Hawke Optics Vantage IR
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- Last updated: 22/10/2018
I test a lot of scopes and if I like them I buy them; over the years, I have noticed that more and more ‘cheaper’ models are adorning my rifles. The reason, prices are dropping and quality is improving! Better still, reliability has improved, which is the key to an accurate shot is becoming more consistent, especially on the cost-effective models. A Hawke Vantage scope I bought from FA Andersons now sits on by Sako custom rimfire and that usurped a Leupold!
Hawke have a superb range of scopes on offer now and they have a very wide choice of optics to suit all shooting disciplines. I like their quirky models, like the slug gun scope on a fully rifled 12g and Crossbow scope on my 300 Blackout S&L rifle.
The Vantage scope range combine performance and features to a price without compromising performance, with a superb range of models to suit airguns, rimfire or centrefire alike.
Vantage scopes are available in either 1-inch or 30mm (wide angle models) mono tube construction. These IR versions have a 3-9x and 4-12 mag power range and 40mm and 50mm objective with 1-inch tube made of aluminium but no parallax adjustment. If you need more mag, parallax adjustment or more or less magnification, then there are Hawke Vantage models available.
Each Vantage has five multi coated lenses, 11 layers in total throughout the whole optical system and scope; this means enhanced contrast and light transmission throughout. Magnification adjustment has a high torque setting according to the booklet and this allows a smooth, fast mag shift, yet stays put and does not move under heavy recoil. It was smooth to operate and I have shot a Vantage on a .35 Whelen AK Imp rifle and 250-grain bullets with no ill effects.
The eye relief is 3.5-inches for both models and exit pupil ranges from 13.3 -4.4mm (3-9x) or 12.5- 4.2mm (4-12x) dependent on the mag setting. The adjustment range is the typical one click for ¼ inch point of impact movement at 100-yards. Under protective caps are the low profiled finger touch adjustment turrets for elevation and windage adjustment; ¼-inch click adjustments are good and audible and precise with no slop or back lash and for both windage and elevation each has a whopping 100 MOA adjustment for the smaller mag Hawke and 80 MOA total adjustment range for the 4-12x model.
Some models come with parallax adjustments, but I choose the IR versions that had an illuminated reticle and fixed parallax at 100-yards. I guess on a rimfire a 50-yards parallax would be better, but I had no issues.
The Illumination rheostat has a dual red and green illumination with 5 brightness settings to allow reticle recognition in daylight or dusk, against foliage or open field. Sited on the left side of the scope on the saddle, it not only looks good but also is smooth to use, with defined settings using the CR 2032 battery supplied.
This is where Hawke have a good reputation for offering reticle designs specifically spaced to suit a variety of ballistic options. Ranging from airguns, rimfires to centrefire, they offer a very user-friendly aiming point, backed up with their free downloadable X-Act ballistic program.
I chose the dedicated reticle system for the .22LR subs, as this is calibrated specifically for a 40-grain .22 rimfire bullet having a BC of 0.1730, travelling at 1057fps with a 50-yard zero and a scope height of 1.75-inches. I usually sight at 30-yards but I have now changed to a 50-yard zero, as this not only suits the Vantage reticle but allows less hold over or under at the ranges I typically encounter vermin.
Thus, shooting a bullet with those characteristics allows the Vantage’s reticle to accurately place a shot at range with its spaced stadia along the six o’clock reticle post.
There are six aiming points of floating crosses that illuminate when necessary and one additional aim point at the point of the 6 o`clock vertical post. These represent the central 50-yard zero point and then increasing range of 75-, 100-, 125-, 150-, 175- and 200-yards. These are only accurate at the optimal max power setting, in this case 9 power for the 3-9 x40mm scope, or 12 power for the larger version scope, as this is a second focal plane scope; other mag settings will change the relationship between stadia and bullet impact remember. It is actually fun to mess around with settings and inputting data into the ballistic program. Hawke also have specific reticle stadia for 17 HMR, 22 high velocity, 17 Mach 2, 22 WMR, Mil dot, L4A-DOT, 30-30 Duplex to name a few.
I set up the Vantage scopes on several rifles and have also used them as the basis for some NV and thermal front end mounted kit too. The Vantage weighs very little and is compact enough not to add too much weight to any sporter rimfire, which is good and the satin black finish is scratch resistant too.
The illumination has a very bright setting for day use and this had minimal bleed at the edges of the cross aiming points. Five settings reduce or increase the brightness, so that on the lowest setting you can see the aiming mark, but it does not glare and destroy your aiming point.
The lenses too will surprise you and are all you need for rimfire use or centrefire for that matter, if you are not too precious about ‘must have the last light advantage’. Edge to edge sharpness with no vignetting or chromatic aberrations at all on a good flat image, which does look a little ‘cool’. Top optics are great, but you pay for them and on a .22lr rimfire rifle a £109 or £139 Vantage scope is more like it.
I fitted the smaller 3-9x40mm Vantage to a Steyr Zephyr rifle with some excellent results on squirrel and even at dusk and dawn when I went out and tested the Vantage I felt at no real disadvantage over a more expensive scope. In fact, it was nice not to worry about scratching a two-grand scope on test!
Best of all, is that reticle. Yes, it needs to be set at the highest mag setting to correlate accurately at range but that’s no problem, play around with it and learn to use it at several mag settings and work out the drop or stadia point necessary for that range and write in on a sticker on the stock.
With the 4-12x Vantage zeroed at 50-yards with Eley Subs I was achieving 1051fps; so, close enough, although the Eley’s BC is closer to 0.13 than 0.17. Zeroed at 50-yards, the 100-yard aim point was only 0.5- inch out and at 150-yards I was within the inch mark. Beyond that, and even at 150-yards, live quarry is out with any rimfire. I did shoot at steel silhouettes with the 200-yard setting and I was using just below the tip of the aiming point to connect. Winchester 42gr Max rounds were lower but CCI segment subs put me more on target at each range, as did the new Eley Contact ammo but the Eley subs were more accurate for group size, so I still used them.
I really like these Hawke Vantage scopes; I have bought a few and use them regularly with no problems at all. The image quality is good for a scope in this price range and beats most of the competition. I don’t personally use illuminate reticles too much but it’s nice to have that option and I really like the reticle choice. Being a bit of a ballistics geek, you can fine-tune and play around with the reticle settings at differing mags, or just shoot as is, for an accurate shot at the scope’s indicated range.
The Hawke Vantage range of scopes offer very good value for money and have an excellent range of scopes to suit your needs.
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