The Nikon Cup
I recently attended Nikon’s Invitational Shootout, where contestants from across the country—mostly sales reps and behind-the-counter dealers—competed for the first Nikon Cup.
Over two days, participants used a variety of Nikon optics, some of which are very new, in shooting and hunting scenarios designed to showcase the capabilities of Nikon optics and rangefinders, along with the Spot On Ballistic Match Technology. The event was also meant to help store workers better determine which Nikon optic would best serve their customers' needs. Here are my early thoughts on these precision pieces of shooting equipment.
Teams of two had to use CMMG AR-15s mounted with Nikon M223 1-4x20 scopes with Point Blank reticles to try and flip a 3-gun shotgun spinner. Flipping a spinner designed for a 1-ounce slug with rifles chambered in .223 Rem. took timing and teamwork, and really showcased the transitioning speed of the M223. There are three models of the M223 available, but I believe I like the lowest-powered scope best, as it provides an excellent tactical rifle scope for close to medium targets, and even further with better eyes than mine. This is a scope that I’m going to seriously consider putting on my AR for tactical use.
Slug Hunter 3-9x40 BDC 200
Using a Browning mounted with a Nikon Slug Hunter 3-9x40 BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) scope sighted at 50 yards, I had to fire two 20-gauge slugs at deer targets at varying ranges. The second and third circles on the BDC reticle drove the slugs straight into the 5-inch kill zone. While I would have preferred distances that required more calculation, this would be an excellent scope choice for shotgun-only hunting areas.
The Nikon Prostaff Rimfire was mounted on a CMMG AR in .22 LR to defend against zombie prairie dogs that were advancing via a Target Tracker, a remote-controlled targeting system. The Rimfire was fast and accurate, and was matched well to the rifle, allowing me to easily defeat the undead intruders with time to spare.
Prostaff 3-9-40 with BDC reticle
It was the long-range targets that showed the true value of the BDC reticle and Spot On technology. Using a Browning .308 Win., participants fired at 10 targets at differing ranges out to more than 500 yards. While the wind was a factor, hold-over was near perfect with most misses being to the left or right of the targets because of wind, which was gusting up to about 10 to 15 m.p.h. The Spot On program showed precise hold-over after entering the scope and ammunition used, and even had placements for weather conditions.
Omega 3-9x40 300 BDC
The Omega scopes are designed specifically for muzzleloading rifles, and when sighted in at a determined range allow for compensation out to the farthest range on most muzzleloaders. This was another place where the range of the deer targets didn’t show the capabilities of the scope and rifle, but did prove how easy the BDC reticle works when you know where to hold.
Bolt XR 3x32
The Bolt XR might have been the coolest scope used during this event. Sighted for 20 yards on a crossbow shooting a bolt at around 307 fps, the circles designed for compensating at 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards were dead on, and even people with very little crossbow experience were able to easily nail the targets once the range was determined through a rangefinder.