Nikon P-223 Scope Review - Affordable AR Optics
Nikon was no doubt happy with the warm reception their M-223 scopes received and decided to introduce another .223/5.56 AR-15 scope line called the P-223. While similar in many ways to the M223 scopes, the P223 riflescope series is designed to be a more budget friendly option for AR shooters. The Nikon P-223 review below highlights the most important features of these new scopes.
Nikon P-223 Key Information
|Model||1.5-4.5x20mm||3x32mm||3-9 x 40mm||4-12 x 40mm|
|Eye Relief||4"- 3.8"||3.4"||3.6"||3.7"|
|Weight||13.8 oz||12.2 oz||17.1 oz||17.5 oz|
|FOV 100 yds||43.6' - 10.9'||35.6'||33.8' - 11.3'||23.6" - 7.3"|
|Reticle||BDC 600||BDC Carbine||BDC 600||BDC 600|
Nikon P-223 1.5 - 4.5x20mm - While its low end goes all the way down to 1.5x magnification, this model still features Nikon's BDC 600 reticle for engaging targets out to 600 yards. This model also features quick reset exposed tactical style targets for those that like to dial their windage and elevation adjustments in. Finally, while on the lowest power this model has a 43.6 feet field of view at 100 yards which is about 10 feet of gain over the 3-9x model on its lowest setting.
Nikon P-223 1.5-4.5x20mm
Nikon P223 3x32 - The 3x32 version is particularly interesting because it is a small compact model that many shooters are looking for yet still has the ability to reach out to 600 yards. While the BDC Carbine reticle doesn’t offer the same level of precision aiming points as the BDC 600 for long range shooting; many AR-15 shooters spend the majority of their time shooting at 200 yards and less, and will probably be content to sacrifice some long range precision for compactness. Note the short overall length of this scope and limited mounting surface cause this scope to not work with many one piece mounts, so a two piece mounting system like the P-223 is recommended.
Nikon P-223 3x32mm
Nikon P-223 3-9x40 - This model equipped with a Nikon BDC reticle that has aiming circles (yes circles not dots) representing holdover points out to 600 yards; like all BDC reticles you can enter in your specific bullet weight and velocity on their website to get a customized print out of what range each circle represents for your load. The 3-9x40 configuration also provides a good balance for engaging close or distant targets.
Nikon P-223 3-9x40
Nikon P-223 4-12x40 - With the success of the above mentioned configurations, Nikon decided to expand the P-223 line up to include a 4-12x40; which is similar to the 3-9x40 configuration as it features the same ballistic style reticle with hold over points out to 600 yards. However, what makes the 4-12x40 model unique is that it also features a .223/5.56 calibrated elevation turret which is etched with yardage markings so you can simply rotate the elevation dial to the yardage mark that matches the range to your target and hold dead on. Conversely if you don't want to dial in the elevation or don't have time you can simply use the holdover marks on the reticle and not touch the elevation dial. Note you only need to do one or the other; this scope is very unique in that it gives the shooter the option do use which ever method prefer.
Nikon P-223 4-12x40
Mounts – While both the P-223 and Nikon M-223 scopes are built on a 1” main tube and can mounted using a wide variety of bases and rings, both series have introduced their own line of mounts. The M-223 mount features a one piece system with the rings built into a solid base and is designed to mount directly onto a Picatinny or Weaver style rail. The P-223 mounts are a little different, with the rings coming in two different pieces but agains attaching to Weaver or Picatinny style railing. While the one piece mount of the M-223 should work well on the P-223 3-9x40 and 4-12x40 models, reports are that it does not work with the shorter P-223 3x32 model; however the P-223 mounts two piece style will work with any of the P-223 scope configurations.
BDC Carbine Reticle – While the P-223 3-9x40, and 4-12x40 versions feature the BDC reticle featured on many of the M-223 scopes, the Nikon P-223 3x32 utilizes Nikon’s new BDC Carbine reticle. While the BDC 600 reticle uses a hundred yard sight in for the crosshairs and then holdover circles each hundred yards out to 600 yards; the BDC Carbine reticle utilizes a 200 yard sight in with the crosshairs and features a hash mark for 400 yards and 600 yards aiming points.
The P-223 series scopes are definitely one of the most popular traditional style scopes avaible for AR-15 shooters and with good reason. Nikon's BDC reticles combined with the use of their Spot On website calculator has made for a popular combination on models all across their riflescope line. Second, they are affordable with even the 4-12x40 model occassionaly being found for under $200 dollars online. Next, the P-223 series is based on the Nikon Prostaff series of scopes which is our pick for best scope for the money in the under $200 range. Finally, this series despite having only three configurations covers most AR-15 applications from close ranges with the 3x version to long ranges with the 4-12x40 model and every thing in between with the 3-9x40.
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