PER­FECT SCOPE?

Phill Price gives an overview of the Fron­tier scope from Hawke Op­tics - does it tick all his boxes?

Air Gunner - - Contents -

I’ve been search­ing for a scope that ticks all the boxes on my list for decades, and although I’ve tested some great scopes in my job, I’ve never found one that gave me ev­ery­thing I’d been look­ing for. I’m a hunter, pure and sim­ple, and I want and need a ef­fi­cient tool that gets me on aim and in the kill zone with the min­i­mum of fuss. I use hold- over or -under for my range cor­rec­tions and al­low by eye for the wind, so have no need for fash­ion­able ex­posed ‘sniper’ tur­rets. Th­ese just catch and snag at the worst pos­si­ble mo­ments in the field. I like low ad­juster drums with screw- on dust cov­ers which, once set, are com­pletely for­got­ten about. This places me in a tiny mi­nor­ity it seems, but that’s okay with me. I don’t need to run with the crowd, I pre­fer to go my own way, and al­ways have.

GOOD-LOOK­ING GLASS

This was one of many things that caught my eye about the new flag­ship scope from Hawke Sport Op­tics, the Fron­tier. On looks alone it’s my kind of op­tic and as I ran down the specification list I be­came more and more ex­cited. Had I re­ally found MY scope? As seems to be the norm today, all the mod­els in the hunt­ing range have 50mm ob­jec­tive lenses. I’d be just as happy with a 40 to 44mm one, but they ap­pear to be go­ing the way of the diplodocus, so I guess I’d bet­ter get used to them. Sure, they gather lots of light for a nice bright im­age, but quite ob­vi­ously they weigh more than the smaller di­men­sion ob­jec­tives and can mean higher mounts. On that sub­ject, I noted that the sad­dle of the Fron­tier is slim and flat, of­fer­ing max­i­mum clear­ance for tall PCP mag­a­zines that can all too of­ten foul on other scopes. In medium height, 30mm Sport­sMatch dou­ble-bolt mounts, the 2.5-15 x 50 Fron­tier fit­ted my high-power Daystate Huntsman Re­gal like a glove.

The bright­ness and clar­ity of the scope’s im­age is hugely im­por­tant for me, and Hawke gave the Fron­tier the very best glass and coat­ings that they’ve ever of­fered. Of course, the best costs more, but in my book this is money well spent. I’ve long been con­fused about why so many peo­ple spend £ 800 to £1000 on their dream gun and then fit a poor- qual­ity, cheapo scope. No­body would buy a Fer­rari and then fit re­mould tyres, now would they? The per­for­mance of a gun is the sum to­tal of the ri­fle, scope, mounts and pel­lets, so every el­e­ment should be as high in qual­ity as every other part of the sys­tem. At £ 600 this is one of the more ex­pen­sive scopes you might con­sider for

air­gun use, but it seems the ideal part­ner for many of the top- end ri­fles on sale today.

IN­DEX-MATCHED LENSES

The Fron­tier of­fers in­dex-matched lenses, fully multi- coated with 21 lay­ers to max­imise im­age qual­ity and it was quite ob­vi­ous right from the start that th­ese lenses are a step above what we’re used to. For ex­am­ple, shoot­ing squir­rels on a bright win­ter day; the ob­jec­tive lens sim­ply re­fused to suf­fer flare, even at hor­ri­ble an­gles to the sun, al­low­ing me to take shots that lesser scopes would have failed on com­pletely. The clar­ity was also su­perb, al­low­ing me to sight squir­rels ly­ing flat against tree bark in the most awk­ward po­si­tions, and to achieve some truly sat­is­fy­ing shots.

THE RIGHT RET­I­CLE!

Right near the top of my wish list was a bold, clear ret­i­cle with­out any un­nec­es­sary clut­ter, and the Fron­tier’s LR dot is as close to per­fect as makes no dif­fer­ence. The sim­ple de­sign quite nat­u­rally draws your eye to the cen­tre with­out any danger of con­fu­sion. I’ve used com­plex, ap­par­ently clever de­signs in the past, that I’m sure have made me miss be­cause I aimed at the wrong part when under pres­sure in poor light, but that won’t hap­pen with this. You know ex­actly where you are in a mil­lisec­ond. It is il­lu­mi­nated, but only the neat and pre­cise cen­tre dot, so there no danger of daz­zling your eye with un­nec­es­sary red glare. I was deeply im­pressed at just how pre­cise the dot’s shape was, with no dis­tract­ing flare or wob­bles to be seen. In fact, it was so good that I found it quite us­able in day­light, some­thing I’ve never seen be­fore.

You’ll un­der­stand by now that I’ve been en­joy­ing this scope and be un­sur­prised to learn that I plan to keep it on my num­ber one gun for the fore­see­able fu­ture. This will al­low me to re­ally get under its skin and learn every small de­tail about it. There’s much more to tell, so I’ll re­port back later to up­date you with what I’ve learned about this in­cred­i­ble new scope, and to an­swer the ques­tion – is it re­ally my dream sight?

The more time I spend in the field with this scope, the more I like it

Low tur­rets and screw- on caps are what I was look­ing for

Par­al­lax ad­just­ment and il­lu­mi­na­tion con­trols are on the sad­dle

The LR Dot is just right for my hunt­ing needs It’s not too big or heavy on a proper sport­ing ri­fle

2.5 to 15x is a huge range of mag­ni­fi­ca­tion

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