Hawke Vantage 30 WA SF IR
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- Last updated: 22/01/2020
Hawke’s popular range of scopes has really expanded over the last few years, and they seem to have a knack of evolving, just enough to maintain wide appeal across the disciplines. Part of their marketing strategy is to offer a selection of models, tailored to individual requirements, as do many manufacturers, and this means there should be something available to cover all bases.
Not everyone is bothered about illuminated reticles for instance, so this isn’t always included. Indeed, over all my years of shooting, I’ve never felt the need to use this facility. Admittedly, the majority of my trips out, are competition based, but I am an occasional hunter too. When the opportunity has presented itself, it’s invariably been a daytime operation, and the idea of using a lit reticle just hasn’t come up. Regular hunters, that cross over from day into dusk, may well take a different view, where losing fine detail of the crosshairs whilst aiming up into tree branches, can play havoc with the sight picture. Here, having the option to simply flip a switch, then vary the brightness of the reticle, can be a Godsend and I’ve spoken to friends who regularly use them. Switch to an HFT course, and a dark wood can again necessitate the use of illuminationalthough in this scenario, you would have to opt to switch it on from the outset, given the rules of the sport.
Then we come to the subject of parallax correction, which can be mounted on the front objective collar or on the side of the saddle. It’s stating the obvious, but not everyone needs huge magnification, so again, various options are available, to cater for specific duties, and of course the whim of the shooter. On test here is one of the two models from Hawke, offering a trio of features, all aimed at the serious hunter, who expects an on-board specification, with built in versatility and that’s just what this Vantage 30 WA SF IR 4-16X50 is all about.
All Hawke models come nicely presented these days, with the ‘H’ reticle logo proudly emblazoned on the left turret. As for the initials in the model name, WA stands for Wide Angle optical system, SF denotes Side Focus, and IR is the illuminated reticle. There’s a 30mm mono tube chassis, a glass-etched reticle, and 11 layer fully multi coated optics. So, Hawke certainly talk a good game!
As mentioned, two models in this side focus range carry the wide angle specification, and I was interested in just how much larger the field of view (FOV) actually is, over a comparable standard model. So, for the record, my test scope offers an FOV of 28.8 feet at 100 yards when viewed on the highest 16x magnification, and this gives just over five feet more over the standard front parallax AO version. Not worth getting too excited about, I agree, but the figures do at least back up the claim. This model comes with elasticated, see through lens covers, cleaning cloth and battery, and first impressions are of a nicely finished, neatly machined piece of glassware.
That silky matt black finish is highly practical for field use, and those lens caps are small enough to drop in a pocket with no fuss. Time to set up with some 30mm mounts, and after a quick twist of the ocular lens and the fast focus adjuster, the reticle snaps into view. An easy zero is soon completed, with the 1/10 MRAD click values, and the increments all come in on the button. I have to be a bore on those overly chunky turrets, as the overall width of this scope is quite significant; yet the click movements are positive, and the push pull locking system feels precise.
The reticle is Hawke’s 10x Half Mil Dot, and this confirms that true half Mil values are shown, when it’s viewed on 10x magnification. Glass-etched means that the reticle is more robust too; so, no broken wire situations to look forward to! The design too is precise, which on the one hand is great for refined, accurate shooting. The downside is that, with a floating reticle design, and no thick guide posts, it is possible to lose the ret when viewing up into fairly dark foliage, as touched on earlier. So, illumination is here for just such eventualities, for those who wish to indulge, and this sees the entire pattern lit in either red or green, with 5 brightness levels available. On test, I have to say the rheostat control, which is located on the end of the parallax turret, was particularly stiff, but this would probably wear in with use. Power comes from one CR2032 battery, and this is replaced by simply unscrewing the small cap on the tip of the left turret.
Parallax is marked up on the left side focus knob as 10 yards, 15, 20, 30, 75, 100, 200, 300, 500 and ∞. Whilst the minimum focus shows as 10 yards, on test, and with mag set to 9x, I was able to achieve perfect clarity at less than 8 yards. On 9x incidentally, and with parallax set at around 25 yards, clarity through the target distances was very shootable HFT-style. Crank the mag up to a max of 16x, and clarity and definition was commendably sharp, edge to edge, meaning out in a hunting scenario, close up surveying of an area is possible, to verify prospective targets for example.
At 26.1oz, this impressive scope is medium weight, but a significant addition to any combo, nonetheless. It comes with Hawke’s lifetime warranty, and has the usual specifications: nitrogen-purged, water, shock and fog proof. It certainly has the features required in a hunting scope and is a worthy addition to Hawke’s line-up. At £299 I reckon it represents fairly good value, so it really comes down to preferences on reticle design. As for my test model, apart from that stubborn illumination knob, it was difficult to fault.
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