View Full Version : Nikon Monarch or Zeiss Terra scope?

January 1, 2014, 01:12 PM
I'm sure this has been asked before and I know the opinions are varied, but I am interested in your opinions! I just got a Browning BAR in 30-06 and need to put a scope on it. I am debating between the Nikon Monarch (either 2.5-10 or 3-12 BDC) and the Zeiss Terra 3-9. I have never owned either. I like the bigger magnification range of the Nikons, but have read a lot of good things about the Zeiss as well. Which one has better glass? I know the Terra line is a new line to replace the Conquest. I really like the Conquest HD5 scopes, but they are much more expensive! A Leupold VX-3 may crawl into the mix, but I think I like the Nikon better than the Leupold. General consensus that I have seen is Nikons are said to be just as good for less money, and I like the lower end of the magnification on the Nikons (2.5 and 3 while still getting up to at least 9-12 on the high end, as opposed to 3.5 as the low end on the Leupold).

Anybody have experience with these scopes? Or recommendations? I appreciate all input.


January 1, 2014, 02:01 PM
Can't speak to Zeiss, but I have 2 Nikons and 3 Leupolds. No complaints about any of them, but some observations. First Nikon is a Prostaff 3-9 that I have on an AR. For a lower priced scope, it's pretty good. Second Nikon is a Monarch 5-20 on a heavy barrel 22-250. Very nice. The field of view is limited, but it's a varminter. No need to lean over to the spotting scope to see my groups at 100. Like the BCD reticle. Neither have been "durability tested" by me. First Leupold is an old VX 3-9 on a 7 mag I inherited from my father. I have hauled it all over the Rockies, and it has nicks to show for it. No problems. Holds zero consistently, mostly with max loads of 160s. Second Leupold is a newer VX-2 2-7 on my 6.5x55. Less expensive, light, again no problems, although it hasn't taken the beating to old one has. Finally, a VX-3 2.5-8 with the "Boone and Crocket" reticle on my .338 WM. It's done mountain duty, but no nicks yet. However, it has survived several hundred rounds of fairly heavy thumping on a fairly light rifle (Savage "Weather Warrior"). Bottom line for me is I like my Nikons, but will go Leupold for something likely to take a beating. Whose glass is best? Can't say - everything you're looking at is excellent.

January 1, 2014, 03:01 PM
There aren't a lot of folks using the Terra yet. I've read some reports from a handful of Terra owners on other forums. Some claim it is as good as the Conquest it replaced, others say not quite as good. If it does prove to be as good as the older Conquest then it is a no brainer, get the Zeiss.

I can help compare Nikon Monarch vs Leupold vs Conquest. The Conquest has the best glass. That is why I think the Terra may be the best choice here, but until I actually see one can't say for sure Leupold has recently upgraded, a VX-3 made in the last 3 years is going to be pretty close. Older VX-3's are still good, but a small step below the Conquest glass quality. The Monarch is Nikons best scope and is right with the others in quality. Probably a step ahead of Leupold. At least versions 3 years old or older.

Nikon would be a good scope, but comes in 3rd place for me because of other reasons. They are heavier and longer than Leupold. They have shorter eye relief than either and give a "tunnel" effect when looking through them. There is a larger black ring around the edges compared to other scopes blocking a lot of the view.

Leupold's are lighter, shorter, have the most eye relief of any scopes made and give clear views to very near the edges of the scope. Not quite as sharp as others, but good enough. I trust them to be near indestructible in harsh hunting conditions compared to any other scope.

Zeiss is the best glass, they are still heavy, but have decent eye relief and seem to be very durable as well.

I own all 3 brands and none are really bad. I go back and forth between Leupold and Zeiss concerning which I like best, and there are things I like about the Nikon too. It comes down to how much you want to spend and which features are more important to you. FWIW Zeiss did have a $20 rebate. Not sure when it expires.

January 1, 2014, 04:46 PM
I compared the Nikon Monarch 3 2-8x to the Zeiss Terra 2-7x. The 2 key issues I saw were edge clarity was better on the Monarch and the reticle was way too thick in the Terra. The Nikon reticle was thinner without being too thin that it was hard to pick up. The color rendition, ability to hand looking just off angle of bright lights was same to me. The choice of the Nikon was easy to make.

I also looked through a VX3 and it was pretty good, but had similar edge clarity issues to the Zeiss. All three were pretty darn good scopes. Would love to have each for a day in the field.