A couple of months ago I had a surprise package arrive at my door. It was a small box and inside were two Nikon P-22 scope mounts. Peculiar, right? Not the fact that a surprise package ended up at my house, that happens all the time. But that there was no optic included, just the mounts. But I started to get excited because it was a good sign. If the mounts were there, it meant the scope would soon follow. Just a few days later sure enough, the Nikon P-22 with Rapid Action turrets arrived at my door and I wasted ZERO time in getting it mounted to the first of 2 rimfire rifles it would be tested on.
DOES IT WORK?
My primary early speculation was rooted in my own skepticism of the optic’s ability to return to zero after being wound out to 150 yards, then back and everywhere in between. Those concerns were immediately put to rest after 2000+ rounds and being mounted on two different rifles with two different types of scope rings. The first model of rings fell firmly under the “el cheapo” category and the second were the proprietary P-22 rings I received from Nikon. Back and forth, up and down it didn’t matter. The scope returned to zero every time regardless of distance chosen.
HOW IT WORKS
Essentially you would zero it like any other scope, but at 50 yards rather than 100. It is designed for a .22 Long Rifle after all. The shooter treats the exposed turret knobs as he would standard windage and elevation adjustments that are hidden under caps on a standard optic. The turrets click definitely and easily with movement of the crosshairs being consistent and fast. Once the scope is zeroed to your desired round at 50 yards (the P-22 optic comes with 2 sets of turrets, one for 1200-1400 fps and one for 1400-1600 fps) all you have to do is lift each spring loaded or ZERO-RESET adjustment knob and turn it back to its original zero (or 50 yards on the elevation turret and “0″ for windage). It’s almost too easy and too good to be true.
Then it’s as easy as you might hope. Choose a distance, click your elevation turret to match that distance and it’s gonna put you REAL close. It’s best to choose one round (or brand) and stick with it as .22 Long Rifle specs vary heavily depending on the brand you choose. We found the .22 AR Tactical rounds from CCI to be a fantastic fit for this scope in extended testing. Primary zero experimentation was tested with this round and despite its somewhat gimmicky box and marketing technique, the quality of the round proved consistent and reliable.
We did our testing of the P-22 from Nikon on the HK416 .22 tactical rifle (the type of platform this scope is intended for) from Umarex, USA but it originally saw some time on the Volquartsen Superlite from Volquartsen Custom in Carroll, Iowa. Because of the height of the P-22 scope rings, I opted for some lower rings on the Volquartsen but found that changing zero the adjustments with the rapid action turrets still to be dead on despite the 3/4″ lower mount on the Volquartsen than the HK416. The HK clone did not object though I’ll have to say because of the Volquartsen’s innate accuracy I really prefer the scope to be sitting atop the Superlite. It makes reaching out for prairie dogs easier and cheaper with the ability to dump a brick of .22 ammo at them without flinching.
Why even point this out? If this were an optic you’re considering, though the optic was designed with AR platform .22 rifles in mind, you should know it is most definitely not restricted to use on such rifles. My imagination implies that if you have a .22 rifle with the capability of mounting an optic then the P-22 could truly be a good fit regardless of the platform. I believe Nikon most likely had this in mind as the only definite AR-esque signature of this scope is the ring mounts, and they’re available separately.
QUALITY & CONSTRUCTION
The matte finish on the Nikon P-22 is rugged and stubborn in terms of taking a beating. I intentionally left it uncased when mounted on and traveling with both rifles. If you’ve ever shot with me you know I never just take 1 rifle to the range. Most of the time it’s at least 4 or 5 and most of which I don’t take the time to put in a case before traveling. The guns often get piled into the back seat and the commute to and from the range serves partially as its own segment of the torture test. The function and construction of the turrets continue to hold up and “click” into the desired distance without protest.
While Nikon has done quite a bit as a company to bridge the gap between budget and quality optics, this model starting with a “P” means it would be rooted int he Pro-Staff line at the bottom of the barrel. Mild eye fatigue did prove to be a factor after a short time on the scope, but the optical quality is distortion free and far better than just “good enough”. In reference to eye fatigue, it is worth noting that on the lowest magnification setting at 2x, it is fast and easy to shoot with both eyes open while maintaining a clear sight picture. And with a $150 price tag (less now in most stores) you really are getting a lot for your money in terms of end product. Personally I think $50 for the P-22 rings is a bit much, but their lightweight and rugged design coupled with the way they compliment the scope may prove to be worth the extra cost in the end.
In the end the guys (and gals) at Nikon continue to follow the continuing evolution of the shooting sports by developing products that meet the needs, interest and desires of sportsmen and shooters everywhere. Like the others, the P-22 is well constructed and performs just as advertised. If you’re the type of person like me who likes to know that you got what you paid for, then I have little doubt you would be disappointed with the Nikon P-22 Rimfire scope.