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Terry Doe is reunited with a riflescope make that once brought him great success when he tests the Zeiss Conquest V4 4-16x44 riflescope aboard "Emily", his Airmasters HW77 FTS...
My first Zeiss scope had a profound effect on my shooting life, and on my life in general. It taught me that peace of mind is priceless, and that quality will always count in the end. I’ve never forgotten those lessons, or the scope that taught them to me, so when Zeiss asked me to review its latest Conquest V4 model, let’s say I was keen.
That first Zeiss was a 3-9 x 36 Diavari, and in 1986, it cost me £450 that I really couldn’t afford. My previous scope had been shaken into internal collapse by the 1000-plus shots per week I considered vital to my field target training regimen, and I was in a proper old state about it. That scope’s internals let go during a competition, when I was on for a clear round with just eight targets to go, and its demise was so catastrophic that I completely missed the faceplates of the final five targets.
Frankly, I needed counselling, and it came in the form of one of FT’s founding fathers, Dave Welham. ‘Tel, get a Zeiss, then you’ll have no worries about this happening again, mate!’ So I did, and Dave was absolutely right. That Zeiss, fixed to Emily, my still-cherished Airmasters HW77 FTS, guided us to the success I craved. Now, almost 35 years after my first Zeiss association, I have another. Let’s meet the new version, then.
THE CONQUEST V4General: This scope comes in my favourite ‘sporting’ magnification range, of 4-16, and it has a 44mm diameter objective lens. Thus, it’s a 4-16 x 44, and there are four more configurations in the V4 line-up, with six reticle designs between them. The scope on test costs £995, and that buys you something truly exceptional, along with that peace of mind I mentioned earlier.
Body tube: This is a one-piece (monocoque) design, nitrogen purged to prevent fogging, and tested to a degree that, the deeper into it I went, the more impressed I was. Zeiss knows its scopes will have to perform under every possible condition, and that includes having attachments such as night-vision and lamps fixed to them. After an astonishingly intensive series of laboratory tests, the V4 (and other Zeiss models) has been certified to operate perfectly with attachments that weigh up to TWO KILOS! Think about the extra load that puts on such a highly technical instrument, especially when it has to deal with the recoil from a full-bore hunting rifle, and you’ll understand why I’m so impressed at such an incredible build quality.
QUALITY INSIDE AND OUTLens system: the multiple lenses around which this scope is built are each given six coatings of the Zeiss T-Star compound for optimum light-transmission, plus a treatment the company calls LotuTec, to promote perfect visibility in adverse conditions. The result of this combination is a scope that funnels 90% of the available light to your eye, and that not only means a clearer, brighter sight picture in low light situations, but superior image clarity and colour definition at all other times, too.
Turrets: The Conquest has a pull-out-to-adjust windage turret, which offers a full 60 MOA of lateral adjustment, then locks securely when it’s pushed home with a reassuring ‘click’. The elevation turret is a ‘ballistic’ type, offering 80 MOA of instant adjustment, plus stadia lines and a zero-stop facility that allows the scope to return to its zero setting against a firm stop.
GREAT TOUCHESParallax control: The model tested will focus down to 10 yards on its full mag’ setting – make sure you specify this requirement when ordering, because the V4 also comes in a 50-yard parallax version – and the adjuster is set on the scope’s left-hand side. It’s by no means a ‘sidewheel’ focus adjuster, but the principle is the same.
Reticle and illumination control: The test scope came supplied with a simple #60 reticle, which is a ‘fine cross and three-post’ design set in the second focal plane – ret’ stays the same size as the image is magnified - enhanced considerably by a central red aiming spot, controlled by the best reticle illumination system I’ve ever seen. A 10-stage brightness facility, powered by a single ‘penny-type’ battery, is made so much more practical and convenient by having an ‘off’ stage between each brightness setting. That means the brightness can be set to your preference, then moved a single ‘notch’ to switch it off, and another notch to return it to your chosen setting, rather than having to scroll right through the settings to find the ‘off’ point, and all the way back to where you want it. One click on, one off – simply perfect.
INITIAL VERDICTIt took me all of five seconds to decide on the test vehicle for the V4; of course it had to be the blessed Emily, and I hope you’ll agree with me that the old girl looks absolutely splendid with that Zeiss on board. A set of Sportsmatch mounts locked things down securely, and 30 shots later, I was back where I’m happiest, watching pellets landing exactly where I want them to.
Each control: zoom, eyepiece-focusing, turrets, parallax and reticle illumination, moves and stops with such refined precision, that the scope brings pleasure to its user, even before the efficiency of the lens system delivers the ultimate proof of quality.
The turrets ‘tracked’ perfectly, as I knew they would, and that image quality is everything anyone could possibly want from a rifle sight. This is a truly fine piece of equipment, and I’ll be ‘testing’ it at every possible opportunity. I’ll supply the full verdict next month, but as it stands, the Zeiss V4 4-16 x 44 is one of the most impressive pieces of shooting hardware I’ve ever used – and I’m sure Emily thinks so, too.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONModel: Conquest V4 4-16 x 44Manufacturer: ZeissCountry of origin: GermanyLens diameter: Objective 44mm. Eyepiece 33.2mmExit pupil dia: 8.5 to 2.8Eye relief: 90mmFocal range on full mag: 10 yards to infinityTube diameter: 30mmLength: 356mm, 14 ins.Weight: 640 gms. 22.6 ozPrice: £995
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