I’m going to be honest and open when I say that my hunting buddies–mostly my cousins and uncles–are pretty jealous whenever I bring a new product to test out during our get-togethers and hunting trips.

While they do covet many items like my flashlights and my GPS unit, they almost always pine most longingly over my Nikon equipment. That was definitely the case during my tests of the Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope.

This scope, which has a bolt-drop compensator to allow for easy targeting up to 60 yards away, is touted by the company as being waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. I had the chance to test that out and am proud to say the Bolt XR passed with flying colors.

I brought the scope to Michigan, where it’s legal for anyone to use a crossbow during archery deer season, and mounted it to an Excalibur 6730 Ibex crossbow. The crossbow itself got the initial attention, but my uncle lifts it up to his shoulder, peers through the Nikon Bolt XR and immediately comments on the clarity of it. Soon, it was being passed around from cousins to uncles to my dad and, finally, back to me. They were impressed at just how clear it was and the eye relief it gave.

They weren’t nearly as impressed as I was.

Quality ()

I’ve had the luxury of using several Nikon products here at Northeast Hunting, from muzzleloader scopes to binoculars and more. I’m even a Nikon camera fan, using their digital SLRs when I need to snap pics, and the lenses on my glasses are even made by that particular company.

One truth about Nikon is that they are a fairly young competitor in the hunting optics field, but they are definitely proving themselves to be as trusted and as rugged as anyone out there.

The Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope is no different. It only took me three adjustments to get the bolt firing dead center at 35 yards.

On my first day out in the woods, I had the lovely misfortune of accidentally knocking my crossbow out of the tree stand at about 6:30 in the morning. Thankfully there weren’t any deer around at the moment, but I had a gut feeling that my entire day of hunting was shot.

I made my way back to camp and set up the target at 25 yards, getting ready for what I expected to be a full day of adjusting after a fall from 15 feet in the air. Nikon shocked me with the durability of the scope–one adjustment later (that’s a single, one-time turn) had me back at the dead center mark. I moved the target out to 35 yards and was dead on once again. I was baffled and impressed at the same time–I only wished my rifle scopes were so tough.

Reliability ()

I’d like to think that dropping a scope from a tree stand and having it nearly shooting at center still is enough to convince everyone of the reliability of the scope. But the true test is one that comes in the field.

I, unfortunately, didn’t get that chance–but my dad did. When I packed up and headed out of camp and back to home, he had one simple request for me: Mind if I use the Nikon?

I hesitated at first, but agreed to let him take it in exchange for the promise of venison if he were successful with it. I’m proud to say I’ve dined on his deer several times since the following morning when he put down a seven-point buck that made the mistake of wandering in too close.

The Nikon Bolt XR was dropped, removed from one crossbow and placed on another and still performed without exception. My father, a long-time hunter who has used everything from a Simmons to a Leupold, went out and got himself the very same scope to use on his crossbow–and that’s the only testament of reliability I really need.

Price/Value ()

I couldn’t believe that the Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope carries a price tag of just $160 at Bass Pro Shops and staggering $131 (with free shipping!) from Amazon. I honestly would pay $200 for a scope with this kind of quality and dependability and not even think twice about it.

The Nikon Bolt XR outclasses its competitors and puts red-dot scopes to shame. It’s worth every penny and then some.

Referability ()

I can’t say enough about this scope and would suggest anyone who does any kind of real crossbow hunting to go out and buy one. This scope is, hands down, the best crossbow optic I have ever touched, let alone used in the woods.

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