Dave Barham puts the Nikko Stirling Panamax AO 3-9x40 IR scope to the test and loves the wide angle field of view and crisp, clear image...

credit: Archant

I can remember my first scope on my first air rifle, it was a Nikko Stirling Silver Crown, which sat proudly on top of my Webley Eclipse springer. Fast forward some 34 years and here I am reviewing one of the latest additions to the Nikko Stirling range - the Nikko Stirling Panamax AO 3-9x40 IR scope. It’s a strange old world!

Rather ironically, the test rifle for this scope is also a Webley, in the form of last month’s ‘Big Test’ Webley Raider Classic.

credit: Archant


The Nikko Stirling Panamax AO 3-9x40 IR scope features a three-turret set-up with elevation on top and windage on the right, both of which are housed under removable, screw-fit dust caps. The third turret on the left is where the illuminated reticle is operated from, and this offers both green and red illumination with five different brightness levels for each. It’s a simple click-per-twist mechanism and very easy to use.

As you would expect from such a good quality scope, the action of these turrets is positive and firm, and each ‘click’ represents 1/10 mil.

credit: Archant


The parallax adjustment is situated on the objective bell of the scope in the form of a twistable ring. It’s extremely smooth in operation, albeit slightly stiff to begin with, but after a little use it turns easily from 10 yards to infinity.

The ocular focus ring has a great degree of adjustment and just like the objective parallax ring, this one is super-smooth.

The lenses are fully multi-coated and are made of high-definition glass that delivers the greatest light transmission. The scope is also nitrogen purged and sealed for waterproof integrity. It also comes complete with protective lens covers on a ‘rubber band’ type fitting.

credit: Archant


There’s a good raised knob on the zoom ring on this scope, which I find really helps when you want to zoom quickly into a target without lifting your head from the rifle.

The one thing I noticed straight away with this scope is that the markings on this zoom ring go up in halves, so it’s very easy to hit either 5x zoom or 5.5x zoom if required.

It’s smooth and precise, just like everything else on this scope.

credit: Archant


Nikko Stirling’s half mil dot reticle is excellent. It’s very clear and pin sharp through all stages of illumination – it’s one of the best illuminated reticles I have seen to date. You can really tell that they have put a lot of time and effort into making this the ideal ‘dawn ‘til dusk’ hunting scope.

credit: Archant


The Panamax series of scopes has been designed around a wide-angle field of view, which is said to give around 20 per cent more FOV than similar scopes on the market. I really like this, especially when out in the field hunting, because it gives you that extra vision of what’s around you. It’s particularly useful when hunting rabbits, I find.

The quality of the glass is excellent and the view through the scope is extremely clear and crisp, providing great light transmission in lower light conditions.

As far as the price goes, I think around the £180 mark is fair for the sheer quality and features you’re getting. I’m rather pleasantly surprised, if I’m honest. Nikko Stirling scopes have come a long way since my childhood days!

SPECIFICATION - Nikko Stirling Panamax AO 3-9x40 IR scope

Chassis: 1 inch

Optical System: 3-9×

Objective: 40mm

Reticle: Half Mil-dot

Illumination: Red/Green, 5-stage

Focus/Parallax: Bell focus 9m/10yds to infinity

Field of View: m@100m 4.9 (max power)

Field of View: m@100m 14.7 (min power)

Length: 310mm

Weight: 500g

RRP: £178.99

Website: www.highlandoutdoors.co.uk