Now that we’ve gotten the correct base, proactively dealing with any possible barrel droop and/or scope slipping issues, it’s time to pick the right scope. Picking the right scope for a magnum springer is critical. The unique and harsh recoil caused by the piston slamming into the front of the compression chamber causes all manner of issues with optics that are not specifically designed to handle the force dealt out by the shooting cycle. There are some brands that have really focused on providing “springer rated” airgun scopes at reasonable prices. Leapers / UTG is one such company. Crosman’s Centerpoint scopes are another example as well. But, my favorite of the bunch is Hawke Sport Optics products.Getting ready to mount the scope on the RWS
Spend a little more now, cry less later…
I have about 100 guns hanging on the walls of my shop. Just about all of them have scopes on them. I’ve got a variety of manufacturer’s bundled optics, Crosman Centerpoint, Leapers/UTG, and of course, Hawke scope. The scopes that have consistently provided the clearest sight picture and that have held up over time have been the Hawke scopes. Hawke scopes start down with the Sport HD line of scopes. They are a no-frills mil-dot scope with a front adjustable objective. These are good scopes for shooting out to about 50 or so yards, but I’ve found, like with other budget scopes, that the clarity can suffer a bit past that.
Fortunately, Hawke’s next line of scopes, while a bit more money, includes major upgrades and much better optics. The Sport HD IR line of scopes is what I usually use on my spring powered airguns. The prices range from just over $100 up to about $170. The big difference between the standard Sport HD and the Sport HD IR is the illuminated reticle and how Hawke has chosen to “light” things up. Other brands utilize a wire reticle. This is very susceptible to that harsh recoil I spoke about earlier. They can rotate, break, and generally give you a fit. But, the Hawks Sport HD IR line of scopes uses an etched glass reticle. This means there are no wires to break. There’s also a noticeable improvement in the clarity of the optics when shooting at further ranges. They cost a bit more, but the features fully justify the cost. And, Hawke has a lifetime warranty on their scopes against manufacturer’s defects.
Step one – install the base
So we have the base, the UTG Droop Compensator mount, and now it’s time to mount it to the receiver. It’s pretty simple. Just open up the screws on the side mounting plate to allow for it to grab the 11mm rail on the rifle and gently finger- tighten them so that you can still move the base back and forth to line up the set screws. From there you can begin to drop the set screws into their respective receiver holes and lock down the mount.UTG Base on RWS 34
Step two – install the mounts
I’m using heavy duty Hawke Match grade two piece mounts that hold very well. The weaver style mount locks into the grooves on the base and prevents the mounts from slipping. The low profile helps keep the scope close to the receiver, lessening the sight angle if you are going to be shooting primarily at close range. To install the mounts, simply loosen the side screw and allow the mounting plate sufficient room to open and grab the weaver base, then tighten the screw.Installing Hawke Mounts on UTG Base / RWS 34 Rifle
Step three – install the scope
This section really needs its own article, but for now, I’m going to keep things short and simple. Contrary to what some purists will tell you, you don’t need elaborate mount levels and other devices to mount an airgun scope. If I were setting up an 800 yard sniper rifle, then that would be different. But I’m not doing that. I’m setting up an airgun that has a max usable range (consistent 1″ groups) of about 35 to 40 yards. For 95% of the airgun scopes I install, I use the “close enough for jazz” moto. Again, I expect purists will start throwing vegetables at me any moment now. But, again, I’m trying to be practical and efficient, not build a spaceship. Now granted, my “close enough for jazz” may be a lot better than some users will get using all the tools and fancy leveling equipment, I have been doing this every day for the last 7 or 8 years.
The reason I don’t use levels is that I’ve found that it’s basically impossible to level most airguns in the first place. If the receiver is not 100% level, and then the mounts aren’t 100% level, then no amount of leveling the scope is going to work. What’s important is that the reticle is as straight and as square as possible to the receiver. Here’s how I do it.
First thing is to get the scope, I’m using the Hawke 2-7×32 Sport HD IR, basically set. Take off the tops of the scope mounts, place the scope into the rings, and return the tops. You want to tighten them enough to provide some resistance, but you also want to be able to move the scope without marking it all up. Now I set up at the bench and hold the rifle as I’d shoot it, pay very close attention to not tilt the rifle one way or the other. From here I rotate and adjust the scope for my hold and eye relief, again paying very close attention to the position of the gun and also that the reticle is as square as possible.
Lastly, I slowly tighten each screw a little at a time in a crisscross pattern so as to not cause the scope to rotate out of position and also to provide even pressure as I lock things down.Hawke Scope mounted and ready to start sighting in.
Taking that first shot…
With the scope tightened down and everything in place, it’s time to take our first shot down range and see where we are hitting the paper. And, that’s exactly where we’ll take over with the final segment of how to mount a scope to your RWS 34. So keep an eye on the blog for Part 3!