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Hawke Varmint II 4-16X44MD

In a relatively short space of time Hawke scopes, distributed by Deben Industries, have emerged as one of the big names on the airgun hunting scene. The Hawke range is quite extensive, with forty or so scopes to cater for pretty well all the divisions within our sport, starting with the absolute entry level 4x32 sport HD, at a mere £25, up to full blown target models such as Target 8-32x44 at around the £160 mark. The Varmint II models come in somewhere in between, pitched at the hunting market, but equally at home on the Hunter Field Target (HFT) circuit.

The specification on this Hawke Varmint II was 4-16x44MD. This means it can magnify the target between four and sixteen times, and the ‘x44’ relates to the objective lens diameter in millimetres. The ‘MD’ stands for Mil Dot, which I’ll come to later.

I was struck by the solid feel of the scope, with both the parallax ring and the magnification collar, being nice and smooth when turned. Although this scope is fitted with a parallax ring at the front, with which to range find using the focusing method, I wouldn’t personally put much store by it; this is simply because most top parallaxing scopes are now using much higher magnification to get the best from the system. In practice, you require a much higher magnification scope to get the best from the ‘parallax’ or ‘focus’ rangefinding method. Normally a minimum of 20x, giving a more obvious and defined difference in clarity i.e. the target’s either blurred or it’s clear when the parallax bell is twisted. So reading off the range becomes more accurate; in theory anyway. I’m not writing off the parallax; merely pointing out that a scope with this specification might really shine in a non parallax environment such as HFT competition.

Leaving FT aside, where huge magnification is now a pre-requisite, the test scope will find a ready market in Hunter Field Target (HFT), and obviously as a hunting scope. Setting the magnification at around 9 or 10 x, and the parallax to it’s mid range setting (around 30yds), this becomes a predatory tool, with the Mil Dot specification at your fingertips.

If your not familiar with Mil Dots, then you should know that they’re all the rage, and basically take the form of a design on the reticle, which allows the shooter to judge the range of the target. The idea being that by utilizing a series of dots etched or set into the reticle, the shooter can determine the range of the target; by checking the size of the target as it appears in relation to the gaps between the dots. For example, if the target fits exactly between two Mil Dots, this may mean that the target is at the shooters point of zero, and if it only fills half the gap, then the target would be twice as far away. This is an exceptionally useful feature, and the reticle fitted to this scope has effectively a 21 point MD reticle. This means that each of the four branches on the 30/30 reticle, have four dots apiece, equally spaced, and, including the point of the shoulder on each post, and the centre itself, 21 points of reference are available. With this configuration, the elevated dots high of centre, are useful for close range work, and likewise, the dots low of centre are invaluable as holdover marks for long range shots. This means you can have specific aim points for each range, not to mention windage points as well; promoting very precise aiming indeed.

One point that must be noted is the positive nature of the clicks on the target turrets. The turret caps unscrew to reveal very clearly and precisely marked settings, picked out in white figures.  The whole adjustment mechanism looks and feels solid and well machined, which obviously gives confidence in the construction quality at the heart of the scopes internals.

During my test, I ran the usual check on the integrity of the mechanism, taking note of the zero point, then deliberately dialling round the turret by a couple of turns, counting the clicks. Then , by returning the turret setting back to the original position, the scope should still be zeroed, if the adjustment spindles are true. On some cheaper scopes on the market, you’d be surprised what can happen when adjusting and zeroing. Some require the turret to be overdialled, i.e. turning the turret past the desired setting, then dialling back onto it. This would normally be a sign of poor quality internals and sticky lens locking rings etc.. However, no such problem emerged with the Varmint II, and a precise zero returned at the first dial back.
The click adjustment on the turrets is the relatively standard ¼ inch (every click moves the point of impact by ¼ inch at 100 yds. Therefore at 25 yds, 16 clicks would move the pellet by 1 inch.)

With all Debens Hawke range, the usual guarantees apply- waterproof, shockproof, gasfilled tube for anti-fogging, and a whopping 10 year guarantee. Yes- you read it correctly- 10 years! That’s confidence in their products for sure. The technical blurb supplied with this model also specifies ‘posi-grip’ target style turrets and a ‘CLS True View’ coated lens system.

When you consider that all this slick little package is supplied for around£135.00, then it’s hard to see where a better bargain can be found.

Technical Specifications
Manufacturer Hawke optics
Distributor Deben Group Industries
Model Varmint II 4-16x44 MD
Reticle 21 point Mil Dot
Tube diameter 1 inch
Turret type Finger adjustable target
Objective bell diameter 2 ¼ inch
Total length 14 ½ inch

All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates

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