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Tndeerhunter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Tennessee
Joined: 04/13/2009
Posts: 1134
Scope comparison including a new Leupold VX-R

I recently broke down and bought a new Leupold VX-R 2-7x33 scope. Except for the fact that Leupold didn't think any type of scope covers should come with a $400+ scope (after the VXI I'd just bought did come with a bikini cover) I was & am very happy with my purchase. I wanted to compare it against a couple other good scopes I have and did so a few days after I received it. I decided to compare it with a Zeiss Conquest (Z-Plex reticle) 2.5-8x32 and a Leupold Euro 30mm 1.25-4x20. I set all the scopes on 4X to make it a fair comparison. I know the different size objectives might make a slight difference in the relative brightness/exit pupil factor, but at my age I'd doubt a factor of anything over 5 can be seen or used anyway.

I'm a big believer, due to the number of other comparisons I've done with my scopes, in a good, bold reticle for a hunting scope. That being said, the three reticles were a German #4 in the Leupold Euro, a Zeiss Z-Plex (which is heavier than a typical leupold duplex) and a Firedot Duplex in the VX-R. The Firedot Duplex reticle has a 1 MOA (I believe) dot in the center of the duplex crosshairs that can be turned on and off and also has 8 settings for relative brightness. The brightness & on/off features are both worked by the same push-button switch which looks like another adjustment turret on the left side of the scope tube.

I will admit to being a big Zeiss scope fan and have never owned another scope as bright or clear as my three Zeiss scopes are. However, when my comparison was finished, it showed there are some things that could be more important than simple brightness or clarity when talking low light conditions and shooting game. The Zeiss scope was indeed the brightest and sharpest as last legal light passed, but it's crosshairs did not allow for a good sight picture when I performed my "dark on dark" test. This is simply me aiming the scope's crosshairs on a dark target, which would simulate a black bear or dark colored hog at last light. The crosshairs simply got lost on the dark target and became all but impossible to see well enough to have taken a "good" shot.

The second best reticle turned out to be the Leupold Euro's #4 reticle, as done by Leupold. The scope's picture was not as bright or sharp as the Zeiss's was, but the crosshairs showed plenty well enough to have been able to take a good shot with the rifle. By far, the best shot chance would have been the VX-R Firedot, however. Absolutely no problem in the "dark on dark" test and even looking at longer ranges, a good shot opportunity still existed with the VX-R. Now, if you were shooting at a lighter colored deer in a field, any one of the three would have been just fine, but for those who hunt black bear or hogs and understand their propensity for showing just as darkness falls, such a scope/reticle combination might be something you'd be interested in.

The scope is mounted on a BLR/.325WSM which gives me a lot of versatility, from long range hogs at 45 mins after SS, to black bear over bait at 29 mins after SS. Along with the early morning it allows and it's excellent full light performance, I am convinced that I'd like to have one more to mount on one of my big bore lever guns too (a 1.25-4x20 version). The rifle & scope combo did take a hog well after sunset a few weeks ago on my Georgia hunt, but honestly it was still early enough that most any scope I own could also have done the job at relatively short range as it was. I am, however, a believer now in these newer Fiber Optic type reticles and like the added performance they can bring to the table.

The Leupold VX-R is an excellent scope, without a doubt, for those who might be needing really good low-light performance from an optic! I'll add a picture of the mounted scope here showing the button used for on/off and brightness adjustment.

MVC-024F.JPG125 KB
bitmasher's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2974
Good review

Good review Thumbs up

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