Did I just make a mistake?

DartonJager

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Was discussing (over the phone) my latest scope purchase that I am awaiting the arrival of with a friend and he told me I should really read the postings he saved from multiple hunting websites detailing how Leupolds quality control has gone down dramatically in the last ten years especially with the VX-III line of scopes.

The problems with the VX3 and as well as other model line of scopes were they failed to hold zero or in the case of their CDS scopes return to zero.

These weren't your typical "I heard from a friend of a friend of a friends 3rd cousin twice removed" type of opinions these were guys posting links to other websites populated by long range specialist marksman like this one claiming Leupold had began out sourcing the scope erector parts to the Chinese with the Rifleman line of scopes and made so much money they decided to fallow suit with their upper tear models like the VX-III.

According to the posting I read the quality slide began after A person (the name of whom escapes me) who was once in charge at Leupold left and right after his departure his replacement began the out sourcing parts to China and that's also supposedly when the QC at Leupold began to decline.
http://bbs.shootingsportsman.com/showthread.php?467-leopold-var-x-111-beware/page5

I researched buy this scope exhaustively but never did it occur to me to do a search on Leupold reliability or quality. I own no less than six older VariX-II Leupolds and after countless thousands of rounds and decades of use not a single problem ever.

The examples sighted of Leupold problems were very well documented and mostly by people like me who own many other Leupold scopes and were very loyal to Leupold.

There was so much well supported and very detailed information describing wide spread Leupold quality problems specifically with their erector systems that it really has me spooked and ready to send back the scope I just bought without even opening it.

I will say all the persons who reported problems with their VX-3's did say Leupold did everything they could to make it right, but no one got their money back just a repaired scope and instances of two or more of the same problems with these VX-3's scopes were quite common.

Now I am smart enough to know one doesn't believe 1 or 2 or even 10 negative post about any product, but these posts were large in number authored by persons who used their full names and sighted names of persons they dealt with at Leupold as well as links to other similar websites that specialize in long range shooting, tactical or bench rest disciplines. They also included precise descriptions of the parts of the scope that had failed and been described in Leupolds list of repairs that was returned to them with the scope, again almost all of the failed parts were with the scopes erector systems.

We have all seen the quality at Remington and Marlin as well as other firearm manufacturers suffer recently, so I don't doubt anything any more and the hunting target shooting optics market is getting incredibly competitive and I'm reasonably certain Leupold has lost a significant portion of a market they once dominated.

I did manage to post a link to one website of 7 pages detailing this alleged quality issue.

So what have all of you heard?
 

redbullitt

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Mar 29, 2017
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As far as quality overall, leupold is pretty good in my book. Not great, but good. Things do slip by their QC, as with any company. They will generally fix what you have issues with though!

There are some issues with canted reticles that are quite common, and I have personally seen a few.

I have had a few vx3 and a vxl. Both models were fine, but I did manage to break both models a couple times. 50 bmg shooting, dropping on a hunt etc, and a couple issues that I do not think were my fault.

ALL THAT SAID, Leupold did right by me and stood by their product and warranty.

I have a couple mark 4 ert scopes as well as a mark 6. They are all excellent, and if I have an issue I am sure it will be taken care of.
 

DartonJager

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Well I have been reading a very large amount of posts now dating back to at least 2010 concerning Leupold's erector and canted reticle problems are as it turns out rather common. These are posts where the author sates their name and gives great detail about the issue of their scope either loosing zero, failing to adjust after turning the adjustment nobs unless the rifle is fired, or the scope adjustment seizes and wont return to zero. To make me even more worried many of these persons experienced the same problems multiple times with the same scope.

The scope I am awaiting delivery of is going to be going on my most important hunts, some in the case of AZ and UT elk hunts, once in my life. Based on all this negative press about Leupolds, and there has been ALOT of it, I'm going to send the scope back when I get it.

A warranty is not worth it's wait in elk droppings on a Utah mountain side 1400 miles from home. I will do what so many here advised in the first place. Will buy a SWFA SS 3-15x42, develop a cheat sheet for my stock master how to use it, and put my mind at ease.
 

snox801

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I like the way you think. I also wouldn't risk it on a once in a lifetime hunt because it will always go bad at the time you need it and the warranty does nothing at that time. That's why I've been very pleased with nightforce. Even the shv I've be happy with. A bit heavy but they are incredibly tough.
 

DartonJager

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I like the way you think. I also wouldn't risk it on a once in a lifetime hunt because it will always go bad at the time you need it and the warranty does nothing at that time. That's why I've been very pleased with nightforce. Even the shv I've be happy with. A bit heavy but they are incredibly tough.

Snow,
To be absolutely clear I was once a tremendous fan of Leupold optics as I own both their binoculars as well as six of their older long discontinued VariX-II scopes.
2-VariX-II 3-9x40
2-VariV-II 2-7x33
2-VariX-II 4-12x40
1-wind river 8x32
1-wind river 10x42
So I am rather fond of their products. I bought my first Leupold product the WR 10x42 binos after much research way back in the pre internet days in the very early 90's, about 91 or 92.

So naturally they were high on my list of scopes to buy for mid range hunting. I was as surprised as I was disappointed when I (after I bought) discovered so many (and there were a lot of them) threads reporting (many in great detail) problems with Leupold scopes particularly the VX/1-VX/3i line, had with tracking, returning to and maintain zero.

I was also rather taken back by the outwardly hostile and even at times rabid defense by fans of Leupold who time and again refused to entertain the possibility that Leupolds QC might be degrading in favor of higher profits or what ever reason and continuously dismissed their reported scope issues as being due to the scopes being improperly mounted by the owners or some other owner induced cause anything but a fault on the part of Leupold.

You would almost have to read the responses to believe the level of product loyalty evident in the responders dismissing the posters problems as owner induced. And without fail kept quoting Leupold famous warranty and their answer to the scope issue was W/O fail was ship it back to Leupold. As I said previously a warranty no matter HOW GOOD does you any good sitting on windy mountain side 1400 miles from home in WY or UT.

The single worst example I read was a person who ordered a scope from the custom shop and it would not adjust properly. His gripe was two fold #1-he felt wright or wrong a near $1000 scope should not instantly be suffering problems and #2-the OP felt the fact it was from the custom shop meant the scope should have at the least been subjected to a level of QC that it should have left the factory defect free, let alone with a defect as easy to catch as failing to adjust properly, IMHO I agree 100% with both of these statements. To the contrary a large number of responders to this persons post dismissed his problem by basically saying all companies make a certain no# of bad products and simply send it back to leupold to be fixed and not once considered Leupold for even possibly being guilty of poor or lessening QC in allowing a defective scope to leave their custom scope department.

Make no mistake None of my VariX-II's have EVER failed me in any way what so ever and three of the six sit atop rifles that by their design are as punishing to a scope as a rifle can be.

I am the first to treat ANY information, especially evaluations, of any piece of equipment or mechanical device with a healthy dose of skepticism but when you read several negative reviews you take notice, but when you read several dozen, you have to acknowledge such information as at the least having some basis in fact.

That is why I am returning the scope and are buying a SWFA SS. No the SWFA SS 3-15x44 is not the EXACT scope I want, but it is IMHO the best compromise of wants and needs I can afford.

Another thing that struck me as being disingenuous was a common theme in so many responses that responders kept stating a good reliable medium range (for distances under 800 yards) scope can not be found for under $1000 and scope companies can only afford to make good reliable long range scopes for well over $1K and scopes under the $1K price range are going to have more issues than more expensive ones. Sorry I'm not buying that one.
 

FEENIX

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As I said previously a warranty no matter HOW GOOD does you any good sitting on windy mountain side 1400 miles from home in WY or UT.

IIWY, regardless of scope you end up with, I'd have a back-up rifle for that hunt of a lifetime ... but that's just m
 

Rich Coyle

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DartonJager,

I certainly agree one does not need to spend a grand to get a good scope. My last scope was $785. It has a great magnification range but I was concered it would not cooperate when moving the reticle. Yesterday I needed to adjust the impact point 2" right and 3 1/4" up. I dialed in eight clicks right and thirteen clicks up. The center of the five shot group was only 1/4" too high and centered. I am quite pleased with that performance.
 

DartonJager

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IIWY, regardless of scope you end up with, I'd have a back-up rifle for that hunt of a lifetime ... but that's just m

You sir and 100% correct I have and always will bring a back up rifle (even muzzleloaders) on all my hunts, be they deer hunts with in my home state or hunts well over 1K miles from home. That is another reason why scope choice for the financially challenged such as I is so critical because which ever scope I buy I will eventually buy a second one to go on my back up rifle. Heck I even bring a back up shotgun on turkey hunts two hours from my house.

My friend who has a quite likely chance of being drawn for a once in a lifetime limited entry Utah elk unit owns only one HP rifle, I have offered him the lone of my M700 in .338wm which he knows 1st hand is a no BS sub MOA rifle complete with bomb proof case and reloaded ammo, but he declined. He watched me with his own eyes hit a empty but secured in place on its side a Coleman fuel can at 400 yards 6 out of 7 shots on our least elk trip to WY, and the seventh round did actually crease the bottom of the can. Why only seven shots one might ask? because my .338 holds 4 rounds W/1 in the chamber and 3 in a DPM so I emptied my rifle and reloaded it with my back up DPM.

I hope he doesn't end up regretting his choice. I know there is no way on earth I would not have a back up rifle, unless of course it was a pure backpack hunt the weight limitations rule that out, but with todays QD scope mounts one could swing a back up scope I would think.
 
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DartonJager

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I imagine I should have included this in my original post, but I hope no one misunderstands my intention of my postings as a opportunity to bash Leupold in any way shape or form. Besides Leupold, I own scopes from Weaver and Bushnell and binos from Pentax and I still have far more money tied up in Leupold optics than all others combined.

On the contrary, if the QC, as the large number of seemingly accurate reports indicate at Leupold actually has declined I am truly sadden for Leupold.
 

Coopershawk

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So, based on your exhaustive research of internet postings indicating Leupold QC is in the tank, how does their failure rate compare to the competitors?
 

bigngreen

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There was a huge poll years ago on SH that collected a lot of failure data, Leupold had the highest failure rate of all optics, vortex was a little better but they were newer on the scene and they have definitely gotten better, interesting thing about it was S&B had a highest failure rate of the top teir optics but that was when their turrets were failing like crazy. By far with nearly zero reported issues was Nightforce.
Personally I've seen more Leupold fail by a wide margin than any other optic, I get a number of rifles in a year to fix accuracy issues on and the number of times it's a Leupold is sad.
I remember the day when they were a benchmark of American optic, it's frankly embarrassing where they are at now!!
 

Coopershawk

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I suppose I would expect the NUMBER of Leupold repairs to be high since their sales are astonomical compared to many others. Also with 110 years of production I'd guess there are a good number still floating around to break. But you are saying the PERCENTAGE of current production is failing worse than any other brand?
Not trying to be snarky. It's just that all the online brand battles seem to favor the premium niche market since we don't really have the numbers.
If I buy a $2500 NF I'd expect it to hold up. But if I buy a $200 Leupold lightweight hunting scope, strap it on a 50 BMG and start "spinning the dials" I'd expect a quick exit.
Is the problem with the Leupold that the turret is built for "set it and forget it" as opposed to the newer application? What exactly is failing? Is there a cheap plastic part in the turret? Quality control or just bad design?
 

stomp442

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The Leupold VX-3 6.5-20x50 is my favorite scope. I have been slowly replacing every scope I own on my long range rifles with one of these and I haven't had a problem yet. I shoot a lot and I use my turrets for every shot from near to far and I have yet to have a problem one. Tracking has been exact and repeatable, clarity is top notch and they are not overly large and weigh a ton like a Vortex or Nightforce.
 

Coopershawk

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It's good to hear someone else finds them trustworthy:)
I guess my issue with any digesting of chatroom "data" is it's pretty unscientific. The OP is now afraid that a Leupold can't be trusted on a "Once in a Lifetime" hunt because of some anecdotal claims on BBS's. The overwhelming evidence is that the company QC is going down the drain. Leupold is junk. Everybody has to have a two pound tactical scope on a rail mount in order to survive an elk hunt? In Utah no less...
I have (I think) 17 Leupold scopes laying around from fixed power to VX6's and they have all done what was expected. Clear glass, fog free & held point of impact -despite fairly hard use. I did have a reticle come loose in a 1960 era VX 3-9. It was promptly replaced for free in 2009 when it let go. I would have no problem taking any one of them on a "once in a lifetime hunt".
Now, to be honest I have been a "set it and forget it" hunter my whole life- which of course leads to a lot less wear and tear on a scope turret. Now that I'm starting to tinker with longer range rifles I am more concerned with the guts of the turrets. But some of the comparisons between a VX-3 say and a NF NXS really are apples and oranges to me. I don't see how you could hold them to the same standard.
I'm not just some rabid Leupold "supporter"- I just have a few of them because back in the day they were the top end. Many others actually did fog, leak and lose POI. I think maybe now they are trying to build to too many pricepoints to get the entry level market and hurting their reputation in the process.
 
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