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Hawke SR 3 x 32 - An Amateur's Review


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#1 deerboy

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 09:41 PM

The Hawke SR is one of those products that I got all gushy over when I saw the YouTube review. This english speaking chap (dude named Nick Jenkinson) has a vid camera mounted to the Hawke and is absolutely DRILLING a Whitetail 3D target with a colored poster showing the vitals. I've got the link at the bottom of this review so go look after ... but I need you to listen for a sec. Anyways, the vid SHOWS the bolts inside the Specialized Reticle (that's what SR stands for) after he shoots. It kind of has to be seen to be believed but I viewed it a few times - all the time I was fantasizing about making heart shots like this guy was doing. I got all excited watching it. So getting back on track, the reticles are 4 vertical circles that represent different ranges that can be customized for YOUR crossbow speed. But the reticles represent 2 inches at whatever ranges for your crossbow. Hawke claims that the Reticles represent 20, 30, 40, 50 yards for crossbow speeds from 330 to 360 fps. The cool thing is that Hawke has downloadable software that allows the user to dial in their crossbow if their speeds fall outside those. My Telson 130 by Scorpyd averages 390.2 fps for 10 shots so I dialed that into the software, and re-zero'd the scope for 25 yards. My circles (according to the software) on paper theoretically represented 25, 40, 55 and 70 yards. There is a bottom "arrow" that you can see on the youtube vid that theoretically now represents 85 yards. There are also "bracketing" lines that will help you estimate ranges thru the scope if you care to use that feature. I think this is a cool feature indeed but it's kind of funny that the instructions don't tell you how to do this. I suppose you could figure it all out on your own but I haven't yet figured out that out yet even after having done several google searches.

ACCURACY

This bow/scope combo is so accurate that during setup and zero from 20 and 25 yards and in, it is ESSENTIAL to shoot a bolt, retrieve the bolt, and repeat while rotating the target or else you WILL split bolts, or ruin your fletching when you shoot into the same exact hole. Being new to Xbows from Vertical Bows this kind of accuracy is astounding but FUN in an irritating kind of way. Now that I knew the bow and scope were accurate I purposefully TRIED to shoot into the same hole using the retrieve the bolt method from 20 yards into the Block for Xbows and this is what happened. The first bolt missed the center of the 1.75 inch circle by a half inch low and a half inch right, the second shot (same bolt) was another half inch right of that and the third bolt split the two holes making one ragged "dash". I should have taken a picture but I was in a rush.

Testing the Hawke "theoretical" ranges for my xbow

Now that I was positive the setup was accurate and zero'd I quickly re-zero'd for 25 yards since the software was indicating easily remembered ranges for each circle (25, 40, 55 and 70 yards) vs the ranges for the 20 yard zero. That way, in the field it would be easier for me to execute a shot under the pressure of hunting, plus the bolts fly so flat at 390 fps that a five yard difference was not important.
So here's what I did, I moved back to the 40 yard line and tried to steady the second reticle on my block. I learned something. I learned that I would NOT shoot at a deer unsupported using that setup. While I'm pretty confident the BOW would shoot exactly where it was aimed when I squeezed the trigger, I was too unsteady and there wasn't enough magnification to get my eye to focus in where I needed to put the bolt so I moved down to one knee and fired. I retrieved the bolt ... it had hit 3 inches low and 1 inch right. To me this is Excellent accuracy and probably the user's fault. On the next shot I laid in the prone. I was AMAZED - the bolt hit 1 inch low and 1 inch left of my point of aim. Hawke's software prediction is right on the money. I'm confident using a bench supported position I could hit x from 40 yards. I also think that with a tense deer on alert 40 yards and 390 fps with a 400 grain bolt, I would aim perhaps 4 inches lower than normal to allow the animal to "jump the string". I would attempt longer distances ONLY if I could practice much more and were shooting at relaxed deer. Right now with the 3 time magnification my estimation is that I'd only shoot at relaxed deer at 55 yards and from a well-supported position. The theoretical 70 yards for my setup??? I would probably want more magnification, absolutely perfect well-lit and calm conditions and ALOT more practice.

Is this scope for you?

At $179 this scope offers excellent value for the features it offers. It could use some upgrades in terms of better quality glass. I don't think this scope is as bright as it could be. On the other hand I'm NOT really a good critic yet of judging quality of optics for brightness and such so take my criticism with a grain of salt. I would also like more magnification - but that would mean more cash so let's stick with this right now. So I CAN tell you that for an amateur on glass, this scope allowed me to drill one hole groups AND step back to kneeling position and for all purposes make an easy killing shot on target from 40 yards from kneeling and from the prone I could probably call a heart shot. Pretty cool for an amateur.

Hawk SR YouTube Review:

Edited by deerboy, 25 April 2011 - 09:45 PM.


#2 Jetster

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 10:56 PM

I watched that video the other day,guy was a good shot!!!!!So many good scopes to choose from its hard to figure out which one to get....Good info and excellent review.....

#3 Sporty87

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 06:59 AM

Good review Deerboy. Vid was interesting also. Where is the vid of you doing your testing?

#4 deerboy

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 06:59 AM

I watched that video the other day,guy was a good shot!!!!!So many good scopes to choose from its hard to figure out which one to get....Good info and excellent review.....


I'm hearing from another post in Crossbow Nation (CN) that Winchester will be coming out with a scope that has the best of both worlds: Variable magnification but the reticles will remain at the yardages you preset. The price is much higher than the Hawke SR though... at the suggested retail of $329 I personally would pass until the price is around $250. Also, what I've noticed is that competitors for the Hawke SR seem to be: Parker Red Hot and the Bass Pro Red Head brand. It MAY be that Hawke is manufacturing the scopes FOR them in order to get a better handhold into the Xbow market. A quick search of the Hawke Sport Optics website shows why. Hawke has already been firmly established in the optics market with centerfire, airgun and shotgun and muzzleloader optics. I was impressed and after my experience with their well-priced xbow scope I'm considering a purchase of their muzzle-loader scope. By the way, Nick Jenkinson is a world champion airgun shooter using Hawke Optics so I guess he knows a little bit about how to shoot. That vid to me is one that is maybe the gold-standard for scope reviews. I still have to figure out how to use the bracketing system they have and apply it to field range whitetail. More to follow.

#5 Moon

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 07:51 PM

Deerboy, do I sense a high level of excitement or what? :P The SR and MAP were the first crossbow scopes from Hawke. They've been on the market for a few years.

Nick and Tony, from England, came down and spent the day with me prior to the intro of the Hawke XB30. We spent the afternoon at the farm shooting crossbow prototypes. Great guys!!!!!

Personally I'm not a big fan of circles for hunting and much prefer glass etched stand alone crosshair reticles for quite a few reasons. Hawke makes great scopes and they are priced right. I still use some MAP's but the XB30's optics are superb, matching some rifle scopes that cost 3 to 4 times that of the XB30.

Hawke will soon be introducing a 1x32 MAP/SR size scope with illumination that will be legal in some states that don't allow magnification for crossbows. I had a prototype to play with for a couple weeks last fall and it's cool. I've become accustomed to magnification now but I could get by nicely with this little jewel. It should be available by mid summer. Hawke is on a roll:-)

Here are the XB30's and the new 1x32 scope's reticles.

BTW, I have their Deer PASS scopes on muzzle loaders and 45-70 hunting rifles. Can't beat them and their free downloadable BRC program is very useful.

Attached Images

  • Hawke 1x32 illuminated reticle.jpg
  • xb30-3.JPG
  • 062.jpg

Edited by Moon, 26 April 2011 - 08:03 PM.


#6 deerboy

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 05:13 AM

Moon... I'm LOL right now. Yeah I'm pretty stoked right now in general about the new Telson but also about my hunting arsenal in general. I've got a weapon for every season and cool accessories/ammo for every weapon ;-)). I told my wife it was Maryland's fault for having so many different parts of the hunting season. ... well, it worked!!! BTW... you have connections with stars on YouTube eh? Anyways, I'll PM you in a few mins.

#7 Moon

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 08:21 AM

Actually, Nick's video has been on the tube for quite a while.

I've been involved with optics for years, retired from Zeiss in December 2,004 so it's only natural, I guess, to associate with others that are in the same field. What impressed me about Hawke is that they saw the opportunities for crossbow optics and ran with it when no other company would. Now, 3 years later, Nikon, Leupold and others are scrambling to get into the game. I did some consulting for Zeiss for a couple years after I retired and I did my best to convince them to offer a crossbow scope but, Zeiss being Zeiss, they sat on it. I doubt we will see anything from them for crossbows. Too bad.

Virginia also offers separate Archery/crossbow/muzzle loader licenses ($$$) but at least we have lots of choices, unlike some states, and it has worked well here. With the exception of chasing deer with dogs from November 15 through January 1 , it's not bad. We do have archery/crossbow season for 4 weeks and archery/crossbow/muzzle loader season for 2 additional weeks before the dogs are thrown into the woods.

Back to crossbows, I never ever considered that someday I would not be able to draw a hunting weight bow, either traditional or compound, but about 8 years ago that all changed. Arthritis in my neck and shoulders would have put an end to what I had lived and breathed for 40+ years if not for crossbows. Thank God for crossbows! :D

Edited by Moon, 27 April 2011 - 08:30 AM.


#8 deerboy

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 09:34 PM

Actually, Nick's video has been on the tube for quite a while.

I've been involved with optics for years, retired from Zeiss in December 2,004 so it's only natural, I guess, to associate with others that are in the same field. What impressed me about Hawke is that they saw the opportunities for crossbow optics and ran with it when no other company would. Now, 3 years later, Nikon, Leupold and others are scrambling to get into the game. I did some consulting for Zeiss for a couple years after I retired and I did my best to convince them to offer a crossbow scope but, Zeiss being Zeiss, they sat on it. I doubt we will see anything from them for crossbows. Too bad.

Virginia also offers separate Archery/crossbow/muzzle loader licenses ($$$) but at least we have lots of choices, unlike some states, and it has worked well here. With the exception of chasing deer with dogs from November 15 through January 1 , it's not bad. We do have archery/crossbow season for 4 weeks and archery/crossbow/muzzle loader season for 2 additional weeks before the dogs are thrown into the woods.

Back to crossbows, I never ever considered that someday I would not be able to draw a hunting weight bow, either traditional or compound, but about 8 years ago that all changed. Arthritis in my neck and shoulders would have put an end to what I had lived and breathed for 40+ years if not for crossbows. Thank God for crossbows! :D


I bet some of us could use a brief tutorial on "how-to" evaluate glass...it sounds like you know a thing or two about glass having worked for Zeiss! I don't know the slightest thing about scope quality. I have scopes but I don't really know good glass from glass better suited for throwing rocks at. I was always the kinda guy who only cared about having equipment that was "just good enough". This recent review with Hawke demonstrated to me that there's probably better glass out there but Hawke has successfully cornered a growing market - and exactly right at the correct price point...so it's not a bad thing, just a market reality.

Competitors will likely tip-toe around at different price-points OR take a risk and target either the same market as Hawke to crowd them out or try and sell more features like better glass at a higher price. Due to the rapid growth and interest in xbows not only do I think there is plenty of room for new glass like Nikon and Leupold, I bet new guys may not be willing to pay more for quality glass - they may prefer a LOWER overall bow pkg price and take what they get.

#9 Moon

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 08:23 AM

To me, in hunting, nothing is more important than what I can and cannot see so I will typically spend more money on optics than the gun it's sitting on. It's just a matter of where we place our priorities. At crossbow hunting shot distances,which normally don't exceed 40 yards I don't believe premium optics are quite as crucial but it's still really nice to look through a scope and not see that yellowing effect or blurry sight picture around the edges of the lens. Crossbows are expensive and $800 to $1000 is not unusual. I think there are many crossbow hunters that would not hesitate spending $400+ on a crossbow scope that features great water clear optics and really good hunting reticle designs that allow for 10 yard increment sight ins on a wide range of crossbow speeds. I love the ranging feature on Hawke scopes, for example. I see lots of deer I don't shoot so I practice using the ranging reticle to see how close it is to what I get with my laser range finder. If I ever have to take a quick hunting shot without having time to get to my laser range finder, I have confidence in using that reticle to give me a darn good idea how far that deer is from me.
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#10 deerboy

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 08:28 PM

To me, in hunting, nothing is more important than what I can and cannot see so I will typically spend more money on optics than the gun it's sitting on. It's just a matter of where we place our priorities. At crossbow hunting shot distances,which normally don't exceed 40 yards I don't believe premium optics are quite as crucial but it's still really nice to look through a scope and not see that yellowing effect or blurry sight picture around the edges of the lens. Crossbows are expensive and $800 to $1000 is not unusual. I think there are many crossbow hunters that would not hesitate spending $400+ on a crossbow scope that features great water clear optics and really good hunting reticle designs that allow for 10 yard increment sight ins on a wide range of crossbow speeds. I love the ranging feature on Hawke scopes, for example. I see lots of deer I don't shoot so I practice using the ranging reticle to see how close it is to what I get with my laser range finder. If I ever have to take a quick hunting shot without having time to get to my laser range finder, I have confidence in using that reticle to give me a darn good idea how far that deer is from me.


Thanks for the advice and philosophy on Glass. How do you range deer using the Hawke Reticle? I did some checking around and I hear that 18 inches is a number that all deer young, old, male and female have between the middle of their front and back legs as viewed from Broadside. If so, that would allow the bracketing lines at 6, 12 and 18 inches to be used pretty easily. Is there another feature on deer that you use to range? I hunt in a very densely populated deer state with unlimited antlerless - at least in the suburban areas so I shoot what I see without hesitation and I love it. Heck I shot a little one year old stubby with a .50 ML - little bugger ran off but his meat was tender and sweet! In deer dense states with deer running across highways every chance they get I encourage putting them on the ground and donating the meat if you already have enough. I digress. Anyways, you gave me a very useful piece of info. Could you tell me more about the ranging thru your Hawke? Thanks.

#11 Moon

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 08:47 PM

I use 24 inch measurement to bracket the front and rear legs on mature bucks. It's tough when the deer is not broadside. I'd really like to see a vertical measuring system off to the side of the crosshairs so that the deer can be standing or moving at any angle and still be be accurately ranged.

#12 deerboy

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 06:37 AM

I use 24 inch measurement to bracket the front and rear legs on mature bucks. It's tough when the deer is not broadside. I'd really like to see a vertical measuring system off to the side of the crosshairs so that the deer can be standing or moving at any angle and still be be accurately ranged.


Roger on the 24 inch measure. To be more specific are you referring to the muscular part of the mature buck's legs or just the bony parts of the leg? Seperate question: What is a good bracket measure for your avg mature doe? I know there's probably some variation between Northern deer vs South/North Carolina or Florida deer. Appreciate your help. :goodjob:

#13 deerboy

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 01:19 PM

To me, in hunting, nothing is more important than what I can and cannot see so I will typically spend more money on optics than the gun it's sitting on. It's just a matter of where we place our priorities. At crossbow hunting shot distances,which normally don't exceed 40 yards I don't believe premium optics are quite as crucial but it's still really nice to look through a scope and not see that yellowing effect or blurry sight picture around the edges of the lens. Crossbows are expensive and $800 to $1000 is not unusual. I think there are many crossbow hunters that would not hesitate spending $400+ on a crossbow scope that features great water clear optics and really good hunting reticle designs that allow for 10 yard increment sight ins on a wide range of crossbow speeds. I love the ranging feature on Hawke scopes, for example. I see lots of deer I don't shoot so I practice using the ranging reticle to see how close it is to what I get with my laser range finder. If I ever have to take a quick hunting shot without having time to get to my laser range finder, I have confidence in using that reticle to give me a darn good idea how far that deer is from me.


Just Had my second Hawke scope arrive today. I will replace the stock Parker 1 Dot scope with this one. It's the MAP scope. I'm not big into "cross hairs" but I found this one for 79 bucks + shipping. My Parker Xbow is for back up and guest hunters such as one of my sons or wife so I think the cross-hairs will help for them. Too bad the scope didn't come with rings! I was a little surprised but I'll just buy some quality mounts and bolt them on.

#14 Jetster

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 01:23 PM

Just Had my second Hawke scope arrive today. I will replace the stock Parker 1 Dot scope with this one. It's the MAP scope. I'm not big into "cross hairs" but I found this one for 79 bucks + shipping. My Parker Xbow is for back up and guest hunters such as one of my sons or wife so I think the cross-hairs will help for them. Too bad the scope didn't come with rings! I was a little surprised but I'll just buy some quality mounts and bolt them on.



Believe me ya prolly dont want the rings that come with scopes cause there cheapys!!!!!You should see the problem I had with my stock Vision rings. :thumbsd: ...Go with Weaver scope mounts....

#15 Moon

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 02:26 PM

Circle reticles for hunting......please explain why you prefer them over crosshairs:-)

#16 deerboy

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:31 PM

Circle reticles for hunting......please explain why you prefer them over crosshairs:-)


you know i am long-winded but I'll keep this short-er. :thumbsu: With vertical bow shoots I'd find myself shooting "around" the pin. It's weird. It's like if I can't SEE the target the arrow tends to "miss" (go) to where my eye is looking - which ain't the pin but usually just a few inches left, right, over or under the pin. I guess I'm supposed to be looking at the pin and the target should be fuzzy but I'm different I guess I like it the other way around.

So, anyway with Xbow shooting thru a scope that's kind of why I like the circles is because I can actually SEE the little tiny piece of the target thru the circle that makes me "aim small" as I'm squeezing the trigger. It has seemed to work for me.

Where this technique was harder was while shooting at 40 yards. Because of the low magnification and failing light the circle appeared a bit more like a large DOT ... the result in the supported position was still VERY close to the X (just an inch off) so it still worked. And again the circles are just a preference. In FUTURE Hawke scopes If the magnification would ever make that 55 yard circle appear as the 20 yard circle (in a future scope) I'd probably buy it. :sword:

I wonder if switching back and forth between Xbow to Vert Bow is making my Vert Bow Shooting suffer. It could also just be "in my head".

Edited by deerboy, 30 April 2011 - 05:41 AM.


#17 Moon

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 09:28 PM

With 4 circles, assuming they are sighted in for 20/30/40/50 yards, you only have 4 distances that you can use them effectively as you describe, so how do you use them for aiming at 17.5, 22.5, 25.0, 27.5, 32.5, 35.0, 37.5 42.5 45.0, 47.5, 52.5 yards? :-) That
is also assuming you are using a 2.5 yard step aiming system.

#18 Jetster

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 10:46 PM

I came up with a plan for my new scope on my 380,and save me money!!!Gonna take the illuminated cross-hair scope off my Vision and swap it with stock non-illuminated one that comes with the SF package....Didnt want to do it,but I really dont like the circle dots.....

Might eventually buy an SR for the Vision,as i feel it prolly would be better suited as it will not be as flat shooting as a 380?

#19 deerboy

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 07:22 PM

With 4 circles, assuming they are sighted in for 20/30/40/50 yards, you only have 4 distances that you can use them effectively as you describe, so how do you use them for aiming at 17.5, 22.5, 25.0, 27.5, 32.5, 35.0, 37.5 42.5 45.0, 47.5, 52.5 yards? :-) That
is also assuming you are using a 2.5 yard step aiming system.


Using the Hawke Software I input my Telson's speed (390 fps - from my chrony) + 2 inch scope height + my zero distance of 25 yds. THAT means my reticles (according to the Hawke software) are 25, 40, 55 and 70 yards. I checked by shooting at 40 and missed the "X" by an inch left and an inch low (without practice and in the prone on grass)... so I'm confident the software and my bow are very very close - certainly close enough for deer vitals. :sword:

Today, I mounted my new Hawke MAP scope ($79 + shipping) onto my Parker Safari Classic (just got it back from Parker) and at 326 fps + 2 inch scope height + 20 yard zero, The software predicts the reticles are good for 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. I checked this too by shooting at 30. I nailed the "X".

Summary: At least for me (a newbie) and with the right tools, I've found the Hawke system to be extremely accurate and easy. What is really nice is that I can easily look at different distances using the graph from the predicted bolt path and know the Precise horizontal drop of the bolt. I'll probably be sticking with Hawke for a long time.

Edited by deerboy, 30 April 2011 - 08:13 PM.


#20 Moon

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 09:05 PM

Me too :D Hawke's BRC program is neat!

There is no way a circle can be used as accurately, for multiple distances, as a floating crosshair :P