Different manufacturers have different names for anything that is not new, some call them Refurbished when actually they are not. Instead of having some called, factory blem, some called salesman samples, discontinued, damaged packaging, etc.......they just call everything Refurbished. Anything that is not 100% new gets put in the "refurb" pile. When you look at the big picture of how many scopes are made, the refurbs we have on our SampleList site is not even a measurable percentage. Another contributing factor to a large number of any brand on the SampleList is that the manufacturers wait until they have a large quantity before they sell them. Also the end of the year and start of a new year always brings many items to the SampleList because reps are turning in their samples and all the manufacturers are cleaning out inventory.
According to Nikon themselves, the industry average for returns/warranty of riflescopes is 5%...........Nikon's rate is .6%. I am sure however that "their" industry average includes BSA, tasco, Barska, Leatherwood, etc. so its hard to know how good that number is until we know what Leupold's number is.
On another note, Leupold is hyper sensative about "refurbs" because of exactely what has been discussed in this thread. They don't want people to see a big pile of them somewhere and think Leupold has a problem, so they don't sell them.