Earlier this year I was looking for a lightweight, mid-range riflescope when the Nikon Monarch M5 3-12x42SF caught my eye. By mid-range I mean distances I can correct for elevation utilizing the reticle and don’t need to dial corrections. The Monarch M5 3-12x42SF is lightweight, has a good reticle, and should be just about right for my intended use. You can view the M5 on their website here.

Nikon Monarch M5 Overview

The Monarch M5 is Nikon’s flagship hunting riflescope line. It features a 4x zoom optical system that was designed to deliver best performance when we need it most. First light and last light. Nikon included a 30mm main tube for increased internal adjustment range. The riflescope has clean lines and low profile turrets and zoom ring. Paralax adjustment is located on the left side and focus is adjusted on the eye piece. The packaging was clean and protected the scope well during shipping. Inside I noticed the manual, lens caps, cleaning cloth, and of course the riflescope. The M5 3-12×42 is a simple scope with capped turrets. The MK1-MOA reticle features hash marks every two moa for windage and elevation.

Nikon Monarch M5 3-12x42SF MK1-MOA Specs
  • Magnification 3-12x
  • 2nd Focal Plane
  • 30mm main tube
  • 42mm objective lens
  • 13.1 inch overall length
  • 19.2 oz (on my scale)

The Monarch M5 features capped turrets with a spring loaded “zero set” system. That allows the shooter to easily zero the turret after sighting in. A zero stop feature is missing and would be a nice addition although it’s not a huge issue since I don’t plan to dial corrections in the field. The clicks were crisp when zeroing the scope and tracking was good. The turrets allow 25 MOA per revolution which is great if you do want to dial it. Users can add a Spot On ballistic turret by clicking here for an additional $99.95.

Field Performance

I’ve had the Monarch M5 at the range and in the mountains multiple times and the zero has held as it should. I found the eye relief to be consistant and sufficiant to give me plenty of scope to eye clearence. The zoom ring allows for good grip with or without gloves and has enough tension to stay where I set it. Nikon hit a home run when it comes to the glass and coatings. The low light performance was very good and clarity was on par with much more expensive optics. I succesfully hit targets from 100 to over 600 yards using the MK1-MOA reticle for holdover without issue.

Final Thoughts

The Nikon Monarch M5 3-12x42SF MK1-MOA is a great choice for someone looking for a lightweight, reliable riflescope with great glass. I have enough confidence in it to use it on my primary deer rifle this year. With a price of $449.95 (including instant savings from Nikon) I think it will be extremely hard to beat. You can order yours here.

Leave a comment or ask Justin questions here.

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Justin Crossley
Justin Crossley is married to wife Breana and they have two kids; Alissa and Dylan. Born and raised in Western Washington he grew up fishing anything that would bite, and hunting black tail deer using rifle and muzzle loader with his dad and brother. Some of his fondest memories are those where he explored the wilderness and learned about hunting and fishing. As he got older his passion for the outdoors grew and he started hunting everything from upland birds, to predators, to any big game animal he could get a tag for. He has had the privilege to have friends and family who enjoyed the outdoors like he does and has made priceless memories with them on many trips. Justin’s kids have both been raised around hunting and fishing, and son Dylan recently killed his first deer at age ten. Justin enjoys every type of hunting and will hunt archery, rifle, or muzzleloader to extend his hunting season as much as possible. His favorite hunts take place in the backcountry with camp on his back. He has learned to hone his craft in long range shooting, archery, and reloading. He always strives to learn more and improve himself as a hunter. Justin has always had a passion for helping others expand their knowledge and love of the outdoors.