New Swarovski Z8i riflescopes

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Competition at its best! At last year’s IWA, Ziess presented their V8 model with 8 power zoom, giving the Swarovski Z6i some competition at last. This year it was Swarovski Optik’s turn to show their masterpiece, the Z8i.

The brand new Z8i rifle scope features a 30mm (1.2 inch) central tube and a 8x zoom. The design is very compact, very much like the Z6i in size (although I could not compare them side by side).

The new Flexchange reticle enables the Z8i to be adapted to the widest variety of shooting scenarios. The 4A-IF reticle was specially developed for driven hunting. This is pretty cool, a you can illuminate a ring around the dot with the press of a button. This will also become available later in 2016 with the BRT-I reticle.

If you have the patience, you can check out how the Flexchange reticles work in the Z8i Microsite (link at the end).

The Ballistic Turret Flex (BTF) can be used as a top and side turret and can be combined with any reticle. It can configured separately using three different types of rings, and be attached with a single click. If it is used as a top turret, it can compensate for bullet drop, and when used as a side turret, for windage adjustment or estimating the lead distance. Use Swarovski’s, or the app of your preference, to get first hit on target.

Price? I am not sure yet, and it might depend between markets. But around 2.500 USD is probably not a bad guess if I translate the prices mentioned in Europe.


The Z8i line includes four models:

Z8i 1-8×24 –  Suited to driven hunting

Z8i 1.7-13.3×42   – For driven hunting and stalking; its lightweight design makes it also ideal for mountain hunting.

Both these riflescopes are available with the optional 4A-IF Flexchange reticle.

Z8i 2-16×50  – Large field of view for driven hunting and all the details required for long-range shooting.

Z8i 2.3-18×56  – Excellent vision even in poor light conditions and at twilight. The high magnification and detail accuracy facilitate accurate shooting over long distances.


The high end market today

I’m not trying to list all 1-8 power scopes, but there are a few out there and I will try to mention the ones I think are premium. Schmidt & Bender has a few 1-8x scopes, but for a number of reasons I don’t think they are state of the art like Zeiss or Swarovski. In my opinion the S&B is better suited for static shooting, for when your eye is always at the same position. In hunting and dynamic shooting that’s seldom the case, and you look for a scope with a more forgiving eyebox. The more boxes you can tick the better, and Zeiss and Swarovski ticks the most as of today.

I also had quick look at the Minox ZP8 1-8x24mm. which is a dual focal plane scope. The dot reticle is located on the 2:nd focal plane and its size stays the same from 1x to 8x. Again, this would not be my choice over Zeiss or Swarovski. Looking forward to see what Leica and others can bring to the table.

I understand that deliveries of some versions of the Z8i will start around summer with more versions (reticles) during the year. Don’t be surprised if the dates slip like it has with other suppliers.

 

Below: The Ballistic Turret (BTF) can be fitted without using any tool and has a lock mechanism that prevents you from turning it inadvertently.

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The Z8i 1-8x below will become very popular among hunters and for competition shooters. A dream come true for 3 Gunners and IPSC Rifle shooters.

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Below: It is possible to use the Ballistic Turret Flex (BTF) as a top as well as a side turret, and it works in combination with any reticle. To move the turret is very easy and quick.

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Below: This little piece of metal has many names. “Cat tail” is one, and it’s available as an option.

This is something I asked Swarovski about several years ago when I bought my first Z6i, and it seems they listened to me (and most likely many others).

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This simple piece of aluminum gives you the extra momentum to easily change the zoom during a course of fire in dynamic shooting or during a hunt. When conditions change quickly so can you.

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The new housing is slimmer than ever. A redesigned illumination system features ergonomically enhanced controls, with large buttons that can be reached from the top and an intuitive layout offers rapid, reliable use

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Below: Z8i 1-8×24 L

The illuminated Z8i 1-8×24 L rifle scope provides a remarkable field of view of 42.5 m (127.5 ft) with a 1x magnification, offering the best possible overview of the hunting action to ensure the right decision is made even in rapidly changing situations. The Z8i 1-8×24 is also equipped with FLEXCHANGE, the switchable 4A-IF reticle.

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Below: Z8i 1.7-13.3×42 P L

With a large field of view of 25.2 m (75.6 ft) and light weight of just 620 g (21.9 oz), the illuminated Z8i 1.7-13.3×42 P L is the perfect choice for stalking and driven hunting. Equipped with the switchable FLEXCHANGE 4A-IF reticle, this rifle scope is particularly versatile to use.

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Below: Z8i 2-16×50 P L

The illuminated Z8i 2-16×50 P L impresses with a 21 m (63 ft) field of view and details at up to 16x magnification during stalking, as well as hide and driven hunting. In addition, its high light transmission means that this rifle scope is best equipped for use in poor light conditions.

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Below: Z8i 2.3-18×56 P L

The illuminated Z8i 2.3-18×56 P L stands out for its high light transmission, especially when hide hunting at twilight. The magnification of up to 18x provides the details required for precise long-range shooting.

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Check out the Swarovski Microsite for more information.


 

Swarovski has a very powerful lineup, lots of options depending on they type of shooting (and budget) you’re looking for.

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YouTube time


Erik B

Competitive shooter and sometimes a hunter, with an European view on things. English is not my first language.


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  • Joe

    Swarovski: for those with more money than sense

    • Paul O.

      Or a government charge card.

    • cwp

      I bought a Kahles scope — Swarovski’s sister company — and, as beautiful and functional as it is, I probably would not notice much difference between it and something that cost half as much.

      There *are* people for whom those small differences are actually a big deal, but probably 99% of shooters are fooling themselves if they think they’re among that group.

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      You are saying you can´t afford it?

      The 1-6 is the most commonly used scope among the top players in the IPSC world.

      • DrewN

        Don’t want to afford it more likely. There are some folks whose recreation is serious enough business to drop 3k to improve their scores 5%, and then there’s the rest of us. People can spent their money however they see fit though.

    • jc

      So if you have enough “sense” to make decent living and can buy a top notch optic without making a dent in your bank account, you’re lacking “sense”? Okay…..

      • Paul White

        I haven’t seen a Swavorski under a grand, which is a good chunk of change for most people–even those with decent jobs. Its not ruinous but its sure significant. And if I can get something that does what I need/want it to for 1/2 that, then why not? I mean yeah if you’re making well into the six figures, or if shooting is your main hobby and you designate most of your disposable income to it, have fun, but that isn’t most of us

        • jc

          I agree with you but my point was more about Joe’s snide comment about people can actually afford top notch gear. If low grade optics are “good ’nuff” for someone’s budget/purpose/etc., that’s perfectly fine. However, I think it’s stupid for someone (who most likely doesn’t own a top end optic) to judge/criticize someone else who has the means (or desire) to own some of the best optics on the market. It just screams envy/jealousy. If you can’t afford it or can and you don’t think it’s worth the ROI, that’s fine, no need “throw shade” (as the kids say)

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    How would that 1-8 compare to Vortex’s Razord HD Gen II 1-6?

    • jc

      The Razor HD Gen II’s are very heavy for really no good reason. The Razor’s are pretty good overall but the Swarovski will have better glass and it has a wider FOV which is a big plus in my book. So as long as the Z8i meets all your other requirements (reticle, knobs, etc.), I would pick the Z8i over the Razor because of the glass quality and FOV.

      • TheSmellofNapalm

        Why would it have a larger FOV if they both have a 24mm objective lens?

        • jc

          Because FOV is more than the size of the obj lens. If you don’t believe me, look at the specs of each scope from the vendors’ website.