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Leupold VX-R Patrol 3-9x40mm Performance Review

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/29/2011 at 08:00
boltgun71 View Drop Down
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Warning, the following is very lengthy and wordy, I just wanted to relay my experience with this scope the best I could.
 

This past week I attented an advanced sniper course in Arizona.  For the course I used a Rem 700 LTR in .223 Rem equipped with Leupold’s new VX-R Patrol 3-9x40mm riflescope.  I bought the scope from SWFA in early August for $599.95.  The scope was mounted in Leupold MK4 30mm Medium rings and on a Leupold MK4 1-Piece 15MOA base.

The VX-R Patrol is a MIL/MIL scope with 1/10th MIL adjustments and the new Firedot TMR reticle which has graduations in half-MIL increments and the new on-demand Firedot.  The Firedot is an illuminated red dot that appears at the very center of the crosshair when turned on via a button on the left side scope turret housing the battery for it.  The dot is adjustable for brightness by simple presses to the ON/OFF button.  To turn it OFF, you simply press and hold the button for 5 seconds.  The dot will turn off automatically after several minutes of no use by way of a internal motion sensor to help preserve battery life as well.  The scope has 1/10th MIL adjustaments with 6 MILS of travel per revolution.

I chose the scope specifically for use in the course and to try the concept of a compact urban LE bolt action in .223 Rem for myself.  I wanted the capability to rangefind with a MIL reticle and have a useful magnification range for LE engagement distances, typically between 5yds and 300yds.  The VX-R Patrol with its 3-9x magnification and TMR reticle fit this bill perfectly I thought.  The Firedot feature in particular piqued my interest for its use in low-light and in close-in engagements, where I could potentially run it like a standard red dot sight/ACOG chevron with it turned on and the magnification at 3x.

Below you will find my thoughts and experiences with using this scope throughout my train-up for the course and use through the intensive 5-day LE advanced sniper course.

TMR Firedot Reticle

The reticle is a little thicker than I am used to compared to the fine lines of Leupold’s standard Mil-Dot or TMR reticles in the MK4 line.  I didn’t know if I would like this at first as I like thin reticles as to try and shoot little tiny groups with and to not obscure my target.  The crosshair I would figure is approximately 1/3 of MOA thick.  When shooting 1” squares at 100yds in preperation for the course I could divide the squares in quarters with the reticle, with the square corners just visible in each quadrant of the reticle.  Using this method on the squares, shooting tiny groups became easy.  Shooting at 300yds, the crosshair subtended about the width of a human nose on the bad guy targets.   The thicker crosshair ended up in the end being more of an advantage for me then I realized as it was easier to pick-up and use in lowlight engagements during the course, of which there was several.  The thicker bold crosshair was very easy to pickup in low light with just a few artificial lights or streetlights to light the target and its surrounding area.  There was no eye strain or time wasted in trying to find a fine crosshair on a dark back ground with this scope. 

As for the Firedot itself, it worked exactly like I had hoped it would, and was excellent for engaging targets in low-light and at close range.  Two nights of the course were devoted to low-light/night operations and required engaging targets at close range in very short time periods and/or targets in dark, not well lit areas.  For close range shooting on the move at night with only the use of a Surefire light tied to my Harris bipod to light my way, I simply dialed the VX-R down to 3x and turned the Firedot on for aiming.  By using the Firedot, I was able to simply forget about and ignore the crosshair itself and very quickly engage targets from 5yds to 50yds just like I would typically with a red dot on a AR-15.  I really believe the Firedot helped me to be much faster in aquiring and engaging my target than had I had a standard non-illuminated reticle.  The size of the dot is small and unobtrusive and in no way bloomed or washed out my target.

At 9x the TMR was calibrated dead-on in MILS.  I measured this with a yard stick at 100yds and they all were perfectly 3.6” apart in my scope.  Though I didn’t have to rangefind with it during my course I did use it for hold-offs out to and beyond 300yds and the MILS were dead on with what my data was that I could have dialed.

Magnification

The 3-9x magnification of the VX-R Patrol was just about ideal for the intended purpose I had in mind for a primarily 300yd and in rifle.  The 3x was a huge advantage to b

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/29/2011 at 09:15
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Very nice comprehensive evaluation, thanks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2011 at 19:07
boltgun71 View Drop Down
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I'm still waiting to hopefully recieve the pics from the course I attended but I snapped some pics of the scope at the range today for everyone interested.

A few reticle pics, but they're pretty bad I admit and don't do the scope justice.

200yd target backer at 9x

200yd target backer at 3x

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/01/2011 at 15:12
pendlehill View Drop Down
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Excellent review, I am thinking of getting one of these for an AR 15 platform. Mainly for small varmint hunting 300 yards max and 3 gun shoots. I like the look of the TMR Reticle, would this be better then a   4-12x40 ballistic fire dot reticle.
Any other opinions would be helpful. Cheers
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2011 at 19:30
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Excellent review.  Looking forward to receving mine.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2011 at 20:10
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my next scope, thanks for the review. i'd love to see this and the SS 3-9 put side by side.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2011 at 07:17
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Originally posted by jjrgr21 jjrgr21 wrote:

my next scope, thanks for the review. i'd love to see this and the SS 3-9 put side by side.
They still have enough difference to justify one or the other. I have both. 
 
the SS is FFP, slightly better glass, non-illuminated, Larger Turrets, larger objective, more... robust.
 
The Patrol is SFP, illuminated, compact, and so far durable but has not past the test of time yet.  It fits a hunters gun who likes to dial in corrections and keep weight down.  I would not use it for a precision/tactical rifle but it has worked out well using it for hunting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2011 at 08:43
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I have a 4-12 CDS version on my 264WM that has worked well so far.  I prefer the finer crosshair of the VH reticle for coyotes and smaller varmints, but for deer and larger animals it has been great.  I too am impressed with the light gathering ability.  I wish they offered a 4-12 CDS in a 50mm version and it would be my ideal scope for stand hunting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2011 at 09:16
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you really think the SS has better glass?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2011 at 09:29
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yes, not by a huge margin but i can definately see more detail with the SS.  I also experience less eye fatigue using the SS than I do with the Leupold.  I watched a deer with the VXR the other day and every few minutes I had to pull away to "rest" my eye.  I've never had to do that with the SS and I've used it to watch critters just the same. I've been comparing them directly with one another for months now and I will still put my money on the SS at this point.  Given the fact that SWFA listens and fills niches I'd venture (completely my own opinoin) to say we'd see a low power variable from them with illumination before to long.  When we do I'll sell you a VXR patrolBig Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2011 at 09:58
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Nice review. It's good that Leupold is at least taking steps in the right direction. I'd still take an SS 3-9 over it but then I've never had to use illumination. In this mag range, whether a scope is FFP or SFP doesn't make much difference. At distances where I've needed to use the reticle subtensions I also have needed mag greater than 7X (having tested this with a 3-15X FFP scope with better glass than either.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2011 at 14:43
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don't' get me wrong i like my SS, but i seem to favor my MK4 a bit more, but it's not apples to apples. i really have no use for illum, but i may just have to wait for the next line up like you said.
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