Test and video: Smart Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P hunting riflescope

Swarovski raised the bar for riflescopes quite some way in 2017 when it presented the new digitalSmart dS:  the riflescope comes with a laser rangefinder for 30 to 1,375 meters, as well as a head-up display. Besides the actual distance from the target, the latter feature projects onto the reticle a horizontal line with the corrected point of aim, along with two wind markers to the left and right of the central perpendicular lines. The device also has the option of displaying the bullet’s knock-down power. To enable this, the trajectory and load data need to be programmed by Bluetooth and then transmitted via the smartphone app.

Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P riflescope: getting Smart

The release for the laser rangefinder is perched top center on the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P’s eyepiece. The buttons for dimming and reticle illumination are to the left and right on the scope itself.

The  Swarovski dS configurator app  comes with a large selection of loads based on manufacturer data. But users can also feed the app with their own data or ballistic values – a particularly interesting option for hand-loaders. 

The Swarovski digitalSmart uses the measured distances from the target, as well as the air pressure, temperature and angle of trajectory, in order to calculate the point of aim. The prestigious manufacturer claims a maximum range of 1,024 meters for aiming point correction.

Technical characteristics of the Swarovski dS 5-25x52 P riflescope

A hunter testing the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P riflescope on the shooting range
Even when using a riflescope like the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P, hunters still need to sight in the gun and check the selected load at a variety of distances before heading out into the field.

Measuring 403 millimeters and weighing 1,090 grams, the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P riflescope does have an extremely fat 40-millimeter central tube, but its outlines follow the lines of a classic scope. However, given the trend toward increasingly beefy central tubes – for instance the 36-millimeter beast on the Zeiss Victory V8 4.5-35×60 – it doesn’t seem too much of an ask for hunters to adjust their eyes from a 30-millimeter tube to the new Swarovski dS.

The Swarovski also packs just an additional 100 grams, compared to the big Zeiss optic. Although “just” needs to be taken with a pinch of salt: after all, the punchier the load, the more the impulse forces will impact the lens and mount at higher weights.

The riflescope by the Austrian optics specialist is priced at € 4,200. But hunters using the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P will have to accept a few compromises in the optical performance parameters, compared to the other premium optics in the 5× zoom range, for instance that the field of view is quite small with 7.3 to 1.5 meters at 100 meters, or that the light transmission of 83% is relatively meager.

Parallax correction (50 meters to infinity) on the Swarovski dS riflescope is adjusted manually on the left turret. The upper turret only accommodates the battery compartment for a CR123A cell and the tools to adjust the reticle. The dS 5-25×52 P by Swarovski does not integrate the adjustors for elevation and windage in the turrets around the central tube. Instead they are both concealed beneath a plate on the central tube that is removed using a mini-Torx key. The Plex reticle with optional and dimmable illuminated dot sits in the second image plane. Dioptric adjustment and zoom ring are located at their usual positions at the front and back of the body tube.

The turret on top of the smart Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P riflescope is home to the battery compartment and the adjustment tool. Parallax is corrected on the left-hand turret.
Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P riflescope: the actuators for elevation and windage on the dS after removing the cover plate. The mini-Torx screws in the plates are attached to prevent loss.

Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P riflescope specs

Model: Swarovski dS 5-25x52 P
Magnification: 5 - 25 x
Objective lens diameter: 48 - 52 mm
Exit pupil: 9.6 - 2.1 mm
Eye relief: 95 mm
Field of view: 7.3 - 1.5 m / 100 m
Dioptric compensation: -3 to +2 dpt
Light transmission: 83 %
Twilight factor:
(according to ISO 14132-1)                
16.1 - 36.0
Impact point correction: 7 mm / 100 m
Max. elevation/windage adjustment range: 1.2/0.7 m / 100 m
Parallax compensation: 50 m to ∞
Length: 403 mm
Weight: 1,090 g
Central tube diameter: 40 mm
Functional temperature: -10 °C to +55 °C
Water resistance: 4 m water depth
Brightness levels: 64
Additional program: dS configurator app
Price:  4200 euro (RRP, including sales tax)

How did the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P riflescope perform?

The bullet’s impact energy can be projected onto the head-up display on the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P, in addition to the measured distance to the target and the aiming point correction.

Pairing the Android smartphone with the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P by Bluetooth proved to be the trickiest part. The first step is to activate Bluetooth in the smartphone. At the same time, the user presses and holds the “+” and “–“ keys for reticle illumination on top of the eyepiece for three seconds to put the smart riflescope into pairing mode. The final step is to enter the riflescope series number as PIN.

This might test the limits of hunters less-accustomed to handling smartphones. In contrast, the free configurator app for current Android and iOS smartphones is essentially self-explanatory. After entering all the data and pairing the smartphone with the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P, the user only needs to tap on the button “Transmit Now” to send all the information to the riflescope.

For our test, the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P riflescope was mounted on the JPR 1 Kodiak by Unique Alpine   chambered in .243 Winchester  using a matching EAW pivot mount and sighted in at a distance of 100 m. The reviewers set up shop at the 300 meters range in Niederweimar, firing the rifle at distances of 98, 192 and 295 meters, identified by the Swarovski dS rangefinder and checked using the Leupold RX-1000 TBR. As ammunition, they picked the 170 grs GECO soft point Match ; the app was used to feed the scope with its mean v0 values, determined by LabRadar on the day of shooting.

The shot groups were at the same height at all distances. Lateral deviation and rise of the groups were also in selected area of the target. The reviewers switched from the GECO ammunition to the 165 grs RWS HIT for the 295-meter distance – and the shots hit their target just as well. None of the bullets rose by more than 15 centimeters at the almost 300-meter distance (including outliers).

Review round-up for the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P riflescope

Even on a very slim bolt-action rifle as the Unique Alpine JPR 1 Kodiak in .243 Winchester the Swarovski dS 5-25x52  P cuts a good figure.

The dS 5-25×52 P by Swarovski is a riflescope that leaves just one wish unfulfilled: a remote release, positioned close to the trigger finger. That would doubtless be possible with Bluetooth. The smart riflescope with built-in rangefinder and automatic aiming point correction otherwise convinces across the board – in a nutshell: the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P is state-of-the-art .

The weight, dimensions and outlines of the Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P riflescope do not lag far behind the competitors’ modern 8× zoom optics either. The price certainly seems reasonable.

But hunters will still need to stick to the rules with this high-tech scope:  don’t hunt game until you’ve sighted-in the gun, checked the load at a variety of distances and practiced handling the smart riflescope.

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