Leupold VX3 6.5-20X40 EFR Target
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- Last updated: 15/12/2016
Leopold are simply legendary as a top brand name in riflescopes. This VX3 represents the latest in a long line of glassware, all aimed at the discerning shooter, and the asking price certainly reflects this.
My old Leupold VariIII 6.5-20 Varmint was a reliable scope in its day, and this VX3 is effectively the modern version of this long discontinued model.
The scope comes in its own soft stretchy cover, yet no lens caps of any kind are included- which seems amazingly mean, given the not inconsiderable asking price! A finely threaded sunshade is included, which is par for the course these days, yet I have rarely found a use for these, bar scoring some extra posing points for the extended profile on installation. Finish and trim is, as we have come to expect from this American company, superb - with Leupold’s trademark gold ring sitting pretty at the front. This, and the small gold Leupold emblem on the centre saddle, are both actually 24 carat gold plated, which is a classy touch.
High target turrets come as standard, concealed under screw caps, along with an alternative set of stubby turrets, offering alternative, and more elaborate graduation marks.
Lens quality and overall standard of construction set Leupold apart from many; a fact born out with one twist of the ultra crisp and positive turrets. EFR stands for Extra Focal Range, and with this model designed as a dedicated air-rifle scope, it comes as no surprise that the lens set-up will focus down to 10metres. This model was originally intended for Field Target shooting, where the target’s range is calculated by adjusting the parallax setting, and gauging the targets clarity.
Zeroing the scope was simplicity itself, with, as previously mentioned, those ultra positive 1/4inch clicks reassuring indeed. I stuck with the original finger adjustable target turrets, which are concealed under screw caps, but those stubby turrets are easily installed using a small allen key supplied, for those so inclined.
Parallax is corrected via the front collar, which, whilst losing points to the somewhat trendier side wheel, still does the job. One point to note here though, concerns the fact that, with these EFR models, that front collar rotates 2.25 times, which can be confusing when trying to ascertain target ranges. Concentration is therefore required, and a methodical approach needs to be adopted, if accurate range-finding is to be achieved.
Best practise is to wind the collar fully anti-clockwise until the indicator mark shows below the minimum 10yds, then slowly twist the collar clockwise whilst viewing the target. When the target comes in crisp and focused, read off the range. Just twisting though the clarity and slightly back again, always from the same direction is the key here. Between targets, always reset to the minimum parallax again, and repeat the process from scratch. That’s the theory. In practise, ranges rarely tally up straight from the box, and my sample VX3 was no different. A target viewed at 50yds came in at 45 on the dial, but having said that, consistency is what matters - and here, this Leupold scores highly. Most FT shooters will carry out their own tests on the range settings, and add their own corrected marks to the dial in any case.
Range-finding is best carried out with the VX3 set to its highest magnification of 20x, and here, the clarity of a target becomes more obvious. The image is also superbly crisp to the edge on full magnification, but does suffer slightly from fringing below 12x; a trait with my Leupold of old too, I hasten to add. Technique plays a part with any of these FT parallax based systems, and I would always recommend trying before you buy if possible.
The front parallax collar was fairly stiff on this scope, although, with use, this should ease up somewhat. Common practise on the FT circuit is to use those plastic fishing rod clamps (coasters), fastened round the scopes front collar (when using this style of front adjuster), all in a bid to smooth out the range-finding. In the case of the EFR set-up however, multiple revolutions of the collar, bar the use of such aids, but a thin rubber ring gently applied to the collar would help.
A choice of fine duplex (30/30) or target dot reticles are available for this EFR model, which may lack the versatility of some, but for me the duplex style is perfectly acceptable; and given the finely proportional element for airgun use, extremely useful for manual bracketing of targets. For example, with the scope set to 20x mag, any one of the reticle quadrants brackets a 40mm kill area at 50yds, and a 25mm kill at 35yds. Do your homework then, and this VX3 becomes a useful tool indeed.
Leupold’s sales patter used to be ‘Performance starts on the inside’, and when you consider that a combination of Argon and Krypton gases are held within, guaranteeing waterproof/fogproof properties, that line starts to stack up. Add to that the fact that all lens are treated to their DiamondCoat2 process, for added scratch resistance, and the company’s pedigree begins to show.
In short, Leupold still looks the part. Just pick one up and many scopes on the market suddenly look crude by comparison. Admittedly side-wheels have largely taken over, but bear in mind the last World FT Championship was won with a front-adjusted model, and it becomes clear that trends don’t have to be followed.
20 times magnification maybe considered too low these days by some for FT, yet shooting on 60x isn’t to everyone’s taste either! Last years World Champion took the honours on 32x, and familiarity with the kit can play just as big a part in success. As such, this VX3 still deserves careful consideration as a beautifully made, serious investment, from one of the biggest names in the business
PRICE: £727 including sunshade and alternative turrets
CONTACT: GMK Ltd Tel 01489 579999
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