Though it is mostly famous for its cameras, Nikon actually produces lenses and optics for a variety of industries. The company has managed to maintain the same level of quality across most of its products while keeping the price relatively low.
The Nikon P-223 3x32 BDC Carbine is another great addition to its line of rifle scopes. Whether it is good enough for you or not depends on what you are planning to use it for so allow me to talk about the scope in more detail. Of course, you are unlikely to find a scope with better quality and the same competitive price no matter how much you look.
BDC and zeroing the scope
The scope features a BDC carbine reticle and even though it was developed and calibrated for the .223 Rem/5.56 NATO round with 55-grain polymer tip bullets and their trajectory, it can be used with virtually any other ammunition type. Zeroing the scope should be easy, especially since the scope uses a so-called Zero-Reset turret feature. Basically, you can lift the adjustment knob while you are sighting-in and rotate to the zero instantly. The knob is spring-loaded, which makes for some decent tactile feedback. Despite the fact that Nikon provides markings for 400 and 600 yards, I would not really use this scope for long-rage shooting. The first 200-yard mark is brilliant, and you should also stick with that.
Since we are on the topic of calibration, Nikon also has an excellent app that lets you calibrate the BDC reticle while you are out and about or from the comfort of your home.
The online version can be found here http://spoton.nikonsportoptics.com/spoton/spoton.html while there are also apps for Android and iOS devices. All versions let you insert various types of data so that the app can calculate the adjustments you need to make. Though it is not 100% accurate all the time, it is still a great tool, especially for beginners who would not be able to do calculations like these mentally.
Accuracy and view
After the initial calibration, the scope proved to be fantastic for some close-range target practice. The BDC reticle is exceedingly accurate and there is pretty much no way to miss at the 50, 100, and 200 yard marks. Technically, you can also hit targets at further ranges, I just prefer to use 9x scopes for long range shooting. In case you are planning on using this scope for anything more than 400 years, you should be prepared to do some practice. Provided that you have configured everything correctly, you will probably be able to use the iron sights on your rifle too which will let you compare and contrast your performance as far as accuracy goes, especially if you are more familiar with those sights.The quality of the lens is also fantastic, as expected by Nikon. Everything looks perfectly clear and there is an abundance of light without it being too distracting. There is absolutely no distortion at the edges, something which I have experienced with cheaper scopes. The field of view is equally great, allowing you to be aware of your surroundings without taking your eye off the scope. Overall, I am very happy with the accuracy and view that the optics provide, especially now that I have gotten used to it. Most experienced users should not have a problem with it as all it takes is a few rounds in order to understand how it works exactly.
Words of warning
Though the scope itself is pretty great, some experience may be required in order to fix potential issues. For instance, there is no way to quickly detach the scope so you will need to be familiar with the process if you are planning on doing so while you are outside. I also needed to do some research on the best available rings for this model which is something that you will also have to do, especially if you are looking for extra accessories like covers. Nikon’s own P series works great for this particular purpose but the scope is actually compatible with a wide range of products, provided that you are also comfortable with making manual adjustments
With 338 reviews at the time of this writing, the Nikon P-223 3x32 BDC Carbine scope holds a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Most reviews are very positive and any disadvantages are usually dismissed as unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Most users focus on the quality of the overall build, the price of the scope, the accuracy, and the clarity of the lens. Users also pay extra attention to the exact range that the scope remains accurate in, with most of them agreeing that it is more suitable for close than long range shooting.
Pros & Cons
- The quality of the lens is the high point of this scope. The field of view, light transmission, and vision near the edges are all fantastic, which is what should matter the most.
- Calibrating the scope is extremely easy and Nikon has detailed instructions through its website as well as its apps. Even if you use it in an “unsupported” rifle, you can still calibrate it with some patience though the BDC will be rendered useless.
- The scope stays accurate even after prolonged use. As long as you use it within the supported ranges, you should not have any trouble hitting your targets.
- The price is excellent, especially when compared to similar scopes with similar features. Even when you simply take the quality of the build into account, the value you get for your money is tremendous.
- The scope does not include any mounts, which have to be purchased separately. Nikon’s P-series is a good choice but it means you will have to pay for an additional accessory.
- Despite what Nikon might say, the scope is not really suitable for longer ranges, especially at the 600-yard mark.
- The scope is bigger than it looks in the pictures, which may be a problem for some people.