Review: Nikon ProStaff 4-12X

Nikon ProStaff riflescopeI've long been a fan of Nikon glass; it just always seems so sharp. But I'd never availed myself of the opportunity to try out the company's economy ProStaff line, not being a big fan of inexpensive scopes. Not that I'm a scope snob by any means, but I've had my fill of scopes that don't do what I expect of them: be sharp and clear, and have dependable adjustments.


But since I was testing an inexpensive new rifle (the Mossberg MVP), the ProStaff, which retails for just $230, seemed a logical mate for the gun.

In short, I was impressed. You get a lot of features for the money. The fully multicoated lenses promise 98 percent light transmission, and I didn't notice any color fringing. The image is sharp right to the edges, and the quick-focus eyepiece allowed me to get the reticle sharp in a hurry.


I loved the target-style turrets, which are resettable — a handy feature if you're working with different loads or prefer to compensate for wind by clicking instead of applying Kentucky windage. You couldn't have asked for better performance on the box test (see protocols below), and there was not a lick of change in point of impact across the power range.


There are two reticles available in this model, and I chose the BDC, which is a design I've been meaning to work with more. It proved very handy, allowing me to use the additional aiming circles — or sometimes the intersection of aiming circle and vertical wire — to get hits on steel targets out to 400 yards with the 5.56-chambered Mossberg.

The scope is waterproof and fogproof, but the company doesn't list it as shockproof, and I wasn't about to start whacking on it with a blunt instrument to see how it would fare. For this kind of money I would just assume you shouldn't expect it to survive repeated serious abuse without issue.

I like this power range for hunting and recreational shooting, although if I were a serious prairie dog shooter who gets upset with misses, I think the 100-yard fixed parallax setting might handicap you a bit at 200 yards and beyond. But, again, you're not getting adjustable parallax for this kind of money.

Conclusion? A great scope for the money. Good glass in a versatile package just right for everyday hunting and shooting.

 Fast Specs

  • power x objective: 4-12x40mm
  • tube size: 1 in.
  • Dimensions (length/weight): 14.1 in./15.9 oz.
  • mountable tube length: 5.75 in.
  • lens coatings: fully multicoated
  • reticle type: BDC
  • adjustments: 1/4 m.o.a. clicks; spring-resettable, target-style turrets
  • Total windage/elevation adjustment: 63.5/72 m.o.a.
  • eye relief: 3.7 in.
  • field of view: 23.6-7 ft. @ 100 yd.
  • parallax: fixed, 100 yd.
  • box test: pass
  • dunk test: pass
  • freeze test: pass
  • price: $230

Test protocols. Box test measures click integrity and repeatability. Without changing aiming point, 3-shot groups are fired in the center, upper left, upper right, lower right, lower left and back to center. Corners were 4 m.o.a. from center. To pass, the box created by test must be a perfect square, and the first and last center groups must overlap. Dunk test involves submerging scope in six inches of water for half an hour. Scope fails if any bubbles are observed. Scope is then placed in a freezer for one hour. Scope fails if any internal condensation is observed after removal and drying of exterior lenses.

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