The Hawke Endurance 3-9x40mm IR Riflescope
In addition to the 3-9x40mm model reviewed here, the new for 2014 Hawke Endurance line is also available in 2-7x32mm and 4-12x42mm models. The Hawke Endurance 3-9x40mm scope has an illuminated reticle and is built on a 25mm (one inch) diameter main tube.
On many modern riflescopes with fully multi-coated lenses, the reticle becomes invisible due to low light conditions before a good shooting image degrades. You won't always need an illuminated reticle, to be sure, but when you do, they are priceless for quick target acquisition of a dark object against a dingy background. Black bear hunters shooting over bait will know exactly what I'm talking about.
The red illuminated reticle is infinitely adjustable. Many illuminated reticles are slow to cycle through brightness levels or are overly bright. The Hawke Endurance rheostat dial lets you infinitely adjust the brightness level, however you please.
The test scope has a Hawke 30/30 Center Cross reticle, but the same scope is also available with the Hawke .223/.308 Marksman Reticle that (more or less) matches the ballistics of most .223 and .308 ammunition, with aim points from 100 to 600 yards. The 30/30 reticle can also be used as a ballistic reticle, as at 4x the illuminated center crosshair equates to 30 MOA (or 30 inches, contingent on scope) at 100 yards, or 30 inches at 8x at 200 yards.
This Endurance 3-9x40mm scope is part number HK6352. It is 12.1 inches long, weighs 17 ounces and has a 29.1 (at 3x) to 9.6 (at 9x) foot linear field of view at 100 yards. Eye relief is specified as 4.5 inches. The optics are fully multi-coated and the external finish is matte black. The 2014 MSRP is a reasonable $229.99.
I found the test scope's zoom and Euro-style fast focus controls smooth to operate. The windage and elevation adjustments are positive and audible. Sharpness and contrast are typical for a scope in this price range. The view is bright, with no significant flare.
A 3-9x40mm scope is a pretty good all-around choice for big game hunting in a wide variety of conditions. Nine power is plenty of magnification for almost any long range hunting application. After all, if you can see well enough to hit your target with your naked eyes at 50 yards, 9x magnification gives you the same size image at 450 yards, far beyond the maximum point blank range (+/- 3 inches) of any hunting cartridge. At 3x the field of view is adequate for most woods and brush country hunting. A 40mm objective lens provides a 4.44mm exit pupil at 9x and a 6.66mm exit pupil at 6x, which is as much light as most eyes can use, even when fully dark adapted.
There are three factors, in addition to its useful magnification range and brightness, that make the Hawke Endurance 3-9x40 IR an all-around scope: a modest price point, illuminated reticle and generous 4.5 inch eye relief. The latter is significant, as inadequate eye relief can be a big problem, not only for high power rifles, but also for slug guns and muzzleloaders. Often, short eye relief scopes cannot be easily mounted. Sometimes, you must resort to extension rings or custom scope bases to mount the scope.
As a broad generalization, Leupold scopes and most European designed riflescopes don't have this problem. Yet, far too many otherwise good riflescopes have a 3.3 inch or so minimum eye relief, enough to lift your shooting glasses off your nose at the bench and a good possibility of scope-eye on harsh recoiling firearms.
You should be able to mount the Endurance 3-9x40 on your muzzleloader, turkey gun, slug gun, AR and most conventional center-fire rifles without a problem. Whether due to heavy recoil or where the gun's design requires you to mount a scope, this Hawke Endurance fits a wide variety of applications.
While there never can be a true "one size fits all" riflescope, the Hawke Endurance 3-9x40 comes as close as can be had in an all-round scope that is priced right. Hawke is going to sell a lot of these units and, as more folks try them, the word will travel.
A very late, surprise release from Hawke Optics is their new Endurance 3-9x40 variation with a Slug Gun SR Reticle. It is the identical scope reviewed here, with the exception of the reticle.
Reticle choices are largely personal preference. In this case, although the scope itself is a lot of scope for the money, the new reticle is poor. The fundamental problem is that the three hold points, the illuminated chevron type triangles, are far too far apart to be of any hunting value. Even if you used a 1900 fps load, with a .18 G1 BC, with the scope on 9x, it is a mess when zeroed at 100 yards.
The tip of the first chevron, at 9x, indicates the 100 yards. Yet, the second chevron subtends to 173 yards. The problem is, you are already unacceptably low at 150 yards (-4.39 inches) and an unacceptable -6.57 inches at 165 yards.
This reticle creates more problems than it is worth, adding needless complication. This stuff isn't that difficult. Take that very same load, 1900 fps / .18 BC at 1900 fps, and sight it in 2.8 inches high at 100 yards. You're done for the vast majority of whitetail hunting applications, for that means a 166 yard Maximum Point Blank Range (+/- 3 in.); you do not need to hold over or below the target from the muzzle to 166 yards. At 200 yards, you are about 9.69 inches low, so you hold on his back. Simple and uncomplicated, without any need for a confusing reticle with multiple aiming points.
Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.