Nikon Monarch 3 4 16×42 Review (what is the best riflescope?)

Now here’s a riflescope you can use for practically all types of applications. This includes competition, shooting games, or hunting. To be more specific, target shooting and big game or varmint hunting. The Nikon Monarch 3 4 16×42 review is the breakdown of every important feature that makes the scope so efficient and functional, thus popular.

But if you’re not interested or don’t have the time to read through all the sections, you can just have a go at the short review I’ve discussed below. But if you do have time on your hands, read everything below that as well. It’s better to make a conscious decision when it comes to spending money on such expensive outdoor gear.

Nikon Monarch 3 4 16×42 Review – The Short Version

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16×42 Riflescope

What you’re looking at here is an all-purpose, very versatile riflescope. One that is perfect for shooting, hunting, and range activities. The dead-on BDC reticle along with side focus to make parallax adjustments are the two most beloved features of the scope.

What the riflescope is also proud of is its zero-reset type turrets. These are equipped with adjustment knobs that come spring-loaded. Needless to say, the Nikon Monarch 3 Riflescope is quite popular among hunters from the time it was introduced into the market.

In comparison to the 4-16×50 riflescope manufactured by Nikon, this 4-16×42 version ranks better. It’s because hunters and shooting enthusiasts seem to enjoy the 40-42mm lens more than the other scope.

In all, the Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16×42 Riflescope gets the job done in a flawless manner. So your investment in this hunting gear is not a waste of money in any sense. That is pretty much guaranteed.

Pros of the Nikon Monarch 3:

  • Access to parallax adjustment knob is quite easy.
  • Turrets are zero-reset for enabling quick target re-engagement.
  • Quick focus feature is very useful for reticle clarity.
  • It’s a compact, durable, and easy-to-mount riflescope.
  • High magnification offers excellent image quality.
  • Ballistic reticle included.

Cons of the Nikon Monarch 3:

  • Parallax turret is complicated to use.
  • Reticle is not illuminated.

Nikon Monarch 3 4 16×42 Review – The Long Version

The Breakdown of the Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16×42 Riflescope

1. Optical Performance

The optical quality of the Nikon Monarch 3 Riflescope is very impressive. The chromatic aberration across the whole magnification range is controlled flawlessly. You’ll be even happier to know that this chromatic aberration at a higher magnification level is surprisingly less. This is nothing but a great improvement in the world of scopes.

It’s the inclusion of the remarkable sunshade adaptable function that makes this possible. The sunshade is also very useful when it comes to keeping dust and rain off the objective lens of the riflescope. So you can take it out in dusty or rainy environments.

The objective lens of 50mm has been added. And the lens is equipped with a very commendable optical system. Known as Ultra ClearCoat. What the feature does is enable you to achieve max. light transmission. The result of which is a sharp, flat, and bright sight image.

The unique optical mechanism also makes room for a clear end-to-end target view. Minus any blurriness! To my surprise, 95 percent of light transmission takes place. This means you’re free to hunt at whatever time of the day. Including dawn and dusk, which is when your game is the most active. Am I right?

If you wish to enhance target optical clarity, you can make use of the larger-sized internal lenses. These deliver a maximum resolution, no doubt. In fact, Nikon has designed the larger tubes of the body to provide an optical resolution and low-light staging that’s unparalleled in the current market.

2. Design and Construction

The Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16×42 Riflescope is a tough, single-piece tube. The construction is such that optimum strength and durability don’t get compromised because of the minimum weight of the scope.

The body of the riflescope is built using rugged aluminum alloy. But it’s the aircraft-grade quality of this aluminum that brings extreme strength to the table. The size of the tubes is large. This means larger windage adjustment and elevation for long-range performance.

You might think that the aluminum design and larger tube increases the weight of the riflescope. But that is not what happens here. The Nikon Monarch 3 weighs under 20 ounces. So you can mount this optical device without placing excessive weight on your firearm system.

To be honest, finding a lightweight scope that offers magnification as high as 16x is pretty much next to impossible. This explains why the Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16×42 Riflescope is such a popular choice among long-range shooters and hunters.

Not only is the thing lightweight, but it’s also very compact. The length of the scope is 15 inches. Comparatively speaking, the majority of high-end riflescopes of the same class are 3 inches longer.

Other features such as magnification and focus rings work pretty smoothly. What’s also relieving to know is that, when making adjustments, you don’t have to deal with grinding.

3. Turrets

What matters the most here is the parallax adjustment side focus feature. It’s outfitted with a locking mechanism that you just have to push and pull. As for the performance of the turrets, they work quite well. You don’t require any tool to re-index the turrets either.

You’ll be glad to find out that Nikon has added an interchangeable technology to this department. What the turret technology here does is help in customizing windage adjustment knobs/caps and elevation.

Furthermore, what simplifies the task is the zero-reset type spring-loaded turret design. It just makes re-engaging a much easier goal to achieve.

Moreover, the riflescope’s zoom control mechanism is very smooth. You can see the magnification reference numbers from the shooter position quite easily. Such an advantage allows you to make precise, quick adjustments when shooting or hunting.

4. Focal Plane and Reticles

The Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16×42 Riflescope comes with 2 focal plane and 2 reticle options. This particular model is incorporated with the BDC reticle. Along with Nikoplex reticle that is the only one other Nikon scopes are equipped with. The BDC reticle here is at either the First Focal Plane or the Second Focal Plane (FFP or SFP).

BDC Reticle

The patented reticle technology of Nikon Monarch 3 employs the company’s exclusive Spot On Ballistic Match Technology. It offers precise aiming points, no matter the yardage. When such a reticle is a part of the scope, you can eliminate guesswork when it comes to elevation and even bullet drop recompense.

  • BDC Reticle at Second Focal Plane

This particular reticle is found in the second focal plane, as the name suggests. Meaning the reticle changes size based on your target during magnification.

  • BDC Reticle at First Focal Plane

A reticle of this kind keeps everything within the first focal plane. In simple words, all aiming points provided by Nikon’s exclusive reticle technology remain at the same level throughout the whole magnification range.

What Is So Special About the Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16×42 Riflescope?

Now that you’re through with the in-depth Nikon Monarch 3 4 16×42 review, it’s time to highlight the special features.

Zero-Reset Spring-Loaded Turrets

As far as field adjustment goes, these turrets are simply the most useful. Engaging in the middle of your activity should be a matter of only a few seconds. And Nikon gets that. This is why the brand makes it possible for you to adjust the turret quickly. All you have to do is sight in, lift adjustment knob, and then rotate it to zero.

Ultra ClearCoat Optical System

With the help of this particular feature, you get to work with an incredibly sharp, flat, and bright sight image. An optical system that can deliver such results is specially engineered to offer 95 percent light transmission. So a clear picture is what you get even during dusk and dawn.

Spot On Ballistic Match Technology

The epitome of a customized experience is this unique reticle technology provided by Nikon. What the innovative function does is help in finding precise aiming points. So you use the exact load and ammunition.

Interchangeable Turret Technology

Every Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16×42 Riflescope contains interchangeable turrets. These are in perfect accordance with all the various calibers. So feel free to make changes with the help of just the Allen wrench.

Patented BDC Reticle

The remarkable BDC reticle of Nikon is available in both second and first focal plane. But it’s the latter that delivers superior results. The FFP ensures the same spot-on action throughout the whole magnification range.

Eyebox Technology

Dealing with heavy recoil without injuring your face, particularly your eyes, means having access to a generous eye relief feature on your riflescope. The Nikon Monarch 3 scope is built with 4x zoom capacity and 4-inch eye relief.

The line of this riflescope helps in achieving high-resolution, exceptionally bright pictures. And you can hold the large ocular lens responsible for this kind of superior performance.

Nikon Monarch 3 4 16×42 Review – Commonly Asked Questions

Q1. Which firearms can I mount the Nikon Monarch 3 4-16×42 riflescope to?

The scope under the spotlight is quite popular for its versatility, no doubt. So if it weren’t good to go with just about any rifle, this wouldn’t have been so.

No matter the caliber, you can mount the Nikon Monarch 3 to all types of firearms. Even magnum-length options!

Q2 Can the Nikon Monarch 3 4-16×42 riflescope withstand recoil?

The gear holds up remarkably well against recoil and repeated recoil. The locking mechanism side focus feature is what comes to the rescue here. Along with the generous 4-inch eye relief, of course.

So long as the riflescope is mounted correctly, you don’t have to worry about recoil. And by correctly, I mean using the most suitable mounting rings.

Q3. Is the 42mm lens of the riflescope superior to Nikon’s 50mm lens?

The 42mm lens of the Nikon Monarch 3 4-16×42 riflescope ensures 95 percent of light transmission. Thanks to the exclusive optical system known as Ultra ClearCoat. This is proof that bigger is not always better. Even so, the 50mm lens can offer brighter images with higher magnification. And that too in the darkest light conditions!

On the other hand, it’s not that the 42mm lens isn’t big enough. The magnification range here too delivers higher light collection during low-light settings. So the most logical thing to do would be to buy a high-quality 40-42mm lens. Rather than impulsively investing in a 50mm lens riflescope.

Q4. Does the lens of Nikon Monarch 3 4-16×42 riflescope have protective caps?

You’re agreeing to spend such a huge sum of money on the Nikon Monarch 3, aren’t you? So keeping that in mind, the scope better come with flip protective covers! These keep the ocular and objective lens well-protected against potential damage. So Nikon has once again succeeded in living up to high expectations.

But let me also point out that the protective caps are not of the best quality. Even so, they get the basic job done. And that is to stay up and on. And you can obviously replace them if you don’t mind spending extra money.

One last thing you should know is that these caps have absolutely no connection with the glass quality or the optics.

Q5. What does the side focus of the Nikon Monarch 3 4-16×42 riflescope do?

To put it simply, the feature enables easy parallax adjustments. Particularly if you’re not looking down the scope center!

Side focus is not a part of affordable scopes. In fact, cheaper-priced riflescopes are parallax-free by nature at around 100 to 150 yards.

No wonder the Nikon Monarch 3 4-16×42 riflescope is so perfect and popular for long-range shooting. Its parallax adjustment side focus function increases your chances of striking the target zone with a shot that’s well-placed.

Wrapping It Up

This brings me to the end of the Nikon Monarch 3 4 16×42 review. The bottom line is that the Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16×42 Riflescope is packed with the right amount and king of premium features. That justifies the scope’s price and popularity. After all, top-notch image quality doesn’t go unnoticed when it comes to selecting and buying riflescopes.

The only major drawback is not being able to make parallax adjustments easily. Even so, the scope is very reliable in terms of performance. I have discussed its every special feature that makes your shooting or hunting experience better. So, at this point, you should be ready to make your decision.


Rodney Heaton

I'm Rodney Heaton and I love hunting in the wild. In the past, I was in the military for over 5 years. After that I became a licensed hunter and a mountain guide.