With the Rocky Mountains towering over my home to the east, I do a fair amount of glassing both for hunting and target shooting. As such, I need a good, multi-purpose spotting scope to suit those dual shooting needs. The Nikon Sport Optics Monarch Fieldscope, released in 2016, alludes to its ability to tackle multiple shooting disciplines; but I wonder, how effective is this model in the real world? I grabbed myself a Monarch Fieldscope and set out to find out.
Monarch Fieldscope Features
The Nikon Sport Optics Monarch Fieldscope boasts an 82mm objective lens with a coated prism in the aluminum body of the scope. A focus ring around the body affords the user a tactile feel to finesse the image into clarity. At the rear of the scope, Nikon opted for an angled eyepiece that offers more than meets the eye.
Using a quick-release design, the eyepiece allows users to swap in any available eyepieces from Nikon – with options like 20-60 power option, 30-60 power option or, a personal favorite, the 30-power option with either the FX MRAD reticle or the FX MOA reticle. Having two eyepieces could be a bit superfluous for some shooters, but it’s nice to be able to swap out for different views. The fixed 30-power eyepiece does have a focus ring around it, this focuses the reticle against the target giving the user the best possible image to call shots, measure adjustments, as well as range targets.
The angled eyepiece is complemented by a rotating body, giving you several angle options. There is a set screw on the side that allows the scope body to rotate 360-degrees, offsetting the angle to whatever suits you best. The body has a spring detent that holds the scope every 90-degrees during the rotation. The spotting scope also features an extendable shade around the objective. Shades are beneficial for two reasons. The first is to direct sunlight from coming into your view while glassing. The second and less obvious benefit is preventing dirty hands and fingers from interacting with the lenses.
The Monarch Fieldscope rounds out its design with a nice bikini-style soft cover that zips over the scope body for added protection and a shoulder strap should you want to carry it outside of a pack. The cover does limit your ability to rotate the scope body, but that’s no deal-breaker.
In The Field
Taking the Monarch Fieldscope into the Rocky Mountains was a long-awaited venture for me. I couldn’t wait to see how it would function as a main spotter. A couple of my very good friends came along with their rifles, taking shots from 600-yards all the way out to 1,400-yards. The Monarch well, allowing me to see all the little details of hits, misses, in addition to trace. I glassed across miles of canyons and shady draws, with clarity top-notch in this scope.
The FX MRAD reticle proves a good companion to the Monarch Fieldscope. Some reticles can seem busy, leaving observers feeling a little cluttered. The FX MRAD reticle is a good mix of simplicity and subtensions — with both whole, halves, and .2’s all represented on all four posts. Whole MILs are only numbered on the evens to simplify, with a small one MIL square in the lower right quadrant featuring .1’s both vertical and horizontally.
Though the reticle is solid, the Nikon Monarch Fieldscope isn’t without its faults. The build is heavy and weight reduction would have been a nice overall feature to see on this platform. Great glass only goes so far if it’s tough to manage out in the field and I feel like the platform could benefit from a more slimmed-down design.
The Monarch Fieldscope offers outstanding image quality with multiple eyepiece offerings. Despite its heavy build, it proves to be a workhorse in the field, with the ability to bring clarity and performance to the spotting scope arena. The Nikon Monarch Fieldscope retails for $1,599.