Viper vs Conquest vs Minox

Which one???

  • Viper

    Votes: 4 21.1%
  • Conquest

    Votes: 13 68.4%
  • Minox

    Votes: 2 10.5%

  • Total voters
    19

meatmachineman

Handloader
Jan 25, 2012
276
0
I'm starting to settle in on some scopes I wouldn't mind seeing on my varmint AR. I'm now trying to decide which route to go. Essentially, I want some thing with a low power of 3-5 and goes up to 14+. A 40mm bell minimum, but a 50 would be better. Some manner of long range reticle and a first focal plane version would be a bonus (although likely out of my budget). I got a chance to play with a Conquest and several Vipers today. So here's what I'm looking at...

From Vortex...
Something in the Viper line. Right now, I'm liking the 4-16x50. Although at the upper end of my budget, and possibly exceeding it a bit is the one in the PST series with either the MRAD or MOA reticle. More in line are the same powered scopes in the HS series but then I'm left with a BDC reticle or the excellent XLR reticle but in a spendy FFP model. On the plus side it is a Vortex which I have heard virtually nothing but positive things about both quality and service. It is a 30mm tube and 50mm objective. A FFP version is available but really launches the price beyond my comfort zone. When I was handling them today, I liked virtually everything until I flipped the scope over and saw it is made in the Philippines. Mind you, I was in Sportsman's Warehouse and wasn't seeing much difference between them and the conquest, but am wondering, despite all the praise, if I should have any cause for concern in going with a scope from the Philippines.

From Zeiss...
I'm really liking the Conquest 4.5-14x44 with either the rapid z 800 or 1000 reticle. The pros of the conquest are probably self explanatory, however, where it seems to fall short to the Viper would be the 1" tube, smaller objective and a seemingly unavailable FFP option.

From Minox...
In the ZA5 series the 3-15x50 and 4-20x50... either with the XR-BDC reticle. The pros of the Minox mimic those of the Zeiss and can add price to the list if purchased right, but they fall short again with the 1" tube, lacking of a FFP option and a slightly less desirable reticle.
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,184
1,726
I wouldn't worry about the one inch tube contra the 30mm tube; light transmission is not going to be a major factor in these instances. I've owned representatives of each of the scopes you name, and each has serve me well. If you should spend a bit more money, the Vortex PST is quite nice. Mine had the MRAD reticle. For my use, the MOA would have been preferable, but the reticle worked just fine. I would tend to recommend whichever you are able to get at the best price, and never look back.
 

Vince

Handloader
May 26, 2012
3,945
6
I have Minox and like them but ordered a Zeiss tooday.
I'm leery of Vortex but that's just me. I've had some reports from someone I trust who is in a position to see a lot of scopes on the line. Minox is decent glass, IMHO, but the Zeiss is better I think. A lot of my issues have come from not liking the amount of light that passes through a 40mm or 42mm optic and that cause me to lose the reticle when i need to see it most.
I went and played with some scopes today. For me, while I was liking the ffp, I could see where it might be too bold at long range on a small target. Both Zeiss amd Minox have 50mm optics.
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
The old Conquest that we knew and loved is a gone item! They are selling off the 3:1 format scopes as fast as we speak. They are being replaced with the Conquest HD5 (5:1 format) which are German made optics and assembled there. Plus, the scopes will cost across the board, about $300 more the the US made Conquest.

So, based on this hyperbole, you really can't throw these three scopes in the same box because Zeiss just changed the basis of competition and took prices up a notch from the other two scopes, except the higher Viper catagory scopes. If you can get or own (6) of the old Zeiss scope, congratulations on that, I presently only own one. Also, I am nervous comparing and recommending unknown source scopes (Vortex) against known source scopes (Conquest, Minox) because they can change the game so fast with Vortex. Vortex does not make scopes. Zeiss and Minox do actually make their own devices! Just my circle of confusion on this.

I am still unhappy about my Minox being treated like a television or computer and now being worth $300, when I paid $500 and it has barely been out of the house! It is sitting in its box in the closet now while I make up my mind on what to do with it. On balance, I shoulda bought a Zeiss Conquest and not a Minox, all other things being equal!!!!

My real issue with the MInox is exit pupil versus eyebox and scope field of sight alignment design issues. There is a design glitch in the ZA5 scopes which at high power, makes eye alignment to scope axis a challenge, especially in low light with small exit pupils. I compared the ZA5 to a Redfield Illuminator (made in 1983) in my back yard in the dark with just low floodlight lighting. Despite the ZA5 having modern design and better coatings, at 9X I could find the reticle details and objects in my back yard more easily with the 30 year old Redfield than with the newer, better lens coating technology Minox. In most cases at high magnification (above 6X), I could not align the Minox scope in really low light sufficiently to see a deer sized target and shoot it at 40 yards whereas I could with the Redfield.

My 5 year old 2.5-8x32 Conquest has been mounted on first a Marlin .45-70 for two years and then a .340 Weatherby and now a 9.3x74R Ruger and it is still holding zero and doing great. My two sons also have 3-9x40 Conquests on magnum rifles which are still going strong after as many as (10) years.

This experience within my family and my previous 25 years of experience with both Conquest and Daivari Zeiss riflescopes and binoculars has me convinced that they are first class optics of World Class quality.
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,860
1,248
The Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x44 is a very nice scope.

JD338
 

sask boy

Ammo Smith
Nov 4, 2007
6,001
5
I can't comment on the Viper but have a Minox on my son's 270win it is the ZA-5.
I have a Diavari coming & have used my nephew's Conquest Rapid Z 800.
It beats the Minox by lots in my opinion.

Blessings,
Dan
 

FOTIS

Range Officer
Staff member
Oct 30, 2004
23,235
528
Between the ones mentioned I will take the zeiss.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,355
654
Yup, I like the lowered powered Minox's, but when you get into that range, the Zeiss takes over. You can get the 50mm Zeiss with target turret's as well. That might be a nice combo to look at?
 

35 Whelen

Handloader
Dec 22, 2011
2,075
7
What a great post........................ I am facing the same issue here and looking at the same scopes as you are and even wondering about a 56mm for more light. Great to be able to read others point of view.
Lets hope this turns into a long thread.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I don't own a Viper, but I have a Zeiss Conquest in 4.5-14x44 and a Minox ZA5 4-20x50. Both are superb glass, and for my use they are near equals. I might go with the Conquest if pushed just because the eye relief is a better length for me. The Minox is not too short, but in fact, at the long end of comfortable. It would work extremely well if my rifle stocks were perfectly cut for me (rather than factory lengths) as I could really use another inch or so of pull length. But the Minox works well for me, and I don't notice any worse eyebox issues with it than with my Conquest, which is one of the chief complaints I've heard. I'm hoping to get them both out on my lease at dusk and do a proper comparison sometime soon.
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
Dubyam, try these scopes, testing vis-a-vis in near darkness at some common power setting for all scopes, like 8X or 9X. The best test is in darkness with some low power, artificial light source cast on an object in the distance. Then take and all scopes, one at a time, and see how well they pick up the object, at maximum eye relief, have a usable image in the low light and see how easy it is to find the object in the scope, plus, seeing the crosshairs on it.

You may have to take some cheaper scope brands and back off on power until you can see the objective with the crosshairs sufficiently well defined to shoot under these conditions. If you cannot see well enough to shoot a hypothetical "deer" under these conditions, back off the power ring until you are able to see, align the field of vision and be capable of shooting a target under these conditions, at whatever power of magnification you may end up set at.

This test to me is a rough test that is designed to separate the men from the boys in optical toys! Last night I did compare a Redfield Illuminator against a Minoz ZA5. Tonight I will test some other brand scopes that I own and shake-and-bake this test through (9) different brands of scopes. Testing until I find a ranking of what makes the grade under these severe conditions and what does not. No marketing mumbo-jumbo about "phase index matching" lenses or whatever, just difficult test conditions and an a subjective evaluation of performance between scopes.
 
G

Guest

Guest
That's just about exactly what I had in mind, Charlie, minus the artificial light source. I plan to camp at my lease and shoot some coyotes one weekend soon, and will take several rifle/scope combos up there for just this kind of test. I'm going to sit on a field edge and test out into the field as well as back into the woods. Should quickly separate the men from the boys, so to speak. I'll post which glass gives me the longest usable target acquisition and how the rest stack up in minutes past sundown. Should be enlightening, pardon the pun.
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
Okay, I just wrote a longer response on my testing of scopes this evening and the site erased my post by telling me that it was "wrong form"! So an hour of composition is gone! That having been said, I will be much more brief this time.

I tested the following additional scopes in very near darkness, on a cloudy night, tonight with some small amount of reflected light from a flood light on the rear of the house into the target area which was about 40 yards from my house in the woods. The scopes that I tested were:

1. Leupold Vari XIIc, 3-9x40 Plex reticle, bought in 1999.
2. Leupold Vari XIII , 4.5-14x40AO, Plex reticle bought in 2001.
3. Leupold VX3, 1.5-5x20, Number 4 reticle, bought in 2012.
4. Zeiss Conquest 2.5-8x32, Plex reticle, bought in 2008.
5. Zeiss Diavari VM 5-15x42, Plex reticle, bought in 1989.
6. Kahles AH 3-9x42, Plex TDS reticle, bought in 2005.
7. Kahles AH 3.5-10x50, Plex reticle, bought in 2001.
8. Swarovski AV 4-12x50, Plex reticle, bought in 2002

These scopes are in addition to a Redfield Illuminater 3-9x42 (bought in 1983) and the aforementioned Minox 2-10x40 BDC reticle scope (bought in 2010) tested yesterday, for a total of (10) scopes informally evaluated under the method.

Observations:

The only scopes that I was unable to find max eye relief and field alignment with because of darkness, was the Leupold VXII and the Minox ZA5 which I had tested last night under the same conditions. I was pleased that the Vari XIII scope was as capable as it was and formed a bright picture with a visible reticle that reflected some light on the reticle to make it more visible.

All of the other scopes fell out in capability pretty much as to how much they cost, plus, the size of the objective lens for light gathering. The only surprises were how good the VX3 is in nearly no light and how bad the Minox is in light gathering compared to its comparable cost scopes which would be the Leupold VX3 and the Zeiss Conquest. The Leupold Vari XII also failed in the low light testing to find the field of view and reticle but that is not a big surprise, considering the age and coatings makeup of this scope. The other surprise was how well the Vari XIII scope performed in this test. I had expected that it might be a problem but the scope was bright, plus, the reticle and eye relief were bright and easy to find.

I have never compared scopes in light this low of a lumen level before and I was surprised a how well both the 42mm and 50mm objective scopes gathered light and made a capable viewing field with clear reticle. The entire group stacked up pretty much as you would predict that they would. I was also surprised with the Zeiss Diavari VM and Swarovski AV scopes being as capable in low light as the were, given their older coating technologies but they held their own and stacked up just as predicted. Basically, the 50mm objective scopes are somewhat more capable in low light and provide a brighter field to find game and place the more visible reticle where needed for precision shooting. The physics works as it was designed to.

I still have not decided what to do with the ZA5. I may replace the Vari XII on my .22 WMR Savage with the Minox. The Minox is a clearer, higher contrast scope than the Leupold and the Minox has 2-10x40 range for small varmits. Plus with this arrangement, I will not have to worry about the Minox's failure to work at night. I will buy Zeiss, Swarovski or the updated Leupold VX3 or VX6 scopes in the future.
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,184
1,726
Good intel, Charlie. I can't say that I'm terribly surprised; but it is good to have confirmation.
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
DrMike, It is pretty disappointing to have a scope of the Minox marketing position and popularity, fail the low light test as badly as it did. In my opinion the Minox does now even sufficiently perform well enough for a hunting scope, despite the fact the most state's hunting regulations permit shooting only a half hour after sunset. There are still occasions where one has to finish off wounded game or protect one's self in near dark conditions.

I am pleased however that all of the rest of the scopes that were evaluted, passd this evaluation with good perfomance and in most case with optical performance which is better than I can see with the naked eye.
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
Does anybody know what the Zeiss "Terra" 3x format, MC scopes are all about? Is this the continuation of the American made Zeiss MC? They offer 3-9x40 and 4-12x40 scopes priced at about the same as the Conquest scopes. Has Conquest become Terra?
 

meatmachineman

Handloader
Jan 25, 2012
276
0
As it sets right now, I contacted Doug at CLNY to see what he can do for me on a Conquest with either a Rapid Z 1000 or 800 reticle. If that doesn't pan out, I am stuck with what to do for a second choice. I'm still on the fence with Vortex and Minox has performed well for me thus far but has a very limited reticle selection with only one that I have any interest in for this particular rifle... and it's half hearted interest at that. On the plus side, low light ability will not be a consideration for this one, but clarity will be.
 

Kodiak

Handloader
Oct 4, 2006
1,051
0
Early on, I aquired a Vortex rifle scope for a 7MM Remington rifle. I was slightly disappointed in the size; weight, length and just the way it looked when mounted on the rifle. I spoke with the Vortex folks and they said to send it in and they would replace it with a newer model. This I did. Long story short, the "new" scope was exactly the very same as the one I sent them !
Enough of this ...
I then question why (sometimes) this old guy gets tricked into buying something that is not Leupold !
Sorry to drift off subject,
 
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