Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Nikon is quitting the riflescope market - and there are some great deals to be had
A few months ago, it emerged that Nikon was planning to quit the riflescope market. This was sad news, because Nikon has produced high-quality offerings in the mid-range section of that market; but the company apparently wants to concentrate its efforts on consumer optics such as binoculars, camera lenses and the like. One can't argue with that tighter focus (you should pardon the expression).
On the other hand, this means there are some great deals to be had on the company's remaining stock of riflescopes, particularly those already in vendor's stocks. (No, I'm not being paid to advertise them, or receiving any compensation of any nature. I've just taken advantage of the closeout prices available on Nikon scopes right now, and I'd like my readers to be aware of them too. Why not share a good thing?)
Being on a fairly tight budget, my interest has mainly been in the company's ProStaff range of economically priced riflescopes, where I've found their value and quality to be particularly good. I have several of their 2-7x32 scopes (ideal, IMHO, for .30-30 lever-action rifles), and their 3-9x40 scopes (which I like on bolt-action rifles).
Right now there are three particularly good value-for-money scopes available. The first is the ProStaff P3 2-7x32 with BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) reticle, which is currently available for just $109.00. The BDC reticle is shown below.
Basically, you zero it at the appropriate range for your cartridge, then use the circles below the cross-hairs to aim at targets beyond the 'zero range'. You can calculate probable points of impact for each circle (depending on the ballistics of your cartridge and rifle), then verify them at the shooting range. This allows you to make accurate shots in the field with minimal fuss about hold-over. I've found it very useful. (Nikon has an app for Android or Apple smartphones that is supposed to automate the process, but I haven't found it very helpful. I prefer to use one of the free ballistic calculators out there, then make my own adjustments using paper targets.)
The second "bargain" ProStaff scope out there right now is the 3-9x40 with BDC Reticle, available at only $109.99. I think this is an excellent scope for the "average" bolt-action hunting rifle, and great value for money. The third scope is the Rimfire 4-12x40, also with BDC reticle. Right now it's just $139.95. For long-range work with .22LR or .22 WMR, it's hard to beat this scope as a mid-price-range offering.
I have all three of those scopes in my collection, and like them all. They're every bit as good as most affordable scopes out there, and better than many of them. I wouldn't call them as good as high-end offerings from Leupold or the like, but then, one pays a lot more for the latter. I simply can't afford them. At my price point, the Nikon ProStaff range fits my needs very well.