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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone;

Just looking over the results of running a few different scopes on my 581 series Mini 14's.

1. Simmons 4x32 prodiamond shotgun scope. Parallax is set to be on at 75 yds so its a little short if you're after a longer range scope. The diamond pattern reticle does make aiming at man sized B27 targets at 100 yds or so a snap. Just seems to line up on its own "good enough". Seems tough - I've had it on one of my Minis for 3 years now and with plenty of bumps 'n bangs its held zero and hasn't gone to meet its maker yet. Clicks on adjustment are squishy, which is a less than desirable trait. Clarity is better than average for a $60 Chinese made scope. It works and its okay but "meh". Not a bad budget CQB scope until you can move up to something better.

2. Nikon 3-9x40 Prostaff. Made in Philippines, a definite step up in terms of fit, finish, and overall quality than the Simmons. I've got two of these, and the older ones need a coin or key to adjust, but otherwise seem nicely made. Newer ones have a superior adjustment, but both are a little squishy though more crisp in feel than the Simmons. Clarity is a little better than the Simmons but not as much better as I would have liked. Still, its an under $200 scope and its got a lot more bells and whistles. Nikoplex reticle pretty much destroys any of that "sniper style" precision shooting at range, but for a scope you set to 200 yds and forget, its not bad. With that setting and the 5.56x45 ctg figure you're GTG out to about 250 yds without compensating. Which is good because without mildots you're going to be guessing as to holdover anyway. Parallax is set at 100 yds so if you're under this you can have some interesting times trying for tiny groups - parallax issues become significant when group sizes are dropping under 1" (say shooting for groups at 50 yds you can pull a 1/2" group, but have a 1/4" parallax error due to head position....).

3. Nikon 4.5-14x40 Buckmaster. Also made in the Philippines, this one is head and shoulders above the other two for clarity and for fit and finish. Clicks on adjustment are sharp and crisp. Still limited by the lack of mil dots but I knew this going in. No comparison on clarity at all - I can generally see bullet strikes at a greater distance than either of the other two. Side focus eliminates the worst of parallax issues which is helpful when you're shooting for groups. Haven't tried shooting the box with this one - of the three I think its the only one that may acquit itself respectably in this regard. Unfortunately in the low ammo world we're in now, my marksmanship skills have already atrophied to the point that its a pointless test at the moment.

So for a cheapie CQB rig, that Simmons isn't bad but don't expect it to be a sniper setup. For precision shooting the extra cash outlay on the Buckmaster is definitely worth it in my book. Just a pity that Nikon doesn't make a version of this with a mildot reticle to the best of my knowledge.

Hope this was useful to someone.

Best,
Grumpy
 

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I will never buy another simmons scope, ever! The bushnells. even the "cheap" ones IMHO have come up considerably in quality the last 10 years. For under $200, Its a toss up, Bushnell or Nikon for the best bargian scopes. At that pricepoint I would suggest shopping based on the options that you want with these two brands.
 

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Are all Nikon 3-9x40 Prostaff scopes "Rimfire" models, or is there a separate centerfire model?

Edit: after some research, there are two separate models: the "Rimfire" and the normal/unlabeled centerfire model.

BTW, thanks Grumpy for the reviews.
 
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