I have a spotting scope and a pair of their binoculars. They are both very nice to look through. The prices on each were very good also! Their rifle scopes are very nice too but they just haven't made exactly what I am looking for yet.
They are very clear in the center of the optics, and the price is very very good. The only drawback that I can see is that the "picture" seems to "roll" as you look towards the edge of the picture. Several benchrest friends of mine have stated that the click value is not as reapeatable as other scopes, to mention-Leupold. But for the price, I think they are amazing.
Max, I have four Nikon scopes, and love them. Depending on what sort of shooting you wish to do, you might just think they are the cat's pajamas too. (To ensure my objective-ity, get it?, I should point out that I also have Leupold, Burris/Pentax, Weaver, Tasco SS, Simmons GMS, and Sightron products in my current assortment. Zeiss on the way, and have previously had NF, B&L, and Unertl in the mix...)
sheeesus, now I'm boring myself!
For value, i.e. performance for price, the Nikon is probably at the top of the heap (but the heap includes Sightron, Weaver, and Bushnell/B&L Elite).
Nikon makes their own scopes in Nikon factories. Lower mag versions made in their Phillipines factory, higher mag versions in their Japan factory. The Nikon Monarch 3-9x40 is the best new scope value in the world at about $265.00 from The Optic Zone.
If you specify what sorta shooting/setup you are planning, maybe we can advise you further.
You are pretty accurate in your assement of the scopes mentioned, but Nikon does NOT make all of its higher end scopes in its own factories. Minor detail but that is just not correct. I was like you and assumed that but found out it is not quite correct - still the folks who are making those scopes are doing it to Nikon specs and they are superb. No doubt there is a lot of subing-out manufacturing, for instance I assumed that Leupold made its own lenses at one time, found out at the factory that they buy them from the orient.
Would like to hunt whitetail, elk, mountain goat, and possibly varmint too, however a 7stw may be too much for that. Would like to do somewhat of a long range hunt, 200-500 yards. Looking @ the monarch UCC 5.5x16.5x44. I looked at the gloss finish verus the matte, the gloss is 10 bucks cheaper, any reason why? The only diff. I saw between the two was, the matte finish being made in Japan, and the gloss made in the philipines. Does it matter? Which one would be a better choice?
unless you wish to match rifle finish to scope finish, I would get matte regardless.
Them sharp-eyed critters will have one less bit of reflection (from your stuff) to spot you. Why the cost difference? Don't know, other than it may be slightly less expensive for Nikon to produce the shiny version.
If I had a choice between buying a scope made in the two countries you list, I'd vote for Japan, simply because they have a world-class optics production industry and very dedicated workforce (as a generality).
Mag range should be fine, esp. when you consider the 'standard' hunting scope is 4x.
For closer in shots, maybe at moving targets (which I only recommend only if the quarry is wounded or if you are starving), you can dial down to 5.5, which should be fine unless you are hunting in heavy brush, real close.
For the long shots, dial up and know your zeroes and do your business. I think a 4-16 scope is just about all-around perfect, so the 5.5-15 is right in there.
However, Nikon also makes a 4-12. Problem with it is that no target knobs, just the typical coin-slot adjustments...
Maximus, My friend just bought the Monarch you described. We were shooting out to 250yds and I was able to see the holes, with no trouble. You CANT go wrong with this scope!! He has it on his coveted 7mag, and loves it.
It is equal to my Zeiss Conquest 3.5-10x44 in every way. And I dont admit that easiliy!!..sakofan..
Which Sako rifle(s) do you own? I'm about to get a Hunter 75 deluxe. What a gorgeous rifle, of course the price tag is right up there too. After looking @ the deluxe, nothing else comes close.
Did your friend get the gloss or the matte finish?