Nikon is probably the most expensive optics company in the world. By optics, I don’t just mean scopes, but camera lenses, phone lenses, binoculars, spotting scopes, and the list goes on and on. Their rifle scopes range from budget friendly rimfire scopes for around a hundred bucks to expensive high-end scopes with built in laser range finders. The Buckmaster falls into their simple, more budget friendly scopes and retails for a little over two hundred dollars.
The Buckmaster 2 has a variety of different magnification levels, and for this review we chose the further reaching four to twelve model (4-12), with a forty millimeter (40) objective lens. The scope is rather plain and lacks tactical features. If you haven’t figured it out this scope is designed for hunting, not for sniping.
Unboxing & First Impression
The scope comes in a standard cardboard box with the usual additions, instructions, warranty info, etc. I feel I need to mention Nikon’s new box protects the scopes pretty well. Some cardboard inserts hold the optic in one place and keep it from bouncing around. Typically I toss these boxes, but will keep this one in case I ever dismount the scope. The scope is actually 3 ounces lighter than the original Buckmaster, and I don’t see any drop in features or quality either. The Buckmaster 2 weighs 13.6 ounces, which is nice and light for a 12 power scope.
Nikon Buckmaster I 3-9x40
Nikon Buckmaster II 4-12x40
|Weight:||16.1 oz||13.6 oz|
|Eye Relief:||3.6 in||3.7 in|
|Length:||13.1 inches||14 inches|
|Light Transmission:||Up to 92%||Up to 98%|
Another change the Buckmaster 2 implemented is all of the lenses are now fully multi-coated. The coating protects the lenses and aids in light transmission and overall optics clarity. This added optic’s coating allows the Buckmaster 2 to transmit up to 98% of available light. When we went to the range this light transmission was apparent.
The next improvement over the original Buckmaster is the addition of resettable turrets on the Buckmaster 2 rifle scope. Resetting the turrets is simple and tool free. The turrets are spring loaded and all you have to do is pull up on the turret and you can rotate the turret top back to zero. Simple and easy I like it. The turrets are finger tip adjustable, and instead of locks they have protective caps. To be honest out of the box I assumed the turrets would require a tool, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this.
The Buckmaster 2’s magnification ring is topped with a little nub. This nub makes it easy to change the scopes power and gives a true nonslip grip. I also like these little nubs or levers, they just make things a lot easier overall. The Buckmaster 2 is also waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.
The Buckmaster 2 has a bullet drop compensator reticle and a simple crosshair. Typically BDCs are reserved for a specific caliber, bullet weight, and specific barrel length. This is not so with the Buckmaster 2, in fact, the BDC is actually universal when you take the time to learn to use it.
Pre Range Trip
Before we headed out to the range I went to NikonHunting.com and clicked on the Nikon Spot on Tab. This is will get you to a ballistic calculator for Nikon optics. You choose your optic, and then your caliber. There is basically every caliber you can imagine listed here, from the standard 308, 223, and 243, to rounds like the 25 WCF, and some I had never even heard of. Once you pick the caliber, you pick the load. This list is another broad, and ranging list. Here you’ll see different commercial loads, and different weights, bullet types etc. You can choose one or customize you own for the hand loaders out there.
Then you enter your target distance and zero distance. To your right is a representative of the reticle and the bullet drop compensator, directly above this you choose the magnification. Once all that is done you’ll see the reticle representation and BDC populate with numbers that give you the range the BDC coordinates with.
I suggest writing all this information down and keeping it with your rifle, at least until you memorize it. I personally printed the page and cut out a small card with the reticle and it’s information before I went shooting. There is also an App by Nikon that does the same thing if you prefer a more technological option. I like writing it down so I always have it on me. Plus the app is buggy and tends to crash on my Droid.
Finally Getting To The Range
I zeroed the rifle at 100 yards with American Eagle 308 FMJ from an AR 10 rifle. The scope is probably more suited for a bolt gun, but the AR 10 is growing in popularity with hunters. We followed the ballistic information provided by the Nikon Spot On app and zeroed it with ease. The turrets provided minimal feedback and were just a bit too smooth, it was rather easy to do too many clicks, and one needed to be quite careful.
I was a bit surprised by how accurate the information was. The final dot in the BDC represented 490 yards with my ammo, and at a 500 yard known distance range it was spot on. Perhaps it was a few centimeters off, but it’s perfectly suitable for hunting. Serious target shooters will probably prefer their own manual method of bullet drop, but for most of us this info will work.
We rang gongs, exploded clay pigeons, and put hole after hole into the chest of a man sized target. The optic was crystal clear and presented an excellent sight picture. The light transmission was top notch, the optic was noticeably brighter than the other optics we were testing. The eye box was nice and wide, easy to get to the eye, and wide enough to accommodate the generous eye relief. Speaking of which you have plenty of room to compensate for heavy recoiling calibers, and to make dynamic shots.
So, Final Thoughts?
The Buckmaster 2 is an excellent optic that provides users with an affordable and high-quality option for hunters. The optic may not be able to go toe to toe with a Nightforce, but as a basic hunting optic it excels.
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