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Nikon M223 AR-15 Scope Review

Designed with the AR 15 type rifle in mind, the Nikon M-223 scope is calibrated for a 223 Remington cartridge that fires a polymer tipped 55gr bullet at 3240 feet per second. While these scopes may be marketed to the AR crowd they are equally useful for shooters of other styles of rifles that are using the above mentioned cartridge/bullet load, so don’t be surprised to see a Nikon M223 scope mounted on a bolt action rifle. While still relatively new, there haven’t been a whole lot of user reviews to sort through. However, at the industry level the M-223 received a “Best of the Best Award” from Field and Stream. Below is a brief description of the five models Nikon currently offers in this series of rifle scopes.


Nikon M-223 Key Information

Model 1-4 x 20mm 1.5-6 x 24mm 2-8 x 32mm 3-12 x 42mm 4-16 x 42mm

Nikon M-223 1-4x20mm

Nikon M-223 1.5-6x24mm BDC 600

Nikon M-223 2-8x32mm

Nikon M-223 3-12x42mm

Nikon M-223 4-16x42mm
Est. Price $279 $599 -$799 $330 - $349 $429 - $449 $449 - $469
Eye Relief 4.1" - 4.0" 3.8" 4.0" - 3.8" 4.0" - 3.7" 4.0" - 3.7"
Weight 13.9oz 18.2oz 15.2oz 19.9oz 19oz
Length 10.4" 10.5" 11.5" 13.1" 13.5"
Finish Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte
FOV 100 yds 92.9' - 23.1' 79.2' - 19.7' 46.2' - 11.5' 33.6' - 8.4' 25.2'-6.3'
Parallax Adj. No No No Side Focus Side Focus
Reticle Point Blank
BDC 600
BDC 600
BDC 600 illum.
BDC 600
BDC 600
BDC 600



Nikon M-223 1-4x20 – While its Point Blank reticle gives a clue as to one of this rifle scopes intended uses, it does come with a BDC 600 for those wishing to strech the legs of their AR-15. Windage and elevation adjustments are made in 1/2moa, and the scope is set parallax free a 100 yards. The 1-4 x 20mm scope is about 10.4” long and weighs in at just under 14oz.


Nikon M-223 1-4x20

Nikon M-223 1-4x20 Point Blank

Point Blank   BDC 600


Nikon M-223 1.5-6x24 - One of the newest additions to the M-223 line; the 1.5-6x24 model fills the gap between the 1-4x20mm and 2-8x32mm models. Most noteable in this configuration is that it is built on a 30mm tube as opposed to the standard 1" tubes on the other models in this series. Nikon states added durability and adjustment range as a few of the added benefits of the larger main tube. Additionally there is also an illuminated model which has still retains their popular BDC 600 reticle. 


Nikon M-223 1.5-6x24mm

      BDC 600         BDC 600 illum


Nikon M-223 2-8x32 – This model is available with two different choices of reticles: the NikoPlex, and the BDC 600. The NikoPlex version is basically a duplex crosshair; however, these models come with what Nikon is calling a Rapid Action Turret that is calibrated for the 223 Remingtion load mentioned above. Shooters of this model turn the elevation turret to the desired distance and hold the crosshair dead on. The scopes that have the BDC 600 reticle have aiming circles calibrated for the 223 Remington load, previously mentioned, out to 600 yards, so the shooter selects the dot that matches the distance and fires while holding the appropriate circle on the target.


Nikon M-223 2-8x32

Nikon M-223 2-8x32

NikoPlex   BDC 600


Nikon M-223 3-12x42 – Like the 2-8 x 32mm model, it is available with either the NikoPlex reticle with Rapid Action Turret or with the BDC 600 reticle. While just over 13” inches long they come in at under 20oz and feature a side focus parallax adjustment. Also, like all scopes in the M-223 series they feature the same 95% light transmission found on Nikon’s top of the line Monarch rifle scopes.


Nikon M-223 3-12x42

Nikon M-223 3-12x42 BDC 600

NikoPlex   BDC 600


Nikon M-223 4-16x42 - This this higher magnification configuration is for shooters that want to stretch the capabilities of their AR-15. The 4-16x42 model comes with a choice of BDC 600 reticle or NikoPlex; the NikoPlex version has the custom elevation dials for making yardage adjustment and both models feature a side focus parallax adjustment knob.


Nikon M-223 4-16x42

Nikon M-223 4-16x42

NikoPlex   BDC 600


These scopes are designed to make shooting the AR 15 at long range a simple task. Whether you like to dial in the distance or holdover; the Nikon M-223 has options available for both. Also, noteworthy is the side focus parallax adjustment found on the 3-12x42 and 4-16x42 models, which is generally the preferred method of parallax correction verses an adjustable objective which requires turning the front bell of the rifle scope to correct parallax.


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