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Thread: Nikko Stirling Panamax 3-9x40 AO/IR

  1. #1
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    Nikko Stirling Panamax 3-9x40 AO/IR

    http://www.nikkostirling.com/Images/..._Dyn_Front.jpg


    I thought I’d try and make a proper contribution to the forum in the guise of a two part review of my recently purchased Nikko-Stirling 3-9x40 AO/IR Panamax.

    I am no expert, I only know what I like and what suits me, I understand that there are better scopes out there but with my limited amount of pocket money combined with a 60 year olds’ eyesight there comes a point where diminishing returns kick in.

    I also tend to go verbally round the houses a bit so please don’t be too picky

    Part 1.

    I got this scope mail order from a popular internet specialist and paid just shy of £95 including a small discount and 1st class postage. Everything arrived fine and dandy within RM’s usual timescales.

    The first, (and really only), minor niggle is that Nikko Stirling do not seem to “package” their products, (at least at this section of the market), quite as well as say Hawke do, this is a manufacturer thing and not the retailers shortcoming. In the centre of the box there is a small plastic cradle which is very flimsy and had semi collapsed, maybe due to pressure from above either during transit or storage so my first worries were of damage before I had even looked over the scope further. Anyway, I placed the scope in some open high mounts and spun it slowly through 360 degrees several times and I could not detect and deviation from true.

    Everything such as AO adjustment, MOA clicks, etc comes across as smooth with just enough torque but as others have pointed out in earlier threads, the ocular focus can be a bit slack and it was. Normally, I would not be too bothered as it can be easily re-set but I gave it some thought and fitted a couple of 2mm x 40mm’ish diameter O rings to take up the approximate 4mm space between the adjuster and main body, this worked out perfectly as when I backed up the adjuster against the O rings reticle focus was perfect.

    Of the various reasons I chose this scope over Hawke is that, like for like it, it comes in a shade lighter and with a slightly narrower objective than the equivalent Panorama or Vantage Max which to my mind on a lightweight 99s is a bonus. The adjustment areas such as zoom, ao, and turret caps, consists of what you might call “blocks” and are practically flush with the main body but are nevertheless quite chunky in feel, instead of the large “milled” effect found on others, and this again adds to the low profile and understatement side of things.

    Next, mounting.

    I already had a pair of Sportsmatch mediums fitted but as said earlier, the objective on the Nikko is slightly less than the Hawk Vantage 3-9x40 that I had previously so I opted for a set of Nikko mediums which have about 1.5 mil or less height than the Sportsmatch, all this re-jigging allowed the centreline of new set up to sit about 3 mil lower in total, which is good.

    There are no torque values given in the instructions so to be on the safe side I just deducted 15% of the typical Hawke numbers as a start point and used those.

    Being one who likes to get settled right into the gun and scope I have the near mount set in the third from trigger recoil hole on my 99s and the second mount equidistant from the ocular bell. A thing about Nikko mounts; the recoil pin is pointed so I smoothed it flush with a diamond coated file so no damage to the 99 could occur.

    To be honest, I was half expecting the 10x half mildot to be a trade off and be slightly cluttered in appearance but I was surprised to find when focused that it was clear and with enough detail to suit my eyes. One of the things that I have noticed with IR scopes is the tendency for the reticle to bloom and appear to lose a bit of focus when switched on, the Nikko does do this to a very small degree but not quite as much as my Hawkes. After a slight readjustment all was well and even going back to non IR I cannot say that any noticeable focus was lost.

    Simply looking through the scope I would say that clarity and light gathering is better than the Vantage 40mm that it replaced. Whether it is better than say the Hawke Panorama or Airmax I couldn’t comment because I have no experience of these but, so far, I am pleased with my purchase.

    So, would I buy another based on my findings so far? That would be a yes. Sure, there are areas of what you might call “attention to detail” that are not quite up to Hawke standards but so minor they are not worth noting here, on the other hand there are features on the Nikko that appeal to me. A 2-7x32 though not available would be right up my street!

    Well, that’s it for now. Once I have it zeroed in and a shot a tin or so in anger I will do part 2.

  2. #2
    Blackrider is online now It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got a Spring
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    Thats quite a nice review for your first ! (if thats the case)

    I've being trialling a 3-9x40AO Panarama on a HW 95 .177 for about a year now and so far, its performed really well !
    I bought it to see if it could cope with a fairly harsh springer (in this case) and so far its doing well.

    For the money, these scopes are pretty well "the Business " !
    "When you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, get up and switch it on yourself" !

  3. #3
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    Part Two

    As promised, part two of my Nikko Stirling Panamax 3-9x40 AO/IR review.

    First thing to mention is that I have taken it off my 99S and put in on my 95K. The 99 looked and felt really over scoped and it didn’t do it any favours weight and balance wise. Secondly, I have ditched the NS low mounts and gone back to Sportsmatch. Finally, I have removed the O rings that I fitted to stop the reticle focus ring form inadvertently becoming moved.

    I am finding the half mil dot to be nice and fine but not too fine that it gets lost within the target in low light and, as I said earlier, it does not seem to “bloom” when the IR is turned on as I have noticed with some Hawkes. When the Hawke’s do this I have to re focus the reticle slightly. This may be my eyesight so I won’t criticise out of hand the Hawke reticle or focus performance.

    Zeroing in was very straightforward and I had it grouping within my ability in a short space of time. Now, I have heard of this going “round the box” check but I am not really up on it but given my limited experience I clicked a set number of increments right, down, left, and back to the beginning and the zero seemed to be the same.

    It’s been a poor weekend weather wise so this afternoon was the first real opportunity I have had to put it through its paces and after about a hundred or so rounds everything is in order.

    So, would I buy another? Lets see.

    Build quality and ease of use etc:-

    To be fair, had I got one of these before I was introduced to Hawke via a bundled gun/scope from Redbeck at Wakefield I would have been over the moon with it. Things have really come on since I last bought a scope back in the early 80’s, a Tasco 4x40 wide angle with no AO or suchlike. That said, and to be fair, I feel that the fit and finish is not quite the same as Hawke. For example, the locking ring on the objective lens has been caught slightly with the tool use to tighten it up but nothing that a black marker pen wouldn’t sort if you were to be really obsessive. As pointed out earlier, the focus ring is relatively slack and could become out of adjustment if you were careless with it. The parallax adjuster has just the right amount of resistance though. The seals below the turret caps are a bit too big for their purpose however, they do keep out the dirt and moisture etc as intended. The paint/powder coating is not as substantial as on Hawke. For me, the reticle is perfect, it does not float in the sight picture like say a Panorama but it is a good clear and useable design with plenty of aim point options and the overall image quality is excellent.

    Value for Money:-

    The next logical choice would have been nearly two thirds more in terms of cost and looking at things from a diminishing returns point of view I think the Nikko is a bargain, despite my observations above.

    To answer my question above, yes, I would have another

  4. #4
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    ya got same rifles as me hw99s mine 1.77 with hawke 3-9x50 with sportmatch 1 piece mount and hw95k ive just ordered this today comes friday.i did have a hw97k which i loved but to heavy sold it this morning.the 99s is bit twangy but the recoil aint so bad,i swear by 1 piece mount with springers that said hw97k didnt really need 1 piece mount.lovely rifle that ill regret selling that but its mustard lugging that about.so whats the hw95k like ???.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by robhw97k View Post
    ya got same rifles as me hw99s mine 1.77 with hawke 3-9x50 with sportmatch 1 piece mount and hw95k ive just ordered this today comes friday.i did have a hw97k which i loved but to heavy sold it this morning.the 99s is bit twangy but the recoil aint so bad,i swear by 1 piece mount with springers that said hw97k didnt really need 1 piece mount.lovely rifle that ill regret selling that but its mustard lugging that about.so whats the hw95k like ???.
    I love it, I'm not the most physical of shooters so my combinations need to be manageable. I had a wander round my shoot with it the other day before I swapped scopes and it was a breeze, minimum recoil as far as other guns I have had and shoots straighter than me! I think I paid a bit more than I should but it came from a local guy who I try to support when I can.

  6. #6
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    A very interesting write up. I too am a fan of both Nikko and Hawke scopes and so very impressed with their punch above their weight performance. It's funny thing scopes, I remember when it was said that Tasco and Kassnar were cheap Jap crap; now all of the collectors are clamouring for them, knowing in actual fact it were bloody good glass all things considered.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekj View Post
    A very interesting write up. I too am a fan of both Nikko and Hawke scopes and so very impressed with their punch above their weight performance. It's funny thing scopes, I remember when it was said that Tasco and Kassnar were cheap Jap crap; now all of the collectors are clamouring for them, knowing in actual fact it were bloody good glass all things considered.
    I'm close to getting another one but with slightly larger magnification just for .22 lr benchrest, every place I talk to seems to be steering me towards them for larger mag/target work.

    With you on the Tasco, my only scope in the 80's was a 4x40 wide angle, it even had a sight picture that looked like a widescreen tv but it served me well on several rifles.

  8. #8
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    ive bought a nikko sterling 3-9x50 AO comes tomorrow,according to the lads on here its a bit of a heap ill just set dials to suit my eyes,zero scope in then just leave the dials alone.if it cant keep zero ill send it back.

  9. #9
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    Nikko Panamax

    I viewed one of these the other week in BAR and was that impressed with the 3-9 x 40 that myself and my friend brought one each. I don't buy new scopes but I brought one of these and now sits on my VMACH 97. Mach 1.5

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