Swarovski’s Ballistic Turret (BT) gives shooters the ability to achieve greater accuracy when taking shots at longer ranges. Providing you know how far away your target is – ideally measuring the distance with Swarovski’s EL Range binocular – you can then dial in the matching distance on the Ballistic Turret, put the cross hairs on your desired impact point, and squeeze the trigger. Essentially it takes the guesswork out of wondering how much to hold over.
Traditionally the turret type of bullet drop compensator is either accurate but tricky to set up, or relatively simple to use, but woefully inaccurate. The design of the Swarovski Ballistic Turret means that it is extremely accurate, pretty easy to configure and, best of all, it will work with any calibre or bullet weight.
Swarovski’s Z3, Z5 & Z6i ‘scope models are available with or without a Ballistic Turret, which is a permanent, factory-fitted accessory. The latest Z8i ‘scope has a user-fit option of the Ballistic Turret Flex (BTF), which can be popped on as and when it’s needed. The BTF can be added to either or both the elevation and the windage turrets.
So you’ve mounted your new Swarovski ‘scope on your rifle. Now it’s time to go down to the range, do some zeroing, and get that Ballistic Turret calibrated. Before you do so, ensure that the lock at the base of the turret is not enabled – the two little ‘fins’ should be at 12 & 6 o’clock, in line with the ‘scope tube.
This video guides you through what’s involved, but hopefully the article will help with any queries this might bring about.
The windage adjustment is made in the usual way, but it is the elevation with the BT that we are concentrating on. The first thing you need to do is to disassemble it. In your ‘scope box you will have found a Swarovski ‘key ring’ with a plastic fob. Use this to undo the cap on the top of the Turret (you could use a coin, but will end up scratching the cap). Remove the cap, then do the same with the three colour-dotted rings. Next you need to ease off the ring base – very carefully, without exerting undue sideways pressure on it. Now you can zero the rifle, using the spigot on the plastic fob to adjust elevation.
One of the great things about the BT is how easily you can adapt it to your own needs. The distance at which you zero is just one example. For most people, shooting a centrefire rifle, this will probably be 100 yards or metres; but equally, you could do it at 150 or 200 – or whatever you want (bear in mind that on Swarovski ‘scopes, maximum range is usually around 500 to 600m).
Zeroing being accomplished, what’s after that? You may have noticed that the cogged elevation adjustment wheel is in two parts, the lower of which has arrows pointing in a clockwise direction. This lower half is quite easy to turn, and you should now do so, making sure you do not move the upper ring. Spin that lower ring around in the direction of the arrows until it stops. Now it is time to replace the ring base, getting the zero-point arrowhead lined up with the ‘zero’ mark on the rear locking fin.
Next we need to tune the Turret to whichever longer range zeros you have decided on. This can be done either by shooting at targets set out at those longer distances or, if you don’t have range facilities to cope, you can use the Swarovski Ballistic Program to calculate it all for you.
Naturally, the more shooting practice you can get at longer ranges the better, so the target option is the one to go for if you can. If, for instance, you have gone for a ‘base’ zero at 100m, you may want to have additional zero points at 200, 250 & 300m. Put targets up at those ranges, shoot at the 200m one first, adjusting the elevation until you are zeroed. Now drop the green dot ring into place, the dot lining up with the marking on the locking fin. Go on to the 250m target, zero & drop on the yellow spot ring; then the 300m target and the red dot ring. Turn the column back, clockwise, to your base zero mark, where it should stop, being unable to turn any ‘lower’. Lastly put the Turret cap back in place, with the lug at the rear, lined up with base zero, and finger tighten the cap with the plastic fob.
If you didn’t have the convenience of a long enough range, go to the Swarovski website, where you can find their Ballistic Program. Alternatively, you can download the Swarovski Ballistic App to either your Apple or Android device from one of these links:
In the example here, we will use the same longer-range distances as above, and imagine that we are shooting a .308, using Norma’s popular 150g Ballistic Tip ammunition. Start off by selecting which ‘scope you have from the drop-down menu. After that find your factory ammunition from the database, or feed in the necessary details if you are a home-loader (for home-loaders, you must have an accurately chronographed muzzle velocity). There is also a box that asks for your base zero distance. Now, on the right-hand side of the page, you will see green, yellow & red outlined boxes, where you insert your required ranges: 200, 250 & 300. Click on the ‘Calculate’ button (bottom left), and up will come the number of clicks for each coloured ring. In this case, from base zero turn the Turret 5 clicks and drop on the green dot ring; another 4 clicks for yellow; & a further 5 clicks for red. Having achieved that, rotate back to base zero, & replace the Turret cap.
You will see that the Ballistic Program also offers you the chance to note further settings by putting longer distances in the black outlined box – be aware that the number of clicks shown here is from base zero, not the previous red dot.
Supplied with your ‘scope are appropriately marked stickers that you can use for reference as to which dot is set at what distance – with room for noting any further distances calculated in the black box.
Now you are all ready to go shooting. Simply range your target, turn the Ballistic Turret to the appropriate coloured dot – or in between them if necessary – & put the cross hairs on your desired point of impact.
As I have mentioned previously, the BT is extremely user friendly, and gives you the chance to do other things too. In most cases it will help to be a home-loader, but in some cases factory ammunition will do the trick. I have experimented with my .243, and have had 100g bullet 100m & 200m zeros with a sound moderator in place, and 100m & 200m zeros without the moderator. In another trial I also managed 100m & 200m zeros with 100g bullets for deer, whilst at the same time having 200m & 300m settings with 70g bullets for foxes.
Swarovski’s Ballistic Turret: user-friendly, accurate and adaptable!