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Sub $400 scopes with adjustable objectives

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mercs View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 Feb 2021 at 4:47pm

Requirements were for scopes to be under $400, clearly stated as air rifle rated, readily available in NZ.

Assessment is about whether they are still usable after a reasonable time (1 year) and number of pellets (1000) on a springer/gas piston rifle and were there any warranty issues. I will leave the unboxing and technical reviews to others.

Hawke Vantage 3-9x40AO mil-dot $175 (no fault warranty) first use on .177 gas piston @16 ft/lbs (using one piece mount)

Very nice scope to use and disappointed when it failed, it was readily replaced and subsequent refund was without issue. There is some discussion on US sites that Vantage model rating is for 12ft/lbs and I feel Hawke should state this on their homepage and packaging information. I expect it is better to spend the extra for a Hawke AirMax and it would be great if owners would post their thoughts on the Airmax models.

Nikko Stirling Panamax 3-9x40AO $250 (original owner lifetime warranty) used on .22 gas piston @22 ft/lbs (using rings)

Very clear scope and AO distance markings are spot on. Initially appeared to be the answer to all things springer. The moving parts were tight to adjust and turrets did not easily move reticle one or two clicks without a tap or taking a shot. This did improve with use becoming a firm favourite but needs sorting before taking the scope out in the field. Scope started to give problems after numerous tins of pellets and has been returned to supplier for replacement.

Sig Sauer ASP20 4-12x44AO Whiskey 3 $390 (infinite warranty) used on .177 gas piston @21ft/lbs (using SportsMatch DM80 dampa mount)

Very clear scope, AO distance indications are precise and remains usable at all indicated distances and magnification. Turret adjustments in ¼ m.o.a. are precise and reliable. Scope is a discontinued model but still some around mostly as combo deals.

Gamo 3-9x40AO $240 (1 year warranty) first use on .22 gas piston @21ft/lbs (using packaged 1 piece mount)

Perfectly usable allowing rifle to operate in back yard and out in the field to good effect especially around the 6-7 magnification, flexibility was so good I purchased a second of these. Genuine surprise when they subsequently failed so refitted replacement using a SportsMatch DM60 mount and expected that to resolve any future problems.... With warranty returns I have now had 6 of this model and chosen to stop returning them (reticles start rotating anti-clockwise), plan is to disassemble and decide why this happens for my own interest. Writing to Gamo.com on this and other issues appears to be pointless.

Nikko Stirling Air King 2-7x32AO$150 (Lifetime Warranty) first use on .177 @16 ft/lbs (using one piece mount)

Some minor irks when using, internal blackout was inconsistent and high magnification not the best however it has been used as break-in scope for several high powered springers and to check mounting systems and the like, recently failed but no surprise and expect when replaced it will be put to good use again.

Nikko Stirling Mount master 3-9x40$140 (Lifetime Warranty) first and only use was on .177 CO2 powered rifle @ 8ft/lbs (using rings)

Great little back yard scope, could not be more pleased, with almost no recoil I expected this scope to last forever. Alas recently the reticle alignment has become suspect and it has been returned to supplier.

Nikko Stirling Air King 4-12x42AO $199 (Lifetime Warranty) scope had been in a hunting environment and has subsequently been used for numerous projects, AO distance markings are rubbish, focus requires adjustments between the AO then magnification ring and the eye piece but once set for a distance it works fine, indestructible junk really and would not be without one.

Outcomes:

The Sig Sauer Whiskey3 is the only scope that has operated without issue however it has always been mounted using a recoil reducing device.

The Panamax scope did appear to be the answer and expect if used in conjunction with a recoil reducing device then it will last. I will configure a rifle like this and hope to prove in the near future, $250 for scope and $160 for mount will likely increase so could be around $450 for the set.

Optical performance goes to the Panamax, clarity and focus is very good for the $250 pricing.

All NZ suppliers processed warranty claims in a timely manner.

I have made the assumption that the Nikko Stirling original owner lifetime warranty applies to their full range.

Prior to January 2018 Hawke no fault warranty does not apply and information received in packaging should be checked.

Gamo warranty can be 1 – 5 years but it is difficult to tell from packaging however they have always replaced regardless of age in my experience.

Prices are at time of purchase and could be several years out of date or were on special at the time.

Available accessory recoil reduction devices will be covered in a separate post including Gamo RRR, SportsMatch Dampa and Diana ZR.

cheers

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Joined: 19 Oct 2014
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2021 at 11:51am
nice details. I have only ever had good experiences with hawke;
the old Sport HD series was the base scope for spring rifles and if it failed it was replaced - it got discontinued when they rebranded and launched the vantage range. As they are UK brand, it wouldnt surprise me that it is warranted for the more docile 12fpe.

I had a Hawke Airmax 4-12 AO on my 16-18fpe Cometa Fusion for a good couple of years, I found it very good and had no trouble with it, used it on my 15/16fpe TX200 before upgrading to the Airmax 30 SF 8-32. This has also been pretty faultless but the TX200 has been tuned down to 11fpe


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