Leupold VX-I Riflescopes

By Chuck Hawks

Leupold VX-I 3-9x40
Illustration courtesy of Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

Leupold & Stevens, Inc., is located in Beaverton, Oregon. Leupold scopes bear a distinctive gold ring around the objective bell to aid in identification, hence the term "Golden Ring" scopes.

Leupold has been responsible for several important innovations in the telescopic sight field. The most significant of these are the development of the first nitrogen charged and sealed waterproof scope and the Duplex reticle.

All Leupold riflescopes come with the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee. You don't have to be the original owner to take advantage of this guarantee. If any Leupold Golden Ring scope is found to have defects in materials or workmanship, Leupold will repair or replace it for free. There is no time limit on this guarantee.

I have always considered Leupold to be a "4-star" or "deluxe" scope manufacturer. The 2005 Leupold catalog, however, shows several lines of variable power riflescopes (plus fixed power scopes, target scopes, etc.) ranging from the medium price 3-star category to the 5-star ultra-deluxe level.

The subjects of this review are the VX-I riflescopes. These scopes are entry-level models in the Leupold scope line. Despite their relatively modest price, these are solidly built "Golden Ring" scopes, guaranteed for life.

VX-I scopes offer Leupold's standard multi-coat lens system. All air to glass surfaces, inside and out, are coated with anti-reflective lens coatings for good light transmission and freedom from glare. They are built with two-piece, 1" diameter main tubes made of 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum alloy. The coin-slot windage and elevation adjustments are of what Leupold calls the micro-friction type; the calibration marks are in 1/4 minute of angle increments. Gloss black or matte black finishes are available on VX-I scopes.

The slow, American style, eyepiece focus is achieved by multiple turns of the ocular bell housing and secured with a knurled locking ring. The reticle remains centered and appears the same size at all magnifications. VX-I scopes are guaranteed to maintain their point of impact at all magnification settings. Leupold VX-I scopes are sealed against moisture and nitrogen filled, making them waterproof and fog free.

All VX-I scopes are shipped with Leupold's standard Duplex reticle. This type of reticle, with a heavy crosshair that becomes a fine crosshair near the center of the field, was invented by Leupold and has since been copied by virtually all other scope manufacturers. It is the best reticle ever invented for most hunting applications. If you want something different, Leupold also makes their Wide Duples reticle available in VX-I scopes.

Leupold VX-I scopes are available in three models in the following magnification ranges and objective diameters: 2-7x33mm, 3-9x40mm, and 4-12x40mm. The 2-7x33mm VX-I is a good choice for a wide range of versatile rifles. I use a Leupold 2-7x scope on my .308 rifle, and it would be an equally good choice for rifles chambered for such cartridges as the .260 Remington, 7mm-08 Remington, .280 Remington, .300 Savage and .30-06.

The 3-9x40mm VX-I is a good choice for an all-around, long range rifle on the order of a .270 Winchester, 7mm Magnum, .300 Magnum, and 8mm Magnum. It provides an adequate field of view for shooting at reasonably close range and enough magnification for all big game hunting purposes. I have a 3-9x40mm VX-I on a Weatherby Mark V and it has always given good service.

The 4-12x40mm VX-I is appropriate for varmint and combination varmint and big game rifles such as a .17 HMR, .223 Remington, .22-250, .220 Swift, 6mm Remington, and .243 WSSM. A good friend has a Leupold 4-12x40mm scope on his 6mm Remington rifle, and he is very satisfied with its performance. The 4-12x40mm is also used by ultra-long range big game shooters with .240 Magnum, .257 Magnum, .264 Magnum, .270 Magnum and similar rifles.

The Leupold VX-I line brings genuine, American made, Leupold scopes within the budget of most hunters. A Leupold VX-I scope is a solid choice for the shooter on a budget, and an appropriate choice for a medium price rifle.

Back to the Scopes and Optics Information Page

Copyright 2005 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.