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My FINAL Leupold rant (long)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 12:24
ceylonc View Drop Down
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...I copied & pasted this from a previous thread regarding "Why I only use Leupold".  Not that anybody cares but I decided to start a new thread. 

 

I can't help but weigh in on a topic where a member basically states that he's putting his head in the sand instead of accepting reality with regard to brand loyalty to Leupold rifle scopes.  Leupold makes a good (but not great) product BUT they do not represent a good value.  In years past (the years from which you & your grandfather based your opinions) they made a very good product at an affordable price.  Their customer service/warranty was excellent in a time when post purchase servicing in the industry was questionable at best.  Their marketing department was and still is outstanding.  There isn't a hunting/shooting mag that doesn't feature at least a few ads and some great product placement on the writer's rifles.  Let's face the fact that Leupold in those times was pretty much a "perfect" company in that they dominated every product catagory/segment/price point, had great advertising, and excellent product and fantastic service.

 

Enter today's rifle optics industry.  Global competition has changed the rules and market dynamics.  The industry previously was pretty stagnant and you didn't see a lot of changes from year to year with regard to new products, features, etc.  I'm sure the only scopes your grandfather ever saw at the range or woods consisted of Leupold, Redfield, Weaver, Tasco, Bushnell and Burris (at the time 100% American companies).  Today there are three times this number of manufactures/lines that are competing for your business.  Companies from Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, Japan, China, etc. are now in the mix.  They knew that they had to build a quality scope that would impress the skeptics from the get-go.  So, they studied Leupold (and other) scopes and designed scopes that were BETTER optically, CHEAPER at retail, AND RELIABLE.  So, now you have Zeiss Conquest, Nikon Monarch, Swarovski and Kahles American, Sightron SII etc.  The Bushnell Elite 4200 line was born with outstanding Japanese glass and a warranty that is equal to or better than Loopy's.  What did Leupold, the market leader in every segment, do???  NOTHING!!!  This goes against every rule of business management if you're the top dog.  They should have recognized this assault and focused on protecting their market domination by designing scopes that could be as good or better at the same price points.  This lack of a response has allowed the competition to gain a foothold in the scope market.  While Leupold still dominates every segment, they are slowly but surely losing their market share.  There's an old saying: "How do you eat an elephant?  Answer: One bite at a time."  This is what is going to happen to Leupold (the elephant) and their market share if they don't address reality that their competition is doing things better, offering products hunters/shooters want, and offering high value for their product.  Word is travelling faster than in years past (internet forums, TV shows, etc.) and when a new scope hits the market it no longer must have a Leupold gold ring to get attention or an unbiased review.

 

Here's my story that I believe is going to happen among the hunting and shooting community:

Just this past weekend I went to my hunting camp in S. Alabama.  I carried three rifles that wear the following scopes: IOR 35mm 6x24 50mm, Kahles CL 4x12 52mm, and Zeiss VM/V 4x12 56mm.  There were probably a dozen hunters (old friends and a few guests) at our camp and the two next door.  We always eat dinner together on Saturday night and swap the B.S., tell lies, etc. over a few drinks.  A few years ago, all but 2 of us used Leupold scopes.  Then, about 4-5 years ago, a partner in our camp bought a Swarovski PV.  Every hunter that took a look through that scope was very impressed with the design and optical quality.  For most of us, this was the first time any of us had looked through a hunting scope that wasn't a Leupold, Redfield, Bushnell or Weaver.  In the years that have elapsed since that introduction to the Swarovski, every hunter (that isn't an occasional guest) that hunts these properties has switched from Leupold to Kahles, Swarovski, Zeiss VM/V or Conquest, IOR, Elite 4200 and Burris Black Diamond.  I believe the main reason for this is due to the perception that these scopes "gather more light" than Leupold's offerings, therefore allowing a few more mintues in the stand in the evening.  Another reason has to do with delivering high quality, excellent servicing (when there is an issue) at the same or just a tad higher or lower price that Leupold's competing line.  Granted, this is merely my observation based on 3 camps in Alabama.  I can't help but believe that I'm not the only one who has witnessed this first hand.  I believe this will continue to happen anywhere hunters or shooters gather to trade stories and compare equipment.  There will always be hunters who swear by Leupold and will NEVER even consider another scope.  Hey, that's fine with me!  That just means they'll be the first ones back to camp in the evening and the fireplace will be nice & warm by the time I'm back

 

Sorry for the long rant.  Thanks for reading if you made it this far .

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 13:25
Acenturian View Drop Down
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Ok, I guess I am at a loss as to if there is a question or how we are to respond.  I will say this, Leupold makes a very nice scope.  I do believe that they are not the only good scope on the market as some people are led to believe.  I also agree that Leupold has an up hill battle in that it will become much more difficult to compete in a global market, since some of these scopes that are their compition can be built and sold for less money.

 

My take on it is Leupold needs to either lower their prices OR come up with a better product.  I'm sorry but moon shaped lenses are not going to do it.  By a better product I mean  if they are going to charge between a $100-150 more then a another brand of scope then Leupold better stand out with better optics.  I'd have no problem spending a bit more money ($50.00) max for a scope that is made in the USA by American workers even if it is the same optically as a foreign scope.  BUT, I refuse to spend the difference in price right now for the same or in some cases less performance.

 

I guess the turn off for me besides the performance being equal for more money is that there still seems to be shooters out there who outright refuse to admit there are other as nice or nicer scopes out there.  These are the same people who would never mount a Bushnell 4200 just because it says Bushnell.  I use that as an example because I have heard it from hunting buddies.  So while some people like to call it "Leupold Bashing" my take on it is there are  many golden ring boys and girls out there that if they want to spout off how wonderful their scope is I have no problem spouting off that there is other options out there as well and if that "offends" someone ..OH WELL.

 

AC

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 13:48
Trinidad View Drop Down
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My final Leupold views are expressed in these two recent posts. Even though there is a lot of humor here

it is reality softened up. Nothing new to alot of you.

 

1.

 

http://www.opticstalk.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=4937&PN=2

 

2.

 

http://www.opticstalk.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=5042&PN=1

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 14:17
Roy Finn View Drop Down
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ceylonc, you have taking the thoughts right out of my keyboard!!!. Excellent post. I can fully understand the mindset of folks that would be skeptical of Bushnell (Elites) products prior to investigation and actual use. They built their reputation on economical but reliable products. When they set out to build the Elites, they new that it would HAVE to be better than a comparable Leupold product to even be considered seriously. People of older generations and mindsets tend to go with what they know. The old "if it ain't, broke don't fix it" way of thinking. That way of thinking is long gone and is a recipe for failure for future success.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 14:32
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I agree with most that has been said, so far. Some people do buy Leupold for their generous eye relief. Others because their scopes are smaller and look better on certain guns. I like the Bushnell 4200's a lot, but they are large scopes and short on eye relief for the heavy kickers. Since the VX7's are coming I am very interested to see how they compare to the top drawer Euro scopes, considering they are in the same price range. In the mid range scopes the VX III can be beat optically by a few of the other brands. Bushnell, Nikon and others are better. It is not that big of a step to the Swaro A  and Kahles scopes that Chris says use the Euro lenses and are made here. The IOR is getting good reviews on this web site and are pretty reasonable, also. This is the thing that has made me move away from Leupold.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 14:36
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"That way of thinking is long gone and is a recipe for failure for future success."  

 

I think I'm tired of this subject

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 14:48
tahqua View Drop Down
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Regarding low light shooting, my Leupolds have never made me the first back to camp. And that's not because I'm too lazy to build the fire. Michigan law is 1/2 hour before/after sunset and the two Vari-X  III's I have work fine, including a 1.5-5 X 20. My Kahles will let me shoot later or earlier.......................I'm tired, too
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 14:50
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Don't fire the messenger.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 14:51
Trinidad View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Roy Finn Roy Finn wrote:

ceylonc, you have taking the thoughts right out of my keyboard!!!. Excellent post. I can fully understand the mindset of folks that would be skeptical of Bushnell (Elites) products prior to investigation and actual use. They built their reputation on economical but reliable products. When they set out to build the Elites, they new that it would HAVE to be better than a comparable Leupold product to even be considered seriously. People of older generations and mindsets tend to go with what they know. The old "if it ain't, broke don't fix it" way of thinking. That way of thinking is long gone and is a recipe for failure for future success.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 15:02
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I too have witnessed what ceylonc describes in his “rant.” Though I also believe there is another dimension in this conversation.

 

If you have noticed for example the businesses plan:

 

In the Zeiss line they have taken the middle of the road with the Conquest; which can be described as a performance – value product. With at the other end their VM/V Line to compete with the “best” in product class.

 

Bushnells total model like the Conquest is also the value product.

 

Folks like S&B don’t even play in the low to middle end of the market and concentrate at the top of the market.

 

Leopolds real problem is they try to be too many things to too many people. With too many products and too many products that sit in the “low” to middle of the road; where again ceylonc describes there are too many foreign companies offering their own products. Leopold needs to define what area of the market they are in and make changes to the product line or costs to reflect who they after buying their products…

 

As for the Product:

 

There is nothing wrong with Leopold Scopes; they work. Meanwhile for construction, quality, price and performance I would not say they’re the end all. I also would like to add that am familiar with the Bushnell Product and have seen many fail in the fields of Africa and Montana. (In respect to Bushnell they were very helpfull and replaced these scopes with no questions) Again…Bushnell makes a value product and if it is between a Bushnell a Leupold it is my opinion it is a wash; meanwhile if I can choose a Zeiss VM/V or a S&B there is no debate.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 15:30
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Are you specifically referring to Bushnell high-end products? I find it hard to imagine that someone would go to the considerable cost and time of an African hunt and do so with a hundred dollar scope, any hundred dollar scope. What kind of failures did you experience while in Africa.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 16:05
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Models used were Elites... 

 

One bent tube - Horseback... (Not Product Fault)

One - water found its way in...

One - damage either - continous shock, recoil, don't know but reticle was loose.

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 16:32
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Originally posted by noddah noddah wrote:

Models used were Elites... 

 

One bent tube - Horseback... (Not Product Fault)

One - water found its way in...

One - damage either - continous shock, recoil, don't know but reticle was loose

 

In Africa?

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I agree with the above, to a point.  Yes, there are several competing scopes offering as good or better optical performance than many Leupold models at a lower price.  I won't argue the fact the competition has caught up and surpassed Leupold in many respects and within a given magnification/objective class, there are frequently better values to be had.  Yes, in many cases, I believe Leupolds are over-priced.  But, to make the blanket statement that, across their entire line, Leupolds are no longer competitive price- and feature-wise I think is a bit of a stretch.  It all depends on the particular model scopes you're comparing and on what criteria you're basing the comparison.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but there are a couple of Leupold models that I'm a huge fan of, for reasons other than just optical performance.  For instance, I love the VXIII 1.75-6 X 32 and VXIII 6.5-20 X 40 Long Range 30mm side focus (w/ Varmint Hunter's reticle) model scopes.  The former is a great choice for a trim, ultralight rifle where weight and proportion are a consideration.  It is one of the lightest, shortest scopes in its class and looks great on a short, lightweight rifle.  To find a more compact proportioned big game hunting scope, you'd have to either sacrifice useful magnification on the upper end or go with a so-called "compact" scope, that, by necessity, is seriously compromised optically.  To get significantly better optics in a scope of this magnification range and compactness, you'd have to spend quite a bit more money.  The latter is one of my favorite live varmint rifle scopes, and I love the innovative Varmint Hunter reticle, which is a very thin, glass-etched reticle that I've found to be very useful for long range precision shooting.  With more crosswind compensation reference marks, I think the Varmint Hunter reticle is a big improvement over the Swaro TDS.  The reticle alone is worth an extra $100 to me, and the optics are very sharp, bright, and high definition, at least my copy is.  I've compared this scope's optical performance head to head with my Swarovski PH and Nightforce NXS varmint scopes at the same power settings in a wide variety of field conditions and found it to be only slightly inferior to them, yet at 1/2 the price.  When comparing feature to feature, I feel these two scopes are comparable or superior both optically and price-wise with anything in their respective price classes that I've seen, which to me defines the word "value." 

 

I own several riflescopes each from Bausch and Lomb, Burris, Bushnell, Kahles, Leica, Leupold, Nikon, Nightforce, Swarovski, Weaver, and Zeiss, so I think I've spent plenty of time in the field with a decent cross section of good quality scopes at all price points from which to make a fair comparison.  All my scopes have their individual strengths and weaknesses, but all were chosen for a specific reason.  I agree that from a pure optical standpoint, I've been more impressed with the Elite 4200 series than most Vari-XIII/VXIII Leupolds.  However, I've also found the Elite 4200s to be excessively long and heavy for certain guns, and balance and appearance are very important factors for me in determining which scope to mount on a given rifle.  Bottom line, depending on the application and the particular model scope, I think there are some very legitimate reasons to buy a Leupold, and I don't at all believe the Leupold buyer is necessarily "putting his head in the sand" and following blind brand loyalty by doing so.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 17:19
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RD, is the VXIII you described have a laser etched reticle?

I thought all VX's were wire.

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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

RD, is the VXIII you described have a laser etched reticle?

I thought all VX's were wire.

 

Yes, the Varmint Hunter reticle is laser etched.  It would be impossible to produce this reticle in wire, given the series of floating dots outside the stadia lines.  The new Boone and Crockett reticle is also laser etched.  The plex and other "traditional" reticles in the VX lines are wire.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2006 at 18:08
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

RD, is the VXIII you described have a laser etched reticle?

I thought all VX's were wire.

 

Yes, the Varmint Hunter reticle is laser etched.  It would be impossible to produce this reticle in wire, given the series of floating dots outside the stadia lines.  The new Boone and Crockett reticle is also laser etched.  The plex and other "traditional" reticles in the VX lines are wire.

 

Yes Sir. Thank you.

Naturally, those two and the mil dot are etched.

 

I missed the B&C and VH reticle part of your post.

I'll be more careful when "skimming" through these post.

 

Regards.

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