Location: United States
Hawke Frontier SF 4-16x42, Leupold VX-3 4.5-14x40 & Co
By "& Co", I mean a bunch of other scopes that I compared with the two explicitly mentioned:
left to right: IOR 3-18x42FFP, Super Sniper 10x42, IOR 6x42, Kahles
American Hunter 3-9x42, Sightron S2 Big Sky 6-24x42, Leupold VX-3
4.5-14x40, Hawke Frontier SF 4-16x42, Vortex Viper 4-12x40. Kahles and
the 6x42 IOR are mostly there for a photo-op since I ended up not using
them in the comparison a whole lot. After thinking about it a little,
I decided to restrict this to scopes with some sort of focus/parallax
compensation. I was mostly interested in looking at these two scope
from the standpoint of low light performance and how the reticles look.
S2 Big Sky was sent to me for T&E by Sightron. It is not exactly
the right configuration for this comparison, so I will have a separate
review concentrating on the Sightron in a little bit. In the meantime,
I have enough overall experience with S2 Big Sky scopes to be fairly
certain that the 4-16x42 will behave in a similar manner to 6-24x42 at
the same magnificaitons. This one is a Silhouette model with a dot
reticle and 1/4MOA clicks. Leupold VX-3 is the "Test Drive" sample provided by SWFA. It has a thin plex reticle. Hawke Frontier SF was sent to me for T&E by Hawke. This sample is outfitted with a MilDot true at 10x.
rest of the scopes are mine and I use them for comparison purposes a
fair bit. They serve as a reference point of a sort for many tests.
Now, for some specs of similarly configured scopes that have 1" tubes:
Hawke Frontier SF 4-16x42
Leupold VX-3 4.5-14x40 (4.9-14.2 actual)
Vortex Viper 4-12x40
Sightron S2 Big Sky 4-16x42 (just for reference)
Sightron S2 Big Sky 4.5-14x44 (just for reference)
Nikon Monarch 4-16x42 (just for reference)
Bushnell Elite 4200 4-16x40 (just for reference)
Weaver Grand Slam 4.5-14x40AO (just for reference)
Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x44 (just for reference)
Burris Signature Select 4-16x44 (just for reference)
Excellent article! Thanks.
Hawke scopes are substantially cheaper in Europe if you compare other scopes non-European brands. This makes Hawke pretty good bang for a buck even though the warranty isn´t as good as it is with other manufacturers.
Location: United States
You are welcome.
The other day, someone brought up an interesting point, that most of my reviews are pretty favorable to the products I review. Well, actually, that person implied that I am not exactly un-biased with my reviews.
After thinking about it, I think that the products I have been reviewing are, by and large, a self-selecting sample for a couple of reasons 1) I do not get paid to do the reviews, but I do get to choose what I review 2) I have been mostly reviewing the products that are of interest to me, so I have been, for all practical services, pre-screening stuff.
As I start looking at products that the manufacturers send me, as opposed to the stuff I buy, I wonder if that trend is going to last, since I am looking at some stuff now that I probably would not buy for a purpose of a review.
Location: Benton, Pa
Thank you so much for a terrific review,detailed,honest & very time consuming on your part.Also my hat goes off to you for keeping it simple so non tech people like myself don't get board with the article " The Pearls of Wisdom are Heard not Spoken"
Location: United States
Roy Finn wrote:
Nice review ILya. Glad to see Leupold is making some upgrades in the glass dept. If they could just fix that eye relief issue.............. Roy
I agree with Roy. It's way overdue IMO.
When you consider all the positive attributes of Leupold scopes (great customer service, tons of options, lifetime warranties regardless of the owner status and a good reputation for reliability) and durability, the variability of eye relief would seal the deal for me and many others I'm sure. While the glass upgrade was probably a fairly simple upgrade, the changing eye relief is probably a somewhat more difficult task to undertake. I am only guessing, but this would probably involve a more costly redesign of the optical design/system. Like I said earlier, the glass improvement, beefed up erector assembly and more accurate adjustments are very big steps in the right direction for this consumer. The fact that all the improvements thus far were brought to us at a modest price increase is wonderful news. I am now considering purchasing a Leupold FX3 6x42 for my 280 Ackley just because most of my shooting for whitetails up north don't really require very close snap shooting. It will probably save me a few ounces as well over my present B&L 2.5-10 Elite 4200.
Excellent review. However, as a scientist, we both know that unless you perform a double blinded study, then subjectivity is always going to be a strong consideration in a review of any product. I know that it would be very hard to do that with rifle scopes, but it is still possible. With your knowledge of optics and science, along with SWFA, I would really like to see a double blinded study, possibly beginning with a group of fixed power scopes to make it simple in the beginning. Again, your review was thorough, engaging and quite good, but just some thoughts.
Edited by safariarms man - August/02/2009 at 17:43
Nice comparison. Seems we consumers are the winners with this group of scopes. Had forgotten that I was a member here, so have only read this purchasing the the VX-3 2.5-8x36 on my Model 70 Classic in 30-06 hunting rifle and the VX-3 4.5-14x40 AO mounted on my 40-X rimfire silhouette rifle. Now, if I can find the correctly priced 36X with target dot for the BSA Martini MkII rimfire benchrest rifle I'll be good.
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