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I think I might have a new opinion about Leupold.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by hometheaterman, Aug 21, 2010.

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  1. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Member

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    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.
     
  2. TIMC

    TIMC Member

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    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.
     
  3. esheato

    esheato Member

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    I've learned this in relation to gun accessories more than any other products...you get what you pay for in optics.
     
  4. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    Well the VX-I is the lowest model they make. Check out a Mk4 LR/T and get back to us.
     
  5. 375shooter

    375shooter Member

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    I have several Leupolds from VX-1 to VX-3 and am happy with them all.
     
  6. Justin Holder

    Justin Holder Member

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    Actually the "Rifleman" is the base model.
     
  7. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    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
     
  8. Lovesbeer99

    Lovesbeer99 Member

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    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.
     
  9. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Member

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    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.
     
  10. Lawman

    Lawman Member

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    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.
     
  11. esheato

    esheato Member

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    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!
     
  12. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    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...
     
  13. LoonWulf

    LoonWulf Member

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    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.
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    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.
     
  15. esheato

    esheato Member

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    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...
     
  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    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?
     
  17. Fremmer

    Fremmer Member

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    That's exactly right.
     
  18. 52grain

    52grain Member

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    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.
     
  19. hotajax

    hotajax member

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    Leupold Quality

    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.
     
  20. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    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.

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  21. DRYHUMOR

    DRYHUMOR Member

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    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...
     
  22. 52grain

    52grain Member

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    I had a similar experience.
     
  23. Robert Wilson

    Robert Wilson Member

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    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!
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  24. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Member

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

    Robert Wilson Member

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    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.
     
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