Hawke 3-9×40 AO Sport HD: Tough Enough for Springers?

3-9x40-a-sport

I spend a lot of time trying out new rifles for this site, but it occurs to me that I haven’t really looked at too many accessories. I thought I would correct that and, instead of taking for granted that I got a new scope, I would actually take a moment to get some of my thoughts down.
In this case, I recently picked up a Hawke sport optics 3-9×40 AO HD rifle scope. The one I got had the 30/30 duplex reticle, though it does come with a mil dot reticle if that’s more your speed. Not only did I want to test it with some of my frequently used rifles, but I especially wanted to see if this would, like so many reasonably priced scopes, get knocked out of usability by a spring piston gun.

Specs
Before getting into the actual test, here are some specs. The Hawke sport optics obviously has 3-9x magnification and a 40mm adjustable objective lens in a 1” mono tube chassis with 3.5” eye relief. The optics have 11 layer full multicoating. It weighs 17 ounces, is 12.7” long, and has 1/40 moa snag free fingertip turrets. It’s advertised as being nitrogen purged, waterproof, and (most important for our purposes) shockproof.

Testing
For this particular test I went with an RWS 34 and a Benjamin trail NP .22. Both seemed like common enough weapons that they could give a good indication of how it would work on similar rifles, but they also have enough of a kick to them that they might throw the scope out of alignment pretty quickly.
As a control for the test, I started by running through a few rounds with my old Hawke 2-7, which works fine with both weapons. However, if you’re looking for a little more magnification, you’re going to want the 3-9×40.
I started on the Benjamin .22 and have to say that it was absolutely beautiful. Not only did I get the reliability of a Benjamin, but the problems with the scope were minimal at best. There was good clarity, even at the edges, and it wasn’t long before I was pulling off 1” groups at 50 yards using Crosman Domed Premier pellets. I chose the Crosmans specifically because I wanted a pellet that wasn’t built for accuracy the way that a competition pellet or the Umarex RAW R10 Match Lites would be.
Since things worked so well with the Benjamin, I moved on to the RWS 34 and…got largely the same results. One inch groupings from 50 yards away using the Crosmans. About the worst that I noticed was that the AO was a bit off when the crosshair was focused most clearly, but nothing that can’t be almost instinctively compensated for.
I also noticed that the turrets lack a positive click, but honestly it’s not necessary. The 3-9×40 is perfectly easy to adjust and you’ll have very little trouble getting things just right.
After putting about 500 rounds through each rifle, I can say that fears that this scope isn’t rugged enough for high powered springs are entirely unfounded.

Pros
The Hawke 3-9×40 is a solidly constructed scope with clear optics across the whole field of view, which is excellent in general. It’s bright and has a good eye relief.

Cons
As mentioned above, I would much prefer that the turrets have positive clicks, but considering how easy it was to adjust, it’s not a major drawback. At 17 ounces, it’s a bit on the heavy side, which I imagine would make a difference on a long hunting trip, but for plinking isn’t too bad.
 
The Bottom Line
This scope is a little bit higher priced than other ones, but not prohibitively so. Considering the price, you’re actually getting a good bargain. For short hunting trips or target shooting with spring air rifles, you’ll find it very useful. I wouldn’t use the illuminated reticle versions of any Hawke scope with springers and you should make sure you do your research so that mounting isn’t a problem, but my duplex reticle had no problem on either rifle I tried and I think you’re likely to have similar results.

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