When looking at optics it can become overwhelming with all the options that companies offer in their line ups. Some of those options you will never use, nor will you need for majority of your hunting or shooting needs. Every year companies come out with the next great thing. But is it?

I’m sure you have heard the saying you can’t shoot what you can’t see. Well, that isn’t far from the truth. When trying to figure out what optic to go with you should be looking at both the starting magnification and the top end magnification of the scope. Having 25 power is great but if your scope starts at 5 power and you are hunting primarily dense thick cover and your target animal is going to be a close encounter then this can be very counterproductive. A scope starting around 3 or 4 power magnification would be much better suited. On the other end if you plan on
taking longer shots like 500 yards to 750 yards something in the 15 to 20 power would be a great option. So, what scope fits all the wants and needs in these parameters?

These 4 are scopes are what we would consider to be the best choices for western big game hunting. All are great options but each one is going to have a slight difference that might suit your
needs over one another. Listed in this chart are The Vortex Razor LHT, Leupold VX-5HD, Swarovski Z5, Zeiss V4.

Model Magnification Objective Tube Size Weight Eye Relief Elevation Illumination Price
Vortex Razor LHT 3X – 15X 42mm 30mm 19.1 3.8 inches 80 MOA Yes $1,699.99
Leupold VX-5HD CDS 3X – 15X 44mm 30mm 19.7 3.8 inches 75 MOA Optional for more $$ $1,529.99***
Swarovski Z5 BT 3.5X – 18X* 44mm 1 inch 15.9oz** 3.9 inches 13 MOA Optional for more $$ $1,729.99
Zeiss V4 4X – 16X 44mm 30mm 22.6oz 3.6 inches 80 MOA Optional for more $$ $1699.99
* Best magnification range ** Lightest *** Best price

With all the information out there on these scopes lets look at the key features and figure out which one might work better for you then another.

Vortex Razor LHT – This is the newest scope to join the group. At $1699.99 it fits right in with the other 4 while being very rich in features. It still has a great 5X magnification range being a 3-15 with a 42mm objective. This scope now comes with an exposed zero stop, locking, multi revolution turret. Something the previous model was lacking. Vortex also offers a free ballistic turret tape if you prefer having the read out in yards instead of MOA or Mils. It also now has a 30mm tube giving it an outstanding 80MOA of elevation travel. It has an illuminated reticle with multi level brightness. All of this in very nice 19.1oz and 13.3 inch over all length making it a front runner for any western hunter. If all of this wasn’t good enough it’s backed by Vortex’s no questions asked lifetime warranty. If you are a hunter that is rough on your gear and looking for a scope brand you can depend on and will stand behind you, then this scope might be the right option for you.

Leupold VX-5HD – Coming in at one of the cheaper options $1529.99 don’t let this scope fool you. Like the Vortex Razor LHT it also has a 5X magnification range and a nice low 3-15 power range. But with a 44mm objective I would give the VX-5HD a slight edge in glass clarity. The VX-5HD also comes with a zero stop and locking turret with a generous 75 MOA of adjustment. With their CDS-ZL2 turret once your zero stop is set you will get almost 2 full revolutions which for most western hunting calibers will get you out past 1000 yards. Another awesome feature from Leupold is with your purchase you can send in your ballistic information and have a laser engraved turret sent you in yards at no charge. With multiple reticle options available they have designed this scope to fit more shooter across the board. They also have made it so illumination is an option which for some people that have no need for it is
nice because they now don’t have to pay for a feature they just won’t use. Coming in at a starting weight of 19.7 oz and only 13.5 inches this is another lightweight
compact option. Backed by a lifetime limited warranty of manufacture defects this is a scope that many have stood behind and trusted.

Swarovski Z5 – Ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain. As a western hunter we find ourselves pushing farther away from the truck in search of our target animal. With this in mind the Swarovski is the clear winner in saving weight by more than 3 oz from the next lightest option coming
in a 15.9oz. Another feature is its 5X zoom but what’s different is the starting magnification at 3.5X this allows the Z5 to go up to 18X on the top end which for longer shots or smaller targets is really nice. With only a 1 inch tube Swarovski got very clever in designing a turret system that makes things very simple for the hunter. It has a zero stop turret with only allowing for 1 revolution or 52 clicks. You might think this isn’t enough but most common calibers this is going to allow the shooter to reach out to 700-800 yards. Another great feature on the turret is it comes with 3 additional quick acquisition ranging points. Thus, allowing a shooting to zero their gun at say 200 yards and have quick points at 300, 400 and 500. If the animal is at say 450 then dial halfway between 400 and 500 its that easy. If 500 yards isn’t far enough for you then you can always order one of Swarovski’s Personal Ballistic Cams with all your data and they will print you a turret that works for you.

Yes, it is one of the more expensive in the lineup at $1729.99 but what you are paying for is the lightest weight and probably in my opinion the leader in glass clarity and resolution. If you are a serious light weight mountain hunter this is probably the option you’ve been looking for.

Zeiss Conquest V4 – A little bit of all the good. Excellent glass clarity coming in second only to the Swarovski. The V4 is the only scope in the group with a 4X magnification range and being a 4-16 it still offers a 44mm objective allowing for 90% light transmission which offers shooters exceptional
low light visibility. Tied for the lead with the Razor LHT for elevation adjustment at 80MOA. Option for exposed elevation, exposed windage and illumination you
can order the perfect model for your needs. Coming in at 22.6 oz it is still a great light weight option for shooters looking to extend their shooting range.

Authors choice. I personally have owned and used all of these scopes at the range and in the field. Really there isn’t a bad option here they just come down to a few small features that
best suit you. Lightweight, distance you want to shoot out to, how good are my eyes and do I use, or would I use an illuminated reticle, how rough am I on my gear and how important is warranty to me?

Between these 4 awesome options if I had to choose just one it would be the Vortex Razor LHT simple because I use my gun as a tool and I’m extremely hard on my gear knowing I have a brand
that will fix or replace even if it’s my fault holds a lot of value to me.

If you have any questions on picking up a new riflescope or additional information, please feel free to give us a call and we can discuss which option best suits you.