Hawke frontier SF 2.5-15x50 Mil Pro
- By Chris Parkin
- 1 Comments
- Last updated: 28/11/2019
I really despise ‘unboxing videos’, because I believe they are shallow and hope to excite buyers with exciting packaging in some type of Christmas spirit, rather than the actual contents. Who cares if a box takes 7 seconds to slide open, when at best, it will live undisturbed, dusty and forgotten in a loft for the rest of eternity? What I like to see in the box is protection from damage and perhaps two or three well thought accessories along with a scope that really does what it says it will. Hawke’s latest Frontier 30 is exactly that and here is why!
Hawke used to have a bit of a convoluted range, often pushing low cost/high magnification optics that is a general recipe for disappointment and hyping up attraction with specifications rather than good design. This 30mm tubed scope offers a smoothly applied anodised aluminium finish without the hitch of collecting all the dust from your skin, that wipes clean effortlessly and sheds water. Both 50mm objective and 38mm ocular openings carry flip-up lens caps to protect the glass. These can be rotated into the preferred position and will fold back flat to the scope body. Each having a unique locking method to ensure they stay aligned and located, the rear with an Allen key, the front a finger tightened locking ring. Both operate in silence, are solidly machined from sturdy but not oversized aluminium, anodised to match the body, offering ambidextrous opening levers.
The body tube shows a spherical central saddle with plentiful mounting space for conventional 30mm rings, before the modest swell outward to the machine knurled zoom collar, turning anti-clockwise offering 2.5-15x magnification. This 6x mag range is ideally suited to decent optics on a sporting rifle with good image resolution. High magnification at low cost is commonly seen to increase image size but carries all the field of view (FOV) caveats and helps little if the image is grainy and poor in low light.
Hawke supply a 13mm throw lever that can be positioned on the magnification ring for ease of use, all travel and adjustment is smooth, quiet and shows no sign of any internal grittiness. A fast-focus eyepiece works in perfect collaboration with the lens cap position once personalised to give a crisp rendition of the internal reticle located in the second focal plane (SFP). This means that it stays the same size, regardless of magnification setting; so, whatever holdover system you use involving the reticle’s hash marks need to be carefully considered when altering zoom, as values will change.
The reticle is their Mil-Pro design and offers milliradian subtension at 10x magnification. I like that decision, as everything works on or in 10s, so mathematics and memory are more easily retained and calculated. As well as Christmas tree hash marks in 1, 0.5 and 0.25 mRad increments, there are wider aim off dots on the centre inverted triangle hanging between heavier 3, 6 and 9 O’clock stadia that draw the eye centrally regardless of magnification or illumination settings. The rheostat is positioned on the end of the parallax drum on the left of the saddle. It alters intensity setting for the red illuminated reticle from 1 to 6 with intermediate `off` settings that are simple, tactile and effective with little light glare or bleeding even on `6`. Performance in either low light or daylight at either end of the spectrum is well catered for and quickly accessible although there is no auto power shut off. So, don’t forget to turn it off when you go home, as I have just discovered I didn’t do last night as I write this.
The crowning glory of the Frontier 30 are its adjuster turrets. Parallax runs from about 4m to infinity (exceeding the manual figures) with smooth control that snaps into focus making the scope versatile for all comers from airguns to larger centrefires. Both drums are the lift to unlock type with the windage marked left and right from zero. A factor I appreciate, as lazy manufacturers seem to think an advancing number scale in this direction is satisfactory these days, not Hawke! Allen grub screws allow them to be slackened off and then free-wheeled to a O position, once you have dialled up/down to set ZERO.
Also, you can slacken those three screws and lift the cap off completely, then three similar screws on the collar within and turn to it clockwise for a beautifully simple zero-stop system in elevation control. I cannot state strongly enough how much I liked this design. Regardless of price, its easy to control, shows 80 positive, tactile 1cm@100m (0.01mRad) clicks per rotation and limits your ability to get `lost`. All Allen keys required are supplied, yet only one is needed for this setup in the field with no silly small components that can be lost.
I used the Frontier on a Tikka T1x in 17 HMR, as it’s a gun I love to Varmint with and dial in corrections for. Rifle and optics paired beautifully with 15.3 Milliradians of adjustment remaining vertically for long range shooting after zeroing. This is way beyond anything likely to be called for on a 17 HMR’s legs, but for a 6.5mm rifle, will reach out well beyond 1000 metres and don’t forget, no sign of an inclined rail in use here! Varminting through the daylight into dusk and then beyond with lamp made full use of the optical capability for which Hawke have become a serious contender at their price points.
Optical performance performed linearly through the fading light and magnification alteration with no specific steps in performance from the 21 layer Fully Multi- Coated optics. Long eye relief for centrefire and magnum rifle calibres was not unnecessarily compromising, mounted to a modestly sized rifle with sub 14” length of pull and I found the eye-box warmly accommodating the varied positional needs of a sporting rifle. The etched reticle with red illumination was a good design using skeletonised arms to improve recognition without obstruction and overall, I can’t really find a fault with the Frontier and very few products get that accolade from me.