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Leupold VX 5HD First Impressions

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cabochris View Drop Down
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    Posted: March/24/2020 at 17:15
Several here were instrumental in helping me choose to purchase a Leupold VX 5HD 3-15X44 CDS-ZL2 Illuminated FireDot Duplex.  My choice was between the Leupold and a Trijicon Credo HX 2.5-15X42.  I selected the Leupold, just received it and want to pass along my very first Layperson more expensive to me scope impressions.

OK, while the box was sealed nicely the outside corners are a bit rough.  The packaging held the scope securely but nothing stands out about it, as the packaging looks the same as with their lesser models.  While it really does not matter one might think a $1,000 scope would come in a more value perceptive box.  Just my first impressions/thoughts here.  

As soon as I picked the scope up, I felt it was well made and compact.  But so are other Leupold scopes, like the VX2 3-9X40 I have.  The finish is nice except for some oily substance on the bell which I wiped off.  Like the same lube seeping from the power ring.  The power ring was super tight at first, as was the parallax dial.  But both have smoothed up... which makes me wonder why?  Don't they test those prior to boxing and if so why would they tighten up again?  The elevation lock is very nice, but the elevation clicks felt no different than on past Leupold scopes.  I thought dial-up scopes were supposed to have more positive audible clicks?  Perhaps it's me and I'm judging too quickly?

Today it's overcast and the glass looks nice edge to edge at all powers here at work, but I'll compare it later to my other scopes- a Zeiss and Trijicon Accupoint, both of which Wow me optically.  The included Leupold rubber lens cover fits nicely and I've not installed the battery for the FireDot yet.  The scope was boxed with no covers over the lenses.  The paper manual looks cheap in comparison to the older VX2 manual.

For a layperson I'm rather picky, especially on more costly optics and here are 2 Bummers on the Leupold.  On the bottom side of the turret housing is some sort of plastic plug filling a cut circular hole.  Might be where they purge/gas-up the scope?  When I turned the scope over I noticed the black plastic plug was askew and about to fall out.  Instantly without thinking I thumbed it back into place.  I should have pulled it out to see exactly what was under the plug, but reacted too quickly before the plug got lost.  (We all know how small dropped parts/screws can mysteriously disappear)  So now I wonder if that plug will simply fall out and be lost under recoil?  Not happy.

But worse, when I look into the scope objective I see a black dust speck!  Small, but that should not be on a $1,000 scope?  Reminds me of the crap, including fingerprints I saw looking into some cheap scopes.  I know it's small, but that bothers me as even my VX2 is clear of internal dust.  When I get home I'm going to hit the lenses with compressed air, just to make sure that speck isn't on the outside.  If it's on the inside I have no idea if I should just accept that, or return/send the scope to Leupold?  Will that speck of dust or broken off lens edge darkening material cause optical problems?  Would YOU accept that?  It looks small... am I being too picky?  I suspect most guys would never even see it.  Unless that has something to do with the FireDot?

Very first impressions... despite the above complaints I like the Leupold and intend to mount it/or it's possible replacement on a Kimber Montana 300 Win Mag.  Because I sold a couple rifles and other optics, (more than I expected to) I decided to purchase a second scope for a 300 RUM I decided to keep and ordered the Trijicon Credo HX, for which I will also leave my first impressions.  I want to share here and it may be helpful to others contemplating these 2 scopes.  At this point my final verdict on the Leupold is up in the air.  I want to love it, but am truly a bit disappointed at this point.  Guess I expect more at this price level.  However I quite often change my mind on such things later.  Still, had I seen this scope in a store, I would have passed.      

        
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mike650 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/24/2020 at 17:22
Call Leupold, they'll send you a new one, probably within 2 weeks or less.... well except not sure with this virus thing going on.

They back their stuff up.  Thunbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote supertool73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/24/2020 at 17:25
Bang it on a phone book a few times and see if you can dislodge the black spec.  if not call Leupold if it bugs you to much.  I have had an $1800 scope have specs on the glass.  A few whacks and it was gone.  Its actually pretty common thing, just some of the anodizing from the scope tube got bounces up on the lens.  I have had 5 or 6 scopes do that over the years.  First time I saw it Chris at SWFA told me to try the phone book whack and it has fixed all the scope I had except 1 Meopta.  When I whacked it 50 more black specs ended up on the glass LOL.  Back to Meopta it went and they fixed it up for me. 

I wouldn't let the little things like the box and cheaper manual get to you to much.  IMO I am fine with a cheap box, that means I have to pay a little less for the optic. 

If you can deal with black spec then put it on and use it, I think you will quite like it.  My VX5 has hundreds of rounds on two different creedmoor and I enjoy the heck out of it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cabochris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2020 at 18:03
I tried your phone book trick which unfortunately did not work.  But thanks anyway.  I was just about to accept the dust particle, when I made the mistake of closer inspection through the ocular end and at an angle saw some sort of smear on the inside of the lens edge!  Sorry Leupold... no way I'm keeping this scope!  Perhaps it was built in a rush?  I heard Leupold quality hit a low, but didn't believe it.  Now I wonder?  Obviously 1 scope is not the entire story, so I returned it to the seller for an exchange or refund.  Someone at Leupold should have better inspected that scope prior to boxing and again I may just be too picky, but it made me wonder what else is wrong with that particular scope?  So I'm expecting a replacement.

This was disappointing to say the least as it was unexpected, especially after so much selection thought on my part.  So when I go home to compare the scope, I was not in the best of moods.  Dusk was approaching and I only had time to compare the VX5 HD to my Leupold VX2 3-9X40, which is a pretty bright scope.  Kind of a rush comparison which did led me to the conclusion the VX5 is better optically, but really not by much.  Yes the VX5 is brighter and seems to have pretty good edge sharpness, but really just seems a step up or 2 from the now discontinued VX2?  When I get the replacement scope I'll have to make more of a careful comparison.  Honestly I thought the VX2 was very good... great.  Until I got 2 Trijicon Accupoints and a Zeiss for Old School hunting rifles.  While the VX2 is bright, to my eyes it lacks the dimensional depth and edge to edge sharpness of the Trijicon or Zeiss.  This was instantly noticeable and what turned me on to more expensive glass.  The difference "Wowed Me".  I even mentioned to my buddy who is in the market for perhaps a VX3i scope or Trijicon, he could look through mine, but warned him if you just look through the Leupold you'll be happy. It's quality, bright and clear-  all you'll need on your 325 WSM Browning.  But if you look through my Trijicon side by side, you may want to sell all your scopes for real glass.  As of last night the VX5 didn't quite Wow me.  I may have expected too much, but will give the replacement VX5 scope another chance.

I was having a difficult time focusing the VX5 reticle for my shooting eye, especially the darker it got.  I adjusted both the ocular and parallax, but in the fading light had to give up.  I have zero experience with 15X+ scopes.  I found it near impossible to get a full sight picture at 15X the darker it got.  It was like I couldn't even find the exit pupil, let alone get on target.  Perhaps this because I was hand holding the scope, rather than mounted on a rifle?  However at 10X I was able too and figured that might be my max magnification at dusk?  Just before boxing the VX5 for return, well that's when I noticed how short the forward scope ring mounting space is.  I didn't want to use a rail for this scope on my Kimber, but now wonder if I may have to for proper eye relief? 

Guys, I've never been this picky before and apologize for being so.  It's just when I save up and start spending more for optics, I become extra picky real fast.  I suspect I'll be satisfied with the replacement VX 5.  Now if I could only pick the best mount for my Kimber Montana LA.  I prefer scopes as low as possible.  I also do not like to have to fight to get full sight picture of a scope mounted too far forward.              
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote supertool73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2020 at 09:16
no need to apologize.  If you were not happy with it, then you are not.  Hopefully the replacement will look better for you and if not you can always switch it up for another brand.  That's the joy of having 10,000 different scope options for us to choose from, there is always another one for us to try out. 

I had an IOR 3-18x that I was taking a precision rifle class with.  As I was looking through it to shoot it was nice and clear.  I fired a round and suddenly there were all these globs of something all over the glass.  This was on day two of the class, I just used it as is for the rest of the 4 day class.   When I called Valdada about it they think some of lubricant that they put in the scope to catch the black specs that come off of the tube actually got hot enough to melt a bit and they bounced up on the glass.  Sent it back for a replacement and the replacement got black specs all over the glass after a couple rounds.  Sent that one back and it didn't track every well, so I sent that one back and then sold it for a SWFA HD scope.  Its frustrating when you pay good money for a scope and it has issues. 

I guess my point is, you are right not to settle for it.  While I personally have 5 Leupolds at the moment and not one of that have given me a lick of trouble, that doesn't mean they don't have screw ups and mechanical failures fall through the cracks.  You gotta get one that makes you happy. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cabochris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2020 at 15:11
You're right ST.  I certainly have no intention of bashing Leupold either, as their scopes have participated in many memorable hunts.  Most of my hunting has been Old School, with 3-9 duplex scopes.  They never seemed lacking, even on longer shots.  Actually mine remained on 4X and I never had time to crank my scope up/down for a shot.  4X worked fine.

Ever since the Gulf War I've avoided becoming a Sniper.  While tempting, building 12-15 lb long range hunting rifles is not me.  Actually all the rage tactical hunting stuff too.  One buddy has gone overboard on this.   You should see his rifles all dressed-up.  I do not make fun of him as he likes what he likes- as do others.

Truth is hunting is becoming more difficult and expensive and I think I want to increase my odds a bit.  That's why my sudden interest in dial-up scopes.  I can shoot pretty good and figure what the heck, if I see a good black bear in a cut at 550, why not?  That seems reasonable, especially if I have the right cartridge, rifle and scope.  Even at closer ranges a capable scope should give me an advantage.  But for hunting, that's where I'll draw the line and hope the lure of long range hunting hasn't influenced my scope choice- because I can easily shoot out to 400 yards with a 3-9.  Plus 400 yards is pretty far, even on big game.

Modern scopes have extreme performance requirements and it's amazing that they work as well as they do.  Just think of all the extra parts over a 4X or Vanilla 3-9.  Hopefully the scope I got was a Lemon.  I'm looking forward to it's replacement, as well as the Trijicon Credo on the way.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote saltydog235 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2020 at 12:11
LOL, my S&B’s have all come in the cheapest boxes with crepe paper wrappers. Don’t sweat the little things. 

I want to like the VX5HD and VH6HD but when I can get a S&B, Ziess, Swarovski or Leica for the same money, I’m not taking the chance. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cabochris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2020 at 16:38
To tell the truth the VX5 HD seemed of the typical Leupold quality I've come to expect.  By that I mean your standard VXII, VXIII, VX2.  I got a lemon, for which I just got a refund.  I kind of expected more of the VX5.  The VX5 is in so many current magazine articles and ads, I got the impression it's great.  It may be, but I'm hesitant now to order another.  I may but have to give this some more thought.

I just received the Trijicon Credo HX 2.5-15X42.  My business is a drive-thru coffee/espresso stand and it's been crazy just trying to stay open and keep my staff of 8, in light of the virus panic.  So I only had a few moments to play with the Trijicon.

I realize the box means little- perhaps, but in stark contrast to the Leupold packaging, the Trijicon box Wowed me!  It's big, it's solid, it's colorful and has drawings of mountains.  Inside full foam cradles the scope.  An employee who has no idea that I was not impressed with the Leupold box, said "Wow, that's a nice box!", as she walked by.  I found that amusing.

I can say right now I will be mounting the Credo on my 300 RUM and will post my first impressions of the Trijicon.

But back to the Leupold VX5, which was intended for my Kimber Montana 2016 300 Mag.  I suppose the VX5 would work.  The Trijicon Credo is a few ounces heavier and I could get another Credo for the Kimber.  The Leupold looks like more of a hunting scope, which I prefer on the Montana?  Since I have another shot at a scope, I'm looking at a few others to compare to the VX5, in particular the Swarovski Z3 4-12X50 BT.  It's a 1 inch tube, no lit reticle and no parallax adjust.  It does have an interesting dial up with 3 pre-set distance markers and is several ounces lighter than the VX5.  I think it would look good on a 300 Win Montana, with plenty mounting space on the longer tube.  Perhaps if I limit shots to 500 yards I don't need parallax adjust on that set-up?  I do not have any idea how good a Z3 is, but from the few videos online, it sure looks nice and the optics very nice.  Well as nice as one can expect a video looking through the scope at different powers.  Any thoughts on the Z3?       
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote supertool73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2020 at 17:32
I have a 3-9x Z3.  Its a great scope.  Optically I would say it is slightly better than my VX5, but only slightly.  Not enough to make a lick of diff for legal hunting light. 

The VX5 and 6 offer great optics, light weight, excellent illumination, excellent turrets with the ZL2, and the alumina flip up caps are amazing IMO. 

I had my 10-22 in my ultrasonic cleaner the other day and I had the scope sitting above the water level, I left for a minute and it fell over and the scope went under the water.  When I pulled it out the water had not even got in through the caps.  I was impressed.  It was under the water for 3 to 5 minutes.  Good caps are hard to come by these days and having the option on the Leupold is a great feature IMO. 

I wouldn't give up on the Leupold yet, but that's just me.  You gotta get what gives you that funny feeling inside. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/27/2020 at 17:50
Originally posted by supertool73 supertool73 wrote:

You gotta get what gives you that funny feeling inside.  

That seems like great sig line material right there!Big Grin
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tejas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2020 at 10:25
Ordered a Colt AR15 several years ago. Plain old brown cardboard box with black letters. Shoots great and I still own it. Threw the box away though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cabochris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2020 at 19:14
Wonder what sort of box a Blaser rifle comes in?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mike650 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2020 at 19:26
Don’t bother with Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski, or Kahles you’ll be disappointed by their boxes as well. 😂
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cabochris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2020 at 19:32
I have not given up on the Leupold VX5 yet.  But it's close.  Yes it was bright, but the resolution seemed typical Leupold, good but like a VX3i.  Perhaps I'm wrong.  I just feel in this price range I should be getting more for the $.  I've looked through enough scopes to at least know what impresses me and usually it's instantly.  For some reason the VX5 didn't do that.  The Trijicon Credo I just received did in minutes.  It's that dang Leupold box!  Just kidding, right?  

I really do like the features of the VX5 and it does have more of a hunting scope look, which I would prefer on my Kimber Montana.  The Swarovski Z3 seems interesting and a friend who thinks he's a sniper said to get a Z5.  Well that's a good jump in price and still lacks all the VX5 features, in particular a lit dot.  Zeiss scopes do have the bells in my budget, but most say go with Swaro!  Sure wish I could compare side by side.  Not sure I like idea of a 50 mm Objective on the Kimber?  But the Z3 is lighter and I suspect optics I would like.  Better let this stew a bit, as doing so can sometimes clear the fog.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote supertool73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2020 at 20:37
swaros are outstanding scopes. If i could afford a bunch of them, most of my hunting guns would have them. 

But the box does leave a lot to be desired. Bucky
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