Minox ZE 5i 2-10x50mm Riflescope

By Randy Wakeman

Minox ZE 5i 2-10x50mm Riflescope.
Image courtesy of Minox USA, Inc.

The Minox hunting scope line continues to grow and the Ze 5i 2-10x50mm is part of their top of the line hunting riflescopes. Made in Germany, the Minox ZE 5i 2-10x50mm illuminated reticle riflescope features a five times zoom ratio, beefy 30mm tube and your choice of reticles includes the illuminated dot, illuminated dot German #4 and the illuminated dot BDC. Powered by a CR 2032 three volt battery, the compartment holds two, so you always have a spare. It automatically turns off after about three hours, so even if you forget, you won't end up with a dead battery. There are 11 brightness settings; the illuminated dot turns off between each increment, a convenient addition.

Eye-relief is about four inches. The scope is purged and argon filled, touts the Minox M*coating system of up to 21 layers. At $1600, this scope competes with the Zeiss Victory and Varipoint, the Swarovski Z6i 2-12x50mm and the Schmidt & Bender 2.5-10x56mm illuminated hunting scopes. Scopes in this elite class run up to $3000 and beyond, with no easily discernable winners or losers. Some folks buy scopes based on brand name, some on aesthetics, some for reasons unknown. Somewhere along the line design, optics and features come into play, although this is subjective. I'm not prepared to suggest that the M*Coatings are vastly different than other high-end riflescope coatings, or what the light loss might theoretically be if we had 15 layers of coatings, rather than 21.

Minox ZE-i specifications.

What I will do is try to go down the line and mention the attributes that, in my opinion, must be present for a riflescope to be considered a premium riflescope. Clear glass, with edge to edge clarity is requisite, along with no noticeable flare or chromatic aberrations. The controls need to be very precise, not just metal on metal but very crisp metal on metal with no soft clicking, over-clicking, or mushy feel. The caps and eyepiece must be properly machined, with clean threads and no binding or detectable rough spots. Consistent eye relief has to be there throughout the zoom range, so you need not change your stockweld or head position based on magnification. The exterior finish of the scope must be exceptionally durable and evenly applied.

Naturally, the guarantee should be outstanding. While every Minox riflescope is built to operate perfectly in the harshest environments and after enduring the roughest handling, uncontrollable, unexpected things can happen in the field that results in a damaged riflescope. That’s why Minox provides complete, no-fault warranty protection with every Minox riflescope: simply, Minox will repair or replace any damaged Minox riflescope with no questions asked. This warranty does not cover fire, theft, loss, or intentional damage and is applicable only to permanent residents of the USA or Canada.

While a mid-range rifle scope may do some or most of these things well, a premium price dictates that the scope must do all of them extremely well. There should be no noticeable point of impact shift from low power to full power. A fixed power scope has no exposure to changes in eye relief or point of impact shift due to magnification changes. Premium variable power scopes should not have these problems, either. Some camera lenses are far more complex and optically advanced than riflescope lenses. The biggest difference from a user standpoint is that we don't expect cameras to withstand drops and jolts, much less the repeated, intense shock of high-powered recoil.

The American-assembled Minox ZA 2-10x40mm was previously reviewed, a very good five hundred dollar price class optic. What is it the all-German ZE 5i 2-10x50 nets you? It is a combination of things: the stronger 30mm tube, larger exit pupil and the broad-daylight usable crisp, illuminated dot. The windage and elevation adjustments on the ZE are noticeably more positive and exact.

The “E” in the “ZE” stands for “European.” German design, German machining, Germany components, German assembly. It is aggressively priced for this type of “all-Euro” scope, for the Swarovski Z6 1.7-10x42mm and the Swarovski 2-12x50mm both sell for around $3000 in 2013.

The Minox ZE 5i 2-10x50mm is an impressive hunting scope with one of the most forgiving eyeboxes I've used. It is well worth consideration for those looking for a premium German hunting scope.

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Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.