Hawke Red-Dot Sights
- By Pete Moore
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 19/11/2018
I remember back in the 1980s, when, as a young Practical Shotgunner, always wanting a Single Point red dot sight for my Remy 870. British-made, it seemed like science fiction to me, but the reality of owning one soon proved that yes, it was a good idea, but it could have done with a deal of refinement; not the least of which was a reduction in dot size and an increase in clarity. However, mighty oaks from little acorns and all that, as today this genre is well catered for, with a plethora of options that offer two basic designs – the reflex (open build) and the more traditional, tube-type like a mini scope.
The real pluses of red dot sights is that they are much smaller and simpler than a scope and can be used with both eyes open and are not reliant on a precise eye/ dot line up, as you would have to do on a traditional telescopic sight. Or, for that matter, a set eye relief. If you can see the target and the dot, place it where it needs to go and pull the trigger. And, apart from the obvious advantages for Action and Practical shooters, where the shooting is fast and against the clock, they have always been taken up by hunters, certainly for driven and dangerous game. They also make an excellent shorter range option, in combination with a conventional scope. For example, I have a SHIELD Mini Sight off-set at 45⁰ on the tube of the scope on my FAC-rated FX Wildcat Bullpup PCP air rifle, zeroed for 15 yards; if something pops out, it’s faster and easier to get onto it with the dot.
My experience with dots shows that price does not make a huge difference to performance or even quality, I have an old Tasco tube-type that must be getting on for 30-years old and it’s still sound as a pound! More critical is dot size and shape, as some look like spiders at full illumination and that’s not always the cheap ones! Hawke Optics sent me two that seem to fit the bill and cover both designs and are what I consider reasonably priced too.
First up, the Spot-On 1 x 25, meaning 1x (no magnification) with a 25mm objective lens. Dot size is 4MOA, which means it will subtend around 4” at 100 yards, so not too bad for general use for most needs, I prefer something a tad smaller. Optics are 25-layer multi-coated and it comes with a QD, high, Weaver/Picatinny mount and a low (bolt-tensioned) base options, it’s parallax-free with a fixed focus, nitrogenpurged, water/shock-proof and offers a solid aluminium alloy build, plus Hawke’s 2-year warranty. All in, at sub-£150 including bikini lens covers, cleaning cloth, mounting tool and CR2032 battery, worth serious consideration.
It weighs 5.6 ounces and is a compact package at 2.8” long, 1.7” wide and 2.6” high measured with the high mount from the rail. It has traditional, capped turrets, only much smaller, with finger-adjustable, 1-click = 1MOA @ 100 yards drums. The battery compartment is on the right and does not include the rheostat; this, instead, is combined with the twin, rubber-covered buttons on top that control ON/OFF and the six illumination levels. Press either +/- for ON and press and hold again for 3-seconds for OFF. Dabbing the buttons increases/decreases the brightness in stages.
The Reflex Sight Autobrightness (Weaver) follows the more modern reflex build; L-shaped, it’s an open design, with a single (30mm) lens at the front that the rearmounted (enclosed) light source projects the dot onto. There’s a short hood over the lens, but this open build can allow rain to get onto the lens surface and refract the beam shape. Hawke includes a pull-off, protective rubber cover, which must be removed before use. This is a solid little build again, and all aluminium with a weight of 3 oz and measuring at 1.9” long, 1.18” wide and 1.57” high. The battery sits underneath, and the base must be removed to access it. Mounting is by a screw-tightened Weaver/ Picatinny base, so nice and simple. There’s a rubber-covered ON/OFF switch on the left; quick press ON, longer press off. Zero adjustment is by flush, slot head drums and a screwdriver is supplied for the purpose. These offer 1MOA @ 100 yards increments and are marked UP and LEFT with a directional arrow to suit (elevation top, windage right).
Typically, there’s a rheostat but its automatic and digital, the front-mounted sensor reacts to ambient light; so, the more there is, the brighter the dot and the reverse in darker conditions. Which is logical, as when dark, you can see the dot easily at lesser intensity than in the sunlight. And you do not run into the problem of a manual system, which, if set too high, will flare out and obscure the view in these conditions. Dot size is 5MOA @ 100 yards.
Hawke says that they are ‘all-calibre’ rated; to test this, I put both on a 22 rimfire semi-auto and then switched to a 30-06 straight-pull to take them from one extreme to the other without any problems on integrity or drifting off zero etc. When zeroing, be aware that the dot physically moves in the view and to adjust the group it must be moved in the opposite direction; shooting left, dot left to swing barrel right. There are five options on the Reflex that includes a standard, the Autobrightness, WideView with a 36mm lens and two smaller Micro versions with 3 and 5MOA dot options. Prices differ as to model.
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