Scope Review: Hawke Sidewinder FFP 6-24 x 56mm (vs. Argos, & Airmax 30)

Forums Optics, Scopes, Rings, & Mounts Scope Review: Hawke Sidewinder FFP 6-24 x 56mm (vs. Argos, & Airmax 30)

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    SMH77
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    Alright guys, the review is finally done (though it’s only the first draft of the review / comparison).  Sorry, it’s wordy and nuanced-hopefully it’s helpful for you guys!  I know there really isn’t anything else on the internet right now reviewing the new scope-let alone comparing it to the Athlon Argos 6-24 x 50mm BTR scope so I hope you find this useful. Download 1522811075_16723895565ac440c363f957.09812260_Scope Shootout, Rev 1-medium.pdf ​

    In conclusion, I’m really pleased with the new Hawke-enough to part ways with my Athlon and not think twice about the extra money for the Hawke scope.

    Please let me know what you think of the review, point out any errors / typos, wrong conclusions, etc and I’ll revise / comment as needed.  

    If you find this helpful, just leave me a ‘+’ if you don’t mind, LOL.  I just want to help the group out…

    Sean
     

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    jking
    Participant
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    Nice write up and review Sean. I know you put a lot of time and effort into it and it really showed in the presentation. I like the Hawke SW series, especially the 20X 1/2mil reticle. At 24X which reticle remained the thinnest? That’s the one thing about the FFP Athlon than didn’t like at all so it had to go. Never really considered trying another until someone could produce a much thinner reticle view at higher power. Again great job.. R+ to ya..
    Jimmy

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    SMH77
    Participant
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    Thanks Jimmy-I appreciate it.  To be honest, at 24x, the Hawke reticle appeared to be a little thicker than the Argos scope at the same magnification.  I know that bothers some people, but to me, I focus my eye solely on the reticle and then focus on the alignment with the target.  It really takes a lot of discipline to not ‘peek’ or allow your eye to look at the target when aiming-something I practiced a lot shooting archery league as well.

    Anyway, long story short, the Hawke FFP won’t give you what you want in terms with f a thin reticle at 24x.  Sorry….

    Let me me know if you have other comments or questions…

    Sean

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    Grin_Reaver
    Participant
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    Boy wordy is an understatement. Will read it later. +1 for all the effort.

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    ChuckInOhio
    Participant
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    Excellent review and the level of detail I was looking for, specifically addressing concerns I had regarding the eye box depth. Thanks for taking the time to collect the info and write this up!

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    Keyman62421
    Participant
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    Great review.  I have a hard time seeing how the Hawke is worth $200 more than the Argos.  I have 2 6x24x50`s.  I like the reticles better than Hawke.  However, I haven’t  the privilege of handling the Hawke!  I will say FFP is the ONLY way I go.
    Thanks for the review.

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    Kyler
    Participant
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    thanks for doing this.  After reading your excellent report, it appears if one should buy a scope with a much lower magnification than what will be used on average.  For example, for HFT I’d get the 4-14 since I use 10x the majority of the time and would have a larger reticle at 6x.  Does that make sense?

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    addertooth
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    I will note that because brightness was a criteria, comparing scopes which ALL had 56mm objective lenses would have been a more level playing field.  Having the criteria based upon offered magnification was not an “all things equal” comparison.  It would have been better if you had hung onto your Athlon Argos with the 56mm Objective, and done the comparison with that scope (even though it offers more magnification).  
    ​Other than that, you appeared to take a lot of time and effort in producing your comparison.  Thank You for your effort. 

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    SMH77
    Participant
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    “Kyler”thanks for doing this.  After reading your excellent report, it appears if one should buy a scope with a much lower magnification than what will be used on average.  For example, for HFT I’d get the 4-14 since I use 10x the majority of the time and would have a larger reticle at 6x.  Does that make sense?

    
I follow your thinking.  However, based on the reticle images that Hawke shows on their website for the FFP scopes, the smaller view they show must be for the lower magnification scope, and not the 6-24 version that I have.  As such, if I ‘mentally scale’ my reticle down to what it might look like down at 4x magnification, it may appear more like what they show on their website.  That makes me think the etching program (I’m assuming it is a laser etch on the glass for the reticle) is actually a single program-in other words, since they are both FFP scopes, 6x, 10x, etc would appear the same in both Hawke FFP scopes.  That’s just my suspicion. 

    From what I recall, that was how the Argos scopes were between the 6-24 and the 8-34 versions.  Now that I actually measured how many Mil across the reticle spanned in the 6-24, at 24x, I can confirm that suspicion with my friends (my former) 8-34 scope when I see him next, but setting it to 24x and reading how many Mil across the scope shows.  

    Does that make sense?  In short, I think the reticle size at that magnification will likely be the same between the two Hawke FFP (or Argos for that matter) scopes.  

    The other part part of the question (not implied by your comments) is more of a personal/practical matter: how much magnification do you use when shooting from a less stable position.  That’s likely a whole different topic altogether…

    Sean

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    SMH77
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    “addertooth”I will note that because brightness was a criteria, comparing scopes which ALL had 56mm objective lenses would have been a more level playing field.  Having the criteria based upon offered magnification was not an “all things equal” comparison.  It would have been better if you had hung onto your Athlon Argos with the 56mm Objective, and done the comparison with that scope (even though it offers more magnification).  
    ​Other than that, you appeared to take a lot of time and effort in producing your comparison.  Thank You for your effort. 

    
Agreed on your point about them having different objective lenses and the results being biased (naturally) to favor the larger objective lens (and consequently the higher cost scope).  I had access to the three that had the same magnification range, so that’s what I compared.

    Having said that, my buddy has my previous  8-34 x 56mm Argos scopes on his RAW now, and he comes to my place to shoot regularly so the comparison can indeed be extended to include that scope too-which I intend to do also (both out of curiousity and to reassure him he has a great scope in the Argos 8-34 x 56mm).  I do think the optics are a step up on the 8-34 argos compared to the 6-24 version.  But some of that could simply be because of the higher magnification.  I do recall the eye box becoming more finicky at the higher end of the zoom scale on the 8-34, and the view becoming more dim at the 34 setting with that scope.  That is why I hope that Hawke will also introduce a 8-32/34 but will also bump up the objective to a 60mm or so and make the optics remain stellar at the higher magnification end.  I would be happy to pay they price (in dollars, size, and weight) for that design decision…

    I’ll share more once I can directly compare the view between the two 56mm scopes…

    Sean

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    cootertwo
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    Nice, you spent some time on that project. :)

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    jps2486
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    I have two Hawke Sidewinder 30 scopes in 6-24X, but are second FP.  I like them because of the 20X 1/2 mildot reticle.  This is one of the best for my airgun needs, especially HFT.  I feel that the optics are quite good.  Not a Schmidt and Bender, but good enough for my purposes.

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    SMH77
    Participant
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    Guys, I just want to say something here: please understand that I feel a lot of weight (to represent the performance accurately for everyone) for posting the review-I hope I got everything stated correctly-I really don’t want to mislead anyone, or steer them away from any of the scopes-they are ALL great scopes, but just have unique qualities that I was trying to report on.  

    If you end up buying the Hawke, or have used / own the Airmax 30, I would welcome any confirmation of my findings, from the samples I tested.  I have heard very good things about the glass on the Airmax 30 from personal accounts in the past, but I also understand every product that’s designed has decision decisions made which have consequences.  

    Anyway, I just wanted to get that out there for everyone-the last thing I want is for people to run out and drop $540 on the new Hawke, only to get it and disagree with my subjective findings-or to avoid either the Argos or Airmax 30 due to my comments, and miss out on really great scopes. 

    Sincerely,

    Sean

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    SMH77
    Participant
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    Guys, 

    Just as an update and a PSA: I ordered the ‘optional’ 2″ side focus dial (designed for the Sidewinder series of scopes) and finally received it today.  However, much to my dismay, the number markings go in the WRONG direction from the scope’s markings so they are not really compatible.  By that I mean the to focus further (distance wise) you turn the dial so the numbers rotate down.  However, when you turn the dial in the same direction with the 2″ side wheel installed, the side wheel numbers go DOWN (in distance) when the reading should be going UP (like the knob on the scope does).

    Please note: the 4″ sidewheel included with the scope works correctly-so it is only a problem on the 2″ version (not included with the scope).

    I will be calling Hawke USA tomorrow to report the issue and see if they have a solution-otherwise I’ll have to decide whether to keep it and make a custom tape, or send it back.

    On a good note, it did install nicely and I like the intermediate size of that wheel on the scope.

    Sean
     

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    Slayerious
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    I also have experience from the Argos eye box and can somewhat confirm it being small. This is a problem and while it can be seen positive for cheek weld consistency, it usually forces your head in an unnatural position.
    But when the eye box is done on my side I have very clear image, no doubt far better than on my Hawke SW30 SFP 8-34.

    During daylight I do not see much dimming either, except when it comes evening. However the image is still well bright enough to make shots comfortably.

    The parallax problem is present to me also. But I have read that many do their own parallax markings, maybe Hawke has improved their parallax markings from the SFP models but they rarely all match 100%.

    @smh77 You seem to have much knowledge about optics, you had good testing methods. What would you think of test for night/evening shooting, where you use them during the night with the lowest magnification. I noticed not much difference going from 56mm SW30 to 50mm Argos, can you confirm this?
    I would think that at night the contrast and light transfer is all that matters.

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    SMH77
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    “Slayerious”I also have experience from the Argos eye box and can somewhat confirm it being small. This is a problem and while it can be seen positive for cheek weld consistency, it usually forces your head in an unnatural position.
    But when the eye box is done on my side I have very clear image, no doubt far better than on my Hawke SW30 SFP 8-34.
    During daylight I do not see much dimming either, except when it comes evening. However the image is still well bright enough to make shots comfortably.
    The parallax problem is present to me also. But I have read that many do their own parallax markings, maybe Hawke has improved their parallax markings from the SFP models but they rarely all match 100%.
    @smh77 You seem to have much knowledge about optics, you had good testing methods. What would you think of test for night/evening shooting, where you use them during the night with the lowest magnification. I noticed not much difference going from 56mm SW30 to 50mm Argos, can you confirm this?
    I would think that at night the contrast and light transfer is all that matters.

    
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you-I intended to reply sooner….

    First let me say that I do not currently have experience with shooting at night.  But I do have some experience with telescopes, binoculars (at night), and photography-so I could make a few comments but take them in the context of not having ‘direct insight’ into your exact question.  

    I think using either scope on the lower magnifications would be fine (keeping them below, say 10x mag).  I think having the larger objective would favor the Hawke FFP, or the Athlon 8-34 x 56mm since those both have 56 mm objectives.  If you truly want the lowest magnification, I think the Hawke would win between the Athlon 8-34 vs. the Hawke 6-24, both having 56 mm bells on them (I believe it makes for a larger exit pupil diameter-but I don’t want to confuse that if it doesn’t directly apply).  The things I don’t know about with the various scopes is how many elements inside of them, and the quality of coatings and number of coated elements within the optical path-those two factors have the potential to affect light transmission through the scope, and affect the comparison.  With that said, the Hawke is the most costly of those 3 scopes, so I suspect it doesn’t have ‘worse’ glass / coatings (but may have more elements-which can hinder transmissivity through the scope, because each glass surface reflects a small amount of the incoming light, and results in losses).  

    I will say this, staying away from a finicky eyebox is probably a good idea for night shooting as seeing the shadows at night would probably be next to impossible (but a counter argument could be made for the opposite too…).

    So, I don’t have a direct comment on your question, but have the thoughts above to offer on the topic.

    Having said all that, I have plenty of predators where I live and hope to expand to night time hunting sometime so I will hopefully gain some direct experience to share (and will update if I can provide any useful info here).

    Sean

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    Slayerious
    Participant
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    Cool looking forward to it!

    Looks like Hawke is stepping up their game, previously I kind of saw them as lower class manufacturer but with the 10-50×60 and this FFP line it looks they have pretty good scopes.

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    SMH77
    Participant
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    Yeah, I’m really happy with the new scope for sure!  The parallax settings seem spot on as well.  I shot the two groups below tonight at 50 yards (parallax ended up being exactly on the 50 yard dot) and 75 yards (no marking, but it was in the right location in between 50 & 100 yard marks on the dial).  I’m super happy with it now!

    50 yards:

    75 yards:

    With the clarity of the scope, and the great optics, 24x mag doesn’t seem to be too limiting either…

    Sean

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    toku58
    Participant
    Member

    Based on your review I went ahead and ordered the Hawke FFP 6-24×56.
    So it better be good or I’ll hunt you down and Tickle the crap out of you! LMAO!!

    Great Review! Thank you for putting in so much effort. Always appreciate members doing work to help out others!

    Have a Great Day!

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    SMH77
    Participant
    Member

    “toku58”Based on your review I went ahead and ordered the Hawke FFP 6-24×56.
    So it better be good or I’ll hunt you down and Tickle the crap out of you! LMAO!!
    Great Review! Thank you for putting in so much effort. Always appreciate members doing work to help out others!
    Have a Great Day!

    
You got me nervous now, LOL!  On a serious note, I did think about the ramifications and tried to keep my reviews as evidence based as possible, yet add in the subjective that others appreciate.  I don’t want to steer people away / towards incorrectly-but want to call things as they are (or as I honestly see them) to make the reviews worthwhile…

    I’ll be interested to hear your comments on the scope!  I am still really enjoying mine a LOT now and use it almost exclusively at 24x lately for bench rest shooting, BC testing, etc.  While taking care of pests, I shoot more at like 10x-12x magnification and it works great there too.  

    I’m excited to hear your observations / feedback (unless you’re mad at me, LOL).

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