High Performance Tools For The
Hunter And Shooter.
I will admit I have been writing about scopes recently in the “higher priced” bracket. In a large sense they are very esoteric. Most optics sold today are below the $400 range. Many of them are not only useful but also reliable and enjoy very good optical performance. Nikon is among them.
I have not reviewed or evaluated Nikon’s optics in several years. I wish I could keep up with all there is out there now days, but it has become impossible. While doing this review, I brought up their website. They have really had their heads down, working at a fever pitch. I suggest you get the old PC out and take a look. I went through their “Spot On” ballistic software and was amazed at what they have accomplished. You simply enter the cartridge and bullet being used, and out comes the answer. It is available as well on all the new-fangled handhelds as well. I haven’t the real estate to go into it in depth here, but see for yourself. If you are a hunter, this stuff is gold!
The Prostaff 7 Rangefinder works well to 600 yards and gives you the incline angle to the target as well. Here it is shown next to Jacob’s phone, which is quite small as handhelds go nowadays. You can put Prostaff 7 in a pocket for easy carry in the field.
I found myself wishing that I could do a complete review of Nikon’s sporting optics. Unfortunately, that is not possible either. So I will have to stick to the matter at hand. Suffice it to say that this model is also available in 3x32mm and 3-9x40mm.
The P-223 BDC 600 scope has a 1-inch tube, quick ocular adjustment, open turrets, and an open dot reticle with smaller hashmarks between each open dot for elevation hold. It is a progressive reticle. I suppose that is my own terminology, so let me explain. Some reticles have hashmarks on the vertical and horizontal crosshairs that are all spaced evenly. For example, each might be 1 MOA or MIL apart, which I chose to call a static hashmark system. In a progressive hashmark system, each line or circle on the vertical crosshair is farther apart than the last one as you proceed from top to bottom. This is used to simulate the ballistic flight of some particular bullet at some particular velocity.
The reticle in the P-223 was designed around a 55-grain, polymer-tipped bullet with a 3,240 fps velocity. However, don’t think it works for only that bullet. Nikon’s Spot On ballistic software allows you to enter any popular configuration of any manufacturer, case, bullet, etc. The software tells the shooter the range for each dot or hashmark of any of them. It will also allow you to change environmental conditions such as pressure and temperature, and gives you the incline to the target. To get it right, however, you need to use a chronograph to find the true velocity and a rangefinder to get the exact distance to expect a productive hit.
Zeroing the turret is simple and fast. Once in the bull at 100 yards, simply lift the turret, turn it to 100 yards, and then let it back down. From there, the BDC works for both the turret and the dot marks on the reticle.
The reticle is placed in the second focal plane. That has an advantage. Ranges are given for each dot at max power. But since the reticle is in the second focal plane, you can use the Spot On software to find the range each dot will hit at other powers. Using 6X instead of 12X, in this case, greatly extends the distance for each dot.
The fast optical adjustment makes focusing the reticle quick and easy. The power ring is a bit oversized, which makes it easy to manipulate as well. There is no cap on the turrets of this model. If you wish to use the BDC turret, you also don’t want to be slowed down by having to remove a cap. Find the range, turn the dial to that particular range, and fire. For even faster response, use the dots on the reticle. Some scope designers put numbers next to each dot. Nikon has not, which requires you to count down until the correct dot is found.
The scope does not have a parallax/focus turret. The parallax is set for 100 yards. This holds the price of the scope down I suppose. Using this scope for its intended purpose to a mid-range maximum, it should not present a problem. Holding for wind is a problem, but it is in any case. Let me explain: Suppose the target has been ranged at exactly 600 yards. You simply put the 600-yard dot on the target. Now you have to estimate the wind over that entire distance. Suppose further that you estimate the wind to be 10 mph from right to left. You put the dot on the target and then must move the dot some distance to the right into the wind. How far over do you move? It is the same problem you have with a plain crosshair when holding above the target for elevation. Without the dots, how far above the target do you hold? You are aiming in space. This is exactly what brought about the Christmas tree reticle with wind dots at 5, 10, 15 mph and so on. But even if you make the correct guess for hold off for a 10 mph wind, it may be going the opposite direction at 300 yards. Wind will always be more problematic than elevation.
Image quality of the P-223 is very good. Resolution is good, contrast is good, and I could not detect any aberrations. Color balance is very good with no bleeding or fringing. It is also fully multicoated. The scope is made in the Philippines, but I still wonder how they can produce this kind of quality and market it at such an affordable price.
The Nikon P-223 4-12x40mm BDC 600 has a 1-inch tube. The dials are not capped, making for fast adjustments in the field. The ocular adjustment is the quick adjust type as well. The power dial is also large, making power changes easy as well. The optics are very good.
The Bullet Drop Compensator is made specifically for the .223, particularly a 55-grain polymer tipped bullet at 3,240 fps. Turret clicks are 1/4 inch at 100 yards. Once zeroed, simply lift the turret, move it to 100, and you are done. From there, the turret is moved to the proper yardage for the hit.
Prostaff 7 Rangefinder
This fellow harbors a lot in a small package. I have one of the smaller hand-held phones on the market and the Prostaff is not much larger than it. Another advantage of the unit, although it might be just a personal opinion, is the black display. I can see the crosshair, the range, and the angle against any background, something often a problem with the red displays, even those that allow you to change brightness. This poses even a larger problem for some who are colorblind. But the unit has LED illumination that can be turned on, enabling you to see the crosshair in poor lighting conditions. Another useful mode allows the unit to give the distance to the intended target when a closer object like brush might be between you and the farther priority target.
The unit also includes the incline angle to the target. The literature deems the Prostaff 7 as a 600-yard unit, and it lives up to the literature. If you’re shooting at a 30-degree incline to that range, it behooves you to know the incline or you’ll likely miss the target high.
When I first started evaluating optics nearly 30 years ago, I did quite a bit of work with Nikon’s products. I remember making the statement I had never met a Nikon I didn’t like. These two products have not changed my mind. Used together, they will do a good job for most hunters at medium ranges.
By Jacob Gottfredson
Matte BDC 600
Maker: Nikon Inc.
1300 Walt Whitman Rd.
Melville, NY 11747
Objective diameter: 40mm
Tube Diameter: 1″
Eye Relief: 3.7″
Weight: 17.5 ounces
Click Value: 1/4″
Internal Adj. Range: 60 MOA elevation & windage
Reticle: BDC 600
Prostaff 7 Rangefinder
Maker: Nikon Inc.
1300 Walt Whitman Rd.
Melville, NY 11747
Measurement Range: 5 to 600 yards
Increment: 0.1 yard
Eye Relief: 18.3mm
Operating Temp: +14 degrees F to +122 F
Power Source: CR2 Lithium battery
Weight: 6.17 ounces
Beam Divergence (MRAD): 1.8 Vertical: 0.25 Horizontal