Originally Posted by WV Sendero
I'm looking into getting a new hunting rifle that is lighter and shorter than my current rifles (Edge, and Ultra mags) and I am trying to decide on a scope. I am interested in a Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14 and Swarovski Z3 4-12 or possibly a Z5 3.5-18. What are your thoughts between the Zeiss and Swarovski? Also is there any difference between the Z3 and Z5 other than magnification range? This will not be my long range gun and most shots with this gun will likely be well under 300yds. Any info would be appreciated.
The Z5 has the same springs and innards that the Professional Hunter series had and that the Z6 series has. The Z3 isn't as tough. It should perform fine on most rifles but it's not the scope the Z5 and Z6 are. The Z5 is a very good scope and has good glass. I had one and would have kept it had it been illuminated. Low light visibility was great. The Z6 is the big dog now though and once you own one you'll never see the others the same way again. The coatings on the Z6 are superior to the other two lines giving you even more low light visibility. The Germans use them to hunt at night with little moonlight.
Your comment that most shots will be under 300 yards would make the 1.7-10x42 Z6 or the 2-12x50 z6 some excellent options. I have 3 of the z6 2-12s and find them to be the best low light scopes in the series. The z6 2.5-15x44 and 3-18x50 are also both very good scopes. Couldn't go wrong with either. The illuminated ones with the rails and ballistic turrets are around $3,000 but they're nice.
Last Conquest I had was the 4.5-14x50 and it was a good scope. Was very good in low light in spite of them not having the super coatings on them. Wouldn't hestitate owning one down the road. They've come a long way since they were first introduced. Rumor has it that one of the big boys is going to be offering illumination on their 1" models in the not to distant future. Should be interesting as to which one it is because they will grab a bunch of the market share.