Shooting Straight with Nikon Prostaff 5

Shooting Straight with Nikon Prostaff 5

If you ever want to get a few odd looks at the hunting camp, bring an AR-15. To many, the AR-15 is far from a traditional hunting rifle. It’s semiautomatic, black, and military-like. To me, it just makes sense. After spending five years as a marine, there isn’t a rifle I know better than the AR-15. It’s a natural fit in my hands, and I’ve qualified as an expert on the rifle range enough to know what I am doing with it.

There isn’t much I needed to do to turn my AR into a hunting rifle. First, I needed a five-round magazine to comply with state law. Next, I need proper .223 ammo designed for hunting, and I wanted an optic. I chose the Nikon Prostaff 5, and that’s what we are here to talk about today.

The Prostaff 5 is a large line of optics with a variety of different magnification levels. My particular model is the 2.5–10✕ with a 40 mm objective lens. To me, this offered the most versatility for the environments I hunt in. At 2.5 power, I’m capable of easily getting on target for close range shooting, and at 10✕ I can see well beyond what’s needed.

I mounted it to my AR-15 with a simple Warne MSR single-piece mount and started my journey in the prehunting season, making sure this optic would serve me well.


Zeroing the optic for shooting straight is step 1. I like to zero my AR rifles at fifty yards. An AR zeroed at fifty yards gives me a good zero out to three hundred yards without having to worry too much about bullet drop. I won’t take a shot at an animal beyond two hundred yards because of the fact that I want to ensure it’s put down humanely.

Zeroing the Prostaff 5 is simple because of the hand-turn turrets. I won’t need a tool or bullet casing to make adjustments. I simply twist the turrets up/down and left/right.

The turrets give nice feedback for every click. This is important when you are on a rifle range and guns are going off all around you. That tactile feedback allowed me to count my clicks without needing to hear them.

The clicks are ¼ MOA adjustments. So it’s not Nightforce levels of precision, but it’s plenty precise for hunting deer. The turrets can also be reset to zero. This means, after you get your zero, you can then take the turrets and “reset” them to zero. Your zero will be held, but now you can make field adjustments to compensate for windage and even bullet drop.

In ten rounds I was on target, my eye relief was set, but I wasn’t ready for the deer stand just yet. I zeroed using my favorite Hornady Whitetail hunting ammo but wanted to ensure the scope didn’t lose zero after a few more rounds.

On the Range

Shooting StraightI went through a hundred rounds of cheap but reliable Wolf Gold .223 ammo. Then I rechecked the zero using my Hornady Whitetail loads. It was picture perfect. I couldn’t complain about shooting straight.

Speaking of picture perfect, that’s an apt way to describe the sight picture through the scope. It’s crisp, clear, and bright. Even as the day turns to afternoon and to evening, the sight picture remains nice and clear. Low-light performance is critical with a hunting optic. In my neck of the woods, most game moves in the early morning and as the sun sets.

Poor low-light performance translates into a bad sight picture. A bad sight picture can make a little doe seem like a monster buck. There is also the ethics of shooting at something when you are not entirely sure of what it is.

The scope uses Nikon’s patented reticle system that uses various aiming points. This bullet drop compensator allows to measure bullet drop and assign certain dots to certain ranges. This does either require you to use Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Technology app to provide the right holds for the right ranges. Alternatively, you can learn your own dope and assign the reticles yourself.

The dots themselves are see-through, and this keeps your sight picture from becoming cluttered and difficult to use. This isn’t a feature I needed for three-hundred-yard shooting, but if I ever choose to hit a long rifle range, it will be an excellent tool. The reticle itself is thin but easy to see. I like thinner reticles for a less-obstructed view.

Final Thoughts

Overall the Nikon Prostaff 5 is an outstanding optic, it’s priced to move, and perfect for your AR 15, or really any hunting rifle for Shooting Straight. The Prostaff 5 has proven to be precise, easy to use, and perfect for hunting. Sadly, this year, the only game I bagged was mosquitoes, but there is always next year.

Photo URL: Steve Rainwater from Irving, US – img_5572, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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Gregory Beckman

About the Author:

Hi, I am Gregory Beckman, as the main owner of Military Hunting and Fishing let me tell you a little bit more about myself. I am currently an active duty member in the United States Coast Guard. I have been privileged to traveling the world. My experiences have shaped the way that I see the world and my memories will stick with me for a lifetime. Although I may not live in the country, the country lives in me. Traveling the world I have had the chance to experience the wonders of nature in many different places, meeting many different people and tasting wild game that the normal person would not get to experience. Although these experiences have kept me away from home, it has instilled a deep passion of hunting and fishing in my blood. Thank you for joining our site, and I look forward to interacting and sharing stories of our hunting adventures. Gregory A. Beckman