Leupold VX-1 4-12x40mm Riflescope

By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff

Leupold VX-1 4-12x40mm
Illustration courtesy of Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

The Leupold (www.leupold.com) VX-I line has undergone some major revisions since we did our initial review of a VX-I 4-12x40mm riflescope. Now, with the introduction of the VX-1 line (note the Arabic numeral replacing the former Roman numeral), we felt it was time for a new VX-1 4-12x40mm review.

Leupold's purchase of the Redfield brand and the addition of the Rifleman scopes to Leupold's product line has moved the VX-1 line up a couple of notches in the scheme of things. The VX-1's have matured into medium priced riflescopes offering superior performance in their price class.

As befits their elevated status, VX-1 riflescopes now come with a feature set reminiscent of the VX-2 and VX-3 scopes of only a few years ago. VX-1 scopes are available in a variety of finishes and with standard Duplex, Wide Duplex and LR Duplex (ballistic) reticles. At this time the VX-1 models include 2-7x33mm, 3-9x40mm, 3-9x50mm and 4-12x40mm.

The subject of this review is a 4-12x40mm VX-1 in gloss black with a standard Duplex reticle, which we still regard as the best all-around reticle in the business. We requested this scope for an upcoming review of a Winchester 1885 Low Wall rifle chambered for the new .17 WSM rimfire cartridge (see the Product Reviews page). The .17 WSM is a rimfire with the ballistics of a centerfire varmint cartridge, so a high quality 4-12x variable power scope is an appropriate choice.

VX-1 Features

  • Quantum optical system featuring lead free, precision ground lens elements
  • Multicoat 4 lens coatings
  • 92% light transmission
  • Multiple reticles available
  • Fingertip adjustable windage and elevation dials
  • Tactile magnification selector ring
  • MOA adjustment clicks/markings
  • Classic lockable eyepiece focusing
  • 6061-T6 aluminum tube
  • Matte black, gloss black, silver, Mossy Oak Break-Up and Mossy Oak Treestand finishes
  • Accepts Alumina accessories
  • Absolute waterproof integrity
  • Lens caps included
  • Gold Ring Full Lifetime guarantee

VX-1 4-12x40mm Specifications

  • Product number as tested: 113885 (Duplex reticle)
  • Overall length: 12.3"
  • Tube diameter: 1"
  • Objective bell diameter: 1.8"
  • Ocular bell diameter: 1.6"
  • Objective clear aperture: 39mm
  • Actual magnification: 4.3-11.8x
  • FOV at 100 yards: 9.7' (12x), 20.4' (4x)
  • Eye relief: 3.7-4.9"
  • Weight: 11.6 oz.
  • W & E adjustment range: 67 MOA
  • External finish: Gloss black
  • 2014 MSRP: $374.99

Our VX-1 test scope arrived securely packaged in an attractive black and gold Leupold box. Inside was nestled a medium priced scope that looks like a premium model. Unlike some of its competitors, Leupold has resisted the impulse to plaster their scopes with intrusive brand names and white lettering. The VX-1's hard anodized, gloss black finish (the most durable in the industry) is accented by a thin gold ring around the objective bell and a small, gold, Leupold circular logo inlaid into the left side of the adjustment turret. That's it for branding and adornment and the result is a tasteful package that belies its moderate price.

Reviewing Leupold scopes is always a pleasurable experience. Everything works correctly without fuss or muss. Leupold's durability is unsurpassed and all Leupold scopes, from the most expensive to the least expensive, are designed and manufactured to exacting standards.

The Gold Ring Full Lifetime guarantee is just that. This is not a "limited lifetime warranty," but a flat-out guarantee against defects and workmanship without any time limit, even if you are not the original owner. No receipt is required and Leupold's customer service is legendary.

Focusing the VX-1 to the shooter's eye is accomplished by loosening a lock ring and turning the ocular bell until the reticle looks sharp. Retighten the knurled locking ring when you are finished focusing. The threads are fine, so multiple turns may be required to achieve the necessary focus.

The windage and elevation adjustments click in MOA increments. The dials are easy to turn with naked fingers and stay put when set. We found the adjustments to be more than adequately accurate and repeatable for a hunting scope. Threaded aluminum, not plastic, protective caps are provided.

Our test scope provided bright, sharp, contrasty images of the target. The proprietary Multicoat 4 coatings keep lens flare to a minimum. Leupold claims 92% total light throughput. Only a slight loss of resolution is noticeable at the edge of the field of view; in this respect, the VX-1 outperforms the competition. The Duplex cross-wires remain centered as windage and elevation adjustments are made. Color correction is very good. Aberrations are well corrected. The eye relief, at around 4" over most of the magnification range, is generous.

The magnification numbers (12-10-8-6-4) are engraved in small white numbers facing the shooter on the zoom ring. The knurled zoom ring turns smoothly, but with an appropriate amount of friction to ensure that it will not accidentally change in the field.

To summarize its optical and mechanical performance, this VX-1 4-12x40mm riflescope is a satisfying scope to use. It is not the optical equal of a VX-3, but we cannot imagine anyone being disappointed with its performance in the field, particularly for a scope in this price range.

Leupold is the only remaining major U.S. scope maker. It is a fifth generation, family owned company over 100 years old located in Beaverton, Oregon. The average employee, and Leupold employs over 700 American workers, has been with the Company for at least a decade.

The underside of the VX-1's adjustment turret is proudly marked in small letters, "U.S.A. * designed * machined * assembled." This is followed by the scope's individual serial number. Like all Leupold scopes, VX-1 tubes are CNC machined from a solid bar of aircraft quality aluminum. All models of Leupold riflescopes are tested to destruction to ensure than they will endure the repeated recoil of even the most powerful rifles for a lifetime. Good riflescopes are produced in Japan, Germany, the Philippines and elsewhere, but it is gratifying to own an American made scope that is second to none.

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