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I just put together a new Rem 700 synthetic with the detachable magazine in 270 Caliber. I installed a 1.8# Timney trigger. The rifle shoots great just like all Remington rifles.
BUT, I made a mistake in putting a 3-12 Nikon Monarch scope on top. This was my thirid and last Nikon.
As much as Nikon advertises and especially because of the hunting pro's who do the advertising I expect much more than what I got. I always thought that their eye relief was less forgiving then most others but I would live with it for this "loaner" rifle for customers who hunt with me.

Friday evening, with the sun already down, but still enough light left to see deer 200 yards away, I could tell bucks from doe, but when I put this scope up to my eyes, the light transmission was so bad that all I could see was a foggy site picture. When I turned the power down to 4-5X, I could see, but turning the scope back up to 12X was impossible. This was a new scope. It was almost as if the scope couldn't distinguish the still bright sky from the darker tree lined ground and just turned to a blur. There might be a name for this but I don't know.
This is the second Nikon scope to do that. I have an M-223 on a 223 Howa. Since it is just a coyote gun, I haven't needed to seriously hunt with it in low light conditions. But this scope performance was terrible. Saturday evening, in the same stand with the 257 Roberts and a 3-10 Zeiss, the site pictures was excellent to dark.

Where we hunt, being able to hunt right before dark, especially with a full moon rising, up's your chances on a big buck or hogs tremendously. Not being able to do so means you sit in your stand and twiddle your thumbs.

I don't mean to upset Nikon owners, I really don't, but I swear, Nikon's advertising budget must triple what other manufacturers spend. The scope has all of the right features, but a good scope starts with good glass. The best I have ever used during low light conditions is the Zeiss. But I have not used that many different scopes. I've never used a Swarovsky, I just can't justify that kind of money. But I was wondering if anyone can suggest another move here.
For this rifle, I wanted to keep in the 3-12, 3-10 power range.
I was looking at the Weaver Grand Slam in the 3-10x50 millimeter, or the Leupold in the same spec. Pentex makes one similar and as well as the Burris 50 Millimeter.
I have a Zeiss that is a 3-10 x 44 mm, but gathers more light than any I have seen. I can literally hunt with a full moon rising in the evening up to midnight if needed and it still gives a full site picture.
Anyway, I see the Nikon as a good target scope but I would never recommend for hunting. I guess I'll never get on one of those shows!
Any suggestions on your favorites scopes for low light conditions?
Again, Not trying to rip on Nikon, but my experiences with them in low light has not been good.
 

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Sorry to hear about your problem Nikon. Personally I own about 5 Monarchs, but all are of lower power. I actually became very leary of the new 2.5-10 Monarch (I know that's a different scope) when I saw BUNCHES for sale on the SWFA site (the Sample list) as factory refurbished. I mean dozens & dozens. For your application, deer hunting, I'd have to believe that another Zeiss Conquest in 3-9x40 for $399. would be a great choice. I own a bunch of scopes and the three Zeiss Conquests I own are among, if not the best. It's difficult for me to imagine the actual need, in deer hunting, for more than 9X, but to each their own!;)
 

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I don't have any Nikon scopes, but do have some Monarch binocs. The binocs work fairly well, except when facing a rising or setting sun. That's tough duty for any glass, but I couldn't see anything in those conditions. I have some Leica binocs that do better, but not by much.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry to hear about your problem Nikon. Personally I own about 5 Monarchs, but all are of lower power. I actually became very leary of the new 2.5-10 Monarch (I know that's a different scope) when I saw BUNCHES for sale on the SWFA site (the Sample list) as factory refurbished. I mean dozens & dozens. For your application, deer hunting, I'd have to believe that another Zeiss Conquest in 3-9x40 for $399. would be a great choice. I own a bunch of scopes and the three Zeiss Conquests I own are among, if not the best. It's difficult for me to imagine the actual need, in deer hunting, for more than 9X, but to each their own!;)
Yea TN, We have a ten point minimum on what we shoot, and sometimes in order to count points, we need to slow down and be delibrate in evaluating the buck That was the whole point anyway, is it a trophy or not.
It just seems to me that when we wait all year to get the right buck in our sights, and we are making that decision at last light, I don't want to blame my scope, rifle or bullet. I use the 4.5-14 Zeiss Conquest and for the money, it seems to be the most consistant in presenting the best sight picture under all hunting conditions.
Personel preferences in scopes differ greatly among hunters and I'm not trying to start anything here, but maybe there's an "Uncle Nick" of the scope industry out there.
If you have ever hunted over a wheat field in the evening with a rising moon during the rut, you know that the action is just beginning. Even though you can't shoot past 30 minutes after the sun goes down, you can still watch the show. And down here, you can still shoot hogs after dark.
With the right scope, you can still do that.
I looked at the Weaver 3-10 x 50mm and read all the reviews from all of the internet shooting supply houses and it gets good reviews while costing about 1/2 of the Zeiss.
Just wondering if anyone had any reviews.
Shawn, my son bought the 12X Leica rangefinder binocs from the muledeer outfitter that we hunt with. They were one year old, and my son bought them for $650.00. They are excellent binocs. Wish I'd would have bought them.
I guess my reason for this thread was to caution anyone on the Nikons and also see if anyone swore by any other brand for low light.
The season continues...
 

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I nave a 3-9 X 40mm Nikon scope on my Browning A-Bolt & it works just fine. I have several Leupolds on several rifles as welll as Weavers & they are equal in quality.:)
 

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TPV,

assuming this is the scope with the side parallax adjustment, have you experimented with that?
Nikon stands behind their products so if there is a problem with the newer 4X magnification Monarchs, they will make good.
i have a 2-8 in an unopened box so i hope there are no faults with this line. keep us posted please.
 

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Just for kicks....... did you adjust the rear eye focus at 12X looking at a fine target far away? Many people neglect/don't know to make this important adjustment then complain about eye relief and definition.
 

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I only own one Nikon - A Monach 4x40 fixed. I can't complain about it. It's very clear and bright - actually a bit brighter than my like priced Leupolds, Weavers, and Burris'. I do think their eye relief is a touch inferior to comparable Leupolds and Burris'. Complared to all scopes I have tried and sampled at this price point, I rate the glass as slightly above average and the eye relief as just average. It seems to me that a lot of mid range priced variable scopes that have top end magnifications over 10x really lose clarity at the higher settings. I have a Burris 4.5x14 that is great at 9 or 10x and below, but really loses clarity and ease of use at 12 to 14x.

I agree totally that the Zeiss Conquest 3x9x40 ($399) is a significant step up compared to a Nikon 3x9x40 ($299). The Zeiss is also a lot better than some Leupolds costing much more IMO. Zeiss has really hit a homerun with that scope in the US in my opinion. I hope they maintain the quality level. Sometimes you see new products with high quality, then they let it slip over time, get complacement. As they are produced now, that is all the scope you would ever need for big game hunting IMO and the price ain't bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
TPV,

assuming this is the scope with the side parallax adjustment, have you experimented with that?
Nikon stands behind their products so if there is a problem with the newer 4X magnification Monarchs, they will make good.
i have a 2-8 in an unopened box so i hope there are no faults with this line. keep us posted please.
Yes, it has the side parallax adjustment. I like that feature. I have turned it every which way as well as the eye piece. I'd say it was the scope, but the M-223, 3-12x did the same thing. It just fades out in low light.
I think Nikon needs to stop spending money on all of their ads, and do a little more research into product enhancement.
I'll never buy another one.
Thx a lot
Tom
 

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at 12x with an Objective lens size at 40mm you only had a 3.3 mm exit pupil. yea it will look dark i don't care who makes the scope. any exit pupil size below about 4.5mm will pass less light than the human eye can. without knowing what object lens size you had i can only guess that this is most of the issue. at 40mm the most power you want to crank up at dark is about 9x (40mm / 9 = 4.4mm exit pupil). this is the biggest issue folks that don't know any better have with using glass at low light conditions.
 

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I have some Nikon binoculars that I have never been happy with, and as a result, I have never taken a chance on their scopes.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
at 12x with an Objective lens size at 40mm you only had a 3.3 mm exit pupil. yea it will look dark i don't care who makes the scope. any exit pupil size below about 4.5mm will pass less light than the human eye can. without knowing what object lens size you had i can only guess that this is most of the issue. at 40mm the most power you want to crank up at dark is about 9x (40mm / 9 = 4.4mm exit pupil). this is the biggest issue folks that don't know any better have with using glass at low light conditions.
As I said, at 4-5x it worked, not great but it worked. At 10-12x it blurred. It is a 42mm scope. I have other brands that don't do that.
Therefore, I have a scope for sale!
 

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I look at Nikon scopes like I do fried chicken and hamburgers. When I want good burgers, I go to Five Guys, when I want good fried chicken, I go to KFC or Lees.
Nikon may make outstanding cameras but that does not mean they have the ability to make good scopes. I would not buy a camera made by Leupold or Nightforce, and I will not buy a scope made by Nikon or Canon. I've never seen a camera that needed to stand up to the recoil of a .416 Rigby or .50 BMG. JMHO.
 

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As I said, at 4-5x it worked, not great but it worked. At 10-12x it blurred. It is a 42mm scope. I have other brands that don't do that.
Therefore, I have a scope for sale!
when you say blurred are you refering to the actual target image or the rectical? i'm assuming the target image, if so did you adjust the side focus? also it is my understanding that most side focus scopes have a lot of backlash in thier adjustments and depending on mfr the directions to get the image into focus directs you to adjust all the way out to infinity then bring it back in until sharp. if you need to focus on something yet closer in to where you started then you can continue in however if you need to go back out you will need to adjust the scope all the way back out then proceed in. if you are very familar with optics and have already tried these things then i would send it into nikon for replacement. nikon monarchs rank right up there with the 4200 elites and vx-II's out there.
 

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Hey, Tom -

Want to swap that Nikon out for one of my BSA Platinums????? :p
 

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Discussion Starter #16
when you say blurred are you refering to the actual target image or the rectical? i'm assuming the target image, if so did you adjust the side focus? also it is my understanding that most side focus scopes have a lot of backlash in thier adjustments and depending on mfr the directions to get the image into focus directs you to adjust all the way out to infinity then bring it back in until sharp. if you need to focus on something yet closer in to where you started then you can continue in however if you need to go back out you will need to adjust the scope all the way back out then proceed in. if you are very familar with optics and have already tried these things then i would send it into nikon for replacement. nikon monarchs rank right up there with the 4200 elites and vx-II's out there.
Jim, the whole sight picture from one side to the other looks like I'm looking into a fog making it unusable. As I turn the power down, its starts becoming more visable. The next evening, I used my 257 Roberts with a 3-10 Zeiss and the sight picture was very good from side ot side. Its not that I'm pushing the Zeiss, I'm sure there are other equally as good. I just haven't tried them yet.
If used during the day, there is no problem at all with the Nikon. So, for sight in work, its just fine but IMHO early and late is when the right optics really pays off.
I think I'll try that 3-10 x 50 Weaver Grand Slam. I've heard nothing buy good about its low light performance.
 

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tpv i'm not doubting your experiance one bit, it's just that it is so far from the normal with Nikon scopes. i would at least send it in to nikon, then if you still don't want to take a chance you can resell the new replacement to someone with a good concience that there is nothing wrong with it. i would trade you an older (20 yr) 3-9 Vari-X II even up for it though .
 

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Discussion Starter #18
tpv i'm not doubting your experiance one bit, it's just that it is so far from the normal with Nikon scopes. i would at least send it in to nikon, then if you still don't want to take a chance you can resell the new replacement to someone with a good concience that there is nothing wrong with it. i would trade you an older (20 yr) 3-9 Vari-X II even up for it though .
You know, I would rather have a 3-9 VXII.
Once I've lost confidence in a product, I just don't want to use it anymore.
In fairness, the area I was trying to see through the scope was down behind a lake dam, and in the evening it darkens in a hurry. Even with a sky still bright after sundown. But other scopes can do it so...
I guess I'm beating a dead horse.
I think I'll put it on the "trading post" thread and take the loss.
Thanks anyway
Tom
 

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tpv, You might want to consider a Nitrex by Weaver TR1 3-10x50, which has same Japanese glass and internals but 1/3 the price of the Grand Slam...or the Nitrex by Weaver TR2 2-10x50 that is 1/2 the price of the Weaver Super Slam. Weavers and Nitrex made by LOW of Japan. Own two of the Nitrex TR2s, outstanding glass. Nitrex has discontinued a number of models and www.natchezss.com seems to have Nitrex inventory to sell at discounted prices and Nitrex is running a $50 or $100 rebate presently....so the Nitrex TR1 3-10x50 that retailed for about $350 has a final cost of $110 plus shipping from Natchez. Heck of a buy. Here is Natchez web page for the TR1, you can review all Nitrex models here.

http://www.natchezss.com/product.cf...tail&brand=WE&prodID=WE94569&prodTitle=Nitrex TR One 3-10x50mm Rifle Scope Matte Finish TrexPlex Reticle
 

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I've used 4.5x14 buckmasters scope for varminting for about 5 years. Been very happy with it but haven't used it in the low light conditions. I have a pre-monarch 3x9 and a Monarch 3x9 which have delivered outstanding performance in low light conditions. Not going to say they are equal to a zeiss but didn't pay $400 for 'em either.

For the post on the Nikon binocs, I consider them hard to beat in their price range. Over the years I've compaired my old 10x40's with a lot of other guy's binocs in the field. They hold their own with glass costing twice as much or more.
 
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