Let’s get the disclaimers out of the way first: I consider Trent Marsh, the Brand Development & Communications Manager at Hawke Sport Optics, one of the really good guys in the shooting sports industry. We make sure to catch up whenever we’re in the same town, we bust each other’s chops on a regular basis, and generally get along famously both in real life and online. I’ve even bullied him into contributing a few articles here at Bearing Arms from time to time.
Consider this your warning up front that I might have a personal bias towards wanting to like the product under review, the Hawke Sport Optics XB Multi-Purpose Scope.
It also might help to explain the Hawke brand before we go much further, since it is a relatively new brand to the United States.
To condense their story as much as possible, Hawke Sport Optics is a U.K.-based company that has been in the optics business for 30 years in Europe, where they make a full line of optics including spotting scopes, binoculars, rifle scopes, crossbow scopes, game cameras, night vision gear, etc. Here in the U.S. they sell most of the same things, with the addition of a line of slug-gun scopes for shotgun hunters that we’ll likely review at some point in the future.
Now, where were we?
The Hawke Optics XB Multi-Purpose Scope is a zero-magnification (1x) scope with a 1″ tube and generous eye relief. It was originally designed for crossbows, but works great on shotguns and for close-range/utility work with rifles.
I ended up with the XB Multi-Purpose because I whined to Trent about how my eyes aren’t working as well with iron sights now that middle-age is upon me, but that I didn’t always want or need magnification, either. Whether shooting an lever-action or bolt-gun in thick brush during deer season, or shooting an AR-15 at the range or in self-defense, a zero-magnification scope with good eye relief is what I generally want.
At the same time, while red-dots are all the rage among both the tactical and tacticool, I preferred the fail-safe of an optic that works just as well when the batteries die… and I don’t like spending a dump-truck load of money on “bombproof,” military-grade optics (donations, however, are gratefully accepted). At $129, the XB Multi-Purpose was hitting all the right notes for me.
When the XB arrived, I was impressed by the simplicity of the reticle.
It didn’t obscure targets downrange with too-thick posts (my only complaint with the #4-style reticle) , and the top crosshair, when sighted dead-on at 25 yards on my Templar Custom MCWS shooting 55-grain .223 Remington out of an 18″ barrel, is also accurate at 339 yards, according to Hawke’s free ballistics software. It’s great rig for any two-legged or four-legged problems that one might encounter at the sort of distances I might ever run across in the wooded rolling hills around my home.
The smaller, bottom crosshair is more useful in the scope’s original role as a crossbow scope… I honesty didn’t see any need to use it for my purposes, although you can use the software at the link above to best figure out how to employ it as part of a bullet-drop compensation system.
You’ll note that the Hawke XB multi-purpose reticle’s crosshairs can be illuminated in either red or green illumination to five levels of brightness, which you can chose using the reticle brightness control knob on the left side of the scope. The scope uses a common CR2032 “coin” battery, which can be replaced by simply unscrewing the threaded battery compartment on the outside of the reticle brightness control knob.
You’ll note that the Hawke XB multi-purpose reticle adjustment turrets (below) on the top and right side of the scope have protective caps on them so that you won’t accidentally bump them and knock the rifle out of zero. They simply screw on and off. The adjustments are 1/2 MOA (minutes of angle), which is perfect for this kind of optic.
Of course, there is always the importance of having a certain sort of “cool factor” associated with choosing an optic. You want one that performs as expected, but which doesn’t make you look like a dork.
I think the Hawk XB Multi-Purpose does a good job in that regard as well, comfortably mounted on my MCWS and balanced on a very functional (if not entirely matching) rifleman’s rig.
Unlike some of the more contemporary 1x sights and red-dots, the Hawke XB’s traditional scope profile also looks at home on a slug-gun, lever -action rifles, bolt-action rifles, and of course, the crossbows for which it was originally designed.
Is it a perfect optic? Of course not. While the made-in-China optics industry (and let’s face the reality head-on that most affordable optics are made in China or Japan) is getting better by leaps and bounds and the glass quality on this scope is really good, it isn’t going to be on par with an optic costing five to ten times as much.
That allowed, we’re talking about a scope that can seamlessly transition from rifle to shotgun to crossbow and back again, and serve admirably in each role for an MSRP of $129.99 (plus shipping). It can be found for ten bucks less than that from any number of retail vendors. It also comes with a transferable limited lifetime warranty.
For the money, you really can’t go wrong with the Hawke XB Multi-Purpose Scope as a good all-arounder. While it may not be the “ultimate” at anything, it does many things well at a price-point that’s hard to beat.