Last Updated: August 2, 2020
Power Variability: Variable
Objective Diameter: 42mm
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
Adjustment Info: 1/4 MOA/Click
Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-coated
Finish: Black Matte
Parallax Setting: Factory-set 50 yards/Adjustable with side focus
Airgun rated: No
Illuminated Reticle: No
Mounting Rings Included: No
Best Uses: Big Game Hunting, Varmint Hunting, Target Shooting
Nikon Monarch 3 Rifle Scope Review
The Monarch 3 4-16X42 is Nikon’s all-purpose rifle scope, suitable for a range or hunting and shooting activities. With this scope you will be able to get dead-on with the BDC reticle and side focus for parallax adjustments. It also has zero-reset turrets with spring-loaded adjustment knobs - if you don’t know why this feature is a bonus, you’d better keep on heading down to our Q&A.
This Monarch 3 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 between a couple of Monarch scopes to be the star of this review. It came down to being between this 4-16X42 model, and the 4-16X50 model. The 4-16X42 won out, not only because the 40-42mm lens seems to be more popular among hunters, but also because it had an outstanding customer satisfaction rating online.
While the 50mm 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 here and on our list of the best rifle scopes under $500.
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.
- Parallax side turret
- Ballistic reticle
- Zero reset turret
- Parallax turret difficult to use
Monarch 3 4-16X42 BDC Q&A:
What firearms can the Monarch 3 be mounted to, and can it withstand recoil?
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.
What is the side focus and does this Monarch 3 have it?
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.
What are the zero-reset turrets?
The Monarch 3 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!
- Featuring MONARCH 3 Eye Box Technology with 4-time zoom range and up to four Inch of eye relief
- Adjustments are made easy with Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets
Is the 42mm lens better than the 50mm lens on the Monarch rifle scopes?
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 50mm 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 42mm 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 40-42mm lens than it is to be quick about buying a 50mm lens scope.
Do the lens come with protective caps?
For the amount of money you're spending on the Nikon Monarch 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!
- 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
Our Verdict on the Monarch 3 4-16x42 Scope
According to the bull's-eye, the Nikon Monarch 3 4-16X42 rifle scope can get you dead on fast and clean. It has enough premium features to justify its price, and the image quality is top-notch. However, there has been some complaint with the parallax side focus. It's either not accurate, or it's difficult to adjust when you've got your moving target in sight. Despite this, we should remind you that reference markings are just that-references.
If you can't quite justify spending around 400 bucks on it, then consider the Nikon Prostaff 4-12X40 rifle scope. It's a little smaller and closer if you're being picky, but it costs half the price, and should we mention that it's also a Top 100 Best Seller Rifle Scope? Yeah, it's got a lot more punch than you'd think.
However, you could also get a Zeiss scope for this kind of money. Granted, you'll be forfeiting the side focus and the zero reset turret, but you'd be gaining a Zeiss Terra 3X 3-9X42! Apart from the glass, you'll be benefiting from the lighter weight, wider field of view, and exceptional, available reticles - nice!
Nikon has been a trusted brand for a long time. There's very little that they don't do well, and their customer satisfaction is evident of that. If you're ready to join an optics family, Nikon is taking adoptions.