Muzzle loading rifles represent the oldest types of firearms in existence. They were largely supplanted by the rise of cartridge firearms in the mid-19th century but made a slight resurgence in the 1950s from a historical perspective. As they were considered a “primitive firearm” with ranges normally associated with bows and arrows, many states opened a “muzzle loading season” for hunters to take game using these types of rifles.
Gun manufacturers in the 1980s and 1990s saw a need for a “modern muzzle loader” and introduced various rifles that outwardly resembled a typical hunting rifle and fired a percussion cap or 209 shot shell primer through an inline method. These rifles featured synthetic stocks, stainless steel barrels and a provision for mounting a scope. When looking for a scope for my Thompson Center Greyhawk (a more traditional looking muzzle loader made from modern materials) I opted to go with Nikon’s Omega Muzzle Loader scope.
A scope on a muzzle loader needs to be tough and rugged. Although felt recoil is generally less than most high power rifle cartridges or shotgun loads, the amount of recoil transferred to the rifle is still substantial enough to warrant special attention to the construction of the scope and Nikon pulled out all the stops to make the Omega the perfect candidate.
The Nikon Omega features a bullet drop compensator with the main reticle set at 100 yards. Below the crosshairs ranges of 150, 200, 225 and 250 yards are represented as boldly outlined circles. In this way, the scope is perfect for use on either .50 or .54 caliber rifles. This setup would probably work well on a shotgun dedicated for the use of slugs, too.
The black matte finish looks good on typical black matte modern muzzle loaders, but makes for a nice contrast with the stainless steel rifles, too. Depending on your rifle’s scope mount setup a set of high rings may be in order for the bell of the objective to clear the rifle as a set of medium rings may cause contact with the barrel.
The scope has a variable magnification adjustment of 3X through 9X, making it very versatile. The glass is clear, but the reticle did not appear as sharp as some of Nikon’s other models. If the glass were a bit clearer, I would recommend using Butler Creek’s see through scope caps sold under the Blizzard series, to protect the lenses from “blow-by”. This can still be done, but the image will not be as clear.
“Blow-by” refers to a mixture of gaseous and solid propellant residue caused by ignition that is swept backward through the nipple of the muzzle loader’s action in percussion cap and inline rifles. Companies such as Scopecoat make products to protect the external body of the scope, but it can be easily remedied by applying electrician’s tape to the underside of the scope, above the ignition area of the nipple or receiver. A lens pen or other device is good to keep on hand as a means to keep the lenses clean.
Even though this scope may work well with other centerfire rifle calibers, I would advise against buying it for that purpose as the BDC settings may be incorrect for other ranges. Some shooters have reported excellent use on rifles chambered in 223 by simply doubling the recommended ranges, but Nikon makes plenty of scopes designed for that specific caliber already.
Nikon put a lot of thought into building this scope. As popular as hunting with a muzzle loader has grown, most of the other optic companies seem to be lagging behind in this field, whereas Nikon seems to have done their homework with regard to bringing a quality and affordable product such as the Omega to fill this need.
Long Range Precision Shooting with the Nikon Omega Muzzle Loader Scope
The Art of the Precision Rifle features nearly ten hours of actual live fire class instruction and a “how to” aspects of long range shooting, advanced techniques and formulas, military and law enforcement sniping, precision shooting gear, and the sniper mindset.
- Features nearly ten hours of actual live fire class instruction and additional instructional material on five DVDs
- Five discs, DVD-Video/NTSC, Total Running Time 593 min.
- Made in USA