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You coulda had a V8.

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ZEISS'S NEWEST GLASS IS LOADED WITH FEATURES. IS IT WORTH THE MONEY?

In the past couple of years, rifle-scope manufacturers have been R1SI trying to outdo one another with bigger and bigger zoom ranges. Zeiss has now taken the lead with the Victory 8.1 tested a 1.8-14X, a zoom factor that works out to 7.77--close enough to eight.

Common features in the line include Zeiss's excellent fluoride-coated Schott HT glass with the moisture-shedding Lotu-Tec coating. They're built on 36mm tubes--an unusual choice but one the company says allows a wide range of adjustment for the V8's ASV bullet-drop compensating system. The scopes also feature an illuminated dot reticle. Thinner than a human hair, the dot subtends only 0.12 inch at 100 yards, enabling precise shot placement even at long range.

The ASV drop compensator on the Victory 8 employs a set of interchangeable ballistic rings that match specific trajectories. Nine pre-engraved rings are provided with the scope, and you can find the right one by consulting a table in the ASV manual.

The system is based on a 100-meter zero and bullet drop in centimeters at farther distances. To find the proper ring you'll have to convert drop in inches to drop in centimeters to use the table, but that's what the Internet is for. (And if the ballistic info for your chosen ammo doesn't give data for a 100-yard zero, I'd skip the equation given in the ASV manual and use a ballistic calculator to get the drop figure you need for the table.)

I mounted the scope on my Model 700 .280 Rem. and chose Winchester's 140-grain Ballistic Silvertip load, which drops 2.8 inches at 200 yards when zeroed at 100; 2.8 inches is just a touch over seven centimeters, which is closest to ring No. 3.

Installing your chosen ring is a simple task, but because the scope has a stop that prevents over-rotation, you may have to disassemble the turret itself when it's time to zero. It's not hard, although I'd advise familiarizing yourself with the process before you go to the range.

All it takes is a slotted screwdriver. If you need more than one rotation of elevation when zeroing, remove the cap and the outer turret body. Then lift the internal turret and set it back down with its pin on whichever side of the stop pin you need it to be. The cap is under spring pressure, so be sure to secure it while turning out the screw. Also, the screw and its washer are not captured; be careful not to lose them.

The clicks are 1/3 m.o.a. and work in the opposite direction we Americans are used to. Once zeroed at 100, replace the internal turret with its pin resting against the stop--to the left of it so the turret will be able to turn clockwise (up). Replace the turret body and screw the cap back on just snug.

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If you haven't already installed your chosen ballistic ring, do so now. If you already have, which I recommend, loosen the locking collar at the top until the ballistic ring can rotate. Align the "1" on the ring with the dot at the base of the turret and tighten the locking collar.

Oh, and if the turret will not rotate when everything is assembled, remind yourself to pull up on the turret to unlock it. This is a good feature since it prevents accidental rotation while in the field, but you have to remember to do it--and I forgot several times.

All this took me some time to figure out, but I'm not mechanically inclined and I found the instructions a bit hazy. But once I went through it a couple of times I got the hang of it. When it's all set up it couldn't be simpler to use: Dial to the correct mark and shoot. The "I" mark is your 100-yard zero, "2" is 200 yards and so forth.

And it absolutely works. After getting my 100-yard zero, I stretched it all the way to 600 yards. At 6001 did find it shot a bit high--likely a result of the ballistic ring not being an exact match with the load's ballistics--but I was able to spot bullet hits out to 300 on freshly painted steel, and I know I was dead on out to that range at least.

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The adjustments on the V8 are some of the most precise I've ever encountered. The V8's box test resulted in a perfect square, with the last shot landing exactly on the initial center group.

The zoom ring moves with just the right amount of tension, and the illumination controls are easy to access. Even though the dot is super fine, at low power it was quite visible in bright sunlight, so I can only imagine how sweet it would be at first and last light.

The system features an auto-shutoff that turns off the dot when the rifle goes vertical, such as when you sling it, and automatically turns on when the rifle is moved from vertical. The feature can be disabled if you don't like it.

I confess I was skeptical of the V8, not just for its $3,555 retail price but also the 36mm tube. Because good luck finding rings. Zeiss eventually fixed this--and likely boosted the V8's chances of making inroads in the U.S. market--by providing Talley Signature bases and rings (worth a couple hundred bucks) with the scope.

However, there are ballistic turrets out there just as effective as the ASV and easier to figure out. Granted, it works really well once set up, but I wouldn't want to have to disassemble the turret in the field to rezero in, say, the Alaskan bush after flying there for a hunt. Plus, I dislike the "backward" elevation and windage adjustments because I keep forgetting which way to click, but that's a personal problem.

I do give the ASV system big points for being versatile. When you get a V8, it's almost a sure bet the caliber you shoot (or a cartridge you switch to) will be covered by one of the supplied rings. You don't have to send off your data and wait for a turret--unless you opt for the Kenton custom ballistic ring. A certificate for a free Kenton comes with the scope. The certificate wasn't included with my sample, so I can't comment on the process for it.

I'm not a fan of big scopes, but for all its power and its giant tube, the V8 is relatively compact (13.5 inches long with 6.25 inches of mountable tube length). But the sucker's heavy at 25 ounces, so unless you're a lot younger or fitter than I am, it's not a scope for the hiking hunter. However, it would be at home in a stand or blind. And not everything is about hunting: There's a lot to like here for precision rifle and other long-range recreational shooters.

I won't even bother griping about the price because if you want top-end Zeiss (or any high-end maker, really) you're going to shell out big bucks. As mentioned, suggested retail on this model is over $3,500, and you'll probably see it advertised for a couple hundred under that.

For me, the cost of admission outweighs the V8's excellent features, but there are shooters with means for whom only the best will do, and for them this scope might be perfect.

Range facilities provided by Angeles Ranges (AngelesRances.com)
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Title Annotation:LANDS & GROOVES; Zeiss Victory V8 riflescope
Author:Rupp, J. Scott
Publication:Petersen's Rifle Shooter
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Jul 1, 2016
Words:1266
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