In this day and age most every hunter has a pretty good idea that our world is changing quickly. We all have our personal preferences when it comes to brands of products we use. That being said, we all can recognize when a quality manufacturer builds a product that immediately gives us an advantage in the field. A few years back Leupold essentially blew the hunting world away with the debut of their VX-5HD rifle scopes. It didn’t take long for the VX-5 to become the most popular rifle scope for the long-range hunting community. It’s ultra-clear glass, ZeroLock turret, and light weight secured the VX-5 the top spot on the market for the price. Of course, it didn’t take long for the picky hunting world to dissect a great product and start saying things like, “That’s a great scope, I wish it had more magnification,” and, “I sure love that Zero-lock, but I wish it had 3 rotations.” Well, for those of you saying these things Leupold was listening. One look at the 2019 lineup and you will see that the staff at Leupold has yet again created a scope to satisfy our needs.
If you’re anything like me I’m sure you are foaming at the mouth waiting to get your hands on one of these new scopes! That makes this the perfect time for me to put in my 2-cents about a great product. Since their debut in 2017 the VX-5HD 3-15x44 has been the best-selling scope at MuleyCrazy. Hands down, the biggest reason is because it is the best all-around scope on the market for the price. It seems almost impossible that for around $900 you can have a great long-range hunting scope that is more than capable of taking you out to your desired distance. The VX-5HD features “Zero-Lock”, which requires a small button to be depressed before the turret will turn. For a hunting application this is a great feature. Gone are the days of worrying about turning your turret’s position inadvertently, then finding out it had moved the hard way!
Once the button is depressed, you have two 20 MOA rotations for a full 40 minutes of turret travel. To sweeten the deal even more, these turrets are essentially free since each VX-5 and VX-6 scope comes with a free custom turret voucher (around $100 value). It goes without saying, that a custom turret simplifies long range shooting. Just range, dial, and shoot! To get your hands on one simply go to Leupold’s website once you have worked up a good load or found suitable factory ammunition, fill in the information (most of which comes off the box), and a few weeks later you get a turret engraved to match the calculations of your chosen load.
For the guys who shoot MOA and prefer the drop chart method, the factory turret has MOA marked for the second turn in a way that’s very easy-to-follow. Once you pass the first revolution, a convenient directional arrow helps you jump up to the upper MOA marks on the turret. There’s no need to ever worry about being on the wrong rotation because you simply have to dial your turret back until the Zero-Lock snaps, and you’re right back to zero. While the elevation turret has the Zero-Lock button to prevent errors, the windage turret is capped, which I like. Honestly, most hunters are going to hold their wind correction in the reticle, not dial the turret.
If you need added magnification, and are willing to spend a bit more money for the added clarity, Leupold has recently released 4 new options in the VX-5 line. They are the 4-20x52 CDS-ZL2, the 4-20x52 CDS-T-ZL3 with the TMOA reticle, and a 7-35X56 CDS-T-ZL3 in either a TMOA or Impact-14 MOA reticle.
We see all optics companies widening the tube of their scopes. Seemingly forever they were 1”, then they grew to 30mm, and now we see them all going to 34mm. The question is, why? Well, simply put, they’re better! The bigger the tube the more internal adjustment is allowed, making it possible for guys to extend their effective range. It’s no surprise that a scope can only transmit as much light as the tube size allows. It seems sort of a waste for a larger objective lens to gather more light only for that light to be lost in transmission because of a small tube. This is the reason you see bigger tubes and smaller objectives more often in rifle scope construction. All of the new VX-5HD’s feature a 34mm tube, and boy are they clear! The Twilight Max HD Light Management System, coupled with a 52 or 56mm objective and an open center tube, make these scopes very clear, bright, and easy to look through. All VX-5HD’s offer 3.7in of eye relief, giving you plenty of room to adjust, as well as making it very easy to get a full sight picture
The ZL in ZL3 stands for “ZeroLock”. This is the same technology Leupold has been utilizing for the last 3 years except the “3” means it now has three full rotations giving the long-range hunter another rotation of elevation. I will say it again, “The ZeroLock is awesome!” As a hunter it takes all the confusion of maintaining zero away.
When the VX-5HD was first released it offered a handful of reticle options. The most popular being the Wind-Plex and the Duplex. The Duplex being more for those who are trying to keep it simple, while the Wind-Plex offered some adjustment within the reticle. The T-MOA reticle, previously reserved for the VX-6HD is now available in the 4-20x52 ZL3 and 7-35x56 ZL3. This T-MOA reticle is my favorite reticle Leupold makes. The ¼ MOA gap where the cross hairs meet gives the hunter the ability to see their target through the reticle at long range. The in-reticle adjustments coinciding with these reticles are helpful, but not too busy. One model, the 4-20x52, is only available with a refined Duplex reticle. This version of the Duplex is smaller and very fine.
The VX-5 line has always been notoriously light in its respective classes, with the 3-15x44 weighing in at just 19.2 oz. There has been some confusion, as some websites say it ways 12oz, but I weighed them myself at 19.2, which matches what Leupold advertises on their website. The 4-20x52 weighs 23.5oz, and the 7-35x56 at 26.1oz. These scopes are among some of the lightest on the market. While being lightweight is always good, it has brought into question the durability of the scopes. In my experiences with Leupold, their equipment has held up very well. Even more telling, with the amount of VX-5’s we have sold, the issues have been minimal. As an added piece of mind, Leupold offers a lifetime warranty. There are absolutely no questions asked if you break your scope, they will fix or replace it.
With all the moisture we have been getting this year the writing is on the wall. There is bound to be some real antler growth almost everywhere Muleys call home, so this IS the year to do everything right to give yourself a crack at that buck you’ve been dreaming of! If you happen to be in the market for a new scope, I would highly recommend the VX-5 line from Leupold. With insanely clear glass, a ZeroLocking turret, an array of reticle options in a lightweight frame, and still at a reasonable price point, these scopes should be at the top of your list for 2019!