Nikon P-300BLK Scope Review
Recently I received the H&R 300 AAC Blackout Handi-Rifle for review and was quickly in search of a good scope for this rifle. Some of the features I was wanting on the scope were medium range variable power, target turrets, a reticle with some type of bullet drop compensation and lastly a price range commensurate with the Handi-Rifle. I quickly focused my attention on the new Nikon P-300BLK Scope and it seemed to meet all of my requirements so I purchased one for this review. The price from OpticsPlanet.com was $199.95 and it included free S&H plus a free P-Series mount for installing on an AR style rifle. Unfortunately the OpticsPlanet.com free mount special is over, but you can find it at this same price at various places on the web.
During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Nikon website on 5/11/13 and gives an Overview and Specifications for the Nikon P-300BLK Scope. The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.
The Nikon P-300BLK scope came boxed as shown below.
I have included photos showing the advertising information on each side of the box. You can click on any of these photos to bring up a higher resolution photo showing greater detail.
The sticker on the end of the box contained the details of the scope such as:
The scope was packed as shown below.
Inside the box were the P-300BLK scope, lens caps, Instruction Manual, Reticle Guide, Warranty card, plus a couple of other literature items.
The scope comes in a black matte finish and measured 11.25" in length with the fast focus eyepiece all the way in and 11.68" with the eyepiece all the way out.
The aluminum tube measured 1.00" in diameter.
The eyepiece end outside diameter measured 44mm. The objective end outside diameter measured 42.3mm and the inside diameter measured ~32mm.
The scope weighed in at 15.6 ounces.
The scope comes with a simple set of removable lens caps.
The eyepiece includes rubber textured areas for adjusting the eyepiece focus and power setting.
The power adjustment ring has a protrusion to give you an additional area to push upon when changing the power of the scope, along with allowing you a tactile indication of the approximate power setting. The scope is adjustable from 2 to 7 power with the powers marked at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. I feel this range of adjustment gives you some close quarters capability while at the same time giving you 7x for longer distances. The power adjustment ring had firm resistance when changing powers.
The eyepiece focus has an alignment mark on the aluminum eyepiece (white dot) and rubber focusing ring (wider mark in rubber) to show the neutral focus correction position. Also notice the sticker on the top of the eyepiece. It is removable and I removed it shortly after taking these photos. The eye relief seem to be nearly constant at a comfortable length of about 3.8".
The objective end is marked with the scope model name "P-300BLK" on each side. The objective lens is 32mm in diameter which this diameter, along with the magnification range (power range) of 2x to 7x, gives exit pupil diameters from 16mm (32mm/2) down to 4.6mm (32mm/7).
The P-300BLK comes with externally adjustable (target) turret caps which provide 20 MOA (Minute of Angle) of adjustment per revolution. The caps are zero resettable by pulling up on the spring loaded cap and rotating it back to zero and then releasing the cap. The elevation and windage knobs both had a total of 119 MOA of rotational adjustment. This was much greater than the maximum of 80 MOA of internal adjustment stated in the specifications, so I assume that either the specs are a mistake or Nikon has chosen to de-rate the values.
The caps are "calibrated in divisions of 1/4 minute of angle with a click at intervals of 1/4 minute of angle". Actually one MOA (four clicks) equals 1.047" at 100 yards, so 1/4 MOA is really about 0.26", but calling it "1 click =1/4" / 100yd" is close enough. The "/" ("per") symbol marked on the caps is understandable, but the "@" ("at") symbol seems to make more sense for describing the change amount "at" 100 yards. The elevation knob is also marked "300BLK" and "115gr 2280fps". Since the outside of the knob is marked with only MOA increments and not yards, this designation of caliber, bullet weight and velocity have no direct (indicated) relationship to adjusting bullet drop using the turret cap. I see these markings as Nikon's way to say the type of ammunition needed to utilize their BDC SuperSub reticle as advertised.
On this scope, Nikon uses their "BDC SuperSub Reticle" shown below. This reticle is located in the second focal plane so it is important that you make sure the power setting is always set to the correct power for your BDC values.
This reticle was designed to match the 300 AAC Blackout cartridge using a 115 grain FMJ bullet at a muzzle velocity of ~2280 fps. If you zero the scope at 200 yards and if your scope power is set to the highest magnification (7x), each aiming circle represents 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 yards. The hash marks between each circle represent hold points for 250, 350, 450 and 550 yards. This reticle seems to cover this type of ammunition, but what about shooting other supersonic or subsonic cartridges?
Nikon has addressed this question by providing an online ballistics calculator called "Spot On" which can be used to determine the BCD values for Nikon's various style reticles when using a variety of commercially available ammunition and and while at various scope magnifications. This image below is a screen grab from Nikon's website showing the Spot On software interface.
Using the Spot On calculator and the preloaded 300 Blackout cartridge information for the Remington UMC 115 grain CTFB ammunition, the left figure below shows the reticle yardage values with a 200 yard zero and a 7x power magnification. Using the calculator I switched to the Remington 220 grain OTM subsonic ammunition and was able to produce another figure showing the reticle yardage values with a 70 yard zero and a 7x power magnification. While clicking through the calculator, it appears there may be many possible brands and loads to choose from. If you load your own ammunition, Nikon gives you the option to customize all of your input (bullet weight, velocity, BC, sight height and description). If you are going to switch back and forth between supersonic and subsonic ammunition, I believe it would be best to figure out which two types of ammunition will work best for your shooting situations, and then use your target turrets to dial in the zero offset between the two types of ammunition. Since my memory is getting worse as I get older, I will probably tape something similar to the figures below to my stock along with the windage and elevation turret zero offsets.
These next photos show the Nikon P-300BLK scope installed on H&R 300 AAC Blackout Handi-Rifle using some Weaver XX High Skeleton Mounts. I used the scope during my range test of the rifle and was pleased with the performance of both the scope and rifle. As I mentioned earlier, the scope has a long eye relief of 3.8" which seemed to stay constant as I adjusted the power from 2x to 7x. The optics seemed bright and sharp and the images have good color contrast.
I'm still trying to figure out what type of ammunition to shoot. At the moment getting factory ammunition is hard to do so I'm not making as much progress as I would like. For the subsonic rounds, I still haven't decided on what distance to zero the reticle. I'm leaning towards a 70 yard zero because this keeps the bullet within 1.25" of the line of sight out to a distance of just over 80 yards.
I'm very pleased with the quality and value of the Nikon P-300BLK Scope. When you consider I got this scope with free shipping and a free P-Series mount for $200, I think it delivered extreme value. Too bad the free mount offer is no longer available at this time. A key point here is to always shop around for the most competitive price if you can live with waiting on a product to be shipped. I feel the challenge to using this scope with multiple types of ammunition (supersonic and subsonic) will be keeping up with your zero shifts and reticle bullet drop values. All this can be solved with a combination spending time at the range and taping a table to the stock.