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Nikon Monarch or Prostaff Rifle Scope – Which is Better?

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Nikon and their rifle scopes before. Over the years, the company produced some of the best rifle scopes you can lay your hands on.

The Nikon Monarch and Prostaff rifle scopes series are some of the best-known products they offer. Yet, a few questions to ask are:

– What are the differences between the two?
– And which one is better?

So, let’s take this one step at a time when we compare Nikon Monarch vs Nikon Prostaff Scopes.

Nikon Monarch or Prostaff Rifle Scope

The Nikon Monarch

The Nikon Monarch M5 scopes series has 7 different models that are offered. All of them are waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-resistant with the key differences lying in the objective diameter and the magnification.

Below we are focusing on the Monarch M5 4-16X42 BDC, which is the best seller in the series. It has a range of features, which make it ideal for any kind of hunting experiences:

  • Recoil: It is extremely versatile and can be mounted onto almost any rifle. Furthermore, it reacts very well to recoil and as long as it is well secured in the scope rings (how are scope rings measured?), it will hold up incredibly well.
  • Side Focus: The job of the side focus is to adjust your lens for parallax. This is required when your aim is not through the center of the scope. For shorter shots, this is not a required feature. For long-range shots, these adjustments really come in handy. This is where the Nikon Monarch comes into play – apart from offering the side focus feature, it has a strong locking mechanism to avoid changing during recoil.
  • Reset Turrets: The Monarch has zero-reset turrets, which allow you to make adjustments more easily. It’s easy to experiment a little with locking in on your target. If your target was initially at 500 yards and has now come to 200, you can reset the turrets to zero rather than re-sighting your entire scope.
  • Protective Lens Caps: This feature is somewhat bittersweet, as the Monarch does offer lens caps, yet they are of poor quality and don’t stay in place.

(Note: BDC refers to Bullet Drop Compensation, which allows for instant adjustments for bullet drops, regardless of the distance)

Why Choose the 42mm Model

The toss-up here is between the 42 mm and 50 mm Monarch. The 42 mm lens provides up to 95% light transmission with extreme clarity.

The 50mm lens does provide a sharper and brighter image and is useful even in dimly lit situations. The 42mm lens is enough to shoot in low-light conditions. Even when the human eye has difficulty to adjust to the lighting – When is a 50 mm objective lens preferable to a smaller lens?

The 42mm lens is obviously coming usually at a lower price than the large 50mm version. If you typically shoot in extreme low-light conditions, then pick the larger version as it is better for those situations.

Consider though that a larger objective lens also results in higher weight. That can throw off the balance of your rifle so make sure that this won’t be a problem when you go hunting. There’s not much weight difference between the Nikon Prostaff vs Monarch so it won’t be a decisive difference between the two scopes.

For shots out to 1,000 yards you definitely need to pick a high magnification scope with a large objective. In the past, the Nikon Monarch 7 4-16×50 could potentially have fit the bill but in many cases, you’d need a higher magnification which the Monarch series does not offer. The latest Monarch 5 models have a 5-20x50SF which can be used for long-range shooting.

If your budget is a bit tighter, the 40mm lens scope is also a great option with similar features at a significantly lower price! All Monarch scopes come with Nikon’s lifetime warranty.

The Nikon Prostaff

The Prostaff by Nikon rifle scope series comes in two variations. The P3 family has a 3x zoom ratio while the P5 family comes with a 4x zoom ration. The P3 series has 3 main models that are critically acclaimed, but for now, we will focus on the Prostaff P3 4-12X40.

At a rather low price-point, this model has much to offer:

  • BDC: Similar to the Monarch, this model of the Prostaff is equipped with the BDC reticle. The reticle has cross hairs along with 3 aiming circles just below the centre. Essentially, this means that if you match your rifle to the settings of this scope, your chances of missed shots will be drastically lowered.
  • Image Quality: With a whopping 98% light transmission and a solid 40mm lens, this scope offers a sharp and clear image. Regardless of whether your surroundings are clear or hazy. It even allows proper visibility in low light situations, and at its budget-friendly price point, this scope should definitely be on you consider.
  • Scope Adjustments: The click scope adjustments make the job easy as you don’t need any additional accessories to do the job. The knobs for adjustment are also coated with a weather-resistant coating.
  • Magnification: The Prostaff offers variable magnification from 4-12X, so whether you’re in restricted spaces or open planes, you will be able to aim with greater accuracy. This magnification may be too high for close range shooting, in which case it might be better to opt for the 2.5-10 or 3-9X models.

All Prostaff models are waterproof, fog-proof, and have a high tolerance for shock and recoil. They are built to Nikon’s legendary quality and offer Nikon’s lifetime warranty.

Get one of the best scopes with 1-4x magnification for close-quarter shooting!

Differences in Features

A major point of difference between the two is the price point at which they are offered. Despite similar magnification specifications, the Monarch costs around twice as much as the Prostaff.

One difference is in the quality of the glass. The Monarch uses premium extra-low dispersion glass (ED glass) to provide the clearest image possible. With the addition of coated prisms, the overall image contrast and resolution are also sharper.

The Prostaff models come with a 1-inch tube. All Monarch scopes come with a 30mm tube. The difference does not sound like much but it provides an overall better image.

Additionally, windage and elevation adjustments ranges are usually larger with a larger tube diameter. This makes shooting over longer distances easier and more accurate. The larger diameter of the scope tube gives the win in this category to the Monarch optics when you compare Nikon Prostaff vs Monarch scopes.

The Monarch scopes all have 4 times zoom ratio. Prostaff 3 series models come with a 3x power and the 5 series offers a 4 times power level.

The Nikon Prostaff series offers a lot more models to choose from in a wide range of different magnification ranges. Nikon has reduced their offerings of the Monarch rifle scopes to only have the M5 models. In the past, you also could get the Monarch 7 series which is no longer available.

As the Monarch M5’s all come with a 30 mm tube, they also offer better performance in low-light conditions. The Nikon Prostaff scopes have a 1-inch tube which is still mostly the standard for rifle scopes but cannot compete with the larger tube in combination with the ED glass on the Monarch M5 scopes. With hunting often being performed during low-light times of the day, the Monarch is the better choice for that use.

Eye Relief on the Nikon Prostaff vs Monarch Rifle Scopes

Eye relief on the Monarch rifle scopes ranges from 3.4 to 3.6 inches. That’s lower than what the Prostaff scopes offer but it is sufficient eye relief for most hunting applications.

The Prostaff offers a 3.7 to 4-inch eye relief, which is a definite advantage for those who wear eyeglasses. The eye relief is large enough for most rifles even if recoil is on the heavier side.

Field of View and Adjustments

Field of view (FoV) ranges when you compare the Prostaff vs Monarch scopes. They are in similar ranges with the Monarch M5 having a larger FoV when you compare the models with the same zoom range and objective lens size side-by-side. The windage and elevation adjustments offer more range on the Monarch series due to the larger tube size.

The Monarch riflescopes offer a wider FoV at 100 yards ranging from 38.3-9.42 ft for the 3-12×42SF down to 23.0-5.8ft for the 5-20×50SF model. Elevation and Windage adjustment range for the Monarch M5 scopes ranges from 70 MOA for the 5-20×50SF to 115 MOA for the 3-12×42SF model.

The Nikon Prostaff P3 series has a field of view at 100 yards that ranges from 44.6-12.6 ft for the 2-7×32 model. The highest magnification scope of the P3’s, the 6-18×40 AO has an FoV of 15.7-5.2 feet. Elevation and windage on the P3 series can be adjusted by 90 MOA for the 2-7×32 down to 35 MOA for the 6-18×40 AO.

The P5 models in the Nikon Prostaff lineup have a field of view ranging from 40.3-10.1 feet for the 2.5-10×42 scope to 16.8-4.2 feet for the 6-24×50SF model. Windage and elevation adjustments on the P5 series are from 75 MOA for the 2.5-10×42 down to 30 MOA for the 6-24×50SF.

Looking at the Nikon Prostaff P5 vs Monarch M5 and checking the field of view and windage/elevation then you can see there are significant advantages for the M5’s as they offer a wider field of view and larger adjustment ranges.

The FoV for the M5 3-12×42SF ranges from 38.3-9.4 feet and 115 MOA windage/elevation adjustment, while the P5 with the same zoom/objective lens size provides 33.6-8.4 feet and an internal adjustment range of 60 MOA.

Best uses for Prostaff vs Monarch Scopes

Nikon designed the Prostaff scopes to be multipurpose and they’re suitable for casual or high involvement hunts. Their low price point make them a very attractive option to buy for many, if not most, hunting uses.

The Monarch is better suited for the serious hunter when you compare the Nikon Prostaff vs Monarch scopes. They are highly weather-resistant and resilient and will survive in the toughest of hunting conditions. The higher-quality ED glass and light transmission make them an overall better scope specifically for hunting during dusk and dawn.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, price is not the only factor to look at. When looking at the Nikon Prostaff vs Monarch rifle scopes, then it’s pretty obvious that the Monarch scopes offer a lot more for the serious shooter.

The Nikon Prostaff scopes are more entry-level scopes that perform well but don’t offer the capabilities that the Monarch scopes provide. Both scopes offer features that are suitable for different hunting situations.

If you’re serious about hunting then pick the Monarch as it provides better capabilities and features for years to come! The Nikon Monarch 5 series comes with a 4x zoom and extra-low dispersion glass. It’s simply a step above the Prostaff scopes.

If budget is the limiting factor then check into the Nikon Prostaff lineup as they offer great performance for the money. Both scope series come with Nikon’s lifetime warranty.

Kevin Collins