The newest release from Hawke is perfectly suited to use on a .22, finds Chris Parkin.
Hawke’s Frontier Mil-Pro riflescope is due on sale this summer and has a huge amount to offer rifle shooters across a broad range of calibres. I used the scope on a rimfire, where I specifically find it hard to find decent quality riflescopes within sensible budget with characteristics useful to rimfire shooters, especially on a .22 where likely engagement ranges are below 100 metres, sometimes even 50 metres, where many top optics are limited at higher magnification without extensive adjustable parallax range.
This Frontier is similar to its 30mm-tubed Frontier 30 big brother but here shows a 1in tube and 5x (instead of 6) zoom ratio. The one-piece aluminium maintube is sleekly burnished and anodised matt black without the tendency to strip skin dust from your hands, and offers 47/46mm front and rear of the spherical saddle to enable mounting on rifles of various sizes.
100 millimetres of eye relief is offered to enable use with any calibre and consequent recoil, yet this can often make a scope too ‘long’ for a short length-of-pull rimfire. I found the Hawke still optically comfortable but obviously mounted well forward so bear this in mind on smaller rifles.
Its eye box is not at all critical and adjustable parallax allows clear focus down below the stated 9m regardless of magnification used with the fast focus eyepiece rendering sharp reticle focus, something Hawke are one of the few manufacturers to offer at lower budgets!
I applaud them for a sensible mix of mechanical specification with modest magnification capability that will suit real hunters, yet never limit their longer-range desires.
Image resolution with the uncluttered, skeletonised illuminated reticle is excellent, allowing precise aim on your chosen quarry without the need to offer 25-30x zoom that might have been required by a clumsy, grainy image or a reticle that was not precisely etched. The ret is positioned here in the second focal plane so remaining constant in size regardless of magnification setting.
The Mil-Pro name comes from the reticle design itself and allows aim-offs precisely corresponding to the similarly calibrated mRad turrets. The hash marks on the central charismas tree are 0.25, 0.5 and whole milliradians when the zoom is set at 10x magnification.
There are extra dots floating out on the sides for windage aim-offs when required. Hawke offer excellent online resources to understand these products with detailed reticle diagrams and explanations as well as suggested settings to allow point-and-shoot reticle use for .22/.17 rimfires and air rifles.
I do like to have adjustable turrets and when crisp image quality is available, it seems a shame not to have them available. Some systems are clumsy and tricky to set up with easily lost parts and compromised water/dust proofing, but regardless of price, Hawke offer a simple, well-sealed lift-to-turn cap on elevation and windage.
10mm @ 100 metres clicks correspond exactly to the milliradian (mRad) system of angular measurement. Elevation has a stop that’s super easy to set up after zeroing – just remove the turret cap’s three hex-headed grub screws, slacken similar fasteners on the inner collar, spin it clockwise to the ‘stop’ and re-apply the upper dial cap, align it with zero marking, re-tighten the grub screws and job done.
Nothing loose, and even if you drop a screw, Hawke have supplied spares and required tools. Simple, fit for purpose, excellent design.
An additional screw-fit zoom lever is also included, short enough to ease adjustment on the smoothly rotating (but assuredly firm zoom collar) without fouling the bolt handle. You get a 100mm long sunshade for the 44mm objective lens body.
Machined aluminium flip-up lens caps protect either end of the 21-layer fully multi-coated glass, supplying good colour balance with no destringing vignettes or halos.
I found the scope relaxing to use, without any of the eye strain that can become present on lower-cost optics. Not all scopes are Schmidt & Bender optical or mechanical capability but that does not mean they cannot offer competitive capabilities at their price point.
The side focus parallax adjustment rotates smoothly with well defined depth of field change as it locks on to the target, an inner dial on its end giving six levels of brightness with intervening ‘off’ positions for reticle brightness.
No auto-off function, but that’s life and spare CR2032 batteries don’t cost the earth. More importantly, that clean etched reticle Christmas tree matched to the 1/10MRAD exposed Zero Lock ‘n’ Stop turrets never glares or looks washed out, never sparkling or shimmering with excessive intensity.
Set between 1 and 6, performs well across extremes of daylight to darkness conditions, and unlike a floating centre dot it does not have the tendency to shift with parallax/eye position movement.
My only comment, not really even criticism, is that though it has just a 44mm objective lens, you will likely need to stay with high rings to enable bolt handle clearance under the ocular lens.
Perhaps Hawke may as well adopt a 50mm objective lens size – a 44mm lens hardly saves any weight but reduces initial light entry level into the optical system.
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