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Das Beste: the new Zeiss Victory V8 riflescopes just might be the best European riflescopes ever made.

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German engineers are, well ... Germans. I can say that because my father is one; he was raised in Bavaria. German engineers tend to be rather sure their way is the best way, and they're usually right, particularly when it comes to fast cars and clear optics.

To most European hunters, 300 yards is a long shot. To Americans, particularly those who live and hunt in the West and those who shoot competitive high-power disciplines, 600 yards is midrange and "long range" starts around 800 yards and stretches out from there. As a result of the long-range precision shooting and hunting trends so popular in America today, our country has left European optics in the dust when it comes to certain features, such as elevation adjustment turrets and reticles.

With that preface, I'm going to hop right out onto a limb and say that Zeiss's new Victory V8 line of riflescopes is the most versatile and adaptable set of optical sights the company has ever made.

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With modern computing and engineering methods, Zeiss's technicians have achieved the best optical performance--clarity, purity, color honesty, and light transfer, not to mention minimal distortion--in the history of the company. That's a given, something to be expected from an optics giant famous for superb optical quality. The real difference comes in the massive 36mm diameter of the main tube, the breadth of the "super-zoom" (a multiple of eight times the lowest magnification), and the fact that some excellent Americanized features are hidden in the elevation adjustment turret. More on those features in a bit.

First, let's go over characteristics shared by all Victory V8 scopes. All V8 scopes are waterproof, have fully multicoated lenses, are fogproof and extremely shock-resistant, and so forth. Schott HT glass and fluorite lenses (FL) provide legitimate 92-percent light transfer and contribute to the incredible resolution and image quality of the V8 series. Advanced engineering and the large 36mm main tube allow the aforementioned super-zoom, making it possible for shooters to crank the magnification from 1.1X to 8X, as one example, or from 4.8X to 35X, for another example.

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A pleasant side effect of the 36mm tube and resultant large lenses is a very wide field of view, which translates into easy target acquisition.

Last December I had the privilege of traveling to Germany for a prelaunch event. A handful of other writers and I were introduced to the new V8 line, toured the Zeiss manufacturing facility in historic Wetzlar, Germany, and participated in a driven hunt using the new optics. Much European hunting is steeped in the tradition of the driven hunt, in which hunters are posted on stand and beaters with their dogs push through the forest. As a result, most of the shots offered are relatively close, but on running game. Low-power scopes are most appropriate, yet as one Zeiss representative pointed out, more magnification is sometimes called for, such as when attempting to diagnose the gender of a small roe deer wandering through thick cover nearby. A scope like the 1.1-8X V8 is perfect, he postulated, because it offers hunters very low power and a huge field of view for running shots yet the ability to zoom quickly to a detail-magnifying 8X.

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Hmmm, I thought. That's an unlikely scenario. Yet the next day, outfitted with that specific scope on a Blaser R8 filled with RWS .30-06 cartridges, I sat in a moss-greened wooden box stand and--you guessed it--found myself in that very situation. We'd been instructed to cull roe deer females if given the opportunity, and as the bucks had dropped their antlers, identification was distilled down to a particular tuft of hair that differed in color between sexes. I swallowed my pride, cranked the V8 to 8X magnification, determined the roe was indeed a doe, and did my part for the health of the local ecosystem.

Later, with the scope dialed back down and the sound of hunters' horns and excited dogs booming through the forest, I caught a glimpse of a pewter-colored boar flickering through the brush. Focusing on a small, tree-studded clearing in its path, I swung the Blaser and put a 184-grain bullet through its ribs when it broke into the clear.

Interestingly, while the 36mm main tube of the V8 is the largest I'm aware of on any standard-type riflescope, the scopes themselves give the impression of robust sleekness. According to Zeiss, the generous inner diameter of the tube allows a more compact design overall without giving up performance.

And on the subject of the large, 36mm tube: Each scope ships with a set of Talley steel rings and a voucher for Talley bases.

Europeans do vastly more low-light and nighttime hunting than Americans, and as a result their illuminated reticle systems tend to be outstanding. That of the V8 series is made to be operated with gloves, has a silent wheel-type intensity adjustment, and is built with an "intelligent motion sensor." With the rifle on its side or in a greater-than-70-degree vertical position, the electronics deactivate, saving the CR 2032 battery's life. Movement--such as shouldering the rifle--activates the illumination, and it comes on at the last-used setting.

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Now let's look at the almost-perfect elevation turret. While the lower-magnification 1.1-8X 30mm model has traditional capped turrets, the more powerful 2.8-20X 56mm and 4.8-35X 60mm models have beautifully made, exposed target-type turrets. The middle-of-the-road 1.8-14X 50mm is available with either capped turrets or target-type turrets.

The V8's click system is a bit confusing. As stated on Zeiss USA's website, each click moves the reticle 0.33 inch at 100 yards (0.166 inch on the big, precise 4.8-35X) rather than an American-friendly 0.25 inch or 0.25 MOA. That measurement is very close to the tactical shooter's preferred Mil system (0.1 Mil is 0.3438 inch). However, the V8's instruction manual states that each click equals 1cm, which calculates out to 0.3937 inch. Hmmm.

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Zeiss says the scopes have "100 clicks of adjustment," which is roughly 33 to 39 MOA, or 9.5 to 11.5 Mils, total depending on the true value of the clicks. That's not enough to qualify for long-range shooting as Americans see it unless a mounting rail with built-in MOA is installed, but plenty to get a shooter to 600 yards with most cartridges.

Two second-focal-plane reticles come standard in the V8 line. One is the very fine Reticle 60, which is a broad duplex-type with posts on each side and below but a simple fine wire above center. The other is the Reticle 43, which is a traditional Mil-Dot crosshair.

A full set of Zeiss's ASV turret rings--nine in all--is included with each of the large-magnification scopes. Shooters can reference the ballistic cartridge group chart in the manual, choose a ring that closely matches the drop of their particular rifle/ cartridge/bullet combination's drop at extended ranges, and install it for an easy range/dial/shoot system.

Here's where a little of that German engineering kicks in: ASV rings are marked in meters, not yards. With a conversion calculator and a few mental acrobatics, you can convert to yards and still pick a ring that will put you on the money. I managed that on my custom Hill Country Rifles .35 Whelen. I can range a target in yards, dial directly to the corresponding number on the ASV ring, and hit my target with boring regularity inside 550 yards.

There's a saving grace to this set of rings, which I'll come to in a moment. None of the ballistic curves included in Zeiss's charts utilize high-BC projectiles. If you're shooting common-BC bullets, you can find a pre-engraved ring to match your cartridge. If you're shooting sleek, aerodynamic bullets ... no dice.

Here's the saving grace, the all-solving fix to the issue that enables the Victory V8 riflescopes to play on the long-range field with the big dogs: Each ASV-compatible scope (the higher-magnification V8s) ships with a blank ASV ring and a voucher to have it engraved by Kenton Industries. Send it in with the velocity and BC of your favorite bullet, along with the atmospherics (elevation and temperature, most importantly) where you most commonly shoot, and Kenton will return it engraved in yards or meters to match your ballistics.

Sure, it's got a funky click value, but once that custom ASV-equipped V8 is installed on your favorite long-range rifle, you'll be running the same type of system so popular on Gunwerks custom scopes, Huskemaw scopes, Leupold CDS scopes, and so forth.

Plus the V8 scopes with ASV system also have a zero-stop-type feature that enables you to dial right to your original sight-in distance.

Let's take a close look at the specs of each Victory V8 model.

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(1) Victory V8 1.1-8X 30mm

This is the action king of the V8s. A tremendous exit pupil size--10mm--and long eye relief of 95mm (3.74 inches) make for a very forgiving eye box, and the field of view is an extraordinary 39.6 meters (130 feet) at 100 meters when on 1.1X. While originally designed with European-type driven hunting in mind, it's perfect for dangerous-game hunting, 3-Gun competition, personal defense, and law enforcement work. Weight is 600 grams (21.2 ounces), and length is a compact 303mm (11.92 inches).

MSRP: $2,888

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(2) Victory V8 1.8-14X 50mm

This is my pick for the all-around V8 versatility champ. While its bottom-end magnification of 1.8X is low enough for fast work on dangerous game and in rapid-paced competition shooting, it pairs a respectably high top end of 14X with an adjustable objective and is available with Zeiss's BDC Long Range system as an option, making it viable for precision work out to 600 yards or a bit more. You could hunt any game in the world and never need more scope than this V8. Weight is 710 grams (25 ounces), and length is a modest 343mm (13.5 inches). Field of view at 1.8X is 23 meters (75 feet). Eye relief is 95mm (3.74 inches).

MSRP: $3,333

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(3) Victory V8 2.8-20X 56mm

If you need low-light performance and like to reach out with your favorite precision rifle, this scope is for you. This scope makes the most of any available ambient light, and as Zeiss's brochure says, this scope " ... opens up every opportunity--from long-distance shots to hunting deep into the twilight." With a low-end magnification of 2.8X, it's quite suitable for quick shooting up fairly close. At 830 grams (29.27 ounces), it's not a lightweight, but neither is it heavier than the average precision riflescope from other scopemakers. Length is 350mm (13.77 inches). Field of view at 2.8X is 15.5 meters (50 feet). Eye relief is 95mm (3.74 inches).

MSRP: $3,888

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(4) Victory V8 4.8-35X 60mm

Having the notable distinction of being the most powerful scope Zeiss makes, this particular piece of optical equipment offers the pinnacle of refined performance in light-gathering and precision. This is the scope that features 0.166-inch clicks at 100 yards, enabling very fine adjustments. Varmint shooters, benchrest shooters, predator hunters, and open-country big-game hunters will get yeoman's service out of this scope, but at 964 grams (34 ounces) in weight and 400mm (15.75 inches) in length, it's a bit much for a mountain rifle. Put it on your heavy precision rifle, get the blank ASV turret custom engraved to match your favorite load, and never look back. Field of view at 4.8X is 7.31 meters (24 feet). Eye relief is 95mm (3.74 inches).

MSRP: $4,111

Like I said at the beginning of this review, the new Zeiss Victory V8 riflescopes just might be the best European riflescopes ever made.
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Author:Von Benedikt, Joseph
Publication:Shooting Times
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Sep 1, 2016
Words:1985
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