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My Nikon Monarch UCC review

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/11/2011 at 12:21
slowr1der View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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I’ve been doing some testing on a Nikon Monarch UCC 3-9x40 with the BDC reticle recently. I know this is an older scope, but I thought it might help some of you decide if you were still considering one of these.

 

I recently purchased one of these as I’d read some about them, and I was really curious to try them first hand. At the time of the purchase I had a Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 also, so I compared it to that as well as other scopes I also have/had at the time of receiving the Monarch. I liked the Prostaff as it seemed like a very solid reliable scope, but I found the glass a bit lacking as I saw a lot of chromatic aberration with it when shooting in snow, or similar settings with light backgrounds. I also felt the turrets to be very lacking on the Prostaff. However, once sighted in it was a very serviceable scope and never lost zero even through a little tough use.

So, I opened the box on the Monarch, and I honestly was expecting to see a night and day difference between the Prostaff and the Monarch when I looked through the glass. I looked though the scopes side by side in the daylight, and I couldn’t tell much of a difference. I compared them at several different distances and at several different angles from the sun. I just never could see much difference at all. I tried to see if I had the same issue with the chromatic aberration, and since it showed up the worst when shooting in the snow, and it’s now winter time I tried to find something that was white and had the sun shining on it. I saw the blue flair from the CA with both scopes. It might have been slightly worse with the Prostaff, but there wasn’t a big difference. I have several other scopes that I don’t see this at all with, but it was there with both of these. Now, this being said, I know that some people have issues seeing this, while others don’t. So everyone may not see this like I do with this particular scope. All of this being said also, while it is there, I don’t find it to really be a problem in the field. The only time it has ever really bothered me is when I was target shooting as I mentioned in the snow. If it had just been one or two shots hunting it wouldn’t have been an issue then, but repeated time behind it started to be a problem.

Even though I’d not seen much of a difference in the daytime between the two scopes, I still expected a pretty large difference in low light situations. So when it got dark, I took them both outside to compare in various light settings. Once again I was a little let down to see that there wasn’t much of a difference. The Monarch might have had a very slight edge, but really there wasn’t much of a difference. If someone had covered up the markings on the scope so that I couldn’t tell which one was which, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you which one was the Monarch and which was the Prostaff. Optically they were that close.

So, while I didn’t see a huge difference in the glass, it still was decent. I found that it was optically better than my Leupold VX-I and the Vari X II’s I’ve had just as the Prostaff was with the exceptions of the Leupolds not exhibiting the chromatic aberration, but I found the Burris FFII still beat it both in the daylight and in low light. I was kind of disappointed to see that, but realistically, this scope is plenty good enough to get me to the last minute of legal shooting time. In all honesty, even after legal shooting time you can still see well enough with it you could probably still use it, not that I’d advise it unless it’s legal to predator hunt in your areas at night.

In the glass department I’d probably rate it a 6 out of 10.

 

Now that I’ve compared it optically to several of the scopes I have, and found it to be better than some of them, and worse than some others in that price range, I mounted it up and took it to the range. I immediately found the tracking to be very close if not perfect. I also discovered the turrets had a great feel to them and very solid clicks. Once you get the scope zeroed in, you can loosen the screw on top of the turrets and reset them to zero. I found this to be really handy.  I was really impressed with its tracking. It always seemed to hit right where I expected it to after cranking on the turrets. It also passed a box test perfectly, and I tried dialing it up a couple of revolutions and then back down to zero, and it returned to zero. The adjustments on this scope blew the Prostaff out of the water, and this is where the huge difference seemed to be. I didn’t expect to like the turrets and the tracking nearly as much as I did. It also blew the Burris FFII out of the water in this area, and basically every other scope in the $200 price range that I’ve ever tried. The only improvements I could see that this scope could have possibly benefited from here are marks to let you know which revolution you are on. Since it doesn’t have those, you have to count how many up or down you are so that you know how many are needed to bring it back to zero. This isn’t a huge deal, but it would have been a nice feature to have.  Target turrets would also have been great, but I know several versions of this scope are offered with them, so they have already implemented that improvement. In the tracking and adjustment department from what I’ve played with it, I’d have to give it a solid 9 out of 10, and if you are considering the price range, I’d be more inclined to give it a 10.

 

Now that I’ve reviewed those two things, I went on to review the reticle. I know these things are a personal preference and I know some guys love these BDC style reticles. I’m not a huge fan, and I’m even less of a fan of this on than I am the ones like on the Burris. To me the circles were just too big and bulky  and distracted me when looking through it. None the less, they aren’t a huge deal. The other problem I see with this reticle is that the circles are huge. They are around 1” at 100 yards on 9x power which is what they are designed for. At 600 yards that means they will be 6”. How can you be very accurate with something when your aiming point is 6”? I felt they should have put a small dot in the center of the circles or something so that you could be more precise with it. My other issue with this style reticle is there is a lot more to shooting longer ranges than just holding over something. You also have to calculate for the wind, which these reticles don’t do. I feel it just instills a false confidence in many inexperienced shooters. I’ve expressed this concern to others, and I recently had one tell me to give this reticle a shot as he really liked it. I tried shooting some longer ranges with it in a very slight wind and I was shooting at an 8” round target that hard a paper border around it that was another inch. I fired off a shot and the bullet didn’t impact the target. Upon closer inspection, the bullet hit the very edge of the paper, so about 4.5” to the right of where I was aiming. I then dialed in for the shot and just used the regular crosshair part, and found myself hitting right around where I wanted to. So I honestly feel this reticle is a waste, and I’d highly prefer a regular plex reticle, or even better mil dots. However, it is what it is, and I just learned to ignore the circles and use the regular reticle, and the tracking is accurate enough I can just dial in for shots at longer ranges. Heck, most hunting that we do in this area isn’t over 150 yards or so anyway, so it’s not a big deal at all.

I’d rate this reticle about a 2 out of 10 if we are talking about it’s usefulness.

 

Another thing that I did find that wasn’t on this scope, but complemented this scope is Nikons Spot On Ballistics program that you can use online, or download for many mobile devices. You basically punch in the data for your bullet and the distance you are sighted in for, and it tells you what each mark on the reticle should be, and it also tells your drop, how many clicks you need to dial, and you can even use it to help you calculate the adjustments for the wind. This is a pretty good program imo, and it seems to be pretty close to being accurate. I really liked this program and I used it several times in the field when dialing for longer ranges, and really liked it.

 

So overall, my opinion of this scope is for $200 when it’s been on sale it’s a steal. You get glass that’s honestly good enough for 90% of the hunters out there to use, and you get turrets that have a great feel to them and track wonderfully. I just don’t think you can beat the total package without spending quite a bit more. You can beat the glass for a similar price, but the only scope I’ve found in this price range or under that tracked was well as this scope didn’t have near the glass quality. So, I feel you just get a great package that has both good, not great, but good glass and great tracking. The scope also seems to be very durable, and imo would serve most hunters very very well. I’d not hesitate to recommend this scope to anyone. I was also so impressed with this for the price, that I bought a second one. I really like this scope and if I had to rate this on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d have to rate this scope overall at a solid 7.5 out of 10.  



Edited by slowr1der - July/11/2011 at 13:45
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/11/2011 at 13:32
cheaptrick View Drop Down
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Thanks for your review! 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/11/2011 at 16:24
cheaptrick View Drop Down
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As an aside, I did manage to shoot a decent group with my BDC reticle, using the circles. 

300 yards with a .308. 


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