Leupold 6.5-20x50mm Vari-X III LRT upgrades?

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by lv2hunt, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. lv2hunt

    lv2hunt Well-Known Member

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    Howdy,

    Searched on the forum alot and could not find the exact information I was looking for so here we go. I just sold my go to long range hunting rig which was a Remington Sendero SF II chambered in .300 Ultra Magnum and bought a new Savage Model 111 LRH chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. The scope I currently have on hand is off of the Sendero, it is an proven older model Leupold 6.5-20x50mm Vari-X III LRT. It has side focus knob, target style windage and elevation turrets with dust caps, and a mil-dot reticle in matte finish. My two biggest complaints with this scope is the mil-dot reticle and target turrets.

    I am considering sending this scope into Leupold for some upgrades and wanted to see what your opinions were and if I am on the right track.

    Potential upgrades to be performed to my old scope:

    Remove mil-dot reticle replace with varmint hunter reticle or Boone and Crockett reticle. (Good out to 500 yards) $69.99

    Remove old target style target knobs and dust caps and replace with M1 style ballistic dials. (According to Leupold represenative these dials should give me enough to get to 1500 yards with the Lapua) $149.98


    Any advice or experiences that can be given good or bad with these reticles and dials would be greatly appreciated. If I had the funds, which I don't I would just buy one of the Nightforce velocity reticle scopes and be done with it, however this is not an option for me currently.

    Thank you,
    lv2hunt
     
  2. dig

    dig Well-Known Member

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    A few thoughts on your suggested changes.

    1) Anything you want to do with a "Varmint Hunter" or other type of holdover reticle you can do better with Mil Radian/Mil Dot reticle and a ballistics software application. With Mil dots you can range very simply if you RF is down or weather is hampering it, Fog killing your RF, use mil-dots. Most of all you may adjust for environmental conditions easier by carrying multiple ballistic cards or a handheld device. Print one for your range at 1000 ft and 60 degrees another for your current hunt at 5500 ft and 40 degrees including all enviormentals for a much more versatile and accurate system. Once you learn the MIL system or the MOA system for that matter it translates to all your rifles, no gimmicky reticles.

    2) You are not going to get any "Farther" range with M1 dials they are still 1/4 MOA dials just as the target turrets are (unless this is some new upgrade I don't know about).There are advantages and disadvantages to each. The M1s are easier to see and faster but they are also easier to knock around and lose zero on a hunting rifle, I have missed a close shot because of bumped dials. I keep tape on my exposed dials now.

    Bottom line, you have a good scope with a great reticle! Learn to use it and you will probably stick with the system. As for the knobs that's really a judgment call.
     

  3. lv2hunt

    lv2hunt Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply Dig, I will definitley consider what you said. Please keep the replies / opinions coming as I would like to get this thing sent off to Leupold this week. I have been doing more research and came across the (TMR) tactical milling reticle, looks good and not "gimmicky" like the holdover reticles. If anyone has any information to share on the tmr vs. mil-dot reticle I would appreciate it as well.

    Thanks,
    lv2hunt
     
  4. dig

    dig Well-Known Member

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    I have and use the TMR, I like it a bit better than Mildot, with the 1/2 mil increments its slightly easier to use. Either will take a little long range practice to get proficient. If between the two I would stick with what you have for now and practice a bit, you can get good with traditional mildots our snipers do. I tend to use Mils for anything inside of 500 or if I need to shoot quickly. Dials if a lot of time or airing it out.
     
  5. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    Yes as Dig said the TMR IS A MIL reticle, Just picture your reticle w/small hash in between mildots. For cost and gain I would change zero, save money for a cosine gauge or scope level,or nice bipod etc. If you do want to use reticle for holds ,THEN yes tmr,this gives you difined aiming point at mid .Here is how it works on my TMR FOR A RIFLE OF MINE 200 zero, then in half mildown,275,350,412,475,537,600,663,712,825@ 5mil post
     
  6. davewilson

    davewilson Well-Known Member

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    my recommendation would be to not sink any money into that scope. if it's the older vx-111 model it's not worth putting money into. if it were one of the newer vx-3 scopes, then i would say go for it. those older models have a bad reputation for function. most specifically the turrets and repeating.
     
  7. lv2hunt

    lv2hunt Well-Known Member

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    To summarize:

    Hmmm... interesting on the bad scope model, never heard that before. I must of got a good one it tracks great, will still pass a box test and has been very reliable for me for quite a few years. (Taken alot of game with it). So it sounds like the general concensus on the reticle is to leave it alone for now and possibly upgrade to TMR later, sounds like a decent plan.

    In regards to the ballistic dials, it sounds like this too would be a waste of time and money since I plan to reload in a couple different bullets for this caliber. Is this correct?

    In regards to the M1 turrets over my target turrets, personal preference I guess right?

    Thanks,
    lv2hunt
     
  8. Tikkamike

    Tikkamike Well-Known Member

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    You are right but the older 30mm scopes like he has are just as good as the new ones. they too have double erector springs so the repeatability problems dont apply to the scope he has.
     
  9. Outlaw6.0

    Outlaw6.0 Well-Known Member

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    I've had two MK4's with the TMR reticle (which is fantastic), I just traded my 8.5-25.50 M1 for this simple fact:

    I don't mind using MILS or MOA but mixing the two is a pain in the ass, if holding for wind & elevation, the TMR rocks. If you dial like i'm used to, you're dialing in MOA, any shot corrections (target shooting or otherwise) is spotted in MILS. I was awaiting the day I would be pulling data in MILS (my MK4 M5-A is MIL/MIL) & dial that on an MOA turret or visa versa. It is more of a nuisance than anything really, but one I could not get over.

    I would have to advise to go either MIL/MIL or MOA/MOA, learn the system & kick some butt. Maybe Leupy can put some M5 turrets on there for ya? IDK, but it wouldn't hurt to ask.
     
  10. lv2hunt

    lv2hunt Well-Known Member

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    Shew sounds like I do have a good scope model afterall, had me worried! Allright guys I think were finally figuring this out, thanks again for the help. I just got off the phone with Leupold and they told me that the 1/4 MOA M1 knobs are an option for my older model and can be installed for $129.00. He also told me that the Mil / M5 knobs are not currently an option for my older model but that they may be in the future but that he wasn't certain on that. (Hmm...)

    As it stands right now it will be going in for a Mil TMR reticle and the 1/4 Moa M1 turret dials. I know this mixes mil /moa but given my options what do you think.

    Only other option would be to sell this off and save for something in mil / mil or moa / moa, bearing in mind this scope is probably only worth five to six hundred dollars with the 4" sunshade and lens covers.

    Opinions please, thanks
    lv2hunt
     
  11. DZelenka

    DZelenka Well-Known Member

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    I have the same scope as you. Last year I had M1 turrets and a standard Plex reticle installed by Leupold. Thus far it has worked very well.

    Dan
     
  12. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    Your turrets now operate the same as the m1, YOURS ARE COVERED,which can be a bonus, I just ran no cover hunting.Tmr will give you a defined aiming point.
     
  13. lv2hunt

    lv2hunt Well-Known Member

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    At the expense of asking a stupid question, this model of scope referenced is a first or front focal plane (ffp) scope correct? If I understand correctly this means it can be used on any magnification without reticle distortion, correct?

    Thanks,
    lv2hunt
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  14. Tikkamike

    Tikkamike Well-Known Member

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    you can calibrate the TMR to be a MOA reticle, a MIL is bigger than a MOAso all you have to do is make an MOA grid and set it out at 100 yards, or even further, the further out you go the more precise it will be. anyway just turn the power down untill the lines in the scope match up with your grid. the each line will be a however many moa that coveres, more than likely 2 MOA then just mark that power on your scope and just hunt with it on that power it will end up being like 18 powerish more than likely. then you have your MOA/MOA scope. that in my opinion would be the best use of your money