination is a standard 3V CR2032 button cell, housed in the brightness setting  knob.

So what could we use the new Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 inception riflescope with 8x zoom? It’s a very interesting all-round scope that could be used for short to long range hunting, the high brightness setting of the illuminated scope works very well at low magnifications for faster tracking moving targets, especially for post shooting, and the reticle allows for excellent real-time follow-up shots on longer range shots (provided the hunter is experienced with it), as is the case for some European mountain hunts. At the same time, thanks to the generous elevation range and other specific features, the scope can be used for leisure and propaedeutic long-range shooting up to 1,500 m with a correctly set up gun and ammo.

The Noblex NZ8 2.5-20x50 Inception riflescope features German engineering, quality control and specs, while the actual product is built in Asia, in the PRC precisely – as attested by the markings engraved on the scope – accounting for the affordability of the optic.

To wrap up, a very capable riflescope – a sort of ace of all trades – offered at a very affordable MSRP of 1,499 euro, including flip lens covers and a 10-year warranty: that is a lot of features and quality for the price.