I was fortunate enough to be invited to this year’s Nikon Spot On Championships at the TAC PRO Shooting Center outside Mingus, Texas. The Spot On Championships are an invitation-only shooting event with industry retailers and writers. Various shooting competitions and courses of fire are held over three days with three-man teams. There were 123 competitors on 41 teams from all over the country. The teams get to learn about and use the newest Nikon optics and Spot On Ballistic Match Technology with different weapons platforms. I have used Nikon scopes for many years now and have the Nikon BDC reticle on the MONARCH scope topping my .223 AR-15. I was surprised to learn that Nikon now has 11 different BDC reticles, including caliber specific reticles designed especially for AR-15s in .223, .308, 300 AAC Blackout (300BLK), .22 LR. There are also BDC scopes for all bolt action rifles, muzzleloaders, slug guns, pistols, and cross bows.
My teammates were Brian Hogan, from the NYPD, and Michael Stroff, host of “Savage Outdoors” on the Sportsman Channel.
We shot six courses of fire. Some of the weapons we shot were: different .22 LR AR-15s, .22 Ruger 10-22s, many different .223 AR-15s and bolt action rifles, three different suppressed 300BLK AR-15s, a .308 AR-10 and two custom TAC PRO .308 bolt-action tactical/target rifles, a .300 Win. Mag. Bolt-action rifle, a 20-gauge slug gun, a .308 Encore, a .50 muzzleloader, and three Ten Point crossbows!
Over 50,000 rounds were sent down range!
We shot the 10-22s (.22 LRs) at 200 yards and nailed the targets. We shot .223 AR-15s and bolt-action rifles from 100 yards to 500 yards. We shot the .308 TAC PRO and .300 Win. Mag. Thompson Center Icon bolt-action rifles at 500 yards. Our team hit 14 of 15 targets at 500 yards using rifles we had never shot, all using the Spot On ballistic information.
In the Final Shootout we only fired one shot with the crossbow and had no practice shots. I had never fired a crossbow and hit the 3-inch orange circle on a deer target at 45 yards using the Nikon Bolt XR scope and the Spot On ballistic information.
After all six courses of fire, our team placed 2nd out of 41 teams. We placed 5th overall after the Final Shootout on Wednesday.
It was great to be able to try the new PROSTAFF 5 and MONARCH 3 scopes. It was especially fun for me to try the complete line of Nikon scopes dedicated to the AR-15 and AR-10 platforms. Nikon now has 15 different dedicated AR-10/15 scopes. Nine are available with BDC reticles. There are specific scopes and reticles for .22 Long Rifle, .223, 300BLK, and .308. The rest of AR platform scopes will match up with any AR calibers using the Spot On Ballistic Match Technology.
The rest of the Nikon Scopes with BDC reticles easily match up with any bolt-action rifle caliber.
I was extremely impressed with how easy the Spot On Ballistic Match Technology is to use. It can be used online or downloaded to a desktop, laptop, smart phone, or iPad. You just enter your scope, rifle and load data and it provides you with ballistic charts for all power settings on your scope. You can then easily print out field cards for each rifle and load. Here is the link to the Spot On program: http://spoton.nikonsportoptics.com/spoton/. Trust me, if I can use it immediately by just following the program prompts, so can you!
There has been a lot of “talk” about the circles used in the BDC reticles, mostly by folks who have either never used them or did not use them properly with the Spot On software. The human eye naturally goes to the center of a circle. They are very easy to acquire, and the size and number of the circles and hash marks varies with the different scopes and by the application they are designed for. They are not a “one size fits all” proposition.
It was great to be able to try all the different Nikon BDC reticles combined with the Spot On Ballistic Match Technology. When you are shooting 100 percent with a 10/22 at 200 yards and go 14 for 15 targets at 500 yards with a .308 using rifles you have never fired before, it will make you a believer!
To see a few examples of the current BDC reticles available, visit http://www.nikonhunting.com/en/index.page.