Swarovski Optik Rifle Scope Review: Premium Quality Scopes

If you’ve been searching the limitless world of rifle scope optics and you’ve found this review, then you’re definitely in the right place.

I know exactly what you’re looking for – the best information on the best glass there is to be made and the highest quality build with the most innovative features to get your shooting done, all from a true world-class brand whose reputation is unrivaled.

If you’ve got an expensive taste for big-ticket items and there’s no way you’re settling for anything less than the best, then this Swarovski Optik rifle scope review was made for you. Check out the:

Who are Swarovski?

There’s a brand that outdoes itself with every single part that goes into the making of rifle scopes. They manufacture their rifle scopes with a sense of responsibility to ensure that you have the best visionary experience possible to make long range, ethical, and high precision shots. And, that company is Swarovski Optik. No surprise, right?

Not only does Swarovski have a concrete and world-renown reputation, just saying “Swarovski” sounds expensive. They’ve earned every high praise received from the scope community and every zero digit that gets tacked onto the price tag.

Put simply, Swarovski makes rifle scopes from the highest quality, expensive parts and materials using the most advanced and innovative technology there is that requires intimate, detailed, and expensive labor costs and use of machines.

Swarovski is an authority in the optics world and they have a very prestigious reputation. If you have the budget to indulge in your love affair with Swarovski scopes, you can trust that you’re getting the highest quality with every dollar you spend.

Swarovski Optik Rifle Scope Reviews

So, when it came to reviewing what Swarovski had in store for you shooting and hunting zealots, I was sorely disappointed by the lack of range of Swarovski scope reviews.

While they’re a world-class brand, it seems there’s a small percentage of hunters who actually spend in the triple zero digit price range for a rifle scope. Keeping this in mind, you might see the same trend in the rating boards.

But, don’t be disheartened. All who pay for a Swarovski, love their Swarovskis, and the very few that chime in, rate their scopes very well. Can you expect anything less when “what you pay for is what you get”? This can be a very true principle in sporting optics and it definitely applies here.

You don’t want to take the risk of missing (wounding) your target, so paying for the best can help make you a precision shooter. With super clear glass, cutting-edge ballistic technology, and extreme durability while packing a light-weight and compact design, the Z series rifle scopes are your only options.

Swarovski Optik Z3 4-12X50 BT L Review

swarovski-riflescope-z3-4-12x50-btThe Swarovski Z3 4-12X50 BT L is the rifle scope that you need for your long range hunting and shooting sports. It beautifully and simply combines the intricacies of its advanced technology with ease of use in an all-in-one ballistic package.

With its reviews currently online, it has an incredible rating. Although the number of reviews online are on the short end, the Z3 series rifle scopes are loved across the board. While it is an older series compared to the newer Z5 and Z6i lines, the Z3 is half the price and still gives shooters the Swarovski service.

It was a no-brainer to pick this rifle scope for this review. The Z3 series are loved by all shooters and hunters, so I needed to choose one from this line.

While the 3-9X and even the 3-10X with the BRX reticles could’ve easily had this review spot, I couldn’t deny the strong tugs the 4-12X50 BT L had on my heart strings. The ballistic turret feature is what pushed this one to the finish line and won by a mile long run, hands down.

Ballistic turret? This may be the first time you’re hearing about one of these, and I wouldn’t blame you. The following Q&A will have all your questions about this innovative and state-of-the-art technology and any other concerns you may have about the Z3 rifle scope.

Z3 4-12X50 BT L Rifle Scope Q&A:

Q. What is a Ballistic Turret?

A. This is probably the one feature, other than the superb glass, of the Z series rifles scopes that makes it worth every penny. There is a ballistic turret that enables you to set up four different zeros with any given range.

You read that right – that’s three extra zeros from your original, say 200 yard, zero. It works by setting predetermined distances with color coded rings – say, 100 yard increments from the original 200 yard zero. After easy set-up, rotating the turret to match the colored dot on the first ring with the white dot on the elevation turret will give you a dead shot at 300 yards.

By doing the same with the second ring, you will get another bulls-eye at 400 yards, and so on.

Although the ballistic turret technology is nothing new, Swarovski has revived the long distance hunting feature to give you first place shots every time. On a side note, Swarovski is currently the only optics manufacturer that also supplies their own patented ballistic turrets.

Other optics manufacturers get their ballistic turrets made from another company. Swarovski is an authority and has an intimate knowledge of every single part and function of their rifle scopes.

Q. Does the Z3 scope have a ballistic reticle too?

A. Technically, no and yes. The Z3 4-12X50 mm rifle scope with the ballistic turret also comes with two different reticles. The first is the Plex reticle that is your standard duplex style. The second is the 4W reticle that is Swarovski’s windage compensation reticle. There are stadia lines along the windage (horizontal) cross hair in 2 MOA increments that work with the ballistic turret to take all the guess work out of holdover points.

In this capacity it’s a ballistic reticle. But, in the traditional sense – no, because it’s missing elevation markings on the reticle or glass, since this scope has the use of a ballistic turret instead.

Q. How do you set up the ballistic turret on the Z3 scope?

A. The ballistic turret on the Z series rifle scopes is an advanced technology that’s extremely easy to use once it’s all been set up. Although the ballistic turret is rather tall and large, perhaps beastly – if you will, it also doubles as the elevation turret to sight in your scope.

Using Swarovski’s ballistics program online to input key data about your scope and ammunition, you can get your holdover values for the distances you want. The piece that rotates and turns on top of the elevation turret is known as the coupling. The coupling enables the clicks to be made and is where the three color coded rings that mark your predetermined distances sit.

Once you have your original zero, say 200 yards, you use the holdover values or the amount of clicks you need from the ballistics program to set each distance. At this point your original zero should now be marked with the white arrow on the coupling to be in line with the white dot on the turret.

Make the first set of clicks and then put the first ring on the coupling where the colored dot lines up with the white dot on the base of the elevation turret. Repeat this step for each distance and each ring. Then turn the entire turret to the original zero in a clockwise rotation.

Side note – the turret will always stop at the original zero when rotated in a clockwise direction. Once you’re back at the original zero, put the cap back on with the jutting tab part lined up with the white arrow and the white dot on the turret. Use the supplied tool or coin to screw the cap back on and voila – you ballistic turret is ready for action.

Q. How do I use the Z series scope with the Ballistics program?

A. Using the ballistic program online to gain custom holdovers for those long range distances will change the way you experience the hunt. It’s so easy and intuitive. You’ll need to input data such as the scope and ammunition you’re using. Once you’ve chosen your ammo manufacturer, cartridge, and bullet info, the system will automatically calculate bullet weight, muzzle velocity, and bullet coefficient.

You then enter in what distance you want your original zero, so it can calculate predetermined distance holdovers for the ballistic turret. And lastly, enter in sea level data for the area you’ll be hunting in.

The online system will give you each holdover value from your original zero to set up your ballistic turret. If you want different distances than the ones they gave you, just enter in the new distances you want the holdover values for, hit refresh and you’ve got it.

Q. What is the image quality like?

A. As always with Swarovski, you can expect the best in glass. Fully multi-coated lens provide crystal clear images that are unrivaled in the optics industry. Glass quality is never something to complain about when it comes to their scopes. Even at full power, 12X, there’s no image distortion or blurriness around the edge. Color resolution is always as close to what you see with the naked eye.

The 50 mm objective diameter lens has a 90 percent light transmission capability, and truthfully, it probably gathers more light than your eye can use, but it’s going to prove its strength in low light conditions.

Q. Are there other models in the Z3 line?

A. There are other models, not only in the Z series, but in the Z3 line as well. If it turns out you’re not into the hype of a 50 mm lens or even the long range 4-12X zoom, then there’s the 3-9X36 and 3-10X42 rifle scopes.

Because the ballistic turret is made for long range hunting where bullet velocity, gravity, and atmospheric conditions play a part in bullet strike and impact, these models don’t have the ballistic turret or the 4W reticle. The 3-9X36 has a couple standard reticles available and the 3-10X42 has various ballistic reticles available.

Swarovski Optik Z3 4-12X50 BT L Specs:

  • Magnification: 4-12X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Length/Weight/Tube Diameter: 13.78 inches/14.5 ounces/1 inch
  • Field of View: 29.1 – 9.9 feet/100 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 90 mm/12.5 – 4.2 mm
  • Reticle: 4W
  • Adjustment Info: 1/4 MOA/Click
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Waterproof/Shockproof: Yes/Yes
  • Parallax Setting: 109 yards
  • Airgun rated: No
  • Illuminated Reticle: No
  • Mounting Rings Included: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • 50 mm objective diameter lens for strength in low light conditions
  • 4X zoom power for long range distance hunting
  • 4W ballistic reticle for windage holdover points from any known distance
  • Ballistic Turret for an extra three zeros preset for known distances
  • Functional in a wide variety of temperatures: -4 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fully waterproof up to 13 feet under water
  • Light-weight and compact rifle scope, weighing only 14.5 ounces – lighter than most other scopes in with this size objective lens and power range
  • Easy to mount, set up, and use
  • Backed by Swarovski’s Z3 extensive warranty

Rating:

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Swarovski Optik Z5 3.5-18X44 P Review

swarovski-z5-3-5-18x44mm-riflescope

The Swarovski Z5 3.5-18X44 P rifle scope has a generous power range that can enable you to change your scope settings for the wooded forest or the vast, open plains. It has the side focus, the 4-point coil spring system, low profile, and the ballistic turret or reticle to outshine all other scopes.

Again, while rifle scope reviews are lacking online, it does have a perfect rating. While future voting may change that rating, I don’t see it falling far from its high-praised standing.

I chose this scope for this review because it seems like the Z5 series has been a hit with hunters. All the features it has for its price offers excellent value. Just remember that sentence when you see the price tag.

While we shooters naturally don’t like limitations because we’re constantly pushing the limits to maximize potential, this rifle scope is worthy of breaking your budget limits. Just tell the other half that it’s just this one time.

If you’re wondering what could possibly be worth inciting the fury of your spouse for over-spending on a rifle scope, just show ’em the following Q&A, as it answers all the concerns and questions you might have about the Z5.

Z5 3.5-18X44 P Rifle Scope Q&A:

Q. Is the rifle scope recoil-proof?

A. Is it ever! The Z5 series rifle scopes are all outfitted with Swarovski’s patented 4-point coil system that completely replaces the single leaf spring system that’s the norm for most rifle scopes today. This means that the Z5 3.5-18X44 P rifle scope has four coil springs that hold the erector tube in place when a shot is fired.

And, just in case you forgot, the erector tube is what houses the reticle wire and is also in constant contact with the turrets.

If the erector tube is securely held in place during shock or recoil, your reticle and turrets will hold your zero. This ensures that whether you’re shooting hundreds of rounds from an AR15 with .223 62 grain Remingtons or you’re popping off 180 grain bullets off a .300 Win Mag at the range or out in the open field, Swarovski has you covered.

Q. Does the Z5 rifle scope have a side focus?

A. The Z5 3.5-18X does have a side focus for parallax correction. With the maximum power range of 18X, you might just need it. A bonus point about the 44 mms lens of the Z5 scope is that it will ensure a lower profile than the Z3 4-12X50. You can mount it lower and reduce parallax issues even further.

Also, none of the Z3 series rifle scopes have the parallax adjustment capability. So, unless you have a well-practiced cheek and weld method going on, you’re going to want this model if you want to be able to adjust for parallax.

Q. How much does this Z5 cost?

A. This Swarovski scope costs approximately $1600. If I could’ve said that in person, you would’ve heard a whistle and some ka-ching-ching sounds. While this is a very hefty price tag, it illustrates the point that Swarovski takes their optics seriously, and those who are serious about optics, spend their hard-earned cash with them.

It’s not a bad price if you’re considering the upgrades that you’re getting with the Z5 over the Z3. You’re paying about $500-$600 more for the parallax adjustment and 4-point coil spring system. You might also prefer the lower magnification, smaller objective lens, and the lower profile too.

If you don’t mind spending a bit more and you want to go even more extravagant, then the only other Z5 model, the Z5 5-25X52 might peak your interest. If either models are out of your budget, you might want to start saving now.

Q. What is the BRX reticle?

A. The Z5 rifle scope has the ballistic BRX reticle that replaced Swarovski’s TDS reticles. The BRX reticle is only available if you get the 3.5-18X44 model without the ballistic turret. If you opt for the ballistic turret model, then you’ll have the Plex or the 4W reticle. But, if you’re a fan of the ballistic data being on the reticle versus the turret, you’re probably going to go for the BRX over the Plex.

The BRX second focal plane reticle has been tried and tested and is said to be excellent for varmint hunting where fine cross hairs are needed to get precise accuracy. While many shooters and hunters tend to lean towards the BRH reticle for big game, which unfortunately isn’t offered on this model, Swarovski instead offers the BRX Heavy reticle, that gives heavier or thicker cross hairs.

Q. Which is better – the ballistic turret or the ballistic reticle?

A. Ahh, you’ve asked the $64,000 question. The smart move with Swarovski – they’ve offered both the Z5 3.5-18X44 P BT or the Z5 3.5-18X44 with BRX reticle. While Swarovski has ingeniously invested in their innovative ballistic turret technology, I couldn’t say whether one or the other is better.

The upside to the ballistic turret is that you don’t need a preset magnification to use it, whereas ballistic reticles nearly all the time have to be in the highest magnification to use it. But, the downside is if you forget to re-adjust your turret for a range that’s not appropriate for what your current turret is set for, you could send a bullet into next week.

A ballistic reticle on the other hand, only requires you to move your scope slightly in a position to line up your intended bullet strike impact with the appropriate dot, line, or point on the cross hair.

But, is there a rifle scope that has both a ballistics turret and ballistic reticle? I’m sure there is, and I wouldn’t put it past Swarovski to make one in the near future. But, it would require a very deep understanding of ballistics and how it all works, more concentration, and an intimate knowledge of use of your equipment.

While recreational snipers and target shooters might have the luxury to sit and play around like that on paper or steel targets, not every hunter in the field has time for that.

Bottom line – it’s all about personal preference. But, I will say that the ballistic turret Swarovski has come up with is pretty, darn cool.

Swarovski Optik Z5 3.5-18X44 P Specs:

  • Magnification: 3.5-18X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Objective Diameter: 44 mm
  • Length/Weight/Tube Diameter: 14.29 inches/15.9 ounces/1 inch
  • Field of View: 30 – 6 feet/100 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 95 mm/10 – 2.4 mm
  • Reticle: 4W
  • Adjustment Info: 1/4 MOA/Click
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Waterproof/Shockproof: Yes/Yes
  • Parallax Setting: 50 yards+
  • Airgun rated: No
  • Illuminated Reticle: No
  • Mounting Rings Included: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • 3.5-18 variable zoom power for versatile hunting conditions
  • Side focus for parallax adjustment
  • 4-point coil system for ultimate shockproof abilities to hold a firm and still zero with every shot
  • 4W ballistic reticle for windage holdover points from any known distance
  • Ballistic Turret for an extra three zeros preset for known distances
  • Functional in a wide variety of temperatures: -4 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fully waterproof up to 13 feet under water
  • Light-weight and compact rifle scope, weighing only just under a pound – lighter than most other scopes in with this power range in a 1 inch tube
  • Sits with a low profile on the scope
  • Easy to mount, set up, and use
  • Backed by Swarovski’s Z5 extensive warranty

Rating:

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Swarovski Optik Z6i 3-18×50 P Review

swarovski_optik_z6i_3-18x50_p_rifle_scopeThe Swarovski Z6i 3-18×50 P is a rifle scope saved for the zealot shooter at heart – those who dare venture into this part of the optics world where entry is accepted only with cash, credit, or check… in large amounts.

The Z6 2nd generation series rifle scopes has only hit the market over the last couple of years. While there’s more yet to be said about them, more ratings to be collected, and more reviews to be analyzed, the Z6i 3-18X50 is worth every penny.

Maybe you should test it out for yourself and be the first to report a fully-detailed review?… That is, if you haven’t been cut off from your family finances after this.

It was a bit of a dilemma trying to decide between the Z6i and the Z8i series for this review. The tech geek in me wanted to dive into the nooks and crannies of the new 2016 Z8i rifle scope series that should have every shooter drooling more than their dog and toddler.

But, I have to say, the Z6i won out because it’s already seen some field time, and it was slightly less expensive than the Z8i series that hits just a bit higher in the $3000 price range. For now, the Z6i earned this spot, but it might get booted if the Z8i proves to be a heavy hitter with the long range hunter or tactical and target shooter.

The Z6i 3-18X50 is not be confused with the Z6 3-18X50 rifle scope. Although it’s good, this one is better. For a full run down on specs and techs, here’s the Q&A to pore over before you buy any Swarovski scopes in the three-ish thousand dollar range.

Z6i 3-18×50 P Rifle Scope Q&A:

Q. How is this scope different to the Z3 and the Z5 series?

A. If you were to look at a picture of the rifle scopes, you mightn’t be able to tell them apart, in fact, they almost all look exactly the same. Well, although you may not immediately see the differences, I can assure you, there’s a whole lot more punch with the Z6i 2nd generation rifle scope.

To start with, it has HD optics for superior image performance like never before seen on the Swarovski. The lens have the Swaroclean coatings that make it a breeze to clean away dust and grime while giving it scratch-resistant properties.

To add to that, it also has an illuminated reticle for accuracy in low light conditions, a solid and sturdy 30 mm tube body, prominent and knurling ribbing around the eyepiece for easier magnification adjustments, and then it has everything else the above two rifle scopes have – the ballistic turret, side focus which can be “locked-in”, and the 4-point coil system.

If this hasn’t impressed you yet, stay tuned for more features that makes this rifle scope $1500 to $2000 more than the others.

Q. What automatic features does the Z6i scope have?

A. There’s nothing worse than an optic playing up at the most inconvenient moment or turning off when you wanted to keep it on. The Z6i has an automatic day and night control sensor that will prevent accidental shut off/on for those critical moments. Swarolight also intuitively preserves battery life by automatically turning off or on when the rifle is moved out of its shooting position.

Q. Is it waterproof?

A. With all the bells and whistles of this rifle scope, this feature can get forgotten about in the whirl and mix of it all. But, to answer the question – yes. While you might think it should be more sturdy and have better water-tightness than the other scopes for what you’re paying, 13 feet is Swarovski’s Z series waterproof submersion standard – and that’s excellent as it is. You really can’t beat that.

Unless you’re expecting your rifle to join your scope in the depths of the lake, I wouldn’t worry about it not being able to survive in the harshest, rainiest conditions possible.

Q. Does it come with a warranty?

A. If you buy the Z6i rifle scope from an authorized US Swarovski Optik North American dealer, your Z series rifle scope is covered under their Limited Lifetime Warranty. They’re known for having high quality control and they oversee every individual rifle scope that leaves their facilities.

Q. How practical is this rifle scope for hunting?

A. The Z6i rifle scopes are made with incredible workmanship to provide the smoothest and most intuitive rifle scope experience for the shooter and hunter. The larger field of view with the 3X zoom and then being able to see intricate detail at 18X magnification makes it an excellent optics tool in the field. Furthermore, the illuminated reticle option makes for an awesome twilight optic.

Every part of engineering has been outfitted for a better hunting experience. While it may be a little on the heavier side, what do you expect for a 30 mm tube and all the trappings it comes dressed in? 21 ounces and 15 inches long may be larger than the compact scope, but it’s also going to be your best beast of an ally in the hunt.

Swarovski Optik Z6i 3-18×50 P Specs:

  • Magnification: 3-18X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Length/Weight/Tube Diameter: 15 inches/21 ounces/30 mm
  • Field of View: 39.9 – 6.6 feet/100 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 95 mm/9.5 – 2.8 mm
  • Reticle: 4W-I, 4A-I
  • Adjustment Info: 1/4 MOA/Click
  • Optics Coatings: HD Fully Multi-Coated
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Waterproof/Shockproof: Yes/Yes
  • Parallax Setting: 50 yards+
  • Airgun rated: No
  • Illuminated Reticle: Yes
  • Mounting Rings Included: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • 3-18 variable zoom power for versatile hunting conditions
  • Third turret side focus for parallax adjustment
  • 4-point coil system for ultimate shockproof abilities to hold a firm and still zero with every shot
  • 4W-I illuminated ballistic reticle for windage holdover points from any known distance
  • Ballistic Turret for an extra three zeros preset for known distances
  • Functional in a wide variety of temperatures: -4 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fully waterproof up to 13 feet under water
  • 30 mm tube body for sturdier construction and robust build
  • Automatic features for intuitive shut off/on controls
  • Swarvoclean HD optics for scratch-resistance and easy cleaning
  • Heavily knurled ribbing for easier and smoother zooming
  • Backed by Swarovski’s Z6i extensive warranty

Rating:

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Which is the Best Swarovski Rifle Scope for You?

Swarovski literally has every type of rifle scope that’s suitable for the amateur hunter to the professional sniper. All three rifle scopes reviewed are some of the most favorite optics of Swarovski fans. If you’re wanting the Swarovski name, but want to go a little easier on the dollar signs, the Z3 4-12X50 BT L is an excellent scope. It has just what you need to get it done in Swaro style.

For a little more swagger, the Z5 3.5-18X44 P might just be what you’re looking for. I’d say it’s the best value of the lot. But, if you’re brave enough to spend a lot, not a little, but a lot more on a scope than most people are willing to fork out, the Z6 2nd generation rifle scope is the best way to spend your cash – or the next pay check’s cash, for the next three months!

If that sounds like a reality for you, then you probably shouldn’t google what the new Z8i Flexchange rifle scopes come packed with. Not only would you be in trouble from the other half, I would be too.

If you love high end scopes and feel you haven’t had your fill today you can check out our Carl Zeiss rifle scope reviews.

Have a Swarovski Love Affair

There’s no doubt that “Swarrrrrovski” (come on, roll your tongue) has swagger. Swarovski is in it to give it, and the famous optics manufacturer has jumped ahead light years compared to its competing world-class buddies. I wouldn’t blame you at all for feeling like a school boy or a shooting amateur if you’ve only just discovered some of the things revealed in the latest Swarovski scope reviews.

Now, pull out the credit card and find the Swarovski scope that tugs on your heart strings… welcome to your new love affair.