Nikon Buckmaster vs ProStaff Scopes – Which Are Better? (ANSWERED)

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Photo by Andy V. / CC BY

Before we dive into the Battle between the Nikon Buckmaster vs Prostaff, we have to realize they are both Nikon scopes. Nikon as a brand is a significant powerhouse in the optics realm. They grow every year and produce optics for everything. I’m not just talking scopes. They produce cameras, lenses, and even industrial microscopes. In other words, Nikon knows their glass.

Nikon also has an outstanding warranty and testing program. I happen to know one of the gentlemen involved in the testing and they put those optics through hell. If they don’t pass the tests, they don’t make it to production.

Nikon also aims to make a wide variety of optics at every price level. This includes the extremely expensive Monarch line and the new miniature red dots known as the Spur. Sitting in the middle are the Prostaff and Buckmaster lines of optics.

Both are mid-range optics in terms of price, but high range in terms of performance. We are going to be specifically comparing the most modern optics in this line. For the Buckmaster, it will be the Buckmaster 2. The Prostaff is in its 5th generation and is known as the Prostaff 5.

Nikon Buckmaster vs Prostaff Round 1: Options

Neither the Buckmaster or the Prostaff is a monolith. Both are names that apply to a line of optics with different magnification levels. To be fair, the Prostaff line does have 5 Generations as well as a rimfire option. You are going to find more Prostaffs than Buckmasters.

The current line of Buckmaster 2’s includes models with magnification ranges from 4-12x and 3-9x. The Prostaff 5 line includes magnification ranges of 2.5 -10x, 3.5 -14x, and 4.5 -18x. So you even have one more option if you bring it to only the Prostaff 5 line. What’s interesting is the Prostaff 5 and Buckmaster do not share any magnification settings.

Nikon Buckmaster vs Prostaff Round 2: Long Range

An optic is an optic, but how does the sight picture look once you start seeing past 150 yards? The Prostaff 5 wins here, but just barely. Looking through both optics at 200 yards and I can see more vivid colors through the Prostaff and have better shape and design recognition.

That being said I’m looking at small objects if it was a deer or hog I wouldn’t be able to see much of a difference. Inside 150 yards I can’t a difference between either optic. The Prostaff certainly seems better for small target shooting, and either optic would be outstanding for hunting.

If you want to read the text of your target, choose the Prostaff. The Prostaff 5 has higher levels of magnification available and is better suited for that type of shooting.

Nikon Buckmaster vs Prostaff Round 3: Durability

Both optics are backed with Nikon’s No Fault Repair and Replacement Policy, as well as a Limited Lifetime Warranty. The Limited Lifetime Warranty is going to keep you free from defects as well as normal wear and tear. The No-Fault Repair and Replacement policy means that if the defect is not warrantied by Nikon you can send it to them and they can repair or replace it.

Now outside of the warranty, there are a few durability concerns you should know about. For one both optics are water, fog, and shockproof. Both optics are nitrogen purged and sealed with O rings to prevent dust, debris, and moisture from building up in the optic.

Like I mentioned before the optics are tested for toughness by an independent team. They push these things to hell and back. So, in this battle, it’s a tie.

Nikon Buckmaster 3-9x40 Rifle Scope - Unboxing and Review

Nikon Buckmaster vs Prostaff Round 4: Options


Both the Prostaff 5 and the Buckmaster 2 have hand-turned turrets. Both can be reset to zero for easy field adjustments. This makes it easy for wind and elevation calls. The turrets sound the same, but they are actually different.

The Prostaff 5 uses MOA adjustments at a ¼’ MOA per click (see full specs). The Buckmaster utilizes ¼ inch adjustments at 100 yards. Again, these sound similar but are quite different. The MOA adjustments are better suited for longer-range precision shooting. The ¼ inch settings are better for casual shooting and perfectly suitable for hunting.

MOA coincides with more professional shooting targets, rifle books, and shooting styles.

Eye Relief

Both optics have a good long eye relief. The Buckmaster 2 features an eye relief of 3.6 inches (see full specs). This is perfect for most full-powered calibers, like the .30-06. The Prostaff 5 has a slightly longer eye relief of 4 inches. 4 inches gives you a slightly longer eye relief which gives you access to larger, further shooting calibers like the .338 Lapua Magnum.

Quick Focus Eyepiece

The Prostaff 5 does offer shooter’s their well-known quick focus eyepiece. This eyepiece lets you get on target quicker. This can be invaluable in competitive and tactical situations. The Buckmaster 2 does lack the quick focus eyepiece, but as a hunting optic, you are likely to be taking a bit longer on your shots.

Parallax Adjustment

Parallax adjustment is utilized on both the 4.5-18x and the 3.5-14x models of the Prostaff 5. However, the Buckmaster the 2.5-10x model of the Prostaff 5 aren’t equipped with parallax control. Parallax control allows long range scopes to be used in close quarters shooting.

Nikon Buckmaster vs Prostaff Round 5: Price

Lastly, we come to price. Price can be the big decider between optics selection, epecially with two optics that are incredibly close in design. If it comes down to brass tacks, the Buckmaster 2 is usually the cheaper optic. Oddly enough back in the day, the Buckmaster was the more expensive optic compared to the older Prostaff models.

Times change and the optics have flip-flopped. Depending on the model, the Buckmaster is usually considerably cheaper than Prostaff 5.

Final Thoughts

Either optic will serve you well. The Prostaff 5 is the slightly higher-end optic and better suited for longer range shooting. The Buckmaster 2 is slightly more affordable and an excellent hunting optic. When it comes to Nikon rifle scopes it’s really hard to go wrong. Consider your needs, consider the differences and act accordingly. Good luck!

  • Owner of, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.

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One response

  1. Much to my surprise… I have both a 4-12X40 Buckmaster II and Prostaff 5 FFP 3.5-14X40 and… No matter how many times I compare the 2 side by side at dusk on 4 power, the Buckmaster II is clearly brighter! It’s also brighter than my Leupold VX2 3-9X40! How can this be… Right? But it is and no matter how much I want the double the price Prostaff 5 to be better, it’s not! The 5 is Nikon’s new First Focal Plane model. Plus it weighs quite a bit more than the Buckmaster II! This is somewhat disappointing and I may sell the Prostaff? The only explanation I can come up with is Nikon does say their Buckmaster II transmits 98% light! That’s phenominal! As far as I’m concerned, the 4-12X40 Buckmaster II is a fantastic general hunting scope at a bargain price! With it’s BDC retical, if it holds up as I expect it will, this could be the only scope for general hunting I need? Sounds unbelievable but this scope may very well be a real sleeper!

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