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Mark Camoccio reviews the Vantage Red Dot 1x30 from Hawke Optics in his quest to find the perfect sight to top a bullpup with, without unbalancing the whole set up!
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The rise of the modern bullpup rifle is just one example of where a compact sighting system has a practical application. Being able to shoehorn in a sight, that will firstly look the part, and secondly, not unbalance the combination, is all part of the brief, and the humble red-dot sight is perfectly at home in this scenario.
The red-dot system, as with many shooting devices, has its origins in the military, and Hawke Optics have long seen the benefit of this type of sight. They now have six options available in the Vantage line-up, with three different sizes of objective, 20mm, 25mm, and 30mm. The customer also decides whether they need Weaver-style, or dovetail mounting, and either way, a super-compact, ultra-neat sight is on the cards, sporting aluminium construction, and fully multi-coated lens utilising a 25-layer process.
My model for test is the Vantage 1-30 Red Dot, and as the spec’ suggests, this is non-magnifying, with a 30mm objective. Inside the padded carton; expect an integral mount as specified, a lens cloth, elasticated lens covers, battery, and a honeycomb lens filter. The filter just screws into the objective lens, supposedly to cope with sunlight, but is it really any use? I’m not so sure. Looks good, though.
One massive advantage with the … er … Vantage, as with all red-dot sights, is that eye relief is irrelevant, within reason, to the point where this sight is equally at home as a tactical device, bolted on to a bullpup, or utilised as a pistol sight, viewed at arm’s length. Either way, fast target acquisition is the name of the game.
My test model, complete with dovetail base, was soon bolted in place, but since I was kitting-up using a recoiling rifle, I took the liberty of bolting an arrestor block in place, too, just behind on the rails. Belt and braces perhaps, but there’s little more frustrating than a sight on the move throughout the zeroing session, so an easy decision in my book. One minor source of irritation at this stage, came with the twin hand bolts on the base, since the slot in the bolt heads are just that bit too narrow for a coin to be used for tensioning. Sourcing the correct screwdriver is therefore necessary, and OK, it’s a minor point, but worth mentioning.
Likewise, both the windage and elevation turrets have screw caps that feature a raised edge, intended to be reversed and used to adjust the turret mechanism. These have worked well before, but the raised piece on my test model were too snug a fit to work efficiently. Again small fry, but a legitimate niggle, there to be highlighted. Get past my whinging, and clicks are audible and positive, with values marked as 1” at 100yds, therefore quarter-inch at 25yds.
Dot illumination comes from a neat, disc-style battery, stowed inside the screw-cap, right-hand side turret that’s actually the rheostat control, clearly marked up with 11 stages of brightness, and one off stage. I would prefer alternate ‘off’ stages which help to prevent leaving the unit on too long, but as it stands, function is otherwise hard to fault. Just twist the dial to the brightness level required, and you’re away. I found brightness level 7 in daylight, gave a precise, bright dot, free from glare, but simply adjust to suit.
Once zeroed, as usual with this style of sight, I was gobsmacked with the results. Sub- threequarter-inch groups over 25 yards, with a very casual aim – and most shots far tighter, excluding the outlier – was enough to confirm the potential accuracy, and that super-fast target acquisition just sets this style of optic apart, in a way that really needs to be experienced, if you haven’t done so to date.
I would say keep both eyes open, and this almost unrestricted FOV, combined with minimal parallax error, is something of a liberating shooting experience simply to be relished. Adopt an instinctive ‘point and shoot’ approach, and a whole world opens up, where fast-fire fun – especially involving knock-down reactive targets of some sort – has to be the order of the day.
Of course, insist on taking it seriously, then you won’t be disappointed, either because the Vantage delivers on every count.
A great little sight, then, and Hawke’s usual guarantee, along with the basic reassurances; nitrogen purged, fogproof, waterproof, and shockproof are all here. ‘Flexible, versatile, and very well executed’, just about sums up this Vantage, and with a current retail price of around £109, it represents great value for money in anyone’s book.
Model: Vantage 1-30 Red Dot
Manufacturer: Hawke Optics
Dot Size: 3 MOA
Click Value: 1MOA
Clicks Per Rotation: 48 on each turret
Number of Rotations: 7 elevation, 7.5 windage
Eye Relief: Unlimited
Battery: CR2032 lithium
Turrets: Low-profile, screw-cap
Price: £109 inc lens caps, battery & honeycomb lens
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