Introduction

Another review of two high-end manufacturers, that are well-known over the entire planet. The first one in this comparison is Swarovski, which is known because of the high-quality hunting optics like binoculars, rifle scopes, and spotting scopes. The second competitor is Blaser, which is mostly known because of their weapons, but not long ago they started to produce also optics. First, they started with binoculars, but since IWA Outdoor Classics 2018 they also produce high-end hunting rifle scopes.

From Swarovski, we have the Z8i 2-16×50 model, which is, in my opinion, the most versatile rifle scope from the entire Z8i series. With such a magnification range, you can use the rifle scope for almost every hunting scenario like stalking, mountain hunting, raised-hide hunting and also low light hunting.

On the other hand, we have the completely new Blaser Infinity rifle scope with the magnification range from 2.8x till 20x and the same objective lens diameter like the Swarovski – 50 millimeters. Also this model is very universal, and because of the bigger maximum magnification, it is also more suited for long-range hunting.

Size and weight:

 

A: Blaser Infinity IC 2.8-20×50

B: Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50

Weight:

770 g

675 g

Length:

343 mm

356 mm

Tube diameter:

36 mm

30 mm

Diopter setting:

-3.0 / +2.5

-3.0 / +2.0

Parallax adjustment:

50 m to infinity

50 m to infinity

Mounting with rail:

Yes

Yes

Number of Colors:

1

1

On the first glance, we can see that the Swarovski looks much less bulky than the Blaser, especially because of the smaller main tube diameter. The weight difference is quite big with almost 100 grams and is noticeable also when you hold both in the hands. Where the Blaser scores is in the length, because it is for 13 millimeters shorter than the Swarovski. Sure this isn’t very much, but it is noticeable when mounted on a short hunting rifle.

Like previously mentioned, the Blaser looks bulkier because of the big main tube diameter. But the big diameter has also some advantages, like the elevation and windage adjustment range – but more about this later.

Both rifle scopes have a European-style eyepiece for setting the correct diopter, which is adjustable from -3 to +2 or even +2.5. The parallax is also adjustable on both rifle scopes, which goes from 50 meters to infinity.

Every Blaser comes with a Zeiss ZM/VM mounting rail, what is, in my opinion, a great idea, because every user can mount the scope without the help of a gunsmith, and that’s why the reticle is always vertical on the barrel for best accuracy. The Swarovski we had on this comparison was also with a rail, but with a Swarovski SR rail, which is a little bit different. For the Swarovski rail, the buyer has to invest an additional 60 Euros.

Both rifle scopes are available only in one color, the Swarovski in black, and the Blaser also in black, but with some brown details like the turrets, the magnification ring and the adjustable eyepiece ring.

TLDR
Blaser Infinity looks bulkier than the Swarovski because of the bigger main tube diameter, but is 13 millimeters shorter. The main tube on the Blaser is 36 millimeters in diameter and 30 on the Swarovski. Both rifle scopes have an adjustable parallax from 50 meters to infinity and both are available only in one color.

 

Optical properties:

 

A: Blaser Infinity IC 2.8-20×50

B: Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50

Minimal magnification:

2.8x

2x

Maximal magnification:

20x

16x

Zoom factor:

7.14

8

Maximal Field of View:

13.2 m / 100 m

21 m / 100 m

Minimal Field of View:

1.9 m / 100 m

2.6 m / 100 m

Minimal eye relief:

90 mm

95 mm

Maximal eye relief:

90 mm

95 mm

Light transmission – declared:

93%

>90%

Tunneling effect at low magnifications:

No

No

Central sharpness – subjective impression at 2.8x, 8x and 16x magnification:

2.8x magnification – 6

8x magnification – 6

16x magnification – 6

2.8x magnification – 2

8x magnification – 2

16x magnification – 2

Edge sharpness – subjective impression at 2.8x, 8x and 16x magnification:

2.8x magnification – 6

8x magnification – 8

16x magnification – 7

2.8x magnification – 2

8x magnification – 0

16x magnification – 1

Inner reflections at 2.8x, 8x and 16x magnification:

2.8x magnification – 6

8x magnification – 8

16x magnification – 6

2.8x magnification – 2

8x magnification – 0

16x magnification – 2

FOV – subjective impression at 2.8x, 8x and 16x magnification:

2.8x magnification – 0

8x magnification – 0

16x magnification – 1

2.8x magnification – 8

8x magnification – 8

16x magnification – 7

Eye-box at 2.8x, 8x and 16x magnification:

2.8x magnification – 6

8x magnification – 6

16x magnification – 5

2.8x magnification – 2

8x magnification – 2

16x magnification – 3

Overall – subjective impression:

4

4

All in all (128 total points)

81

47

As previously mentioned, both rifle scopes have a really great magnification range, so they can be used for different hunting scenarios, and because of that, the user doesn’t need another rifle scope for a different type of hunting. On the Swarovski, the zoom range is 8 times, and on the Blaser 7,14 times. The objective lens diameter of 50 millimeters is also big enough for hunting in low light, but of course, it can not be compared to rifle scopes with an even bigger objective lens diameter.

The strongest advantage of the Swarovski is the extremely big field of view, which is on the smallest magnification 21 meters. On the Blaser for comparison, it is only 13.2 meters on 100 meters, because of the bigger minimal magnification. Because of the much bigger field of view, the Swarovski is much more suitable for stalking and hunting on running game like some wild boar, and you can much easily and much quicker find the target in the rifle scopes view. Also on the biggest magnification, the Swarovski has a wider field of view, but this is normal since the Blaser has a bigger maximal magnification.

The eye relief on the Blaser is 90 millimeters and on the Swarovski 95 millimeters. Because of the extra 5 millimeters on the Swarovski, you are a little bit safer behind a rifle that has a really strong recoil. But in most cases, the user wouldn’t even notice a difference.

And now the optical test we have made with 8 random people that have no experience with rifle scopes;

As we see, we have a clear winner in almost all categories, and this is everywhere the Blaser Infinity. In all categories except in the field of view, the Blaser won with a big difference in points, everywhere around 18 against only around 6 for the Swarovski. This is really impressive, and also I couldn’t believe that there is such a big difference in the optical quality. Where the Swarovski really shines is in the field of view, where we can see that that the Blaser got only 1 point on 16x magnification, but on lower magnifications, all points were going to Swarovski. So in the end, from 24 points, 23 points scored Swarovski and only 1 Blaser.

TLDR

Because of the smaller minimal magnification, the Swarovski features a much wider field of view than the Blaser. Even at same magnifications has the Swarovski more field of view. The Blaser, whatsoever, has all other optical characteristics better than the Swarovski.

Reticle properties:

 

A: Blaser Infinity IC 2.8-20×50

B: Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50

Focal plane:

FFP

SFP

Reticle name

60

4A-I

Reticle illumination:

Yes, RED

Yes, RED

Daylight strong illumination:

Yes

Yes

Illumination intensity tuning:

Yes

Yes

Illuminated dot coverage:

/

0.9 cm/100 – 7.3 cm/100m

Minimal reticle thickness:

/

0.9 MIL / 0.9 cm

Motion sensor:

Yes

Yes

Auto turn-off:

Yes

Yes

Reticle styles:

1

4

The design of the reticles in both rifle scopes is very similar. Both have a very simple design, but there is one difference in the center, because in Swarovski the lines come together, and on the Blaser not. In the middle of the 4A-I reticle in Swarovski are very thin lines with a center, where the illuminated dot appears when you turn the illumination on. Blaser, on the other hand, has an open center with only a small dot in the middle. This dot can be also illuminated. With an open center reticle, you have a clearer picture because the reticle doesn’t cover a lot of the target.

The main difference, whatsoever, is in the reticle placement. In the Blaser, the reticle is set in the first focal plane, what means, that the reticle gets thicker on big magnifications and thinner on smaller magnifications. On the Swarovski, on the other hand, is the reticle set in the second focal plane, so it has the same dimensions on all magnifications. Both reticles have some advantages and disadvantages.

Like mentioned, both rifle scopes have an illuminated reticle. Illuminated is only a small dot in the middle, for as little coverage as possible. On both rifle scopes, the illumination is strong enough even for daytime use and can be very precisely adjusted. They feature even a motion sensor that shuts the illumination off if the weapon is tilted into a non-firing position. They have also an auto turn-off function which shuts the illumination off if you don’t use the rifle for a longer time to save battery life.

Another big advantage from Swarovski is in the reticle style selection. You can choose between 4 different styles for different types of hunting. Not so at Blaser, because you can have only 1 reticle style, named reticle 60. This is a little bit disappointing because some users would prefer a different reticle, especially because it is positioned in the first focal plane.

TLDR
Both rifle scopes have very similar reticles, with just a small difference in the middle. The main difference, whatsoever, is in the reticle placement, because in the Blaser is the reticle placed in the first focal plane, and in Swarovski in the second focal plane. Both have illuminated reticles that are also daytime strong. At Swarovski, you can choose from 4 different reticles and at Blaser only 1.

Blaser Infinity IC 2.8-20×50 – reticle 60

Turret properties:

 

A: Blaser Infinity IC 2.8-20×50

B: Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50

Turret Style:

BDC

Capped

Click value:

0.1 mrad

0.1 mrad

MTC function:

No

No

Number of turns:

Single-turn

Multi-turn

Turn indication:

CW

CW

Zero stop:

Yes

No

Position locking:

Yes

No

Elevation in one turn:

8 mrad (80cm/100m)

7.8 mrad

Total travel of turret:

8 mrad

16.1 mrad

BDC turret type:

Lockable

Optional / Lockable

BDC turret accuracy:

0.1 MIL (1cm/100m)

0.1 MIL (1cm/100m)

BDC turret flexibility:

No

Yes

Turret size:

10/10

7/10

Elevation range:

33 mrad

16.1 mrad

Windage range:

14 mrad

16.1 mrad

Click sound

10/10

8/10

Click feeling

10/10

8/10

Ease of zeroing

9/10

9/10

All in all (40 total points)

38

32

The turrets on those rifle scopes are completely different, simply because on the Blaser there is a BDC turret and on the Swarovski, the turrets are capped. The clicks on both are in mil, what means that one click is exactly 1 cm on 100 meters.

As I already mentioned in the previous reviews, the turrets on the Blaser are one of the best on the market between hunting rifle scopes. But, also these turrets have a disadvantage, and this is the flexibility. On these turrets, the user can not change the turret with a different one, where the personal ballistic curve of your specific hunting bullet could be. This means, now the user has to know exactly how many clicks he has to make on different distances to hit the target. The elevation turret has a single-turn design, with 80 clicks available in a single turn. The clicks go in the clockwise direction, and the turret features also a zero stop function. On the zero and 4 clicks above zero, the elevation turret can be locked, for protection against accidental movement. Above the 4 clicks, the turret cannot be locked, so the user sees after the shot or after the hunt that he has to dial back. Because of this feature, the hunter can’t forget the turret dialed in for a further distance, what could cause a miss at near distances. The windage turret is capped for protection, but under this cap is a really nicely designed small turret that has great audible clicks.

The turrets on the Swarovski are capped, so we could not compare a real Swarovski ballistic turret with the one on the Blaser. The small turret which is under the cap has a multi-turn design, and the clicks feel really good and are audible. What is a little bit strange, is that in one turn are 78 clicks and not a full number like 80. The small turret is made of plastic, what does not have a high-quality feeling.

For the Swarovski the user can order additionally 1 or even 2 ballistic turrets, depending on the needs. The big disadvantage from this design are the additional costs, because 1 turret costs the user 261 EUR, or even 522 EUR if the user wants to have both turrets changed. The good thing is, the turrets can be changed by the user itself, so you can order them also after a while when you see if you need them or not. These turrets have also a big advantage over the Blaser turrets because you can mark with numbers different distances for your exact bullet trajectory.

When we compare the two rifle scopes, we can see that Blaser has a much bigger elevation range than the Swarovski. This is, like I previously mentioned, because of the much bigger main tube diameter, because the internal parts have more space to travel. In my opinion, for hunting purposes, even the elevation range from the Swarovski is enough, because with such an elevation you can easily shoot 500 meters or even further with some magnum calibers.

The parallax on both rifle scopes is adjustable, on the Swarovski with an additional turret on the left side of the rifle scope, which can be rotated to the desired setting. On exactly 100 meters, there is a light click, so the user can feel it even in the dark where the turret is adjusted. The Blaser, on the other hand, has the parallax adjustment on the right side of the rifle scope, what is a little bit inconvenient to use. Whatsoever, the parallax adjustment turret has a great locking function on exact 100 meters, and for adjusting, you have to pull the turret out to change the setting. So in the dark, you just have to turn the turret until it locks in place, and then you automatically know that the adjustment is on 100 meters.

For the illumination on the Blaser, we have an additional small turret on the parallax turret, which is also locked in place. To turn the illumination on, you have to pull the turret out and then only adjust the brightness to the desired value. If you turn the illumination off, the scope knows your last setting, and when you turn it back on, it will be on the exact same setting as last time. On the Swarovski is the illumination control located on the upper side of the eyepiece, and has a small lever with which you turn the illumination on for daytime or nighttime use. For fine adjustments, there are two small buttons with plus or minus for the brightness. What I don’t like on the Swarovski is the small lever, because you can easily turn the illumination on when you stow your rifle in a bag.

Blaser Infinity IC 2.8-20×50 rifle scope turrets

Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50 P rifle scope turrets

General properties:

 

A: Blaser Infinity IC 2.8-20×50

B: Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50

Made in:

Germany

Austria

Introduced in:

2018

2016

Available original accessories:

Yes

Yes

Warranty period:

10 years

10 years

MRSP Price:

3289 €

2609 € (3191€ with Ballistic Turrets and mounting rail)

The Blaser rifle scopes are made in Germany, in their own facility in Wetzlar. These optics are produced by GSO (German Sports Optics), which was founded in 2013 when Minox, Optronika and L&O Group united. Both, Minox and Optronika have a long experience in optics, especially in the rifle scopes production. Because Blaser rifle scopes are on the market for just a few months, they don’t yet have original accessories available.

Swarovski, on the other hand, has their own facility in Austria, in the city of Absam in Tirol. This company has already a very long tradition in hunting optics, and they constantly introduce new optics since 1949. This particular rifle scope we tested, the Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50 was introduced in 2016, and for this model you get all kind of original accessories like flip-up covers, cleaning cloths, neoprene covers and so on.

Both rifle scopes come with a 10 years long warranty, but I am sure that even after a longer time these company’s will repair the scopes if it comes to some defects.

In the price, we see that there is a quite big difference, that Swarovski is for almost 700 EUR cheaper than the Blaser. In my opinion, the price difference is fair, because it features fewer features than the Blaser, and also the optical characteristics are better on the Blaser. Whatsoever, the price difference gets smaller when we add the ballistic turrets and the mounting rail on the Swarovski. With both additional turrets and the mounting rail, the Swarovski get much more expensive, but still, the Blaser costs more. The price difference is then less than 100 EUR.

 

Conclusion

The build quality of both rifle scopes is on the highest level as we would expect from a product in this price range. The only downside in the build quality, in my opinion, are the plastic turret covers on the Swarovski, which have a cheap feeling. On the Blaser, I see the only downside also in the turrets, because they can not be optimized for a specific bullet trajectory. Here scores the Swarovski, because you can additionally buy ballistic turrets and mount them without any help of a gunsmith directly on the existing turrets. This turret can then be optimized precisely for your trajectory.

What I really like on the Swarovski is the elegant design, and that they still achieve competitive optical characteristics with a much smaller tube diameter than the Blaser. In the optical characteristics, the Blaser is definitely a much better scope, but it lacks in the field of view, where the Swarovski has the upper hand on all magnifications. The Swarovski is also lighter in weight, what is also a very important information, but it is also a little bit longer than the Blaser.

In the end, I think that both are great rifle scopes suitable for all-round hunting, but none of them is perfect. Both rifle scopes could need some improvements, like the elevation turret on the Blaser, which should be adjustable for easier use for hunters, and on the Swarovski definitely the optical characteristics. If you take all the features the Swarovski offers, it is still cheaper than the Blaser. And if you don’t need some special features, the price difference gets quite big, what is definitely a big advantage of the Swarovski.

Disclaimer

 

We would like to thank Optics-Trade for letting us use and test the above-mentioned products. We also thank them for letting us use their videos.

This featured test is impartial and we always try our best not to prejudice and favor one product over the other. Our team of enthusiasts who tests these products and writes these articles is doing it from dedication, as rifle scopes are our big passion. We also feel a great amount of joy and satisfaction when we know that we have contributed and shared with you our experiences. We try not to be biased and try to be as accurate as possible when interpreting our sightings. We will do our best to described things as they really are.

How the testing is done:

Our team comprises of two enthusiasts who write the articles for a hobby, and our very helpful unbiased friends who help us make the evaluations, such as the optical characteristics. As we are volunteers/enthusiasts we are not always present in the same numbers. Our ranks can fluctuate from 5 to around 8 people at the time of a test. Other than the two of us who are responsible for writing the articles our friends have almost zero experience in rifle scopes. They have no prejudice and are, as such perfect for our objective observations. None-the-less we always try our best to hide all the labels that can give away the products ID. For that reason, we mount the rifle scopes in parallel on a special stand and cover them so the brand names are not visible.

We accurately fine tune the parallax on all the testing products for observing trees and buildings at 200 m and each person sets the diopter for their specific needs.

After we are sure that the test can be done without preferations we ask our volunteers to test the following parameters:

  • Central sharpness – subjective impression at 2.8x, 8x and 16x

  • Edge sharpness – subjective impression at 2.8x, 8x and 16x

  • Inner reflections – subjective impression at 2.8x, 8x and 16x

  • FOV – subjective impression at 2.8x, 8x and 16x

  • Eye-box – subjective impression at 2.8x, 8x and 16x

  • Overall – subjective impression

In this article, we tested optical properties with 8 volunteers, which have no experiences with tactical scopes and have no bias towards any of these two brands. To be exact none of the volunteers even knew any of these two brands before the test. Both scopes were mounted in parallel and people observed trees and buildings about 200 meters away. Parallax was fine-tuned before the test and each person also adjusted the diopter setting for himself. From 8 volunteers 4 were women and 4 were men.

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