In the grand scheme of the riflescope market, the Hawke Vantage line is definitely considered on the budget end.
You can find more affordable scopes, but the vast majority of good scopes are going to be more expensive.
So does the Vantage offer enough quality to compete with scopes that are, in some cases, an order of magnitude more expensive?
That, friends, is the question we are here to answer today. We want to consider not only how the Vantage compares against other scopes in its price range, but whether you’ll just have to upgrade when you get more “serious” about shooting.
Is the Hawke Vantage 3-9×40 Worth It?
In my ever-humble opinion, the Vantage is absolutely worth buying if you aren’t shooting further than 200 yards and don’t require features like reticle illumination and resettable turrets. You don’t want to shoot on a spring air rifle. The Vantage is great for both hunting and target practice and will punch above its weight in dusk & dawn conditions.
As usual, whether the Vantage is worth it comes down to what you want to use the scope for.
The Vantage is very low-priced considering how good the image quality is and how well it stands up to the recoil of medium-bore loads.
It’s got all the essentials, at the cost of some features that are really nice to have.
Seasoned shooters will really miss having resettable turrets, while less experienced shooters may get frustrated that their mil-dot reticle doesn’t accurately reflect a mil anywhere in the magnification range (it’s set to be accurate at 10x, which the scope does not go to).
Let’s dive into the features.
Features of the Hawke Vantage 3-9×40
3-9x is what most hunters and shooters would consider a basic range. It’s a good starter range and can be versatile enough for a variety of uses.
The 3x magnification is low enough that you can still use your rifle at relatively close ranges. Probably not close enough for good home defense applications, but targets as close as ~15 yards should be easy to acquire and hit.
9x, on the other hand, is good enough to get you out reasonably well to 200 yards. You may not be making sub-MOA groups but hitting steel out that far should be just fine.
Despite what some enthusiasts may say, 200 yards is plenty far out for most folks, and mastering the fundamentals will be more important to getting out further than adding magnification to your set-up.
That said, if you do want to go out further than 200 yards, there’s a good chance that this scope just won’t give you the power you need to see your target clearly. I’d recommend something with a little more oomph.
The 40mm objective is a great addition to this scope, as it ensures that even at the maximum magnification (9x), your exit pupil will be larger than 4mm, so the scope performs better than you think it should in dusk & dawn situations.
It’s also not so large that it causes a problem when mounting (the eyepiece is a slightly different story, more on that later).
The coatings on the lenses are fine, nothing to write home about, but the fact that a scope in this price range bothered with coatings at all is pretty awesome, and the glass gives a surprisingly clear, color-accurate picture.
I’m a big fan of adjustable objectives. Whether side focus or an adjustable objective, parallax adjustment in general is a wonderful feature in my experience.
That said, while I appreciate Hawke including this on the Vantage, I wonder if the feature misses the mark a bit in this case.
Most purchasers of this scope will be folks who aren’t interested in spending more on a riflescope for whatever reason.
That’s fine, but most of those people are likely to be less experienced shooters overall, which means they are also likely not to utilize the adjustable objective at all.
Not only that, but adjustable parallax has limited utility when you’re only going from 3x to 9x anyway, so while I appreciate the addition and I’m sure plenty of Vantage owners appreciate the AO, I have to wonder if the scope would not be better served if they included something like a throw lever for the zoom ring, reticle illumination, or resettable turrets.
If you’re not sure what an adjustable objective means, it allows you to adjust the parallax of the reticle to match the distance you’re shooting at, so as your eye moves, the reticle will stay “on top” of the same point rather than moving.
In addition, it will also ensure that your reticle can be sharply in focus while you are looking out at your target area.
It’s pretty normal for a riflescope with a mil-dot reticle to be set to be accurate at 10x. I don’t use mil-dot reticles very often, but I’ve never seen a mil-dot reticle set to be accurate at 10x on a scope that doesn’t go up to 10x.
Granted, the accuracy difference between 9x and 10x won’t be noticeable to most folks, but it still seems odd to me.
Knowing the exact distance between the dots in mil terms saves time, but even without being able to do that you can still practice and get to know your own scope and eventually get the same results.
The dots are handy as aiming points for holdovers whether they are accurate to the mil or not, so I would consider the mil-dot reticle a feature and not a bug of this scope.
As long as you are aware of this, I don’t consider this a deal-breaker, especially if you are familiar with other scopes that use mil-dot reticles, as it will behave almost exactly the same as you are used to.
Waterproof, Fogproof, Shockproof
The Vantage is Nitrogen-purged and o-ring sealed. It’s tough enough to handle the recoil of at least a 30-06 without losing zero, and it will handle the elements just fine in most hunting situations.
I have not personally had the pleasure of dunking the Vantage in water (let alone swamp water), but I would exercise caution before doing so as a general rule.
All in all, as long as you treat it with some respect, I do not see any reason why the Vantage shouldn’t last quite a long time.
It’s not the scope you’ll be passing down to your son who then passes it down to his son, but it should last long enough to justify the price tag.
Pros and Cons of the Hawke Vantage 3-9×40
- Great light transmission: The 40mm objective along with the multi-coatings and modest magnification range mean this scope does very well, even in darker situations.
- All the basics are covered: You shouldn’t have to deal with internal fogging, the turrets are ¼ MOA adjustable, and you can use it with most of the rifles you are likely to own.
- Reasonable size: Not too big, not too small. Not too heavy, not too light. You might call it a “goldilocks” of size!
- A little weird that it’s a mil-dot reticle with MOA turret adjustments: I would prefer that the turrets be 1/10 mil to match the reticle, but I suppose it doesn’t matter all that much since you won’t be using the mil-dots to represent mils anyway
- No resettable turrets: Not a deal-breaker, just means that after you zero the scope, you can’t set the turret back to zero for future holdovers.
- No reticle illumination: Again, not a deal-breaker, just reduces the number of shooting scenarios that this scope will be a great fit for.
If you are looking for more options for 3-9×40 riflescope, Go through this article.
The main difference between these two scopes is that the Vantage is a 1-piece construction and the Fastmount is a 2-piece construction. They are priced similarly, perform similarly, and are backed by the same warranty. Vantage scopes are also more popular and easy to find compared to the Fastmount.
It’s a fantastic scope for the price. If you take price out of the picture and compare it with scopes at all price points, it would probably fall right around the “average” point in quality, but considering that many of the more expensive scopes are literally 10x the price of a Vantage, it’s pretty impressive that it holds up so well.
Yes. They haven’t always been, but all of their current models have had their manufacturing moved to China. Whether this is a problem is up to each person to decide for themselves, but in terms of product quality, Hawke seems to have a fairly good QA process in place because they seem to produce very few lemons.
The Vantage 3-9x40mm from Hawke is worth it for shooters who just need a basic scope to perform well in normal conditions.
It will do well in low light, especially considering the price, and it will hold zero even against some serious recoil.
I wouldn’t recommend it for springers, or for shooting out past 200 yards, but for the vast majority of shooters out there, the Vantage is a great buy.
It’s missing some features that are good to have, but unless you shoot a lot, there’s probably not a lot that you’ll miss on a regular basis.
I’d put a Vantage on any bolt-action from a .22 to a .338 without much worry, and it would work on the AR platform as well.