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Nikon M-223 Rifle Scope Review

Specifically designed for the popular AR Rifles, the Nikon M-223 Rifle Scope sets a new benchmark for accuracy, precision, and affordability.

Review of the Nikon M-223 Riflescope

Review of the Nikon M223 Riflescope

Very few scopes can compete with it in its price range, mainly because of its amazing image quality, ease of use, and features such as BDC and the Rapid Action Turret System. One of the best deals in the market, the Nikon M-223 is a must-have for all AR Rifle enthusiasts.


  • Riflescope for AR rifles delivers extreme speed, accuracy, and shooting confidence
  • Rapid Action turret technology allows you to dial in your elevation anywhere from 100 to 600 yards away in less than one revolution
  • Depending on the model you get a 20mm – 42mm objective diameter and 1-4x, 3-12x, or 4-16x magnification, up to 4 inches of eye relief
  • Nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed for protection against water, shock, and fog
  • Multi-coated optics
  • Backed by Nikon’s full lifetime warranty

Magnification, Field of View and Resolution

Being a Nikon product, one would expect nothing but the best from the Nikon M-223 Rifle Scope, and it does not disappoint. In terms of magnification, the Nikon M-223 riflescopes offer the choice of 1-4x, 3-12x or 4-16x magnification. Being a Nikon product, you can expect excellent image quality at full magnification, which is where the difference between the Nikon M-223 and budget scopes lies.

And the attention to detail is clearly seen from features such as the numbers on the magnification dial face the user, thereby making adjustments extremely easy. You can adjust the magnification until the field of view suits your requirements, which is where the Nikon M-223 starts to shine.

The field of view is the amount of terrain you can see in your scope from left to right. The relatively small magnification range helps the Nikon M-223 to have over 40 feet at its lowest magnification, which, as any experienced hunter will tell you, is quite an achievement.

You can adjust the magnification to get the appropriate field of view. Because of the great field of view offered by this scope, locating a target through the scope is very easy, and tracking a moving target is easier still, making the scope excellent for hunting.

Nikon is renowned for the image quality that its scopes have, and the M-223 is no exception. The high-quality lenses offer a high-resolution image, with great contrast ratios and brightness characteristics. As evidence of Nikon’s greatness in optics, the Nikon M-223 has a light transmission of 95 percent, which is considered the theoretical maximum for scopes. This translates into a bright image in all manner of lighting conditions.

Objective Lens Diameter

The objective lens is an immensely important component of any scope, because it is the foremost lens in the scope, and the one closes to the target. Usually, the larger the objective lens is, the greater are its light gathering capabilities, leading to a brighter image.

However, the size does not tell the whole story, because factors such as the quality of the glass used to make the lens and the quality of coatings on the lenses can cause a small lens to outperform a lens twice its diameter. And this is the case with the Nikon M-223 Rifle Scope, which has a 20mm or 42mm objective lens, whereas even budget scopes in the 150 dollar range have 50 mm. objective lenses. However, these budget scopes come nowhere near the Nikon scope in terms of image quality and light transmission, despite their larger size.

This is because the aforementioned factors such as the quality and cutting of the glass as well as the coatings are so much better than what other manufacturers have to offer, that the Nikon M-223 can best scopes with larger objective lenses with ease.

This might lead you to wonder why the Nikon M-223 has a somewhat smaller objective lens whereas other manufacturers are continuing to increase the objective lens size. Firstly, because Nikon has so much experience with optics, they can easily make a smaller objective lens perform better than most larger ones, as witnessed by the 95 percent light transmission rating.

Furthermore, a smaller objective lens is cheaper to manufacture and install, bringing down the price of the scope. The biggest advantage is that a smaller objective lens translates into a smaller, lighter scope. This makes mounting and aiming very easy, especially when it comes to positioning the eye.

A larger objective lens leads to a larger scope, and once mounted on the rifle, it creates an odd position for aiming and tracking. So this riflescope gives you the best of both worlds: a great scope in terms of mounting and positioning due to a smaller objective lens, and the image quality and brightness of a larger objective lens.

Eye Relief and Precision Adjustment

The Nikon M-223 has an eye relief of 4 inches of non-critical eye relief. The term non-critical is important because it means even if your eye is not perfectly centered with the scope, you will still see the whole image. While most scopes offer about 3 inches of eye relief, the Nikon M-223’s 4 inches of eye relief means that the chances of injuring yourself due to the gun recoiling are minimal, which is always an important factor to consider when buying a scope.

Accuracy is one of the strongest points of this specific Nikon scope as well as other optics from them. Thanks to its many precision adjustment options, you can dial in on the target quickly with the utmost confidence.

Elevation and windage adjustments are standard with a 1/4 MOA adjustment graduation. The scope comes with Nikon’s Rapid Action turret technology, which allows you to adjust your elevation from 100 to 600 yards in less than one revolution, which allows for immense flexibility in the field. So if its speed you are looking for when it comes to dialing in your shots, the Nikon riflescope is the way to go.

You also have the choice of ordering the M 223 with Nikon’s amazing BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) feature, which has a specially designed reticle that shows you how much effect gravity will have on the elevation in long-range shots. The feature has been lauded by many users and is a great addition to the scope, giving unprecedented accuracy in long-range shots.

Optical Coating and Water / Fog Proof

Nobody does optical coatings better than Nikon, and the Nikon M-223 is no exception. Graced with Nikon’s Ultra Clearcoat multicoated lenses, the M-223 manages to achieve the theoretical maximum light transmission of 95 percent, despite a relatively small objective lens. The lens and coating quality helps to create a bright and clear image with great light gathering capabilities in all manner of lighting conditions. Additionally, the coating system also helps to prevent image distortion due to light reflection, showing that when it comes to image quality, Nikon makes no compromises.

To ensure reliability in the field, the Nikon M-223 has been oxygen purged and filled with nitrogen to prevent it from fogging up. O-rings have also been integrated into its construction to guarantee waterproofing.

Optional Accessory Attachments

Because the Nikon M-223 has been developed for a specific rifle and round, there are not many accessories for it. However, the .223 5.56x45mm Caliber Cartridge Laser Bore Sighter Boresighter

is a must for any user, as it allows you to sight your scope with immense ease and without wasting any ammunition, and because it has been specifically developed for the .223 round, it is bound to be highly accurate.

Another item that is often bought together with this particular scope is NIKON M-223 743 AR Mount (Black). It’s a mount specifically designed for the Nikon M-223 series of rifle scopes.

Customer Reviews

There are many reviews online as well as on Amazon for the Nikon M-223 Rifle Scope. Overwhelmingly, people that bought this scope are happy with its performance.

Read more customer reviews about the Nikon M-223 Riflescope.

Pros and Cons

Because the Nikon M-223 has been specifically designed for the immensely popular AR Rifles, nothing comes close to it in terms of accuracy, thanks to its variable magnification, great field of view, and features like BDC. The new Rapid Turret Technology is great for hunting and competitions, allowing you to make adjustments remarkably quickly.

The image quality and resolution are typical Nikon: flawless. Add the easy to use design and reliable construction, as well as the shockproof and water/fog proof assembly and competitive price, and you have a great package for your AR Rifle.


Click on any of the product links in the review above to find current pricing and more information on the Nikon M-223 Riflescopes. Check out our other rifle scope reviews if you want more in-depth analysis of different hunting scopes.

Review of the Nikon M-223 Riflescope
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Kevin Collins