Chuck Hawks Recommended Hunting Riflescopes


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Nov 24, 2017
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Toronto area, Canada
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Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH)
Ontario, Namibia, Alaska
There is plenty of discussion on the merits of various scopes for different purposes on this forum and it's great. I've found that Africa Hunting has the best specific experience and advice when I'm researching optics. But I also refer to Chuck Hawks Recommended Hunting Riflescopes page, and I'm curious what you all think about it:

The page rates scope product lines from two stars to five stars (see the page for details). From the copyright detail at the bottom of the page, I think it's from 2017. It seems about right with the scopes in my limited experience. For example, the Bushnell Elites I've used seem comparable to the Nikon Monarchs. The star ratings roughly correlate to price, consistent with what everyone says about optics, that you get what you pay for. But it's interesting how, within these star categories, there can still be a wide range in price (e.g., Bushnell Elite 3500 and Zeiss Conquest are both four star according to the page). Now, it doesn't say that all scopes in a star category are exactly the same, but this could be an example of "paying for a name", at least for some product lines.

I note that the page doesn't specify exactly how they came up with these, and how aspects like optical quality, mechanical quality and durability factor in.

So, I'm curious to hear from people with more experience: do the Chuck Hawks ratings seem about right? Any glaring examples you disagree with on the list?
I appreciate his ratings because he’s not in the pocket of the manufacturers like so many gun journalists seem to be. He seems to call it like he sees it. However, much of his opinions are just that….opinion. Durability can’t be determined in a brief test. In regards to scopes, optical properties and repeatability of controls can be tested. So I tend to value his tests of scopes.
I've generally found agreement with my view of the products he tested and his ratings. He was a small business that wasn't paid to test and seemed fairly unbiased. His tastes also ran to the traditional, like many here. (Walnut and blued bolts versus synthetic ARs) but he never cast stones. He also died a year or two ago from pancreatic cancer and his website output has slowed significantly since. I've gotten many hours of enjoyment and much information from his website.

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