Hawke’s latest Endurance model seeks to push optical capability on scopes in the low to mid-price bracket for sporting use, simultaneously giving access to the more advanced reticles set up for longer range shooting. Within the everyday appearance of the optic, the wide-angle optics system now enables a field of view from 41.5 to 10.4 feet wide at 100 yards and more noticeably for the user, very little perimeter difference between the perceived field of view and external rim of the ocular body. Coupled with 4” eye relief across the magnification range and exit pupil from 18mm down to 5mm, access to the sight picture is quick with little need to search for the exit pupil in fast fire situations on 3x, or from awkward shooting positions on 12x. The size and accessibility was particularly noticeable when taking photographs through the optic, not something everyone needs to do but a definite pointer to the capability available.
This Hawke’s second feature is the etched LRC Christmas tree-type reticle housed within the 18 layer Fully Multi-Coated optics. The aim points of the reticle are designed with gaps increasing in size. This more closely represents the fall of a bullet’s trajectory; the further the bullet travels, the faster the bullet falls. Parallax is fixed at 100 yards on this model, but longer shots are still totally feasible with 12x upper magnification limit and Hawke have published detailed online information for setup of this second focal plane reticle. In short, they recommend a 200 yard zero which enables simple aimpoints for 3,4 and 500 yards with the precise magnification control tailoring the ‘gaps’ to your specific ballistics. It’s not fool proof but for realistic hunting needs with capability of clearing up a mistake you may have made at closer range, it is quick. I’d recommend setting up on targets and physically marking the Posi-Grip rubber magnification dial with proven results before venturing afield and remember, in second focal plane you MUST ensure the magnification setting is adhered to if you want to use this system of simple aim over reticle subtension. The reticle’s width indicates estimated lateral hold offs for a full value 7.5mph wind speed but again, you need to prove these to yourself with your cartridges unique capability.
The most externally dominant function of the scope is the locking adjusters for windage and elevation, here in ¼ MOA clicks with 15 MOA per turn. 110 MOA s available in total on both axis. Windage is clearly marked left and right of centre and after initial setup, it’s a two-minute job to slacken the stainless-steel screw atop the dials and set everything to mark zero.
Illumination is controlled on the left side with six brightness settings available, intermediate ‘off’ positions allow speedy return to your chosen value. There is no automated extinguishing of the reticle if the rifle is laid on its side or stood up but that’s not the end of the world to carry a spare CR2032 battery that can be changed with your fingertips on the externally knurled endcap. All controls are easy to handle with 60 positive clicks per turn, not too crowded together under the 31mm diameter equally suited to gloves or bare handed. They lift to turn and press back down for a secure hold soon becoming easy to live with using counterclockwise twists for up/right directional changes to point of impact.
With initial setup at 12x, the reticle can be used for yards or meters depending on magnification setting and your choice. Adjust the magnification to match your cartridge based on the ballistic tables provided with the top of the six o’clock post above centre used for distances closer than 200. Hawke provides the “X-ACT” App download for computers and smartphones if you want to learn about more ballistics but the following table gives you an idea of how changing the magnification varies LRC’s suitability as the calibres get more ‘loopy’ trajectory. Decreasing the magnification effectively increases the difference you will be aiming off by, the image gets smaller yet the reticle stays the same size in relation to it.
Muzzle velocity and precise ballistic coefficients change matters. Something very fast and ‘flat’ as we tend to say, over short range out to say 250-300 yards, is far easier to account for than a comparatively curvy .308 at this distance – but as ranges increase, higher 0.5-6+ B.C. bullets in .30 cals or 6.5s, although they’re initially launched slower, will outperform the short-sharp-shock tactics of the fast, small calibre varminters with bullets down in the 0.250 B.C. region.
So that’s all the advertised hype. What’s it like in use? Well, in full daylight the image is all that can be expected with decent precision from the LRC reticle on life size silhouette targets, the reticle heavy enough to read easily and count the bars under centre for longer shots. As the light fades and the reticle’s contrast over the image reduces, you may need to pop into the illuminated phase with 1 virtually invisible red in daylight) adopting a subtle red hue. 5 and 6 are great in daylight for reading off quickly but these now bleed far too much of a glow at dusk; even 1 allows a certain amount of stray light to permeate the circumference of the 30mm tube’s internals, but at the end of the day, this scope is £500 not £1,500, and I think an excellent capability balance has been reached. Let’s not forget, pushing distance in the dark is a serious risk on live quarry.
Out foxing on a .223 scanning 200-250 metres maximum, I was getting decent image quality as the light descended with no specific drop in image capability – a generally linear diminishing scale in fact. ‘Go-home’ time on that evening was a definite 10 minutes earlier than the previous evening’s venture in the same location, with 99 per cent identical light conditions over harvested barley straw – but that was with a £1,200 optic of similar specification. Regardless of glass capability, this scope with three reticle options highlights that a simple illuminated centre dot (LR or 4A Dot) reticle would be my first choice. They will illuminate as light fades with less of an effect on your shooting eye’s night vision, as well as less obstruction over what may be a small image, such as a fox emerging from a hedgerow or rabbits hunkered down at the edge of some crops.
Higher magnification specifications are available with mRad clicks as well in the scope and I find it hard not to see some conflict, or at least over capability on a reticle like the LRC when couple with adjustable internal mechanics as easy to operate, with precision and skill, like this scope also shows…