When you first inspect the Airmax 30, you are expecting the same old scopes in a 30mm tube rather than the 1 inch models currently in the lineup. What you see when you actually open the box is a real surprise! First off, the packaging. The Airmax 30 comes packed in a nice rigid cardboard box with beautiful color print on the outside. Inside the scope is secured in dense foam cutouts with careful placement of the included 4-inch sunshade, the 4-inch sunshade, interesting little tools (more on that later) and a bag containing the manual, battery for the illuminator, and a nice cleaning cloth to wipe down the lenses. As you dig through the layers and get to the optic itself, you instantly see the quality and attention to detail.
The turrets jump out at you, as they have a smaller ring on top, which actually locks the turret. So no longer will you bump your gun in the field and turn your scope by accident! If you have ever done this before, you know exactly what we are talking about here, and you can recall how frustrating it can be! A slight twist counter-clockwise, and you are able to turn the turret for 1/4″ MOA adjustments, which are crisp and clear clicks as you turn. Once you are dialed in, simply twist the lock down and you are set.
The zoom ring is clean and tidy, set into the curve of the eyepiece bell, and has got to be one of the most discreet designs we’ve tested. The ring turns with a silky smooth motion. Ours tested here goes from a simple 6x for close range work, all the way to a massive 24x for long range target shooting.
Behind that is a dial illuminator located 45 degrees off center. This allows for a clear view of the elevation turret while sighting down the scope. The adjustment knob turns with little effort, and goes from a barely on state up to full intensity with infinite settings in between. Very handy for varying light conditions. Ours came with an installed CR2032 3V battery, and a spare was also included in the box. Not a huge deal, but still a very nice attention to detail!
Moving back to the eyepiece, and the objective bell as well, you find the coolest feature yet. The flip up covers are built in to the scope design! These all aluminum flips covers are clean, and very low profile. They are attached with lock rings, which means you don’t have to keep track of them. If you ever had a set of the rubber banded plastic covers, you know how frustrating it can be and how quickly they are lost! (Heck, here at AOA we find it difficult to remember to include the rubber band covers with all the new rifles purchased because they get tossed aside so easily when we test each combo!) Hawke addressed this issue with these cool flip-covers. And for those who prefer not to use them, or prefer they flip sideways or off at an angle, Hawke’s got you covered! Those little tools in the box, the half-moon shaped ones, are spanners to loosen the lock rings to remove or adjust the flip covers.
The side focus is super smooth and low effort. You can twist from 10 yards to infinity with 180 degrees of adjustment. The standard turret is easy to use, but if you prefer easier grip, or more detailed spaces between markings, throw on the included 4-inch wheel and off you go! Ok, so it isn’t that simple, but close. By removing the sealed cap (yep, there’s a tool for that too!) you can insert the wheel to the clocked grooves, and tighten it back down. This makes the side wheel a part of the scope, and prevents it from slipping off or getting out of adjustment.
Inside the 1-piece, rigid tube are the most important features, the glass and the reticle. In the case of the Airmax 30 scopes, the reticle is etched in the glass, so it is cleaner and more sturdy. Check out the reticle:
Hawke is using their own design AMX reticle, which combines the greatness of a true 10x Half Mil-Dot with the ballistic advantages of the Christmas tree bars for reference and the brackets around the outside. They have designed a reticle that is extremely useful and surprisingly uncluttered and not distracting. A feature unique to etched glass is the clear view around the edges. This makes target acquisition easier and takes away distractions. For you target shooters, it also allows for a clear view of the perimeter area, where little leaves and twigs may be obstructing your shot. Clarity is very good with these Airmax 30 scopes. At full magnification, the 50mm objective lets plenty of light through, and the clear image stays clear all the way to the edge. When focusing at different ranges, the reticle snaps into clarity, which is very helpful when using the scope to determine accurate range to target.
Overall, Hawke has a real winner in the Airmax 30 range of scopes. They provide all the features wanted/needed in a field or target scope, and they have managed to keep the price down in the $350 to $450 range depending on the magnification. If you are looking for a scope built to be the best all around, the Hawke Airmax 30 6-24×50 is a great match!
Until next time,
Get out and shoot!