I have a fairly good optical test target that we use to compare scopes - US NAVY design. Probably more usefull for what I want is to simply take samples out and shoot them at fairly long range a whole bunch (to 1000-1100 yds) and get several guys to simply give their opinions of X vs Y. I ask about apparent image sharpness, brightness, flatness, edge distortion, color "trueness", eye relief distince and how critical it is and any other noteworthy considerations. I create "user-points" for each scope. Did this with all the high-end binocs a while back, Leica, Zeiss, Swaro and Nikon and it works great.
You will like these new scopes - the reticle is very nice and optics appear to be superb.
For what it is worth, the early prototype 4-16 Nikon tactical gained more field user-points in my tests than the 3.5-15 NXS - guys all said that they could see sharper.
LATEST INFO ON THE NIKON TACTICAL SCOPES
These scopes may have sexual conotations!
Took one to a gunshow yesterday and one fellow made the following comment:
"I'm getting a partial erection looking through this thing! I gotta have one!"
His wife was not overly impressed, but she understands guncrazyness.
Took them out to a 500 yard range today, one guy made the statement:
"I'm getting a woody on looking through this scope!" "I want one!"
Weird choice of words describing the experience of looking through the new Nikons.
Not joking, this actually happened. These scopes are impressing everyone who looks through them. On the other hand, maybe I just hang-out with some fairly perverted shooters?!?#?
Getting quite a bit of data and feedback on the scopes, they are doing "quite good". Have shot them on two Win. Stealths and a Ruger target, about 230 rounds of .308 ammo so far. I put them into Badger rings and since all of our rifles have Badger or Near bases, switching from rifle to rifle is no sweat. Virtually no windage change when going from rail to rail, not much elevation either.
What do they say about this is a dirty job...
These pre-production scopes are not illuminated but I have a couple of 6.5-20's with the same illumination system. Essentially it is a dial about the size of a nickel across that turns left or right. One direction causes the reticle to glow red, the other makes it green. There are four intensities for each color. Works well but I just don't like the looks of big dials on eyepieces - the NXS illumination switch is in the parallax turret - pull it out for ON and it is neater. Personally do not see the need for illuminated reticles but what the hell.
I am using Badger Ordnance rings, they are available from Brownells (P. 276 - cost about 160 bucks) or direct from Badger Ordnance.com. They are very rugged and simple, I believe the strongest mounts made. They will fit onto any Weaver base or the heavy one piece Picatinny rails.
Another expensive but very good ring set is the Leupold MK4, similar in design and dollars to the Badger and they work fine.
I also use a sleeper - the Warne Maxima rings with and without the detachable feature. I feel that the non-detachable Warne Maxima TPA ring set is one of the best, and they are very reasonably priced. Brownells has them on page 273 for 25-36 bucks!
Lots of people use the Burris sets with the plastic inserts with good success, I have given up on Redfield design mounts (as sold by Leupold, Burris, Millet etc.) in favor of the tacticals as they enable me to switch scopes with precision. I do a lot of scope switching and tacticals are the answer, but they are somewhat heavier and much more expensive.
I have no doubt that the little glitches in the 4-16 will be worked out. As a matter of fact the optical qualities of that scope have improved since the first prototypes, and those early ones were superb. I have shot the two scopes every day since I got them, have over 500 rounds through them now on 7 different rifles.
Are they better than NXS or the Leupold VariX-lll LR Ml's - that is a tough question. They do exceed optically in my tests and they have good turrets. Time will tell if they are as rugged and dependable as those two great scopes.