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Rifle Scope Reviews - Summary Part One


Rifle scopes information is one the most requested resources on Hunting & Fishing Gear Review. Talk to a handful of hunters and you’ll find they either have a wealth of information about rifle scopes or just know they have one on top of their gun. If you think about it you can have the best rifle in the world, but if your scope isn’t functioning correctly then chances are that shot of a lifetime won’t be hitting the mark.

In this article the first of three we will summarize for you all of the rifle scope reviews in our database all in one place. As always you’re more than welcome to read all of our reviews, or just read our review summaries on rifle scopes.

Leupold Scopes

Leupold is one of the largest manufacturers of rifle scopes in the world. They have a world class lineup and are sure to have a scope to meet your particular hunting need. Leupold quickly became one of the most reviewed scopes on the site once we added hunting scopes as one of our review category.

Leuopold Vari X III Review

Likes: The lighting is incredible. I took it out to a friend’s farm the other night coupled with my .270 bdl and we were able to shoot almost until complete darkness.-Robert

Dislikes: I miss the view offered by my last scope which was a wide view. I guess the old adage is correct, you've got to give up something to get something.-Robert

Dislikes: Story: The only thing I’ve to say is, these years I went to deer hunting in north Canada. rain and snow 4 days long.... I've met my hunting body in the field, He had a Bushnell 4200 2.5-10x40mm. We decide to compare our scope, in this very hard condition. So I’ve look in my scope and the further shot I can make was 300`, rain in the lens.... Then I’ve swith with my body rifle...OHHHH MY GOD !!!! with the Elite 4200 and can easily made a shot twice that distance: 600' .... So, I was very disappointed by my scope, I thought I had a good one at this price BUT haft the price and twice better :(.. I think the rain guard in is scope made a big difference.... Finally, I realize all the importance to have a good scope and I bought a Swarovski 3-12x50 PVN.... WOW !!! Now I’m in business! - Eclipse71

Likes: The VX III is almost identical cosmetically to the Vari X III series it replaced. There are some significant changes, however. The coin slot windage and elevation adjustment knobs have been replaced with finger adjustable ones. Supposedly the light transmission level has been increased to "up to" 98% thanks to the new "Index Matched Lens System", though I can hardly imagine most shooters being able to tell a noticeable improvement over the Vari X III's already incredible light transmission. The best part of this scope (just like all Leupold scopes) is it's unconditional lifetime warranty. You can pass this dude down to your grandson and Leupold will still fix it if it breaks. Also, still made in the good ol' USA.- Dawson B.

Dislikes: There is no longer the option for an adjustable objective at this magnification l

evel. Not a big deal to me, but others may want to note this-Dawson B. Likes: I like the Leupold Mount System (which I also purchased from Cabela’s). I like the Matte finish. I like the clear optics. I like the Duplex Crosshairs. The thing that I like the most is the excellent eye-relief (4.5 inches I believe). This is more than any other Manufacturer. This takes away the fear of recoil of a High-power Rifle (no more bruises to the eye). With the scope, Leupold also furnishes a cleaning pen to clean the optics which protects the coating of the optics.-James H.

Likes: I enjoy the quality of Leupold Scopes and this scope is a perfect match for my rifle's capability and any long-range shots I might be required to take. I also like this scope because you can determine the yardage to a target. This comes in handy when you don't have time to use a rangefinder. The best part is that after you figure out the range you simply choose the correct crosshair. Anyone that has to take a long distance shot will come to appreciate this feature.-J.Stradtmass

Dislikes: It's been said that you should pay the same amount on a scope as you did on a rifle. Leupold is known for great quality, but it's the price tag that turns people to other brands that achieve a close comparison without the cost.- J.Stradtmass

Leupold Vari X Reviews

Likes: I'm not too thrilled with this scope. I wonder if something happened to it and that's why someone sold the gun rather than go through mounting another scope and buying mounts and the like. The cross hairs are the type I like and feel most accurate shooting.- Scopeless

Dislikes: It's hard to describe it. The scope doesn't give a clear picture. It's almost as if it isn't letting enough light in or there's a little fog covering the lens. I can't figure it out, the only thing I know is the sight picture isn't clear. Who knows maybe the last guy dropped it off a cliff or something.-Scopeless “Send it in to be repaired”

Likes: Most hunter's buy a high dollar gun and put a cheap scope on it, when in essences it should be the other way around. What I like about the Leupold VX ll is everything....the parallax is very good as well as the optics. I also own a Leupold VX lll and I really can't tell much difference between the two except you can save yourself about $150 by buying the VX ll. If you plan on doing a lot of big game hunting in the mountains of Colorado or Alaska then you might look at buying a Zeiss or a Swarovski, otherwise don't waist your money, I've dropped many deer over 300 yards with the Leupold.-Skeet

Leupold Rifleman Scope Reviews

Likes: The first and foremost thing I like about the Leupold Rifleman is the clarity. Second would be the price. Third would be the ease of sighting it in. I also found this scope to work very well in low light conditions. I have to be totally honest when I say I really can't tell much difference from my Leupold Vari-X III 3x-10x-40mm Riflescope that I paid $449.99 and the Leupold Rifleman 3x-9x-40mm that I paid $199.99 for. Best of all it still has the lifetime warranty on it. So how can you go wrong.- Jim C. Maine

Dislikes: What I dislike about the unit is that I found in order to receive an accurate adjustment when zeroing it in, I needed to tap on the turret screws. Also I found the power adjustment ring very tight or stiff. one other thing and I don't necessarily think it is a bad thing but I would like to mention that unlike most high end scopes the minutes of angle(MOA) being 1/4 minutes the rifleman's MOA are in 1/2 minutes. It just takes some getting used to.-Jim C. Maine

Likes: I liked the Leupold warranty, the optical clarity, and the quality of construction.-JP

Dislikes: After failing to boresight the scope on two collimators and two Savage rifles (a 30-30 and a .270) I took the scope back to Academy. The technicians at Academy confirmed that I had a warped tube. I received a full refund. The scope reached an elevation and windage limit at 7" low and 7" right.

Summary: I will buy three more Leupold's within the next two months. The fact that they are usually VERY good optics, are made in AMERICA, and are very affordable compared to some other foreign makes right now, make my future purchase decision sound. I have also hunted with friends who have always owned Leupold and will continue to do so.-JP

New From Leupold

Leupold FX Riflescopes- Are all fixed power scopes. The FX line includes the following models: FX-III 6x42mm, FX-III 12x40mm Adjustable Objective Target, FX-II 2.5x28mm Scout, FX-II 4x33mm and FX-II 6x36mm. FX models have also been added to Leupold’s lines of competition, Ultra light, handgun and rim fire scopes.

Here’s Leupold’s Press Release announcing the arrival of the FX series of Riflescopes.

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Leupold® has designed its new line of FX™ riflescopes to set a new standard in fixed power optics for hunting and target shooting. The FX line includes the following models: FX-III 6x42mm, FX-III 12x40mm Adjustable Objective Target, FX-II 2.5x28mm Scout, FX-II 4x33mm and FX-II 6x36mm. FX models have also been added to Leupold’s lines of competition, Ultralight, handgun and rimfire scopes.

“Our FX line is for hunters and shooters who appreciate the ruggedness, accuracy, purity and comparatively light weight of fixed power scopes,” said Mike Slack, Leupold’s marketing communications manager. “Our FX scopes not only offer the functional simplicity and excellent optical performance – in low light or otherwise – for which Leupold is known, but also elegant styling that will look good sitting atop your favorite firearm.”

FX-III scopes feature Leupold’s Index Matched Lens System™. This proprietary lens coating system maximizes light transmission to allow superior target definition, even in low-light conditions. FX-II scopes utilize Leupold’s Multicoat 4® lens system for optimizing image brightness, clarity and contrast.

For precision tuning of windage and elevation, the core FX-III scope models have ¼-MOA finger “click” adjustments while core FX-II scope models have ¼-MOA coin “click” adjustments.

On average, an FX scope is about 10 percent lighter than its variable counterpart – a significant number for hunters on the move over rough terrain. Other key features of each riflescope model:

• FX-III 6x42mm – well suited for intermediate to long-range shooting, providing ample magnification and a generous field of view (linear field of view, 17 feet at 100 yards or 5.7 meters at 100 meters). Scope weight and length: 11.3 ounces (320.4 grams), 11.9 inches (30.2 centimeters). Reticle options: Duplex®, Heavy Duplex, Wide Duplex, German #4. Available in gloss black or matte black finish.

• FX-III 12x40mm Adjustable Objective Target – adjustable objective lens helps deliver the precision and image quality needed for long-range target or varmint shooting. A 3.3 mm exit pupil helps deliver a bright image. Scope weight and length: 13.5 ounces (382.7 grams), 13 inches (33 centimeters). Reticle options: Fine Duplex and Leupold Dot. Available in matte black finish.

Leupold FX™ Riflescopes: A New Standard for Fixed Power

• FX-II 2.5x28mm Scout – ideal for a lever action or scout rifle. With nine to 17 inches of generous, non-critical eye relief, it mounts on the barrel, in front of the receiver. Scope weight and length: 7.5 ounces (212.6 grams), 10.1 inches (25.7 centimeters). The riflescope has a Duplex reticle and is available in matte black or silver finish.

• FX-II 4x33mm – suited to a wide variety of shooting sports. Features include ample non-critical eye relief and compact size. At 10.5 inches (26.7 centimeters) in length, it’s short for a 4-power riflescope. Scope weight: 9.3 ounces (263.7 grams). Reticle options: Duplex and Wide Duplex. Available in gloss black or matte black finish.

• FX-II 6x36mm – designed for intermediate to long-range shooting, providing ample magnification and a generous field of view (linear field of view, 17.7 feet at 100 yards or 5.9 meters at 100 meters). Scope weight and length: 10 ounces (283.5 grams), 11.4 inches (28.9 centimeters). Reticle options: Duplex, Wide Duplex, Leupold Dot, Post & Duplex. Available in gloss black or matte black finish.

Other key specifications for all core FX riflescope models:

• Lockable, fast-focus eyepiece: the eyepiece can be securely locked after the reticle focus is set, so the shooter can instantly be “dialed in” on the target.

• Main tube diameter: one inch. • Environmental protection: each scope is designed to be fully waterproof, shockproof and fog proof.

FX riflescopes are backed by Leupold’s Full Lifetime Guarantee. For more information, contact a local Leupold dealer or Leupold & Stevens, Inc., P.O. Box 688, Beaverton, OR 97075-0688; (503) 526-1400 – phone; (503) 352-7621 – fax. Or, go to . To locate a Leupold dealer, call (800) 929-4949.

BSA Riflescopes

BSA only had four entries, but I thought it was important to include BSA Riflescope reviews as well. Here’s what people had to say about them.

BSA Mil-Dot Target Scope Review

Likes: I liked the price. Once I got it out of the box, I liked the accessories with it as well. It came with a screw on shade and yellow lens caps.-ChowDawg

Dislikes: When I put the scope on my 30-06, and bore-sighted it in, the scope seemed OK, but I was not too thrilled with the plastic caps covering the windage and elevation adjustments knobs. Once I took the rifle to the range I was truly disappointed. Even though it was advertised as shock proof, it did not hold up to my 30-06. Each time I would get it adjusted, it seemed to walk. Once I finally got it zeroed in, it only took three shots and I would be off. The scope was by no means shock proof, it would walk down and to the right about a 1/4" with every shot at 100 yds. I checked my mounts (Leupold), but they were good. So I sent the scope back, and The Sportsman's Guide expedited a replacement scope to me (they actually sent it out on good faith the day that I called). The replacement scope did the same thing. After six shots, it was off of the paper. So I returned the unit for a full refund. I would like to say that The Sportsman's Guide has a hassle free return policy.-ChowDawg

BSA Catseye Riflescope Reviews

Likes: I really like the illuminated reticle. It is great just at dark when it is hard to see the crosshairs against a dark background. The scope holds its zero well even under 12 gauge recoil, and the sight adjustments are very positive and easy with the finger adjustable hunting turrets. It is fairly bright and clear even in low light situations. I've killed several deer with this scope on a 12ga rifled slug barreled shotgun, most shots were right at dusk and the scope performed its intended function well.-HillBilly Chuck

Dislikes: This scope is not a Burris or Leupold, but then again, it isn't priced like one either. The optics are not that great, you can see your reflection in the ocular lens if the light is coming from behind you and it has some parallax. The lens caps that come with it are cheap and noisy hard plastic. If you turn the IR feature up too high for the ambient lighting conditions the LED in the scope makes a red dot in the upper field of view in the scope. The click adjustments probably are not repeatable, though I haven't tried this out yet.-HillBilly Chuck

Summary: I'm going to give this riflescope a rating of 3 out of 5. It has some issues with optical quality, but nothing so serious that it hinders the scopes ability to do its job. Other than that it seems to be a very accurate rugged scope that has been through some tough hunts and trips without a hitch. Personally I really like it for the money that it cost. It is fun to play with when you mess around with the illuminated reticle and it is a scope that is priced for the entry level hunter that actually delivers what it advertises; a cheap, accurate, sturdy scope.-HillBilly Chuck

Likes: Optics are better than the Weaver and Redfield scopes they replaced. I actually liked them better in the store than a Leupold as far as clarity/sharpness of image, and at a considerable price savings. I have also purchased two BSA Catseye in 3-10x and one in 6-24x-50mm. As you can see, I'm quite pleased with the product.-TJ

Summary: best scope for the money. I like them better than some much higher priced scopes. Clarity on all my models are excellent. Ability to hold zero is excellent.-TJ


Burris Fullfield II Review

Summary: I love the scope, it is a great value for the money. The ballistic plex reticle is awesome, I just sighted in dead on at 200 yards (300 mag) and the reticle does the rest out to 500 yards. The only regret I have is I have not shot anything with it yet, I got skunked this Elk season!- Billy D.

Likes: The picture through this scope is sharp and crystal clear with lots of eye relief. I put my hands on a lot of scopes before buying this one and this Burris was hands down a better quality scope than the rest.- AKTroy

Quality: The high quality construction of this scope like the brass on brass adjustments not plastics like most scopes in this price range. The quality of glass as compared to the Leopolds is as good or better.-AK Troy

Summary: You will not go wrong with this scope. For the price and quality of construction this scope is a great deal.-AK Troy

That’s it for part one of Hunting & Fishing Gear’s Riflescope Review Summary. Remember all of our reviews are submitted by Readers just like you and not by the manufacturer who will naturally say theirs is the best of by the Editor who may be swayed in one way or the other.

In the next week we will have part two of our rifle scope review summary for 2004-2005 including looks at Bushnell, Nikon, Simmons, and Zeiss Rifle Scopes.

Click the link below to see all of our scope reviews.

> Riflescope Reviews >scopes


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