Hawke Optics is a relatively under-the-radar optics manufacturer. Who can blame them? They are competing against names like Vortex and Leupold. However, I really like their scopes, especially the Sidewinder 30, which is a precision medium to long-range first focal plane scope.
I’m especially fond of the durability and lens quality the scope offers. Furthermore, with a relatively low price tag, the scope offers great value.
In this review, we’ll do a detailed review of the Sidewinder, analyzing 12 key characteristics of the scope. I’ll also look at some common buying guide considerations, such as affordability, brand reputation, magnification, and use case. Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
How Do I Rate The Hawke Sidewinder 30?
When doing Hawke Scope reviews, we look at intricate details and characteristics of the scope. Doing so ensures we can provide an accurate and reliable review to you, our reader. We look at twelve key factors.
- Magnification Power
- Lens Quality
- Reticle Type
- Durability and Build Quality
- Adjustment Features
- Eye Relief
- Field of View
- Weight and Size
- Compatibility with the Rifle
- Price and Budget
- Brand Reputation
- Scope Use Case
1. Magnification Power
The Hawke Sidewinder has an impressive 4-16x magnification power. I like this range because it gives you extra versatility in terms of range.
The low 4x magnification allows fast target acquisition at close range, while the powerful 16x magnification and first focal plane reticle ensures pin-point accuracy at 500-600 yards.
2. Lens Quality
Hawke Optics went all out with their lens quality, equipping the Sidewinder with an 18-layer Fully Multi-Coated lens system and high-grade, low-dispersion Crown glass.
Now, this might sound like just some fancy words I’m giving you, but it really does make a difference in the field. The lens quality significantly enhances light transmission, reducing glare and providing a clear view of your target.
I tested the Sidewinder in various hunting scenarios, from dawn and dusk hunting to hunting deer in dark forests, and I can confidently say the Sidewinder provides ample light transmission.
3. Reticle Type
As mentioned, the Sidewinder has an FFP reticle, available in MOA and MIL. The FFP reticle makes all the difference for those long shots. Personally, as a hunter, I prefer the MOA option, but I know my long-range shooting buddies would prefer the MIL reticle, especially considering it’s an FFP and not a second focal plane scope.
The reticle offers detailed MOA or MIL (depending on your choice) spaced markings, ideal for long-range shooting. The clever design with crosses for windage aim points and segmented outer posts for rangefinding adds to its long-range versatility.
4. Durability and Build Quality
Trust me when I say this: this is a great scope for hunting in challenging terrain, featuring Hawke’s 30mm Mono-tube chassis, which provides robust durability.
Overall, I give it 5/5 for durability and build quality.
5. Adjustment Features
The Sidewinder 30 has easy windage and elevation adjustments. Its precision locking turrets with 1⁄4 MOA clicks offer fine-tuned control when you make a horizontal or vertical adjustment.
Plus, the witness window is a thoughtful addition for instant reference. The side focus knob for parallax adjustment and the removable zoom magnification throw lever definitely add to the Sidewinder’s already excellent user-friendliness.
6. Eye Relief
After numerous brow injuries and broken glasses, I’ve come to appreciate a scope offering generous eye relief, especially if the scope’s intended use is for long-range, heavy recoil weapons. That said, the Sidewinder offers an impressive 4 inches of eye relief.
This is more than enough eye relief for heavy recoil weapons like a .300 Win Mag or for when you have glasses.
7. Field of View
The field of view is the only main rating factor I’m not a huge of. At 100 yards, the field of view ranges from 31.8 to 8.1 feet (depending on your magnification setting), offering a somewhat narrow FOV compared to its competitors.
A wide view is beneficial for tracking moving targets and situational awareness during shooting. If your use case doesn’t require tracking and situational awareness, then you should not be too bothered by the narrower FOV of the Sidewinder.
8. Weight and Size
At 25.6 ounces, the Sidewinder has a pretty average weight compared to its competitors.
I’m a fan of its size. It measures only 13.3 inches in length, meaning it’s compact enough for you to use it in environments that require optimal maneuverability.
9. Compatibility with the Rifle
The Sidewinder 30 is compatible with most rifles. It’s durable enough to withstand heavy recoil and compact enough to fit most rifle designs. Just ensure you use the correct scope rings; otherwise, you risk damaging your scope.
10. Price and Budget
Priced at $839, the Sidewinder 30 sits comfortably in the mid-to-high price range on the scope market. While it may seem like a significant investment for most average shooters, the Sidefinder’s features and performance justify every cent of that $839 price tag.
11. Brand Reputation
Hawke Optics has produced optics for over 40 years now. They are not as popular as Vortex or Leupold, but they’re still a well-established company known for producing quality scopes.
12. Scope Use Case
The Hawke Sidewinder 30 is a multi-discipline scope, meaning it excels in most shooting use cases. From hunting to tactical shooting and long-range target practice, its features cater to almost any shooting scenario.
What Are The Most Important Factors To Consider Before Buying Hawke Scopes?
When considering buying Hawke Scopes, you should look at four factors.
- Magnification – Any hunter or professional shooter would agree that magnification is a critical factor in ensuring long-range accuracy. A higher magnification converts to better long-range shooting but tends to be overkill for close-range targets. Conversely, low magnification scopes offer a wider field of view, essential for quick target acquisition in hunting. The Sidefinder prioritizes long-range precision, not quick target acquisition.
- Price – Price reflects not just the cost but the value you get from a scope. Higher-priced scopes often offer better lenses, durability, and advanced features. However, always align your budget with your needs. If you’re a casual shooter, then you don’t need a $2000 scope. Conversely, a $300 scope might not offer the best performance if you want a 1,000-yard range shooting scope.
- Brand Reputation – Hawke’s reputation, although not as renowned, is excellent. They are known for their quality and reliability. After all, if you’ve been producing optics for more than 40 years, you must be doing something right. Investing in a brand with a solid reputation, like Hawke, ensures you get a product that’s been tested and trusted by many shooters.
- Use Case – When selecting a Hawke scope, like the Sidewinder 30, consider your specific use case. For instance, hunters require scopes that offer clarity, durability, and reliable performance in various environmental conditions. Precision and ease of adjustment are crucial for target shooters. Identifying your primary use will guide you in choosing a scope with the right features.
Is The Hawke Sidewinder 30 FFP 4-16X50 Good For Hunters?
The Hawke Sidewinder 30 FFP 4-16X50 is one of the best scopes for long-range hunters. Its variable magnification from 4x to 16x provides versatility for various ranges. The high-quality optics ensure clarity and precision, which is crucial for hunting.
However, instead of the Sidewinder, I would rather opt for the Hawke Vantage, currently sitting at number six on our list of the best hunting scopes. The Vantage is basically the same scope as the Sidewinder but with lower magnification and a much more attractive price tag.
Do Hawke Scopes Have Variable Magnification?
Yes, most Hawke scopes, including the Sidewinder 30 FFP, feature variable magnification. While Hawke doesn’t offer LPVO scopes, they do have the Frontier line and Air rifle scopes along with the Sidewinder and other scopes that are indeed variable optics.
Is The Hawke Sidewinder 30 FFP Worth It For The Cost?
Considering its features and for a price of $839, the Hawke Sidewinder 30 FFP 4-16X50 does indeed offer value for money. Its high-quality lenses, durability, and versatile functionality are the features that stand out, so for those who also prioritize these features, then the Sidewinder is a no-brainer at this price tag.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can always check our guide on the best low-light scopes under $500 – you’ll definitely find something worthwhile there!
Does Hawke Optics Have A Good Reputation?
Hawke Optics has been producing optics for more than 40 years. If that doesn’t exude confidence, I don’t know what will. Hawke is a brand you can trust; they certainly have HuntersHalt’s golden stamp of approval!
The Bottom Line
The Hawke Sidewinder 30 FFP 4-16X50 is an excellent choice for target shooting and hunters who want a mid-tier long-range scope. The three main standout features of the Sidewinder are its versatility, lens clarity, and durability. Overall, investing in the Sidewinder will almost surely leave you with a grin of satisfaction.