Zeiss or Swarovski?

nvbroncrider

Handloader
Aug 20, 2011
3,085
2
Well the other day I got to spend some quality time at a semi-local Cabela's while the Jetta was being serviced. I walked down the isles and stared at the racks of guns in the Gun Library and drewl dripping off my chin as I viewed several nice M70's the new Cabela's editions a Pre-64 in 264WM and a 416 Rigby. What a tube!! Had some Kimber's and a bunch of classics. Along with a cabinet of Bee's. After doing such I got down to business and started looking at my real task at hand comparing rifle scopes for my project.

I first started looking at the Leupolds and was pretty impressed with them, this was what I wanted to put on from the start. Especially when I just mounted a Mark 4 8.5-25X50 on my brothers AR-10. Clear glass nice features and America made. I own a Nikon on the 280 and it's a good scope, looked at a few Nikons and they compare very similarly to like priced Leupolds in my opinion.

Next I decided to look at a Zeiss. That was my first mistake. As I looked through the Zeiss you immediately noticed the difference in light transmission. The Nikon and Leupolds were 50mm and the Zeiss was brighter with a 44mm lens. The clarity was also noticeably better in the Zeiss so I grabbed the Leupold again and I started to notice other subtle differences. In the Leupold if you look at the edges they are slightly fuzzy. If you had never looked through a Zeiss you wouldn't notice. Then I noticed with the Zeiss how much quicker you gain sight picture. I looked at a plex reticle and a Z-800, both of which are clear and very useable.

So after looking at the Zeiss for a while I asked to look at the Swarovski. I immediately realized it was very similar to the Zeiss in quality. You gained sight picture even quicker and the eye relief on it was amazing! It had a BRX reticle and as I recall Mike said it is too busy. I agree whole heartly. It is too fine to pick it up againest the background, that's how clear glass was. I also looked a plex reticle and that was much better. So I started asking the salesman a few questions about it and he stopped me almost immediately and said. In these conditions you won't notice any differences. Where you will notice a difference is at sunrise and sunset.

So I've narrowed down my choices to a few scopes. A Zeiss Conquest Stainless 4.5-14X44mm A Swarovski Z6 2.5-15X44 or a Swarovski Z5 3.5-18X44. I can get all of those in a 50-56 mm objective also.

So my questions for you gentleman are: Which would you prefer? Would you put a Stainless scope on a Stainless rifle or do you think that matters as far as cosmetics? Initially I wanted to match, I've called Swarovski and all you get is black and I've called Leupold but they only will do certain things to certain models through the Custom Shop which is why I've opened up my options and started looking at other high end scopes. Also I need some info about cheek wields on the 50mm vs 44mm objectives. Any experiences and opinions you have on those brands.


Thanks,

Jake
 

300WSM

Handloader
Dec 24, 2011
407
8
Swarovski for sure.

The experience you had with Leupold being a little fuzzy or not as clear as the Zeiss......I've shared the same experience as you have but I've seen that happen in the Zeiss as well.

In my experience you can bunch together burris. redfield, zeiss, leupold, nikon etc etc

all those scopes are well above average and serve the demanding hunter perfect however

I've never seen a Swarovski that wasn't a step above everything else.


Absolutley nothing wrong with a nice matte black finish on a stainless steel rifle. I think it actually looks better than a 100 percent silver rifle/scope
 
G

Guest

Guest
Swaro is fine glass, for sure. I'm not convinced that for my eyes it's several hundred dollars better than Zeiss (or now that I've got one, Minox), though. I've got a Zeiss Conquest in 4.5-14x44 (in stainless) sitting on a stainless Mark V Synthetic, and I can tell you it's a great looking combination. I like stainless and black, too, but the all stainless look is my favorite. Now, that said, I'd be fine with any of the scopes you mentioned, and here's how I'd make my decision. I'd go back to the store about an hour before the end of legal shooting hours, and make a deal with the optics guy to bring two or three scopes out to the front of the store so you could look through them outside, at dusk, to see which one your eyes prefer. Ultimately, you're choosing lobster or filet mignon, so it's a win either way, but if you want the one that's best - for you - you'll have to do some low light viewing outdoors. Most stores will allow for this, if you've got your money ready to spend. Sometimes, smaller local stores will be easier to deal with in this respect, but pricing is going to be a little higher, potentially.

Don't overlook the Minox, though, if you're thinking black scope on stainless. I have the 4-20x50, and on cursory first examination prior to mounting it's everything my Conquest is, and then some. It is a 50mm objective, though, so it all depends on how you come up with the rifle as to whether or not that will work for you. A good way to figure that out is to shoulder a rifle with your eyes closed and then open them once you're fully "in position" and see where your eyes are in relation to the current scope. From there, you can figure which ring height best suits you, and get an objective that will fit with that ring height.
 

BK

Handloader
Dec 14, 2008
4,045
1
For my eyes, I slightly prefer the Conquest to a VX3, but it's pretty close. I do have some fitment issues with Conquests, having to do with me being an oversized genetic freak. My next scope will likely be a Z3 Swaro, but as of now I don't have enought experience with them to be able to comment.

Personally, I really dislike silver scopes. I have a silver B&L on my .300 Win M70, and one of these days it's going away.

Objective size... I don't like anything much over about 44mm. I have a couple of 50mm objectives on Vortex Viper PSTs, and the only reason I don't find them (well, the 6-24 I do have mounted, at least) is the scope itself is enormous, going on an equally clubby rifle.

44mm
DSC_6105.jpg


50mm
DSC_7584.jpg
 

big rifle man

Handloader
Dec 21, 2005
850
0
If your going to pay the bucks for a swaro I would look at the Zeiss VMV series of scopes. Their price range isn't much different than the swaros. I've got a 1.5X6 VMV series (30MM) and I haven't found another scope that compares. I believe Dr. Mike has a couple of this particular Zeiss model and he seemed very pleased with their performance. I don't believe the conquest series is in the same category as the Swarovski.
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,172
1,714
In terms of clarity, light transmission, etc., Swarovski is top of the line. In the details, there will be no comparison with Leupold VX3 or Zeiss Conquest. Zeiss Conquest and Leupold VX3 are comparable in most areas; it becomes a matter of preference. Each company has excellent service, with Leupold likely having a slightly better reputation in this area. I have representatives from all three companies, and I'm satisfied with each of them. I lean more toward Leupold and Swarovski anymore primarily because of availability in my particular region and stylistic preferences. In terms of quality, Zeiss is still very good, and if comparing the Zeiss Victory scope with the Swarovski Z5 or Z6, they compare quite well at every level. Thus, your choice becomes a matter of cost/benefit and stylistic preference.
 

35 Whelen

Handloader
Dec 22, 2011
2,075
7
Well if you had asked to compare the Swarvoski to the Zeiss in another series other than the Conquest; it would have been alot trickyer to answer this question, than the way you asked it. I see some of these scopes quite differently than some of the other guys on here . And though I am a died in the wool Zeiss guy. I would most definately buy the Swarvoski scope over it . When I test scopes are the edge of darkness going back and forth from one to the other and I can still see things like small branches in a tree 75 yds away clearly, and the other scope has going compeatly black; I dont need any optical charts, or fancy physics terms, to know which one has more light gathering ability, ditto on edge hazing, or eye relief or field of view .
However with that said I do think it is very very easy, to get this Ford /Chevy thing going with these scopes; and I have noticed that most guys will fight for what they are driving....................... so again with nothing to gain or loose, and just going on what I see thru them . The Swarvoski scope is in my humble opinion up on another level, from a Zeiss Conquest, or most certainly a VarX III scope.
My brother in law has one of the largest inventorys of German and Austrian scopes, north of Boston, and we mess around with them all the time . They are most certainly a joy to behold and are wonderful to play with . My next scope is going to be a Swarvoski, as I have posted here before; they do NOT seam to hold their retail values well at all, and are for sale all the time for around 1/2 price of new,and I feel they tremendous value when you can purchase one for half price in prestine condition!
 

nvbroncrider

Handloader
Aug 20, 2011
3,085
2
Thanks for the input guys. One last question for you would go with a 1" tube in the Z3 or Z5 or the 30mm in the Z6 and what kind of power would you go? I'm leaning towards the 2.5-15 or the 3.5-18 but I was also thinking that 18 power might be a bit much. It will be on a 280 AI with a 28 inch tube and I'm optimistic that I can push the 160 AB at 3150. The 140 I think I can get 3300.
 

alaska100

Handloader
Jan 31, 2012
307
0
I was wondering what leupold you were looking through at the store. We have a VX6 and find it to be better than the Conquest and at least equal to the Z6. We also prefer the no questions asked warranty of the Leupold and their quick turn around time. You didnt mention Schmidt and Bender. We feel this scope is even better than the others mentioned. Good luck
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,172
1,714
More and more of my gear is wearing 30mm tubes. I won't diss the 1 inch tubes, however, as the newer stuff, especially, is very good. I'm just finding that aesthetically, I like the 30mm tubes. I do like the Swarovski Z6 a lot, and the new VX6 is turning out to be an excellent scope; it is all the VX7 should have been. I like Schmidt & Bender a lot; however, I can't pick them up locally. I believe the nearest dealer is in Winnipeg, a couple of days drive east.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,355
654
I have been on the hunt for a Swaro/Zeiss/Leupold for a little while. Gotta find a proper scope for my 300. I have looked through the Z3 and Z5 and Z6 Swaros' and they DUST about everything else. I haven't been able to look through the Victory's though.

I am waiting for Earle to find me a deal on the Swaro. A 3-10 with a 42mm OBJ would work just fine for me. I do like the Z5 3x18 with the Ballistic turret though. That seems about like the ultimate combo for any of the WSM's or Magnums where you may be stretching your shots..
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,172
1,714
My experience with the Zeiss Victory and the Swarovski is that you are looking through comparable glass--only the name is changed. Either one would be superb atop that 300WSM.
 
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