by Scott Mayer
One of the most common questions I get is “What’s a good value-priced riflescope?” Well, that depends on your budget. If your budget is a few hundred dollars, then I don’t see anything wrong with one of Leupold’s VX-I scopes. Add a couple hundred bucks more to your budget, and the VX-II line is a step up without breaking the bank. This year though, Leupold is replacing those lines with improved VX-1 and VX-2 lines, respectively. Typically a manufacturer uses a change like this to implement a price increase, but Leupold’s Pat Mundy says the company was able to “hold the line on price,” and that’s good news for the consumer.
So what’s new other than replacing the Roman numeral designation with Arabic? Well, they’re brighter. Of course every scope maker claims the next iteration of a scope line is brighter, but the magnitude is frequently on the order of split hairs. Not this time. While the VX-I claimed about 85% light transmission, the new VX-1 boasts 92%–and that’s a significant increase. On the VX-2, the brightness increase to 94% is not so much over the VX-II’s 92%, but it’s still an improvement and the VX-II had good light transmission for a scope in its price range to begin with.
Optically, both are using what Leupold calls its Quantum Optical System, and the specific system is unique to each scope line. The system in the VX-1 line includes lenses with Leupold’s basic Multicoat 4 coating while the lenses on the VX-2 have Leupold’s Index Matched lens coating. VX-2 glass also gets a blackened edge treatment and the exterior lenses have DiamondCoat to resist abrasion.
Mechanically, both lines have click-adjustable dials in 1/4-minute increments, and some models of the VX-2 are available with Leupold’s Custom Dial System (CDS). I have a CDS-equipped scope on my .22-250 and the darn thing works great. If you’re not familiar with a CDS, it’s simply a replacement scope turret dial that is calibrated for your specific load. You provide Leupold with your bullet and velocity information, and they custom-design the dial with elevation marks for your load. Just dial in the distance, aim dead on the target, and shoot. It’s a great system if you’re in a stationary position and have the time to range your target and adjust a dial before tripping the trigger. For me, that means groundhogs.
Both scope lines have fast-focus eyepieces and low-profile lock rings. The VX-1 has Leupold’s traditional nitrogen purge to water-and fog-proof the scope while the VX-2 uses a second-generation argon/krypton blend.
Something I really like about this line of scopes is that they look how I think scopes ought to look. There’s no beer can-size eyepiece and instead of curves, the body has clean angles that, to me at least, make a scope look more svelte. The new VX-1 and VX-2 scopes are already in the distribution pipeline, so they may be on your dealer’s shelves as you read this. The older VX-I and II were good values even before the introduction of these new scopes, but if there are still any left, I imagine you’ll find some smoking deals on them as dealers move them off the shelf to make way for the new VX-1 and VX-2.