Nikon’s Buckmasters II line is a really promising set of entry-level scopes that won’t break your wallet but will more than do the job if you’re just looking to start hunting or get into basic target shooting. Great for the backyard, the woods, and starting off at the range.
The Nikon Buckmasters II line features two scopes, the 3-9x40mm and the 4-12x40mm. Functionally, they’re fairly similar. The primary differences really come down to the magnification strength.
Linear FOV (low zoom)
33.8 ft/100 yd
23.6 ft/100 yd
Linear FOV (high zoom)
11.3 ft/100 yd
7.9 ft/100 yd
Eye Relief (low zoom)
Eye Relief (high zoom)
Elevation Adjustment (MOA)
Wind Adjustment (MOA)
$130 or less
$150 or less
On the other hand, for the price, you have to expect some drawbacks. The main two drawbacks have to deal with the optics as well. First and foremost, you don’t really get any options in the way of reticles, and you’re pretty much stuck with the one reticle that Nikon offers. This is fine, but it may not be to everyone’s liking, in which case you’re a bit out of luck. More importantly, the scope doesn’t gather light as well as one might hope in certain extenuating situations, particularly when the sun is low and bright and you’re aiming towards it. This can wash out or white out your view and make it difficult to get your sights on your target, which in turn means you may end up losing a vital shot or two. A small price to pay though, and in most situations, this scope line will do you just fine.
Nikon offers a convenient smartphone app to help you with ranging in your targets, which comes in handy. With the 3-9x40mm, you can expect easy hunting up to around 200 yards, and with the 4-12x40mm, you can expect it all the way out to around 300 yards. At every step, the adjustments are simple thanks to the tactile and positive clicks on the windage and elevation dials. Conveniently, you don’t even need a coin or screwdriver to adjust on the fly. The return-to-zero function on the scope also makes it easy to move back to your zero once you’ve made your adjustments.
The construction of the scopes is nice. They’re robust and can take a beating, so you don’t have anything to worry about in that department. They’ll hold zero for a long time to come. Are they military-grade? Of course not. But they’re not supposed to be, and for varmint shooting or casual weekend hunting, it should treat you just fine. They’re also pretty easy to set up. Regrettably, though, they don’t come with all of the materials you may need right out of the box. For instance, you’ll need to buy rings or lens covers separately from the scope. That said, what can you really expect at this price range? That’s not a terrible deal.
This line of scope is intended for a certain niche: somebody who wants an accurate rifle scope with no frills at a solid price. If that’s you, then Yes, you should buy it. Don’t buy it expecting everything in the world or high-end performance, though. It will do the job, nothing more and nothing less.
There’s not really a lot to be said about the Buckmasters II scopes. They are functional. They have what you need. Elevation and windage adjustment? Got it. Workable reticle? Got it. Accurate, holds zero, doesn’t lose it to recoil? Got it. If that’s what you’re after, then they’re fantastic. If you want more, they’re not; simple as that. But consistent manufacturing and a general lack of defects means you know exactly what you’re getting.