Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Scope

After my range time last Thursday, I decided to try a new scope, and when I went to my locally-owned gun store, he had the Nikon Pro-Staff on sale.  I'll admit that I was torn between the Burris Fullfield II, the Redfield Revolution, and the Weaver Classic V, but truth be told, there is very little to differentiate modern entry-level rifle scopes.  They're all a heck of a lot better than scopes I grew up with.  I came home with the Nikon Pro-Staff, 3X9X40, with the BDC reticle.

The BDC reticle is going to take a little time to get used to.  The first time I looked through it, it seemed "busy".  There's lots going on in that reticle.  It looks like this.

The crosshair is supposed to be your 100 yard zero and the little circles roughly translate into the hold-over for 200, 300, 400, and 500 yards.  Of course, you need to zero your rifle and verify the bullet drop at yardage, but Nikon has a really nice online program called SpotOn that helps.  You can identify your cartridge, bullet and velocity, and the program will give you updated numbers for your hold-over, depending on the magnification factor.

After registering my scope for the warranty, installation was straight-forward.  If you know anything about the Savage long action, you'll know that it is a very long action, and oftentime, extended bases are necessary for scope mounting.  I already had extended bases on my rifle and the scope snugged down in the rings without much trouble.  I had about half of an inch play, front to rear for eye relief and soon had the scope properly leveled with good eye relief.

Controls are easy to reach and fairly standard.  Starting at the ocular bell, we have a focus ring that  easily allowed me to focus the crosshair.  Just forward of the ocular bell is the power selector ring, plainly marked.  Forward of that are the turrets for adjusting the zero.  The turrets are finger adjustable and by lifting the adjustment caps, you can re-set them to zero.  This is a neat little feature that we're seeing on more and more scopes.  The turret covers seem to be rubberized and should provide good seals against the weather. 

This morning I took the rifle over to Momma's house, got into the pasture and set up my range.  I walked downrange to 25 yards, knelt and fired one shot.  The rifle was on paper, so I made an adjustment, walked back to 50 yards and fired another shot.  Still on paper, but needed an adjustment.  Walked back to the 100 yard line where my pickup was parked.  I put a sandbag on the hood of the truck and started walking the shots toward the bullseye.

The finger adjustable turrets clicked nicely and were easy to feel.  The scope didn't track exactly, but it was close enough that soon I was hovering near the target.  A final adjustment and three shots to make sure I was good.

That's a one-inch target dot and the three shot group above it.  Subtracting the width of a .308 bullet give me a three-shot group of 0.556.  That isn't bad for a hunting rifle and a $200.00 scope. Shot from a sandbag on the hood of a pickup truck by a fat man. By this time the barrel was hot and I was sweating like a pack mule.  I called it quits and I'll fine-tune this zero later, but I think that I'm going to like this scope.  Hopefully I'll have it out later this week at a place where I can stretch it out against 200 and 300 yard targets.

Nikon is a trusted name in the camera business.  They've been making great lenses for years.  I have one pair of Nikon binoculars and I've been very pleased with them for several years.  There is no reason to believe that the Nikon scope isn't going to be just as durable as the other optics I have from that company.  This scope might be on this rifle for a long time.


Old NFO said...

For the $$, I think they're great!

Rivrdog said...

I have one on my Winchester M70 in .243

It's hell for accurate out to 400 yards. I shot this combo at Boomershoot for 2 years in a row, in bad weather and good. Boomershoot is a sub-MOA show, and the Nikon Pro Staff will handle it.