Nikon M-308 Scope Review - Great for the 308?
The Nikon M-308 scope is one of a number of new caliber specific scopes added to the Nikon rifle scope line this year. After a home run with the Nikon M-223 series which are calibrated for the .223/5.56, they decided to launch three more entries into the caliber specific category this year: the P-22 scope calibrated for 22 LR, the P-223 a budget scope line designed for the .223/5.56, and the M-308 models which are calibrated for the .308 Winchester cartridge.
4-16x42 – Currently these scopes are offered in only one configuration which is a 4-16x42mm. Many shooters of the .308 rifles shoot at ranges that push the limit of the cartridge, perhaps this is why these first model scopes come in a relatively high magnification model. The other explanation might be that the M-223 line was also expanded to include a 4-16x42mm model this year so maybe there were some economies of scale and this was a way to test a new market with minimal risk for Nikon.
Rapid Action Turrets – The M-308 scopes are offered in either a dial in or holdover configuration. The dial in version features a NikoPlex reticle (standard style duplex) which is used in combination with Nikon’s Rapid Action Turrets which are custom calibrated .308 elevation dials. Here the procedure is pretty straightforward; you figure out the distance to your target, rotate the elevation turret to the corresponding distance, then center the crosshair on your target then pull the trigger.
BDC 800 Reticle – For those that prefer the speed of a holdover style reticle, Nikon has added a new BDC 800 reticle that is designed for the .308 cartridge. Here each holdover mark corresponds to a specific distance, simply place the holdover mark that best matches the distance to your target on the target and fire. Something of note on the BDC 800 reticle, while most Nikon BDC reticles are actually a series of holdover circles, the BDC 800 is made up of circles, dots, and hash marks; perhaps this was a way to provide numerous holdover points out to 800 yards.
M-308 Mount – Nikon has designed a mount for the M308 scope, it is a one piece solid base with integrated rings (i.e. the rings are machined into base). The base is a 20 MOA version; bases with built in MOA are often favored by those who shoot at extreme distances and are worried about running out of elevation adjustment, or who prefer to stay more in the center of the scopes adjustment range. The Nikon website states that this mount is included with the scope; the M-223 scopes series has a similar mount called the M-223 mount, but it is optional and sells for around $90 - $100 online.
Tactical Turrets – This rifle scope has tactical style turrets that are finger adjustable, furthermore they can easily be reset to zero once sighted in by just pulling up on the turret knob and rotating the dial back to 0 (or the 100 yard mark on the models with elevation dials). The M-308 also utilizes a side focus parallax adjustment knob for easily correcting parallax; this side focusing method is generally preferred by tactical shooters.
Nikon M-308 Key Information
|Overview||Nikon M-308 4-16x42mm Rapid Action Turrets||Resources|
20 MOA Base Included
Zero Reset Turrets
|Options||Nikon M-308 4-16x42mm BDC 800||Competition|
4-16x42 BDC 800
Pros – Like the M223 the M308 appears to be based on the high end Nikon Monarch scope series. The easy reset tactical turrets and side focus parallax adjustments are nice touches for a long range tactical scope. Caliber specific scopes are the “in” thing right now, and not without reason. However, there is a current shortage of production scopes available in any caliber but the .223 Remington/5.56 NATO. Nikon is ahead of the game in calibers introduced and providing options for both the dial-in crowd (Rapid Action Turrets) and the holdover crowd (BDC reticles)
Cons – The 4-16x42mm is a relatively large and high magnification scope and is best suited for use on long range tactical rifles. However, most long range shooters prefer a 30mm main tube which can allow for wider range of elevation adjustments but the included 20MOA base should help address this issue. Of course elevation adjustment wouldn’t be a factor on the BDC 800 reticle model as the shooter uses the holdover marks and doesn’t dial in the elevation.
The Nikon M-308 is built on the same concept as the other caliber specific scopes in the Nikon line. However, the .308 Winchester, while popular is probably not in the same league as the .22LR and .223/5.56 calibers which the other scopes in the Nikon series are calibrated for. It will be interesting to see if this scope can carve out enough of a niche in the .308 market to convince Nikon to expand the line into other magnifications. The M-308 does have the advantage of being one of the only .308 Winchester calibrated scopes on the market and is priced favorably when compared to many tactical scopes currently being used on long range .308 rifles.
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