Scope Review: Hawke Panorama EV 3-9×40 AO

The Hawke Panorama EV 3-9×40 AO is the third Hawke Optic we’ve tested over the past couple of years. A while back, we shot some cocks with the Hawke Sidewinder Tactical IR and more recently, we tinkered with the Hawke 1×32 Multi-Purpose for crossbows and AR platforms. In both previous cases we found the Hawke offerings to be great values. Not only because of features for the dollar, but performance approaching that of much pricier optics.

The Hawke Optics Panorama EV 6-9x40 AO mounted on a Rock River Arms 6.8 SPC

The Hawke Optics Panorama EV 6-9×40 AO mounted on a Rock River Arms 6.8 SPC

Last January we got a bug up our butts to acquire a 6.8 Remington SPC AR. After waiting nearly 17 years to have it delivered from Rock River Arms, it finally arrived. And yes, it was worth the wait, although we would suggest that Rock River Arms spend a little more time communicating with customers on long wait lists. Even the occasional “we still have no idea when parts will arrive, but we wanted to let you know we are working diligently on your order” message would go a long way when wait times approach a year or more. When the situation stinks, communicate. A lot. But that’s a separate discussion.

Finger adjustable turrets are resettable and have 1/4 MOA increments.

Finger adjustable turrets are resettable and have 1/4 MOA increments.

Anyway, given the interesting performance window of the 6.8 SPC cartridge and its heavier (115 grain for these tests) projectiles, we felt that a mid-range variable scope would be a great fit. After a little consultation with the optics gurus at Hawke, we settled on the Panorama EV 3-9×40 with a mil-dot reticle. While the Panorama is available with three different reticles at last count, we’ve just got a thing for mil-dot scopes. Always moving them from rifle to rifle and endlessly tinkering with different ammo loads, you simply can’t beat the flexibility.

Click ‘n giggles

We found this to be a really versatile optic. One of the reasons for its versatility is range of adjustment. Just internal to the scope, you’ve got about 400 clicks of windage and elevation. At ¼ MOA (¼” at 100 yards) per click, that’s about 100 inches of adjustment at that range. That’s a lot. Of course you always want to line the scope up as closely as possible physically, without relying on internal adjustment to establish zero, but having the option provides some flexibility in your choice of mount and the effective range of the scope.

Turrets

A front parallax ring adjusts from 15 meters to infinity.

A front parallax ring adjusts from 15 meters to infinity.

The turrets on this optic feature screw caps to keep things where you set them. When adjustments need to be made, unscrew the caps and you’ll see finger-adjustable turrets with ¼ MOA click adjustments. The turrets are resettable, so when you establish the desired zero for your rifle, just loosen the two small phillips-head screws on each turret This will allow the turret ring to spin freely and you can align your zero and the indicated zero mark on each turret.

Shooting this sucker

We mounted the Hawke Panorama EV 3-9×40 AO on a Rock River Arms 6.8 SPC AR. For those not versed in this chambering, it’s a .270 projectile stuffed into an AR platform. Bolt, barrel and magazine are a tad different, but the lower is a standard AR configuration. In fact, the lower shown in the pictures here is a Rock River Arms LAR-15 (.223 / 5.56mm) model.

Check out this 64 click box! Especially the return to zero on the sixth shot.

Check out this 64 click box! Especially the return to zero on the sixth shot.

The first project, after getting it approximately zeroed was to shoot a six shot box. We set this up at 50 yards so we could do some fairly extreme scope adjustment and still keep all the shots on paper. Using the aim point show in the photo here, we shot a center target, then proceeded to make click adjustments to create a box 64 clicks on each side. For the sixth shot, the scope was returned to zero to make sure the impact point was the same as the initial shot. All six shots were fired using the same aim point, so we were simply moving impact points around using the scope’s internal adjustment.

Wow! The photo here speaks for itself. The corner shots impacted exactly where expected and even more impressively, the final shot ended up touching the hole from the first. Very nice.

The next thing we wanted to test was possible impact shift at different zoom levels. Using the same point of aim, a shot was fired using the lowest 3x setting. A second shot was fired using 6x zoom and a final shot fully zoomed at 9x. Again, as you can see, all shots impacted within the expected area.

We also verified that point of impact doesn't change with level of magnification.

We also verified that point of impact doesn’t change with level of magnification.

The reticle is etched and is perfectly visible in daylight without using the illumination features. However, for early morning, and of day, or other low-light conditions, you can turn on red or blue illumination.

Closing Arguments

We were really pleased with the performance of this scope. The only thing lacking with this optic is the enclosed flip-up covers, which did not stay on as solidly as I would have liked. Scope covers are a matter of preference however. Folks like the rubber band “bras” and others like flip-up caps. I don’t mind adding my choice of covers to this optic – it’s well worth the money regardless.

Available direct from Hawke for about $240, you simply cannot beat the value of this scope. While we tested it on an AR platform, it would make a great addition to a hunting rifle as well.

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Comments

  1. Tom, Thanks for the review! A Hawke Panorama EV review on Amazon reports that the “mil” dots subtend 4.0″ instead of 3.6 ” at 100 yards. Did you check the accuracy of the reticle? Also, going by my measurement of pixels in the box test photo, it looks like test was shot at 40 yards. Is this correct?

    • Doh–I see that you reported the box was shot at 50 yards. Either my ability to do pixel measurement and arithmetic is really bad, the orange target sticky isn’t 1″ in diameter or, like the reticle, the clicks are perhaps “worth” more than specified. Did you measure the target with a ruler?

      • I learned that all Hawke reticles must be set to 10x to measure mils–even the scopes that don’t go to 10x!

        • At 9x, mil’s measure 4 inches instead of 3.6 at 100 yards, so the math to range, etc is actually easier because… no decimals in the math!

          • Haha–that’s true. Mostly, the problem with not having a true mil reticle presentation is any previously calculated mil hold-overs and windage holds need to be adjusted,

            The 1:1000 mil-dot ranging “system” still works well, because Hawke calibrated the reticle for 10x magnification and you have a zoom. For example, at 10x a 3-foot / 1-yard tall (or wide) object lies:

            1 dot = 1000 yards away
            2 dots = 500 yards away
            3 dots = 333 yards away
            4 dots = 250 yards away
            5 dots = 200 yards away
            6 dots = 167 yards away
            …etc.

            For a 9x Hawke, you would need to multiply the ranges above by 0.9, and for a 7x Hawke multiply by 0.7 when set to their maximum magnification. By the way, yards, meters, inches, feet, centimeters–it doesn’t matter. It’s always 1:1000. A 1-meter object that spans 1 dot is 1000 meters distant.

            However, even with the 9x and 7x scopes, the ranging math is still easy, given the magnification zoom. If you zoom the magnification knob to make the 3 foot object span one dot you can range it by reading the position of the zoom knob (assuming Hawked marked the knob accurately):

            9x = 900 yards away
            8x = 800 yards away
            7x = 700 yards away
            6x = 600 yards away
            ….etc.

            Obviously, for objects of different sizes, you need to scale (use more/less than 1-dot span, multiply/divide, etc.). You must define and fit the elements in the puzzle so the arithmetic is easy!

            For me, the downside is the Hawke scopes incapable of 10x magnification will not work with standard hold-overs or the Aguilar system. My solution was to buy the 4-12x Hawke so I could set the zoom to 10x, and my purchase was positively influenced by your article. Thanks!

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