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Nikon Buckmaster Review

The Nikon Buckmaster scope series falls in the middle of the their riflescope line, below the flagship Monarch scopes but above the entry level Prostaff models. The Buckmasters line is a pretty complete hunting scope line with six unique magnification/objective configurations.


Buckmaster scopes that feature a high end magnification over 10x are equipped with a side focus parallax adjustment knob. These scopes are also equipped with a European style fast focus eyepiece on the rear of the scope which allows the user to focus the crosshair sharpness to their eyes.


Buckmaster vs Monarch - While these two scopes feature many similarities there are a few key differences. The Buckmaster scope series has a 3x magnification ratio while the Nikon Monarch series scopes are equipped with 4x magnification ratios. For example, the Buckmaster's series has a 3-9x, 4-12x, and 6-18x magnification scopes, while the Monarch line features 2.5-10x, 4-16x, and 6-24x models.Nikon Monarch scopes also feature Nikon’s high end UCC lens coating for maximum light transmission, while the Buckmasters series uses Nikon's Brightvue lens coating. Finally, the Monarch series offers more high end magnification options (3-12x, 4-16x, 5-20x, 6-24x, and 8-32x) than the Buckmaster line (4-12x, 4.5x14x, and 6-18x).


Buckmaster vs Prostaff - The Buckmasters series has more high power offerings than the Nikon Prostaff line, and these high power models are equipped with side focus parallax adjustment knobs. These side focus knobs are a feature favored by many long distance shooters who not only enjoy the ability to correct for parallax, but like the convenience of being able to easily make these adjustments from a shooting position. The Prostaff line does have on feather in its cap over the Buckmaster series in that it offers several models designed for use on rimfire rifles; the Buckmaster series currently has no designated rimfire options. However, most of the new Buckmaster and Monarch scopes are designed to work with custom elevation dials that can be customized to your favorite load, while the Prostaff’s scopes are not currently compatible with this optional accessory.


Nikon Buckmaster Comparison Chart







Picture Nikon Buckmaster 6-18x40mm Scope Nikon Buckmaster 4.5-14x40mm Nikon Buckmaster 4-12x50mm Nikon Buckmaster 3-9x50mm Nikon Buckmaster 3-9x40mm Nikon Buckmaster 1x20mm


$389 $309 $389 $289 $219 $149
Length 14.7" 14.4" 13.9" 13.4" 13.1" 9.1"
Weight 19.4oz 17.6oz 20.6oz 18 oz 16.1oz 10.6 oz
Eye Relief 3.7" - 3.5" 3.7" - 3.6" 3.7" 3.6" 3.6" 13" - 4.3"
Field of View 16.1' - 5.9' 19.9' - 6.8' 24.3' - 8' 35.7' - 11.9' 35.7' - 11.9' 52.5' at 75yds

Fine w/Dot





Finish Matte


Matte Matte




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6-18x40 – While the 6-18x40 could be used for big game hunting it is probably more suitable for varmint hunting and target shooting due to its high magnification range and relatively large size. These Nikon rifle scopes are offered with three different reticle options: NikoPlex, BDC, or a fine crosshair with dot; the fine crosshair with dot is often favored by those hunting small varmints. This scope also makes more precise windage and elevation adjustments (1/8 MOA) than the other models in the Buckmaster line up. The 6-18x40mm models are currently offered in matte black only and generally sell for just under $400.


4.5-14x40 – Next in the this scope line, at least when going by magnification range, is a 4.5-14x40 configuration. These scopes are also offered with three crosshair options; however this time one of the options includes a mildot reticle for those that prefer this style of reticle for long range shooting. The 4.5-14x40mm models are available with either a matte black or silver finish, and usually have a street price of just over $300.


4-12x50 – Considering that the above model is a 4.5-14x40 it would seem likely that this scope should be a 4.5-14x50, or the previous scope should be a 4-12x40, but Nikon opted for this Buckmaster version to be a 4-12x50. While a half inch shorter than its 4.5-14x40 counterpart the 4-12x50 weighs 3 ounces more due to its larger objective size and this additional material mean additional cost with these models going for closer to $400 than $300.


3-9x50 – The 3-9x50 like most scopes of this configuration are designed for those big game hunters looking for optimal performance under low light conditions. As mentioned frequently on this website the large objective doesn’t increase your field of view, see comparison chart above. The real benefit of the 50mm objective is improved low light performance; of course this doesn’t come without a down side which is more weight and a higher cost than a 3-9x40 version.


3-9x40 – The Nikon Buckmaster 3-9x40, also a big game hunter’s scope, can be had with either a NikoPlex or BDC reticle like the 3-9x50 models; however, it offers a few more choices in the finish department with silver and camo options available. The 3-9x40 versions are also priced about $70 dollars cheaper and weigh about two ounces lighter when compared to the 50mm versions.


1x20 – This no magnification scope is set parallax free at 75 yards and features a duplex style reticle. This 1x20 Nikon scope makes windage and elevation adjustments in 1/2 MOA, and comes with a matte black finish. While it doesn’t specifically say, this scope is probably many aimed at shotgun and muzzleloader shooters that like the precision and adjustability of scope but don’t require magnification or are not allowed to use scopes with magnification.


While the Buckmasters line is large it is generally focused on centerfire optics for big game and varmint hunting with the exception of the 1x20 model which appears to be targeted at muzzleloader and shotgun hunters. Nikon Buckmaster scopes have a reputation for providing the shooter with quality optics at mid level pricing. Furthermore, with the recent update of the Nikon Prostaff line the price difference has narrowed between the Prostaff and Buckmaster lines. While the decision between a 3-9x40 Buckmaster or Prostaff 3-9x40 would be a tough one, the Buckmasters still holds the edge in the higher power models like the Buckmaster 6-18x40, as there are more options to choose from, and the these scopes are equipped with a side focus parallax knob.


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