Hawke Sidewinder ED 10-50x60 SF
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- Last updated: 20/03/2019
Hawke Optics produce a huge range of scopes for shooting disciplines right across the board; yet, whilst many of their products are aimed at the airgun market, there has for some while now, been one identifiable hole in the line-up. That of a top line, full specification Field Target model. Yes, they’ve had a Sidewinder with the option of 32x magnification, but with FT shooters favouring mega mag scopes in increasing numbers, a higher spec has been on the cards for some time. Well here it is; the Hawke Sidewinder ED 10-50X60 SF, and it’s a broadside to the opposition, showing that they really mean business!
At £849.99, this Sidewinder is suddenly serious money, but it certainly feels well made, and comes very well appointed in a padded box. Inside, there’s a 4” sunshade, 4” side wheel, range pointer, battery, flip up lens caps, lens cloth, instruction manual, and interestingly, two sets of replacement turrets. ‘ED’ in stands for Extra-low Dispersion glass, and features 18-layer, fully multi-coated lenses for maximum definition. Magnification is adjustable from 10x right up to a massive 50x, along with a 60mm objective lens and finally ‘SF’ indicates side focus.
This model uses a 30mm body tube; so, with the appropriate ring mounts sourced, I soon had the Sidewinder bolted into position. Then the side wheel needs to be fitted. First, using the neat little circular tool provided, insert the two studs into the dimples on the left turret cap, and then gently unscrew and remove it. The wheel can now be pushed onto the end of the turret so range markings on both components coincide. Re-tighten the cap to hold the wheel in position, and you’re done.
The range pointer is now clamped to the body, which is easy, but obviously consideration needs to be given as to where the marker shows, and how it is viewed by the shooter. In keeping with FT trends, Hawke offers an optional 6” side wheel for an additional £45. The larger diameter expands the gap between each distance marked off, in theory making it easier to read target ranges accurately. Bear in mind that the pointer needs to be moved further back on the scope, if you switch to the larger wheel.
Hawke have taken the unusual step of supplying this model with three different target turret sets. Mine came fitted with standard, 1/4MOA click values, but there’s also 1/8MOA, and 1/10 MRAD in the box, so you can effectively tailor the scope to their specific needs. At 100 yards, these three options offer ¼ and 1/8MOA and .36” (1cm) respectively. Changing them is an easy operation too, and simply a matter of maintaining correct alignment and pressure, whilst reconnecting using the threaded attachment collar- all covered in the instruction manual in any case.
One key feature for this style of scope, is the rotation tracking markers on the turrets, which give an instant visual record of its position within its travel range. Having seen shooters miss vital targets in FT, through failing to reset the turret by a whole turn, I know only too well the value of such detail! At this stage, it’s worth mentioning that this style of ultra-high mag scope works so much better when a rubber lens enhancer is fitted to the eyepiece, to cut out back light.
Zeroing is a simple operation, and with positive audible clicks, it’s a satisfying task. Movement of the point of impact came in true on test, and with everything set, the turrets can then be locked by twisting the top disc. Hawke fit their TMX reticle, and this is glass-etched and finely marked with an array of aim points and windage markers. The central cross area illuminates in red with full smooth control from the rheostat rather than stages. As for proportions for each main segment, Mil-Dot values are shown when viewed on 20x magnification, given this is a second focal plane (SFP) system.
Moving through the magnifications is smooth with a nice amount of resistance, and with the rear dial set to the full 50x, I was eager to see just how accurate range finding could be. Sharpness of image on test was good, and as usual with this style of FT scope, being consistent in the manner of focusing when using the side wheel, is critical to accurate usage. Start from the low end (minimum distance 10yds incidentally), and smoothly turn the wheel, initially through the point of clarity, and then gently returning to it, before reading off the distance. Use whichever method you favour, but as mentioned, consistency is the name of the game.
Overall, the Sidewinder performed well, with the longer ranges being clearly defined, and snapping in with good repeatability; all importantly between 50 and 55 yards, where so much of FT is won or lost after all. Standard procedure is to mark off distances on the wheel in a temporary manner (I use Tippex), check and fine tune the markings over a few sessions, and then finally mark up the wheel with tape as required.
So, there we are. A good clear image, robust build quality, an excellent reticle, and of course don’t forget the free dedicated software available on-line, via Hawke’s Ballistic Reticle Calculator; which is always a bonus when using one of their models. This new FT model isn’t cheap, and effectively sits as a mid-priced option among the list of serious contenders out there, aimed at the flagship outdoor airgun discipline. The inclusion of three turret options must add an irritating premium to the asking price; but that negative aside, this model is a bold step for this popular manufacturer. For whilst Hawke have indeed taken their time to produce a full-blown specification aimed at FT shooting, the Sidewinder ED 10- 50X60 SF finally gives them the means to take on the big guns.
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