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The 4-12x40 Scope - Big Game and Long Range

Gaining a large following in recent years, the 4-12x40 scope has become popular with many shooters for a couple of reasons. First, the 4-12x40 scope has found favor with mule deer and antelope hunters that hunt open country; here the ability to zoom in on targets several hundred yards away is a real benefit. Next, shooters that are using their big game gun for varmint hunting are also finding out the benefits of a having a 12x magnification rifle scope for use small targets, while still being able to obtain a wide field of view on the lower 4x power when at close range. Finally, big game hunters that are using their rifles for longer range target shooting or practice also benefit from the extra magnification when taking these long range precision shots. Below are comparison charts of popular 4-12x40mm rifle scopes at several different price levels.


4-12x40 Scopes $350 - $600

Model Leupold
VX 3
Fullfield II
Picture* Leupold VX-3 Leupold VX-2 Nikon Monarch Burris Fullfield II Nikon Coyote
Est. Price $549 $399 - $549 $419 $389 $349
Mag/Obj** 4.5-14 x 40mm 4-12 x 40mm 4-16 x 42mm 4.5-14 x 42mm 4.5-14 x 40mm
F.O.V 19.1' - 7.4' 20.4' - 9.7' 25.2' - 6.3' 22' - 7.5' 19.9' - 6.8'
Eye Relief 4.4" - 3.6" 4.9" - 3.7" 4" - 3.7" 3.8" - 3.1" 3.7" - 3.6"
Weight 16.5oz 13.2oz 18oz 18oz 17.6oz
Length 12.2" 12.3" 14.4" 13.5" 14.4"


Leupold VX-3 – Okay put on your thinking caps because this gets a little confusing. The VX-3 4.5-14x40 is offered in three different variations. First, is the standard model which is equipped with the bells and whistles of the Leupold VX-3 series, and is available with a duplex, varmint hunter’s, or B&C Big Game reticle. Second, is the same basic scope but with an adjustable objective for parallax adjustment, the Leupold VX-3 4.5-14x40 Adjustable Objective scope is also available with the above mentioned reticles plus the additional option of a fine duplex reticle. Like the standard model the Adjustable Objective model is built on a standard one inch main tube. Finally, there is a Long Range model which features a side focus parallax adjustment and is built on a 30mm main tube. The Long Range model is available with the same reticle options as the Adjustable Objective model. For comparison purposes the standard model was listed in the chart above.


Leupold VX-2 – These scopes are available in three different style withing the 4-12x40 configuration. The first is a basic version without parallax adjustment, the second is equipped with an adjustable objective to correct any parallax, and the third version also comes equipped with and adjustable objective and comes with the the Leupold Custom Dial System. Depending on the model price can range from right around $400 on up to $550.


Nikon Monarch – There was a bit of a decision to make here as Nikon also makes a 3-12x42, which might be the answer to those struggling between a 3-9x40 or a 4-12x40, that could have been included in the comparison but with some of the other models having a 4.5-14x power magnification the Nikon Monarch 4-16x42 seemed to be the more appropriate choice. The Monarch 4-16x42 version is built on a one inch main tube and features a side adjustment knob for correcting parallax. This Nikon Monarch can be had with a Nikoplex, BDC, or Mildot reticle and comes in a matte black finish.


Burris Fullfield II – The Fullfield II 4.5-14x42 is available in a black matte finish and can be had with either a Plex, or Ballistic Plex reticle. The Plex reticle is basically a standard style duplex; while the Ballistic Plex features three holdover marks underneath the center crosshair to aid in long range shooting. The Burris Fullfield II 4.5-14x42 handles parallax correction by means of an adjustable objective, which has yardage adjustment marks (i.e. 100, 200, 300, etc) for quick adjustments when the range to the target is known.


Nikon Coyote Special – To add a little variety to this category the Nikon Coyote was included even though it is more geared to the predator hunter. However, many hunters hunt deer a few days a year and predators the rest of the year so this model was included over the Nikon Buckmaster which has similar specifications to the Coyote but is a more conventional offering as far as reticles and finish. The Nikon Coyote 4.5-14x40 is available in a matte black, Mossy Oak Brush, or Realtree Max-1 finish. The Coyote is built on a 1” tube, has a side focus parallax adjustment knob, and comes with a special BDC Predator Hunting reticle. These scopes also come with a honeycomb lens cover to reduce the chance of scope glare being seen by predators.


4-12x40 Scopes $200 - $350

Model Leupold
VX 1



Picture* Leupold VX-1 Leupold Rifleman Redfield Revolution Bushnell Trophy XLT Nikon Prostaff
Est. Price $299 $279 $209 $200 $200
Mag/Obj** 4-12 x 40mm 4-12 x 40mm 4-12 x 40mm 4-12 x 40mm 4-12 x 40mm
F.O.V 20.4' - 9.7' 19.9 - 9.4' 19.9' - 9.4' 29' -10' 23.6' - 7.3'
Eye Relief 4.9" - 3.7" 4.9' - 3.7" 4.9' - 3.7' 3.5" 3.6"
Weight 11.6 oz 13.1oz 13.1oz 16.4oz 14.3oz
Length 12.3" 12.3" 12.3" 12.8" 14"


Leupold VX-1 – The old Leupold VX-I series was essentially the same as the Rifleman series but with a few more finish and reticle options. However, the new VX-1 series is part of the Quantum Optical System. This means that it receive the newer style glass used on scopes within this system and then other Leupold optics features within the system such as a specialized lens coating for improved light transmission. This models comes in one basic configuration that is without parallax correction.


Leupold Rifleman – Look at the stats in the above chart and you will find that this is pretty much the twin of the VX-I specification wise. However, there are a few differences; first the Rifleman 4-12x40 is only offered in one model which comes with a matte black finish and a wide duplex reticle. Second, the Rifleman 4-12x40 makes it adjustments in ½”  minute of angle instead of the ¼ minute of angle like the VX-I.


Redfield Revolution – Looking at the other scopes in the chart it is pretty obvious that the Redfield Revolution shares nearly identical specifications as its Leupold cousins. The Revolution 4-12x40 is available only in matte black but can be had with either a duplex reticle or Redfield’s Accu-Range reticle which provides aiming points out to 500 yards. The Redfield Revolution 4-12x40 makes corrections in ¼ moa click adjustments which differ from its Leupold relatives mentioned above that use a friction adjustment system.


Bushnell Trophy XLT – Bushnell offers the Trophy XLT 4-12x40 in two configurations: one is a matte black finish with a Mulit-X reticle, and the other also has a matte finish but comes with the Bushnell DOA 600 reticle. The DOA 600 reticle utilizes marks that that can be matched up to a deer’s ear span, then whatever holdover line the ear’s match up on is the holdover line used to aim and take the shot, and there are separate marks on each line for both whitetail and mule deer ear sizes. The Trophy 4-12x40 also features an adjustable objective parallax correction.


Nikon Prostaff – The Prostaff 4-12x40 comes in two variations both in matte black one with a Nikoplex reticle, and the other with Nikon’s popular BDC reticle. The entire Nikon Prostaff riflescope series recently received an upgrade; and newly updated models have zero reset turrets and an upgraded lens coating for improved light transmission. The BDC model, like all BDC reticle models, can be tailored to you particular rifle/cartridge set up by use of Nikon’s website.


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