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Mark Cammocio reviews the Hawke Frontier SF 3-15 x 44 Mil Pro scope, which sits at the top of the tree when it comes to prestige in Hawke's extensive range of optics.
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Hawke Optics manufacture no fewer than six different ranges of scopes, and that's before we get to the Red Dot systems. Top of the tree for prestige has to be the Frontier range, and these are built using Hawke's top-class System H7 components. Superior high grade, low dispersion Crown glass, 21-layer, multi-coated lenses, and exceptional light transmission, are what these elevated models are all about, and on test here is the Frontier SF 3-15 x 44 Mil Pro.
A 44mm objective, variable magnification and Side Focus (SF) parallax correction, make this a highly versatile model, but take a look in the box, and there's also flip-up lens covers, lens cloth, battery, 4” sunshade, throw lever, and instructions, all alongside.
Personally, I've never been too bothered about larger bodied 30mm scopes, so the fact that this Frontier is a one-piece, one-inch tube appeals, along with the smart and practical, matte anodised finish. That silver ring up front adds a touch of refinement, but it's perhaps those chunky raised block grips covering the turrets and magnification collar, that give the Frontier models such a distinctive look.
Despite Hawke terming the metal flip covers 'professional style', I would actually prefer rubber pressure fit caps, but the caps included do the job, and are designed to flip forward, sit back flat, or somewhere in between. There's a 4-inch sunshade, too, which screws into place, and the front cap would then be reattached.
As usual, the first task is to set the fast-focus dioptre at the rear, so the object and reticle are in sharp focus. Almost certainly, setting this will require the screw caps to be reset and aligned. Comprehensive instructions are included and these cover mounting the scope, turret information, the zero-stop feature, zeroing-in, understanding the reticle, maintenance and more.
The tactical turrets feature the push/pull design to lock movement, and clicks are audible and positive. Once zero is set, turret caps can be removed, and set back on '0'. In addition, the elevation turret sports a 'zero-stop' feature, allowing the turret to be returned to the point of zero in one quick movement, which can be invaluable in failing light, for example.
To zero the turret initially, the zero-stop has to be disengaged, by first loosening the three screws around the cap – then remove the cap. You can now see the inner 'zero-stop' mechanism. Loosen the three screws on this inner turret. The turret can now be zeroed using the inner dial or by replacing the cap and adjusting in the normal way. Once this is completed, with the outer cap removed, turn the zero-stop dial clockwise until it stops. Now re-tighten the screws, replace and re-tighten the outer cap (setting it back on '0'), and this process has then set the internal buffer point.
A big advantage of this Frontier model, as well as the image sharpness, is the wide-angle FOV, and this is an obvious bonus in the field. I found that maintaining a consistent head position was also important, to achieve a true sight picture, and minimise parallax error. That's no bad thing because it promotes consistency, but it's worth bearing in mind. Parallax is corrected using the inner parallax dial on the left turret, which carries ranges marked from 10yds, then 15, 20, 30, 50, 75, 100, 200, 300, 500, and infinity.
The reticle is the Mil Pro 10x design and this offers true MRAD values when viewed at 10x magnification, making one-mil spacing on the reticle .9 of an inch across at 25 yards, or 1.8 inches at 50 yards. If you need half mil and quarter mil spacing, then that's here, too. The Christmas Tree-style stadia includes 10 rows of windage dots, and whilst it may be just the first three lines that come into play for 12 ft.lbs. airguns, versatility is built in. I like those large hollow outer posts, too, because these lessen the chance of losing the reticle when light fades. Six levels of brightness are on tap for those who favour illumination – all controlled via the rheostat dial on the tip of the left turret.
As mentioned, Hawke's 'Frontier' models are top of the range, so unsurprisingly, clarity and sharpness are very impressive. The downside is that these scopes attract a higher RRP. There is a genuine air of quality, though, which will appeal to many. The specification also means these models are nitrogen-purged, shockproof, waterproof, and all-calibre rated. Add in Hawke's conditional lifetime warranty, and any serious investor can sleep easy.
Model: Hawke Frontier SF 3-15 x 44 Mil Pro
Manufacturer: Hawke Optics
Objective Lens Diameter: 44mm
Reticle: Mil Pro 10x illuminated
Click Adjustment: 1/10mrad @100yds
Field of View: 37.5ft – 7.5ft @100yds
Eye Relief: 4”
Body Tube: 1”
Min Focus: 10yds marked and on test
Turrets: Tactical push pull lock, with elevation zero stop
Clicks per rotation: 80 on both turrets
Number of Full Rotations: 4.7 on elevation/ 3.7 windage
Price: £459 inc flip-up lens covers, lens cloth, battery, 4” sunshade, throw lever, and instructions
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