Deben Hawke Airmax SR12 6-18X44AO & 2-7x32AO MAP6
You have to hand it to Deben Group, rarely has a range of products managed to establish itself and generate such widespread market presence in such a relatively short space of time. Put simply, the Hawke Optics brand name is everywhere you look; and with an extensive range of scopes to suit all manner of shooting disciplines- be they airgun or live ammo - Hawke certainly warrants closer inspection.
Under the spotlight here, I’ve two examples from the Airmax range of scopes – aimed primarily at the airgun shooter. One is the Airmax SR12 6-18X44AO, and the other is the Airmax 2-7x32 AO MAP6, and they neatly demonstrate what sort of features you can expect from the SR and MAP specifications.
Three times Field Target World Champion, Nick Jenkinson, designed the reticles utilized by these scopes, and with his experience shining through, the end results are seriously useful products in the field.
The larger 6-18x44 model has some interesting features, but I’ll start by deciphering the coding in the name. ‘SR’ stands for ‘Specialized Reticle’, and although many will be sold for airgun use, the principles are all relevant to live ammo applications as well.
Four different reticle specs exist in the ‘SR’ range, with the same format being used throughout, remaining proportional, just varying slightly with the different magnifications used. The reticle design itself involves a central thick cross-hair, with a series of stadia lines appearing horizontally across the upright. These get progressively longer to allow for greater windage as the range increases. In addition, a series of hollow dots appear in between the lines, and at the end of each stadia. An incredible number of aiming/reference points is thus on show, and with the inclusion of a dedicated range-finding section in the lower left quadrant of the scope, the shooter effectively has a wealth of information in his eyeline.
The range finder has four bracketing bars A, B, C, and D, which, when viewed against the central cross-hair, all relate to exact target sizes. If the scope is set to it’s master magnification, i.e. 12x for the SR12 reticle, then preset measurements fall into place; i.e. the distance between bar A and the cross-hair = 3inches at 50yds, B = 6inches, C = 9inches and D =12inches. Out in the field, if the rough size of the target is known, and you’ve done your homework, then by dialling the magnification and using the bracketing bars, a good idea of the range can be calculated.
‘Nite Eye’ versions of the SR6 and SR12 are available, which are visually identical, save for the central stadia area appearing in red, and illuminating at the click of the rheostat/ switch.
The main central stadia area roughly resembles a Christmas tree, and those hollow dots are a clever feature, meaning that the fine detail of a target is never obscured, as can be the case when using conventional Mil dots.
Obviously, this type of riflescope requires the shooter to set-up and zero the scope, then aim off using ‘holdover’ for the other ranges. A rough guide to the increments and corresponding ranges is as follows; with the SR12 (viewed on the master mag of 12x) mounted on a legal limit .177 air rifle, and zeroed at 35yds, the first dot down from centre comes in at around 40yds. The next line down equates to 50yds approx, and the next dot, around 55yds. Pellet weights will obviously affect the trajectory, but the reference points are in place for your own graph to be plotted.
The Airmax SR12 6-18X44AO
The particular SR model on test has a specification making it suitable for a variety of applications. As an air-rifle hunting scope, with 6-18 magnification, it’s just about ideal, allowing for relatively low mag for close shots (when the rabbit appears at your feet!), when clarity is at a premium; and yet having the option to crank up to 18x when a longer shot presents itself.
In Hunter Field Target shooting, this scope is a winner too, set at 10x mag and coupled with that superb SR reticle.
This model has a lot to offer – a general parallax adjustment ring comes fitted at the front, with a positive collar to grip. Markings start at 15yds, then 25yds, 50yds and above; offering a rough guide in the field – more of a strict parallax correction aid than a range finder, but I did find the picture could be reasonably clear down to 12yards, so we are looking at a versatile spec for airguns.
The concealed turrets offer 1/4inch adjustments (@100yds), and are of the finger friendly type. To test the integrity of the mechanism, I carried out the classic routine of zeroing, dialling a set amount to the right, then the same down, left, and finally back up, to hopefully arrive back at zero. I’m pleased to say that the results were spot-on, so no cause for concern in this department.
There we are then - the Airmax 6-18x44SR12 – for around £160, it’s a lot of scope for the money.
Airmax Hawke 2-7x32AO MAP6
The other model here, just received from Deben, is the compact 2-7x32MAP6. This neat little scope usefully demonstrates the other main reticle range from Hawke - the MAP Pro. Another of Nick Jenkinson’s creations, MAP stands for Multi Aim Point, and is designed to work with many different calibres, both airgun and live.
The reticle appears as a more conventional 30/30 design, but with additional aim points, best described as squashed Mil dots. The MAP principle is similar to SR. For example, the MAP6 reticle using a .22 air-rifle set at 11.5ft/lbs, and set at 6x mag, if the scope is zeroed at 30yds, all the other aim points should fall into place at roughly 5yd increments. As usual, there’s no substitute for getting out and testing out your own pellet/rifle combo and plotting the trajectory, but the MAP system provides an invaluable framework of reference points, within which to do this.
The specification of this 2-7x32 model makes it a handy scope indeed. It’s rather unusual to have such a low minimum mag of 2x, yet in a hunting scenario, it can be a real boon, and despite the accompanying literature stating a minimum focus of 10 yards, I found that around 5yds (the 15ft min marking on the parallax ring) was as clear as you would need. When set to a 25yd mid point, parallax wise, clarity through the ranges was totally usable. Indeed, with the target turrets giving crisp adjustment, I just felt that this model had all the hallmarks of reliability that would see many years of use.
Two nice scopes then; but Hawke have one more ace up their sleeve. The recently introduced Ballistic Reticle Calculator (BRC), is a clever piece of computer software that can be downloaded from the internet, via Hawkes website, for free!
To be used in conjunction with their specialized scopes, it’s simplicity itself to use; select which reticle type - SR12, MAP6 etc., select the calibre (air or live), then add in other variables such as scope height, zero range, and all the range markings on the reticle will be produced for you – all ready to print off.
In addition, a main trajectory chart is plotted, and range finding figures can be calculated, to be used in conjunction with the range finding facility in the reticles.
All great stuff, and having dabbled with the BRC set-up myself, I have to say it’s a real bonus and confidence boost if you happen to own one of Hawke’s scopes. Well done Deben for leading the way!
With the ‘SR’ and ‘MAP’ reticles, the highly affordable Airmax range pose a serious choice for both hunting and HFT competitions, offering well thought out and highly effective specifications.
|Model||Airmax 2-7x32 AO MAP6 | Airmax SR12 6-18x44AO|
|Manufacturer||Hawke Optics | Hawke Optics|
|Reticle||MAP6 | SR12|
|Objective||32mm | 44mm|
|Finish||matt black | matt black|
|Field O.V(ft @100yd)||53-17.6 | 41.5-10.3|
|Eye relief||3.5inch | 3.5inch|
|Length||11.33inch | 14.5inch|
|Weight||14oz | 19.5oz|
|Tube size||1 inch | 1 inch|
|Click adjust.||1/4inch@100yd | 1/4inch@100yd|
|RRP||£79.95 | £160|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates