Hawke Airmax 30SF Compact 3-12x40
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- Last updated: 14/02/2022
Compact scopes have recently become all the rage, a phenomenon fuelled due to the seemingly non-stop interest in bullpup air rifles. Never a company to be left behind in the optical stakes, Hawke noticed this and soon launched a series of compact optics to satisfy demand. And while they’ve continued to develop the range, there are still those models available that started the trend.
The scopes are to some extent based on the original Airmax 30 range and these strong, fully-featured, userfriendly optics soon won an army of admirers, especially as they also housed the AMX reticle, a very useful design for airgun use.
So was born the Airmax 30 Compact SF range of optics, which includes a 3-12x40, 4 -16x44 and a 6-24x50 model. All feature a red illuminated AMX reticle. Each model in the series comes with an instruction booklet, leaflet on how to use the reticle, see-thru lens covers, 3” side-wheel, 1x CR2032 battery and a generously sized lens cloth.
The major difference between the original Airmax 30 SF design, besides size, is that the rheostat control is now mounted on the parallax dial, which is found directly opposite the windage turret.
The eyebell has a fast focus ocular and the easy-grip, high torque zoom magnification ring has a shallow grooved outer, with a slightly raised hub. The AMX, multi-aimpoint reticle is glass etched, the scope has 16-layer, fully multi-coated lenses that show exceptional clarity. Plus, the objective and ocular housings are threaded to accept lens covers or other accessories, such as a sunshade. As you’d expect, the scopes are nitrogen purged as well as water, shock and fog proof.
So, after that overview, now to the scope on test, the 3-12x40 model, or as some would say, the more generalpurpose optic in the range.
In comparison to the overall length of the scope, the eyebell is relatively lengthy but still manages to be a neat affair. Forward of this is the zoom ring and to the very rear, the ocular adjuster. The former is highly praiseworthy, as its generous size and hub make it very easy to use in all weather conditions.
The saddle not only features the large, targetstyle, capped elevation/ windage turrets but both the parallax adjuster and the rheostat dial. The former has a generous amount of raised, deep ridging for a sure grip and is marked for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 300 and 600 yards, followed by the Infinity symbol (∞).
The accompanying sidewheel is similarly range marked and is designed to slip over the rheostat dial and locate onto the parallax dial. This is done by lining up the range markings, then slipping the side-wheel onto and over two protruding lugs on the parallax dial that line up with indents in the inner ring of the wheel. When in situ, it’s held securely by friction and also due to the inner ring of the sidewheel featuring a rubber liner.
The turrets indicate 1/10 MRAD click values and each turret has 60 clicks per turn. However, while the elevation turret offers a full 5 ½ rotations, the windage turret has 6 ½ full rotations. In use, the turrets click audibly and very positively to each station as you index them around.
The rheostat is powered by a single 3V Lithium battery (supplied) and shows six brightness levels. In between each brightness level, there is a ‘0’ mark, that when selected, turns the illuminated reticle off. I like this design, because rather than having to click around from a single off position to the specific brightness level you desire, once on the level you want to use, you are only one click away from turning it off and then on again.
The AMX reticle is based on the spacings of a 10x Mil- Dot. Half Mil-Dot spacings on the lower post provide aim points for longer range shots. The horizontal bars are positioned at 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 Mil spacing. The hollow posts are segmented into Mil spacing, so can be used for bracketing – that is for those who know and therefore employ this technique.
In use, the Hawke Airmax 30 SF Compact 3-12x40 AMX IR shows itself to be a very easy optic to get on with and is well configured. Although it has a 30mm main body tube, plus features aplenty, it can still be fitted relatively low to the action and due to the size reduction, is lighter and therefore easier to mount on a variety of airguns. Particularly bullpups and ultra-carbines.
The 16-layer fully multicoated lenses give a very bright and well-defined image, right to the very edges of the sight picture. Yet another major plus point is that once you adjust the ocular for your particular eyesight, the glass etched reticle seems to float crisp, clear and very sharp in the sight picture. Also, as many now know, the multi-aimpoint AMX reticle is very useful, especially for the airgun hunter who takes the time to get to know how to use it correctly.