Review: Hawke SideWinder 30 Tactical Rifle Scope Part 1

June 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Hawke Optics Tactical Rifle ScopeDisclaimer: I just want to be clear, I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review and all expressions and opinions are my own. Heck, I even have to return the scope as soon as I’m done with this review. ­čśë

A little while back Hawke Optics contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing one of their rifle scopes. I jumped at the opportunity in order to provide the community some fresh unique content. Since I had the option to select the scope, I chose the SideWinder 30 Tactical Series 4.5-14×42 rifle scope.

A little about Hawke Optics

Hawke Optics is a UK based company who has been silently making their brand known through the shooting community and are increasing their dealer base here in the United States. You can find a list of dealers who carry Hawke Sport Optics here. Like I said before, in order for Hawke to spread the word about their optics, they contacted me to review their Tactical 4.5-14×42 rifle scope, so here we go!

sidewinder 30 tactical rifle scope

Hawke 4.5-14x42 IR SF Tactical Scope Mounted on my M1A Scout Rifle

The SideWinder Tactical 30 Series

The Specs:

Manufacturer: Hawke Sport Optics
Model Number: Tactical 4.5-14×42 IR SF
Finish: Matte
Magnification: 4.5-14
Objective: 42mm
Tube Diameter: 30mm
Weight: 1lb 11oz/775g
Length: 14.6″/370mm
Eye Relief: 4″/102mm
Click Value: 1/4 MOA
FOV @100y: 6.9′-2.1′ m
Reticule: Mildot
List Price: $429

The SideWinder 30 Tactical Series rifle scopes are one of the higher end rifle scope line for hawke optics. I’m not going to say it’s their highest line of scopes like their Japanese made Frontier series but, according to their sales team, they are becoming one of their hottest sellers to date and I think I know why.

The rifle scope comes packaged well with it’s own rifle scope case filled with cut out egg crate style foam that fits the outline of the scope and it’s accessories. Included within the case is the rifle scope, instruction booklet, lens cloth, screw on lens covers, 2″ side focus wheel, wheel pointer, and 4″ sunshade.


Rifle scope case and contents

Rifle scope case and contents


The single tube scope is┬á 30mm in diameter making it strong and durable. It also comes with a black matte finish making the surface of the scope less reflective. The tube comes nitrogen purged/filled making it water, shock and fog proof. The tube is pretty smooth and there are no over the top features with it’s construction leaving a simple, clean and QUALITY feeling to the scope. The turrets do remind me of the Leupold Mark 4 LR/T style turrets, giving it that mark 4 look and feel.

Rifle Scope Turrets

Rifle Scope Turrets

The turrets have some nice features to them. They are 1/4 MOA and large for easy use. They also have a nice locking feature to them. Pull the turret up or outward and they are unlocked, enabling for easy smooth adjustments. Once your settings are complete, just simply push the turret in or downward to lock it in place. They are resettable but one thing I did notice was the fact that when adjusted, I couldn’t count up or down with these turrets. The parallax knob rotates nice and smooth and ranges from 10yds-infinity. Attached to the parallax knob is the illumination know with 5 levels of brightness for both red and green reticles. I found level 3 to be the best during low light conditions.

Fast ocular focus with lock

The eye piece is also pretty nice. It contains a fast focus ocular lens adjustment with locking ring. Simply adjust until focused, then lock by moving the locking ring back toward the eye. It allows for a nice amount of adjustment before it reaches maximum capacity, allowing for a sharp, crisp view of the reticle and target. The power ring is a little stiff upon it’s first few uses but then moves back and forth smoothly. It’s not too stiff nor too loose but moves smoothly when zooming in and out.

Eye relief and reticle

The eye relief is outstanding. I have this scope mounted on my Springfield M1A Scout and eye relief is a must on my rifle. Once mounted, I took this picture about 4 inches back and the reticle is still visible and crisp.

The reticle is clean looking. It’s a free floating, glass etched, mil dot reticle with hollow bars for easy bracketing with dot and tie aim points. The mil dot and tie aim points are spaced at 1/2 mil dot spacing. The hollow bars are spaced at 0.2 mil spacing and whole spacing.

As you can see, the glass on this scope is superb. The scope comes with fully multi-coated lenses for increased light transmission and low light conditions. It took me by surprise on how clear the scope really was when viewed for the first time.

Ok, now that we have covered most of the specs, we are now going to see how this scope holds up at the range. Once I zero it with my M1A Scout, I’ll fire about 75-100 rounds of .308 ammo. That should be sufficient for testing the recoil hold up.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the Hawke Optics SideWinder 30 Tactical Rifle Scope Review.

Choosing The Best Rifle Scope

November 22, 2009 by  
Filed under M1A Rifle Scopes

Many firearm enthusiasts in this day and age are using an optical sighting device or rifle scope on their guns. There is a great reason for making this happen, which is simplicity. Using a scope is a lot less complex than lining up your iron sights. Here is what you need to know about choosing the best rifle scope.

Having the right tool for the job is vitally important. Cartridges and scopes are getting more powerful every single year, and this makes choosing the right scope even more vitally important than ever before.

On one end of your rifle scope you have the objective bell and the objective lens. The elevation adjustment and the windage adjustment are in the center of the scope. Then you have the power ring, the eye piece, the ocular lens and the exit pupil which are on the side that you look through with your scope. Knowing these terms is important when it comes to choosing the best rifle scope, because there are unique characteristics among each of them. If you don’t know your rifle scope anatomy, then you are going to have trouble determining which features are the most important for you to seek out.

The main tube for most scopes in America is only a single inch in diameter, which means that they make use out of one inch rings. Some main tubes are only 30 mm, meaning that they use 30 mm rings. There are a number of different base types that can be used to connect the rings directly to your rifle. You are going to need to know what type of base you need in order to find out the height and the type for the rings that you are going to use for the scope that you want, whether they are 1″ rings or 30 mm rings.

Scopes do not gather light though most people think that they do, but rather they transmit available light to your eye through the lenses, even losing some light in the process. The best scope is one that offers a theoretical 98% light transmission. Anything that is above 95% in light transmission is considered to be great, though most scopes only offer around 90%.

Another consideration is magnification range. A rifle scope with a 3 to 9 magnification range for a gun intended for whitetail deer is pretty much standard. For mule deer or for antelope, choosing a 4 to 12 or a 4.5 to 14 is not going to be too bad. High power scopes are definitely nice, but in certain situations such as on hot days, they will be rendered nearly unusable because of heat waves and mirage. For smaller animals or for longer range targets, choose a variable range with 6 to 20X or 8 to 25X for the best results. Some other people prefer fixed scopes because they have fewer moving parts and are simpler, so consider this option as well.

August Rifle Scope Winner!

September 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Contests

matt09Congratulations to our newsletter subscriber, Matthew! He just won a new Nikon Prostaff 3-9X40 rifle scope. His email was selected at random during our monthly raffle.

Make sure you are signed up for our newsletter for a chance to win next month’s prize which is a new BSA RD30 Red Dot Scope.

Please continue to check for any updates and upcoming contests.

Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope review

July 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Ease of Setup: 4.8 Stars / 5 Stars

The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Rifle Scope is generally quite easy to set up.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Usability: 4.4 Stars / 5 Stars
The The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Rifle Scope is a serious piece of machinery, but it is user friendly and intuitive for most of its users.

Features: 4.3 Stars / 5 Stars
The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Rifle Scope offers more features than any other rifle scope in this price range, making it an excellent buy.

Meets Expectations: 4.6 Stars / 5 Stars
The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Rifle Scope definitely meets expectations as well as exceeding them in certain cases by offering excellent value for the money, plenty of features and an overall great scope with plenty of zooming power.

Manufacturer: Nikon
Magnification: 3x – 9x
Tube Diameter: 1 ”
Objective Diameter: 40 mm
Exit Pupil: 4.4 mm
Eye Relief: 3.6 in
Length: 12.3 in.
Weight: 13.7 oz


The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope features a 100 % waterproof and fog proof scope with a lifetime full warranty. It offers multi colored optics which allows for 90 % light transmission to be achieved. It also features Nikon’s patented anti-reflective multi coating and a precise and repeatable ┬╝ MOA adjustment. This scope is nitrogen filled as well as O ring sealed. It also offers a BDC or bullet drop compensating reticle that allows for easy hold over for as long as 600 yards as well.

The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope comes in numerous colors and finishes including camouflage, silver and matte black. It is a nice length and weight for what it is, at 12.3 inches long and 13.1 ounces in weight. The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope can alternate between 3x and 9x zoom. Finding a similar scope offering the same level of features in this price range is going to be difficult.

The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope is easy to set up and is generally quite user friendly. It offers a number of unique and sought after features, and gives great value for the investment. All in all, the Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope is considered to meet the expectations of its users, allowing it to be a good value and well worth buying for compatible rifles.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Nikon Prostaff Rifle Scopes are serious instruments and are not as user friendly as some people would like. The The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Rifle Scope is feature rich, but some people have found that it costs more than they would like to pay for a rifle scope. The adjustments definitely leave something to be desired, and yardage needs to be marked inside of the scope for an increase in usability but in general the scope works as well as could be expected.


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Win A New Nikon Buckmasters 4.5-14×40 SF Rifle Scope Free

May 9, 2009 by  
Filed under M1A Rifles

free-riflescopeHey everyone, I’m proud to announce’s first ever contest. Up for grabs in this contest is a free new Nikon Buckmasters SF 4.5-14×40 Rifle Scope. That’s right, a free rifle scope for you (if you are the winner) to enjoy.

I know you’re asking “So whats the catch?”. Well there is no catch! As you can see in the m1a forum section there is a mini community. I want to expand this little rifle community and that’s why I’m throwing this contest. I want to spread the word about the rifle community.

This is the first of MANY contests to come, for my readers. Future contests would include gear like optics, bipods, rifle stocks, pistol grips, and all sorts of other tactical gear. So check back often!

Now lets get into the contest!

Contest Details:

The contest will take place Saturday May 9th – may 23rd 2009.
For a blogger/reader to enter the contest, this is what they have to do.

  1. Blog about the contest on their blog. It doesn’t have to be a long blog post. The post must include a link to this post and start/end date of the contest. If you currently don’t have a blog then a post about this contest in a forum, facebook, or twitter will do just fine.
  2. Once the blog post is finished, the contestant must contact me using the contact page with the message “rifle scope contest” and include the link to your blog post, facebook, or twitter about the contest.
  3. Register at the M1A forum.
  4. Participate in the forums. All posts must be quality posts and not just junk posts.

The person with the most posts in the forum by the end date wins!

The prize is a NEW Nikon Buckmasters 4.5-14×40 SF BDC Rifle scope!

**Attention** Make sure all registration and emails are valid! The winner will be contacted via email.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via the contact page.
Thanks and good luck!