It's an overcast afternoon with a breeze blowing in from the East as I stare South down range. A ferocious hog silhouette is 400 yards away and something needs to be done about it, but the elusive buck at 500 yards is calling my name. I am sitting behind a custom built .308 bolt action rifle that I have never held, or even seen before. A Nikon M308 BDC rifle scope is mounted on top like a cherry. I check my chart for the correct holdover position on the BDC reticle, line the scope up, and take a breath. I squeeze the trigger, and the gun goes off pushing into my shoulder. A second of silence and the spotter yells out "hit!". This is the Nikon Spot On Champion Series 2013.
This year for the Nikon Spot On Series Nikon had around 150 dealers from across the country meet at Tac Pro shooting center in Mingus, Texas. The first thing noticeable about Tac Pro when I arrived is how unparalleled the location is compared to others. Instead of Tac Pro being a shooting range it really is a shooting CENTER. Tac pro offers several different ranges, including one that goes out to 1000 yards. For the Nikon Spot on Championship 6 different stations (ranges) were set up, but unfortunately we were only able to reach out to 500 yards.
Our first station of the day was at the 100/200 yard range where we got to experience .308 pistols, slug guns, rimfire, and muzzle loading riffles. Each firearm had one of the specially designed for purpose Nikon BDC scopes mounted to them. We tested the waters at 100 yards first by shooting at 12 inch gongs with each firearm type. I personally had never shot a slug that far, but was surprised to hit all my targets with the exception of the .308 pistol, which proved to be a far greater challenge to control than expected at no fault to the Nikon BDC Handgun reticle. The muzzle jump was just that much of a challenge! The 200 yard range ran the same results, but I was incredibly surprised to see the same amazing results from the slug gun with such a high holdover at 200 yards.
After sending several dozen rounds downrange we transitioned over to the crossbow section. For me this was one of the more enjoyable ranges for personal experience as I had only fired a crossbow a handful of times, and no more than 20 yards away. For this station several 305 FPS 10 Point crossbows were placed at benches facing into a wooded range with various foam animal targets placed at varying distances. Each crossbow had a Nikon BDC 60 reticle mounted on top. Being from Texas, I knew the first target to be taken out needed to be the feral hogs at 35 yards. I checked up the BDC yardage sheet and found the distance was not actually on one of BDC markers, but actually in-between two. I took aim between the two circles, pressed the safety off, squeezed the trigger, and with a "throng/thump" the arrow sailed through the air with a small arch and glided perfectly behind the hogs shoulder for a "kill shot". The white tail at 62 yards had the same unfortunate result that would have put a smile on any bow hunters face.
To reach the next station we hopped in the truck and took a five minute drive over to a wide open field where any prairie dog would have been happy to have set up hole in the ground home. It was no surprise to see several steel silhouettes that matched the little varmints' description placed out at 200 yard distances. We also saw several hogs as well as coyotes that would end up with plenty of nickel sized dents where paint had been blown off as well, proving that their likes were not welcome in these parts. I realized doing the Nikon M223 scope review was going to be a lot more fun since the AR-15 rifles were all fitted with these scopes which had the BDC 600 reticle. This scope and reticle selection is easily one of the most enjoyable optic setups available for the AR rifle. The combination has been a fan favorite for many shooters with a 5.56/.223 caliber in their arsenal. With the ease of use for a 200 yard shot it was no wonder our group of three went 10 for 10 each for a perfect score.
The big event of the day was two different stations located at the 500 yard range. This is where the true test of the Nikon BDC reticle was put to the test to determine if a novice shooter could make the grade and come across as someone who has "been there and shot that" kind of shooter. As someone who had never shot past 200 yards I was hoping the latter would be true. Our first station was located at three concrete benches with AR rifles on shooting bags. Two out of the three rifles were 5.56 and the last was a .308. I started at 200 yards on the rifle and worked my way out. Each shot placed perfectly with the exception of a few that were knocked off course due to wind. By the time we had shot all three rifles I was able to compensate for the light breeze and continue to hit 500 yard shots with consistency.
The last station consisted of three bolt action rifles on tripods. Two of the bolt actions were custom builds from Tac Pro chambered in .308, and the last bolt action was a .300 WSM. As I mentioned earlier, the deer at 500 yards never stood a chance with the Nikon BDC reticle paired with the Spot On Technology. I'm proud to say that I was able to come back and report that I indeed was a "been there and shot that" kind of shooter. A big thanks for Tac Pro for hosting the event, and to Nikon for letting us get a hands on feel for their crystal clear, cutting edge BDC optics. We hope to be invited to next year's Nikon Spot-on shoot.