Okay, I completely lied with that headline.
An elegantly simple 3-9×40 scope designed to provide bullet drop compensation out to 200 yards can’t make anyone a great shot, so you’ll still near to have solid shooting skills to wring the accuracy out of your .22LR rifle of choice. Also, I’m fairly certain that there isn’t a military sniper anywhere in the world using the standard-velocity, standard-weight (36-40-grain) .22LR ammunition.
What the Hawke Sport HD IR 3-9×40 Rimfire SR scope can do is extend the range of your average rimfire rifle out to to 200 yards, a range almost double that of what most people consider the practical limit of the cartridge.
But maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
There is no magic in Hawke Sport HD IR 3-9×40 Rimfire SR scope, at least in practical terms. The tube is the standard 1″ in diameter, and it’s 12.5″ in length. It weighs in at a not immodest 14.9 oz. The”IR” in the scopes name indicates a red-illuminated reticle.
The elevation and windage knobs are in 1/4″ clicks, and help you get sighted in at the zero range of 50 yards, at which point the bullet-drop compensation (BDC) reticle starts working it’s magic on 9X magnification.
The scope has “+” aiming points going out every 25 yards starting at 50 yards,which are clearly labeled 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175″ for those of us who are counting challenged, with the 200 yard marker sitting on top of the bottom post.
Once zeroed for 50 yards, simply crank the magnification to 9X and engage the target of your choice as rapidly as you can estimate the range and acquire it.
That doesn’t sound so impressive on paper (or pixels), but it is something to see in practice, as YouTuber Bear Whisper shows with binary targets at 50, 100, 150, and 200 yard shots.
I mounted our Hawke Sport HD IR 3-9×40 Rimfire SR scope on dear old Dad’s Mossberg 715T, as the 30mm Red Dot wasn’t doing him much good with Mark I eyeballs about to begin their seventh decade of service.
Several Saturday’s ago I took it to our local range for rough zeroing. After getting it on paper at 25 yards, we moved it back to 50 yards and dialed it in for a perfect 50 yard zero.
I then took the HD IR 3-9×40 Rimfire SR scoped Mossberg to the RWVA home range in Ramsuer, NC, and began shooting steel, bouncing back and forth between the 200 yard “coffee can” and the 100 yard gong (75, 125, 150, and 175 targets unfortunately aren’t part of the 500-yard range designed for centerfire rifles).
The standard Federal .22LR 36 grain in the 525 round value pack didn’t hit either heavy-duty centerfire-grade target with enough authority to make them move appreciably, but there was an appreciable audible “slap” on each target when the rounds connected.
I simply didn’t have the range resources to work the HD IR 3-9×40 Rimfire SR scope to it’s limits, but it did show show me convincingly that the BDC worked, and that it could lob a .22LR bullet longer than I’d ever considered firing one before.
The $149 asking price for the Hawke HD IR 3-9×40 might seem to be a little stout for rimfire shooters used to buy inexpensive guns and mounting them with inexpensive optics, but you can find it online in places that rhyme with Slamazon for quite a bit less. Considering that the HD IR 3-9×40 Rimfire SR more or less doubles the effective operating range for most rimfire shooters, I’d consider it money well spent.
Update: Since obtaining our review optic, Hawke has added reticles for .17HMR, .17Mach2, .22WMR, and .22 Subsonic ammo.