Zeiss is a brand name that is synonymous with high-quality scopes and optics. Zeiss makes rifle scopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes, all of which have set a very high bar in the premium optics realm. Zeiss in based in Germany and has been producing optical instruments since 1846 after their founder Carl Zeiss began making microscopes. Their evolution into the optics market was done with the same high-quality glass used in their camera lenses. Zeiss Optics are being used around the world by police and military forces. Zeiss only makes three lines of rifle scopes. Instead of having a wide variety of different optics, they focus their time, engineering, and craftsmanship into these three well-built lines.
The Zeiss Conquest line of optics are made and designed in Germany and utilize a 5x magnification range. There are three models of the Zeiss optic and they range in power from 2 to 10 power, 3 to 15 power and 5 to 25 power. These optics are suitable for hunting, competition, and tactical operations. The Zeiss Conquest model we are reviewing is the powerful 5 to 25 variant.
Out of the Box
The Zeiss arrived well protected in it’s packaging, and it should when you factor in the price of the optic. The last thing you want is your thousand dollar optic to be broken during shipping. The box is your standard cardboard affair which is compartmentalized for shipping. The standard manual, warranty, lens cover and lens cloth is included.
Even the 5-25 variant of the Zeiss is surprisingly lightweight and compact. It’s no featherweight at 26.6 ounces, but you factor in the large range of magnification and it’s impressive. The scope is 14 inches long and features a 50mm objective lens.
The scope exudes quality, the matte black finish is evenly applied and gives the optic a high-quality professional appearance. The turrets move in a very distinctive, and tactile manner. It’s difficult to describe, but the turret move like a good trigger pulls. It’s smooth with zero creep, and it gives excellent feedback. You actually have three turret options, the standard hunting turrets, the target turrets with lockable zero stop, and the choice to have custom turrets cut by Zeiss. The turrets make quarter MOA turns, and is a good medium between ultra fine adjustments and adjustments too big. The model I’m reviewing has the standard hunting turrets.
The tube diameter is a simple 1-inch tube. This makes the system more compatible with most American scope rings compared to Zeiss’ standard 30mm tubes. This allows me to use the Vortex 1-inch rings, my all time favorite set of 1-inch rings. The HD5’s magnification ring is well designed, textured for an easy grip, and it rotates very smoothly. When looking through the scope and turning the magnification dial, you do not perceive any stutter or stall along the way.
The Zeiss HD5 is a second focal plane scope, which I find to be somewhat disappointing. While the Zeiss Conquest series is Zeiss’ affordable, middle of the road scope it’s still in the thousand dollar realm. At that price point, I would prefer a first focal plane scope. However, if this scope was in the first focal plane it would be heavier, more complex, and have a limited zoom ratio.
Mounting and Zeroing
Mounting the optic is simple, I used my Vortex rings, and mounted the optic to a Remington 700 in 300 Win Mag. This rifle configuration is one of the most common in use for hunting, so I figured it was as good as any to test the optic with. The Zeiss Conquest is pretty simple to zero: adjust, zero, and check your zero. If you don’t know how to sight in a rifle scope then the manual gives you a pretty good idea of how easy it is to do. I want to touch on now how crystal clear the glass is, and what level of optical quality you get with this optic. It’s honestly brilliant, it’s remarkably clear, and it’s like I’ve been living in 720p and someone showed me 4k. I could see the dust blowing in the wind, I could see the grass moving, I could see everything in brilliant, and bright detail.
Range Test Time
My model has the Zeiss Rapid-Z 800 reticle. This gives me holdovers out to 800 yards, or close to it. The Rapid Z reticle needs to be zeroed at 200 yards. Due to its second focal plane nature, the holdovers on the reticle are not always accurate to the yard and require a particular zoom to make holdovers accurate. To know what zoom the holdovers are accurate at you’ll need to use a bit of software by Zeiss. The software is available right on the Zeiss website here: http://zeissrapidz.com. In order to access Zeiss calculators you have to opt-in with your e-mail first. Also there is a Zeiss app available for Android and Apple if you want to make calculations right at the field.
We set up at a basic three to six hundred yard range. We used the app on an Ipad and it worked well. You enter the data for the range, the elevation, the caliber, so on and so forth and it pops back what the proper magnification is. The kill zone on a deer is 9 inches, so our target was a build to scale deer target with that killzone colored red. It took three shots, and one adjustment to fix the zero at six hundred yards, and was dead on with the first shot at three hundred yards. It was so consistent that it was close to being boring.
We dropped rounds all over the deer target to challenge ourselves, we even shot the tip of the each horn off. Sundown here is around 5:30 PM, and at 5:15 we were still capable of seeing the target clearly, and hitting it. That detail of seeing dust move came in handy when we had to make wind calls.
The Zeiss performed as you’d expect for one of the best scope makers out there. You see the attention to detail that is placed into manufacturing these optics. Clarity is absolutely brilliant, it’s wonderful and so clear, and it’s so easy to see details in the world around your target. The main drawback is the second focal plane and being forced to utilize technology to figure out how the drop hash marks work. Overall though I’d suggest the scope for anyone looking for a hunting optic, or a target scope in the thousand dollar realm.