Not so long ago, the topic of crossbow hunting was met with controversial discussion and was often debated among hunters. Many states only allowed the elderly or those with a physical impairment to hunt with a crossbow by permit. It took several years for crossbows to become a growing trend, which is now widely accepted among hunters.
In 2013, I was introduced to crossbow hunting out of necessity when a shoulder injury from my horse showing days flared up. I was among those hunters that were on the fence at the time about crossbow hunting due to being uneducated about the subject. My first experience hunting with a crossbow was a September whitetail hunt in Missouri. I remember my anxiety of the last-minute rush to get a doctor’s prescription for submittal to the Missouri Department of Conservation because crossbow hunting was not yet legal in Missouri for all hunters. I have hunted with my TenPoint® Crossbow Technologies Stealth SS crossbow every season since. Each time I carry the crossbow into the field I feel more comfortable with it.
The importance of upgrading your optics
I learned from my experience with other hunting weapons that “a weapon is only as good as the optics mounted on that weapon.” A crossbow’s accuracy depends highly on a scope, and my first objective was to upgrade the stock scope.
My crossbow came with a decent entry level scope; however, any skilled hunter knows that the highest odds for success are in those golden hours when deer are most active, i.e. at the break of daylight and at the last hour of light. It is essential to have quality optics with low-light capabilities and an adjustable illuminated reticle. Since crossbow hunting has grown in popularity over the past few years, nearly every optic manufacturer has their own line of crossbow scopes now.
Choosing Hawke® Sport Optics
One optic company stood out in my research because of their diverse selection of crossbow scopes is Hawke® Sport Optics. As I combed the catalog, weighing the features and options of the various models of crossbow scopes available, I settled on the Hawke® Sport Optics XB1 SR 1.5-5×32 Crossbow Scope. This scope met the feature requirements that I was seeking: overall quality and durability, high-quality glass, weatherproof construction, high light gathering capabilities, and an adjustable illuminated reticle for hunting in heavy cover.
The XB1 SR was going to offer me excellent clarity and the light gathering capabilities I wanted, as well as the quality and weatherproof durability to withstand anything the hunt was going to put it through.
XB1 SR features
The XB1 SR’s 11-layer fully multi-coated glass offers excellent clarity and light gathering capabilities in a compact 8.3” long by 1-inch mono-tube chassis. The aluminum construction cuts the scope’s weight to only 13 ounces. The scope is nitrogen purged making it water, shock, and fog proof. The convenient flip-up covers on the ocular and objective lens is a nice feature for those walks in and out of the field while kicking up field dust, early season pollen, or precipitation.
The 1.5-5×32 magnification results in a 75-22.5’ field of view at 100 yards. The scope has a 3” eye relief and a high torque zoom ring with a knurled positive grip power selector. The glass-etched reticle gives you a choice of red or green illumination with five levels of brightness that is easily adjusted with a rheostat located on the side of the scope.
Accurate aim points are achieved by selecting the speed of your bow with the speed selector ring so that the reticle is in tune with the ballistic speed of the crossbow. The speed selector offers adjustments for crossbows ranging in speeds from 250 to 425 fps. The various speeds are visibly marked on the selector with speed increments.
Sighting in the XB1 SR
The goal in sighting in a crossbow scope is to “zero” the top reticle at a set yardage; such as 20 yards. With the speed selector properly dialed in, the rest of the reticles should be accurate. The XB1 SR reticle reflects easy-to-view 10-yard aim points from a 20-yard zero/center to 100 yards at the bottom edge. Fine tuning is achieved with the windage and elevation. The tool-less windage and elevation adjustments on the XB1 SR have easy ½ MOA low profile turrets with positive audible clicks and a maximum of 120 MOA. Both adjustment towers have sealed turret caps to protect against dust and water.
I found the XB1 SR was easy to sight in, and each click on the windage and elevation was 1/20” movement of the point of impact at the target. In less than an hour, the crossbow was sighted in at 20 yards and out to 60 yards; maximum yardage in a textbook hunting scenario.
The Hawke® Sport Optic XB1 SR, model 12 221, comes with flip-up covers, one CR2032 battery, and a lens cloth. It is covered by the Hawke® Sport Optics lifetime warranty. Not only is the Hawke® Sport Optics XB1 SR a quality crossbow scope with great features, but the price is very economical and a perfect investment in aid of the performance of your crossbow.
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