- By Pete Moore
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 14/10/2019
I first saw Leupold’s D-EVO (Dual Enhanced View Optic) at a Viking Arms open day a few years ago and I have been intrigued ever since, as it was quite the oddest scope I had ever seen. For this fixed, 6x power optic deviates from the norm considerably. It’s short and compact build is Z-shaped (yes that’s right) with the 20mm objective lens protruding from the right of the rifle with the eyepiece on the centre line. So, it’s a periscopic type that’s laid on its side.
It’s more aimed at tactical usage, with its ballistic-type, CMR-W reticle (close medium range with wind holds), though its roots, apparently are in hunting. It allows the shooter to fit a red dot sight in front and in tandem on the rifle, yet still have access to both systems instantly, by raising or lowering your eyes a few degrees. To this end. Viking also sent me Leupold’s LCO (Leupold Carbine Optic) which appears to be the perfect companion, although any suitable red dot will do. Doubtless, this double team approach will appeal to some Action/ Practical shooters who often fit a dot to their low power scopes as a close-range, fastreaction aiming system. However, it also gives you the ability for medium range engagement. So, it would seem well suited to rimfire and centrefire AR15s and perhaps pistol-calibre lever-action users in the UK.
The idea came from a guy called Quint Crispin, who works in Leupold’s R&D section. He hunts Coyotes, that, like foxes, can pop up under your muzzle or sit off at longer ranges. As we Brits know, reaction time with Charlie is all. The D-EVO/LCO combo allows quick shots out to around 100 yards with the dot and to 600 with the 6x20 optic, with zero scope adjustment, which wastes time in the heat of the moment. However, the small eye box and 20mm objective lens do not do so well in low light conditions as can be imagined.
The D-EVO has a fixed focus, so eye relief is critical and best kept short. I used the system on a GunCraft 22 WMR rifle, also on test this month. I found it best to position it as far back on the receiver’s Picatinny rail as possible. Viewing requires a bit of re-thinking, as if you look directly through the back you don’t see a lot; the trick is to raise your head a bit more and look down at a slight angle and you will see a flat-topped, semi circular screen. Leupold says you don’t need to move your head to switch between the scope and the LCO, just drop or raise your eye line 6⁰. Fine with a decent comb height to give a perfect position, but on the Rock River telescopic stock I found I did not get a decent cheek weld initially.
However, it’s just a case of practicing and I soon got it right. So, you look up to see the red dot and down for the reticle and it’s a fast and efficient transition from dot to ret, albeit a bit weird at first. The CMR-W reticle is a full ballistic type with close range inverted horseshoe in the centre for fast positioning, along with a BDC (bullet drop compensating) dots/hash marks on the 6 O’clock stadia from 100 to 600m, with corresponding lead/ wind markers, a ranging grid top left and 10 Mil-Dot/hash marks on the 3 and 9 o’clock arms. The reticle is cut for 5.56x45/223 Rem and 308 Win/7.62x51, which, as calibres, seem to be compatible in ballistics. Closer inspection shows the right hand wind markers curve outwards as the range increases, this is done to off set the effects of the objective lens being positioned 2” on the right of the bore line.
Turrets are basic; in fact, more like the low adjusters we see on red dot sights, with no markings, just a slot-headed shaft in the middle. Click values are 0.1 Milradian, with 60 per turn and three full rotations available. With a Mil being worth 3.6” @ 100m, you then get 21.6” per turn and a top to bottom range of 64.8”. Simple and effective as all the corrections for range/wind can be applied through the reticle. Although 5.56/7.62 orientated, as with any ballistic type, the markings can be re-purposed for your chosen calibre. Unusually, Leupold does not illuminate the reticle.
The LCO, is large for a red dot with a fully-enclosed square tube and weighs a hefty 9.3oz, but its tough. Power comes from a single, CR123 A 3V Lithium battery that runs a 1MOA red dot. Adjusters are similar to the D-EVO but in ½-MOA clicks, with a 60MOA range in both windage and elevation. There’s one control that turns it ON and OFF via a press button; 1 second for ON and six for OFF. Surrounding this, is a slotted drum that controls the 16-level illumination system. It rolls back to decrease size and forwards to increase. Although not small, compared to most other types, I quite prefer its larger dimensions and greater height. Both it and the scope are made of high quality, 6061-T6 Aluminium with a flat black, anodised finish.
At first, I was unsure about the small size of the D-EVO’s optical system, but it’s crisp and presents a good view. Once I, literally, got my head around how to use it, operation became more instinctive and, for that matter, faster. The ability to asses a target as to its range priority and instantly choose one of two sighting systems to engage it with by eye alone proved most practical. Linear field of view (FOV) is 5.3m @ 100m, which is a little cramped, but workable. At a combined weight of 23.3 oz, the combo is quite heavy and on a light rifle makes it feels a bit unbalanced. The real killer is the price at £1302 for the D-EVO and £919 for the LCO, which will put them way out of most people’s reach, retail is likely to be a bit less. It is, however, quite a clever system that will doubtless have an appeal to some shooters. However, this is not unusual for Leupold, as their CQT low power, compact scope was around £1300 when first introduced, likewise their HAMMA, which was there take on the ACOG.
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