When I bought my Gladius a few months back from Airgun Depot, it came as a package deal with a Hawke Vantage IR 4-12×50 AO Mil-Dot illuminated scope with a 1″ tube [Model 14252]. I had heard some good reports about Hawke so I figured I would give the scope a chance. It is bright, clear and decent eye relief (3.5″). The controls all turn easily and I really prefer adjustable objective scopes (AO) for air rifles. It lets me focus and get a range estimate of the target. Most of my shooting is at 10 yards but I do stretch out further at times.
Oddly enough, the Gladius does not have a standard Picatinny rail on top but rather some odd interpretation Hatsan came up with that allows the use of either Picatinny 22mm rings or 11mm dovetail rings. It looks odd but it works. Personally, I just wish they did a standard Picatinny rail on top vs. both but that’s just me.
First off, I looked at lots of photos of the Gladius and other bullpups and was rather surprised how high guys mounted the scope. An air rifle is still beholden to the laws of physics and trajectories. A scope mount should be as low as possible for two reasons: First and foremost, it causes less parallax. Just think about it this way, the higher the right triangle from your eye to the muzzle, the steeper the angle and the greater the change over a given distance. Second, a lower scope tends to enable a more consistent cheek weld getting the shooter to be more accurate. If you line up differently behind the scope each time, your point of impact will differ. Consistent cheek weld and alignment behind the scope matter.
So, rather than use the high 11 mm Beeman rings that Airgun Depot sent me, I used a pair of low profile UTG RQ2W1104 LE Grade rings. I have used many UTG rings over the years and find them to work fine in non-precision situations. If I am doing a target rifle, I’ll use true precision machined rings from companies such as Vortex. In this case, UTG would work just fine and I used their quick release rings which are nice when you want to get the scope off the rifle in a hurry. What is important is that they need to be snug, Tighten the adjustment screws so you get a nice solid lock up.
Now you may be wondering why I am using low profile rings with a 50mm scope and its because of the big scope mount riser that Hatsan put on the rifle. It’s just fine for the front objective to extend down lower than the rings because of the riser and the rear eye piece clears just fine. This is what lets the scope get closer to the center line of the barrel.
With this set up the center of the scope is 2-1/4-3/8″ from the center of the bore.
I spent the extra money on the Gladius thinking I would need to adjust the cheekpiece but I actually get a real nice cheekweld with this set up. I have almost 250 pellets through the rifle and everything is working fine. The scope and rings are holding zero no problem and I have adjusted the AO and power knob countless times. On some scopes this would be the kiss of death but the Hawke has handled all the adjustments just fine.
The rifle cylinder you see has a regulated cylinder at 130 bar and is getting sub 1/2″ groups at 10 yards with 18.3 grain JSB Jumbo Diabolo Heavy Exact pellets and handles pests no problem.
Normally I would use a Vortex scope but I am quite pleased with the Hawke Vantage II.
Note, I didn’t list the sizes on the Butler Scope caps. The front is too lose and I need to find something better as it wants to come off vs. flipping open right now. That will be a future post.
2/22/2018 Update: The scope and rings are holding up great. I have no complaints at all. The Gladius is an excellent rifle and this combo of rifle, rings and scope have really proven themselves to me. I have not had any problems at all with the scope holding zero.
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