Gear Review: Nikon Monarch 3 3-12x42mm Side Focus Nikoplex

This has been the scope on my go-to Savage .270 Win. for quite a few years now. Granted, it hasn’t seen a lot of days in the field but what days it has seen have been pretty hard on it. As much as I try to be careful with my rifle when I’m out hunting in inevitably gets banged around and dropped a fair but.

Before I really begin here let me tell you right now this won’t be a “technical” review of the scope, meaning I won’t be going over glass and optical quality or low light performance or anything like that. Those are areas I know nothing about and to be honest you could probably put me in front of a $200 scope and a $2000 scope and I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything regarding the “technical” quality of the scopes.

This scope has served me well for the years I’ve had it, but it certainly does have its faults, and the faults I find make me say I probably won’t put another Monarch scope on any of my rifles ever again. The things I like about this scope are the turrets on this scope which feature a spring zero reset, meaning you can set your zero, pull up on the dials, move them back to zero, and snap them back into place. I also like the side focus which is easy to use and stays where you have it adjusted no matter what. The diopter adjustment on the rear of the scope is a great feature, especially for those of you who have to wear corrective lenses but don’t want to hunt with them on, but for me this is also the biggest weakness of this scope and the primary reason I won’t buy another one.

I have perfect 20/20 vision so having the diopter adjusted correctly means the adjustment rings doesn’t sit flush with the rear of the scope. While this is fine for the most part, the issue is when I carry my rifle with a pack (which is all the time) and the adjustment ring rubs up against my pack. If the rings gets twisted in (- diopter) so it’s flush with the scope it’s not a big deal as everything is still in focus but my eye relief is off a bit and it make shooting, especially with a pack on, a bit uncomfortable. If it gets twisted out (+ diopter), everything goes blurry, which is alright unless that happens and you don’t have time to adjust it before a shot, something that happened to me this year. I had a shot at a whitetail and had to dial back the magnification on my scope, which was made difficult by the tough to turn magnification ring, and I also had to twist the diopter adjustment back in because it had rubbed against my pack and twisted out and made everything blurry. Luckily for me I had time to do both and get off a shot, but the other 99 times I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do that and I would miss a chance at a shot.

Beyond the diopter adjustment issue and the tough to turn magnification ring, I also find the finish on this scope to be not so great. I’ve really only taken this scope out hunting for 3 or 4 seasons for a total of 20 or 25 days and there’s already a pretty significant amount of finish wearing off where its rubbed up against my pack. That’s definitely not something I like to see on a $400 or so dollar scope.

All in all I’ve been pleased with the performance of this scope so far, but there’s some pretty big issues with it that make me not want to buy another one ever. The diopter adjustment is far too easy to turn and is easily messed up if you hunt with a pack, the magnification ring is pretty hard to turn at times, and the finish quality is just not up to snuff.

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