The inside of a Swarovski riflescope is a rugged balance of minute parts, all working in concert to help you get your shot where you want it to go and retain the zero so you can repeat that shot again and again.
In order to do that, Swarovski developed unique retention spring systems that combine precision and durability housed in a 30mm or 1-inch tube. After years of research and development, Swarovski realized that the internal parts of its scopes need to be tailored for the optics’ primary purpose. The approach has culminated in the five series of riflescopes currently available in Swarovski’s catalog.
Spring retention systems are quite possibly the most critical element in the inner workings of a scope. They serve to hold the erector tube tight inside the main tube during the firing sequence and to hold the erector tube precisely while making click adjustments for windage and elevation while sighting in.
The Z3 Series was Swarovski’s entre into the American market. Swarovski changed the tube size to a 1-inch tube versus the European 30mm standard to accommodate the availability of rings at that time. The Z3 scopes use a traditional U-shaped leaf spring retention system spaced exactly diagonally between the windage and elevation turrets. This keeps a constant pressure against the turrets to make the adjustment process as accurate as possible. The Z3 Series adjustments are in 1/4 MOA clicks.
The Z5, Z6(i) and Z8i Series – also known as the Professional Hunter Series — feature a patented four-point coil spring system that is a marked improvement over the traditional leaf spring system. Mounted on the ocular end of the erector tube, the coil springs are stiffened to enable more precise adjustments. In addition, the coil springs provide shock absorption for the scope under recoil. When the rifle is fired, the springs compress and absorb the shock that would affect the other internal components. This series also provides the best optical quality at the lightest weight.
The long range X5(i) features the most sophisticated spring retention systems of any of the Swarovski scope series. Designed primarily as a long range competition target scope, the X5(i) is also experiencing popularity with mountain hunters who tend to encounter 500-yard-plus shots on a regular basis.
The unique design of the X5(i) utilizes a spring retention system in conjunction with a retention lever to keep equal pressure against the erector tube. At the ocular end of the erector tube, a highly polished ball and socket section minimizes friction. According to Swarovski’s Rob Lancellotti, “The lever and positioning spring is designed for repeatability of precision long range shooting normally associated with match or tactical competition. The system keeps the internal works from wearing out or becoming mushy with continued use.”
While the technology is starting to crossover from the competition arena to hunting applications, there are still the ethical and moral considerations as to what constitutes a clean shot for each hunter. “For most hunters, 400 yards is a long shot,” Lancellotti explains, “and for sheep hunters especially, that range can extend due to the nature of the habitat and the challenges of mountain hunting. We at Swarovski are firm believers in getting as close as possible to achieve a clean and humane shot. Our scopes are not a substitute for ethical hunting practices.”
The X5(i) is engineered for long range and long wear. Its oversized turrets contain stainless steel components designed for repetitive dialing, and the main tube is 30 percent thicker for more durability; but bulking up the scope for longer life creates a trade off in the form of more weight. That’s something to consider if your long range hunt will have you trudging up and down mountains where an extra pound can be torture by the end of the day.
Through years of research and development, Swarovski has expanded its hunting optics line to cover virtually all hunting and shooting sports needs and is continuing to innovate and redefine the standard for sports optics worldwide.–Randy Gibbs