Nikon riflescopes raise a lot of questions among scope buyers. The status of Nikon riflescopes, their availability and how Nikon is handling warranties are hot topics on many forums and websites. Many shooters wonder about the Nikon Lifetime warranty on their scopes.
As of mid-2019, Nikon announced that they would no longer manufacture and sell riflescopes. As of the last information that we could obtain, Nikon has ceased making and selling rifles scopes. Nikon has also revamped its warranty program, and the Nikon Lifetime Warranty program no longer exists.
Nikon’s exit from the riflescope market caught many shooters and retailers by surprise. Confusion has ruled the market since many retail websites are still selling Nikon scopes. Many discounters routinely buy large quantities of discontinued models of scopes and continue to sell them until supplies run out. To add to the confusion, Nikon has modified its warranty on these scopes several times since 2019.
Nikon’s Exit from the Riflescope Market
Nikon announced late in 2019 that they would no longer be producing and selling riflescopes. Nikon stated that competition from cheaper riflescopes made the market unprofitable. At the time, Nikon addressed the warranty issue saying that warranties would continue to be honored.
Since that time, Nikon has amended their warranty program several times. The Nikon “No-Fault Repair Policy,” which amounted to a lifetime warranty, was being phased out and replaced with a new warranty policy.
The New Nikon Warranty Program
The new warranty policy implemented by Nikon includes the following:
- Lifetime limited warranty for the optical system of Binoculars, Field scopes and Riflescopes.
- Seven-year limited warranty for non-optical system components of Binoculars, Field scopes and Riflescopes
- One-year limited warranty for electrical components of Binoculars, Field scopes and Riflescopes
- The Five-year limited warranty on all components for Rangefinder and Red Dot/Reflex sight products remains the same.
These changes end the “No-Fault” version of all warranties. Other changes to the warranty program may also affect riflescopes.
How does This Affect Current Nikon Scope Owners?
In short, this is the way current owners of Nikon riflescopes can expect Nikon’s warranty service to operate.
- Nikon riflescopes purchased before November 1, 2019, are eligible for the old “No-Fault” lifetime warranty.
- Anyone requesting warranty service on a riflescope purchased before November 1, 2019, must provide proof of purchase from an authorized dealer or reseller to quality.
- Any Nikon riflescope purchased after November 1, 2019, will be warrantied under the new rules. These new rules include:
- Non-optical systems are warrantied for seven years from the date of purchase
- Electronic components carry a one-year warranty.
- Under the new warranty program, riflescopes with evidence of misuse, alteration or accident, or damage caused by unauthorized replacement parts will not be covered.
- Nikon riflescope warranties are no longer transferrable from one person to another.
The important takeaway here is the need for documentation. If you are like me, the receipt for a ten-year-old Nikon scope is long gone. Nikon will not accept serial numbers or anything other than proof of purchase from an authorized dealer or reseller.
The Word on the Street about Nikon Warranty Service
The latest comments from Nikon riflescope owners about the Nikon warranty service are less than encouraging. Anyone needing service on their Nikon riflescope may be in for a few surprises.
- Some Nikon riflescope owners report that, with the proper documentation, Nikon appears to be performing warranty repair services.
- Under some situations, Nikon is offering credit toward another Nikon product when a riflescope repair isn’t possible, or the parts are no longer available.
- Nikon has no official word on the policy that will prevail when parts or service on riflescopes is impossible.
As time passes, Nikon will inevitably have problems repairing or replacing defective scopes. It appears that Nikon scopes are rapidly becoming disposable goods.
But I Can Still Buy New Nikon Scopes
There are still Nikon riflescopes in the marketplace. Most of these riflescopes were purchased by the big retail discounters when Nikon made their announcement. Many of these scopes are still available, but the supplies are slowly dwindling.
Buyer beware when buying these often deeply discounted scopes. Warranty service will be sketchy at best and, if there is a problem, it will be the retailer or dealer who is your only recourse.
What Riflescope Manufacturers Offer Lifetime Warranties?
There are riflescope manufacturers who offer legitimate lifetime warranties. We surveyed the major riflescope manufacturers and found this information.
Nightforce Optics offers a limited lifetime warranty on its riflescopes. In general, these limitations apply.
- The warranty covers mechanical defects in materials and workmanship in the optical and mechanical components of the riflescope.
- Excluded from warranty are intentional or accidental damage, abuse, misuse, unauthorized modifications or repairs, and improper mounting
- Nightforce will either repair the riflescope or replace it at no charge with a comparable product at their discretion.
This warranty is not a no-fault replacement or repair warranty. If you don’t register your product, the warranty may not be honored.
Trijicon offers a variety of warranties on different types of riflescopes and various riflescope components. In general, these are the relevant conditions of the Trijicon warranty.
- Trijicon warrants its products to be free from any kind of defects in workmanship and materials for the lifetime of the original owner. The registered Trijicon product will be repaired or replaced by the manufacturer.
- Riflescopes damaged due to improper, abusive, abnormal use, improper service, or accident are excluded from warranty
- The Trijicon limited lifetime warranty does not apply to illumination systems.
Unlike some other scope manufacturers, Trijicon does not warranty their scopes on a no-questions-asked basis. If you accidentally drop your rifle and damage your Trijicon riflescope, the warranty will not apply.
Vortex Optics has one of the most broadly written warranties of any manufacturer in the market. The VIP Warranty covers most Vortex Optics products and all their riflescopes. The VIP warranty included these provisions.
- VIP stands for Very Important Promise, and Vortex has a reputation of standing behind that promise to its customers.
- The VIP warranty is hassle-free, No Questions Asked warranty policy. The manufacturer will repair or replace the product without asking a single question.
- Under the Vortex Optics VIP warranty, no matter whether the damage or defect on the Vortex product is an accident, house fire, your fault, your dog, or any other reason, the customer is covered by the VIP Warranty.
- Under this VIP warranty, Vortex will replace the riflescope with another similar product in perfect working condition, whose physical condition will either be the same or better than the product sent for repair or replacement.
The Vortex Optics VIP warranty has given Vortex Optics a reputation for unparalleled customer service. Many people believe that the Vortex Optics VIP warranty more than makes up for the lack of quality control that is sometimes evident in their products.
There is no doubt that Swarovski Optik produces some of the finest glass optics in the industry. The quality of their optics and the attention to detail during the manufacturing is well known. Swarovski Optik also offers a generous warranty on its products.
- The Swarovski limited lifetime warranty covers defects due to workmanship and materials.
- Products must have been purchased from an authorized dealer to be eligible for the limited lifetime warranty.
- The warranty does not cover damage from accidents, misuse, improper mounting, or user repairs or alterations.
- Swarovski reserves the right to make the final determination on the validity of the warranty claim.
When you send your riflescope back to Swarovski, a technician thoroughly examines the riflescope. If the technician finds that the defect in the scope is not directly related to a defect due to improper manufacture or a materials failure, claim denial is a usual result.
Leupold builds some of the most popular riflescopes sold in the US. Some of this popularity is due to the level of craftsmanship and the customer service Leupold provides. Part of the excellent customer service is the warranties offered by Leupold.
Leupold offers several levels of warranty on its products.
- Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee
- Leupold Electronics Limited Two-Year Warranty
- Leupold Military and Tactical Products
Leupold Full Lifetime Warranty
- Leupold provides free repair and replacement for all its optical products, including riflescopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes
- The warranty is available to anyone owning the riflescope
- No proof of purchase, ownership, or transfer is needed.
Leupold Electronics Limited Two-Year Warranty
- Leupold’s electronic products (rangefinders, thermal products, and other electronic products) come with a 2-year purchase warranty.
- The warranty no electronics covers material and workmanship-related defects.
- Within the two year warranty period, Leupold will repair or replace the defective item
The Leupold warranty will be void if the riflescope is misused, modified, accidentally damaged, wrongly damaged, or abused.
Schmidt and Bender
Schmidt and Bender produce high-quality, high-value riflescopes. The high cost of these rifle scopes puts them out of range of most average shooters and hunters. At this cost range, the expectation is attention to detail and superior features. Schmidt and Bender maintain a stock of repair parts on every product for a minimum of thirty years.
- Statutorily, Schmidt and Bender hold their riflescopes to a two-year warranty period as required by EU regulations.
- Many S&B owners report favorable outcomes on older riflescopes.
Schmidt and Bender’s riflescopes are some of the most expensive on the market. Unfortunately, the working of the warranty and some reported problems with warranty requests leave the quality of the Schmidt and Bender warranty in question.
Bushnell has a good reputation for quality and reliability. The riflescopes in the Bushnell line are well known and well-received by shooters and hunters in the US. However, Bushnell has a complicated Warranty system that includes seven different warranty offerings.
- Bushnell Ironclad Warranty
- No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty
- Bushnell Bulletproof 100% Money Back Guarantee
- Lifetime Limited Warranty
- One Year Limited Warranty
- 90 Day Limited Warranty
- Canadian Warranty
These various warranties cover different optics in the Bushnell line. When purchasing a Bushnell product, you should check the warranty coverage carefully. This warranty includes these provisions.
- The IronClad Warranty is valid on any defect in materials and workmanship of the warranted Bushnell products.
- The IronClad Warranty covers only the Bushnell Engage riflescopes and binoculars.
- The warranty period of the Ironclad warranty is 30 years on Engage riflescopes.
The Bushnell No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty covers many of the other Bushnell riflescope products, including:
- Bushnell Trophy
- Bushnell Trophy Extreme
- Bushnell Legend
- Bushnell Elite
- Bushnell Elite Tactical
The warranty on these riflescopes covers the following.
- The No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty is fully transferable.
- This Bushnell warranty covers accidental damage as well as defects in materials and workmanship.
- Products covered by this warranty will be repaired or replaced with a product similar in terms of specification or value.
A Final Word on Nikon Lifetime Warranty
It is clear at the time of this article that Nikon is rapidly approaching the end of its support for its riflescope products. The further away we get from the end of Nikon’s manufacturing of riflescopes, the less likely that warranty service will be offered or available. Anyone purchasing a Nikon riflescope from a discounter or liquidator does so at their own risk.