Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: Nikon Prostaff 3x9x40 with BDC Reticule

A while back, I posted here regarding choosing a new optic for a 30-06 Mauser.  There were many good suggestions, and interesting points made.  In the end, I stayed with my first thought, and bought the Nikon I'd originally looked at  (Nikon 3x9x40 with a BDC reticule)

This scope met my criteria.  First, sadly, price is part of the equation.  The Nikon costs less than $200..... which is surprising considering the second criteria.... quality.   This is the third scope of such lineage I've owned, and like the others this one displays excellent value for the price.

The magnification is in keeping with the rifles caliber and purpose.  It's a 30-06 bolty, and a hunting rifle.  Given it's exceptional accuracy (1" 100 yard groups are no problem), the rifle should be effective on big game out to 500 yards.  Again, considering it's accuracy, it might actually be an effective varmint rifle out 250-300 yards or so.  3x is fine for close up larger targets, and the 9x magnification is suitable for targets farther out.

Nikon's BDC (Bullet Drop Compensating) reticule doesn't really compensate for anything, but it does provide a series of aiming points below the cross-hairs that roughly correlate to bullet drop at various ranges. The idea is the shooter actually checks the real bullet drop compared to the corresponding circular aiming point, establishing reference points for future engagements.

The circle aiming points have an inside diameter that almost exactly encloses 1" at 100 yards.  I find this tremendously useful for judging range on known objects.

Looking at scope adjustment, the Nikon Prostaff uses a form of turret that I greatly appreciate.  First.... it has scope caps that don't allow stray touches to jerk the adjustment around, just as most scopes do.  But.... once the caps are removed, we find something more commonly seen on dedicated target scopes.

The adjustment knobs operate by finger, without tools.  Once the scope is zero'ed dead on at 100 yards, the adjustment knob is lifted and turned back to it's '0' setting, and settled back into place.   After that, the scope vertical and horizontal settings can be changed with confidence, and then returned back to zero every time. Graduations in both directions, along with a solid detent, make this a sure operation.

As far as accuracy of adjustment, I found the '1 click = 1/4" at 100 yards' to be dead on.  Sighting in was a matter of firing one shot, doing the simple math, and moving the resulting number of clicks.  The next shot landed exactly as predicted.... and the next three hammered out a line of bullet holes within less than an inch of each other.

It's a heck of a scope for the price.  Hands down.  It meets my needs just fine, and it's features are useful beyond measure.

Two thumbs up!


Rev. Paul said...

That's the scope I use, and you nailed everything I like about it. Good review!

Carteach said...

Knowing you to be a man of fine judgement, I am even more assured I bought the right unit.

Old NFO said...

Nice to hear it's working out!

drjim said...

I think Nikon scopes are highly UNDER rated!

You do NOT need to spend $1,000 to get a good quality scope.

Anonymous said...

How much recoil will this scope handle? Is there a caliber limitation? I have a 50BMG on order and coming soon, but I doubt I'll be shooting much past 500 or 600 yards.

Carteach said...

That I can't answer. I've heard from folks who have them on rifles up to the .338 class. Maybe Nikon can answer that.

drjim said...


I'm using one of these on a Remington 1100 with a rifled barrel that I exclusively shoot slugs out of.

Some of the slugs have pretty stout recoil, and the scope has held up well to several hundred slugs fired, both regular and sabot.

I know the recoil from a 12 ga slug gun doesn't begin to compare to a 50BMG, but it's quite a bit more than any rifle I've fired, and so far the scope just shrugs it off.

Anonymous said...

Nikon does make a good scope- lots of practice from their cameras, I imagine. This is the scope I chose to put on a 'precision/varmint' rifle (.308 of equal value). Not a bit disatisfied with either purchase.

Going to nikon's site, I found their information on using the BDC and was impressed with what I saw. And depressed at the same time. The BDC is calibrated at different rangs with the magnification factor and POI range changes as well.

Point being, it's taking me some time to get used to using the BDC, but I'm pleased as a puppy with a new bone.

Earl said...

Thanks for a very informative review, I have rushed out (fairly quickly for an old man) and purchased same and mounts. The comments show there will be the adventure of more learning on the best use of this scope with the rifle. And I figure I will never ever shoot to the potential of the technology, but isn't it great trying?

I am so lucky not many read my blog that spammers aren't finding me, but these old eyes are going to need to use some new optics on you proving I am not a robot. Keep writing, I talk too much anyway.