Gear Review: Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 Duplex Reticle Scope

I’ve rarely been dissatisfied with Leupold optics. Their consistent quality and durability are characteristics I have come to rely on throughout the years. For certain, that gold ring carries some weight.

In late January Leupold announced their newest family of optics, the VX-Freedom Series. One hundred percent designed, machined, assembled, and (if necessary) serviced in the USA, Leupold markets the lineup of riflescopes as highly reliable all-weather, all-terrain scopes with “elite optical performance” at highly a competitive price.

The VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 (above and below) is one of eleven scopes in the VX-Freedom line of optics. It’s an extremely simple and compact 1-inch tube optic. Last month I got my hands on one and once I had it, I didn’t want to let it go.

Specific features of the VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 include:

• 1″ Tube

Duplex Reticle

1/4 MOA Finger-click Dial System

3:1 Zoom Ratio

Scratch Resistant Lenses

Waterproof & Fogproof

Twilight Light Management System

6061-T6 Aircraft Quality Aluminum

Length (A): 9.35″

Mounting Space (B): 5.40″

Illustration (C): 2.17″

Illustration (D): 1.85″

Eyepiece Length (E): 3.50″

Objective Diameter (G): 1.00″

Eyepiece Diameter (H): 1.56″

Tube Diameter (K): 1.00″

Like most optics, VX-Freedom optics are packaged in a double-walled cardboard box and protected by multiple foam inserts. A user’s manual, warranty card, Leupold sticker, and an NRA membership advertisement accompany the scope.

As I lifted the VX-Freedom from the foam, I immediately took notice of its matte black finish. It’s consistent across all parts of the scope and exhibits the slightest bit of texturing (which is very nice to the touch). The finish appeared to be nothing less than top-notch.

Being that this Leupold optic was made in the USA, the word “FREEDOM” on that gold ring felt right.

The optic’s low-profile power adjustment ring is impressively smooth, especially given how tight it is. Over the course of a few weeks the ring broke in a little and became easier to rotate, but it took a little extra finger strength to operate in the beginning.

Under their covers, the VX-Freedom’s polymer turrets were clearly marked. Each click of the turret adjusts the reticle 1/4 MOA up, down, right or left, easily accomplished by hand with Leupold’s Finger Click Dial System. There’s no need for a special tool, super-skinny screwdriver, or pocket change.

As with many capped turret scopes, this model does not allow zero to be reset.

I really like that Leupold chose to forgo O-ring seals and instead uses flat rubber washers. In my experience these seal just as well as O-rings and have more longevity.

The glass in the VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 is phenomenally clear and the duplex reticle exceptionally crisp. It’s one of those scopes you just keep looking through over and over again because it seems to somehow make normal vision ten times clearer.

Leupold also uses Mil-spec lens coatings for excellent abrasion resistance.

Leupold’s proprietary Twilight Light Management System improves low-light shooting while also managing glare on bright, sunny days or in snowy conditions.

Beginning from the right, the series of images above (4x power) were taken at 30-minutes before sunset, 15-minutes before sunset and at sunset on a sunny evening with sunset to my back. Although I could not capture it well enough on camera, the optic brought in more than enough light to hunt almost 30 minutes after sunset.

The VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 isn’t designed to be a dedicated rimfire optic; it can also handle the abuse of centerfire cartridges. But due to its compact size, 4x-power, 1-inch tube, and duplex reticle, I decided to run it on a Henry Repeating Arms Frontier Model Long Barrel 24″, a .22-LR lever action rifle (LAR).

Having previously had great results with the BKL-261 mount on the Henry LAR, I reached for it again.

Once I had the VX-Freedom securely mounted to the Henry Frontier, I couldn’t wait to get it outside.

At the range I set up in a Caldwell Stinger rest, sat down, and found my target at 50-yards.

The VX-Freedom’s clarity at 1.5x is quite amazing and at 4x (above) my camera just can’t do the glass or crisp duplex reticle justice.

After removing the turret caps I began to dial-in the scope. As I rotated the turrets I could easily feel each click-adjustment. Still, the overall feel of the turrets was “mushier” that I expect from Leupold.

Within minutes I was consistently creating 1-inch groups at 50-yards with Federal Premium 40-grain Hunter Match .22 LR. Then it was onto off-hand shooting, smashing every bit of orange clay pigeon left on the 15-yard, 25-yard, and 50-yard berms.

Over the course of several trips to and from the range, over five hundred rounds of various .22 LR, and several show-and-tell sessions, the scope held zero like a champ.

The combination of rifle, optic, optic mount, and ammo have all of my confidence, but the VX-Freedom is now what I enjoy most about the setup.

Leupold continues to impress me with the compact VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 scope. It’s precise with a very crisp reticle, is highly durable and rated for all types of weather and terrain. The turrets and power adjustment ring are tightly sealed yet smooth to operate. This optic’s best feature is the clarity of the glass – it’s quite exceptional, particularly for this price point.

During the time I was testing the optic Leupold released an AR-specific version, the VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 AR, designed for .223 Rem / 5.56 NATO / .308 NATO. The two primary differences between the two models are the reticles and the turrets.

No matter if you’re looking for a top-quality compact adjustable power optic for your rimfire, AR-15, or AR-15 rifle or pistol, Leupold’s VX-Freedom 1.5-5×20 will rise to the task without breaking the bank.

Specifications: Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 Riflescope (Duplex Reticle)

Weight – 9.6 oz
Length – 9.35 in.
Eye Relief (in) – Low 4.17
Eye Relief (in) – High 3.74
Elevation Adjustment Range (MOA) – 125
Elevation Adjustment Range (MIL) – 36.4
Windage Adjustment Range (MOA) – 125
Windage Adjustment Range (MIL) – 36.4
MSRP: $259.99

Ratings: (out of five stars):

Quality: * * * * *
From glass to housing, Leupold’s VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 compact scope is a very high-quality optic. Built with very tight tolerances and finished with a highly durable best-of-class matte black anti-reflective finish, this optic won’t let you down in the field.

Durability: * * * * *
Made from 6061-T aircraft quality aluminum and coated with an excellent matte black external finish as, well as Mil-spec lens coatings; the VX-Freedom can handle abuse from all weather conditions and types of terrain.

Glass: * * * * *
Phenomenal clarity of glass from 1.5x through 4x. The Twilight Light Management System improves low-light shooting while also effectively managing glare.

Reticle: * * * *
The duplex reticle is very crisp. The absence of any hash marks reduces the usability of this AR-rated optic on those platforms.

Power Adjustment Ring: * * * * *
Very tight at first, but still extremely smooth and reliable.

Overall: * * * * *
Once again Leupold has met the mark of high-quality optics, while also managing to offer the VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 at an extremely reasonable price. The VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 scope is highly a recommended option for anyone looking for a very crisp and clear compact variable power optic.

comments

  1. avatar Joatmon says:

    Nice review. I’ve been looking for a good scope to replace one on a Marlin 22 caliber I have.
    This should work.

  2. avatar Greg says:

    Very informative and great pictures.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I just recently purchased my first Leu pold and while I’m not disappointed I think it comes down to you get what you pay for. I got a Ru ger Hawkeye in .260 with an 18.5″ barr el that weighs all of 6 lbs, 7oz and wanted a lightweight 3-9x that had some semblance of longer ra nge capability. Ended up with the Leu pold Mark AR 3-9×40 which I managed to pick up for $200 which is about $100 less than the going on line rate. On the positive side, the op tics are certainly worthy of a $300 price tag and the turrets click very precisely. It has a du plex reti cle that should hold +/- 3″ out to 275 yards on the Hawkeye and exposed MRAD turrets with 1/10 mil clicks. It has elevation marks for a 55gr. 5. 56 round which are useless for me, but the MRAD works pretty well. Basically 1 mil = 350 yards, 2 mil = 450 yards, 3 mil = 550 yards, 4 mil = 650 yards, 5 mil = 725 yard and 6 mil (one complete turn of the dial) = 800 yards. All within 1/10th mil anyway.

    Now for my beefs with Leup old. First, I don’t think any of their sco pes come with le ns covers. Second, their lower priced sco pes don’t have return to zero turrets, which pretty much all of their competitors offer in similarly priced sco pes. The Mark AR does have return to zero turrets but require an allen wrench to loosen 3 screws to reset them. I found that when I reset them I couldn’t be sure I hadn’t moved them a click. On my Nikon Prostaff and Bushnell Engage sc opes you simply lift the r ing up and turn it to zero. No tools required. Personally I’d rather pay an extra $10 or $20 for the Leup old name than pay the same price and live with less convenient turrets and have to search around for le ns caps.

  4. avatar Ing says:

    Skipped the article, went straight to the comment section to demand an answer.

    For God’s sake, man, WHY would you mount that monstrous optical device on a Henry Frontier octagon-barreled .22 lr lever-action rifle?

    1. avatar Texan Trapped in FL says:

      Even after reading the article, this was the only question I was left with

    2. avatar No one of consequence says:

      Can’t adorable for the author but for some of us … Old eyes and/or lifelong crappy eyesight.

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        That is an excellent typo.

        I can’t adorable, either.

        1. avatar Ing says:

          Me neither. I haven’t been adorable since about 1997.

        2. avatar Gunr says:

          My wife says I”m adorable in my shorts! Tee Hee.

  5. avatar TommyJay says:

    Nice review. Should have included exit pupil size at min. and max. zoom.

    I put a Nikon Prostaff Target EFR on a Ruger 10/22 collector’s series II rifle. The rifle is very light at 5 lbs. before mounting optics, and is very sweet with a light red-dot mounted. So I was reluctant to put a 1.0 lb., 40mm objective scope on it. This Leupold would be much smaller and lighter, but I kinda like the higher power (3-9) of the Nikon.

    The Nikon has an adjustable focus objective, resettable turret zero, and cheap caps. But it was stupidly designed for use at 50 yds. (I know, the standard rimfire target distance) so the numbers on the turret are in inches at 50 yds.

    1. avatar Conner W. says:

      Thank you, TommyJay. You know, I had the available exit pupil info (high only) in there…seems it didn’t make it past the Editor’s desk.

      Exit Pupil (High): 5.0 mm

  6. avatar ironicatbest says:

    I’m going to have to check it out. I’ve been wanting to replace the Weaver k4 on my bear rifle with a 1-1.5-4x. Would this scope withstand 30-06 220 gr loads?

    1. avatar Conner W. says:

      Yes, absolutely.

      Leupold just confirmed that they test this (among other scopes) with 5,000 rounds of .375 H&H Ackley Improved (6 lb. stock).

      1. avatar ironicatbest says:

        That’ll work. Thank you, ConnerW

  7. avatar GS650G says:

    I’m looking for a scope to sit on Henry Long Ranger in .308 and this might be the ticket

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