Nikko Stirling Targetmaster 6-24x 56mm review

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by top predator, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. top predator

    top predator Well-Known Member

    Nov 17, 2008
    Just as a quick disclaimer, this optic is mounted on a rimfire, not a centerfire. Also I do not work for the manufacturer or their distributors nor has any consideration been received....

    I have been considering this scope for the longest time as it has many of the features I’ve been looking for – mildot, side focus, target styled turrets, and higher magnification. Reviews are far and few between, most reviews (which are favorable) are based in the Field target arena – a very popular discipline in the UK / Europe – which these precision air rifles tend to eat up scopes due to their “double recoil” effect and constant turret adjustments.

    So I finally purchased one, they usually list between $300.00 and $350.00, and am very impressed with the performance of the optic for that price range. The Nikko Stirling scopes are also part of the Howa rifle packages, and can be viewed at many Gander Mountain outlets that carry the Howa line.


    To start off it’s the Targetmaster model; 6-24X 56mm objective 30mm tube, side focus illuminated extended mildot (11 aiming / ranging points rather than the standard 9 per crosshair), 1/8th inch adjustment resettable to zero push pull target turreted scope. It also sports an ocular adjustment, comes with a 4.5” sunshade, and includes flip up style lens covers.

    There are 3 different reticles to choose from, I prefer the classic mildot style reticle (Depending on the model of Nikko, the mildot is calibrated at 10, 16, or 24X) mil-dot models spec file revise v090212.pdf

    There is a “Christmas tree” type LRX reticle to using the Nikko Stirling LRX reticle 3 col.pdf (every line equals 1” increments on 10X @ 100yards, 2” @ 200, etc. for ranging and for holdover).

    And what Nikko calls an FT reticle. The FT appears to be a hybrid of the P4 reticle / mildot reticle that after doing a little resaarch on using the FT, provides a quick way to range and have an aiming point immediately available, for reference:
    Every second line is near to the mildot equavilant for ranging @ the metric conversion, so those that utilize a mildot should be able to “convert” easily.

    Some published stats of NIKKO STIRLING TARGETMASTER 6-24: 16.75” long, 21.25” with sunshade, 27.16 oz, FOV @ 100 yards 6X=17’ / 24X=4.8’, 3.5” – 4” eye relief.

    One report claims 38 MOA of Elevation / windage adjustment. My findings are that there are 48 1/8” clicks per revolution, 14 full revolutions + 7 clicks from stop to stop on both the elevation and windage – a total of 679 clicks on each. The turrets are of the push pull design, tall, and are boldly / clearly marked with numerals up to #5 on elevation (actually “6” when going to 0), and 0 to 3 on the windage both in the left or right adjustment, and also has an U and R with arrows on the turrets to confirm direction of adjustment. Adjustments were actually spot on and passed the box / ladder test, it tracked well. Adjustments of the turrets were loud clicks that not only could be heard well, but felt too. The turret had a slight bit of “mushiness” to it, but was rock solid when pushed into the locked position.

    They are returnable to 0 by loosening a coin slotted retaining cap once the turret is in locked position, repositioning the 0 line on the turret to the arrow based on the base of the knob, then retightening the coin slotted cap.

    Oddly, the side focus knob has a different style of text than the rest of the labeling. I thought that this gave it a slightly cheapening look; they should have matched the labeling across the item. However the side focus (10, 25, 50, 100 thru 500 yards and infinity) was spot on at the labed distances, adjustments was smooth and the focusing wasn’t too sensitive.
    The side focus wheel shares the reticle illumination knob, which both has higher lobes for better manipulation. I found the combo knob very effiecient and give a clean appearance to the overall optic.

    The scope has a “Nightforcey” look to it with trapezoidish lobes on all adjusting surfaces / turrets / knobs give it a bit of a “midevilish” look, and give a positive grip.


    The magnification ring was / is a bit stiff, but smooth none the less. Looking through the optic, it was very bright with edge to edge clarity....right up to 23X, which was impressive as many scopes in a higher price range don’t perform that well at higher magnification. Even at full 24X, the amount of graying is minimal.

    The glass etched SFP reticle is a mildot design, and properly ranged at 10X. The illuminated reticle has 11 red settings with the lowest setting being dull enough not to ruin your nightvision or overpower the sight picture if actually used at night, and only the center of the floating reticle illuminates. There are 2 additional dots per crosshair giving 2 extra holdovers / ranging dots. The dots seem to be smaller than standard, but are spaced appropriately. The cross hairs themselves are thin, and didn’t obscure smaller targets at distance.

    The glass is coated in what Nikko calls “Mirolux”. After a little digging I found it is a coating that reduces glare and is actually the name of a meter that is used to test the amount of roadsign / marking reflectivety and a coating that is used on opthamology equipment. Some digging also revealed that the glass is made in Japan, assembly and distribution is through China.

    The matte finish of the scope could have been a little better in my opinion, but was even throughout the item and the sunshade was a perfect match. Once mounted, the optic didn’t seem too “cartoonish” considering the size of it, except maybe with the sunshade on. The sunshade has ridges / serrations on the interior to also help reduce glare.


    The ocular adjustment was smooth and adjusted the clarity of the reticle and somewhat adjusted the eye relief. The eye relief also didn’t seem to be over sensitive.

    The scope comes with see thru flip up lens covers, which are a bit on the low quality side and I have replaced them by Weaver Polar caps. The scope that I received actually came with a Millett cap on the objective identical to the LRS / TRS line by Millett, which leads me wonder if true origin of the Nikko and the Millet are one and the same.

    The only things I would add or change is the side focus lettering to match the other turrets, graduation / stadia marks that can be viewed when the turrts are in the pulled position to let you know how many times you are past 0, and a ¼” or adjustment option to keep from turning the knobs excessively at longer distances.

    All things considered, the Nikko Sterling Targetmaster appears to be a good value and offers many desirable features in its price range, along with a lifetime warranty. Any warranty issues are handled by Legacy Sports International, the distributor / importer of the scopes to the US and other countries.

    Though a few minor touches could have been improved, I’m very pleased with the purchase, on par with or exceed several higher priced scopes I’ve recently purchased, compared side by side (returning the others) in the clarity - brightness catagory, and will be adding Nikko Stirling to the list of optics to use for my next rifle, whether it is a rim or centerfire.
  2. kansas45

    kansas45 Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2008
    Thanks for the review, top predator. I need enough elevation for 250 yds with my rimfire rifles, and with a 20 MOA mount this ought to do it.

  3. top predator

    top predator Well-Known Member

    Nov 17, 2008
    for under 350.00 it's actually quite nice, i hope it has longevity to it.

    i ran it on a .22lr, zeroed at 50Y ran it oout to 300Y with a 20 moa base, still had adjustment remaining using standard velocity ammo.

    for how clear it is i had no real problem spotting hits.

    i don't like to use midots as holdovers, however the added 2 dots per quarter cross hair will come in handy for use as holdovers, depending of course on what magnification you set it on for holdovers.

    if you have a Gander Mtn locally, take a look to see if they have the Howa rifle combos, they come with Nikkos on them. they are surprisingly nicer scopes than expected.
  4. ginnz

    ginnz Member

    Oct 4, 2012
    Hmmmm... Im glad i found this review. I've been looking for a cheap, high magnification optic for my Savage Model 12 BVSS .308, I need something with high mag. to help develop a long range load for coyote hunting! I have a Leatherwood M-1000 ART II, that I want to use for quick ranging of the varmints out to 800 meters, but seeing how it lacks magnification, its not the best choice for round development. Once i've developed the most accurate round I can, ill put the M-1000 back on (or get a M-1200), and then set it up to work with the round. I was considering the Millett LRS-1, untill now.....

    I found these scopes at SWFA, and may get one, or maybe I can find a good used one for a bit cheaper. I just doubt ill find anything here in Canada!

    Maybe someone here has one they would part with? ;-) I have a US based parcel service I use for ordering, then pick them up myself. much faster, and easier than shipping direct to Canada. ;-)

    Thanks for the info!