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Swarovski 1-6×24 Z6i BRT Review

Category : Competition, Optics, Shooting Gear Review, Tactical

UPDATE – July 2012 – I used the Swaro 1-6×24 Z6i BRT in the 2012 MGM Ironman Multi Gun and placed 14th out of  150 competitors in the tac optics division.

Swarovski has also updated this scope and now calls the current version the “Second Generation.”  The changes in the 2nd gen include a slightly streamlined look to the electronics and a new feature that automatically turns the optic off if it’s not in the upright position to save battery (this feature can be turned off). Everything else on the optic remains essentially the same.

Swarovski 1-6×24 Z6i BRT, King of the Multi-Gun Optic Mountain

Since Swarovski introduced the 1-6×24 Z6i every other optics manufacture in the world has been playing catch-up. The Swarovski z6i with BRT reticle is (at the time of this writing) the best 3 gun scope in the world that can be bought for any price.  It is also an excellent option for those that hunt dangerous game and need a fast low power variable scope with good eye relief.

Swarovski Z6i excels above the competition in four things: Glass, Field of view, illumination, and true 6x zoom multiplier.

The Swarovski Z6i has literally some of the best glass in the world. It is the glass by which all other glass is measured.  It is crisp and bright all the way to the edges and has no chromatic artifacts even in the edges of the glass. For me, the glass really shines when you are in poor shooting conditions and are shooting targets that are hard to see.  Steel at long-range can become increasingly difficult to see when the paint gets shot off. Better glass can make a big difference in making important hits.  The glass has excellent contrast and resolution.  Whether picking out game in brush or shooting steel in grass this glass can literally change what you can see, and therefore shoot. I can see more through this optic on 6x (power) than I could on a previous scope on 10x.

Field of View (FOV)
Field of view may be the most important factor for 3 gun or for dangerous game. Your eyes drive the gun and so what you see determines how fast you can drive the gun to the target. Often the ability to see the next target in the scope and move directly to it can make a big difference in speed. Field of view affects the speed of initial target acquisition, target transitions, and re-acquisition. Field of view literally translates into how much you can see through the scope. The Z6i is unmatched by any other scope on the market for field of view with an astounding 127.5 feet at 100 yards. Because the scope has a true 1x power low-end, and such a huge field of view, you can easily shoot with both eyes open just as if you were using a holographic or red dot sight. The advantage of the Z6i over a holographic or red dot sight is that you have better field of view, substantially better glass, and the ability to “zoom” the scope to make more difficult shots. Even when you are zoomed in for smaller targets or targets at longer ranges the Z6i has a better field of view than the competition and makes it easier to initially acquire your target and transition to the next.

The “i” in the Z6i stands for illumination. Swarovski makes the 1-6 without illumination so if you want illumination it’s important that you get the model with an “i”.  The illumination in the Swarovski is so bright that it can be easily seen in the brightest daylight. In fact, the illumination is much brighter than anything I can compare to, including an EOTECH or other holographic style sight. It’s also much cleaner, meaning the illumination can be adjusted to be extremely bright without “blooming”. The illumination is useful on any power, but it makes the scope really fast on the lower powers when both eyes are open.  Many of the scopes I’ve tried have had illumination; however, they all wash out in bright daylight and are only useful in lower light situations. The Z6i has multiple settings for any light condition from the brightest daylight to just glowing in the dark. The illumination is truly revolutionary and will have other scopes struggling to compete for years. It also has a unique pre-setting feature that allows you to preset the illumination and choose from two presets with the power switch.

*Please don’t judge the glass by the images as they don’t do the optic justice.

The illumination is adjustable and has a daytime and nighttime preset.

The illumination uses one CR-2032 battery and lasts an extremely long time. It also has a feature that automatically turns the reticle off after a number of hours if you accidentally leave it on.

Magnification Range
The Z6i is one of the first scopes to offer a true 1x magnification on the bottom end and 6x magnification on the higher end. I once had someone at the SHOT Show tell me that this was impossible and that a 4x multiplier scope was the limit. Not only has Swarovski proven that it’s not impossible but they have done it in a scope that beats almost all other scopes in every way.  Needless to say the 1x and huge field of view are invaluable when shooting close, fast targets and the extra power that 6x brings to the longer range, or more precise targets, almost can’t be measured in terms of usefulness.

Swarovski makes the throw lever for almost instant zoom changes in high speed, high stress situations. It fits the Z6i perfectly.

BRT Reticle
My Z6i features Swarovski’s BRT reticle and it works well. The reticle is in the second focal plane, so to use holdovers the scope needs to be on 6x. This is fine because if you are shooting far enough to need to holdover, you will need the magnification.  The reticle sub tensions are in mils or 3.6 MOA apart. It turns out that this matches up with my match load almost perfectly out to 600 yards if I zero at 150 yards.  I very much like the reticle, but if I could change anything it would be to get rid of the dots and replace them with hashes. I think the dots cover up too much target at long-range.

Holdovers for the Z6i taped to the stock on the authors rifle. The gun is zeroed at 150 yards and the zero corresponds to the main crosshair. 200 yards=.3mil holdover, 250 yards=.6mil holdover, 300 yards=1mil or 2nd crosshair, 400 yards=2mil or dot, 500 yards=3.1mil or 4th holdover. The numbers at the top correspond to close range (yards) and are holdovers/holdunders in inches. For example at point-blank or 0 yards the impact is 2.7 inches low.

The Swarovski turrets adjust in 1.5cm/100 meters or .54 inch/100 yards per click. While zeroing, the scope tracked perfectly. This isn’t the type of scope that I would use to dial so I have never put it through a box test but I’m sure that it would do fine. I have had no issues with the scope holding zero. The scope has been subjected to extreme weather conditions, hard knocks, and thousands of rounds of shooting without any problems and held a perfect zero.

The turrets are easily reset-able to zero by pulling up and turning. The windage turret cap is slightly larger and contains an extra battery, a favorite feature of the author.

Warranty/Customer Service
I had one of my turret cap covers (little plastic cap) break off while repelling off a tower with my rifle and scope. Swarovski’s customer service was excellent and replaced the turret cap cover without incident.   Swarovski has an excellent warranty on all of their products and I’m sure that should I ever need to use the warranty that they will be an excellent company to work with.

The differences are in the details and the Swarovski 1-6×24 Z6i is easily the best multi gun scope on the market. It has been the winner of numerous 3 gun or multi gun national championships across the country and has been the optic of choice for the top competitors across the world. Daniel Horner of the Army Marksmanship Unit, arguably the best 3 gun shooter in the world, prefers it to any other optic. While not a sponsored shooter per se, Horner uses any equipment he likes and has been an almost unbeatable competitor.

While the Swarovski 1-6×24 Z6i BRT is expensive with a  street price of around $2300, it is also the best optic there is for shooting 3 gun. If you need the best, its worth every penny.

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Group was shot at 150 yards using Swarovski 1-6×24 Z6i BRT, JP Enterprise 223 Wylde Stainless Match Barrel, and Hornady 75g HPBT Match bullets. The tape is .69 inches wide. The group was shot prone from magazines.




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