Leupold VX-3i LRP I'll Just Leave This Here: A Good Scope is a Durable Scope
Jeremy S. for TTAG
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While organizing my safe recently, I placed a Leupold VX-3i LRP rifle scope mounted in a ZRODelta DLOC mount on top of an upright rifle box. While leaning down and diving back into the safe, I hip-checked the box with my thicc curves and sent the scope flying.

It fell like a box of rocks from my full shoulder height of about five feet onto the hard floor below.

I'll Just Leave This Here: A Good Scope is a Durable Scope
Jeremy S. for TTAG

The scope landed squarely, precisely on the objective lens with a heart-skip-inducing CRACK. In fact, it landed so squarely that it hit and stuck there, dead, staying right freakin’ there. No bounce, no tipping over.

I picked the scope up and the lens cap was destroyed. The objective bell had smashed right through it. This was a hard, solid impact.

But everything seemed fine at first glance. There were no visible marks on the objective lens.

I'll Just Leave This Here: A Good Scope is a Durable Scope
Jeremy S. for TTAG

When I took it with me on my next trip to the range, the VX-3i went back onto the Strasser RS14 Evolution rifle that I had been testing and the scope’s zero was still dead-on. It wasn’t blurry or foggy. Moving it to other rifles since and sending hundreds more rounds downrange, it’s still performs 100% as good as new.

That is truly excellent. I’ve broken other scopes with far less abuse than that.

The moral of this story: a good riflescope  — thanks Leupold! — can shrug off some very bad mistakes and mishaps. Spend your money on glass wisely.

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  1. The only scope I’ve owned all of my adult life is a Leupold. You can spend more money, but you’re not buying a better optics.

    • Chinese Barska is the best. Chinese Simmons is good too! My friend let me fire his MINI14 and when I fired it, the ocular lens fell out of his chinese Simmons and rolled across the table and into the grass. After we found it, using my right thumb, I kind of mashed that B back in there. It didn’t go in perfectly plumb, so my view wasn’t so clear any more. Looked kind of smudged. But It sort of hit the target. I once told a gun guy at work about my Chinese Barska and he said, “I know it only cost like 30 bucks, but it isn’t even worth that. Why did you buy it?” I gave him a blank stare than then he said, “Give it to the neighbor kid as a toy. Problem solved.” I then said to him, “What problem?” And he gave me an eye roll. I once had a 30 dollar Chinese bushnell, one of the older bushnells, and each time you fired it, it’s point of impact moved, because it’s each time you fired it, you moved its zero randomly somewhere. This made for endless entertainment, because it’s movement seems truly random. You thought it was going to go up? Nope. Down. It was just really fascinating and entertaining!

      So guys! Give these optics a chance. They could surprise you! In an unexpected way!

  2. So far, I have only one rifle: a Mini 14 Tactical. Iron sites only. No intention for a scope until I master the iron sites out to 100 yards.

  3. I bent the screw on objective lense cover on my Bushnell AR 223 a while back from a good drop. It didn’t do anything to it. I also have the same scope with a broken lense or something on the eyeball side. Moral of the story is I think the side with adjusters for focus is less durable. Or it is on that scope.

    Now drop the loupold on the other end. Maybe it survives and mayb it don’t.

  4. A scope that works is cheap. A scope that works after shooting groups of .450 Bushmaster is not-so cheap. A scope that works after you mic drop it on the shop floor is what’ll cost you real money.

  5. Hey I wish I could spend a kajillian on scopes. I buy the best I can for the$. I mainly want to shoot 2-300 yards with my old eyes…

  6. I’m a firm believer in quality optics, and in quality mounts.
    Several sighting options for “multi-role” rifles too, in QD mounts. Because searching for the removal tool to jettason a failed optic is no bueno.

    Real quality steel BU sights too.

    Quality may cost, but in some situations you could end up paying for inexpensive with your life.
    Or at a minimum, failing during a critical situation.

  7. Owned more than a few brands like Tasco, Weaver, Simmons, NcStar, Vortex, and Millett. Then I bought my first Leupold, a VX3 6,5-24 LRT. Bought nothing but Leupold and EoTech since. No regrets.

  8. I have 2 Leupold scopes. A VX-3 I bought over 20 years ago. 6.5-20x40AO on my FrankenMauser. And a M8 2.5×28 Scout scope. The latter survived over a thousand rounds of 8mm Mauser and is now on my 5.56 Ruger Scout.

    I did break from Leupold with the Ruger Precision Rimfire mounting a Sig-Saur 4-12x44AO as I didn’t think a rimfire used up to 100m actually needed anything better. And the scope was on clearance sale at a good price. So far it’s adjustments have been spot on with numerous readjustments between 50 and 100m (8 minutes or 32 clicks).

    I bought a recent Bushnell scope to use a store credit but haven’t had the chance to use it yet.

  9. After recently dropping 12 thousand on getting some orthopedic hardware removed I wish I had the spare cash for good glass.

    (It was well worth it, and I don’t regret getting it outta there… 🙂 )

  10. Mishaps certainly do happen.

    Many years ago I was hunting for white-tailed deer in a cold north climate. I sat in a slightly elevated blind all morning and decided to head in for heat and lunch. I had my bolt-action rifle slung over my shoulder as I transferred my weight out of the blind and onto the first step. Without any indication or warning whatsoever, my foot slipped out from under me on the icy step sending me careening toward the ground. In true cat-like fashion, I managed to twist around to ensure that I would land on my back since I had a big fat squishy duffel bag on my back which would make good padding. Fortunately, my squishy duffel bag was fat and soft enough to absorb my impact with the ground without subjecting my rifle to any significant impact and my scope was still zeroed. Had I not been wearing a big duffel bag on my back, my rifle scope would have hit the ground hard.

    If you can afford it, a high-quality scope is a worthwhile investment.

  11. Some things to check for when buying a scope. And remember there is no free ride when buying a scope because you get what you pay for.

    Look for:

    Chromatic Aberration: also known as color fringing, is a color distortion that creates an outline of unwanted color along the edges of objects in a photograph. Often, it appears along metallic surfaces or where there’s a high contrast between light and dark objects, such as a black wall in front of a bright blue sky.

    Pincushion distortion: Distortion (as by an optical instrument or television receiver) in which the image of a straight line appears to be curved convexly toward the axis

    Barrel distortion: Lines appear bent at the out edge of the field of view

    Tracking: If you do not have a bore collimator (and you should) draw a square on a piece of paper and start with your crosshairs on the upper left hand corner and start counting the clicks to each corner. If you do not end up at the staring point with an equal number of clicks your scope is not tracking properly.

    Number of lens coatings: The more coatings the sharper and more clear a scope is. It also drives up the cost of the scope.

    How well is your scope sealed. In the past boiling a scope would show if you had leakage of the nitrogen in the scope. If you do your scope will eventually fog up on damp days.

    Top of the line scopes will stand the back and forth recoil of an air gun or cross bow. Cheap scopes will break.

  12. For scopes that are a better value than their price would suggest take a look at the Weaver Classic and Extreme lines from Natchez Shooting Supply.

    Centerpoint, Konus, and UTG are decent chances for recreational use only.

    Vortex is generally good all the way around and has a great warranty.

  13. My uncle told me once never ask a man if owns a Leupold, if he owns one he will tell you, if he don’t why embarrass him.


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