I think I might have a new opinion about Leupold.


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hometheaterman
August 21, 2010, 11:32 PM
So as many of you know I've had issues with 2 Leupold VX-I's and I honestly think they have pretty crappy glass. I have 2 Simmons, and a Tasco, and I can't see that the Leupold glass is any better than any of the cheapo's. However, today I was at Gander Mountain and they had quite a few different scopes you could check out. Looking through some of them I was amazed at how bad some of them looked. Looking side to side with a Bushnell Banner and a Leupold VX-I the difference was huge between the two. The Banner looked washed out. There were several other's including one Nikon that I looked through that looked worse. There were of course several that looked quite a bit better too, the Simmons closest to mine included as you could see more with it in dark area's of the room kind of like with mine, however, there were quite a few that were obviously a lot worse in the glass department. So I just wanted to say that the VX-I's don't have as bad of glass as I thought, as there are much worse choices out there. I will also say after seeing many reports of the customer service with some other big name companies I'm starting to think Leupold has the best customer service out there other than Vortex. Leupold at least does what they say they will when it comes to the warranty. So, while I think you can do a lot better for the same money, and I still would not recommend the VX-I at all, I think you can do much worse too after seeing some of these other scopes.

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TIMC
August 22, 2010, 12:36 AM
My experience with Leupolds are all in VXIII scopes which are fantastic. The only exception is the VXI I have on my H&R Buffalo Classic in 45/70 and it has done a decent job for a cheap scope.

esheato
August 22, 2010, 01:25 AM
I've learned this in relation to gun accessories more than any other products...you get what you pay for in optics.

C-grunt
August 22, 2010, 07:10 AM
Well the VX-I is the lowest model they make. Check out a Mk4 LR/T and get back to us.

375shooter
August 22, 2010, 10:07 AM
I have several Leupolds from VX-1 to VX-3 and am happy with them all.

Justin Holder
August 22, 2010, 10:13 AM
Actually the "Rifleman" is the base model.

Art Eatman
August 22, 2010, 10:40 AM
I"ve had a half-dozen or so Leupolds, these last 40 years. Had occasion to send one in for a fix of the adjustment controls. Turnaround time of around 10 or 12 days.

The email notifying me that it was fixed and would be returned to me arrived a couple of days after the scope arrived at the PO. :D Q: Wuz the USPS faster than the electronics? :D:D:D

Lovesbeer99
August 22, 2010, 11:04 AM
I've got a VXIII that came with duplex reticle and I sent it to Leupold install a TMR and it's great. I also have a fixed power scout scope that's clear as day. Love them both.

hometheaterman
August 22, 2010, 12:15 PM
Yea, I think Leupolds customer service department is great. They don't seem like they go above and beyond to me, but they do exactly what they tell you they will if you ever have a problem. That's something it seems like quite a few companies have forgotten how to do. The thing that bugs me about them though, is that often you can get a lot better glass for the same money. However, the warranty that comes along with the Leupolds is great, and in the VX-II line and up they do have good glass. Might not be the best, but it's good.

As for the VX-I. After comparing it to my Simmons and Tasco, which we all know are pretty crappy brands, and not seeing a big difference, I assumed it wasn't any clearer than any other cheap scopes. However, I was wrong. I was hugely wrong. After seeing some of the other options out there, I couldn't believe how bad some of them looked. Even some of them in the $100-200 range looked a lot worse than both the VX-I and the Simmons and Tasco I have. So the VX-I may have pretty good glass compared to some of the other cheap scopes. However, there are others in the same price range that do have a lot better glass too.

Lawman
August 22, 2010, 01:48 PM
Like esheato said..."You get what you pay for in optics." High purity glass and coatings cost more. Study the cost of camera lenses and you will see parallels to the cost of scopes. Professional grade Canon lenses like a 70-200mm f2.8 will cost $1200.00. About the same cost as a Leupold Mark IV.

esheato
August 22, 2010, 01:52 PM
Tell me about it! I do guns and dabble in photography. It's really difficult to decide between that new L glass or a new gun!

KodiakBeer
August 22, 2010, 03:44 PM
You can't tell much looking around inside of a gun store. To tell the difference between good glass and bad glass you need to look several hundred yards in low light - that's when the difference will become glaringly apparent.

When I managed a small gun store, I'd look out the back door at signs and license plates several hundred yards away. I could read those signs much further with Burris and Leupold than with Tasco and Bushnell. I also got a lot more returns and complaints with the cheaper scopes, usually due to cracked seals and fogged glass. It's not much of an economy to save $100 on glass and then have an expensive fly-in hunting trip ruined because your scope fails on the first day.

For my money, the best balance of price, optics and sheer ruggedness is Burris. Leupold would be a close second. Steiner and Zeiss are out of my price range...

LoonWulf
August 22, 2010, 05:20 PM
for the kind of hunting i do i havent really been in the market for better glass then say your average bushnell or simmons. Recently tho ive been looking at some of the better scopes and ive found that the Nikons work the best for me and something about leupolds just dosent work with my eyes. I can say tho that ive heard only good things about them, and i know people whos opinions differ 100% from mine on the same day with the same 2 scopes so im inclined to belive that everybody sees thru scopes differantly enough to make some better for each person then others.

KodiakBeer
August 22, 2010, 05:58 PM
To really compare scopes you need to look through different brands with the same magnification, the same tube diameter, the same objective lens diameter. You get no valuable input from looking through two scopes with different specs. A Nikon with a 50mm objective lens is going to be brighter than a Steiner with a 40mm objective lens (though you wouldn't have the same definition).

I think if you compare scopes of similar specs you'll find a big difference between Bushnell/Tasco/Simmons and the better brands. And again, you need to do this at distance - like out the store window rather than within the store.

The other thing (that I think is even more important) is how rugged a scope is. For that, you need a lot of feedback. I can only tell you that when I sold scopes it was a constant irritant because so many people wanted to return Bushnell and Tasco scopes that I dreaded selling them. It was a no-win situation - if I told them up front that they were junk, they'd think I was trying to steer them to the higher priced scopes. When they wanted their money back, I could only tell them to take it up with the company. And again, a lot of those people were out thousands of dollars because those scopes failed on high cost hunts.

You really do get what you pay for with scopes.

esheato
August 22, 2010, 06:10 PM
It's not much of an economy to save $100 on glass and then have an expensive fly-in hunting trip ruined because your scope fails on the first day.

I like to think that if you can afford a fly-in hunting excursion, you take the time and spend the money on quality optics...unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Personally, I evaluate my gear and make sure I don't have any weak links. Doesn't matter if it's IPSC, IDPA, destination hunting or whatever...

KodiakBeer
August 22, 2010, 06:55 PM
Well, all the (good) hunting in Alaska is a fly-in hunt. We don't have many roads here. But yeah, I don't think cheap optics are a bargain. For an extra $100 or $150 you get a product with a lifetime warranty, instead of something you have to pay money to replace the first time your rifle falls on the floor.

If it's just a range gun or something then you can probably get by with a Bushnell, but if you're actually going to subject the scope to any harsh conditions then you'll be disappointed.

I'll also add that if you compare scopes at distance - out the window of the gun store perhaps - then use some objective means to gauge your impression. What's the furthest license plate you can read with this scope and with that scope at the same magnification?

Fremmer
August 22, 2010, 07:14 PM
You can't tell much looking around inside of a gun store. To tell the difference between good glass and bad glass you need to look several hundred yards in low light - that's when the difference will become glaringly apparent.


That's exactly right.

52grain
August 22, 2010, 09:58 PM
You definitely get what you pay for with optics. Compare a VX-I to a VX-II to a VX-3 to a Zeiss. In dimly lit environment at longer ranges. (Bass Pro Shops around here is a good example except that it's still too bright.) It's an eye opening experience.

hotajax
August 24, 2010, 09:41 AM
I've heard their Customer Svc is great. However, I wouldn't know from personal experience. I have three Vari XII, and all three of them have been perfect.

SaxonPig
August 24, 2010, 10:07 AM
I have several Leupolds and find the clarity and brightness to be quite good.

Hmmm... Never actually counted them before now. Didn't realize I had this many.

http://www.fototime.com/C0254EA97ED6B32/standard.jpg


http://www.fototime.com/2B252A97154B18D/standard.jpg


http://www.fototime.com/2D9BE3CD0F1C0DF/standard.jpg


http://www.fototime.com/9389A6BC8A769C4/standard.jpg


http://www.fototime.com/4B23862FAB641C8/standard.jpg


http://www.fototime.com/13533652253A49D/standard.jpg


http://www.fototime.com/E8CD1A8074154CD/standard.jpg


http://www.fototime.com/C7710EDF75A683A/standard.jpg

DRYHUMOR
August 24, 2010, 08:12 PM
I remember the first VariX 3 I had, when it got too late to really see anything.... I looked through the scope and said "Wow". That's when I stopped being "thrifty" on optics...

52grain
August 24, 2010, 08:57 PM
I remember the first VariX 3 I had, when it got too late to really see anything.... I looked through the scope and said "Wow". That's when I stopped being "thrifty" on optics...

I had a similar experience.

Robert Wilson
August 25, 2010, 01:00 AM
I disagree with the argument that you "get what you pay for" in rifle scopes. The German scopes are expensive primarily because they are made by Germans. It costs a hell of a lot to have Germans make something. What they make will be terrific - but not necessarily any more terrific than stuff made by Japanese or Americans.

Beyond that is the simple fact that truly great - or even just good - glass is wasted on most of us, especially in a rifle scope. A scope is primarily an aiming device. We do not need perfect color rendition or the best possible clarity right out to the edges of the lens. We need to be able to see our game animal, and we need the reticle to reliably direct our bullets to our targets time after time. Does a Zeiss do this any better than a Leupold or a Nikon? No - and in many cases the Zeiss won't even be as good, as the greatest glass in the world won't make up for inadequate eye relief (Europeans tend to shoot light kicking rifles with their heads up, while Americans learn to shoot with a tight cheek weld and often choose .300 and .338 magnums) or an erector designed more for a 6.5 than a .375.

As far as I am concerned, a top quality scope from Leupold (or some of their Japanese competitors) will do the job of a rifle scope at least as well as anything that's ever come out of Germany. If I'm going to spend four figures on the very best optics from Europe, it's going to be on a binocular, where chromatic aberration, color rendition, etc. truly make a difference, and even then I'd bet a significant sum that the average hunter couldn't tell a difference between a $1000 Zeiss and a $500 Pentax - as long as he doesn't get to see the price tags first!

HOOfan_1
August 25, 2010, 01:05 AM
I disagree with the argument that you "get what you pay for" in rifle scopes. The German scopes are expensive primarily because they are made by Germans. It costs a hell of a lot to have Germans make something. What they make will be terrific - but not necessarily any more terrific than the products of Japan or America.

Don't forget the Austrians (Swarovski) Also Nightforce and US Optics are just as expensive as the Schmidt and Benders and Zeiss and Swarovskis

Robert Wilson
August 25, 2010, 02:36 AM
For what it's worth, I'm a fairly serious bird watcher, and have generally found that birders are much more knowledgeable - and much more demanding! - about optics than is the typical hunter. For the hunter, optics are an accessory. For the birder, optics are the whole ball game. They really pay attention to them! If you pick up a few copies of the larger bird watching publications you will see what I mean.

At any rate, birders almost universally rate Zeiss at the top of the heap. Swarovski is generally considered to be a step down, and the German DEVA testing tends to bear that out. Schmidt und Bender rarely does well either in objective or subjective testing, which is one reason why I make gentle fun of folks who will look through a Leupold with a shrug and through a S&B with cries of delight: every test I've ever seen has Leupold beating the pants off S&B. I still maintain that such antics are caused by people seeing with their wallets and not their eyes.

Beyond that, I have to admit that I am almost totally unfamiliar with Nightforce and US Optics, as I have never had one on a rifle (my tastes run toward the traditional rather than "tactical" and "sniper" scopes) and they have made no inroads into the birding market that I am aware of.

vaupet
August 25, 2010, 05:45 AM
At the prices mentioned in the US, I would love to put Leupolds on my target rifles. However, they are sold for between 2000 and 2500 $ in Europe and for that price I can get the S&B scopes. Furthermore, Leupold has no representation that I know of so customer service is a big question.

bit of topic:
It is very difficult to get American arms related items in Europe, I waited 6 months for a marlin 39 and am already waiting 9 months for some Lymann sights. Almost seems like your companies don't want to make money:banghead:

SaxonPig
August 25, 2010, 09:46 AM
Shipping gun parts internationally is problematic. A dealer on another forum recently had an expensive scope seized by U.S. Customs on its way to Australia.

Robert
August 25, 2010, 11:29 AM
I'm a fairly serious bird watcher
What you mean like leading a Dove just before your fire? ;)

M2MikeGolf
August 25, 2010, 01:27 PM
I think the Vari-x IIIs are outstanding scopes, sometimes referred to as the "Zeiss of America". Scope makers do not always have the same quality level in their scopes as they do their Binoculars or cameras (Nikon, for instance). I disagree with your assessment about German scopes. I live in Germany and hunt in low light, and I can tell you there's a big difference in glass, and the Germans use high quality optics. They also mostly use 30mm tubes and big objectives, really big by US standards. Zeiss is highly regarded in the scope world here, Swarovski slightly higher. They have a myriad of makers you've never heard of but Kahles (which used to be owned by Swarovski), Swarovksi, Zeiss and Schmidt and Bender are considered pretty well the best by the finicky German hunters. They are cheaper over here, not sure exactly why, but they are still expensive. I can tell you a pretty nice compromise though, the Zeiss Conquest 3x-9x X 50mm. It's made for the American market and also fairly reasonably priced (three digits instead of four). I use it for low light boar hunting very successfully. It replaced a similar sized Burris and the difference was "night and day" (sorry about the pun). My German hunting pal (very experienced and is used to excellent glass) compared it to his Zeiss 8 x 56 and he says he thinks my Conquest looks better, maybe he's just being polite.

shootr
August 25, 2010, 02:01 PM
Well, all the (good) hunting in Alaska is a fly-in hunt. We don't have many roads here. But yeah, I don't think cheap optics are a bargain. For an extra $100 or $150 you get a product with a lifetime warranty, instead of something you have to pay money to replace the first time your rifle falls on the floor.

If it's just a range gun or something then you can probably get by with a Bushnell, but if you're actually going to subject the scope to any harsh conditions then you'll be disappointed.

I'll also add that if you compare scopes at distance - out the window of the gun store perhaps - then use some objective means to gauge your impression. What's the furthest license plate you can read with this scope and with that scope at the same magnification?
+1.

I lived in Alaska and learned about Leupold from fellows I hunted with there. That was 25years ago. I've owned plenty of them since and all my serious hunting rifles wear Leupold.

Personally, don't care if some flavor-of-the-month is reputed to have brighter glass or costs less. Leupolds are rugged, hold zero, have plenty good optics and an outstanding warranty - plus they're made here. They're all I need.

stork
August 25, 2010, 02:15 PM
A few decades ago I owned Weaver, Busch & Lomb, Redfield, and Leupold. At one range session when I had all the above scopes at the range at dusk I did some impromptu scope testing.

The first to lose clarity at 100 yds was the Weaver 3-9 WA. Next was the 2.5-8 Baush & Lomb followed shortly by the Redfield 4-12. The Leupold 3-9 was like turning on the lights. So much brighter with better clarity than the others. I haven't bought anything else since, and that's more than a dozen scopes ago.

I see the difference in resolution and clarity especially when shooting prairie dogs in August when everything is shades of brown, and in late fall when everything is shades of grey. Put on top of that Leupolds exceptional warranty service and I still see no reason to change anything.

FWIW

MinnMooney
August 25, 2010, 04:16 PM
from esheato :
you get what you pay for in optics

Mostly, I'd have to say that I agree with you but only to a degree. There is a point of diminishing returns when talking optics.

In the low-mid price range of $200 - $600 (street prices), there is quite a bit of variation in scope quality. There are some excellent values like the Nikon Buckmaster, Weaver Grand Slam and (to a lessor degree) the Bushnell Elite 4200 series. These scopes, along with many others, can be a very good value but you need to compare them to see if it's what you - personnally - want.

Cheaper scopes (less than $200) are just that - cheap. They won't have "Fully, multi-coated optics" which means that EVERY lens in the scope has been coated using several layers of coatings to let the highest percentage of light shine through. Most will have ONLY the exposed surface of the outer lenses coated (maybe multi-coated). This is refered to as "multi-coating" or just "coated". Much cheaper production costs.

Expensive scopes have it all. The best lenses, full multi-coating, excellent turrets and tracking mechanisms and beautiful reticles. But at what price? Many go for $900 to $2500! Do you get a better scope? Most certainly. Is it worth the double to 15x the price? Only you can answer that question. It is certainly not worth the difference in price to me for the very small increase in noticable quality. (If my life depended on it? I'd buy a S&B or U.S. Optics)

Uncle Mike
August 25, 2010, 04:22 PM
Leupolds are rugged, hold zero, have plenty good optics and an outstanding warranty - plus they're made here. They're all I need.

25 years ago in Alaska maybe, but today, no! Especially the made in America part, ALL of Leupold's product line is not U.S. made!

TexasPatriot.308
August 25, 2010, 05:31 PM
I've always been a Leupold person, but the last 2 scopes have been a Bushnell Elite 4200 and a Weaver Grand Slam, both are just as good or better....

KodiakBeer
August 25, 2010, 05:43 PM
For me, the issue isn't all about clarity, it's also about toughness. If you're hunting from a stand over a corn feeder, then you can probably get by with a Bushnell. But, if you're packing a rifle in the Rockies for an elk hunt or bush flying in Alaska then you're going to get burned sooner or later.

The thing I've seen repeatedly is cheap scopes breaking their seal on a hunt, either from being knocked around or from altitude changes in a small plane - they just fog up and become useless. Bushnell and Tasco are notorious for this.

HOOfan_1
August 25, 2010, 07:29 PM
My dad dropped his sporterized Mauser out of a gun rack in his truck...fell scope first on a rock...it was a Bushnell....and that scope still works today. Maybe they built them better back then.

Too bad there really is no way to compare scopes other than knowing people with different types or buying them yourself. Looking through them in a well lit store is no substitute. Although I was not impressed with the yellow tint on a Zeiss I saw at Gander Mountain.

groundhog34
August 25, 2010, 08:05 PM
When you go to a shoe store and tell the clerk you want the CHEAPEST pair, VXI, you cannot go back a week later and complain that your feet hurt. Get off some funds and buy a VXIII. Leupold's customer service is second to none.

atblis
August 25, 2010, 08:54 PM
It is worth noting that comparing scopes or any optics under artificial lighting is not a good comparison. It can make some optics look worse than they really are, and thus make some of the cheaper stuff by comparison better than it really is. This is especially true when dealing with warehouse/large building type lighting. For some reason, Nikon always seems to look great in doors compared to even top shelf glass (yes yes I know Nikon makes darn good glass).


VX III wasn't all that great. Not really a good value for what they cost.
Vx3s are actually decent for the money.

hometheaterman
August 25, 2010, 10:18 PM
For the guys bashing the VX-I and saying it's Leupold's cheapest scope, I think you should take a look at their lineup again. They have the Redfields as their cheapest line, then the Rifleman line next, then the VX-I line. They are also anywhere from $230-300 scopes depending on which size you get. So it's not like you bought the cheapest scope the store sells. There are tons of Simmons, Bushnells,Tascos, etc that are all under $70. There are also several scopes in the $200 budget range that greatly outperform the VX-I and some in the under $100 range. However, there are some that perform worse also as I found out.

A $230 scope though is for sure not a bottom of the line scope. It would buy you a pretty nice scope from a few of the other companies.

gun guy
August 26, 2010, 12:16 PM
I can understand, if you have a show piece firearm, putting a big dollar scope on it. If you just drew the Big game hunt of a lifetime, again, i can see putting a grand or more into a scope. If you shoot big horn sheep across canyons, again, i understand. All to often I see someone at the range, with a restocked 30 06 bolt action deer rifle, going for his first buck, with a big dollar optic on the rifle. Bragging up the fact he just dumped a grand on the "Coolness model" scope. He then proceeds to sight it in for 200 meters. Usually burning up a couple boxes of ammo in the process. My question is,,WHY?? For the average shot, with the average rifle, on just another deer hunt, a $100 scope is just fine. It will put the bullet where you want it to go, thru 200 meters. But then too, the guy with the coolness scope, usually drives a beat up 4x4 with custom wheels and a boomer stereo. Go figure, it's your money, if you make 6 figures a year, blow it as you see fit. I you are still making payments on an car, blowing a grand on a scope seems like just another poor financial decision.

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