Hawke Vantage IR 3-9×40 Rimfire Scope Review

Hawke Vantage IR 3-9×40 Rimfire Scope Review

In this article, Robert Sadowski reviews the Hawke Vantage IR 3-9×40 scope designed for rimfire rifles. The scope provides a good deal of magnification for a .22 LR rifle at an affordable price. How does it perform? That’s something the author discovers on the range. Hawke Sport Optics provided a loaner scope for this review.

Rimfire rifles are a staple in most gun safes, whether you are a weekend plinker or a small game hunter. The ability of a bolt-action rifle to transition from plugging aluminum soda cans to taking care of varmints is a characteristic I appreciate in a rimfire rifle. Some shots are at close range, while others might need to reach out farther. Precision and repeatability is mandatory.

Pairing the right scope with the right rifle shouldn’t be complicated, nor should you necessarily need to pay as much for the scope as you did the rifle. I recently set out to do just that with my Model 2020 Rimfire Target rifle from Springfield Armory, and what I decided upon was the Hawke Vantage IR 3-9x40mm scope. It offers a lot of performance at an affordable price, especially with the Rimfire .22 LR HV reticle that makes taking shots from 50 yards to 200 yards a slam dunk.

Hawke Vantage IR Scopes

The Hawke brand might not be as well-known as the usual suspects here in the U.S., but I think it should be. Hawke is headquartered in UK and sells rifle scopes in about 60 countries. The Vantage series is made in China, and the line is designed for specific calibers and shooting scenarios.

In this digital photo, we see the Hawke Vantage IR scope mounted on Springfield Model 2020 Rimfire.

I can honestly say that the quality of the Hawke scope is neither cheap or inferior. It’s quite the opposite. The Vantage’s reticle choices range from ones designed for rimfire calibers and shotgun slugs to AR platform calibers and centerfire bolt actions. The Vantage IR is a subset of the series with scopes equipped with illuminated reticles, hence the IR suffix.

The Details

The 3-9×40 scope wears a matte black finish, and the controls are solid. The turrets are capped and adjustment indicators are basic — but simple and easy to use. The direction is indicated and the clicks are precise. Each click is .25 MOA, and there is 100 MOA range of movement in both windage and elevation. The parallax adjustment shares space with the reticle illumination knob.

Here we see the author reviewing the Hawke Vantage IR 3-9x scope on an outdoor shooting range.

The reticle has five brightness settings and two color choices — red and green. I did note that the parallax knob takes some effort to turn, while the illumination levels and colors are easily adjusted. The eyepiece has a rubber edge that makes focusing the reticle easy. The power ring is ribbed and offers adequate texture when zooming in and out, and it does take effort to rotate, but I was able to adjust the power range without disrupting my sight picture while in the prone position or sitting at a bench.


  • Weight: 15.2 oz
  • Magnification Range: 3-9X power
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 40mm
  • Tube Diameter: 1”
  • Turret Click Values: .25 MOA
  • Total Elevation Adjustment: 100 MOA
  • Reticle Focal Plane: Second
  • Reticle: Red/green illuminated Rimfire .22 LR HV
  • MSRP: $219

While the optical quality of scopes can be very subjective as each shooters’ eyes are different, what I look for is clarity when reviewing an optic. The Vantage IR offers a sharp image all the way to the edge of the lens. Color is quite good, too. The glass in the scope seems to be very good quality for the price.

Hawke Rimfire .22 LR HV Reticle

The Rimfire .22 LR HV reticle features Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) points calibrated for .22 LR high-velocity ammo. Any .22 LR ammunition with a bullet weight between 36 and 40 grains and a muzzle velocity between 1,235 and 1,260 fps works well with the reticle.

This illustration shows the Hawke Vantage rimfire reticle designed for for .22 Long Rifle ammunition.

You can also calibrate the scope to shoot standard-velocity subsonic ammo. The 36-grain to 40-grain range means there are tub loads of value-packed .22 LR ammunition options that are compatible with the Hawke Vantage IR. I had on hand a bunch of 40-grain ammo, made up of CCI Blazer, Federal Auto Match, and Remington Thunderbolt loads. According to the factory data, all three loads are in the guidelines, but we all know actual muzzle velocity varies. In my experience, BDC reticles also need to be verified.

With the scope zeroed for 50 yards and the power ring cranked up to 9x, the reticle aiming points compensate for bullet drop out to 200 yards. Distances are etched into the reticle field of view and increase in 25-yard increments starting at 50 yards up to 200 yards.

Rifle and Scope

The Springfield Armory 2020 Rimfire rifle has a 1” accuracy guarantee for a three-shot group at 50 yards. The caveats are that you must use match-grade ammo and be a skilled shooter. Regardless, from what I have experienced with the 2020 Rimfire that type of accuracy is effortless. Easy, peasy. My 2020 Rimfire has the sage green polymer stock, heavy profile barrel and adjustable Model 700-style trigger.

In this photograph, the author is testing the Hawke rimfire scope on the shooting range with 40 grain .22 Long Rifle ammo. The bolt-action Springfield Armory Model 2020 Rimfire.

I mounted the Vantage IR scope to the 2020 Rimfire using Vortex 1” rings. The Picatinny rail on the 2020 Rimfire made mounting the scope simple and straightforward. I didn’t bother to boresight the scope since .22 LR ammo is inexpensive, and I start out at 25 to get on paper and zero at the desired distance.

[Be sure to read Jeremy Tremp’s Springfield Model 2020 Rimfire review.]

At the Range

I started out at 25 yards and within two, three-shot groups, I had the 2020 Rimfire shooting to point of aim. The scope needs to be zeroed at 50 yards to use the BDC reticle, so I moved the target out to 50 yards and zeroed the scope. Yep, no need to call Springfield on that guarantee. Even with standard ammo, some three-shot groups were one ragged hole. The muzzle velocity was on the low side of factory data, but very close.

Going Long

With 50 yards under my belt, I moved to a 75-yard target and used the 75-yard aiming point in the reticle. It was on the money, but my groups did start to open up to over one inch, which is to be expected. The wind was gusting 15 mph, so I knew at 100 yards the wind would be flicking the small .22-caliber bullet like a peanut. Pulling into the wind to compensate, the 2020 and Vantage were in synch.

In this digital photo, we see the potential tight accuracy using this scope group with Hawke rimfire scope and Waypoint 22 Long Rifle ammo.

I did not expect to drive tacks at 100 yards in blustery winds, but I did drop rounds with pleasing consistency and slightly larger groups. There are no compensation aiming point on horizontal strata of the reticle, so you need to guess and use Kentucky windage. Too many aiming points can clutter up a reticle in some shooter’s options. I don’t think they are missed in this scope, since it is more for hunting and plinking and not long-range precision shooting.

Final Thoughts

I like the clean, simple reticle on the Hawke Vantage IR and, from what I experienced with 40-gr. ammo, the hold-over marks are on the money. The Hawke Vantage IR delivers a good shooting experience out to 50, 75 and 100 yards at a reasonable price. I felt I had enough scope with the Hawke Vantage IR mounted to the 2020 Rimfire. If you are looking for an affordable .22 LR scope that will get you out to 200 yards, I don’t think you can beat the Hawke Vantage IR scope on performance and cost.

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in!

Read the full article here