Swarovski Z6i 2.5-15X 44 mm

by
posted on September 28, 2015
swarovski.jpg

Austrian manufacturer Swarovski Optik produces binoculars, spotting scopes and riflescopes that have the highest reputation for performance, but also come at a substantial cost. Within its extensive catalog of riflescopes is the feature-filled and immensely versatile Z6i series, which are crème de le crème models, and priced accordingly. The 2.5-15X 44 mm variant is evaluated here.

Distinguishing the Z6i from its Swarovski brethren is its 6X magnification range—for the model tested, that translates to a magnification setting of from 2.5X to 15X, thereby enabling the hunter to engage quarry close in or afar. The magnification setting is adjusted by way of a ribbed, rubber-topped band with a single, oversize projection for easier manipulation. 

The parallax-adjustment turret is located on the main tube opposite of the windage-adjustment turret. According to company literature, the scope’s parallax-adjustment knob has a detent set at 100 meters (110 yds.) —an all-around or utility setting—that requires additional finger pressure to bypass. Parallax adjustment can be made for distances ranging from 50 meters to infinity. 


Unlike most hunting scopes intended for the American market, which have 1/4" scope adjustments, the Z6i’s audible and tactile clicks are valued at 0.36" at 100 yds. Both turrets have a knurled, pull-up/push-down knob that enables the zero point of the scale to be aligned with the index point of the scope. Although there is no “hard stop” within the system, the easy-to-use feature is sufficient for the majority of hunters and situations afield.

Windage and elevation adjustments are based on metric measurements, though the turrets are labelled with the English unit equivalents. Despite requiring a little math, we found adjustments to be precise and repeatable.

Improving the scope’s targeting capabilities is an illuminated reticle—hence the “i” in Z6i—that is located in the second focal plane of the high-definition (HD) lenses. Coined “Swarolight,” immediately forward of the fast-focus eyepiece is the thoughtfully designed night/off/day switch. The left-most position activates the night setting, while far right is for daytime use. “Off” is in the middle. Both settings are programmed using the buttons on the sides of the battery housing. Once set, the settings remain unchanged until the single CR2032 battery is removed. The Swarolight has a built-in tilt sensor that halts illumination when the scope exceeds a 70-degree upward or downward angle, or tilts left or right more than 30 degrees. When the scope returns to an acceptable angle, illumination is automatically restored. Given that this scope is marketed toward mountain (and especially sheep) hunters, where shots at steep angles are commonplace, the former feature is an interesting choice. There is also a setting-specific automatic shutdown feature to conserve battery when the scope is not used for three (day) or five (night) hours. 

Gross adjustments to reticle illumination are made with a three-position (night/off/day) switch above the ocular lens, and fine-tuned via the two opposing buttons.

As for the reticle itself, on the test scope it consisted of a standard crosshair with wide portions on the sides and bottom sections (i.e. Plex). The other “thin” sections are similar in size to those found in varmint scopes. To aid durability, reliability and consistency, the Z6i features a four-point, coil spring arrangement. Lastly, the fully multi-coated lenses, which are purported to deliver 90 percent light transmission, feature Swaroclean, a non-stick coating that makes the removal of debris, liquids (including insect repellent) and fingerprints easier.

The scope’s matte-black, 30 mm main tube enables a full 64.8" of elevation and 36" of windage adjustment—a boon for long-range shooters or when mounted atop rifles with off-center holes for mounting scope bases. Additionally, at 19.6 ozs., the 2.5-15X 44 mm Z6i is still relatively lightweight. With the eyepiece fully extended, the scope measures a scant 1418" in length, yet there is ample space to attach rings. Eye relief is 3¾".

To test the Z6i 2.5-15X 44 mm, we first mounted it atop a .204 Ruger-chambered Thompson/Center Arms Dimension and proceeded to “shoot the square” at 100 yds. Movements were found to be consistent and repeatable. Next, we compared it side-by-side against several similar scopes also costing more than $2,000 and, regardless of the quality examined—i.e. sharpness (resolution/contrast), brightness, etc.—the Z6i edged out the competition. The greatest difference between the optics was found in brightness; the Swarovski offered an undeniable advantage, especially in waning light. Lastly, we froze the scope overnight and then submerged it in hot water. Beyond the normal minute internal and requisite external fogging, there were no signs of leakage—thus it was confirmed to be fog- and waterproof.

With a cost in excess of $3,000, the Swarovski Z6i 2.5-15X 44 mm riflescope is within the financial grasp of very few hunters. That being said, the scope’s optical quality, magnification range and illuminated reticle, among other features, enable it to handle nearly any big-game hunting situation. 

Latest

Confederate battle flag shown with the 48-shot Virginia Pacificator repeating rifle along with patent drawing overlay top left
Confederate battle flag shown with the 48-shot Virginia Pacificator repeating rifle along with patent drawing overlay top left

Virginia Pacificator: "The Greatest Gun Of The Age"

If Lorenzo Sibert, whose gun had the enormous capacity of 48 shots without reloading, had gotten into production, those gallant Southrons who claimed they could "whup th' Yankees with cawnstalks" might have done just that in the first year of the war with the "Pacificator."

Buck Knives Reopens Factory Store

Family-owned for more than 120 years, Buck Knives is celebrating the grand re-opening of its 1,600-sq.-ft. factory outlet store located in Post Falls, Idaho.

Preview: Burris SpeedBead Vent Rib Mount

Burris has added to its SpeedBead line of shotgun red-dot mounts with the recent release of its Vent Rib Mount.

Single-Actions For Home Defense

For more than 100 years the single-action revolver held the top spot as the go-to home-defense arm, only to be supplanted by modern semi-automatics, but the single-action, though a vestige of yesteryear, remains a viable tool for defensive use in and around the home.

New For 2024: Wilson Combat EDC X9 2.0

After introducing the double-stack EDC X9 in 2016, Wilson Combat is revisiting the concept with its EDC X9 2.0 model.

Preview: Traveler’s Guide To The Firearm Laws Of The Fifty States 2024 Edition

Lawyer J. Scott Kappas’ Traveler’s Guide To The Firearm Laws Of The Fifty States has notable updates for 2024, including more than 100 changes from the 2023 edition.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.