A Hawkeye borescope is a pair of steel 17-inch tubes (they give you two different views of what they see) containing gradient lenses and a light. When you poke it down your barrel you see what is actually there, as opposed to the bright, shiny surface you see when you squint down it with the naked eye. For about the price of a good scope sight, you can tell a bad barrel from a good barrel without firing a shot, see when you’re really done cleaning the bore as opposed to when you think you are, and detect what’s wrong with your rifle when the friggin’ thing won’t shoot.

Here are some of the neat things you can see:


A damaged land. I have no idea how this was done, but it has wrecked the barrel for good.That gouge is going to tear any bullet that passes over it.


Pitting. This is one of the things that happens when you don’t clean your bore. The steel is eaten away by corrosion.




A tackdriver bore. No copper fouling, no radial toolmarks, everything nice and smooth.




Scorched steel. Eventually, this happens to all barrels. When it extends far enough up the bore, it’s time for a new tube.


Rust. Death on barrels, and no excuse for it.

Hawkeye borescopes are fragile, as I found out to my sorrow last winter when I dropped mine. However, they have the best repair service of any company I’ve ever worked with. I got the scope back within a week, as good as new. You’ll wonder how you ever got along without one.