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Hawke Vantage SF 3-12X44 Half Mil Dot MC

Hawke Vantage SF 3-12X44 Half Mil Dot MC

Hawke, as an optics brand, have had a good reputation for offering we shooters exactly what we want. They have also employed such notable names on a consultancy basis, as three times World FT Champion, Nick Jenkinson, for development work. With a raft of technical features, and some exciting reticule designs, Hawke is well regarded for its products. However, 2015 saw them really up their game, with a host of new models, aimed across the board and they clearly mean business. On test is their new breed of Vantage SF models, in 3-12 x 44 specifications- which for airgun applications, (among others) is just about ideal.

SPECIFICATION

The spec is impressive; with an 11-layer multi-coated lens system, designed to maximize clarity and definition. The ‘SF’denotes ‘side focus’ parallax adjustment, whilst ¼ click, finger-adjustable turrets and a one inch body tube, appeal to the traditionalists among us. A fast focus eye bell and pre-threaded objective and ocular complete a solid list of features.

First impressions are very favourable, with the mono-tube construction and resultant sleek appearance playing its part. I’m no fan of 30mm tubes, since they invariably add significant weight. This model feels sleek and fairly light to boot. One of my bugbears has been the emergence of over-sized ‘tactical/ target’ turrets, and I’m pleased to see a return to low profile, traditional screw-cap types, as seen here. In respect of airgun use, unless you are taking part in Field Target, where target turrets are near essential, big and chunky is not unnecessary! Suffice to say, this particular Hawke takes the subtle route!

ADJUSTMENT

Click values are ¼” @ 100yds, and the turrets are clearly marked and finger adjustable, with reassuringly positive clicks. No Allen keys, screwdrivers or coins required here then! I’ve listed the range of rotation in the spec table, but suffice to say that there’s plenty of adjustment in both windage and elevation. My usual grid test, adjusting a measured number of clicks right, then down, then left, then up, proved a return to point zero and the integrity of the spindle mechanism.

The magnification ring is not only easy to grip, but also turns with just the right amount of resistance; firm yet smooth. I set the mag to x9 for my test period, since this represents a typical mag setting for Hunter Field Target use, and it’s the mag I normally choose to shoot on. The Mil-Dot reticule offers 5-Milradian in each direction with dots for the full Mil, sub-divided into ½-Mil hash marks. Being in the 2nd focal plane Hawke set this scope up to read true Mil-Dot at x10 magnification.

FOCUS

Overall clarity and image definition is excellent. The side focus (SF) performed flawlessly, with the pre-marked ranges on the side dial corresponding perfectly with tested ranges. What’s so surprising about that? Well, it’s actually very common for range markings on scopes to be out- often by several yards. Of course varying eyesight plays its part, but I was impressed with the performance.

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Side parallax adjustment is a handy feature, allowing the shooter to set clarity, and with it correct parallax error, for a given range. Again, with my interest primarily in airgun applications, the ability to set up this scope for use in HFT events for example, was not lost. Bear in mind that with HFT, the shooter is not allowed to adjust the scope in any way for the duration of the competition. They therefore have to make a decision as to which distance the side focus dial is to be set to.

After a little trial and error, I set it to 30yds, which proved about ideal, since most other ranges still showed admirable clarity. 45 yds then looks just slightly hazy and that is of course how many competitors want it, so they can use the degree of clarity to judge target distance. Edge to edge sharpness was spot on, and another point worth noting is the relative sensitivity with regards to head position. Move slightly off and the full crisp sight picture soon distorts; meaning this Vantage actually promotes careful, consistent target acquisition, which can only be a good thing. Minimum focus is marked up as 10yds, I found winding it down to the minimum meant good clarity at 7.5yards was possible.

UNCLUTTERED

The Half Mil-Dot reticule is a nice uncluttered design, although personally, I reckon additional ultra fine but wider lines, maybe after two Mil Dots on all four stadia, would be beneficial to aid quick ‘bracketing’. With a 35yd zero set from a 1.6inch high sightline, I found the trajectory of my full powered .177 fell perfectly into place against the aim points. The Half Mil first line down related to around 40 yards, with the first Mil Dot down equal to 45yds. It’s all about precise, proportional aim/reference points at the end of the day, and the Vantage SF has what it takes in a super slick package.

Hawke Chairgun Pro software is free to download, and this has become an invaluable tool for many serious airgun shooters of late; eager to check pellet compatibility and trajectory against a variety of Hawke’s reticule designs. Great for customers of Hawke Optics, but highly informative for airgunners across the board, whether customers or not! ‘No purchase necessary’, as they say!

CONCLUSION

Not a bad scope then, and whilst unusually these days, no sunshade is included, a nice pair of elasticated lens covers are thrown in; along with all the usual hidden essentials:- nitrogen-purged system, water, shock, and fog-proof; along with Hawke’s worldwide warranty.

In short, Hawke have indeed raised their game, and with a well earned reputation for punching well above their weight, and a host of successes secured in outdoor airgun competitions to their name, it’s hard to ignore them.

 

  • Hawke Vantage SF 3-12X44 Half Mil Dot MC - image {image:count}

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  • Hawke Vantage SF 3-12X44 Half Mil Dot MC - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Hawke Vantage SF 3-12X44 Half Mil Dot MC - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Hawke Vantage SF 3-12X44 Half Mil Dot MC - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Hawke Vantage SF 3-12X44 Half Mil Dot MC - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

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