Nikon Rifle Scopes Reviews: 3 of Nikon’s Best Scopes

Hunting season will be here before you know it, and you’re out searching the overwhelming market of telescopic sights, optical refracting telescopes, and whatever fancy word there is for just a good ol’ trusty scope for your rifle.

If you want a rifle scope that you can depend on to never fail you when you need it most, then look no further.

From excellent optical systems to the bells and whistles of focusing and magnifying, there’s no reason to keep hunting the market after today, a Nikon riflescope is the answer to your needs. Here we review 3 of Nikon’s best rifle scopes:

Who are Nikon?

Nikon has been around for ages, and it’s held its own, even among other world-class leading brands. But, set apart from the rest, Nikon has had the pocketbooks of their consumers for decades, thanks to their affordable blue collar prices for top-quality products.

With a huge variety of riflescopes to choose from, it won’t be hard to find one that fits your budget and gets you to fill your tag this season. But, before you buy any Nikon scopes, please feel obligated to drool over what could be yours.

Nikon Rifle Scope Reviews

Nikon’s Monarch line has been long respected as a hunter’s go-to riflescope. But, the Prostaff series has also been upgraded and has come a long way to competitively contest alongside its fine sibling. With Nikon’s legendary BDC reticles on the most popular models, you’ll never miss again, no matter the distance. In these reviews we are going to check out the Nikon Prostaff VS Monarch series.

Nikon Prostaff 4-12X40 BDC Review

nikon-prostaff-4-12x40-matte-bdcThe Prostaff 4-12X40 Matte BDC has more bells and whistles than it should for its price. It’s the ultimate hunter’s versatile optic that makes adjusting for bullet drop a breeze while getting you up to 98 percent, maximum, light transmission as possible.

Other hunters and consumers obviously agree, because there’s no way this economical rifle scope would have a near perfect rating if it wasn’t so. Nikon pumps out a quality product, again, and consumers can’t get enough.

Out of all the Prostaff rifle scopes available, why was this one chosen for this review? All over the internet, the 3-9X40 versions are being touted about, while enough can’t be said about the Nikon Buckmaster and Monarch series. But, the Prostaff 4-12X40 Matte BDC has consistently high reviews all across the board, even after being on the market since 2011.

Out of hundreds of reviewers, loads of them gave it the perfect score. There is nothing but good to be said of this model, and it’s consistently being compared with other world-class known brands like Leupold’s Rifleman 4-12X20.

The Prostaff 4-12X40  holds a strong and solid reputation among hunters who want to spend about $200, but want a darn nice scope at the same time.

Need to know more? Below we answer some of the common questions about this popular Nikon:

Prostaff 4-12X40 Matte BDC Q&A:

Q. What is BDC and does this model have it?

A. The Prostaff 4-12X40 does have the BDC feature, and it is an acronym for Bullet Drop Compensation. The reticle has the cross style cross hairs with three small aiming circles below the center point.

What does this mean for you? If you match your ammo and your rifle to this scope, using Nikon’s Spot-On technology, you’ll be given the exact holdover points in order to avoid any misplaced shots. Since all ammo drops differently at varying distances, each aiming circle on the BDC would serve as your dead center point.

Q. What is the image quality like on the Prostaff scope?

A. This optic has a multi coated optical system that allows for up to 98 percent of light transmission. The large 40 mm objective lens and the extra chemical coatings make for a bright and crystal clear image, even when the clouds are rolling in or if dusk is approaching.

You wouldn’t have to worry too much about low light conditions since the scope will collect as much light as possible for you to stalk on. For a scope to offer such optical quality while still being so budget-friendly, is rare.

Q. Are special tools required to make scope adjustments?

A. The easy-to-use and positive-click scope adjustments of the Prostaff 4-12X40 BDC riflescope does not require you to have to go out and separately purchase any special tools to make these adjustments. All you need are your squeezing fingers to get the job done. The knobs on the adjustments also protect them from any weathering and rust.

Q. Can this Nikon zoom in and out?

A. The Prostaff 4-12X40 model has a variable magnification range. It can be as low as 4X or as high as 12X. This makes it a great Nikon Prostaff scope for all types of hunters who need a lower range for dense, forest areas or those who prefer the higher range for large stretches of open fields. Really, anywhere between 3X to 12X, or even 16X is a great versatile range for all types of hunting calibers and outdoor activities.

Q. Is there a model of the Prostaff that doesn’t have the BDC reticle?

A. Not every hunter appreciates the BDC feature, and may sometimes find that the cross hairs may be a little thick for their tastes. There is the exact same Prostaff 4-12X40 model without the BDC feature – the Prostaff 4-12X40 Matte Nikoplex.

Q. Can the rifle scope be used for close range distances?

A. While rifle scopes are excellent and they perform best in mid to long range distances, this model’s closest range is 4X. Your image is still going to be four times magnified than what you see. If this still isn’t close enough for your shooting activities, say turkey hunting with a shotgun, this scope isn’t for you and cannot perform well for closer ranges.

Instead, you might want to consider the 2.5-10 or 3-9 models if you still wanted versatile ranges for diverse conditions. Some of these Prostaff scopes offer the exact same features but vary in magnification range. For even closer ranges, you may need to look into zero or one power scopes such as a red dot or holographic.

Nikon ProStaff BDC 4-12X40 Specs:

  • Magnification: 4-12X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Objective Diameter: 40 mm
  • Length/Weight/Tube Diameter: 14.1 inches/14.3 ounces/1 inch
  • Field of View: 7.3 – 23.6 ft/100 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 3.7 inches/3.3 – 10 mm
  • Reticle: BDC
  • Adjustment Info: 1/4 MOA/Click
  • Optics Coatings: Multicoated
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Waterproof/Shockproof: Yes/Yes
  • Parallax Setting: Factory-set 100 yards
  • Airgun rated: No
  • Illuminated Reticle: No
  • Mounting Rings Included: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • Fast focus eye-piece for speedy and easy focusing
  • Nikon’s BDC reticle for dead-on holdover points at extreme distances
  • Multicoated lenses allowing up to 98 percent light transmission for bright and pristine images
  • Zero-reset turret with spring-loaded adjustment knobs for fast and quick adjustments

Rating:

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Nikon Monarch 3 4-16X42 BDC Review

nikon-monarch-3-4-16x42-bdcThe Nikon Monarch 3 4-16X42 BDC is a popular optic among hunters. Reviewers must think every ounce is worth its glass since it’s been a holding a near perfect rating since it hit the shelves in 2013.

There was a toss-up to be the star Monarch of this review between this model, the 4-16X42 and the 4-16X50 model. The 4-16X42 won out, not only because the 40-42 mm lens seems to be more popular among hunters, but also because it had an outstanding customer satisfaction rating online.

While the 50 mm lens model holds its own and is still well-applauded, the slim margins between the two models were just large enough to earn the star its spot.

But enough about its outstanding review ratings, you probably just want to know if this scope is going to do the job you need it to. Below are the answers to some questions you might have about the Monarch 3 before you add it to your hunting gear investments.

Monarch 3 4-16X42 BDC Q&A:

Q. What firearms can the Monarch 3 be mounted to, and can it withstand recoil?

A. The Monarch 3 4-16X42 BDC is a very versatile scope and can be mounted to pretty much any rifle action firearm, regardless of caliber. They can also be mounted to magnum-length actions as well.

It holds up extremely well to recoil, even repeated recoil where the side focus locking mechanism really becomes an advantage. As long as you mounted the scope correctly with appropriate mounting rings, recoil is a non-issue.

Q. What is the side focus and does this Monarch 3 have it?

A. The side focus enables adjustments at known distances for parallax, especially if you’re not, or don’t realize, that you’re not looking directly down the center of your scope. A lot of affordable rifle scopes don’t typically come with a parallax adjustment and are factory-set to be parallax-free at about 100-150 yards.

But, for long-range hunting and magnification ranges above 8X, you’ll probably want the luxury of having a parallax adjustment feature – the side focus, to ensure you can effectively strike the kill zone of your prey with a well-placed shot. The Nikon Monarch 3 4-16X42 BDC does have the side focus feature, and it also boots a push-pull locking mechanism to keep it in place during recoil.

Q. What are the zero-reset turrets?

A. The Monarch 3 4-16X42 features the convenient zero-reset turrets to help you get get back to your original zero faster and easier than before, after any adjustments are made. Say, you zero your rifle at 100 yards with a few clicks here and a few clicks there. This is the moment you pull out the knobs and reset your turrets back to “0”.

While you’re out in the field and you spot your target at 400 yards, make your MOA adjustments, and shoot to kill. When you want to go back to your 100 yard zero, you don’t have to try to remember what adjustments you made to go back or even worse, sight in your scope all over again like a novice. Just simply pull out the knobs and go back to “0”. Voila!

Q. Is the 42 mm lens better than the 50 mm lens on the Monarch rifle scopes?

A. This Monarch has 42 mm lens that Nikon promises up to 95 percent light transmission with it’s Ultra ClearCoat optical system. While bigger isn’t always better, having the 50 mm lens can provide you brighter and better images with the higher magnifications you use in the darkest lighting conditions you may find yourself in.

But, the 42 mm lens is still plenty big enough, and can still provide more light collection in low light conditions that are unusable for the human eye. It is better to invest in a quality 40-42 mm lens than it is to be quick about buying a 50 mm lens scope.

Q. Do the lens come with protective caps?

A. For the amount of money you’re spending on the Nikon BDC, it very well should come with flip covers to protect the objective and ocular lens – and it does. In fact, while Nikon supplies them at this price range, most other brand competitors don’t.

Admittedly, the caps aren’t the best quality, and while forking out almost $500, you should be able to expect that they’d stay up and stay on. But, the cheap quality of the lens covers have them falling down. While this feature is two thumbs up for Nikon, the caps could be better, so it’s one thumb back down.

You could replace them with nicer ones if you wanted. Good thing the caps have nothing to do with the optics and quality of the glass. On a good note, this scope does come with a cleaning cloth thrown in!

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16X42 Specs:

  • Magnification: 4-16X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Objective Diameter: 42 mm
  • Length/Weight/Tube Diameter: 13.5 inches/19 ounces/1 inch
  • Field of View: 6.3 – 25.2 feet/100 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 4 inches/2.6 – 10.5 mm
  • Reticle: BDC
  • Adjustment Info: 1/4 MOA/Click
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multicoated
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Waterproof/Shockproof: Yes/Yes
  • Parallax Setting: Factory-set 50 yards/Adjustable with side focus
  • Airgun rated: No
  • Illuminated Reticle: No
  • Mounting Rings Included: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • Quick focus eye-piece for speedy and easy focusing
  • Nikon’s BDC reticle for dead-on holdover points at extreme distances
  • Nikon’s specially engineered Ultra ClearCoat optical system for fully multicoated lenses allowing up to 95 percent light transmission for bright and pristine images
  • Zero-reset turret with spring-loaded adjustment knobs for fast and quick adjustments
  • Side focus for self-adjusted parallax compensation with locking mechanism
  • Access to Nikon’s integrative Spot On Ballistic Match Technology

Rating:

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Nikon Prostaff 7 4-16X42 BDC Review

nikon-prostaff-7-4-16x42-bdcAlthough the Prostaff 7 series is still new to the market, and reviewers are still yet to weigh in, the Prostaff 5 series was a hit and was extremely popular among outdoor enthusiasts. With the newer Prostaff 7 scopes on the market, you can only assume that it’s going to be more than just a mere improvement, it’s going to be a whole lot better from here.

This Nikon Prostaff was featured over the newer 2016 Monarch 7 series because it’s got the same thing the flagship line has – the one-piece 30 mm body tube for literally, half the price. For once, the underdog deserves a spot on these Nikon scope reviews.

Prostaff 7 4-16X42 BDC Q&A:

Q. What’s the difference between this model, the Prostaff 5 series VS the Monarch 4-16X42 mentioned above?

A. The Prostaff 7 4-16X42 is one of the newer rifle scope models of the new Prostaff 7 series that was introduced in 2015. The 7 series is replacing the 5 series, and is improving on its construction with the bells and whistles of the former line.

But, in relation to the Monarch model and the 5 series, the main difference of this Prostaff is the maximum internal adjustment range, thanks to the 30 mm tube diameter. The quality of the optics and other features are comparable. You will also pay half the price less for this model than the new 2016 Monarch 7 series that offer the 30 mm scopes.

Q. Why is the 30 mm tube diameter difference important?

A. While 1 inch rifle scopes are the norm and the majority today, 30 mm rifle scopes are becoming more popular among hunters as we seek out more higher-end optics. But, other than having the pleasure of feeling cool with a 30 mm scope, the larger diameter provides a larger internal adjustment range, which makes this model better suited for you if you’re into long range hunting.

The Nikon Prostaff 7 4-16X42 has a maximum internal adjustment range of 80 MOA, while most other models, such as the Monarch 3 4-16X42 only has 40 MOA. This all just means, you have a larger range to make windage and elevation adjustments. You also don’t need to buy a scope base that can tack on extra MOA to your adjustment range, just to dial in for that long distance. Bonus!

Q. Does the Prostaff 7 come with a warranty?

A. The Prostaff does come with a limited lifetime warranty. They promise that if there are any defects in the materials and the workmanship of the optic, they’ll repair it or, if need be, replace it without it costing you a cent.

Q. What type of focusing reticle does this Nikon have?

A. The Prostaff 7 BDC scope has Nikon’s Quick Focus eye piece, or what is commonly known as a fast focus eye piece. With the quick focus eye piece, it’s fast and easy to get the reticle into focus with only fractions of a turn each time, if needed.

If you prefer the old-school way of screwing the entire eyepiece housing and then using a lock ring to secure it in place, you may want to give the fast focus a try if more than one person are going to be sharing the scope and if your eye sight isn’t the best.

Q. Is the scope waterproof?

A. Yes, the Nikon Prostaff scope is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, thanks to the nitrogen filled and O-Ring sealed lens housing. Even as the thunder clouds roll in, there’s no reason to call it a day just yet. A sunshade is included with this model and the 4-16X50 model, too.

Q. What other models are there in the Prostaff 7 series?

A. This specific 4-16X42 model is only one of five models in the line. The other models are the 2.5-10×42, 2.5-10×50, 3-12×42 SF (side focus), and the 4-16×50 SF. All the models are available with either the intuitive BDC reticle or the Nikoplex reticle.

Nikon ProStaff 7 BDC 4-16X42 Specs:

  • Magnification: 4-16X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Objective Diameter: 42 mm
  • Length/Weight/Tube Diameter: 13.6 inches/19.4 ounces/30 mm
  • Field of View: 6.8 – 27.2 feet/100 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 3.6 – 4 inches/2.6 – 10.5 mm
  • Reticle: BDC
  • Adjustment Info: 1/4 MOA/Click
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multicoated
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Waterproof/Shockproof: Yes/Yes
  • Parallax Setting: Factory-set 50 yards/Adjustable with side focus
  • Airgun rated: No
  • Illuminated Reticle: No
  • Mounting Rings Included: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • Quick focus eye-piece for speedy and easy focusing
  • Nikon’s BDC reticle for dead-on holdover points at extreme distances
  • One-piece 30 mm body tube for a maximum 80 MOA range to dial in to longer distances
  • Zero-reset turret with spring-loaded adjustment knobs for fast and quick adjustments
  • Side focus for self-adjusted parallax compensation with locking mechanism
  • Access to Nikon’s integrative Spot On Ballistic Match Technology

Rating:

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Which is the Best Nikon Rifle Scope for You?

If you’re a hunter looking to buy Nikon scopes, then the models mentioned in this review are excellent optics for all your mid-range to long range hunts. The 4X zoom gives its users a versatile range for all hunting situations, even close range.

While the above models all feature the renowned and innovative BDC feature, there is always the Nikoplex reticle models available if you prefer.

If you’re looking for a high-quality rifle-scope with more than enough features for a reasonable price, than the Prostaff 4-12X40 Matte BDC is for you. You might even be able to get it for under $200. For an enthusiast who wants to stick to buying from the flagship line, and you also like the ability of having a side focus when you want it, then the Nikon Monarch 3 4-16X42 BDC is the way to go.

And, if you want a beefier scope with the capabilities of ranging out further than ever before, the Nikon Prostaff 7 4-16X42 BDC can get it done without spending over or even close to $1000. If you still want a Nikon, but these models are still out of the budget, take a look at the 2.5-10 magnification range models for the same scope but more affordable price.

The lower power range might also suit your needs better if you rarely hunt beyond a couple hundred yards.

Invest in a Nikon

It’s true what they say about optics, you know… You get what you pay for. But, Nikon is the exception to the rule. Nikon is different from the rest of the rifle scope market because it provides quality glass for much lower prices than its top-class competitors. With all the trappings and dressings wrapped up all pretty in low prices, Nikon might be the only place you’ll want to go.