Hawke Sidewinder Vs Vortex Viper vs Falcon Menace??

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by Nimrod1203, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Nimrod1203

    Nimrod1203 Well-Known Member

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    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!
    Nimrod
     
  2. Sako7STW

    Sako7STW Well-Known Member

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    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!
     

  3. 42769vette

    42769vette Well-Known Member

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    to me the vortex is a no brainer in those options
     
  4. Wisc_Hunter

    Wisc_Hunter Active Member

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    Without question go with a Vortex.
     
  5. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    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....
     
  6. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  7. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  8. Sako7STW

    Sako7STW Well-Known Member

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    Bruce,

    Thanks for the review! You have my curiosity now. I am curious as to your opinions on other brands as well. As you are not affiliated with anyone, I would like to know what brands you think are good buys and which ones are ones that you could be better by going somewhere else. Also on the upper end scopes like March, S&B, NF, Swaro, Zeiss/Hens, Premier, IOR, USO, ect. I have an extremely hard time seeing optics being that much better or different than the next. What is your opinion on these?

    Sorry, I know, thread hijack but since replies arent stacking up, lets just go with the flow.

    Sidecar, I agree, I hate buying anything from China but yet, if I am going to pay the higher price for american made then I expect better quality as well. If they arent building as good of products then they dont deserve my business. Besides, what is the difference between buying something made in Germany, I.E. Swaro/Zeiss and buying Chinese? Neither is made in the USA but I bet if you had the chance you would buy a top of the line Zeiss over a Vortex (Razor HD excluded)thats made in the USA. Lets face it, USA producers are money and profit driven and not quality driven. I seriously doubt the good ol USA doesnt have the ability to produce as good or better optics than anyone in the world, fact is we should be able to build better products on any given level with our technology, but if the money isnt in it, they arent interested.
     
  9. 42769vette

    42769vette Well-Known Member

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    unless im mistaken (its been known to happen) no scope is completly usa made. i dont think any glass is polished in the us.

    somone correct me if im wrong
     
  10. joseph

    joseph Well-Known Member

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    I just looked up the specs on the Hawke Sidewinder 6.5-20x42mm SFP tactical 30mm tube scope. It has MOA adjustments on the turrets and MIL Reticle measurements. It also has no marks to show you how many revolutions you have turned the turrets for long range. You have to remember your adjustments or you have to start counting over. For me this is a hinderence for long range shooting. You also have a shorter distance to your eye when shooting a heavy recoiling rifle also.

    I have a 6-24x50mm PST FFP MOA with illumination. The glass looks every bit as good as my buddys $1800 Leupold tactical scope. The PST has the turrets and the reticle measurements the same. MIL/MIL or MOA/MOA. Yes the 6-24x50mm PST is almost twice as expensive as the Hawke Sidewinder, but you get twice as much scope for your money. The PST has everything you need for long range hunting and the Hawke Sindwinder DOES NOT. IMHO

    Here is a 1,000 yd. target I shot with my hunting rifle (not target rifle) with my 6-24x50mm FFP MOA PST. I needed 27 MOA adjustment so I counted 108 clicks and shot 3 five shot groups in competition. Scores & group sizes are in lower right. A perfect score for each group would be 50 points.

    joseph
     

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  11. Nimrod1203

    Nimrod1203 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reviews. I wish there was a ranking list from cheapest to most expensive someone could review all the LR scopes and score them on a 10 point or 100 point scale. The Falcon's look really good for the money with FFP on alot of their models. no comments on them huh?
    Nimrod
     
  12. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to dissect your reply a bit because your perception of what is occurring in this country is the popular perception whether in fact, it's valid or not remains to be seen....

    Thanks to global economies we now exist in a world where, where something is manufactured or more importantly, assembled, has little bearing on quality. In fact, quality products are very much alive and well in this country, both made entirely here and assembled from components sourced worldwide and therein lies the meat of the discussion. If the components sourced or manufactured are not of quality in nature the end product, no matter where it comes from will be second rate.

    It has everything to do with money. The playing field isn't level and hasn't been for decades. You can't expect any American based manufacturer paying an equitable wage to their employees and fringe benefits and retirement, to be able to compete one-on-one with a manufacturer that don't ascribe to any of the aforementioned things....and you, as an American citizen expect to be paid an equitable wage plus fringes for your labors, in fact you have to be or you become a member of the growing population on the government dole, but that's another subject and not for this forum.

    Optics are very generic in that there are a multitude of manufacturers (and distributors/importers) so pricing becomes even more competitive, especially if that company wants to remain in business. Carl Zeiss is a good example. Zeiss scopes are synonymous with quality and synonymous with price but the sport optics business is a very small part of their overall product line.

    The price of a scope/range finder or any product directly reflects the manufacturing cost and the manufacturing cost takes into account everything, including labor (you).

    The importer/distributor, importing offshore manufactured optics (or anything else for that matter) don't have the built in overheads, consequently they can sell for less and still make a tidy profit. It is after all, all about making money...... No manufacturing cost (the imported goods are substantially less costly because the base labor is cheap), Very conducive to imported goods tariff levels (thank your government for that) and no physical plant to deal with. An Internet site or retail dealers, some warehouse space and a couple flunky salesmen or a couple heavy chested blondes as eye candy.

    As an aside....None of the Vortex scopes are made in this country. The Vipers are Philippine and I believe the Razor is as well. The low cost Vortex optics are (I believe) pure Chinese as are a hundred other brands, some well known.

    Most American companies closely guard the origins of their components because it's not expedient to disclose such things. That's considered proprietary information. Personally, in my business, which has nothing to do with this forum or firearms, I'm very plain about my component origins, but thats my choice and I'm a distinct minority.

    Finally, companies like Schmidt and Bender, Swaro and Leupold's products cost more because they compensate their employees accordingly. It's the old adage, if you want quality, you are gonna pay for it..... Both at the manufacturing end and at the retail end.

    Just keep your personal wages and benefits and retirement in mind when purchasing a product based solely on it's cost and think about the low paid labor and the excessive profits the importer/distributor is making without having to be competitive in the market because the cost of the product in the first place was so low.

    Also keep in mind that the majority of optics offered for retail sale aren't made by the company offering them but are made for them by someone else, exceptions to that are Swaro, Zeiss, Huskemaw and S&B, all mainstream manufacturers all expensive and all synonymous for quality and warranty.

    Can't speak for US Optics, I'm not familiar with them...

    Not trying to scold anyone, just presenting the way it is and I'm as guilty as the next person, though I do have times of remorse about what I purchase....

    In the case of the Vortex I just bought, the devil made me do it.....lol
     
  13. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

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    Yes, features are important too. Y'all know your own needs and are capable of comparing features on your own. In this case I'm able to clearly see a difference in optical performance. That's not something most shooters know how to do. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy a PST. Just be aware that you're getting average or even sub-par optics if you buy a scope in that line.

    Joseph's target is proof you can make good shots (a bunch of em!) with less than excellent optics. People do it all the time. Why should someone sacrifice features for good optics, or pay extra for features and good optics? Because there are some shots you can't make without good optics, but you can with a SFP scope, or MOA turrets and a mildot reticle, for example. Not convenient, but you can make it work.

    Typical examples of a shot that requires good optics: 1) target in shade, surrounded by sunlit terrain, or 2) target in shade, with sun in your face. These are conditions when glare and optical aberrations will prevent you from seeing target details, if you can see the target at all. Things get even worse when the reticle is near the end of the adjustment range (i.e., long range) and magnification is high (>10X).

    People often try to compare scopes by looking at high contrast "resolution" targets. I've tried this too and often find little difference between scopes at different price points. That's usually because high contrast targets can be "resolved" with relatively poor optics. To observe differences in optical performance between scopes you need to use low contrast targets under low illumination, and take measurements of black targets with off-axis illumination sources. You need to do resolution tests under conditions of low atmospheric turbulence, like at dawn/dusk or in a lab.

    Under bright daytime conditions at the range, most scopes will appear to have similar performance, because target contrast is high, illumination is high, and turbulence limits resolution anyway.
     
  14. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    I'd say you are right. It's about 'world class manufacturing' though that phrase has become a bit worn out as of late.

    Far as glass making/polishing here, not sure about mass produced sport optics but specialty glass is alive and well here. One of my neighbors kids makes specialty lenses for a company in California that specializes in astronomical telescopes.