http://www.westernshooter.com

Comments: (5)

Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14×44 Rapid Z 800 Review

Category : Hunting, Long Range, Optics, Shooting Gear Review

Last summer I decided that if the perfect hunting scope existed, I would find it. Of course “perfect” is subjective as everyone has a different opinion of what “perfect” is. My perfect bucket list is known to change depending on application. For a medium to long range hunting scope I think its important that it not be too big or heavy, have good glass, turrets that can be dialed accurately, enough  eye relief to be used on a magnum rifle, have a good reticle with the ability to make fast holdover shots, enough magnification to make the long shot,  waterproof, fogproof, durable, etc. It also needs a good manufacture warranty to back it up just in case your horse rolls down a mountain with it.  Last, it shouldn’t require robbing a bank to buy one.  I ruled out an unbelievable number of good scopes  for one reason or another, including some very big name expensive scopes. A scope would seem like it was working but then would fall short in one of the categories I listed as being important. Things got so bad that I had an excel sheet with specs, eye relief, field of view, price, adjustment range, and any other data that I could get in an excel spreadsheet. I was analyzing reticles and  comparing glass in scopes every opportunity I got.  Eventually, I came up with the scope that is as close to perfect as I believe exists right now. The Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14X44mm with Rapid Z800 Reticle. I read every review I could find on the Internet and most people were very pleased and happy with their Conquests. I never did find an in depth review of the scope so here goes.

QUICK SPECS

Magnification 4.5-14x
Effective Lens Diameter 44 mm
Exit Pupil Diameter 9.7-3.1 mm
Twilight Factor 12.7/24.8
Field of View (ft/100 yards) 24.9-8.4 ft
Diopter Range +2/-3 dpt
Eye Relief 3.5 in
Parallax-Free (yds) 30 – ∞
Square Adjustment Range (in/100 yds) 42.8
Adjustment per Click (in/100 yds) 1/4
Center Tube Diameter 1 in
Eye Piece Tube Diameter 41 mm
Objective Tube Diameter 50 mm
Nitrogen Filled yes
Reticle in Image Plane 2
Length 13.9 in
Weight 17.11 oz

OPTICS
The optics are exceptional and everything you would expect from a high end optic manufacture. Color and clarity are excellent. The scope is bright and the glass is clear and without aberration to the edges. You won’t be disappointed in the glass. The optics are good enough to get you right down to the last seconds of legal shooting time and then some. Compared scope to scope with a new Leupold VX-3  4.5-14X50 LR the Zeiss Conquest was the obvious winner in the glass department.

EYE RELIEF
At 3.5 inches the Conquest is just better than average. However, I found it to be fine and enough for all of my shooting applications. I have never felt in danger from the scope and haven’t noticed the eye relief change much if at all  through the power range.

TURRETS
The turrets are crisp, tight, positive, and are resettable to zero without tools by pulling up, turning, and pushing back down. They don’t have numbers and the ¼ lines don’t go all the way around the turret. Not sure what Zeiss was thinking on that one.  I don’t like the the turret covers but they’re not deal breakers. Being plastic they don’t show scratches and if hit hard enough to cause damage would probably pop off instead of breaking. Overall the turrets work, I just wish the markings went all the way around and that the dust covers were higher quality.

These are the turrets that come standard on the Zeiss Conquests with Rapid Z Reticles. The turrets are positive and easy to adjust.

The scope can be sent to Zeiss and have their target turrets installed for $50 per turret. Once you’ve had the target turrets installed you can replace their turret with a custom BDC style turret. The Zeiss target turrets are an option on the Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14X44 with duplex reticle and are excellent turrets.

SIDE FOCUS
The side focus is tight, stays put, and is easy to focus. For really accurate shooting past 100 yards a good side focus or adjustable objective is important as paralax can cause real problems if not adjusted out.

RETICLE – Rapid Z800
The Rapid Z800 reticle is one of the  things you need to experience for yourself. The Rapid Z 800 reticle gives you the ability to shoot  from 1 yards to out to or just past 800 yards without touching anything on your scope except the side focus. The reticle has yardage numbers down the side that correspond to range.

Zeiss has a ballistic calculator on their website that shows you exactly where impact will be based on your load. You also have the ability to sight in a little high or low to make it be more exact at longer ranges. Zeiss also offers a Rapid Z600 and Rapid Z1000. The rapid Z600 is designed for cartridges that traditionally don’t have the velocity of the new magnums. The Rapid Z1000 is designed for the .308 Winchester. It’s worth it to spend some time on the Zeiss calculator (you can use it for free) and see which reticle matches your cartridge and load the best.  Remember, elevation, temperature, and bullet B.C. make a big difference in trajectory so make sure your inputs are correct.

In this example, I have already entered my bullet and ballistic data on the previous page. I entered for a 7mm WSM using a 168g Berger bullet with a B.C. of .615, going 2970 fps. The first column represents the distance between the lines in your reticle. The 3rd column shows your zero point for each line. Bar 6 corresponds with the 600 yard holdover but is actually dead on at 588 yards. Close enough. To get the reticle to match my load I have to sight my rifle in at 215 yards or exactly 1.41 inches high at 100 yards. The other option is to have the calculator calculate a different power setting on the scope, You do this by clicking the "Optimize Power" button.

If you have a rifle or load that just doesn’t want to match up to the reticle, the calculator gives you the option of optimizing the power setting for your load. It then changes the power setting on the scope that you use the reticle at to make it more closely match your load. Instead of using 14x you might optimize at 12.5x. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Also, I find it rare for targets in the field to be exactly at 700 yards. More likely 742 or 678. The reticle gives you a good enough reference point to make hits even if the stadia lines don’t exactly match the yardages.

In this example I am simply remembering what the holdover distances are from the Zeiss Calculator(numbers in red). You can do this in any ballistic program. From the example above bar 8 is exactly 790 yards. Bar 7 is around 676 yards. Bar 6 is about 569 yards. These numbers change depending on field conditions like altitude, humidity, temperature, etc. The range table shown is from "Shooter" a ballistic calculator for Android phones.

I love the reticle. It can easily be adapted for different bullets, loads, elevations, etc. I carry a phone with a ballistic program installed on it in the field. This allows me to see exactly what my holdover will be as conditions change. I have made hits on clay pigeons using holdover out past 700 yards with this scope.

Zeiss has a great presentation that goes through features and theory of the Rapid Z. Click here.

For the Rapid Z Calculator click here


POWER RANGE
The 4.5-14 power range is nice. 14x is still plenty of power to shoot 1000 yards and 4.5 is low enough to make close shots and find your target in a hurry. No matter what power of scope you own there will always be a tradeoff involved. Higher powers can be nice for shooting extreme distances but usually require a larger scope and objective. High powered scopes don’t work well for quick fast shots. Low powered scopes usually leave you wanting more power at long range. The 4.5-14 Conquest is a good compromise between high and low power.

TRACKING/REPEATABILITY
The scope tracks perfectly. The adjustment range is 42.8 inches at 100 yards which for a hunting scope is a little above average. The other thing about the adjustment range is that it is square, a very unique feature. On most scopes, because of the round shape, if you bottom out one of the adjustments it usually bottoms out the other one quickly. So if you have 30 inches windage and elevation adjustment but have to adjust your elevation to 28, it might only leave you 5 for windage.  In a nutshell, on most scopes the turret adjustments can adversely affect each other. The Zeiss,  because of the square adjustments, doesn’t have this problem. The windage and elevation are independent of each other.

The author took this mule deer on a public land hunt in Idaho using the Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x44 Rapid Z800 Scope. The deer was just under 400 yards and was taken with one shot.

DURABILITY
On my mule deer hunt I took several pretty tough falls. We were up in shale slides that literally had mountain goats living in them. We also were in snow and ice and my rifle took some major abuse. Between the falls and riding in a saddle scabbard for close to 60 GPS measured miles plus the miles on my back, the scope came through shining like a star. It held zero and never once had any kind of problems. While riding in the saddle scabbard the scope eyepiece literally got packed with snow several times from trees dumping loads of snow. The scope never fogged and the eyepeice had no problems with the snow.

DIMENSIONS/FINISH
The finish is a nice matte black that has a look of quality. The tube is a 1 inch tube and saves you a little weight over the new 30mm tactical scopes. The scope fit into and pulled out of a saddle scabbard without hanging up which in my opinion is a good test for a scope being to big and bulky.

WARRANTY
Zeiss has one of the best warranties in the business. The warranty can be transferred to someone other than the original owner. In my opinion this really helps a scope keep its value. Zeiss has been in the optics business for over 150 years and knows how to stand behind their products.

Coyote taken using Zeiss Conquest at just under a quarter of a mile.

CONCLUSION
The Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14×44 Rapid Z 800 is a winner. It is the scope that currently matches my “perfect hunting scope” bucket list the best. I love the reticle, the glass is phenomenal and I’ve proven the scope works in the field. I think anyone that tries one or owns one now would agree that the Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14×44 with Rapid Z is at the front of the line for being the “perfect” medium to long range hunting scope.

Visit Zeiss

These are Zeiss Conquest Target Turrets. To my knowledge you can't get them in a scope that has a Rapid Z Reticle but you can send your scope to Zeiss and have them installed for a fee.

Be Sociable, Share!
Online Hunting & Gun Magazine & Community: Western Shooter

Comments (5)

Just want to say thanks for the most in depth review I’ve seen I bought the scope for my 300 wsm works just like you said great scope look forward to using on elk in Montana this fall

Good research and valuable info published, that one can use to understand a precision product. Good job on the advanced features, as besides quality, that one may want to pay the extra bucks for these advanced / precision gaining features.
Now, I am convinced about my investment on Zeiss!

Many Thanks,

Joy

Recently bought several Zeiss scopes for my sons and myself to replace low budget scopes I’ve had for many years. Wasn’t certain if they were the ones to go with but with a close look at the Zeiss website and web reviews Zeiss seemed like a winner. But I really did not understand the technology they contain until I read this article. Thanks for making practical sense of the engineering behind the Zeiss design. Now it will be more fun to shoot and I realize that I did put my money into the right scopes. Great job!

Their ranging feature is nice and their video talks about the “18 inch brisket height” to do the math to range a deer. Being from the west and hunt elk, they do not indicate the estimated brisket height for the math to range an elk. Anyone figured that estimation out? Sometimes the deer and elk seasons overlap and flexibility is important. Thanks

Topic: Zeiss Conquest 3 -15 x 42 NEW Rapid Z 600 Reticle FLAW
I just received my Conquest 3-15 x42 New Rapid Z 600 scope and I am very disappointed in its quality. I would not recommend this scope to anyone who wants to shoot between 300 yards and 500 yards.
Once I started looking at the detail I noticed that the Magnification Ring marker does not line up with the actual numbers. It is 1/16 of an inch past the 3x and 1/16 of an inch past the 15x.. Zeiss America says it is correct for all other magnifications, but I wonder. Not what I expect for a $1100 scope.
A second and more important FLAW I noticed is that the reticle seems to be etched incorrectly for the 350 and 450 yards. It would appear that the 350 mark is closer to the 4 than the 3, indicating that there is more of a drop in the bullet between 300 and 350 than between 350 and 400. The same appears to be true for the 450 mark. Now I know as do most of you that the bullet drops more between 350 and 400 than between 300 and 350 . Also more between 450 and 500 than 400 and 450.
Zeiss America says they have placed those marks there to allow for the average of all the calibers tested for this range of scope as well as their computer generated results for those calibers. I was under the impression that their Ballistic Calculator determined the Magnification Ring setting for each caliber taking into account some of the field conditions. It would appear to me that this is just a cover up story and that in fact the etching is incorrect at the 350 and 450 mark.
The distance between the etching for the 3, 4, 5 and 6 all seem to be a little larger which is what I would expect. The 550 mark also appears to be correct. So why just the 350 and 450. I believe It is a FLAWED reticle and I think Zeiss should recall all their scopes and replace the flawed reticle with a corrected one.
Maybe someone on the list can have a look at their Rapid Z 600 and post their comments.

Post a comment