Fur Feather & Fin

Review: Zeiss Duralyt 3-12×50 IR

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Zeiss’ Duralyt Range is basically their version of a “Budget Scope”, though at circa £900 it is certainly not cheap; rather a good quality rifle scope that is under the usual £1000 mark for rifle scopes of this quality.

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The model I’m reviewing is the 3-12×50 IR – For those who don’t know the “3-12″ is the Zoom, the “x50″ is the objective lens, and the “IR” means it has an Illuminated Reticle (crosshair). It has a 30mm body/tube in line with higher-end scopes – the idea being larger tubes allow more light to reach the eye and create a brighter image.

First impressions out of the box are that this is a solid and high quality scope. It is not heavy like some cheaper scopes with the same specification; though its light weight does not make it feel flimsy at all… in fact it’s one of the more robust scopes I’ve owned.

The scope is clearly designed as a hunting scope in that the MOA (crosshair adjustment) does not have the range of a long-range target scope. Having said this I shot out to 300 metres with it and did not have any issues. The MOA is 1 click = 1cm @ 100yds.

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The crosshair/reticle itself is a work of art, it is in line with the German No4 reticle, which is three thick bars (bottom, left, and right) and a thin top bar. The centre of the reticle is a fine line that is thick enough to see at low light even without the illuminated dot, but thin enough that the target is not obscured.

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Illuminated scopes can be too bright, too big, off centre, or sensitive to head position. Not the Duralyt though! The illuminated centre dot is pin-***** fine and fully adjustable via a +/- switch near the eyepiece. It is ideal for using in any type of light when the crosshair would otherwise be invisible against a dark background.

My Sako 85 (.243 calibre) had the honour of testing the Duralyt. It performed well both on the range and out on a couple of stalks near the new forest, where it performed brilliantly in a dark woodland stalking situation and accounted for 4 fallow and 2 roe over 2 stalks.

I would be just as happy with this on my .22LR shooting rabbits as I was with it on my .243 shooting deer. It is an excellent scope with a crisp and clear image and a robust high-quality feel.

I personally wouldn’t buy the non-illuminated version as I do not feel the picture and build quality aren’t sufficiently better than Burris or Nikon scopes to warrant the price tag. Therefore, unless you are really going to make use of the illuminated dot there is no point in buying this scope. If however you do find yourself struggling to make out the crosshair against your target on a regular basis then in my opinion this is without a doubt the best illuminated reticle in this price range.
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