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Hawke Frontier SF 4-16x42

Hawke Frontier SF 4-16x42

Hawke Optics have gone one step further with their new Frontier Side Focus (SF) range of scopes. I was lucky enough to be asked to test and review the baby of the range, the 4-16x42 model. The first thing that catches your eye with this scope is its compactness. The overall length of just 12.6 inches is equivalent to that of a typical fixed magnification 6x42. The proportions are all nicely balanced the inch tube matching the 42mm objective perfectly. As this is predominantly a hunting oriented model the finish is a glare free matte black. Controls wise this scope features tall target style turrets enshrouded by screw on “pineapple” knurled watertight dust covers, which are silky smooth to remove and replace. The turrets are graduated in 1/4 minute of angle increments per click, as favoured by hunters the world over. Operation is smooth with each click clearly audible and a positive feel through your finger tips as the turret rotates. Markings are clearly picked out in gold so resetting to a known value is straight forward.

The rear zoom ring adjustment also features knurling that ensures good grip in any weather with or without gloves. Operation is of a smooth resistance without any slackness or backlash. The magnification values are picked out in gold lettering. The eyebell is of the fast focus type, point at the sky or a plain surface and wind in or out until the reticle appears razor sharp. The eye relief offered is adequate for any calibre you would want to shoot with a minimum of 3.6inches. The reticle on this example was the mil dot design a particular favourite of mine, although it is available in traditional 30/30 for those that prefer something simpler in the field. Mil dot reticles have the advantage of being able to offer a range finding capability, and for this scope the calibrated setting for “true” mils is when the zoom is set on 10x magnification. This is the standard for most high end scopes.

Range Testing

This scope is engineered and built in Japan and the quality of the precision ground optics is in a word, superb. Resolution is of the highest order, details leap out and sharpness is retained right to the edge of the image. Colours are faithfully reproduced and the light transmission is excellent due to the broadband fully multicoated optics.

For my range testing I chose to fit the scope to a Weirhauch HW66 heavy barrelled bolt action rifle in the popular 17HMR calibre. The barrel was fitted with a SAK sound moderator and a Harris bipod sat up front on the forend. Mounts were steel Hilver rings which gave me a scope height of 1.65 inches above the bore.

It was already getting late when I took it out to my range, but due to the high light transmission this scope provides I managed to shoot on the upper 16x magnification setting for a good half an hour after sunset and still make out 17HMR holes at 50 yards. Winding down the zoom to 6x and I could shoot for another 30 minutes longer, but at 6x magnification you can’t make out the tiny 17HMR holes.

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The advantage offered by side wheel parallax adjustment is in the fact that you can focus in on your target to get the sharpest image without having to break your position. The target wheel is on the left hand side of the saddle and is of medium size, not too small so that rudimentary range finding can be carried out from the scale etched onto the wheel. In practice this matched up well (at 16x zoom) with laser checked distance readings out to around 200 yards beyond that and the range finding requires more magnification.

Shooting the Box

In testing turret operation precision and repeatability is measured by “shooting the box”. This is achieved by aiming at a point on a card that would be the bottom left hand side of a square and putting in a group of 5 shots. Then dial the elevation turret up 10 minutes, aim at the same point as before and put in another group. The group will print correspondingly high. Next dial to the right 10 minutes shoot a new group, still aiming at the original point this group will be high and right. Then dial back down 10 minutes and shoot. What you end up with is a square, “the box” if everything is perfect the sides measured between the group centres will be10.47 inches long (assuming 100 yards test distance) and corners of 90o. This test requires an accurate rifle and loading; there will be errors but in the main a good idea of the dialling quality can be obtained. In my testing of this example shooting on maximum magnification the lines averaged 10.85 inches, which is well within the capabilities expected as the grouping of the ammo has to be taken into consideration.

Conclusions

All in all this is a fine scope that would suit a wide variety of applications both for live quarry or informal target shooting. As a partner for the 17 HMR it offers a sensible range of magnification as shots are going to be inside 300 yards and the mildot reticle comes into its own for both holdover and windage aim off. I wind up to full magnification for the majority of my shooting; this has the double effect of allowing me more precision in my point of aim but by “squeezing” the space between the mildots (10mag/16mag=0.625x3.44 MOA=2.15MOA) between dots which makes them more usable for windage aim off.

This scope has features beyond its price tag of £359. Also available in the side focus Frontier series are 6-24x50 and 8-32x50 models

For more information on all Hawke scopes, contact the distributor, Deben Group on tel. 0870 44 22 600 or visit the Hawke scopes website

  • Hawke Frontier SF 4-16x42 - image {image:count}

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  • Hawke Frontier SF 4-16x42 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Hawke Frontier SF 4-16x42 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Hawke Frontier SF 4-16x42 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

2 Comments

  • I liked the 6-24x50SF so much i bought the review spec scope too so i have two Frontiers!!!!!!! These are good, extremely good.

    Default profile image
    K.Baker
    06 Aug 2010 at 07:45 PM
  • I have the 6-24x50SF Frontier that i use on my .17HMR.
    Awesome varmint scope and everything you would expect from a scope Made in Japan. Optics are so crystal clear and bright right through the mag range, robust and last a life time feel to it. It costs a bit agreed but is still a great value IMHO considering what an excellent scope you get for your money.
    Definate recommendation from me!!!

    Default profile image
    Kevin Baker
    01 Apr 2010 at 11:10 PM


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