Posts Tagged ‘optics’

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

Recently I had a really nice and informative conversation with Mike Kurtz, technical guru, over at Hawke Optics (www.hawkeoptics.com). He told me that well over 90% of their customer service issues have to do with scope owners improperly adjusting their scopes, and I found out that I have been doing some things wrong from time to time. Perhaps you have too, but before we get to that, let do a quick overview of how a scope works.

Take a look at the picture of the scope below. Light comes in through the big end (on the left) and is deflected down by lenses so that it will pass down the main tube of the scope (which in this case is a 30mm tube). As the light reaches the tube, the image is inverted by a lens.

The light then passes into the erector tube, which holds the crosshairs and is roughly in the vicinity of the elevation and windage knobs. The erector tube is fastened to the main body of the scope at the rear, but the front is free to move. When you adjust the elevation and windage knobs, you are moving the erector tube up and down, left and right, until the point of aim corresponds with the point of impact.

(A side note: theoretically, you could zero your scope in a single step at a given distance by clamping your airgun in a vice, firing a single shot, and then adjusting the scope so that the crosshairs intersect at the spot where the pellet hit.)

When the light comes out of the erector tube, it passes through another set of lenses, which flip the image back to right side up and focuses the image for the ocular lens where, you, the shooter, look through the scope.

Now, before we go any further, please notice this one key point: the erector section of the scope is a tube, and it lives within the outer chassis of the scope, which is also a tube. So the erector is a tube within a tube – got that?

The picture below shows an internal view of the scope as it comes from the factory with the outer chassis and the erector tube in perfect alignment, and the elevation turret and the windage turret are adjusted equally.

Okay, now let’s look at some ways folks get into trouble with scope adjustment. The picture below shows a scope that has been adjusted too far left. The erector tube is pinned against the wall of the outer chassis, and, as a result, the elevation adjustment is severely limited because there is no room for the erector tube to travel.

The picture below shows a scope that has been adjusted too far down and right, pinning the erector tube against the erector spring, the windage turret, and the outer chassis. Again, windage adjustment is very limited since there is little room for the erector tube to move.

Finally, below is a scope that has been adjusted too far up and right, and the erector spring has lost contact with the erector tube to support it. When this happens, the reticle free floats, and you will have point of impact issues. Mike tells me this is the most common of scope mounting issues.

So, how do you avoid these problems? First, don’t use up all of the adjustment in any direction with either the elevation or windage turret. Second, if you find yourself using up all of the adjustment, get yourself an adjustable mount. Put the scope back in optical center, then use the adjustments on the mount to get you pretty close to where you want to be zeroed, and use the elevation and windage adjustments on the scope to do the fine tuning.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott