Hawke Airmax 30 Touch 3-12x32
- By Chris Parkin
- 3 Comments
- Last updated: 23/03/2020
Hawke’s new Airmax “Touch” riflescope is an unusual design offering short eye relief specifically for low recoil rifles like pre-charged pneumatics. We all like to have nice optics but when space can be at a premium, this does invite new ways of looking at shooting styles and needs, so it made for an interesting project.
The Airmax carries a wide-angle optical system with 16-layer multicoatings, side parallax adjustment and fast focus eyepiece for sharp image quality. There are also benefits of rangefinding with the supplied sidewheel offering short focal length snap-in, snap-out image focus from 7m to infinity, smooth rotation and no backlash. All is built on a 30mm one-piece maintube for simplicity with adequate mounting space suited to air rifles. The Etched reticle offers red illumination of the centre Christmas tree with six intensity levels with intermediate off positions between stages. It’s good to see the fast focus eyepiece has a lock-ring too, a subtle benefit on a scope where contact is likely, and you don’t want to be constantly altering focus accidentally.
Magnification running from 3-12x illustrates the non-varying reticle size, being set in the second focal plane. Hawke supply detailed dimensions for the reticle online and the magnification collar shows an interesting detented click as it passes 10x to indicate where all these coincide with ballistic data. The turrets are capped with grippy thumb dials marked out in 1/10 mRad clicks (10mm @100m). Six MRAD (60 clicks) per turn are available on elevation dial with 12.5 total turns for 75MRAD adjustment. Both dials can be reset to mark zero and have a Vernier scale to show which number turn you are in. Windage is marked clearly left and right of centre.
The Touch carries a lot of `big scope` features and functionality yet it’s compact size and minimal 30mm eye relief is the standout function. It feels a little unusual to have my eyebrow in contact with the ocular bell of a scope but I can see where it holds advantages for novices who struggle to gain and maintain the function of eye relief to that is normally present to protect them from recoil, which on a PCP is pretty much non-existent. Allowing a shooter’s eyebrow to physically meet the ocular body enables concentration on learning other elements of the rifleman’s craft before transitioning to larger guns with recoil.
I would state this scope is for PCPs only, springers will give you a bump, there is a rubber bellows eyecap to push on/off easily enough, but I preferred it removed as it tends to compress and block field of view a little. Of course, the size and shape of your eye sockets will all differ, especially with younger shooters and some may prefer it for the slightly softer feel of that tiny pulse of recoil a PCP still exhibits. I can also see the benefits to people with disabilities, making contact with the scope as well as rifle cheekpiece can ease neck strain and open op the sport to those who may have been unable to aim clearly when always fighting against the intrusive dark circles of vignettes encroaching.
All clicks were tactile with masses of adjustment range and having the detent `click` at 10x magnification made aim offs on the mil dot reticle easier to understand without the confusion of discussing reticle subtensions at varying magnification. Half Mil Dot spacing on the lower post provides increased aim points for varying range shots on the loopy airgun with horizontal bars all showing 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 mil spacing. Hollow posts are a great way of allowing the reticle to remain fine in detail yet easily found in field of view, again a great learning tool with hidden bracketing benefits for the more experienced.
Although only 32mm, I found the image allowed by the scopes smaller objective lens to maintain good, clear image and brightness although certainly no low-light optic. Easy to keep low to the barrel (and stock), being compact made it easier to mount on smaller PCP which often struggle to space regular eye relief optics sufficiently far from the eye.
I like the overall concept of this scope and although fairly specific in its market position, think Hawke would do well to offer 50 or 75mm eye relief options as well. These would complement rimfires too. Too many claims are made for 100mm eye relief suited to magnum calibres yet fail to appreciate, one size does not fit all and modern optics with multirange capabilities are just as popular on smaller rifles with smaller shooters.