Chris Parkin gets his hands on Zeiss’s new mid-priced Conquest V6 scope, and finds out whether it can hold its own against the German firm’s top-end offerings
When the Zeiss Duralyt appeared, it really turned heads, allowing riflemen to get into the Zeiss brand with similar optical quality at a far lower price point. Evolving through the Conquest DL model to the latest V6, it’s since got closer to the Victory price point, but with 92 rather than 95 per cent light transmission – yet a 6x zoom range for more versatility.
The 30mm tube shows a dark bead-blasted finish, not quite as smooth as that of Victory models but still showing perfect attention to detail and not rubbing the skin from your hands or allowing dirt to stick to it. It offers 145mm of space split either side of the saddle for ring mounting on an overall 345mm from objective lens to fast-focus eyepiece, itself running +2 to -3 dioptre for clear reticle focus. The saddle’s left side supports a simple pull-out illumination dial with infinite brightness adjustment that saves your favoured setting when shut off. The illuminated centre dot of the second focal plane No60 reticle extinguishes when the scope is elevated vertically or with the gun rested on its side.
Elevation and windage clicks are 1cm at 100 metres, with two metres of vertical and lateral adjustment to zero your rifle at 100 metres. Windage can be reset to mark zero by pulling the dial outward and turning back to centre, which is a beautifully simple method without any need for further tools. The dial cap is polymer and requires a little care to make sure you don’t cross-thread it when twisting it back into position. I don’t really have an issue with plastic caps as I like to see money spent on the glass and internal mechanics, but some will be disappointed.
My scope was supplied with the ASV elevation turret. After zeroing the gun, a T20 Torx bit will remove the upper cap. Then, simply lift out the zero-stop plug, set it with its pin to the left of the ‘zero stop’ pin, and then screw the top cap back in place. It is disgracefully simple and thoroughly reliable. There are no tiny clips or springs to lose, and though multiple dial markers or customised turret collars are nice, I think a piece of white tape wrapped around the dial with handwritten markings goes to show a shooter has actually tested their ballistic settings, and trusts them. When taking a longer-range shot, simply lift the outer dial, turn clockwise and push it back down. It’s fast, secure and reliable.
I had the V6 mounted on a .308 Sauer 101 Alaska with a zero-inclination Picatinny rail. After zeroing at 100 metres, I was left with plenty of adjustment to extend my zero range, but with the ASV turret set up, 77 clicks (7.7 miliradians) are available from the single rotation. This would put that rifle, with the Federal ammunition I used, on target to about 650 metres – far further than I’m likely to need in the field. All clicks on either turret are gently audible and 100 per cent tactile.
Image quality is as expected from Zeiss, with bold colours and great resolution detail for precise aim with or without excessive magnification applied. The red dot always keeps your reticle easily in view regardless of disruptive background or light conditions with speedy adjustment capability. Low-end 2.5x magnification is great for keeping both eyes open to retain spacial awareness on fast-moving quarry or backup shots, and the eye box stays stationary with clear focus regardless of your eye’s precise position. The reticle is not quite a fine as that of a Swarovski Z6/8, but reticles are very personal, and for hunting larger quarry species, I like the slightly more deliberate Zeiss No60.
Control of the zoom comes through a serrated collar to the front of the ocular body. Though well-defined with precise machining, the squared grooves are too sharply neat and require a firm grip to rotate, though the motion itself is smooth and silent. I’d prefer something a bit bulkier, but a small wing on the collar aids the process, sitting vertically upward when on 8x magnification. As for image quality, I can’t personally tell the difference between this and an HT under anything but laboratory conditions, and the usability and reduced price of this scope are very hard to beat, especially for those wanting to dial for distance. At 15x magnification you do get some parallax errors, but you have to really try to notice them – and for real-world hunting, you are not really going to have an issue, as the use of 15x mag generally implies you will be taking a better-positioned, more cautious shot. When tube space and price are factors, I’d go for illumination over parallax adjustability every time.
The V6 is a general step onward from the Conquest DL. I can see it tempting customers away from the HT, with a significant price advantage and a touch more magnification if you need it on those challenging shots.