This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links.
Last Updated: October 25, 2020
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
Adjustment Info: 1/4 MOA/Click
Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
Finish: Black Matte
Parallax Setting: 50 yards+
Airgun rated: No
Illuminated Reticle: No
Mounting Rings Included: No
Best Uses: Big Hunting, Varmint Hunting, Target Shooting, Tactical Use
Swarovski Z5 Scope Review
The Swarovski Z5 3.5-18X44 BT 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.
While current review numbers online are low, it does have a perfect rating from the few hunters who have been brave enough to splurge on this scope - and lived to tell the tale. While future voting may change that rating, I don't see it falling far from its high-praised standing.
I decided to review this scope 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.
- Ballistic turret
- 3 extra zeros
- Multiple reticle options
- 4-Point coil spring system
Z5 3.5-18X44 P Rifle Scope Q&A:
Is the rifle scope recoil-proof?
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 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 Remington's 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.
Does the Z5 rifle scope have a side focus?
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 44mms 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.
How much does this Z5 cost?
This Swarovski scope costs approximately $1300-$1500. 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 $300-$500 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.
What is the BRX reticle?
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. The 4W reticle is the one that comes with the scope featured in this review.
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.
Which is better - the ballistic turret or the ballistic reticle?
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 and you can learn about it in great detail in the Q&A section here.
- Light, handy and reliable scope of exquisite Swarovski quality.
- 3.5-18x zoom with adjustable parallax and elevation for supreme precision at any range in any weather
- 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
Our Verdict on the Swaro Z5 BT Scope
According to the bull's-eye, there's no way you can miss with the Swarovski Z5 3.5-18X44 BT rifle scope in hand. You can be guaranteed to make well-placed shots the first time, every time. But, there's no getting around the fact that this baby will definitely take some serious cash to land it. How much cash? Well, it earned a place on our list of the 'Best Rifle Scopes Under $2000', so that should give you a bit of an idea.
If a few hundred bucks just isn't there, then check out the Swaro Z3 4-12X50 BT L rifle scope. You'll save a few hundred, but you'll still have the Swarovski quality and glass. It's still a win-win situation.
Another comparable scope in this price range is NightForce's SHV 5-20X56 rifle scope. It's a whistler of a scope with its 30 mm tube body, illuminated reticle that's glass-etched, and is built in the USA. For the price, you definitely don't want to make the mistake of passing it up!
Swarovski never disappoints. In fact, they aim to please in every single way when it comes to their optics. If you don't have the cash to buy a Swaro, then you better pull out the credit card!