Which Leupold to buy?


Well-Known Member
Jun 12, 2004
I have a new .280AI being biult and it will be finished in about 2 weeks. I what to put a Leupold 3.5-10x40 on it and need to know which of the "vari"ants of the vari-x III/ V-III / VX-III is the better scope. Dont know know why they had to go and change the model so many times? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks ..........Randy
According to Leupold the "NEW VAR lll" scopes are superseding the old Var lll models. Better glass and adjustments.

I should have one of the new models here shortly.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Don't know know why they had to go and change the model so many times?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

My opinion is that Leupold is reacting to market forces. European and Japanese scope builders have improved their scopes to include Eyepiece diopter adjustment, side parallax adjustment, engraved reticles, lit reticles, Mildots, tactical scope physical enhancements, better coatings, etc, etc. and the "BIG L" is just reacting to this in an effort to stay competitive.

I think in general the entire shooting public is benefiting by this even as scope prices increase to reflect these changes.

QUOTE- "need to know which of the "vari"ants of the vari-x III/ V-III / VX-III is the better scope"

Well first you can throw out the V-III, since there is no such thing. So now you are down to the old Vari-X III and the new VX-III. With the new VX-III's, I have hear some positives but I have also hear some negatives. Many people believe that the new VX-III is no different optically than the old Vari-X III. The new VX-III does have a few new features, such as finger adjustable windage and elevation knobs and lockable fast focus eyepiece. Is this a big advantage, personal preference, but my opinion is no. If you are looking at the Leupold line, I believe the VX-II is one of the better buys. They have been upgraded for 2004 will multicoat 4 on all lenses, which makes them basically the old Vari-X III models with the VX-II name on them. One problem with them is they do not come in the power range that you are looking at. They come in the basic 3-9 and 4-12. Just something to think about before your purchase.
I too am having a 280AI built. It should be done in two weeks as well. Maybe the same gunsmith is selling us the same gun. Just kidding. I am going to go with the 4.5x14x50 Long Range model. It seems to be an overkill, but that is what my gunsmith thinks is best. He said if you can't get the 50mm then the 40mm would work fine. I know that everyone likes the European makes but this scope is going to cost me $495.00 for a VX-3 4.5x14x50 LR with Duplex Reticle. The others that they are comparing would cost me almost twice that. I do agree with the above thread noting that there is very little difference and bang for the buck, VX-2 is a good solid scope. Hope this helps.
...go with the VX III... just pick the power range of your choice, depending on the type of terrain you'll be hunting... 50mm obj is very popular but the 40mm gives a nice low profile... whatever makes the best rifle profile overall... Larry
I have a new VX III and have seen a big difference in low light conditions over the VariX III. VX III now compares to my Swarovski scopes. Youe 3.5 X 10 is a good choice, but don't overlook the 2.5 X 8. Much smaller and lighter. Might look better on your rifle and you can hunt and hit with this variable.
...agree with wapiti13... my new VX-III is noticeably better than my vari-x 3's... I would buy almost any vari-x 3 at the right price, but new VX is definitely an upgrade... jmo...
As a gun writer,
I have tested countless scopes over the last 42 years and all manufacturers fear me becuase I do 2 things no other writer does.

Firstly, I actually test the scope, instead of taking pretty pictures and regurgitating the sales brochure.

Secondly, I wind the scope around the target to test the turrets. This involves sighting the scope to impact 2 inches high at 100 yards. I then wind 20 clicks to the right and fire a shot, then 40 clicks down and fire again. Then its 40 clicks left and so on. I do this until I have shot around the target 3 times resulting in 4 X 3 shot groups around the target plus the original centered sighter shots.

If the scope is good, it will have 4 accurately and evenly positioned groups in a "square" around the bull and each individual group will be not only equal in size by representative of what the rifle will shoot under normal accuracy assessment.

This puts fear into a manufacturer like nothing you ever saw.

You would be ammazed at the best results I have achieved and from what brand of scope.
Not a misprint either.
What you won't know about this "el cheapo" brand is that they have essentially two product lines and one is made in Taiwan and the other in Japan.

The "Tasco World Class Plus" as opposed to the "World Class" is made in Japan and has lenses and Turrets made to Leupold Vari 111 standard.

I have one on my .30/06 that has been around the world twice since 1996 and never been resighted and another Tasco Titan also on a .460 Weatherby and I have been unable to break these scopes by international travel or hundreds of full power test loads and accuracy tests.

I am not by any means inferring that these are the best optics ever made, just that surprises in performance can be had irrespective of cost.

I also on one occasion, had a premium $1,500 scope delivered for test review and I noted a scratch internally on the objective lens.

A case of quality control is there is you are blissfully ignorant or do not know what to look for.

With scopes in general, I am not impressed by marketing or price. I look at the scope and try it. If it performs it stays put, if not, that is what the garbage bin is for.

A scope has to perform with non negotiable variation in performance no matter wheere in earth or in what climatic variation. When you think about it, that is what you are paying for anyway!

Be fussy with every thing you pay for. It's your money.
I have not looked at the "new improved" VariXIII, as to image quality, so my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt.

What I'd like JDJ to state is his mission; type of hunting and terrain expected, what ranges he will be shooting, etc. It's assumed that the expenditure of more money should buy better quality. He may not need the bells and whistles, and then again, maybe he does?

As to Airbornes' question. What seems to me is that the 40mm objective is more than adequate for the majority of applications. The gentleman needs to state a case for the 50mm lens, because, as one poster already mentioned, that 2.5X8 is a real decent, general big game scope. I have, and use both the 3.5X10X40 and the 2.5X8. Hard to go wrong with either. I have 50 and 56MM scopes on some rifles and have very good reasons.

If he has a good reason, fine. If not, then I'd guess the new VariX (40mm) would be a good choice, if the optics are as good as I'm reading, above.

Whatever the choice, good luck. LB
Thanks guys for the input! The rifle for which this scope is intended will be my "go to" gun for day to day hunting. I totally agree that more $$$ does not always mean more quality. I have 2 (dont laugh) Simmons 44 mags on a couple of rifles, one of them a T/C Encore .50 cal. muzzleloader with around 200 rounds through it without ever needing re-zeroing. The other on a Ruger 30-06 with around 1000 rnds down range and zero never changed unless I changed it. Very impresive glass for the money! Always bright and clear without ever foging or hazing yet (knock on wood). Then on the other hand, I have bought 2 used Simmons WTC scopes and neither was worth the price of shipping. I also have a Tasco world class plus 6-24 on my yote calling Ruger that is on par with my "WAY MORE EXPENSIVE" Leupold tactical on my .308 700PSS.
Well..........I've rambled enough my experiences with other brands. The reason for me wanting another Leupold is I believe them to be one of the more reliable and all out ruged scopes on the market. As for the reason for the power range I chose, as I said this would be my "go to" rifle for general day to day hunting. I may be sitting in a treestand in woods or sitting in a tripod in south Texas. I also have just aquired a piece of property in the delta region which will offer me shots out to further than I care to shoot. Just believe this to be the better all around power for my type of hunting. I have a long range rifle biult for the longer stuff and shoot alot of pistols for the closer stuff.
Anyway..........please feel free to comment some more on your preferences and suggestions. Thanks to everyone!!!!!!!!! Keep it coming..........JDJHNTR
Choose 40 or 50mm objective based on whether you will use the rifle in low light conditions . If the answer is yes then 50mm objective is a no brainer . 7mm exit pupil at 7 power vs a little under 6 power for the 40mm .
O.K. so the Tasco World Class Plus might have accurate adjustments but the one I looked through had resolution similar to the bottom of a Coke bottle . You get what you pay for .
I have had 8 Leupolds including a VX 111 in 6.5 - 20 . Do I need to say any more ? Go with the Boone and Crocket reticle .
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