All Leupold scopes are built to the same quality, accuaracy, and durability standards. All models!! The only difference between the different models are the added and extra features (i.e. parellax adjust, MOA adjustments) and the lens coatings. Also the highest end model has a one piece tube. Many people claiming to be "in-the-know" have said that the lower priced Leuplod "Rifleman" scope is a starter model. Not the case at all. I repeat, Not the case at all!!! In fact the new Rifleman is actually the original Vari-X II scope in matte with a wide duplex reticle that has been renamed, and that's all. I 've been big game hunting for 20 years and recently put a 2-7X33mm Rifleman scope on my .270 WCF Winchester Model 70 Featherweight. It's a great match for that light rifle. That's all the magnification in a scope that I've ever needed for big game hunting, and I keep it set at 5X. It's a scope that serves my needs for that particular rifle.
You can't go wrong with Leupold. They are excellent scopes. Very clear too, regardless of standard-coated or multi-coated lenses. All my rifles wear Leupolds (various models) and have never been disappointed. Don't consider the VX-III to be an upgrade to a VX-II or VX-I, because it really comes down to what features serves your needs. The VX-III scopes are great for varmit shooters and long range target shooters. I think they have too many features to be useful or practical for big game hunting, though they will serve equaly well for it.
Here's a general guide of what I'd recommend for a big game hunting scope: Pick one that serves your needs. Keep in mind that your needs may be different from others. Also a scope is never used for glassing anything. Keep in mind what a scope is intended for - too aim the rifle precisely.
Go with a 2X to 7X magnification. You should need no more than 9X magnification for hunting. Objective lense no larger than 40mm, infact smaller ones of 32mm or 33mm work very well. Don't worry about having all the bells and whistles on a scope. The simpler the better. Keep in mind that magnification of 10X or more are great for benchrest shooting, but in the field they lead to too narrow field of view, a very bad thing to have if a quick follow-up shot is needed on an animal. Too shakey of a sight picture since movement gets magnified too. You also get less brightness with high power. Too many new shooters and hunters have way more equipment than they really know how to use. The rifle should wear the scope. If your scope looks like it wears the rifle, then you have too much scope.
I hate to throw a wet towell on this subject but Id rather not have someone experience the same as I. I purchased a Leupold VX-1 from Bass Pro in Denver and istalled it on a Kimber 8400M 270. Off the bench my rifle was stringing shots up to 4" lat. I assumed it was my rifle considering the scope was brand new and all of the scopes Ive ever owned were flawless Leupolds. After making the decision to go try it again the next day, I wanted to make sure my scope was in focus so using a white wall in my house I proceeded to adjust the reticle, low and behold when adjusting I noticed my crosshairs jumping in the same direction as reticle adj(L,R). Long story short, lateral stringing earlier that day. I exchanged that scope that night and go figue, the new scope had the exact same problem ,) . Im not saying Leupold is junk by any means, but, was it just a bad lot, design, or what? I dont know but I exchanged my second one with a Burris Fullfield 3x9, no more stringing. I will say Ive never had a problem with my older gold rings but the newer VX-1s I dont have any faith in. Im certain had I shipped the scope to Leupold they would have corrected the prob but I had already lost confidence and didnt want the doubt before attempting to dispatch a bull elk. Sorry if Ive ruffled any feathers, but that was my unfortunate experience with the "new" leupolds.
There is always at least one junker in every batch made. The same hold true not only for Leupold, but for Zeiss, Schmidt & Bender, Khales, Burris, and Sworafski. These are all companies who have earned a reputation for very high quality. But for the one who spend his/her hard earned cash for a quality scope only to get a defective one.....well.....faith is understandably lost in that company. I don't think that you can go wrong with either of the above makers. Keep in mind that the old Colorado made Redfield scopes were held very high in praise by hunters and target shooters. However the sniper of all snipers, the late Carlos Hathcock didn't speak very highly of their performance while a serving as a Marine sniper in vietnam. He prefered the Unertl scope.
“You don’t need that” my loving wife stated flatly. Hovering near her, sporting goods catalog in hand, I tried to counter “But look Honey, it holds 2150 cubic inches of gear”, as I tried to give her my best loving look. “Nope, you do not need to carry more gear – you have several packs already… if one of them is not big enough, take two” she stated and then fell back to attacking her Sudoku puzzle. Sulking, I moved back to my side of the bed and continued thumbing through my...