Travis Pike for TTAG
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The ProStaff line from Nikon is now in its 5th generation and continues to improve. Nikon is a big name in the optics world, and I don’t mean just rifle scopes. From cameras to microscopes and far beyond, Nikon makes glass for everything.

The good news is they produce quality optics at a budget price. The ProStaff line is their flagship line of rifle scopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes. Rifle scope variants are variable scopes and come in a few different magnification and reticle options. Today we are looking at the ProStaff 5 2.5-10×40.

This magnification range is a bit of a sweet spot for me and covers the vast amount of shooting I do. I’m not a long-range shooter and I’m going to max out at about 500 yards with the local ranges.

The 2.5 and lower powers are perfect for hunting here in Florida. We have what’s basically a jungle in the northwest part of the state and rarely do you take a shot beyond 150 yards. The most common long-range shots are clear cuts from logging operations. The higher powers cover the recreational and fun shooting I do.

Travis Pike for TTAG

I went with the Nikoplex reticle which are simple duplex crosshairs. There are also MOA and BDC reticle options. The simpler Nikoplex reticle is easy and unencumbered.

The ProStaff 5 is equipped with fingertip adjustable turrets that are zero-reset capable. Every click is a 1/4 MOA adjustment. The turrets have aluminum caps to prevent accidental adjustments. The turrets are interchangeable and Nikon produces their Spot-On Custom Turret series. The max internal adjustment is 70 MOA.

Travis Pike for TTAG

The ProStaff 5 is water, shock, and fogproof. Fog proofing is done by nitrogen purging. The optic features a 3.8 to 4-inch eye relief so you can shoot larger calibers without worrying about scope bite.

I utilize this scope on my AR-10 and while .308 has a relatively mild recoil, the eye relief is generous and well suited for it. I’ve mounted it via a Warne one-piece mount and it seems to be a perfect combination of optic, mount and rifle.


The 1/4 MOA adjustments make zeroing the optic pretty quick, and I’m thankful for that. The turrets have tactile and audible clicks for every adjustment. I initially had this scope mounted on my Garrow Arms .17 HMR AR, but it seemed like a lot of glass for the little gun so I moved it to an AR-10. In both instances zeroing was a straightforward and simple process.

Zero has never shifted or slipped on either rifle. Once it’s locked in and capped, it’s not going to move until you want it to. To reset the turrets to ‘zero’ all you need to do is pull up and turn on the turret. They will turn freely without causing adjustments. Once you have realigned the zero setting to your rifle release the turret and it drops into position.

Travis Pike for TTAG

The simple Nikoplex reticle creates a set of fine crosshairs that occupy only as much space as necessary for you to see them. They are thin enough that they won’t create much of issue covering up your target. The magnification ring has a slight hump to make adjustments easy and glides between magnification settings. There is a slight resistance, but nothing crazy.

Clarity and Range

You have to love how far optics seem to have come in a very short period of time. This is was a $250 dollar optic when I bought it that performs exceptionally well. Note that this model’s been updated and the new model is the ProStaff P5 2.5-10×42 which is even more affordable.

There are better scopes out there such as Nikon’s Monarch line, Leupold, Nightforce, Schmidt & Bender, etc. but they’ll all cost more than a ProStaff 5. Affordably priced optics have come a long way in terms of usability, durability, and of course clarity.

Travis Pike for TTAG

The ProStaff 5 is exceptionally clear, even in sub-optimal conditions and at longer ranges. As I mentioned above, it’s difficult for me to find long-range shooting areas in my neck of the woods so I dismounted the optic from my rifle and took a short drive to a dirt road I’ve ranged.

It was overcast and sprinkling so the light in these images wasn’t the best. Also, excuse a slight bit of scope shade here and there. Holding a camera up to a scope isn’t easy to do while capturing good photos.

Anyway, the first image here shows a green street sign, that’s 250 yards from my position with the magnification at 10X.

Street Sign at 250 Yards (Travis Pike for TTAG)

It’s easy to read that we are looking at Gulf Street. Not bad for a small sign, in poor lighting conditions. And it looks much sharper outside the camera.

Wood Pile at 700 Yards (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Out to 700 yards, I could make out a ‘No Trespassing’ sign, but couldn’t read it to save my life. You can very clearly see a pile of wood left there and you’d be able to see a target, person, or deer as well.

It’s not a Leupold, or a Nightforce, or any other higher-end optic, but it’s impressive for this price range. It’s also as clear as I’d imagine most southeastern hunters and hobby shooters will need it to be.

Nikon’s Optics

There is some odd joy in getting behind a gun with an optic at several hundred yards, looking your target in the eyes and then proceeding to put a hole between those eyes. Seeing yourself create small groups at ranges beyond what you could ever do with irons is satisfying, too. A good prone position, an easy-shooting rifle, and nothing but time and targets.

The Nikon ProStaff 5 gives me that ability when I get it out to the range. This is probably the most bare-bones model on the market when it comes to the ProStaff 5 series down to the reticle itself, but it does what I need it to do.

The longer eye relief and reasonable eye box makes it easier to use on guns like the AR-10 when you combine an adjustable stock with my gorilla-length arms and frame.

Travis Pike for TTAG

I don’t have to hunch close to the optic. Plenty of room to stretch out and to accommodate my eye pro. Getting on target is fast with the scope’s very useable eye box.

It holds zero, makes target easy to see and, of course, easy to hit. It’s rugged as well. It’s been on many a hunt in tough environments that are often wet and cold, and then hot and humid as the day carries on.

It’s been banged around up and down tree stands and through fields and trails. As a coast dweller, it’s survived two hurricanes and the hasty evacuations I do of all my firearms during our storms.

Even so, it keeps on keeping on, the little (affordable) optic that could.

Specifications: Nikon ProStaff 5 2.5-10×40 Rifle Scope

Magnification Range – 2.5-10X
Objective Size – 40MM
Weight – 15.3 ounces
Length – 12.6 inches
Tube Size – 1 Inch
Eye Relief – 3.8 to 4 inches
Focal Plane – Second
Parallax – 100 Yards
Adjustments – 70 MOA Max Internal
Field fo View @ 100 Yards – 9.9 – 40.4 feet
Price$229.99 (varies depending on options) 

Rating (Out of 5 Stars):

Quality (relative to price) * * * *
If you were to compare this optic to something like a Nightforce or Schmidt & Bender you’d walk away disappointed. But they are completely different classes of optics. However, as an optic that costs under $250, it’s an outstanding option

Glass * * *
There is better and there is far worse. Nikon’s glass in the affordable ProStaff line is slightly above average and clear enough to see targets at extended ranges. There is some distortion and blurriness at 500 yards and beyond though.

Reticle * * * 
The 2.5-10x model offers three reticle options and none feature illumination like the larger ProStaff 5 scopes. The Nikon BDC system may also be a turn-off to some.

Durability * * * * 
The only damage I’ve done to this optic is the finish. It’s been scratched and abused with heavy use and an often turbulent lifestyle, but the scope still works.

Ease of Use * * * * *
New to magnified optics? Then grab one of these. They are simple to use and very reliable. Perfect for learning the wonders of optical instruments and their relation to firearms.

Overall * * * *
The Nikon ProStaff 5-2.5×10 is a simple, affordable optic that does its job well. When you factor in the price point, it’s easy to appreciate this rifle scope. It’s well-built and intelligently designed. Nothing fancy, it just works.


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  1. I’m completely satisfied with my Nikon scopes. With my tired old eyes, I can’t see any difference worth noting between $2000 optics and the ones I own. I’ve been using Nikon equipment since college for photography and never been disappointed.

  2. I’ve got a couple of Nikon ProStaff 2 Rimfire scopes, a fixed 4x and a 3-9 and then a couple of ProStaff 3 for centerfire rifles, they’ve all held up well, even after one of the rimfire scopes took a 75ft tumble down a slope after I slipped on wet brush. A coupled scratches in the finish and that was it.

  3. Clearly not covered by the 2A.

    Nobody needs an ultra long-range super optic. Did they have adjustable scopes on their muskets at Lexington n Concord? Noooooooo.

    Ban all the things!

  4. people act like glass in this price range is horrible, but apparently dont realize that glass in this price range is as good as glass that cost three times as much in the 80s and 90s- or just dont want to admit it.

    • Draven,

      I have at least three Nikon ProStaff scopes and I don’t think I will ever buy any other brand or model. The images have incredible contrast thanks to good glass and excellent anti-reflective coatings. In fact contrast is even excellent when looking in deep shadow with the sun just off the edge of the field of view. And in low light I can see exactly what I need to see to hunt effectively for the entire length of legal hunting hours.

      I see no point in spending four times more money for what can only be a tiny improvement in image quality.

  5. I had never shot my .270 (or any rifle) beyond about 150 yards until a couple weeks ago. I found a local range with distant steel targets and used the Nikon website to calculate the holdovers for the $190 Nikon ProStaff 4-12 BDC scope I have on it. After dropping the rifle directly on the scope while taking it out of the truck, I hit a 12” steel plate from 440 yards on my first shot (and consistently thereafter) and I was hooked. I know it’s child’s play for real long-range pros, but that scope is fantastic IMHO.

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