I have been trying to get a serious look at this particular model from the Hawke range for over a year now with HFT competition shooting in mind. Deben are playing it quite safe and are not marketing the scope towards sub 12FPE use due to the minimum parallax adjustment of just under 30 yards which would naturally make it more suitable for FAC type ranges. In Deben’s defence, Hawke already have wide sub FAC airgun coverage with the capable and popular Airmax SR & Sidewinder series.
However, with HFT going from strength to strength a gap in the market has opened up for higher quality optics – why should FT shooters have all the fun with really nice, top end kit!
Technical info below borrowed from the Hawke website:
• Fully Multi-Coated Japanese optical system
• Side focus parallax
• Precision ground lenses
• 7 Layer broadband lens coating
• Maximum light transmission
• 1/4 MOA click turrets
• 1” Matt Black Mono Tube
• All weather high grip design
• Nitrogen purged
• Waterproof - Shockproof – Fog proof
• Mildot reticle
• 30 year limited lifetime warranty
In the box you get the usual instruction book, lens cloth, allen key and warranty card.
Just a quick note before mounting the scope, to perform any fair scope review, I tend to use adjustable scope mounts which enable the test rifle to be zeroed whilst leaving the scope on optical centre – basically the turrets are left in their central positions and the scope mount adjusters are used to zero the combination. With the lenses in the centre of their adjustment, the thinking behind this says you are looking squarely through the centre of the lenses which should give you the best optical picture available and give you a full range of dialing adjustment.
First impressions while unpacking the scope is the small overall size, even when compared to the original 3-12x44 SR6, and a high quality “feel”.
Zoom and parallax side wheel adjustment don’t feel overly firm or sloppy – just nice, and certainly no backlash can be felt in any adjusters.
The turret operation really impressed me, anyone who owns a quality scope such as a Leupold with target turrets will know that the Leupold feel is really hard to replicate – this little Hawke comes surprisingly close to “that” feel.
Now to the shooting bit, for my HFT purposes turned the focus to minimum and mag to 12x, this gave me a sight picture far clearer at distance than I am used to, for me the scope is too clear! I could not see any difference in focus between 30 and 45yds. At closer range, sub 20yds, the scope was a bit too blurred to shoot reduced (15mm) kills confidently. If you like a really clear scope at distance it would really fit the bill.
Time to resort to a bit of fine tuning on the parallax setting! As with other FAC derived scopes, parallax can be adjusted to airgun ranges by adjusting the front objective lens. Leaving the side focus adjustment on minimum, a small adjustment to the objective lens gave my preferred 21yd parallax setting. By reducing the minimum parallax from just under 30yd to 21yd, this also reduces the depth of field – now giving me a progressively blurred picture towards the extreme ends of HFT ranges (8 and 45yd), I use the degree of blur as a form of rangefinding.
It’s worth mentioning, no tools or butchery were used to reparallax the scope and I don’t know how this practice would stand in the event of a warranty claim. It’s not advisable to adjust scopes in this way unless you have the necessary experience to do so. You must also bear in mind that after adjusting the parallax range, the pre engraved distances on the side wheel do not match up with actual ranges.
Using my main competition gun as a benchmark which is fitted with the original SR6 scope, as you would expect with the difference in rrp, the extra quality of the Frontier lenses is clear (no pun intended), definitely in another league in terms of overall picture quality – but what do I consider it to be similar to when compared to higher end optics?
In terms of build quality & feel, lens & picture quality I think this model of Frontier is on par with the Bushnell 2.5-16x42 6500 series & Lightstream 4-14x44.
An unexpected extra was to find Hawke have now teamed up with “Chairgun” and offer an even more comprehensive ballistics software package than the existing BRC package. The Chairgun version includes a mildot reticle option, which enables you to pre-calculate different zero ranges and poi for the aim points without resorting to trial and error on the range.
Do I have any bits of constructive feedback or niggles? Well, a sunshade (rain protection in the UK) would be nice, and to be parallaxed for airgun ranges as standard.
In summary, I like it….. a lot! Time to go and down a few (targets ).
Pic in link below comparing the original 3-12x44 SR6 with the 4-16x42Frontier.
Staffordshire Custom Rifles - Maverick & MTC Connect
Nice review and very accurate. I have the smaller frontier scope and i think for the money theres not much to touch it. I wanted a no frills scope where i was hopefully paying for the quality of the optic rather than gadgets and thats just what i got. I compared it in the shope against a host of other scopes and in the price range it was the best, no doubt.
Had to re-parallax it which is simple enough and now its a great hunting scope.
Good review Dave.
In my own experience, the Frontier model I tested was crap. Very bad optic quality. But this one sounds good.
You are welcome to have a look through it if you see me on the circuit Andy, as long as you don't drool over it.
Staffordshire Custom Rifles - Maverick & MTC Connect
I have the 6-24x50 and i am very impressed with it. very clear and bright and also comes with a sunshade parallax adjustment can be done by hand the same as review model. Well recommended, get a look through one as soon as you can
I bought the 4-16 SF, it was a tough call as the place I bought it from was selling the 6-24 for the same price at the time. As it was for use on a hunting rifle I thought the weight advantage of the smaller scope would suit me better, and I have to say I'm not dissapointed with it. The only previous reviews I'd seen were on an American website for military and police snipers, which didn't mention the parallax range. I've not adjusted the front lens, as I tend to use lower mag settings for rabbits, but the higher magnification settings will not focus at most airgun hunting ranges. It's not an elegant looking scope, and some say it takes it's styling from the Nightforce range, but it is good and comes with a long warranty.
I used Burris Signature mounts with the offset plastic inserts on a weaver rail mounted on my CZ Varmint .22 lr to mount mine. I fitted the mounts with a pair of socket-head bolts from Eric Brooks, which made it easier to fit them, though getting the threads started was tricky, it's a fine thread. The biggest drawback to these mounts is they don't have seperate jaws, so have to be slid on without the bolts in place. But apart from the ability to use the offset inserts to change the attitude and alignment of the scope these inserts protect the scope tube from marking. Sorry if I drifted off the review subject there................
Great optics on the Frontier but small field of view and not holding zero like they advertized,good for PCP and guns with low recoil
John Darling JD (1946-2004) was my inspiration to be the best i can and enjoy the sport i love. R.I.P
A dedicated HW80 Fanatic and owner since 1986 to present.