For many airgun hunters, the relatively low power of their equipment is a reality of their environment and the terrain over which they are able to hunt. That said, for the vast majority, the challenge and intimacy of having to stalk with 30 or so metres to place an accurate shot with a 12 ft. lbs. rifle is a large part of the attraction.

However, in recent years, air rifle design and engineering sophistication has evolved apace, and modern pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) rifles are not only extremely accurate but increasingly powerful as well. Where laws allow, air rifles are capable of outputs of 100 ft. lbs. or more, enabling them to propel 40 grain plus ammunition at well over 1,000 feet per second (fps). 

In fact, for a long time, airgun ammunition and the inherent aerodynamic inefficiencies of pellets was the key factor holding back the potential of high powered air rifles. However, advancements in airgun ammunition design, not least the evolution of significantly more ballistically efficient slugs, is changing that.

Check out Richard’s review of the Conquest V4 on Alpha Militaria’s YouTube Channel.

zeiss conquest v4

Many will argue about the ethics of hunting at distances of 100 metres or more with an air rifle, but there’s no denying that elite equipment is capable of sufficient accuracy and knock down power on pests and small game at that kind of range; YouTube is full of videos proving so. And for those who don’t hunt, extreme range target shooting is increasingly popular as well. 

Presented with previously undreamed of performance from their rifle, it’s no surprise that many airgunners are less prepared to compromise on the quality of the optics they use and want a scope that is capable of exploiting its potential.

ZEISS is a name whose products many airgunners have for a long time perceived as being the preserve of big bore hunters. However, whilst its new second focal plane Conquest V4 range is most definitely suited to large calibre users who shoot long distances, the price point means they also have a lot to offer airgunners looking to move to the next level.

The fundamental requirement of any shooting optic is the quality of the image it enables. Designed and engineered in Germany, the lightweight Conquest V4 series comprises four nitrogen purged, water and fog proof scopes with magnification options ranging from 3-12x to 6-24x and 44, 50 and 56mm size objective lens. All four scopes feature the company’s T* six-layer light-transmission coating, as well as LotuTec protective lens coating, to enable 90 per cent to-the-eye light transmission and maximise target resolution across the entire magnification range.

The 30mm tube also helps maximise available light and provides a chassis for a range of features that whilst designed principally for rimfire and centrefire shooters, are ideal for airgunners too.

For example, pulling out the windage turret accesses an adjustment range of 80 MOA in ¼ MOA increments and pushing it back in locks the turret firmly in place. Each click is highly defined and avoids any kind of sense of ‘did I move it or not?’. The elevation turret however, which long-range shooters are likely to adjust more frequently, does not lock but is designed to adjust easily by hand but with enough resistance to avoid any accidental movement. 

Clear rotation scale indicators make it easy to see what you have dialled in and the inclusion of a ballistic stop means that once zeroed, you can make elevation adjustments without having to remember how many clicks are needed to return to your set distance.

‘Ergonomic’ and ‘tactile’ describes most of the features on the Conquest V4 scopes, as you’d expect. The magnification collar will be used more than most other adjustments and operates smoothly. And despite being weighted with just enough resistance to allow for precise adjustment, there is provision for a throw handle accessory to be screwed in for even easier operation.

To accommodate varying ranges, something particularly important for airgunners, even those who use high powered rifles, the ability to adjust parallax at close ranges is vital. Each model in the V4 range has two versions – one that parallaxes from 10 yards to infinity and one that parallaxes from 50 yards to infinity – so make sure you choose the right one. Adjustment is via a silky smooth sidewheel that is textured to aid grip, even when wearing gloves. In addition, a dioptre adjustment brings the reticle into sharp focus. 

Reticles are as much a personal choice as they are functional. There are six different styles to choose from, all of which feature thin, clearly defined lines and enhanced engravings to make them easier to read, even in low light conditions. Four of the reticles have an illumination feature. Accessed by a dial next to the parallax adjustment wheel, there are ten levels of illumination with an ‘off’ position between each one.

Whilst I like to use the best equipment my pocket will allow, as a lifelong airgunner my attitude towards scopes has always been that as long as they enable me to acquire a target at 30 or 40 metres any capabilities beyond those distances are largely superfluous. Daft I know, but there you are.

conquest v4

Over the last year or so, I have been using high-powered air rifles – principally a 95ft. lbs. FX Impact .30 set up to shoot pellets, and a 67 ft. lbs. Daystate Delta Wolf through which I shoot .22 slugs. Both are easily capable of tight groups at 100 metres and I regularly shoot rabbits humanely at 60 or 70 metres.

Although my regular scopes have performed well enough, I’ve always suspected they could potentially be the weak link in my set ups. So when the opportunity to review a couple of ZEISS Conquest V4 scopes came about, I leapt at the chance.

For no particular reason, the 6-24x50 model went on the FX Impact and the Daystate Delta Wolf was treated to the 4-16x50 scope. Immediately obvious was the fact that at just 360mm, the scopes were much shorter than the products they replaced. And at 650 grams they lightened the set up as well.

Luckily enough, when it came to a field test, I was blessed with a windless day. Zeroing the scopes on the rifles at 50 metres from a rested position, the way the impact points tracked across the target clearly demonstrated just how precisely and instantly the windage and elevation turrets operated. And looking through the glass reinforced just how good an image through a scope could be. Colours were crisper and there was absolutely no distortion as I moved through the magnification ranges at extreme distances. Both review scopes had the ZMOAi-T30 reticle, and whilst the markings are small, they are clear and easily distinguishable, allowing for precise shot placement.

Over the last year or so, I have been using high-powered air rifles – principally a 95ft. lbs. FX Impact .30 set up to shoot pellets, and a 67 ft. lbs. Daystate Delta Wolf through which I shoot .22 slugs. Both are easily capable of tight groups at 100 metres and I regularly shoot rabbits humanely at 60 or 70 metres.

Although my regular scopes have performed well enough, I’ve always suspected they could potentially be the weak link in my set ups. So when the opportunity to review a couple of ZEISS Conquest V4 scopes came about, I leapt at the chance.

zeiss conquest v4

For no particular reason, the 6-24x50 model went on the FX Impact and the Daystate Delta Wolf was treated to the 4-16x50 scope. Immediately obvious was the fact that at just 360mm, the scopes were much shorter than the products they replaced. And at 650 grams they lightened the set up as well.

Luckily enough, when it came to a field test, I was blessed with a windless day. Zeroing the scopes on the rifles at 50 metres from a rested position, the way the impact points tracked across the target clearly demonstrated just how precisely and instantly the windage and elevation turrets operated. And looking through the glass reinforced just how good an image through a scope could be. Colours were crisper and there was absolutely no distortion as I moved through the magnification ranges at extreme distances. Both review scopes had the ZMOAi-T30 reticle, and whilst the markings are small, they are clear and easily distinguishable, allowing for precise shot placement.

Conclusion

Having splashed out near enough £2,000, or more in some cases, for a top-of-the-range high power air rifle, the thought of finding another £1,000 plus for a scope is hard to bear, especially when plenty of products in the £200 – 300 range serve most airgunners needs.

However, as many airgunning sages are fond of saying – there’s no point spending good money on a rifle only to put cheap pellets through it. I’d argue that when it comes to exploiting the enhanced potential of a modern air rifle, especially in ultra-high power formats, the same logic applies to scopes.

The experience of field testing the 4-16 x 50 and 6-24 x50 ZEISS Conquest V4 models has opened my eyes – literally – to what is possible.