To the new generation of shooters and hunters the name Nikko Stirling Sport Optics may not be familiar, but ask any seasoned campaigner and they’ll tell you its roots traced back to the Fuller Firearms Group and founder Malcolm John Fuller. In 2016, Nikko Sport Optics celebrated its 60th birthday and continue to manufacture top-quality products for the worldwide market.
Malcolm knew back then what Australian hunters and shooters expected in sport optics and to this day delivers the goods. I’ve been fortunate during my 30 years of hunting and shooting to use Nikko Stirling Sport Optics and accessories and have found them excellent.
Riflescopes have become much more refined during the past decade. Plain duplex-style reticles and standard turrets have taken a back seat to Ballistic Drop Compensating (BDC) versions, which allow the user to take into account the ballistic profile of the cartridge being used and in effect enable much more accurate and longer distance shooting than ever before.
The sport optics marketplace is awash with riflescopes to cover all applications and requirements embracing BDC technology – and Nikko Stirling have their share. One new addition to their line is the Precision 4-12×40 riflescope with a half mil-dot (HMD) reticle and five different calibrated turrets for most rimfire loads.
Australian Shooter was sent the Precision for review and it was eagerly received. It arrived in the customary black Nikko Stirling carton with ‘lifetime warranty’ clearly stamped on the box, something most sport optics manufacturers subscribe to these days. If you can’t have faith and offer such a warranty, you just won’t last.
Opening the box yielded the Panamax Precision 4-12×40 along with rubber bikini-style lens covers, cleaning cloth and user manual. The scope arrived with the standard elevation and windage exposed turrets fitted (1/10 MIL per click) and with an additional five calibrated elevation turrets for popular rimfire calibres: .22LR Subsonic (40-grain/1085fps), .22LR High Velocity (40-grain/1300fps), .22LR Extreme High Velocity (33-grain/1500fps), .22 WMR (40-grain/1910fps) and.17 HMR (17-grain/2550 fps). Also included was a turret with a blank section for a customised drop profile and, to top it off, there was also a calibrated turret for the .223 Remington (55-grain/3240fps) and a small Allen key for removal/installation of the turrets.
Externally the scope is finished in matte black and made from aircraft-grade aluminium. It measures 314mm, weighs 405g and the main tube is 1″ (25.4mm) in diameter, a multi-piece construction with the turret housing at mid-ships and ocular housing and objective bell at opposite ends.
The turret housing contains the elevation and windage dials which are of the exposed (non-capped) design and resettable to a zero point but with no zero-stop. The clicks on both turrets are easy to adjust with a positive feel, click values in milliradians (MIL) with 1/10 MIL per click – equating to 7mm at 100m. As stated, turrets are easily interchanged using the supplied Allen key and both the elevation and windage turrets have 60 MOA adjustment range.
Moving to the rear of the scope, the ocular housing contains the ocular lenses, eyepiece focus adjustment and magnification adjustment dial. The eyepiece ring has a travel range of 10mm and permits fine focusing of the reticle image with no effort whatsoever.
The magnification adjustment dial on the front edge of the ocular housing is made from aluminium and has adjustment from 4x to 12x. It has a series of surface grooves which give a positive grip without the need for a rubber sleeve and moved through the magnification range smoothly. Eye relief is 80mm, ample for most hunting calibres.
Internally the Panamax Precision won’t let you down. Multicoated lenses throughout result in clear images out to all hunting ranges be that for rimfire, centrefire or airgun. The wide field-of-view is much appreciated, especially if plinking with the .22LR at closer range or deciding to increase the distance with the .22 WMR or .17 HMR (centrefire calibres will also benefit).
The glass-etched reticle is of the half mil-dot design (HMD) and is a common profile, the sub-tensions allowing the user to accurately hold off for wind and over for drop if required. While many shooters and hunters enjoy the benefits of mil-dot reticles, I’m a fan of the old duplex style but that’s just personal preference. The scope uses quality seals in its construction and is nitrogen filled, making it waterproof and shockproof.
At the range
The scope was fitted to a serious rimfire rifle in the form of a Lithgow LA 101 Crossover in .22LR coupled to the new Southern Arms TSP X Chassis. Riflescope testing initially was carried out at the standard 50m distance for the .22LR cartridge and ammunition included both standard and high-velocity hunting and target options. For the initial accuracy test the standard factory-fitted turrets were used as there was no need at this stage for a calibrated turret.
Accuracy testing aside, the scope performed exceptionally well, shooting targets at 50m set on 12x with images clear, no doubt attributed to the multicoated optics. I then chose two of the calibrated turrets which matched the designated bullet weight/velocity (etched on the turret cap) with two of the test loads I had on hand. With a 50m zero it was easy to dial into targets out to 150m with a turn of the calibrated turret and while I’d never recommend hunting beyond 75m with the .22LR cartridge, shooting at inanimate targets at extended ranges with the use of the calibrated turrets was easily achievable.
Finally I conducted a tracking test with a pair of shots at an aiming point then moving the point-of-impact around the target, shooting two shots after each adjustment. Upon returning to the original aiming point, a final pair of shots were fired. As expected, the first and last two shots were on top of each other, proving the internal windage and elevation adjustments are not only accurate but repeatable.
The Nikko Stirling Panamax brand may be marketed as a no-frills entry level riflescope, but the advent of the Precision model in 4-12×40 tailored to rimfire calibres with the five calibrated turrets makes this a great choice for the range shooter or hunter after a value-for-money optic for their rimfire. It’s also well suited to centrefire calibres and airguns.
The lifetime warranty offered by Nikko Stirling (original owner only) gives the user peace of mind that if something does go amiss you’re duly covered. Retail price is $249 and the scope’s available through all Outdoor Sporting Agencies dealers in Australia.
|Model||Panamax Precision 4-12×40|
|Field of view
(m at 100m)
|High power: 3.6
Low power: 11
|Click value (mm at 100m)||7|
|Elevation/windage range (MOA)||Up/down – 60
Left/right – 60
|Eye relief (mm)||80|
|Tube diameter||1″ (25.4 mm)|
|Reticle||HMD (half mil-dot)|
|Distributor||Outdoor Sporting Agencies|