Test report: Zeiss Terra 4-12x42
The Zeiss Terra range comprises their entry-level scopes with 1" tubes and, considering the price, should be a popular choice for those wanting to invest in the Zeiss reputation for quality but are unable to afford more expensive models.
The table below gives the technical details, but at this price level I was more interested in what this very affordable Zeiss was capable of in the hunting field. It’s a low profile and lightweight scope (31.5cm long, weighing 420g), perfect for a rifle used for walk-and-stalk hunting.
I mounted it on my old, battered Mauser .308, bore-sighted it at home, and then took four shots at the range to zero it at 100m. I then dialled 16 clicks elevation (which can be clearly felt and heard) and the next shot landed 3.5" inches high. Dialling 16 clicks down landed the next shot back in the bull.
I used this rifle/scope combination on a hunt in mountains, and the scope complemented the lightweight rifle well; carrying the pair was never hard work. I didn’t get a shot at game but then lent the combo to a friend who took a quick shot over shooting sticks at a large-tusked warthog about 170m across a valley and brought it down with one shot. He was happy with the Zeiss set on 6-magnification.
The eye relief (89mm at 3X and about 70mm at 6X) facilitated fast target acquisition, and my friend found the optics clear and sharp, which helped in picking up the pig against a grey background. I found the optics delivered detailed, high-contrast images in varying light conditions, and the performance is on par with several other brands costing signi- ficantly more.
The #20 Plex reticle allows for very precise aim with its thin inner crosshair, ideal for longer-range shooting, while the heavier outer posts enhance target acquisition at close quarters or in low light. Terra scopes feature rear-plane reticles (which don’t change apparent size as you change power) and fast-focus eyepieces which adjusted smoothly.
They are nitrogen-filled to prevent fogging. Zeiss rates them waterproof to 400 millibars (equivalent to a depth of about 12 feet), and functional in temperatures from -25° to 50° Celsius.
Five models are available: 2-7x32, 3-9x42, 4-12x42, 3-9x50 and 4-12x50. The 4-12x42 I tested retails for R7 355 at Safari & Outdoor, and the 3-9x42 for R6 695, an excellent, affordable entry into the world of top-quality optics from Zeiss.
- Phillip Hayes
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