Zeiss 3-12 x 56
- By Pete Moore
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 15/12/2016
Laser rangefinders are without a doubt a boon to the modern hunter, as knowing the distance to the target can only improve your chance of a first round hit. In the UK we are mainly used to hand-held monoculars or binoculars, however, they have also been incorporated into telescopic sights. Today there are three options. Burris and Bushnell offer an almost identical model with their 4-12x42 Eliminator and Yardage Pro 4-12x42 BDC models accordingly, hardly surprising as they are made in the same factory.
The German Approach
Carl Zeiss have their Victory Diarange line, which consists of two near identical models offering different specs - 2.5-10x50 T* and 3-12x56 T*. First you must be aware that mounting is by a Zeiss rail only. So whatever rifle you have you will need to find out if you can fit one. Not a problem as I used my Mauser M03 Extreme with a 222 Rem Match/Fluted barrel with their dedicated QD mount.
The Diarange is not small, the 3-12x56 weighs in at a shade over 2 lbs and is 14” long. The 2.5-10x50 is 0.8” shorter and 2.64oz lighter. The layout is reasonably conventional with the only difference being the wider/rectangular shape of the left side body tube that incorporates the laser projector and behind it the reticule illumination controls. Scopes are available in metric (1cm) and Imperial (1/4”) clicks with Zeiss’ ballistic ASV turret so you can dial in corrections. The effective measuring distance is 10 to 999 yards, with a +/- accuracy of 1 yard at 650 yards.
Press ‘n’ Laze
Reticule choice consists of Zeiss’ Rapid Z in either RZ600 or RZ800 versions, which is a full ballistic, Christmas tree pattern compatible with any calibre. The 3-12x50 came with their #43 (Mil-Dot), given the ASV turret I prefer this simpler pattern. Though it does seems a bit odd building in an optical rangefinding system given the integral laser!
Controls consist of a two-button rheostat left/rear, with separate + & - controls, which are pressed in unison to turn it ON/OFF, then singly to adjust brightness. In the case of the #43 reticule only the Mil-Dot section is lit. The rear of the laser tube also houses the single CR123A battery. On the underside about 3” from the objective lens is the control button, which is operated by the supporting hand. A remote cable/ pressure pad that can be located on the forend is optional and is worth it too!
What you see is a circular picture with a flat base, under which is the three digit range read out in red, which displays for 3 – 4 seconds, with a quoted measuring duration of 0.5 second. Click values on this model are 1cm @ 100 metres. The windage turret is a standard capped design that lifts to disengage the drum for setting to 0. It offers 70-clicks per turn in windage and 1 3/4 rotations.
Elevation is a bit more involved as the turret is effectively two systems. The outer ASV drum lifts to engage and rotate and gives a single turn of 68-clicks (68 cms/26.7”) @ 100m only, as the stop pins take up two clicks on the drum. Values are cumulative so at 200m for example each click is now worth 2 cms and so on. To zero the ASV turret is removed by undoing the screw in the top, be aware there’s a spring and plate under this. Underneath is a removable drum that engages with the inside of the ASV turret, it also has a pin. A stop pin is positioned at 9 o’clock on the fixed section of the turret, which does the same thing as a zero stop. Here you get 80-clicks per turn and two full rotations and you zero in the normal manner, if you come up to the stop pin you simply lift the drum, go past it and drop it down again.
Once zeroed position the pin of the removable drum in front of the fixed pin at 9 o’clock (looking from the rear of the scope). Fit the ASV turret so its 0 line coincides with the fixed line on the saddle and re-fit the spring top cap and screw and you’re done. To wind in corrections turn the turret clockwise.
Press, Set and Shoot
With the 222 Rem I ran the ballistics of the 40-grain Hornady load through my Ballistic FTE package and set zero at 190-yards. All done it was time for live testing on rabbits and hares, which are plentiful on my land. All you do is place the cross hair on the target and hold it there while you press the laser button and the readout shows the range. I checked this using my Leica 8x56 BRF (laser binos) and distances were cock on. My best shot of the session was 360 yards, though as you push the distance you need to be dead on with your firing technique and also wind correction as small errors can become big mistakes down range.
Typically Zeiss; dusk and dawn operation was excellent with exterior lenses getting their LotuTec water repellent coating. One thing that all rangefinders suffer from is mist and fog, as the water vapour refracts the laser beam so negating the reading and there’s not a lot you can do about it!
I found the Diarange to be an efficient design, though for me I would not take it deer hunting as its heavy and I see it more as a varminting tool. However, I would prefer a x15 maximum magnification, though x12 certainly works. It is also far easier to get on to and maintain on target for a correct reading, certainly more so than LRF monoculars or binos. The UK Zeiss distributors told me they only bring in the metric version, but can get the imperial if pre-ordered.
Accurate, reliable and comprehensive package
Rail mount only, expensive and remote not included
An exceptional but specialised scope, would like to see a x15 option too
PRICES: £2,740 inc vat