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.



libertyman said...

Nikon's customer service was amazing. When I had a pair of binoculars that needed repair. With no questions asked, they promptly replaced a many year old pair of binoculars with a brand new pair. I think they will be missed in this market.

Do you think there is an element of virtue signalling in this? I hope not, but wonder.

Peter said...

@libertyman: I don't know whether 'virtue signaling' is involved, but on balance I tend to doubt it. It's just that the lower end of the riflescope market, all the way into the middle in terms of cost, is very competitive indeed. Many Chinese factories are basically copying the scopes they've made for others, and producing them under their own labels, or licensing them to other vendors under "house" labels. It's probably very hard for Nikon to compete with that, particularly when their name carries with it a premium over low-end pricing.

Once Nikon scopes are no longer available, it'll be problematic to select a replacement from among the many lower-end vendors out there. Nikon, as you point out, offered decent customer service and support - something other vendors may not be able to afford.

thinkingman said...

Great. Now the two I bought will become orphans whose lifetime warranty is meaningless. Bought the first one at the 2009 NRA show in Phx. When it arrived, it was easy to see it show NEVER have passed QC , but there it was, in the consumer's hands. Send it back with an explanation of the obvious problem (looking through it showed a defect like round drops of hardened fluid on the interior surface of one of the lenses)and demanded repair or replacement. Tracked it's progress via their website, and, finally, it was no longer tagged for repair, but for replacement. The one I got back seemed fine. The next one I bought is one of the recent "Black FX 1000" series, ordered through an on line vendor. It arrived, LOOKED okay, mounted for detailed checking over, and found that the windage adjustment was faulty- with a seemingly normal range of movement to the right as viewed by the user, while actual movement in response to knob adjustment toward to left was clearly VERY abbreviated, although the knob still turned and clicked without further reticle movement , as viewed through a colluminator. Folks who did not own a colluminator would NOT have found this. SENT back, clearly stated defect. Got the same one back with NOTHING done to it, except that it was in a new plastic bag, with an adhesive back3ed closure holding the bag shut, upon which was stamped , "OPERATES TO FACTORY STANDARD" . Performed the same checks the same way, and AGAIN submitted my findings, demanding satisfaction. THIS time it was replaced with one that worked as designed.
I was not impressed with the customer service.

Brad_in_IL said...

I have two Nikon scopes, both using the BDC reticle. One is a fixed 3x carbine scope, the other a 4x-12x40. The 3x scope sits atop an AR carbine upper, the other atop a long-er range Palmetto State AR system (18" barre, 1:7 twist, .223 wylde chamber). Both are clear, the reticles are sharp and are capable well beyond my 5x year old myopic astigmatic eyes. Needless to say I'm happy with my purchases.