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Hawke Sidewinder Vs Vortex Viper vs Falcon Menace??

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Unread 01-20-2012, 12:18 AM
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Hawke Sidewinder Vs Vortex Viper vs Falcon Menace??

I've got a 300 win mag that needs a set of eyes. I like the looks of these three scopes for the money, but how do they perform with higher recoil rifles? The Falcon is a great feature loaded scope, the Viper i have a HS model and love it, and I've never seen a hawke. My budget is under $600, so the Weaver tactical is just north of that. And i like the HS BDC reticles for windage figuring. Anyways what would you guys put on? I'm wanting something with 20 power or so for longer ranges. What would you pick and why? It seems that cheaper used scopes are harder to find these days, and they aren't much cheaper than brand new. One other scope I was interested in was the WOTAC....but in the last few months I've read a LOT of bad things on customer service. Thanks in advance!
"If God didn't want you to shoot a deer, he wouldn't have put a white target under their chins..." -Dad to a non-hunting preacher.
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Unread 01-20-2012, 02:22 AM
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Re: Hawke Sidewinder Vs Vortex Viper vs Falcon Menace??

I am interested to see what the opinions are as well. I need to find a good sub $500 scope for my sons gun. Loooking to be between 12-20X on the high side, 40-50mm obj, needs good eye relief with good line of site. His Lue VX-1 is the biggest POS I have used. He cant ever get his line of site with it without a lot of adjustment. I cant either. Hate this scope!
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Unread 01-20-2012, 07:29 AM
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Re: Hawke Sidewinder Vs Vortex Viper vs Falcon Menace??

to me the vortex is a no brainer in those options
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Unread 01-20-2012, 08:57 AM
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Re: Hawke Sidewinder Vs Vortex Viper vs Falcon Menace??

Without question go with a Vortex.
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Unread 01-20-2012, 09:42 AM
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Re: Hawke Sidewinder Vs Vortex Viper vs Falcon Menace??

The Vipers PST's are made in the Philippines. The Hawk in China, no idea on the Falcon.

I looked at a Hawk initially and settled on a Viper PST, because of favorable reviews. We shall see how it compares to the reviews and opinions in real life (when it warms up a bit......)

The Hawk looks to me like more of an air rifle scope and I wonder how it would stand up to any recoil (air rifles recoil backward to conventional firearms, I believe). My total air gun experience is a Crossman CO2 pellet pistol....

I've always been a Leupy person and never had an issue but then I've never had a lower priced Leupy, in fact, this PST I just bought is the lowest cost scope I own.

I will say the the Viper, in appearance, looks to be a very made instrument. Fit finish and external execution is first rate as is the packaging.

If the Viper pans out as acceptable, I'll probably step up to the Razor next time. Strange name.

I have no issue with scope cost but wanted to try a Viper after reading all the favorable reviews and opinions on this site and others.

Time will tell....
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Unread 01-21-2012, 04:00 AM
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I develop prototype military optics for a living and over the years I've developed a quick method of assessing riflescope quality. I just got back from the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. I spent a fair amount of time inspecting Vortex and Hawke scopes, among others. I evaluate glare and chromatic aberration over the entire field of view, and I take detailed notes. I can only do a limited evaluation, however. I do not have the opportunity to do quantitative optical tests, which would include veiling glare, chromatic aberration, resolution, transmission and reticle adjustment accuracy and repeatability. I've been doing this at SHOT for the last four years. After a while, some trends become clear.

I can say with confidence after looking at most of the scopes in the Viper PST and Hawke Sidewinder lines that, optically speaking, they are not in the same class. The Hawke scopes are much better. I'm not saying the Vortex PST scopes are bad optically. They are acceptable quality for that price point. However, "acceptable" is actually below average.

The Hawke Sidewinder and TAC scopes, on the other hand, are exceptional for their price point. Glare performance is good - substantially better than average for that price point. Off-axis chromatic aberration is excellent and rivals that of the best scopes I've inspected.

In my experience, if glare and chroma are good, then overall contrast ("clarity") will also be good. Lens surface figure also plays a role, but that is a material cost issue and since both lines have similar prices, they should have similar material costs. Even though Hawke scopes are made in China, the company has factory quality under control. Return rates are less than 0.1%. Hawke scopes also have a reputation for handling recoil very well.

I know there are a lot of Vortex fans out there. Vortex is a good company and they offer some features (like FFP reticles) not available elsewhere at the same price point. There are other factors than optical quality that go into a purchase decision.

Optical quality has a high priority for me, however. I would give up features before I gave up optical quality.

BTW, I have no business relationship with either company. Nor do I own a Vortex or Hawke scope.
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Unread 01-21-2012, 10:15 AM
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Re: Hawke Sidewinder Vs Vortex Viper vs Falcon Menace??

Thats an intersting synopsis. I'll have to try one and compare m yself. I have a distinct dislike for Chinese products. Probably because I'm in the domestic manufacturing arena and it's almost impossible to compete with China because of the labor differential and lopsided trade regulations.

A level playing field would be much more conducive for domestic manufacturers of hard goods versus what we have at present, but thats a political statement and has no bearing on this thread.

The Hawk you inspected, was it a 300mm tube or a 1" tube?

Finally, I'm not too keen on the Hawk reticles. I took a hard look prior to the Vortex. The importer/distributor is within striking distance for me, basically 2 hours away.
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