Normal human eyes can differentiate objects about 1/60 of a degree. That means at 100 yards, an object must be at least 1/10 foot high for you to know what it is. A .308 can travel to 4,655 yards (not effective range). Note that there’s a lot of discrepancy between what you can see and what you can shoot. Rifle scopes can help you bridge this gap and make you a better long range shooter.
Maybe you’re looking for a quality long range scope that lets you shoot out to 800 yards and stumbled upon the Nikon M-308. In this Nikon M-308 scope review, I’ll be digging into the details and lay out all the relevant pros/cons of this scope. So you can get the most bucks for your bangs.
The Nikon brand
Nikon, founded in 1917, is a leading optical Japanese manufacturer. They are very well-known for their Nikon cameras. With their knowledge of lens, they also produce quality sport optics such as binoculars, spotting scopes and rifle scopes.
Known for their quality and affordability, Nikon is viewed by some shooters as one of the best scope producer in low to mid price range.
Some of their work, including the Nikon M-308 Series, are outsourced to Philippines. Top end Nikon products are made in Japan. The outsourcing ensures affordability and quality at the same time.
The M-308 has only 4-16×42 size with 2 types of reticles and turrets to choose from:
The BDC Reticle offers quicker shooting time while the Rapid Action Turret offers cleaner reticle. You should be able to shoot to 800 yards on both models. Read on for more details.
What rifle/ammunition can the Nikon M-308 handle?
There are 2 things to consider :
- Can the scope hold zero over time?
- BDC 800 reticle matching your aim
Can the scope hold zero over time?
As long as the round you are using does not exceed 50 caliber, you’ll be able to use the scope on any rifle.
BDC 800 reticle matching your aim
Since the reticle/turret is designed specifically for the trajectory of the .308 WIN/7.62 NATO round with 168-grain Hollow Point Boat Tail match bullet at 2680 feet per second. If you use other ammunition and/or different muzzle velocity, the reticle/turret will not perfectly match your bullet trajectory.
If you intend to use other ammunition, there are solutions for that. For BDC reticle you can use the Nikon Spot On App to fix this which is free. For the Rapid Action Turret, you either calibrate it yourself or order a custom made turret from Nikon with additional cost of $100.
|Tube Diameter (Inch)||1″|
|Objective Diameter (mm)||42|
|Objective Outside Diameter (mm)||49.3|
|Eyepiece Outside Diameter (mm)||44|
|Linear FOV (ft/100 yd) – Low||25.2|
|Linear FOV (ft/100 yd) – High||6.3|
|Reticle Focal Plane||Second|
|Eye Relief (in)||3.7 – 4|
|Finger Adjustable Turrets||Yes|
|Turrets Resettable to Zero||Yes|
|Adjustment Graduation (Inch)||1/4|
|Max Internal Adjustment (MOA)||40|
|Parallax Setting||50 yds – ∞|
|Fast Focus Eye Piece||Yes|
|Warranty||Nikon Full Lifetime Warranty|
Mounting the scope
The scope has 1″ tube diameter. So make sure you get 1″ rings of appropriate height and applicable base type. For the M-308, medium height rings are recommended.
A quick note here : Investing in decent rings and mounts will save you time and money. Scopes will last longer and you will waste less time zeroing them year after year.
Also, as a rule of thumb for ring height, choose the lowest height that doesn’t obstruct other parts of your rifle for maximum accuracy.
If you are not sure which mount to use, try Talley’s 1″ medium height rings for a solid setup.
I personally mount the scope on Remington 700 SPS with Talley’s 1 Inch Medium height rings. It’s easy to mount and the scope fits perfectly.
Weight & Looks
The M-308 4-16×42 weighs 19 oz which is slightly heavy but understandable for scopes of this size.
Matte Black finish looks good on it. Also there’s a “M-308” sticker on the eyepiece which can be easily removed.
Looking through the glass, image is very clear and crisp on all magnification in daylight. Coloring & contrast are also very good. It’ll be difficult to find a comparable scope in the same price range.
During low light, it’s not adviced to use more than 10x power as the brightness is not so good. Adjust it down to 12x or lower to get good low light capabilities. Note that this is common occurence in any scope, higher magnification would suffer from smaller exit pupil thus the lower light.
Field of view is good. But another downside is that, at higher magnification, your sweet spot or eyebox is a bit small. This will result in more aiming time required, but shouldn’t be a problem since at 16x, you’d be unlikely to do some very fast shooting.
The M-308 also features the fast focus, this makes focusing the reticle a breeze. A plus especially for people with eyesight problems. At the end of the fast focus rings, there’s a rubber pad to help soften recoil to your eye, better not use it though.
Magnification ring is a bit stiff to turn, but there’s a bit of a raise on it which makes it easier to adjust. Not a serious thing, but a smoother magnification ring is preferred.
I think that 4-16x magnification is more than enough for 95% of the users. You can make shots up to 800 yards which is totally awesome. Plus there’s a Spot On App or Rapid Action Turrets to support all your long range needs.
There are 2 reticles to choose from :
- BDC 800 Reticle, MOA Turrets
- NikoPlex Reticle, Rapid Action Turrets
Both type of reticle/turrets are clear, easy to see and allow you to shoot up to 800 yards.
BDC 800 Reticle, MOA Turrets – Calibrated to trajectory of the .308 WIN/7.62 NATO round with 168-grain Hollow Point Boat Tail match bullet at 2680 feet per second. This reticle features faster shooting than the turrets because there’s no adjustment to make onced you zeroed your scope, no matter the range. The downside is that your reticle will be a bit cluttered and the BDC is accurate only to maximum magnification (given you get the right ammo) due to being Second Focal Plane Reticle. You can, of course, calibrate for another magnification yourself and jot it down in your smartphone or notepad for furthur use.
NikoPlex Reticle, Rapid Action Turrets – features cleaner reticle similar to duplex, and being able to use all magnification power without the need to calibrate yourself. But for varying range targets, your rate of fire will be slower as you need to adjust your turrets for these range.
For different type of rounds, you can use Nikon Spot On App with the BDC reticle. My experience with it has been great, as they are very accurate and support various types of rounds.
One thing of note, Nikon won’t allow you to have the best of both worlds. It’s either the “BDC 800 Reticle” or the “Rapid Action Turrets”.
Eye relief of 3.7″ – 4″ is nice but at max magnification the sweet spot or the eyebox to fully see the image is quite small, as mentioned earlier. If you don’t want to practice placing your eyes and head on relatively the same place, use lower magnification or skip this scope.
There are people who complains about eye relief at 16x. But I think that 3.7″ should be enough. If not, try adding recoil pads, muzzle breaks, cheek pads or consider smaller cartridge.
This scope has parallax adjustment as the side focus knob. Certainly an appropriate and much needed thing for long range scopes.
The parallax is adjustable from 50 yards to infinity and even has a locking feature by pressing the knob in.
There are 2 turrets to choose from :
- BDC 800 Reticle, MOA Turrets
- NikoPlex Reticle, Rapid Action Turrets
Both type of turrets are accurate, tactile, crisp, finger adjustable and easy to use. They also are repeatable and come back to zero after many use. Furthermore, they are zero resettable by pulling the knobs out, align it to zero(BDC) or 100 yards(Rapid), and put the knobs back in. Basically it makes you turrets adjustment much less complicated. Zeroing becomes an enjoyable task.
BDC 800 Reticle, MOA Turrets – has MOA markings for turrets.
NikoPlex Reticle, Rapid Action Turrets – has yardage markings which is calibrated to the trajectory of the .308 WIN/7.62 NATO round with 168-grain Hollow Point Boat Tail match bullet at 2680 feet per second on the turrets.
Each turret click is 1/4 inch at 100 yards for the calibrated ammo. And for another $100, you can order a specific turret for your round’s ballistic from Nikon.
Durability & Warranty
Sturdy 1 piece tube with nitrogen purged and O-Ring sealed. The scope is rugged, waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. According to Nikon’s manual, the scope can withstand water to a maximum depth of 2 meters for up to 10 minutes. And from our time with it, admittedly not very long, the scope holds zero very well.
There are some complaints on windage knob not working after a few months. This case is a defect and not the norm. It should be covered by Nikon’s warranty.
The scope is protected by Nikon’s Lifetime Warranty. Nikon’s warranty is not as good as Leupold’s or Vortex’s. If it’s not very new and you could not prove that it’s manufacturer’s fault, you might have to pay for some of the repairs. Additionally, you should always keep your receipt and register your warranty on Nikon’s website.
Since price varies with time and promotions, I suggest that you check exact price on Amazon.
If you can get the scope for $450-$500, I think it’s a quality scope that is well worth the money.
- Compares to Nikon P-308 4-16×42, the Nikon M-308 4-16×42 has parallax adjustment which is a welcome upgrade at a little higher cost.
My verdict on the Nikon M-308 4-16×42
Great image quality coupled with high magnification power and effective long range reticle/turrets, the Nikon M-308 4-16×42 is the ideal scope in the mid-priced, long range quality scope category. The price tag is worth the dollar spent.
Pros and Cons Table
|✓ Crisp and clear image||✗ Not a budget scope|
|✓ Good for long range||✗ The need to choose between BDC Reticle or Rapid Action Turrets|
|✓ Nikon Spot On App||✗ Small sweet spot at higher magnification|
|✓ BDC reticle calibrated specifically to .308 WIN/7.62 NATO rounds||✗ SFP, Reticle is only accurate at 16x|
|✓ Nikon’s Lifetime Warranty||✗ Nikon’s warranty not as reliable as Leupold’s or Vortex’s|
|✓ Precise turrets and holds zero very well|
Nikon P-308 4-16×42
Nikon P-308 4-16×42 is a cheaper version for the M-308. It has lower glass, image quality and durability. That said, it will hold zero fine for .308 cartridges. Furthermore, its BDC reticle is also calibrated to .308 WIN/7.62 NATO rounds.
Go to Amazon to check price