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Location: Tennessee
Joined: 04/13/2009
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Short Review of the new Leupold VX-R Scopes

                                    Leupold VX-R series scopes

Leupold's new VX-R series seems to be a follow-on to an earlier series they marketed here in the states that was built to European specs, the European 30mm series. I happen to have two of those scopes, one a 1.25-4x20 and the other is a 2-7x33, both with #4 type reticles. My take on both those scopes is that they are simply great hunting scopes and perhaps the best hunting scopes I own, including some fine Zeiss Conquests I own and use.

To qualify that a bit more, I've done low light tests on my many scopes several different times. In all cases, the Zeiss scopes have given the brightest and clearest view in the lowest light levels. However, there's more to a hunting scope than pure brightness. You also need to be able to place your shot using the crosshairs and putting them in proper position on an animal's body to make a clean harvest.

When I add my dark on dark test into the mix during low light comparisons I found that the #4 reticles in my two 30mm Leupolds showed better than the Z-Plex reticles in my three Zeiss Conquests. So, as a hunting scope, the Leupolds edged the Conquests for use in dark on dark aiming (such as a reticle on a black bear or black hog). Now, what does this have to do with a review of the newer VX-R scope line?

Well, it looks to me that the VX-R is simply more of a good thing. I happen to have chosen two different reticles for my two different VX-Rs. I got a Firedot Duplex in my 2-7x33 and a Firedot 4 in my 1.25-4x20. As you may have noticed, my scope selection exactly parallels the two other 30mm Leupolds I already owned and was very happy with. The VX-R simply adds a glowing dot (hence Firedot) available to be lit in the very center of the chosen reticle type.

This dot must be turned on (switch on left side adjacent the two adjustment turrets) and has a multi-level adjustment for  brightness making it useful in full daylight (bright) as well as in near darkness (low). This feature works very well as it also has an auto shut-off. What this feature does is automatically switch off battery power to the reticle when the rifle has not been moved for 5 minutes (saving battery juice). Immediately upon sensing motion, the reticle relights and my tests show it will be there & on before the rifle's butt hits your shoulder as you pick up and shoulder your previously stationary rifle.

Both reticles work in a standard manner when the power is switched off, so you always have a 30mm regular scope, even with a dead battery and remember, my opinion is that even without the glowing dot, the 30mm Leupolds with a heavy reticle outperform the fine Zeiss Conquest in a dark on dark scenario. Not exactly chopped liver, even without the revolutionary Firedot system operating. 

If your hunting does not put you in position to need the best low light performance available (legally) such as a black bear coming in at 25 mins after SS or a hog standing against a woodline at even 45 mins after SS, then you may not need a scope like this. But if you enjoy getting the most out of each and every day spent afield and being able to shoot at any time during legal hunting hours, or if you routinely hunt black bear or hogs (especially where it's legal 24/7), this scope might be worth taking a hard look at.

My first VX-R in 2-7x33 helped me take a hog this past January at around 20 mins after SS in thick Georgia woods and my newer one, the 1.25-4 with #4 reticle will be used this September on a Maine black bear hunt. Any time I need a new scope for a new rifle, I will look to this scope series first. For me & my hunting, they are that good. No, I'm not going to replace the other scopes I now use on other rifles including Zeiss Conquest, Nikon Monarch & Prostaff, Bushnell Elite 3200 & 4200 series, Leupold VXI, VXII and Vari-XII, Burris FF & FFII and Weaver V Series among them, but I do like the extra abilities they lend for some specific hunting tasks along with their very fine all-around performance.

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