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Leupold and the lite weight mystery??

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/24/2008 at 21:43
Roy Finn View Drop Down
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Ok gentlemen, we have all heard about Leupold's reputation for making a durable scope and I would tend to agree that they are. My question, however, is how they do this. Do they employ thinner tubes, lighter glass, less lenses, more aluminum than steel innards, plastic instead of aluminum etc.
 
Roy
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2008 at 09:05
tahqua View Drop Down
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I don't know about how much plastic but the aluminum is light. I'm not so sure this is the reason because most of the other manufacturers use it, too.
They are always trim for any given model versus the competition. They usually are shorter and the ocular bells are smaller, in particular. This adds up.


Edited by tahqua - March/27/2008 at 07:18
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2008 at 09:05
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Not one person, even at SWFA????
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2008 at 09:28
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I just ran a quick comparison of the Nikon 3-9 Monarch, 4200 3-9 and the Leupold 2.5-8 and 3.5-10 scopes. The 2.5-8 was a bit shorter than the other three. The 3.5-10 Leupold was close to the Nikon and Bushnell in length and weight.
When I first got the 4200 and Monarch's I thought that both companies benchmarked Leupold when designing those scopes. I thought they looked like a Leupold. They did a pretty god job.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2008 at 17:32
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When I first got one of the mid-ninties Monarchs, I thought that Nikon had pretty well done their homework and had gone with the Leupold-inspired size and shape....which is good because Leupolds look like a scope should.  (I am still trying to get used to the European, FAT EYEPIECE look!)  Gal                                  Big%20Smile  --Ed
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2008 at 11:22
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can't believe Koshkin has jumped on this--- the reason leos are lighter is because they are full of more hot air. This%20Much  group hug.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2008 at 14:09
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I am very surprised that nobody knows why there is such a weight difference. I would have figured koshkin would know at the very least. More so, the folks at SWFA should know the answer at the very least.  Didn't think this  was a complex question, that's for sure.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2008 at 00:02
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I sense that my name has been invoked here multiple times.

First of all, while Leupolds are lighter, the difference is not all that huge.  For example 3.5-10x40 VX-3 is about 3 ounces lighter than 2.5-10x40 ELite 4200, 2 ounces lighter than 3-9x40 Conquest and about half an ounce lighter than SIghtron S2 Big Sky 3.5-10x42.

Unless you dissect a scope you really do not know for a fact where the weight savings come from.  I cut one of the lower grade Leupolds open a while back (a VX-1 I think), and it seemed that some of the internal lenses were polycarbonate instead of glass.  Polycarbonate is much lighter.  Still, I do not think higher end Leupolds, like VX-3 use plastic lenses.

The most likely sources for the difference are the following:
  • number of lenses (you can often get away with the use of fewer lenses by giving up some optical quality, most notably resolution near the edges and/or field of view and many Leupolds suffer from that.  Also, constant eye relief typically requires an extra lens in the eyepiece which most Leupolds do not have)
  • lens material (different glass types have different weight; many higher end scopes use high density glass that is heavier)
  • lens size (Leupold's smaller eyepieces give up on some optical quality, but save weight.  Also, usage of smaller internal lenses can give up a little of optical quality but results in larger adjustment range)
  • metals used in the mechanicals make a difference (I recall reading somewhere that Leupolds mostly use internal made of aluminum and applies special coatings to the metal that resist electrochemical bonding.  Many other scope makers use a combination of different metals that are heavier and sturdier, like stainless steel and brass. Perhaps, Leupold gets away with less durable internals because their smaller internal lenses have less inertia).
  • 3x erector system is typically lighter than 4x erector.
If you look at Leupold's best glass (VX-7), you will notice that while it does not seem to suffer from any of the symptoms above, it is also quite heavy.  For example, VX-7 3.5-14x50 is about an ounce and a half heavier than Elite 6500 2.5-16x50.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2008 at 09:47
Roy Finn View Drop Down
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Thank you ILya. I don't know if this is true or not, but when I look at the objective lense end of my 2.5-10 Elite, it appears to have a thicker tube than any of the Leupold's I still own by comparison. Not sure if that is just the way they finish them for appearance or not.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2008 at 09:51
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Question for koshin:  are the best optical quality polycarbonate lenses inferior to glass?  Wondering if they could be used in the internals for scopes to keep weight down without sacrificing performance.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2008 at 10:44
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Originally posted by Dogger Dogger wrote:

Question for koshin:  are the best optical quality polycarbonate lenses inferior to glass?  Wondering if they could be used in the internals for scopes to keep weight down without sacrificing performance.


Use of polycarbonate does hurt the optics a little.  I think I made that point somewhere above.  However, I would be surprised if polycarbonate was used in VX-3 scopes.

ILya
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