Introduction

In this review, we have 2 European hunting rifle scopes, and one of them is completely new in this game – Blaser. His competitor is this comparison is one of the most famous rifle scopes manufacturers in the world, especially in the hunting scene – Swarovski.

Like said, Swarovski is one of the biggest names in the hunting industry and is one of the trendsetters when it comes to high-quality optics for hunting and bird watching. They offer a wide spectrum of binoculars, rifle scopes, and spotting scopes, for every kind of use.

At the beginning of this year, Swarovski got a new competitor, which started to produce high-quality optics from the first step forward. His new competitor is Blaser, which is known for their big sortiment of rifles, ammunition and hunting clothes. In the beginning, Blaser started to produce high-quality binoculars, but now they produce also rifle scopes of the highest class. These new rifle scopes are named Infinity, and only 3 different rifle scopes are in the series, for any kind of hunting use. All of their optics are completely made in Germany.

In this comparison, we were testing the two best low-light rifle scopes of each manufacturer, the Swarovski 2.3-18×56 and the Blaser 4-20x58iC.

Size and weight:

 

A: Blaser Infinity 4-20×58 iC

B: Swarovski Z8i 2.3-18×56

Weight:

770 g

725 g

Length:

365 mm

364 mm

Tube diameter:

36 mm

30 mm

Diopter setting:

 

-3 / +2

Parallax adjustment:

50 m to infinity

50 m to infinity

Mounting with rail:

YES

YES

Number of Colors:

1

1

When you see both rifle scopes together, you probably think that the Blaser has to be much heavier than the Swarovski, because it looks bulkier and massive. The difference though isn’t so big, just 45 grams, even if the Blaser has a 36-millimeter main tube, a Zeiss mounting rail, 2 millimeters bigger objective lens and a lockable ballistic turret as standard. If we had a Swarovski with a ballistic turret, the difference would be even smaller.

In the length, both rifle scopes are very equal, and when you adjust your diopter you won’t even notice that one or the other is longer. Like mentioned, the Blaser Infinity has a huge 36-millimeter main tube, what is very uncommon for hunting rifle scopes. Currently, there are only 2 manufacturers that produce hunting rifle scopes with such a big diameter body, the new Blaser and Zeiss V8.

The parallax on both rifle scopes is adjustable because of the big maximal magnifications, and the adjustment range goes from 50 meters to infinity. On the Swarovski, the parallax clicks when you are exactly on 100 meters, so even at night you always know where your parallax adjustment is.

On the Blaser, on the other hand, the parallax locks in place at exact 100 meters, so even if you walk with the rifle in the hand it can not change the setting if you hit an obsticle.

Swarovski Z8i 2.3-18×56 P (on the left) vs Blaser Infinity 4-20×58 iC (on the right)

Optical properties:

 

A: Blaser Infinity 4-20×58 iC

B: Swarovski Z8i 2.3-18×56

Minimal magnification:

4x

2.3x

Maximal magnification:

20x

18x

Zoom factor:

5

7.3

Maximal Field of View:

9.2 m / 100 m

18.6 m / 100 m

Minimal Field of View:

1.9 m / 100 m

2.3 m / 100 m

Minimal eye relief:

90 mm

95 mm

Maximal eye relief:

90 mm

95 mm

Light transmission – declared:

90%

93%

Tunneling effect at low magnifications:

No

No

Central sharpness – subjective impression at 4x, 10x and 18x magnification:

4x magnification – 4

10x magnification – 5

18x magnification – 5

4x magnification – 4

10x magnification – 3

18x magnification – 3

Edge sharpness – subjective impression at 4x, 10x and 18x magnification:

4x magnification – 5

10x magnification – 4

18x magnification – 6

4x magnification – 3

10x magnification – 4

18x magnification – 2

Inner reflections at 4x, 10x and 18x magnification:

4x magnification – 6

10x magnification – 5

18x magnification – 7

4x magnification – 2

10x magnification – 3

18x magnification – 1

FOV – subjective impression at 4x and 15x magnification:

4x magnification – 0

15x magnification – 1

4x magnification – 8

15x magnification – 7

Eye-box at 4x and 15x magnification:

4x magnification – 7

15x magnification – 4

4x magnification – 1

15x magnification – 4

Overall – subjective impression:

5

3

All in all (112 total points)

64

48

The biggest benefit of the Swarovski is definitely the magnification range from 2.3 to 18 times. With its 7.3 times zoom factor, you can use one rifle scope for many different hunting scenarios, from stalking to mountain hunting and even raised hide hunting. Here the Blaser is in a disadvantage because this Blaser was built specifically for low-light hunting. The zoom factor is only 5 times, because you get a much better light transmission with smaller zoom factors compared to big ones.

Like previously mentioned, the biggest benefit of the Swarovski is the small magnification and that’s why the big field of view of 18.6 meters at 100 meters. This is really a lot, and because of the big field of view, the hunter can much faster find the desired target than with a rifle scope with a small field of view.

The eye-relief on the Blaser is 90 millimeters, what is enough for shooting even the strongest recoiling calibers. Whatsoever, Swarovski made the eye-relief even longer to 95 millimeters to be even safer.

The Light transmission in the Blaser is 90%, and 93% in the Swarovski. The difference is quite big, but because of the bigger objective lens, the Blaser Infinity is still brighter in low light than the Swarovski.

And now we came to the optical quality of both rifle scopes. Here we can see that the Blaser got more points in all properties except in the field of view, which we tested on the same magnifications. Like previously mentioned, the field of view is the biggest advantage of the Swarovski. Optically we see that the Blaser is very strong when it comes to sharpness of the image. The biggest difference whatsoever was in the inner reflections, where Swarovski scored only 6 points from 24. We could not believe that the Swarovski has so many reflections when you aim at a bright target, so that it is really disturbing if you want to see some details. When you are with your eye completely in the center of the eye-box, the reflections are blue colored and shine away from the bright target. If you move your eye to the edge of the eye-box, the reflections get bigger and they slightly change colors. On the Blaser, these reflections were much less to see, even if we moved our eyes around the eye-box. The last, but also big difference was in the eye-box comparison, where Blaser got 11 points and Swarovski only 5. From 8 testers, 5 would rather buy a Blaser instead of a Swarovski.

One disadvantage that we noticed on the Blaser was a ˝barrel˝ image distortion on the small magnification. We noticed when we tested the eye-box, that the picture moves around like it is round in the center. It is not a big disadvantage because it does not affect the image quality or the accuracy of the rifle scope, but it is worth to mention it.

Swarovski Z8i 2.3-18×56 P (on the left) vs Blaser Infinity 4-20×58 iC (on the right)

Reticle properties:

 

A: Blaser Infinity 4-20×58 iC

B: Swarovski Z8i 2.3-18×56

Focal plane:

FFP

SFP

Reticle name

60

BRX-I

Reticle illumination:

Yes, RED

Yes, RED

Daylight strong illumination:

Yes

Yes

Illumination intensity tuning:

Yes

Yes

Illuminated dot coverage:

/

0.8 – 6.5 cm/100m

Minimal reticle thickness:

 

0.3cm / 100m (at 18x magnification)

Motion sensor:

Yes

Yes

Auto turn-off:

Yes

Yes

Reticle styles:

1

4

Very interesting is that Blaser decided to make hunting rifle scopes that have a reticle in the first focal plane. This is very uncommon in hunting optics, and only a few manufacturers produce such hunting rifle scopes (Schmidt & Bender, Docter/Noblex, Kaps and so on). Whatsoever, Blaser rifle scopes feature an innovative Swiss phase grating technology for the reticle, so that even at high magnifications, the reticle is still very fine. The name of the reticle is 60, and it is a very simple crosshair design that has a small dot in the middle which can be illuminated with red color. The illumination is adjustable for low light and even strong daylight use. Unfortunately, I could not find the reticle coverage at 100 meters and the minimal reticle thickness.

The reticle in the Swarovski is in the second focal plane, named BRX-I. This is a BDC reticle with lines for different distances and additional lines for wind deflection. Because it is in the second focal plane, the user has to be very cautious that he uses the reticle always on the same magnification, because on different magnifications the reticle has different spacings corresponding to the image. Also this reticle is illuminated with a red dot in the middle, which has 32 intensity settings for low light use and 32 intensity settings for daylight use. The illuminated dot covers from 0.8 cm to 6.5 cm of the target at 100 meters, depending on the magnification. On 18x magnification, the coverage is the smallest. The same is with the reticle thickness, at 18x the minimal thickness is only 0.3 cm.

Both rifle scopes feature a motion sensor which shuts the illumination off when the rifle scope is in a lying position or when the rifle scope is looking straight up or downwards to extend the battery life. One big advantage of the Swarovski is in the reticle selection, because they offer 4 different reticles for different hunting situations. Blaser, on the other hand, offers only one reticle, what is a little bit disappointing, especially for hunters that hunt also long-range. Because the reticle is in the first focal plane, few lines under the center would be optimal for bullet drop compensation without clicking the turrets.

Swarovski BRX-I reticle on the left and Blaser 60 reticle on the right

Turret properties:

 

A: Blaser Infinity 4-20×58 iC

B: Swarovski Z8i 2.3-18×56

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)

7.8mrad (78cm/100m)

Total travel of turret:

8 mrad (80cm/100m)

20 mrad (200cm/100m)

BDC turret type:

Lockable

Optional / Lockable

BDC turret accuracy:

0.1 MIL (1 cm/100m)

0.1 MIL

BDC turret flexibility:

No

Yes

Turret size:

10/10

7/10

Elevation range:

8 mrad

20 mrad

Windage range:

18 mrad

18 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

Unfortunately, we had only the capped version of the Swarovski, so we could not compare the BDC turret against the Blaser Infinity turrets.

The turrets on the Blaser Infinity are somehow unique, thanks to the locking function and still the design like they were capped. The design is really nice, and you have to pull the elevation turret up to adjust the clicks for the bullet drop compensation. A really nice feature is that the turret locks only on the zero adjustment and 4 clicks over the zero. Everywhere else the turret does not lock, so the user visually sees that he has to travel back to zero after the shot or after the hunt. The windage turret, on the other hand, is capped for protection, but under this cap is a really nicely designed turret. What is also interesting is that Blaser decided to build the rifle scope with the windage turret on the left side of the rifle scope, and the parallax and illumination are located on the right side of the rifle scope.

Like mentioned, the turrets on the Swarovski are capped, so the comparison is a little bit unfair. But, if I mention that the ballistic turrets are optional on the Swarovski, which cost an additional 261 EUR per piece, and on the Blaser it is serial, then the comparison gets fairer.

Under the caps are small turrets on which BTF turrets can be fitted without any tools. The small turrets have a multi-turn design and can be adjusted back to zero after you shot your rifle in. On both rifle scopes, the clicks are in 0.1 MIL of adjustment per click, what is equal to 1cm on 100 meters. Both rifle scopes have elevation turrets with a counterclockwise turn indication.

In one turn of the elevation turret on the Blaser the reticle moves for 80 centimeters, what is enough for hunting on extreme ranges. For comparison, with a .308 Win, this elevation range should be enough for around 700-800 meters. On the Swarovski turret, you can make 78 clicks in one turn, what is a little bit strange that they didn’t take a full number like 80.

The turret size, click sound and click feeling is excellent on the Blaser, and I have to say they are one of my favorite hunting turrets on the market. Only the zeroing is a little bit complicated, but because you do this only once, it doesn’t even matter. On the Swarovski, the turrets are very small, and the adjustment ring under the cap is made of plastic, so it does not have such a high-quality feeling.

Very nicely designed turret on the Blaser is also for the illumination, because you have to pull the turret out to turn the illumination on. Then, you simply have to turn the turret slightly to adjust the brightness of the reticle. When you don’t need the illumination anymore, you just have to push the turret back in. The Infinity rifle scopes feature also an iC (illumination Control) sensor, which in combination with a Blaser rifle which also features the iC sensor, turns the red dot automatically on when you cock the rifle. All new Blaser R8 rifles and all Blaser Infinity rifle scopes come now with this sensor as standard.

Also the illumination control on the Swarovski is very nicely designed and is located on the eye-piece of the rifle scope. Here a small lever stays out towards your eyes, with which one you adjust the daylight or low-light illumination. On the upper side, you have additional buttons for adjusting the brightness setting.

Swarovski Z8i 2.3-18×56 P (on the left) vs Blaser Infinity 4-20×58 iC (on the right)

General properties:

 

A: Blaser Infinity 4-20×58 iC

B: Swarovski Z8i 2.3-18×56

Made in:

Germany

Austria

Introduced in:

2018

2016

Available original accessories:

Yes

Yes

Warranty period:

10 years

10 years

MRSP Price:

3289 €

3120 €

Both rifle scopes are made in Europe, Blaser in Germany and Swarovski in Austria. Swarovski is producing all their optical products near the city of Innsbruck in their own facility. Blaser, on the other hand, does not make their optics alone, but they are produced in the facility of GSO (German Sports Optics), which produces also high-end tactical rifle scopes for Minox.

Like previously mentioned, the Blaser Infinity rifle scopes were introduced on IWA Outdoor Classics 2018 in Germany. Swarovski introduced the Z8i line of rifle scopes already 2 years ago on IWA 2016, and since then they are on the market.

Because the Blaser rifle scopes are completely new, there are yet no original accessories available. Completely different is with Swarovski, because they offer a wide range of accessories for their rifle scopes, such as flip-up covers, neoprene scope covers, throw levers and so on.

Both rifle scopes feature a 10 years long warranty, but even after the 10 years, they will surely repair their products if something goes wrong.

And the last – the price. Both rifle scopes are very expensive and they reach over 3000EUR each. For a newcomer on the market, I think the price is too big, but every user has to decide what he wants. The one big difference whatsoever is what you get for the price, if we compare that the Blaser comes already with a ballistic turret and a Zeiss mounting rail, and Swarovski not. For a ballistic turret on the Swarovski, you have to pay additional 261 EUR, or even 522 EUR if you want the same turret also on the windage. Additionally, you have to add 60 EUR if you want to mount the rifle scope with a mounting rail (Swarovski SR rail). So if we make a summary, the Swarovski with similar features like the Blaser (with Rail and 1 ballistic turret) comes to a price of 3441 Euros. This is a very proud price, and with this price, it gets for 152 Euros more expensive than the Blaser Infinity 4-20×58 iC. 

Blaser Infinity 4-20×58 iC rifle scope

Conclusion

These two rifle scopes represent the top class of hunting rifle scopes, and I can really confirm that the price makes a difference in the quality. I have to say that we were impressed with the build quality and the optical quality of the Blaser rifle scope, but also the Swarovski is not far behind.

What I like about the Swarovski is the slick and elegant design, because they still use the 30-millimeter main tube. Because of that, this rifle scope does not look so bulky like the Blaser. The big benefit is also the much wider field of view, what is very important for night-time hunting, especially when using the rifle scope with a clip-on night vision or thermal device.

Another advantage of the Swarovski are also the adjustable BTF turrets, so every hunter can adjust the turrets for their specific bullet trajectory, and the on the field, you just turn the turret on the number on what distance you are then shooting. Blaser, on the other hand, has only standard clicks and unfortunately no option to change with a ballistic ring. The last advantage of the Swarovski is the stronger illumination, but for a low-light hunting rifle scope, I think it is not so much of an importance. 

In the end, I think that the Blaser is the better rifle scope for low-light hunting, and for the price you get more than on the Swarovski. Where the Swarovski scores is the big range of usage, because of its big zoom range the rifle scope gets very universal. Even if the Blaser can easily be compared to one of the best rifle scopes manufacturers on the market, I still think that the price is too high for a totally new optics brand that is not yet established on the market.

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 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 4x, 10x and 18x

  • Edge sharpness – subjective impression at 4x, 10x and 18x

  • Inner reflections – subjective impression at 4x, 10x and 18x

  • FOV – subjective impression at 4x and 15x

  • Eye-box – subjective impression at 4x and 15x

  • Overall – subjective impression

In this article, we tested optical properties with 8 volunteers, which have no experiences with hunting 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 2 were women and 6 were men.

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