Review: Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical Scope – Cool, but can it shoot the cocks?

Review: Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical Scope – Cool, but can it shoot the cocks? 
By Tom McHale

My Gun Culture
My Gun Culture

USA –-(Ammoland.com) The Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical scope has all the cool goodies:

  • Illuminated glass-etched reticle in red AND green with variable brightness controls for each
  • 2″ side-wheel parallax adjustment
  • 1/4 MOA tactical turrets. Besides looking exceptionally cool, they offer push/pull locking and easy zero adjustment
  • 4″ removable sunshade which looks even more exceptionally cool than the tactical turrets
  • Mil-Dot reticle
  • Multi-Coated lenses

But can it shoot the cocks?

We intended to find out. More on that in a minute.

Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical
The Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical Scope

We met Brad and Steve from Hawke Sport Optics at this years POMA Conference and got a thorough tour of the Hawke lineup. After some discussion, we elected to run the Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical through a comprehensive My Gun Culture evaluation protocol. We've been looking for a great opportunity to use a big word like protocol for a while now, so this evaluation is already off to a pulchritudinous (yet another big word) start.

We selected the Sidewinder Tactical as a great match for our test rifle – a Savage 112 in .22-250 caliber. This rifle is an accuracy beast, easily shooting around the 1/2 MOA zone as long as one points it in the right direction.

The Walking Tour

Hawke Optics Accessories
Hawke Optics Accessories

Our evaluation model was the HK4034 10x fixed power with mil-dot reticle. Other models in the Tactical Series offer variable power in 4.5-14x, 6.5-20x and 8.5x25x. It's a 30mm tube design with a 42mm objective lens so make sure you've got the proper rings and bases of adequate height. 

We loved the attention to detail in the packaging. The Sidewinder Tactical came in a custom foam-lined hard case with a carry handle for safe transport. Packed in various foam cutouts were the scope itself, a 4″ sun shade, lens cleaning cloth, metal lens covers, a spare battery for the illuminated reticle, tools for turret adjustment, a removable large wheel for parallax adjustment, and owners manual. Inclusion of the little things is a big deal to us as it means the product is immediately usable – without extra trips to the store.

The included lens covers were also a nice touch. Made of metal and a screw-in design, they're solid and secure. The only gripe we had with them is that the front one will not also mount on the included 4″ sun shade. If you intend to look cool at the range by leaving that on, you have to find a different front lens cover option.

The other stand out feature was the clarity. Loved it. Especially for the price. The sight picture was clear and crisp across the whole diameter of visible area. Speaking of optical characteristics, the eye relief is about 4″ and field of view at 100 yards is almost 12 feet on the fixed 10x model we tested. The ocular lens is easily focused and features a solid locking ring to prevent movement once you get it set just right.

Hawke Sidewinder Tactical with Sun Shade
Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical Scope

The tactical turret knobs features a push/pull locking mechanism. Pull the windage or elevation knob out and you can make adjustments by sight using the engraved and painted visual scale or by touch using clicks. Push the knob back in and the setting is locked. When initially zeroing the Sidewinder, get everything just right for your particular rifle, then use the supplied hex wrench to loosen the turret cover and match the visible scale zero to our correct setting. Easy.

On the left side of the scope body is a dual purpose knob. An outer ring is used to turn on the illuminated reticle for five different brightness levels of red or green. The inner ring is the parallax adjustment – covering ranges from 10 yards to infinity. Hawke includes an oversized parallax adjustment wheel which can be slipped on to the built-in ring which offers much more precise control over parallax focus. And it looks insanely cool.

The mil-dot reticle features 1/2 mil indicators in addition to the standard mil-dots. Additionally, the bars on the outside of the crosshairs offer .2 mil indicators for more accurate range finding using the mil-dot system. For the mil-dot challenged, there is a great introductory resource at Mil-Dot.com.

Mounting was easy, except that we had neither appropriate scope bases for the Savage or 30mm rings. A quick trip to Brownells.com solved that and we quickly got our hands on both made by Weaver.

Shooting the Cocks

Shooting the cocks
Shooting the Cocks

One of the simple ways to do a quick, but not comprehensive, test of a scope's ability to adjust for windage and elevation and return to proper point of aim is to ‘shoot the box.' The process is pretty straightforward. Make sure your scope is zeroed and consistently matches the crosshairs to point of actual impact at a set range. Next, fire a shot. For example, take the first shot a the lower left corner of your target. Next, and without changing your point of aim, adjust the scopes windage some distance to the right – say four inches. Fire another shot. If you're still aiming at your original point, the second bullet impact should be exactly four inches to the right of the first. Next, adjust elevation four inches up. Again without changing point of aim, fire another shot. That one should land four inches directly above the second shot. Now adjust windage four inches to the left and fire again. Finally, return the scope's windage and elevation settings to zero. Fire again. In theory, and provided you did not stay out too late the night before, your fifth and final shot should impact more or less on top of your very first shot. The other three shots should complete the corners of a four-inch square. Hence ‘shooting the box.'

Is this an end-all test of a scopes quality? No, but it sure is fun and does provide some feedback as to whether your scope can make accurate windage and elevation adjustments. It also confirms that your scope can return to the same zero point after adjustment.

For our test of the Hawke Sidewinder Tactical, we didn't want to repeat a field test that thousands of other people have already done. Our attention span is way too limited for that.

Hence shooting the cocks.

No, not those kind! Where has your mind been anyway? You see, we're BIG Clemson fans and we have a little rivalry with our friends at the University of South Carolina and their Gamecocks. It just so happens that when shopping for more interesting targets to ‘shoot the box' that we stumbled upon a six-pack of ping-pong balls complete with Gamecocks logos. Our plan was to place four of the Gamecocks ping-pong balls in a square pattern on a large paper target and use those as a more interesting way of completing a box test.

In our earlier example, we discussed a common plan of shooting a four or five-inch box, or in our case, cocks. In order to really go all out on this test and put the Hawke Sidewinder through its paces, we elected to shoot eight inch cocks. Fortunately, we had some Hoppes 9 S-12 Small Bore Rifle Targets handy. These have five targets, the outside four of which provided a great background for our cock square. Center to center, the S-12 target gave us exactly a 8.25 inch square. At 100 yards, adjustments for over eight inches windage and elevation adjustment is not shabby – equivalent to 40 inches in each direction at 500 yards. We felt this range of adjustment and return to zero would give the Sidewinder a reasonable test given the limits of our 100 yard range.

Shooting the Cocks
Shooting the Cocks

We placed the cocks at a range of 100 yards and did a whole bunch of really challenging math to determine our theoretical MOA adjustments to move the point of impact 8.25 inches in each direction. Let's see, one MOA at 100 yards represents just about 1.047 inches. More or less. So 8.25 inches is… carry the one, count three over from the ring finger, apply the rule of 9's, and we estimate that 8.25 inches is just about 7.87965616045845 MOA at 100 yards. With each click on our Sidewinder tactical turrets, we get 1/4 MOA, so that translates to 31.5186246418338 clicks. Unfortunately the Hawke Sidewinder Tactical does not have a .5186246418338 click adjustment so we had to make do with 31 clicks. As a side note, we're now ready to ace the SAT and enter the World Series of Poker Tournament.

Another reason we liked our choice of target selection is that these cocks are 1.65 inches in diameter, thereby providing a bit of cushion to account for our caffeine induced shake, spastic trigger finger and aging eyes. We did not want to subject the Hawke optic to our built-in user error, sandbags or not.

So, if all went to plan, five shots and some fancy tactical turret adjustments would lead to four shot up cocks.

Results? Hol(e)y cocks!

As the included photos show, we had no trouble hitting these 1.6 inch diameter targets. A precision test? Not really, but it sure was fun. Especially watching the other shooters at the range trying to figure out what the heck we were doing shooting cocks.

The bottom line is that we got a beautiful 8.25″ square, and even more importantly, returned exactly to the original zero after all that tactical turret spinning. We've got to get this scope out to an actual 600 yard range!

Hawke BRC (Ballistic Reticle Calculator) Software

Although our evaluation unit was a Tactical Series model and came with a Mil-Dot reticle, Hawke offers alternative reticle options including the SR6, SR12, and Multiple Aim Point (MAP). The Hawke BRC software is a free download designed to complement your reticle of choice.

Hawke Ballistic Software
Hawke Ballistic Software

The software is addictive. In addition to standard ballistic chart output, Hawke BRC includes utilities for range estimation and calibration of the scope and reticle to your specific rifle and load. Simply enter your reticle type, ammunition type from pre-configured load data (or enter your own), scope height and zero range and the BRC application shows you specific ranges for each marking on your scope reticle. Hawke BRC even includes a utility to print this information on circular disks designed to be cut out and placed inside of flip-up scope covers for use in the field. The range estimation utility allows you to enter a target size and provides printable range estimation cheat sheets using the markings on your reticle. Fun stuff!

Net Net Net

If we had to summarize our experience with the Hawke Sidewinder Tactical in one word, that word would be value. Not only do you get a lot of ‘goodies' for your dollar, the underlying construction was solid, optics clear, and controls accurate and repeatable. It's going to live on that Savage cock buster for a while.

 

He said She said
Really? Do you need to ask? It's a tactical looking beast! Does anything else really matter? Just between us, I like to keep the 4″ sun shade on all the time, even if it's not bright and sunny. It just looks cool you know? I tested this on a cloudy day yet the view was still noticeably brighter than other scopes I've used. I felt the view was sharp and focused. I had a great time picking off pieces of broken clay targets at long range 🙂

About: Tom McHale describes himself as a conservative gun-totin’ bible-clingin’ literary assault dude who enjoys finding humor in just about anything. His web blog My Gun Culture is an irreverent, twisted look at gun news bordering on the ridiculous. It covers shootin’ stuff, loud noises, defending your own, the occasional mall ninja, and about 200 years of the American way. “These are the (partially) true stories of… My Gun Culture” says Tom. Visit: www.mygunculture.com

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BOB
BOB
5 years ago

$ how much $$$ 8-32×56 sr pro scope I want to buy one

caron yves
caron yves
7 years ago

votre article est très intéressant il m’a apprit beaucoup de choses concernant ma lunette merci.