A couple of scopes I like

Monday, June 21, 2010

For a while now, I’ve using a couple of Hawke scopes that I like really well.

The first is the Eclipse30SF 6-24x50SF (Hawke Part Number HK3273). I’ve had it mounted on my .177 Benjamin Marauder rifle for months now, and I really like the way the combination of rifle and scope work together.

This particular Eclipse30SF scope is a 6-24, which means that the magnification can be adjusted by rotating a collar near the ocular (or eyebell) from 6 to 24X. The objective of this scope is 50mm, which means it transmits a lot of light that allows you to see better in low-light conditions.

At the back end of the scope is a flip-up lens cover that is attached to the eyebell by a soft rubber collar. Under the rubber collar, you’ll find a ring for focusing the sharpness of the reticle. On top of the eyeball is a rotary switch for turning on red or green illumination and adjusting the brightness of the dot in the center of the mil-dot reticle. Just ahead of that is the zoom ring which adjusts the magnification of the scope.

The main tube of this scope is 30mm and is finished in matte black. Moving forward again, you’ll find the elevation and windage turrets, which are covered by screw-off caps. With the caps removed, you can adjust the windage or elevation knobs as needed, ¼ minute of angle at 100 yards.. If you need to reset the turrets, you can do so by undoing the center screw.

On the lefthand side of the central body of the scope is a side focus knob that allows the scope to be focused down to 10 yards. The knob is a bit larger than those found on many sidefocus scopes, but not so large as to be intrusive. At the far end of the scope tube is another flip-up cover which is held to the 50mm objective by a soft rubber collar.

In all, I found this nitrogen-purged, shockproof, fogproof and waterproof scope to be completely trouble-free. It offers clear views, the multiple aiming points of a mil-dot reticle, and the convenience of side focus. I think a lot of airgunners will be pleased with this scope.

The other Hawke scope that I have become enamored of is the Hawke Sidewinder 30 10×42 Tactical (Hawke Part Number HK4034). This scope is built like you might need to take it off the rifle someday and use it as a bludgeon (definitely not recommended!). This scope is a fixed 10 power scope with a 42mm objective. At either end are screw-in lens covers. Included with the scope is a screw-in sunshade. The main tube is 30mm and finished in a matte black. The eyebell is equipped with fast focus rings for making sure the half mil-dot, illuminated, etched-glass reticle is in razor-sharp focus.

I really liked the elevation and windage knobs on this scope. To adjust them, you pull the knob out from the body of the scope, rotate it to where you want it (1/4 inch per click at 100 yards), and push the knob back in to lock it in position. It’s slick, convenient, and efficient. The knobs can also be loosened to reset them.

The 10 x 42 Tactical with the large sidefocus knob in place.

On the left side of the scope is a sidefocus knob, the outer portion of which controls red/green illumination for the reticle. Included with the Sidewinder 30 Tactical scope is a large knob with a range scale that slips over the sidefocus knob for focusing and rangefinding. Also included is a pointer that can be installed on the body tube that can help in reading the scale on the big wheel.

I installed this scope on an RWS 54 recoilless spring piston rifle. This model is known for being rough on scopes, and I have had no problems whatsoever, and I have notice that my groups have tightened up a bit with this rifle. Whether this means the previous scope was being “shaken up” by the recoil or whether I’m becoming a better shot, I don’t know.

I liked the etched glass half mil-dot reticle, shown here with the red illumination turned on.

I do know that one of the things I really like about this scope is the etched-glass reticle. It doesn’t go all the way from right to left or top to bottom in the field of view. As a result, the reticle seems to float, and there is room on either side of it for viewing more details in the surroundings. While I am not a tactical shooter, I would imagine that this would be a tactical advantage in some situations. In any event, I can highly recommend both of these Hawke scopes.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

8 Comments

  1. Daniel says:

    I have been looking and can’t find an answer to my question. In shooting varmints, from blackbirds to gophers to racoons, using my .177 Marauder and .22 Evanix Blizzard, do I really get any benefit using Hollow Point pellets over domed pellets?

    Will I get a quicker, cleaner kill with hollow points? Or, do they just look cool and don’t really make any difference? I am not shooting clay balls or bars of soap, but lots and lots of varmints, especially blackbirds which decimate crops in our area. I want quick kills whatever I shoot and if the hollow points really do help I will use them.

    The Marauder in .177 is just as accurate with the Benjamin 10.5 gr hollowpoints as it is with the Crosman 10.5gr heavy domed pellets. Does this rifle really benefit from hollowpoints?

    Would love to see an article discussing this with real world information and results.

    Thanks,

    Daniel

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Daniel,

      I really don’t know the answer to your question, but I’ll try to find out. Whenever I do pest control, which isn’t often, I use domed pellets and get good results, but I’ll check around with folks I trust and see what they think.

      In the meantime, as I am sure you well know, the best way to insure a fast clean kill is to disrupt the central nervous system, which means a brain or top of the spine shot. As a result, accurate shot placement is critical. One of the fellows I really respect, Steve Hanson, did a for-hire elimination of pest rodents in an historic western ghost town. He set up to make head shots only and in such a way that he either got clean kills or clean misses.

      Let me see what I can dig up on this subject. In the meantime, perhaps some others would like to offer information based on their experiences.

    2. Orin says:

      Daniel,

      Here’s my personal take on hollowpoints, for what it’s worth. CPHP’s have too much antimony to really expand, so you might as well use regular CP’s. If you want an effective hollowpoint, go with something that has a very large forward expansion cup like H&N/Beeman Crow Magnums or Predator Polymags. You can expect very good expansion and shock with minimized penetration. My experience with both of these pellets is that you’ll be limited to 35 or 40 yards max before accuracy drops off significantly. Jamie on the Yellow forum has effectively placed Predators in squirrel heads at over 100 yards with his .22 Marauder. Then again, he was a Marine shooting instructor, so maybe it’s all technique. Bottom line is if your gun likes either one, they’re definitely worth trying out.

      For the long distance shots, like the 40-90 yarders you mentioned, I would stick with something with an excellent BC and very soft lead composition, like JSB Heavies. They will give you pretty good expansion without the hollow point feature imparting unnecessary drag. Again, you’re limited by what your guns like to shoot.

      As for head shots vs. body shots, I think it’s a toss-up for smaller vermin. On birds, I almost always take body shots. The exception would be pigeons at very close distances, like inside of 15 yards. On squirrels and gophers, I’ll only take head shots out to 25 yards or so, but quite frankly, I’ve had the best luck with vitals shots. That seems to kill them the quickest and most consistently (i.e. – less “dancing”). I guess one could argue that my head shots are less well-placed, and I suppose that could be true.

      – Orin

    3. tom says:

      there is no difference when hitting soft tissue. use whatever is more accurate for you

  2. Kevin says:

    Daniel and Jock,

    Here is a link to a recent discussion on the Yellow Forum regarding Domed vs HP pellets.

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/79537/thread/1277135848/CPHP+disappointment

    Randy Mitchell wrote an article for UMAREX recently on this subject. His reasoning
    seems logical but he does not supply any data to back up his claims. Here is a link…

    http://www.umarexusa.com/pages/PelletUseForHuntingArticle.aspx?utm_source=May2010%2BNewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ZeroedIn-May10

    You may have to do a little experimenting with different pellets to see what works best
    for you.

    Hope this helps.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Kevin,

      Thanks!

  3. Daniel says:

    Jock, thanks for the info. I live in farm country with cattail sloughs all over the place. Blackbirds decimate sunflower fields and damage cornfields. Mainly body shots on blackbirds sitting on cattails, reeds and fencelines. Some movement so head shots aren’t always possible so I go for center mass. Same with pigeons, grackles, starling, gophers and whatnot, I generally go for center mass unless a head shot presents itself. It doesn’t always happen and distances 40-90 yards I’s not really good enough to be that precise.

    I wonder if the Benjamin 10.5 grain hollow point mushrooms much at all and adds any shock power for clean kills. If so, I’ll use them as a matter of course. Crosman Premier Heavy 10.5 domed work very well and I’ll choose them if it is all the same. Can’t see paying for hollow points if they really don’t mushroom to make for more damage and a quicker kill.

    Thanks,

    Dan

  4. Daniel says:

    Kevin, thanks for the link and information. My trouble is in finding a pellet after shooting a blackbird in a cattail slough or from a tree. Just not doable.

    I am in a different situation than many. Living in rural North Dakota where the blackbird population decimates commercial sunflower fields and roost/hide in the cattail sloughs, I have birds by the thousands as targets. Every one I kill is one or more fewer to eat the crops. My neighors buy shotgun shells by the case and use propane powered ‘boomers’ which make loud explosion noises to scare them off. Scaring them off means they come back. I can shoot 30-50 or more in a morning or afternoon on a good day, picking them off the stems of cattails or fence lines or posts. I don’t keep track any longer other than the pellets left in the magazine for reloading.

    My main interest in asking this is whether I can get a cleaner, faster kill with the Benjamin hollow point over the Crosman heavy pellet, both with the same weight and both shooting very well through the Marauder. I don’t like leaving wounded animals so anything that makes a quicker kill is what I will use if it is nice and accurate.

    The other rifle is an Evanix Blizzard in .22. A lot more powerful and you can hear the difference when the pellet hits. I can hit blacbirds pretty regularly at 60-80 yards with it. More power and longer shots with success. I usually carry it with me in the truck early and late for coyotes, skunks and such or longer shots on birds.

    Any solid info is appreciated.

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