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Leupold Comparison

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Unread 08-28-2009, 12:03 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 92
Leupold Comparison

When comparing a Leupold VX3 to the Mark IV- what are the real differences?? The scope of choice would be the 8.5X25X50. I realize the VX3 has more internal adjustment. However what else is there??

And then how does either of these Leupold's hold up against the NF scope?? All opinions wanted?? Thanks, Tom.
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Unread 08-28-2009, 02:51 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 35
Re: Leupold Comparison

Iv used many Loop's over the years and always felt they lack a certain something. They always stuck me to have a great brand name like say Mercedes but like Merc's lack on quality.

The Loops iv used always needed re-zeroing and had slight blurring round the edges. The turrets clicked but not firm and didn't feel solid.

I switched to N.F a few years ago and haven't looked back. I now have 2 8-32 NXS models and they perform faultlessly.

I zeroed them both about 3-4 years ago and they are still on the same zero, i dial in ranges and they clicks are firm and positive. Lens quality is faultless as is the tube thickness- i can see why special forces jump out of planes with these bolted to their rifles and don't worry about checking the zero
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Unread 08-28-2009, 11:18 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 82
Re: Leupold Comparison

Nothing written below is intended to make any one mad, depressed, annoyed, pissed off, or irritated. It is just my opinion

The new VX3 line has one major advantage over the MK IV line with the new Twilight lens coatings. Otherwise they are essentially the same optic except for the color of the ring.

With the new revamp of the VX3 line Leupold took all the improvements from the other lines and incorporated them into the VX3.

• The dual bias spring system from the MK IV. No more issues with the 50s
• Blackened lens, DiamondCoat scratch protection, Twilight Lens coatings from the VXL
• Argon/Krypton gas fill and graphite impregnated o-rings from the VX 7

What you have is the best hunting optic in the world was made even better, and with a few modifications (Precision Hunting Reticle, tall elevation turret with 1/3 MOA clicks, 20 MOA per rotation and the Greybull Precision drop compensating turret) nothing else is even close.

Comparing the Nightforce with the Leupold is for me a no brainer.

• Current VX3s have every bit as good resolution as the comparable NXS. Anyone with out an axe to grind can see this to be true. This is the opinion of some one (ME) with an axe to grind. Check this out for your self.

• A 3.5x15x50 NXS weighs almost a pound more than the VX3 4.5x14x50mm. Where would you rather have an extra pound of weight, your optic or your barrel?

• The NXS is also much larger and bulkier and the optic and the mounts will take much more abuse because of its excessive size. Why do you think the Nightforce mounts are so big and many guys use multiple mount to secure these optics.

• The NXS has only 10 MOA per revolution compared with the 15 MOA of the stock Leupold and the 20 MOA of the Greybull Precision.

• The NXS does look cool. Nightforce really has the tactical look down pat.

• The NXS is slightly more expensive.

Nightforce has a cool print ad showing an NXS with a bullet hole in it that still functioned but I am willing to do the shooting if they want to provide an optic to see if their scopes are really bullet proof or if this was just a fluke.

I have shot and sold hundreds of Leupolds and I personally have never seen one that would not hold zero. We are all victims of our experiences and mine has been the Leupold does not have any problem holding zero.

I am always on the lookout for a VX3 that will not hold zero. If anyone has a VX3 (Must be in stock condition and not modified by anyone but Leupold) that they think will not hold zero I would love to test it on one of our rifles and if it does not hold zero we (Greybull Precision LLC) will buy you a new comparable NXS scope. If it does hold zero I get to keep it. Hooray for me.

Scopes are not eligible with end user damage such as, but not limited to:

tire tracks, bullet holes, wrench marks, extra holes (drilled, tapped or punched), horse shoe tracks, mule tracks, nails, hammer dents, bent tubes, crushed tubes, stripped threads, smashed objectives, missing lenses, grizzly tooth marks (I have seen this), welding splatter or grinder marks

All the above is just my opinion and everybody need to understand I sell a Leupold product, albeit a modified Leupold product. If you like Nightforce better then more power to you as this is what makes a horse race.

I do believe the NXS Optics are very well made and are absolutely a quality product, just not the best choice for a hunting optic on a rifle you have to carry.

Have fun with this and blame this on Hogghead as he wanted all opinions
John Burns
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Unread 08-28-2009, 12:48 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,232
Re: Leupold Comparison


I appreciate your perspective. I have both Leupy's and NF's.

Couple of items that you missed.

When comparing the NXS in 3.5x15x50 vs the M4 4.5x14x50.
1) The weight difference is only 8oz's not a pound.
2) The M4 has a LOT fewer reticle options than the NF
3) NF only available with illuminated reticle
4) NF has a little longer mounting area
5) NF has 3/10" longer eye relief
6) M4 objective doesn't spin like the NF. M4 comes with flip up caps. Butler creek style doesn't work well with NF's.
7) NF has a little larger magnification range.
8) NF has 110moa adjustment range, M4 has 100moa adjustment range (only 70moa with illuminated reticle option).

Of course the VXiii is a bit lighter than the Mark 4, but comparing the VXiii to the NXS isn't really fair, as the M4 is more in the same market as the NXS and is a fairer comparison.

For me, it came down to the NF having the NP-R1 reticle available for my requirements.

If some is good and more is better, then too much is just right.

My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives

Last edited by AJ Peacock; 08-28-2009 at 12:56 PM.
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Unread 08-28-2009, 12:57 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 35
Re: Leupold Comparison

Likewise- N.F all the way....

Quality sells itself
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Unread 08-28-2009, 04:12 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 82
Re: Leupold Comparison

AJ brings up some good points but I have to stick with my VX-3 comparison.

Warning biased opinion follows:

I would use many of the same points in a VX-3 vs MK IV comparison.

Extra weight for no extra performance. I did check the Nightforce website and AJ is right that there is not a full pound of difference but 13 oz’s between the VX-3 (17 oz) and the NXS (30 oz).

For me in a 10.5 lbs rifle that weight works much better in the barrel. In other words I can have a 4 lb barrel instead of a 3 lb 3 oz barrel and keep the weight below 10.5 LBS.

For me extra eye relief is a disadvantage due to the ring placement on the tube. I have to move my scopes as far forward as possible to obtain proper eye position so any extra eye relief slows me down under pressure. Plus the extra length of the eyepiece of the NXS compounds the problem.

A one piece rail mount can solve this issue but this just adds more weight and makes access to the loading port more difficult.

I never have a problem with not enough eye relief on the VX-3 but I don’t shoot rifles with big recoil from prone either. If the rifle kicks hard enough to hit me while shooting a VX-3 I won’t be able to use it with real precision anyway so it is a moot point in my applications.

The 7mm 180gr @ 3000fps in a 10.5 lb gun is the limit of my ability to shoot well (sometimes on a good day) and I have never been scoped by this combination using a VX-3.

One thing I forgot to mention is the availability of the best lens caps in the world for the VX-3. Unless you have used the Alumina flip-ups you don’t know what you are missing. The Alumina flip–ups fold down flat on the objective and eye piece and do not interfere with your hat brim during recoil. Way cool.

I have never been a fan of the illuminated reticle so for me that has never been a consideration. Even when using a spotlight on coyotes I prefer a properly designed plain reticle and have killed quite a few coyotes under just moonlight and snow with my reticle, but to each his own.

I would agree the NP-R1 is a better long range reticle than anything available stock from Leupold but (and this will come as a shocker) I think my reticle is even better. I can easily break wind holds down to ¼ MOA with speed and precision. I just wish I could read the wind to ½ MOA all the time (OK more like I wish I could read it to under 2 MOA every time).

Because I use reticle hold off for windage I really like a low profile windage turret. This is a major advantage if you ever have to carry the system on a horse or (preferred) a mule. To the best of my knowledge there are not any commercially available saddle scabbards that can accommodate the Nightforce NXS with the 50mm or bigger objective. You can always have a custom scabbard made but it would be very bulky and uncomfortable for both rider and mule (or horse if that is all you have to ride).

If you ever think you might go on a wilderness hunt take this into consideration.

Since I direct dial the first rotation I really like the added adjustment per rotation and on my 7mm I get right to 1000yds in the first rotation. This gun has 68 MOA up from the 200yd zero and will dial on to slightly over 2000yds (busting rocks and steel) under most conditions I shoot in.

One advantage no one has mentioned yet for the Nightforce is the zero stop. The stock Leupold does not have this feature (My Greybull Precision does have a zero stop) and while it adds to the expense of the Nightforce at least you can get it.

I would say if I was building a gun for static type hunting and carry weight was not a factor and I wanted to use this gun regularly beyond 1000yds and I would never need it in a hurry then I would choose a scope with more magnification and would look seriously at the Nightforce products because of the large amount of adjustment relative to high magnification and AJ's choice of the reticles, the NP-R1.

It really is a question of the application. I consider my self a hunter that sometimes shoots at long range (OK maybe more than sometimes)

If “Long Range Hunting” is your only goal you might choose a different optic than I choose and a different rifle to go under it combined with different techniques for trajectory and windage compensation.


What is your opinion about first or second focal plane?

Do you direct dial, chart dial (either count clicks or MOA), PDA Dial or use reticle holdover for trajectory compensation?

How about wind?

Are there any S&B fans out there?

Performance sells
John Burns
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Unread 08-28-2009, 05:47 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 92
Re: Leupold Comparison

This scope purchase is strictly for a long range deer rifle. I hunt from a fixed position(handicapped hunter). My current rigs will work fine for shots out to 500-600 yards. I am wanting to extend this shooting range out to 800 yards for hunting, and 1,000 yards at our 1,000 yard club.

My rifle will not be treated harshly, nor will it ever be in harrowing conditions. I normally carry it cased to my hunting stand on my modified Kawasaki Mule(only Mule my rifle will ever see), so ruggedness is not primary.

My primary concern is the ability of the scope to track flawlessly. I want one that tracks like my Swaro. My Swaro. does a box test with no errors, and I like that.

I do not mind spending the extra money if I have to, in order to achieve flawless tracking. However if the VX3 will give flawless tracking then the 8.5X25 will suit my needs perfectly.

So please guys-tell me your opinions on the tracking. Will the Mark IV or NF scope track better than the VX 3?? Tom.
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