Ever read a bi-lingual airplane magazine? One with computerized English translation next to the native language text? Try this on for size: “In the development of our rifle scopes we have always taken our cue from the practical challenges which you as a hunter are faced with. At the same time, the protection of tradition in hunting is just as important to us as the technical enhancement of our rifle scopes.” That’s from Swarovski Optik‘s website. Translation of the translation: Swarovski make extremely expensive bad ass non-tacticool rifle scopes. Thanks to the miracle of our Fearless Leader’s credit card, I’ve got one . . .

A long, skinny package arrived at my apartment last week from Swarovski Optik. Inside: a smaller and skinnier box containing a rifle scope whose specifications seem specifically designed to make a 3-gun competitor salivate like Pavlov’s dogs at a bell ringers’ concert. The Z6i 1-6×24 BRT is a variable power scope that goes from a 1x magnification (to allow for quick close-in shots) to a 6x magnification (for precision long-distance shooting).

That variability means the competitor enjoys all of the benefits of a long-range high power optic and the ability to transition quickly from one close-range target to the next, just like a red dot. In a sport where seconds count and only one optic is allowed on a rifle, this near, far, wherever you are factor is critical.

The optic is also relatively lightweight, keeping the overall weight of the rifle down. With the typical competition rifle sporting a long and heavy barrel and large capacity magazines keeping everything else light is critical to quick movement. The best part of this optic: the reticle.

Swarovski Optik designed their scope with something they call a “BRT” reticle. With the lines below the dot, the shooter can engage targets at different distances quickly without fiddling with the adjustment knobs. Using Swarovski Optik’s online ballistics calculator, the shooter knows the exact zeroed distance corresponding to the lines, and can adjust accordingly. In theory, it’s another advantage over traditional red dot or rifle scopes.

The dot itself, in the middle of the reticle, is illuminated via a battery powered light. A shooter can pull the trigger with confidence even if the light is fading or the background’s too dark to see the reticle properly.

The real test of the Z6i 1-6×24 BRT: how well this scope holds up on a real rifle in competition conditions.

To that end I will be using this optic in competition, replacing my current Trijicon 3-9×40 scope with the Z6i 1-6×24 BRT. Two 3-gun competitions are coming up, one a close range (50 yards or less) near Lewistown, PA, and another longer range (25-200 yards) competition near Topton, PA. The contest will test both mine and the scope’s abilities. With this scope on my rifle, I think the odds may have tipped in my favor.

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13 Responses to Gear Review: Swarovski Optik Z6i 1-6×24 BRT (First Impressions)

  1. Ahh, Swarovski optics: apochromatic, multi-coated with unobtainium fouride, and hand-figured with comet-dust polishing paste. What does it list for?

  2. Interesting, I think. Sadly, I am not a competitive rifle shooter or hunter – so much of what you said went over my head.

    • Tell us what would you’d like to know, so that Nick can put it in layman’s terms for you. (He’s good at that.)

      • Well – The reason going from 1x to 6x quickly is important, particularly in hunting? How the lines below the center help with different distances, etc… some of the technical aspects of scoping. I am a handgun guy, generally (although I own a Ruger 10 22 AND stayed at a Holiday Inn Express). So scopes, distance shooting, etc… are something I’d be interested in learning, but it sounds like something more easily learned experientially than communicatively. (Like that? Two 7 syllabic words in one sentence).

        • In hunting, the ability to move from a low power to a higher power would be important when looking for your prey. Low power scopes give you a wider field of view allowing you to see a larger area, and higher power scopes allow for more accurate shots. With this scope, you can quickly go from looking around for that deer to taking a precise shot.

          The lines compensate for the drop of the bullet. As the bullet goes further downrange, it will “drop” a given distance due to the effects of gravity. With the lines on the reticle you can change your point of aim to compensate for that drop instead of having to manually adjust the scope. For example, if you zeroed your .223 Rem AR-15 at 100 yards and want to shoot something at 500 yards, all you’d have to do is place the lowest horizontal line on the target and squeeze the trigger.

          Does that help a little? I’d be more than happy to go into a detailed description of external ballistics if need be.

        • Very much helps! That makes sense… Now I have to go buy that AR-15 you just said I owned 🙂 – Since this is TTAG, we have to keep it truthful, and I don’t want you to have to edit your post.

          Thanks again…

  3. This scope costs more than the average AR. Hell, it costs more than the above-average AR. It needs to be more powerful though, say 20x, so you can see your money vanish into space.

  4. Things i would like to know:
    – What focal plane is the reticle in?
    – What are the adjustments?
    – How easy is it to use the BRT Reticle for distance estimation?

    Never ever mention the cost so I can live vicariously through you folks.

    • The entire Z6 line is designed with the reticle in the second focal plane.

      Personally, I still prefer the Schmidt & Bender 1.1–4 x 20 Short Dot Police Marksman II (which is about the same price as the Swarovski) with a first focal plane reticle and pre-calibrated ballistic turrets.

      • The Swarovski seems a good bit overpriced if you aren’t getting a first focal plane reticle. I did look it up and o_O wow that is some $$$.

        For that price, I’d probably get a SuB scope as well, although I’m interested in seeing what foghorn thinks about the Swarovski.

  5. Found it on Amazon! “There are no customer reviews yet” (and probably will never be). I agree with Nate, I shouldn’t have looked this one up and saved myself from that tick I just developed…

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