Swarovski DS Gen II 5-25x52
- By Chris Parkin
- 4 Comments
- Last updated: 23/08/2021
Swarovski’s dS Gen II riflescope is the latest update integrating long range ballistics calculation alongside a rangefinder, within with the riflescope itself. An additional LCOS display screen is added to effectively display data on the screen as well as a red bar underneath the conventional 4A-I reticle, to highlight the old-fashioned holdover concept allied to the latest technology. A small amount of light transmission is lost through the scope’s glassware with 83% now listed for extended light hunting, but compromise is a factor of engineering and this scope’s application may be very different to that of the close-range low light hunter.
The scope begins with a 52mm objective lens shrouded within the makers characteristically, beautifully machined main tube with seamless hard anodising.
The objective swamps down into a 40mm body tube which although large, doesn’t actually force the scope’s bore axis to sit any higher relative to the barrel than any other 56mm optic, it just requires the correct low-profile mounts. The top and right side of the objective outer show removable covers concealing the elevation and windage controls, accessed with a small Torx driver and adjusted using another tool. Swarovski supply these, hidden within the top turret’s cap. You can turn the inner dials with your fingertips but you will always need some form of Torx driver to remove the caps, so don’t lose anything in the field! Click values are ¼” @100 yards.
Windage is set up the same way and a conventional parallax dial is positioned on the left side of the central saddle. The 403mm long tube (which is also available as a rail mount if required) means that there is plenty of space to set eye relief correctly, which resides at a very well balanced 95mm. This, combined with a generous eye box, means you can maintain sight picture throughout the firing cycle. With even more need to assess terminal strike and effects as range increases, this is very important.
A rubberised zoom collar at the front of the ocular body controls magnification from 5-25x, with no internal mechanical noise. The parallax dials from 50m-∞ with a specific detent at 100m. The very rear of the tube shows fast focus dioptre control from -3 to +2. With a very fine 4A-I reticle this is important for clarity and razorsharp definition, which I really appreciate on such a precise aiming solution.
So, we have stepped over the highlights, and they are the three buttons spanning the upper surface of the ocular body, essentially the laser firing button with adjacent positive and negative brightness controls. Once mechanically zeroed, you swap over to Swarovski’s well designed, intuitive app for iOS or Android, where you can set up ballistic solutions for your chosen projectiles. Once input and verified these can be refined on targets, which I strongly recommend doing as any errors can seriously affect long-range ballistic calculations.
The app allows for factory ammunition or customised handload setups and I would always make sure that with any load, you confirm muzzle velocity in your own rifle over a chronograph, as they rarely match published data. With this scope, you are entering a world where these factors really matter and you have an ethical mandate to make every effort possible to ensure what you do is humane. This is a hunting scope, not a long-range target tool and although there is some appreciable overlap, especially when it comes to practice, neither replicate the other entirely. In simple terms, when you press the button with the crosshair on target, the scope almost instantly fires its laser, calculates the range along with atmospheric pressure, temperature and up/downhill angle to present a red elevation corrects bar on the LCOS screen. This also accounts for magnification setting and the bar will move, real-time, if you alter magnification as any second focal plane enthusiast will understand for relative holdover.
I will say, in a hunting scenario nothing is faster, other than using a point-blank zero, which itself is subject to range limitations, but for extending hunting shots accurately and quickly, the dS is utterly superb. The precision of using the black etched crosshair as the rangefinder aimpoint is precise and on small quarry like crows, easily beats the less precise circle or box often seen in handheld rangefinders. It’s also worth noting you can be using up to 25x magnification to do this, whereas the other options are often limited to 8 or 10x. This is not so much an issue on deer-sized quarry but is definitely an advantage when it comes to smaller vermin.
The reticle also displays lateral windage correction bars and you can select wind speeds appropriate to your location during setup in the app. I specified them at 3 and 6 metres per second, so I knew where a realistic aim off was necessary, yet also most helpful, allowed me to see if a full value miss would still be within the overall kill zone, a scenario perhaps more applicable to large species. This might sound unusually vague, but effectively overlaying best/worst case wind estimation values which are still up to you or secondary tools, might just remind you when not to take a risky shot on live animals. Opposingly, it’s a definite benefit as corrections are realistic and I found it very helpful overall when tallied with my experience of approximating localised wind patterns, strength and direction, which usually vary during flight anyway.
Residual projectile energy and flight time are also displayed on the screen, which has 64 brightness levels to balance it with ambient light and background conditions. You don’t need to do this constantly, but the rectangular screen is large and will disturb the image if left too bright in subdued conditions. A maximum range of 1024m can be displayed (projectile trajectory dependant) but bear in mind, only approximate windage compensation is displayed, spin drift is always present but never accounted for and is an important factor as ranges increase. Your chosen maximum on live game is up to you and should be based on experience and ability, not what advertising on a scope tells you it can do.
Reticle weighting can be altered in the app. The CR123A battery is rated for 500 readings and connectivity with the app on an iOS smartphone was 100% reliable. I regularly accessed it when changing ammunition profiles, so really appreciated the hassle-free operation where Bluetooth is concerned. The app has been well designed, concentrating on technical details rather than just looks alone, screens are simple to use with whatever units you prefer and visually clear, with both text size and contrast in all light conditions, which is an important factor to mention as others can be weak on this. Once set up with details like scope height, transfer to the dS is clear without uncertainty as to which profile is in use. You won’t need to connect the app after refinement, although, on one occasion, I had to remove the battery and re-insert it to reset the unit when it seemed to have paused. There was no loss of zero (which is mechanically reliable at your chosen range even without power anyway) or loss of internal electronic ballistic setting.
I found the dS very appealing, and for a stalker with a heavy cull quota needing fast shots on herds at varying ranges, I see no equal. As for ‘longer range varminting’, I found it worked exceptionally well on smaller quarry and the speed with which shots could be made improved my success rate. With atmospheric and inclination incorporated, it is beneficial for technically difficult shots on mountain hunts but equally valid and versatile for hill stalkers. You never need to take your attention or hands away from the rifle and scope as a combined tool. I can remember various scenarios hunting goats where it would have saved me significant time and effort.
This is a rare review project where I will genuinely miss the capability offered once it goes back. Although it’s not the ultimate low light hunter, it is a superbly refined daylight optic with first-rate image clarity and genuinely beneficial technical features. The field of view is unaffected, and the rich colouration of the brand is still assured, you just need to be aware of the internal screen brightness contrast, in rapidly changing environments. The scope weighs 1090-grams, which is a factor to consider when balancing the viability of the dS. Are the capabilities worth it to you? It certainly lightens the load of other accessory needs.