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Hawke 4.5-14×42 30mm Tactical Sidewinder scope

by B.B. Pelletier

This Hawke 4.5-14×42 riflescope with sidewheel parallax adjustment has plenty other features to make it a premium sight.

I had to abbreviate the title of the Hawke 4.5-14×42 Tactical Sidewinder scope. If I wrote the entire thing, I’d be over my word limit for today’s blog. Just kidding, but the truth is that this scope has so many features that are packed into the model name that you need to pay some attention to it.

In fact, you’ve already seen this scope in action. It was mounted on the Air Arms S400 MPR FT rifle when I tested it for accuracy. If you’re curious, you can read that report here.

I’ve evaluated Hawke scopes only once in the past on this blog. At that time, I compared the image in a different and lower-priced Hawke scope to the same image seen through a Leapers scope of identical power and specifications. The image through that Hawke scope was definitely sharper. So, I told Edith I wanted to test one of the best scopes Hawke offered, to see if there really was a benefit to the higher price tag. That’s what we’ll look at in today’s evaluation.

Where to begin?
This scope has so many innovations that it’s hard to determine a good starting point. In fact, I’ll admit to being overwhelmed when I first unpacked it. I’m going to show you what I saw to see if it has the same effect on you. When you first open the cardboard box this scope comes in, you don’t see a scope. What you see is an elegant travel case with wire bale closures and a handle. It appears to be a piece of equipment that you carry to the field separate from your rifle.

The scope comes in an impressive case, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever put it inside again after you first install it.

Now, I know that nobody’s going to do that. You don’t take the time to sight in a scope, only to detach it from the rifle and put it in a carrying case — no matter how cool that looks. And, lest you think that quick-detachable mounts that remain on the scope are the answer, let me tell you there’s no room for them in the case. Once the scope is mounted, you’ve got an extra case for carrying your airgun stuff.

General specs
The scope itself is exactly what the title implies. It’s a 4.5-14x variable with a 42mm objective lens. That allows it to lie low on the rifle, which many airgunners value highly. The mil-dot reticle is divided into half-mil increments and looks unlike any other reticle I’ve seen. The way it appears, I believe it would be useful for aim-off shots where the intersection of the crosshairs doesn’t work.

The reticle is illuminated in red and green colors, with five levels of brightness for each color. Only the reticle lights up, and the lower levels of illumination are so subtle that they should be perfect for dark woods situations. Also, Hawke has cleverly mounted the illumination switch on the left sidewheel turret that also has the adjustable objective.

The sidewheel, pointer and sunshade are included.

The scope comes with an enlarged adjustable objective wheel. It’s not large enough for a serious field target competitor, but for a hunter it’s perfect since it doesn’t get in the way like a large sidewheel.

It also comes with a sunshade, so there’s nothing more to buy. The scope caps are metal threaded caps that screw into both ends of the scope. This is a quality touch that isn’t often seen. The big sidewheel even has a metal pointer you can attach to the scope as a reference.

Adjusting the reticle
Unless you read this report or the owner’s manual, you’ll be out of luck when you try to adjust the reticle. Because there is a secret to doing it, I became frustrated at first (I didn’t bother reading the manual first, as I’m now telling you to do). The secret is that you have to pull out on the adjustment knobs to unlock them. Once I got it sorted out, I like this feature. I remember once at an airgun show where I had my Career 707 on display and a guy came over, picked up the rifle off my table and immediately started cranking on the scope adjustment knobs. “Hey!” I shouted. “What are you doing?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Was it sighted in?”

Yes it was, of course. But not anymore, since Roger Ramjet decided to tweak both knobs to tune in Mexico City.

This scope would have prevented that, plus it also offers the ability to slip the scale to zero, once you have it sighted in, so I could have restored the setting, had the perp been intelligent enough to figger it out. I really like this feature!

The view through the scope
The image downrange is very bright and clear. I’d like to own a scope as nice as this one, because I was able to bisect those tiny bullseyes at 50 yards with the crosshairs. That’s where the hair-splitting extra accuracy comes from when you own an instrument as nice as this one.

Here’s a different reticle. It’s a thinking man’s analog ballistic calculator, somewhat reminiscent of a World War II tank gunsight reticle.

I think I’ll shift this scope to a couple other accurate rifles when the test of the MPR FT is completed, because I have the feeling that I haven’t seen all it has to offer just yet.

The ocular bell adjustment has a locking ring, so your buddy, Astigmatism Andy, can’t screw you up unless you permit it. The adjustment sharpens your view of the reticle, of course, and once you get it right it never needs to be adjusted again.

The sidewheel
You have the option of not using the large sidewheel if you don’t want to. Why would a deer hunter ever want to? Focus the objective and take the shot. You can estimate the range to the target close enough for a .270 Winchester shooting 130-grain spitzers. But, for the airgunner who’s battling the parallax problem at under 50 yards and wants his pellet to pass through the same hole time after time, the large sidewheel is the perfect way to estimate range quickly.

The sidewheel mounts on the scope without tools. It has a rubber bushing at its center and two cutouts to fit over the left turret knob until it stops in the correct position. Then, you go through a procedure (I won’t bore you with it here) to align the large wheel to the smaller inner knob. When you’re satisfied, you lock the outer wheel in position and the scope works as expected.

The bottom line
This is an expensive scope, considering the other models Pyramyd AIR offers. Of course, if you put it into perspective against the scopes it rivals like Leupolds and other premium brands, it isn’t that costly. It has a lot of nice features, but the most important is the clarity. Because seeing far is what a scope does, and with this one you can do that with ease.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

90 thoughts on “Hawke 4.5-14×42 30mm Tactical Sidewinder scope”

  1. B.B.,

    Could you do a review on a Benjamin 392 Steroid? Or have Mac do one? I’d really like to read your take on it before I purchase it.


    p.s. It is a bummer that PA doesn’t carry them…..anymore.

    • Conor,

      Pyramyd AIR never carried Steroid Streaks. They sold the reduced-effort pump 392. Different gun entirely.

      I’ll give you my impression of the Steroid Streak right now. They are too hard to pump to power levels above what a standard Streak can achieve. But with fewer pump strokes you can get to the same power level. So six pumps instead of eight to get full power.

      That is about it.


      • BB Re Benji 392 assist device…

        Is Mr. Moss still making those compound levers? Did they work as advertised? I’m guessing that there must have been a welded or otherwise permanent attachment to the tube or action?

        • Brian,

          I haven’t heard from Moss in over a year, so I don’t know what he’s doing. The pump-assist project was too expensive for him to sustain, so I doubt it’s still viable.

          Yes, it works exactly as advertised. I may have to blog it again, one of these days. Remind me sometime in the future, if you want to read about it.


          • Will do BB. From what I saw on his old website, it was a clever, Archimedes type design and if Crosman were so inclined (very doubtful) they could make that into THE new pumper on the market? A reasonable price with the right marketing (easy effort,self sustained and hi-power being key features) would make it viable to quite a few folks. Still, would that step on their own PCP sales and marketing?.. probably.

            FX Independent is the only thing even remotely close to a self sustained hi-power with (relative) ease of pumping. And what ever happened to Sharp Pumas and the other great Japanese hi-power pumpers?

            So many great designs with so few great export and marketing plans, sad. 🙁

      • Like the Steriod’s that Mac-1 sells he reduces the pumping effort, does something so that you can pump up the gun 14 times and get 20+ fpe. Could you do a review( or just tell me your views on it) on the “Mac-1 Steroid?”


        • Conor, it’s late so you may not see this but…

          The MAC 1 guns have the innards worked on by Tim McMurray, valves, seals, etc. He also installs a 3rd rivet in the pump handle and beefs-up the hinge pin for the pump rod. All good stuff but, the pumping effort is BIG, from 3rd stroke through the 8th. A std. 392 or 397 rifle has increasing effort as the pumps increase, so pumps 1 through 3 are easy, 4 through 6 getting harder and 7 through 9 are hard. Not sure about 14 pumps you quoted, is that info on Tim’s website? Anyway, if it is, even a young fellow like you will not want to do 14 pumps x 50 shots, it’s a major workout, kinda like pumping a 20 pound weight in a gym with one arm.

          The best technique with any of these Banjamin or Sheridan rifles is the two arm approach if you have the control and upper body strength. Otherwise, it’s buttpad on leg and pump with your strong side arm.

          Tim’s guns have their usefulness, mostly for stalking and one-shot kills on very small game. They are not all day plinkers at high power but, they can be fun at the 3 pump / 20 yard beer can shooting game. Open sights or peep sight are best if you have good eyes, as the scope mounts from Crosman put the scope way forward on the barrel and that tends to get in the way of pumping and they aren’t too solid and scope can easily move if bumped.

          Tim has told me that he learned the XX pumps equals XX range method of using the guns instead of adjusting sights or scopes. 2 pumps =10 meters, 4 pumps = 25 meters etc. Basically you pump for the distance or power that you need after you set you sights at some nominal range.

          Tim and his Dad have been doing this stuff for over 40 years, so he is a good and knowledgeable guy. Be sure to tell him you want the gun inspected for de-burring of transfer ports to barrel openings etc. He get’s busy in his shop and doesn’t always get things perfect, but he will fix it if it’s his problem.

          • Brian,

            Thanks for the info…..I have read that instead of the pumps getting harder (with the pump assist steroid) it is the same 12 lbs cocking effort(only the 12 lbs starts going up(like right when you start to close the pumper)). I would be able to handle the pumping part…..I’m fit.


  2. Roger Ramjet. That’s a good one. LOL! We all know he’s still out there.

    Funny but relevant coincidence. While at B.B.’s table at Roanoke I met Jamie USMC marine. We began our communication online via another airgun website. Great guy. Good shooter. Passionate airgunner. About 6″-4″, 240 lbs. not an ounce of fat guy. Cute girl friend next to him that I noticed infrequently.

    Among a few other things we talked about our recently acquired Hawke 4.5-14×42 30mm Tactical Sidewinder scopes. He’s looked through VERY good glass and I’ve looked through good glass. We agreed on several things regarding the Hawke Tactical Sidewinder 4.5-14×42.

    The half mil dots are a wonderful feature. Really wish Hawke would have put the circles found in their SR12 reticle in this model though. Easier to utilize.

    At this price point you can’t help but compare to the bushnell elite 4200 series with mil dots. The 4200 series 6.5-24×40 is a close comparison in price and features. Why Hawke didn’t introduce this tactical model in a 20X was something that Jamie and I said in unison. The illuminated reticle and side focus feature of the hawke are nice but the weight difference (27.3 vs. 20.2) between the hawke and the 4200 seem great for most.

    The hawke tactical is a much better scope than the previous hawke sidewinders. The complaint that many have is the “milky glass”. In my experience this is the users fault since the tactical doesn’t have “milky glass” if you use the sidewheel focus correctly. It’s critical on the tactical that you turn the sidefocus to zero then re-focus. If you adjust back and forth you will get a cloudy picture.

    I would buy more of these scopes if they had 20x power and installed the SR12 reticle. As offered I think the burris timberline 4.5-14x is a better value.

    Sorry to be a T%^& in the punchbowl.


  3. B.B.

    Looks like a nice scope, but a bit steep for me. Would rather spend the money on another gun first.

    I am looking for a replacement for the Leapers that I have on my R9. The glass sucks. Has some kind of distortion that always makes it look out of focus.


      • It’s a 3-9 AO TS scope. No other scopes in mind at present.
        At least the Titan and the R9 have not eaten it yet.
        I need to have two boxes for extra scopes….
        One for junk that still works, and another for the junk that is wasted.

        Maybe I will get another BSA sidewheel like I have on the 97.


        • Twotalon,
          The only Leapers \ Centerpoint I kept was a full size “Swat” model that is a 30 mm.

          Large scope, so it needs to ride on a big rifle. The R9 it sits on barely meets this goal; however it is like looking out a window so I forgive the slight lack of balance.

          On top of the clarity it has the side focus, mil dots, etc, and I picked it up on clearance so it was under $200 shipped. It will also focus down to indoor ranges, many will don’t. Not sure if it came from PA or one of those warehouses that sell optics.

          In any case, it was a nice surprised compared to the 4 or 5 other Leapers \ Centerpoints that did not make the cut.

          Some of my favorites are the old Bushys that are no longer made, also held on to a couple Hawkes.

          • I may just let this one ride. I can use it with the sunshade if I want on the R9 with room to spare. Parallax is not bad as long as it looks anywhere near focused. I do hate the need to always carry a 3mm allen wrench if I want to adjust zero.
            Getting tired of spending money on things that suck. I think if this one breaks I will get something else, but not another centerpoint or leapers.

            Just very tired and frustrated.


            • twotalon,

              I’ve owned and had good luck with leapers scopes. For the price point they have decent glass and can’t be destroyed. They typically have thick reticles and are dim and fuzzy in low light. I really liked their mini swat scope. Wish they still made that one. Not telling you anything you don’t already know.

              On a springer like the R9 I like a lighter weight scope, mil dots and AO. For an inexpensive scope that fits this criteria look at the tasco target/varmit 2.5-10 x 42 (the one without the illuminated reticle). At higher magnification this scope is a little dim in low light situations. This scope requires repeatable head placement and I like that.


              • Kevin,
                I would second that Tasco in a suitable application — quite a bit of scope for the money. The airgun (perhaps discontinued) and T/V lines are a little heavy and may not have the ultimate in FMC coatings, but they are more than usable optically and hold up well on just about anything in my experience. I assume by the looks of things that there are virtually identical Leapers models. I bought one Tasco in disgust when following conventional wisdom about a decent scope resulted in several quick failures (and the replacements weren’t any better), and I may have been lucky, but the Tascos seem to work fine. The plan was (or is?) to upgrade to a Sightron or similar, but I haven’t felt the need yet. And for me, having a $40 or $80 scope fail is a minor inconvenience, but I expect more if I pay more, and I haven’t always consistently gotten that extra reliability for extra money. Except at the truly high end, it seems to me that extra money gets nicer optics but with the same mechanics and weaknesses.

              • I scrounged through the pile and found a couple 4-12 Bushnells . I am sure that one is trashed, but the other may still be good. Will have to try it when I get some better weather. Would rather have mil dots, but the clean glass and fine duplex are not bad either.


            • I know the feeling. I think it is worse when I manufacture makes a mixed bag of products. Only trial and error to figure what is good and bad. The scope you are speaking of I had on a QB78, matching price and quality to the rifle.
              A hobby needs to be fun, not frustrating. Spending more on glass will shift the balance, fewer and better goes a long way.
              Speaking of frustrating, my basement fell victim to the torrential rains we have been having and flooded. Good thing we are keeping my Mom’s cat down there or it could have been days before we knew the sump backed up.
              Lots of damage, but at least all the guns are kept high and dry. Insurance company only pays a $5000 max and it was $2000 alone just to have the carpet and pad removed. They get you coming and going, hope your area of Ohio is a little drier.

              • Had water in the basement after the last big snowstorm. It leaks in in a few places. It got warm and started raining after a massive amount of wet snow. Then the ground thawed too, and the ground got saturated. Still getting rain off and on. Lots of flooding in the area.
                Some years back we had an ice storm and a lot of rain at the same time…with a thaw. Lost power. Glad I bought a generator quite a while back. Kept the sump pump running. I always keep a spare in case the pump craps out too.


              • Volvo,
                Watching TV and seeing the flooding, I was wondering about you, Fred and Vince (NJ had flooding also). Sorry to hear about the basement — truly a hassle.

                    • Vince, Fred,
                      Glad to hear its been OK so far. Batten down the hatches — I don’t think we’re in the main path of anything but it is soaking wet here — with a little snow mixed in for fun.

                • Years back I recomended a carpet shampooer to someone for removing water from carpets. How did that work out? I think that works better than a wet/dry vac but has to be emptied more often.

            • twotalon:
              Put the Hawke Airmax 4-12×40 on that R9, It and the Burris Timberline are my best air rifle scopes. The hawke is $50. cheaper and has a brighter and larger field of view, which makes it much easier to find your target whether your hunting in the woods or trying to find your field target.


              • I have thought about the Hawke scopes, but have not tried one yet. Reviews seem mixed on them.
                On the other hand I see a lot of good comments on scopes(and rifles) that I have found to be crap.
                Maybe I am getting too particular in my old age after buying too much junk while searching for something that will make me happy.


                • twotalon:
                  You can read between the lines on some of those customer reviews. Another scope I forgot to mention is the Air Force 4-16×50 I had it on A. F. Talon SS for two years another great scope but I transplanted it to the A.F. Condor that I won in the BKL scope mount rafle. That is a great long range shooter in 5mm (20 cal.)


                • TT, morning buddy,

                  Hope Ohio is drying up, soon?

                  I shot Bushnell scopes on the HW rifles for years. Finally broke one on the 97K after about 5 years, actually dislodged the windage turret and housing from the main body! Still, after many 1000’s of rounds on a fairly strong springer (recoil) I think it was as good a “standard” scope as you can buy. Magnification and optical clarity were very good.

    • twotalon, Bushnell makes a couple of scopes you might want to take a look at. The Banner 4-12X40AO and the Trophy 4-12X40AO. Pyramyd carries both, price range $100-160. I have the Banner, but the Trophy might be a better option for a springer. Bub

  4. BB

    Thanks for reviewing this scope. I was excited to see PA selling scopes of this quality. Your comments on the glass and the lighted reticle were enough to confirm this to be my next scope.

    I am to receive my reloading equipment tomorrow!. I am patiently waiting it’s arrival like a boy on Christmas eve that knows he’s getting that Red Rider!!! I bought the Hornady lock n load kit for $299, got free shipping, (though pony express), and with the mail in free bullets offer it comes with (a $300 value) I think I really scored. Sooo… After my powder purchase, this scope may be next!

    What? Was that the door bell? Hey, gotta go!


    • Let me know what you think of reloading. I am still on the fence as to whether or not to give it a try.

      A novice’s opinion would be nice, since it is a no brainer that the veterans always recommend it.

      • Volvo,

        Going solely by the experience of watching my brother in law, the answer is as follows:

        If you have 1) Lots of time, 2) lots of patience, 3) Lots of room for your workbench, 4) lots of money for ever more equipment and 5) a desire to put the bullet 1/4″ closer than otherwise at 100 yards, then… reload. If not… go buy that box of ammo off the shelf!


        • AlanL,

          I’m not a spendthrift. If reloading were a black hole for money, we wouldn’t be doing it. Here’s why I have no issue with Tom doing reloading:

          Buy used, use what you buy, make it pay for itself, do it right (be safe), have fun, learn something in the process, be prepared for the time when ammo won’t be on the shelves.


          • Edith,

            Let me add right here that if I didn’t reload, I could not shoot my Ballard, my .43 Spanish Rolling Block or my Trapdoor Springfield–three guns I enjoy shooting as much as any I own. The reason? They all need to use lead bullets that nobody makes anymore.

            To shoot the Ballard with modern ammo would ruin the bore in a very short time, to say nothing of being far less accurate. And the Trapdoor Springfield needs not only lead bullets but also very light loads that resemble black powder in terms of pressure. Trapdoors cannot take a lot of pressure, but with a low-pressure load they will go on shooting for centuries.


            • BB, there is ammo available for the Trapdoor. The “Cowboy” .45-70 ammo is loaded light enough with lead bullets to work.
              So, you can get it in a pinch. But, it isn’t cheap so reloading as you do is the way to go.


              • Matt,

                IMR 4895 was developed by DuPont for the Garand. It is the most widely-used powder in reloading for that rifle because the pressure curve was designed to avoid bending the operating rod.

                And, it’s dead-nuts accurate with the right bullets, which I will define as Sierra MatchKing 169-grain boat-tailled spitzers.


            • Pete,

              We keep a very healthy supply of reloading components for exactly this type of situation. These are things we track very closely. I’m fanatical in some things, and having enough components to reload lots of cartridges in virtually every defense caliber is a top priority. The phrase “set for life” is not outside of my vocabulary.

              I say this because my parents lived in Germany & China, and both times firearms could have saved them. I never want to be in the position where I don’t have guns or enough ammo. We spend more on ammo and components every year than I do on my own clothing & shoes. No kidding.


            • BB and Edith are right in both directions. Keep a running supply (large) of components and, when “it” hits the fan (factory ammo shortages) yes, primers and powder will either shrink in supply or prices will go wild, or both. At that point, you do your best to search out the components for sale but, not in desperation, more so in restoration, of your supplies that is.

              I’m not a huge reloader these past few years but, with over 5000 rounds each of my 3 or 4 must have calibers of ammo already loaded, I’m good to go when Mad Max and the Road Warriors are loose in 2012 or whenever doomsday has been scheduled this time around. My reloading supplies on hand are probably good for that same amount of ammo (again) as the second tier of supply.

              Most avid reloaders tend to over stock supplies and loaded ammo , but for good reasons.

      • Volvo,

        I will keep you informed. I don’t plan on loading the neighborhood, just my MANY empty .45acp and .243win brass. I figure the hardest and most time consuming part is going to be settling on a particular load. When I achieve that in each of those mentioned calibers I plan to work on a few others.


        The lots of time part is developing the desired load. The actual loading is a snap and 100 rounds can be done on a single stage press in a couple hours. “Lots of money for ever more equipment”… maybe, we’ll see. .25moa is very doable with hand loaded ammo, though it doesn’t require any more than the basic equipment. So far my initial investment is $311.90, with a free bullets coupon worth $300. Basically I only need powder and a tumbler with media (which I am borrowing from my father in law). For the price of another few boxes ammo I should be good.

        Can’t wait to get started!


        • KA,

          For inexpensive media, I buy powdered corn husks and crushed walnut shells at Tractor Supply Company. I beat everyone’s price that way. And you use the walnut to clean and the corn to polish, every forth or fifth run.

          You can also buy walnut at a pet store, where it is sold as bedding for reptile cages.


        • KA, here comes the wet-blanket comment… if you are a homeowner, check all the #1 font, fine print disclaimers and exclusions in your insurance policy. There may not be a direct reference to gunpowder or other reloading supplies however, there are policies with “hazardous materials” storage exclusions and “toxic dust” exclusions etc, etc. “Flammables” and “Explosives” are other buzz-words to look for. See how this relates to your situation. Also look for “non-actionable” exclusions which basically state that you have no right of recourse or action if you are denied on a claim or loss. (although any good 1-800-ATTORNEY will tell you that there is no such thing as not being able to sue)

          I’m not saying that this is an issue for you, but “I’m just sayin”… as the saying goes. My policy is with Farmers and I haven’t found any problems in my policy.

          Remember, insurance companies are run by the lowest range of the evolutionary chain, lawyers who are bankers, or is it bankers who…?

  5. Do I remember right – on this blog, in a time long, long ago, someone wrote that the rule of thumb is that a rifle deserves 50% of its cost for the purchase of a scope?

    Marauder – $470
    Rule-of-Thumb Scope Cost – $235
    This Blogged scope – $389
    Time to get a new rifle – $778


  6. B.B.

    In previous post you told me on Izh-32 stock – “that’s the way to go”. Can you tell me something more on that? What advantage does this type of stock have in your eyes?

    I’m also trying to find any info on AI AW sniper rifle stock – I’d like to have a look at its AICS system. Does anybody have good big photos of AICS disassembled?


    • duskwight,

      I said that because of the stock-splitting problem that all Whiscombes will eventually have. Maybe not for the next 20 years, but in 50-75 years it becomes inevitable.

      And because you are going to want to take that rifle apart as you finalize it, I would have the easiest stock to remove.


      • B.B.

        Well, I’m not sure if I’m going to live another 75 years, but I don’t mean I won’t try 🙂 Thing that bothers me most is who decides that 75 years have passed – me or wood.
        I see your point now – ease of removal for servicing and repair and longer service life. Perhaps that is my primary consideration. So, as far as I can understand the problem, it really comes down to machined chassis and wooden panels. I’m not sure if there are any other options – maybe you know some other stock fitting types for springers?


        • duskwight,

          Well older spring rifles often didn’t have wooden forearms. They just had a wood butt and the rest of the gun was steel. Other than that you could have a wooden “cradle” instead of panels. Two screws would attach it at some point and it would wrap the firearm without adding to the support of the gun.

          As far as scopes that last, Leapers has a pretty good record. The reason you may read about so many of them breaking is because they are so common among airgunners.

          Bushnell scopes are also tough, but the lower-priced ones have murky optics. Of course, so do the Leapers.

          There used to be scopes to avoid like certain Tascos and so on, but I haven’t heard of many problems like that in recent times.


      • Oh yes, I forgot to ask you – is there a kind if users’ list for scope survivabity on springers in US?
        Here Leapers 3-9×40 is considered a king of low-priced scopes for springers and Bushnell Trophy 4200 series seems to be the leader in medium price range.

  7. Reloading.

    First, I understand perfectly that it makes sense for a firearm writer like Tom to roll his own.

    AlanL’s reply to my question: “1) Lots of time, 2) lots of patience, 3) Lots of room for your workbench, 4) lots of money for ever more equipment” Gives me hesitation once again.

    Anyone that reads my comments can tell I no longer bother to proof read them, so time and patience are not going to happen. I have the space.

    While you would think a slow housing market would allow extra time, the opposite is the case. I have not taken a weekend off in a year, and I often work seven days a week since I no longer have one or two assistants. Not out of greed, just need.

    I thought maybe I could save a few bucks, but that also seems debatable? Guess I’ll wait until retirement or the next big housing boom, otherwise the boom maybe from a double load…

    • Volvo,

      I reload my rifle cartridges in the living room while watching TV. I take my time and proceed with care, but it isn’t as pucker-some as you might think. The press I use for this is the Forster that has a huge mechanical advantage, so I attached it to a plank that gets clamped to a collapsable work table.

      It takes me 10 minutes to set up and who cares how long to reload, ’cause I’m listening to the TV with Edith at the same time. If the show becomes interesting, I stop what I’m doing to watch. But mostly I listen and pay real attention to reloading.

      You saw the results of my last reloading session for the Ballard in the last report on it. What you didn’t see were 20 M1 Carbine bullets in a 6-inch group at 100 yards with open sights. Ask anyone if that isn’t good.

      Reloading doesn’t take a lot of time if you do it right. And it isn’t as dangerous as storing your gas-fired barbeque that can take out your whole house.


      • B.B.,

        You and Edith both raised very excellent points- you about needing to reload to supply ammo that just isn’t available anymore and Edith about making sure you’re supplied if the normal pipeline in a civilized society dries up. Man, that would be a bleak outlook for sure, since food and fuel would be just as pressing as just as likely to not be available. I don’t even want to go there.

        But for normal everyday calibers and recreational shooting, is reloading really all that advantageous?
        My brother-in-law is a very poor example– he’s the one I told you about that will go hunting deep in the bush for an entire weekend with nothing but one bullet in his rifle, his philosophy being that if he’s not good enough to bring down what he wants to bring down with just one shot, then he shouldn’t be out there shooting in the first place. So he’s a nut who spends hours reloading, weighing everything to the last grain, peering under a strong glass, etc. But oh man can he shoot that 7 mm!


        • One bullet for one weekend of stalking and a one-shot kill sounds pretty grand as a personal challenge, he must have enough money and free time to re-do the hunt as many times as needed? Much “cheaper” than taking along a box of 25 precision reloads. Or, let me guess, he has never missed a shot in his entire hunting experience? What about the super-beast who needs a mercy (second) shot to finish the kill?

          Guess elitism isn’t dead after all?

        • AlanL,

          Your brother-in-law is not in the mainstream. But I bet you already knew that 🙂

          As Brian said, what about that follow-up mercy shot? What about that shot he’ll need when an aggressive predator is heading his way? He shoots it, and then notices the others? I hope he’s a fast runner.


        • BB is 100% right. It isn’t hard or dangerous. If you can follow directions, you can reload. Is it worth it?
          You bet. I can load 50 .45 ACP with cast bullets for about $3.00. Perhaps less if I pick up some free lead. The exception was when 7.62X39 ammo was selling for $80.00 per 500 a few years back. It cost as much to reload it. But………..look how much you pay today. You can still reload it for about the same.


          • Exactly, the more common rounds such as 9mm pistol, .38 spec., 45 ACP, .223 etc, are always cheaper as reloads (sometimes by 40%) than factory rounds and if you scrounge brass at the range or local shootout hill, it’s even cheaper yet. When you get into specials, wildcats and safari type loads, the cost gap narrows quickly due to size, weight of components, special bullet designs and the scarcity of brass. In the dangerous game categories like .458’s, I would not reload. That group of cartridges is meant for few shots and not even many practice rounds and… I want the best factory sampled/tested ammo for a charging Rhino or Hippo. Not that I have ever had the great fortune (or fortune $) to hunt those beasts but if I did…$5 to $10 per cartridge would not be an issue, dropping the beast with the first shot would be.

        • Volvo,

          There are two schools of thought on this. One says to go cheap with “what works.” That would be the Lee progressive press. Unless all you want to reload is a hundred rounds a month, a progressive press is so fast and efficient, once set up, that it makes the time really fly. Buy a Lee single-stage kit if all you want is to reload a little.

          Then there is the older school that says buy the best and you’ll never regret it. That would be the Dillon 550B progressive press that can load 400 to 500 rounds an hour. The Lee can do about 200-250, but the Dillion has a lifetime no-hassle warranty and I find that it’s worth the extra money for me. I bought my Dillon used off eBay and already set up for the caliber I wanted, so I paid about $100 more then a brand new Lee.

          The Lee has parts that wear out and have to be replaced–SOON! The Dillon wears out, too, but they send you all the parts, including those that cost $75, for free. Not to the first owner, but to anyone who owns their stuff.


          • BB, Volvo, All,

            “…buy the best and you’ll never regret it”. This is the advice that I tried to adhere to, though like everything else in life there are other factors that come into play, like money for one. Another for me was I thought that I might in the future want to have a single stage press anyway, so I bought the Hornady “all inclusive” kit. Riiiight…

            Two things… First, I’m glad I bought a single stage press because the advice that Brian in Idaho gave a couple months ago has really come into play. (or was it Mike… don’t recall now). But the advice was to use single stage and learn each step of reloading. It’s a simple set up and you discover what you’ve been reading about. As simple a process as it is, once all set up, there is some critical stuff being done here and I would’ve gotten lost in the setup on a progressive system. I plan on getting a more advanced system later, Dillon? Second thing to say about that “all inclusive” kit… it’s not all inclusive. I forgot to order shell/case holders. Had to run to the local gun shop and pay a premium for one, the .45acp. Going to order a kit of them for $20 later. This was discovered after 3 hours of debating the location of holes in my workbench, of course! I just couldn’t do it, so I fabricated a 12″ x 16″ free standing table out of an old bench grinder stand. This does the job until I figure out what space requirements I need and where to place things for my use. The powder measure I mounted on a short piece of 2×4 and clamped it in my bench vise. With a bracket of sorts, it will be on the table with the press.

            Now I have to order those free bullets. And get some powder. And primers. And lock-n-load bushings for EACH DIE. (somehow I missed that one too.) Hmm, maybe AlanL’s comment of “Lots of money for ever more equipment” isn’t that far off!! 🙂


  8. Slick scope. Actually, I don’t know if it is so impossible to detach the scope between sessions. I do that for my Leapers 6-24X in b-square rings that I mount on my Savage 10FP, and it is just about dead on every time–within a click or two. On the subject of reticles, I’m getting interested in the exotic reticles used for red dot sights. I think my ideal choice would be the chevron. By placing the very tip of the chevron on the target, I would think that you could get a lot of precision while the big arrow still allows for rapid acquisition. That seems better to me than placing a big red dot right on the target.

    Thanks to all for the advice about cleaning my M1. I have a muzzle guide from Sinclair, but I hadn’t thought about inserting the rod before attaching the brush. On the other hand, that would expand the already protracted process of cleaning this weapon.

    Duskwight, I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother. Such is the way of the world. It’s great that she had such a relationship with your grandfather.

    I’m watching a documentary on the Tommy gun. They were selling them for $200 at the local hardware store in the 1930s! But the gun laws were not rationale since at the same time it was illegal to buy a 1911 (at a cost of $17.50!). I’m also trying to get a flavor of the times. The people in the photos are brisk, hard-looking characters, sort of like their guns, not the type to go for looks, modularity or accessories.


    • Matt,

      On Tommy – I was always amazed how lawmakers prohibit anything 🙂 12-gauge shell loaded with buckshot has almost the same effective range, 9 times the power of 9×18 Mak round and the same number less chances to miss, not to mind that “90% hit ratio”. Still, a handgun is much more feared by legislation system.


      • I like your calculations Duskwight, right on.

        The ability to put the handgun in your pocket or coat makes them “fearful” in the eyes of the komissars and the peoples polit-bureau for sure.

        • Brian,

          Luckily, comissars were disbanded in 1943, and politbureau in 1991 🙂
          Funny, but in Stalin’s times weapons were much more widely available and less controlled than later, e.g. one could buy a .22 rimfire just like a pair of skis or tennis ball.
          Many party members or directors, or even common engineers owned pistols and anyone attacked by criminals had full rights to shoot at them. So don’t blame commies, they weren’t so bad gun-wise. They began to tighten screws during Khrustchev’s times.
          Sawn-off shotgun or folded stock Saiga are perfect for keeping it under one’s coat, especially in winter 😉 I feel I must tell you about “obrez” tradition.


          • Ahh Tovarich, I was speaking of our U.S. komissars, now most famous in Chairman Obama’s politbureau!

            And yes, Krustchev’s regime was one of the worst, not as bad as the worst of Stalin’s time, but very bad in his own ways. The man I admired (in some ways) was Titov in Yugoslavia. Yes, a tyrant too but, smart enough to give some freedoms and a good economy to his people. He also told Krustchev to run his own business inside Russia and leave the Slav’s alone?

            Obrez? You are meaning Mosin Nagant made into pistol my good friend!? Most famous people’s-revolution firearm! Easy to keep inside your winter coat and very powerful!

            See you tomorrow DW, on the blog!

  9. Kid again,

    A comment you posted earlier got caught up in the spam filter. I’ve just rescued it and approved it. Don’t know if you noticed it wasn’t posted before, but I thought I’d mention it. I’ve whitelisted you, and you won’t be caught by the spam filter again.


  10. Connor,

    Okay, here is the lowdown on the Steroid Streak. Not only did I buy one to test for The Airgun Letter back in the 1990s, I also had for a time a true 25 foot-pound Sheridan made by someone else. That one took 100 lbs. effort for the final two pumps.

    The Steroid Streak acts just like the normal Sheridan, so accuracy doesn’t change. Pumping effort is easier, up to the full potential of a normal Sheridan, but it gets real hard after you pass that point. So although I did test it and see the higher energy levels, I never used it that way, because the pumping effort was too hard. Pumps 10 through 14 are all above 50 lbs. while the max for a normal Streak is about 35 lbs. at max.

    Now you need to know that although I am a decrepit old man today, I used to be very strong. As in bench-press 275 lbs. strong. I was also a bodybuilder for a while. And I found the Streoid Streak to be hard to pump past the normal Sheridan power level of about 14 foot-pounds.

    That is the substance of the Steroid Streak, in my experience.


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