by Con Kapralos
At the 2017 SSAA SHOT Expo held in Melbourne, I was fortunate to meet Guy Bedington, principal of The Scope Store, which is the importer and distributor for the Hawke Optics brand in Australia. Since the inception of Hawke Optics into this country several years ago, it has gone from strength to strength with many firearms dealers, both big and small, coming on board.
Talking with Guy at length, he highlighted three riflescopes which had either already shown burgeoning sales or were new releases into the Australian market. Two of the riflescopes were in the Endurance range and one was in the flagship Frontier line-up. These three scopes are perfectly suited to different hunting activities that take place in Australia week in, week out.
For hunters not familiar with the Hawke Optics name, it has its origins in the United Kingdom more than 15 years ago. It is now well established in Europe and also in the United States, where it has a major headquarters and strong user presence. Its riflescope range starts with the entry-level Vantage then proceeds to the Panorama and Endurance, with the Frontier being the flagship of the range. The SideWinder and Airmax categories are specialist lines which complete the Hawke portfolio. With over 120 individual riflescope models in the Hawke stable, there is something to suit every user on any shooting budget. Added to a lifetime warranty, it is hard to go past a Hawke riflescope for your next rifle or if simply updating your optics.
Endurance 30 4-16×50 SF LR Dot (16250)
The Endurance 30 4-16×50 with the Side Focus (SF) adjustment and the LR Dot illuminated reticle would have to be as close to the prefect hunting scope as you can go. Uncomplicated, with a four-times magnification range, the illuminated Dot reticle and a host of other features make it a stand-out in its price range.
This particular model in the Endurance range is furnished on a one-piece alloy main-tube with a 30mm diameter, plus generous amounts of main-tube fore and aft of the turret housing, which makes positioning of the scope in your rings and setting eye relief very easy. The low-profile turrets on offer in this model are of a hunter-style configuration in that they are capped to protect the turret dials underneath.
The impressive elevation and windage dials are configured for a ¼ MOA adjustment per click at 100m, with the clicks being audible and easy to feel with the fingers. The illumination of the LR Dot reticle is controlled with a stepless rheostat dial on the ocular, with a designated OFF position. I quite like this arrangement as it is easier to access compared to illumination dials which are located on the turret housing. The ocular is slim, housing a well-designed power magnification ring which moves from 4-16 times firmly, but easily.
A diopter Fast Focus adjustment ring on the front edge of the ocular permits the user to focus the reticle to suit their eyesight. Parallax is adjusted using a dial located on the left side of the turret housing and this can correct it from 9m out to infinity. Supplied with the scope as an accessory is a 4” over-size parallax wheel, which gives the user a bit more grasp, if the standard smaller dial is not to their liking.
Internally, the lenses in the Endurance 4-16×50 are 16-layer fully multicoated for sharp color, contrast and crispness of images out as far as you would wish to shoot. Whether shooting in close at four-times or stretching it out at 16-times, the Endurance lenses give the user a superb image. Hawke sources lenses for its Endurance line from the Asian marketplace and such lens quality is seriously giving the much-admired European manufacturers something to think about.
To top this scope off, the glass etched LR Dot reticle in the second focal plane is magnificent. The tiny fibre-optic red dot in the centre of the fine cross-hairs with thicker outer stadia is similar to the 3P#4 reticle and the illumination is controlled with the ocular-mounted stepless rheostat dial. Hold-over graduations under the red dot, which have been designed to be used with popular hunting calibres, allow shots to be taken at 500m using the correct hold-over marks. The Endurance 30 4-16×50 SF with the LR Dot reticle measures 356mm and weighs 692 grams. It is supplied with a comprehensive user’s manual, lens cloth, screw-on sunshade, two lithium-ion batteries, additional 4” over-size parallax wheel as well as a set of aluminium flip-up lens covers. A superb touch to an already outstanding optic.
Endurance 30 8×56 LR Dot (16240)
When finding out that Hawke made a fixed power riflescope, I knew it would be something special. The Endurance 30 8×56 with the LR Dot reticle is magic – suited specifically to the professional shooter engaged in culling activities under the cloak of darkness.
It shares many of the features of the rest of the Endurance range when it comes to quality of the lenses employed, construction of the main-tube and the design of the windage and elevation turrets. This model still has the hunter-style low-profile turrets with ¼ MOA at 100m adjustment clicks but parallax is fixed at 100m. The 56mm objective lens garnered with the eight-times magnification results in a 7mm exit pupil, which is spot-on for shooting in low light or at night. The glass-etched, second focal plane LR Dot reticle is identical to the one described in the Endurance 4-16×50 SF. However in this instance, the illumination rheostat dial is located adjacent to the elevation/windage turrets on the turret housing. Its stepless operation makes it easy to choose a brightness level to suit. The illuminated reticle, in both instances for the two Endurance riflescopes reviewed, is powered by a single button-style lithium-ion battery which is situated in the illumination dial itself and is effortless to replace if necessary.
The slim ocular is once again evident on the Endurance 30 8×56 but with no magnification dial looks a tad neater. However, the diopter adjustment is still present. The Endurance 30 8×56 LR Dot reticle is 359mm in length and weighs 620 grams. It is supplied with a detailed user’s guide, lens cloth, two lithium-ion batteries, sunshade and aluminium flip-up lens covers.
Frontier 30 1-6×24 Tactical Dot (18201)
The Frontier 30 1-6×24 Tactical Dot riflescope was first shown to me by Guy Bedington at the 2017 SHOT Expo in Melbourne and I was immediately impressed with the unit and its flawless optics and glass-etched illuminated reticle. This riflescope is made for quite a few shooting scenarios – be it dangerous game hunting with big-bore calibres, driven-style hunting where ranges seldom exceed 200m or stalking through dense cover or lignum with your favourite pump-action or lever-action centrefire rifle. The Frontier is the flagship of the Hawke riflescope range, which is a premium line designed around a six-times magnification range. This particular Frontier model arrived in the customary white Hawke Optics carton and was supplied with the Tactical Dot reticle (being also available with the L4A Dot reticle).
The riflescope is manufactured around a 30mm mono-tube aluminium chassis and boasts a matte black finish, similar to all riflescopes in the Hawke range. The turrets on this scope are different in that they are coupled with the tactical nature of the reticle and supplied in the form of exposed and lockable turrets with 1/10 MRAD adjustments for windage and elevation. Looking at the turrets a little closer, they are beautifully crafted and simple to adjust, with labelling that is clearly visible and easy to read. The illumination dial is located adjacent to the exposed turrets and offers six levels of illumination for the Tactical Dot reticle. A single button-style lithium-ion battery powers the illumination and is located within the body of the dial itself. The ocular is once again very neat and streamlined, containing the Fast-Focus eyepiece for focusing the reticle as well as the slick power magnification zoom ring.
Moving it from 1x to 6x was straightforward and once positioned, stayed put. Internally, the Frontier has the best in index matched lenses that are fully multicoated with 21 layers for the ultimate in color, clarity and contrast. The glass-etched Tactical Dot reticle is in the second focal place and comprises of an illuminated quick-acquisition circle and a central aim point. Additional aim points down to a 10-mil spacing when on 6x magnification make this riflescope a highly versatile one in that it can be used at longer ranges and for estimating target distance. The Frontier 30 1-6×24 Tactical Dot riflescope is supplied with an ample user’s manual, two lithium-ion batteries, bikini-style lens covers and a lens cleaning cloth. It measures 265mm in length and weighs 559 grams.
All riflescopes in the Hawke Optics range are nitrogen purged and contain quality seals, ensuring they remain waterproof, fogproof and dustproof. They are all covered by a lifetime warranty for the original purchaser and are exceptional value for money. The three review riflescopes are manufactured for Hawke Optics in China under strict quality control processes and controls.
At the range and in the field.
The three Hawke riflescopes sent for review were range tested on a variety of rifles varying in calibres from .204 Ruger, .243 Winchester, plus several .30-calibre hunting rifles. In all instances, the scopes were fitted to the rifles using supplied Hawke 30mm scope rings which attached directly to Weaver-style bases. Shooting was conducted at a private and public range and from 100m out to the maximum 300m distance.
Both Endurance and Frontier scopes were superb optically, with clear, crisp images out to all distances. Target riflescopes they are not, but as general hunting riflescopes with their illuminated reticles, they performed very well indeed. All three riflescopes were checked for windage and elevation tracking at 100m, shooting ‘around a target’ and finishing at the starting-point. All riflescopes had precise movements without any problems encountered. I managed to test the two Endurance riflescopes at last light to see how they would compare against several other riflescopes I was testing concurrently.
I can gladly say that both the 4-16×50 SF and the 8×56 kept right up with some prestigious European scopes and in the end, only were bettered by the Euro scopes in the order of minutes. Mind you, these scopes retail upwards of $1500, so the two Endurance models in this test were on a par with some of the best.
I will be quite forthcoming and say to people who comment about riflescopes made in China to have a look at their smartphones and see where they are made. That will pretty well silence them right away! Hawke does not shirk the fact that nearly all of its scopes are made in China, but the strict in-house quality control is something that Hawke Optics takes seriously and the company offers a lifetime warranty (to the original owner) as testament to the faith the makers have in their products.
The three scopes tested in this review are among some of my favourites and well suited to all manner of Australian hunting. With over 120 different riflescopes in the six product ranges as well as laser range finders, binoculars and spotting scopes, Hawke Optics is here to stay for the long term. If you haven’t checked out the Hawke range, do yourself a favour and take a look. You will be suitably impressed. For more information on the Hawke Optics range, ask your firearms retailer or visit The Scope Store’s website at www.thescopestore.com.au
|Endurance 30 4-16×50 SF||Endurance 30 8×56||Frontier 30 1-6×24|
|Manufacturer||Hawke Optics, Suffolk, UK|
|Chassis||30mm mono-tube aluminium||30mm mono-tube aluminium||30mm mono-tube aluminium|
|Objective Lens Diameter||50mm||56mm||30mm|
|Field of View||7.7-2.3m at 100m||4.3m at 100m||36-5.9m at 100m|
|Ocular||Fast Focus||Fast Focus||Fast Focus|
|Reticle||LR Dot illuminated stepless, second focal plane||LR Dot illuminated stepless, second focal plane||Tactical Dot illuminated six levels, second focal plane|
|Focus/Parallax||Side Focus 9m to infinity||Fixed at 100m||Fixed at 100m|
|Lens Coating||Fully multicoated 16 layer||Fully multicoated 16 layer||Fully multicoated 21 layer|
|Elevation/Windage Increment||¼ MOA||¼ MOA||1/10 MRAD|
|Elevation Adjustment Range||80 MOA||120 MOA||N/A|
|Windage Adjustment Range||80 MOA||120 MOA||N/A|
|Distributor||The Scope Store, Toowoomba, Queensland|