Leupold is one of the oldest and most popular optics makers around, and they’ve been in the game for over 100 years now. During that time, they’ve become the go-to choice for many hunters, plinkers, and competition shooters around the world.
With such a long and storied history, we wanted to take a look at the best Leupold scopes around to see how the optics maker is doing today.
Spoiler: they’re doing pretty freakin’ well.
Objective Lens Diameter
Leupold VX-6HD Riflescope
Leupold VX-3i Riflescope
Leupold Rifleman Wide Duplex Reticle
Leupold Mark 8 Scope
Leupold VX-3i LRP
6.5 – 20 x
Leupold Freedom RDS
DeltaPoint Pro Night Vision
25.7 x 17.5 mm
Let’s dive into the best Leupold scopes on the market today.
Why We Wanted to Look At the Best Leupold Scopes
Why look deeper into Leupold scopes in the first place?
Well, first of all we love Leupold around here. We frequently recommend them when it comes to things like the best scopes for .308 rifles, the best scopes for .243 rifles, and many many more. And there’s a simple reason for that.
Leupold scopes just work. That’s the reason why they are consistently on many of our “Best Of” lists around here.
They’re also a great value for the price, come backed by a lifetime guarantee, and the company itself is constantly working to bring new features and innovations to market that make shooter’s lives better.
The Leupold Origin Story: A History of Striving for Better Scopes
On the Leupold website, they have a section called Leupold DNA, and it goes very deep into the history of this family business, including how they got into the optics business from the initial scientific and engineering tools they first made.
This story of Leuopold entering into the riflescope world tells us that, once upon a time, one of the Leupold family was hunting and missed a shot for a huge buck due to the rifle scope fogging up.
That was the beginning of making it better, and "The Plainsman" was the first American-made nitrogen purged scope. Filling the scope tube with nitrogen keeps moisture from building up, making the scope fog proof. All this because Marcus Leupold missed a buck because his optic fogged up.
The story goes on from there, as you can imagine, but the quest to make better optics has been the driving factor for Leupold since its very beginning. From developing the now industry-standard Duplex reticle to their new Twilight Max scope coatings that provided excellent light transmission and better image quality in low light conditions.
Our Criteria for Testing the Best Leupold Scopes
It’s hard to find a Leupold scope that isn’t a solid buy, and if there’s one out there that isn’t worth the money, I haven’t heard of it. But I wanted to find the absolute best of the best.
So, what I did was look at the best Leupold offered in three different price ranges. I also broke it down even further into the Hunting side of things and the Tactical side of things.
And to keep it interesting, I grabbed the best Leupold red dot scope and best reflex sight, so all areas are covered, and the best advice can be given regarding all the stuff Leupold has to offer. So what are we doing standing around here, yappin? Let’s get to it.
What You Can Expect from all Leupold Scopes
First off, we need to set the groundwork for the testing, lens coatings and lens systems every Leupold optic comes with. No sense in restating the same thing every time for every option. If there is a different or additional thing, THEN we will look closer at individual models.
- For shock torture and testing, Leupold has a wicked machine called "The Punisher."
- The Punisher creates an impact or jarring motion that is 3-times the recoil of a .308 Winchester rifle, and that says a lot for shock proofing.
- Leupold will then repeat that test 5000 times, probably more "shots" fired through each scope than the end-user will ever take with that optic.
- Leupold's proprietary lensing system is called the "Twilight Max HD Light Management System
- This system adds up to an extra 30 minutes of shooting light
- Eliminates 90% or more glare producing stray light
- And provides edge-to-edge clarity for the shooter
- All of the main tubes and optical offerings are nitrogen filled to eliminate fogging-up and waterproof the optic of choice.
- All Leupold rifle scopes perform from -40ºF to 160ºF.
Best Leupold Hunting Scopes
With all that background in mind. Let’s take a look at the best Leupold rifle scopes around.
Hang on, folks. It is going to get awesome, and for the first up, expensive – but ooooohhh, so worth it.
1. Leupold 6HD 4-24x52mm
The Leupold 6HD 4 -24x52mm sports a CDS or Custom Dial System for its turrets. Leupold will custom match the knobs to your exact ballistics. They will send one set of MOA knobs to get your scope on target.
Then, after you are squared away and fill out the exact requirements, Leupold will send you a custom laser engraved set of knobs for your exact ballistics and conditions.
The reticle, located in the Second Focal Plane, keeps the reticle the same size regardless of the magnification used, meaning you won’t have to worry about covering too much of your target when long range shooting or hunting.
The reticle is illuminated, but just the "Fire Dot," as Leupold calls it, the very smallest dot right in the center of the thin crosshairs to add faster exact target acquisition when acquiring a sight picture.
The scope uses motion sensor technology to wake up the illumination and then shut it down after no movement in 5 minutes to save battery power. An added feature of this scope is the Electronic Level System that uses the illuminated reticle, which will blink if the scope is not level.
The 6 HD comes with a fast-focus eyepiece and has a fantastic 6:1 zoom! With the considerable 52mm objective and 6:1 zoom, even at max magnification, you’ll still have a fairly wide field of view. The throw lever is reversible or removable as well if you don’t like it or the side its on (lookin’ at you, lefties).
The matte finish eliminates glare from the aircraft-grade aluminum tube, and the side focus parallax makes it easy to adjust for a nice clear image without breaking your cheek weld. This matte black finish also looks really sharp, but that’s subjective.
Finally, if you’re looking for a slightly lower top-end magnification and don’t care about the illuminated reticle, the Leupold VX-5HD is very similar and is a good option as well.
Leupold VX-6HD Riflescope
The price of the Leupold VX-6HD Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at
2. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm
The VX-3i - 3.5 – 10 x 50mm is one of Leupold's most popular hunting scopes, and for a good reason. It really is incredible. This is the updated version of the Leupold VX-2
The VX-3i has an additional lens coating called "DiamondCoat 2" to keep scratches and weather from getting in the way of taking that once in a lifetime trophy. This extra abrasion resistance on the multicoated lens is excellent, and the other coatings help the large objective lens transmit light better to improve low-light performance.
The VX-3i has finger adjustable tactile click adjustments for you windage and elevation adjustments, and absolute repeatability so you’ll never have to worry about losing your zero after dialing in your shot. This dependability makes it a good choice for long range precision work.
With a magnification range of 3.5 up to 10x power and a Second Focal Plane reticle, there will seldom be territory and environments that you are unable to get the shot. 3.5x for up close and brushy terrain and reach way out to the high rocky ridge with 10x and crystal clear glass, what could be better.
Leupold VX-3i Riflescope
The price of the Leupold VX-3i Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at
3. Leupold Rifleman 3-9x40
And finally for the hunting side of things, the Leupold Rifleman 3-9 x 40.
The Rifleman scope by Leupold is a basic, no-frills scope, built to the standards of every Leupold optic.
This scope is an affordable option that is great for an entry-level choice. That said, all Leupold scopes are built and tested as listed above, so don't think this is a cheap budget offering, just a no-frills option, and the price tag reflects that fact.
The turrets or adjustments are not click-stop; they are friction adjusted.
The zoom is 3:1 like many Leupold scopes, excellent for taking advantage of magnification adjustments.
Parallax is set at 150 yards, so a close-in shot is not going to be as clear as the other Leupold scopes covered here.
The price of the Leupold Rifleman varies, so check the latest price at
Now, For Something a Little Different: Leupold Tactical Scopes
4. Leupold Mark 8 3.5-25x56mm Scope
The marketing guys call the Leupold Mark 8-3.5-25 x 56mm as the "Tip Of The Spear," and it is tough to argue against that statement. This is an optic with a long military pedigree.
It’s difficult to know where to begin with this optic.
The magnification of 3.5 up to 25x power is remarkable, and the Mark 8 has a zoom of 8:1! The view through this thing is crystal clear, and the field of view at longer ranges is excellent.
The first focal plane reticle is illuminated, with seven settings, and compatible with Night Vision Gear. The mark 8 is available in either MOA or MIL, and it is matching with the turrets.
Another thing that stands out with the Mark 8 is its turrets. The turrets are the M5B2 Pinch and Turn locking knobs. Exclusive to Leupold, when you grab the knob, it will unlock and turn. When you are done adjusting the reticle and let go, the turrets will auto-lock and keep that adjustment exactly where you left it.
When it comes to matching your cartridge and the optics, Leupold takes it very seriously with its premium options. With the Mark 8, you can change out the bullet-drop compensators to match your exact ballistics.
The lenses are coated with an Extreme Military-Standard Scratch Coating for severe conditions and the eyepiece is fast focusing and locking, and the parallax adjusts on a side knob
Leupold Mark 8 Scope
The price of the Leupold Mark 8 Scope varies, so check the latest price at
5. Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5 – 20 x 50mm
The next tactical beauty to look at is the VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm.
The “LRP” in this scope description stands for Long Range Precision. This scope is purpose-built with match-grade accuracy and repeatability in mind.
This scope does come in either MOA or MIL flavors, depending on what you want when you order it. The first focal plane CCH (Combat Competition Hunter) is a Christmas tree-style reticle that makes long range shooting much easier, especially at unknown ranges..
The magnification ring has an integrated throw lever, and the parallax adjusts on the side knob. The lenses, like the hunting variant of the VX-3i, are diamond coated for superb durability.
The eye relief is also very good for this type of shooting and is long enough that you can comfortably run this even on very heavily-recoiling magnum rifles.
Leupold VX-3i LRP
The price of the Leupold VX-3i LRP varies, so check the latest price at
6. Leupold Freedom RDS (Red Dot Scope)
The Freedom RDS can be purchased with a BDC calibrated specifically for 5.56 / .223 shooting 55-grain bullets. Can you get more purpose-built? This makes it perfect for AR shooters.
This little red dot is a great option for home defense or close-range hunting
The battery, when set in its mid-range, will last 1000 hours. The optic also comes built with the motion-activated reticle wake and sleep to keep battery life as long as possible.
Leupold Freedom RDS
The price of the Leupold Freedom RDS varies, so check the latest price at
7. DeltaPoint Pro Night Vision
The DeltaPoint Pro supports modern night vision gear. The Delta Point will adjust the brightness settings to tune and match exactly with the NVG worn by the shooter. The site also uses motion detection to conserve the battery when no target is available, making it a good option for hunting or home defense.
This optic has an incredibly expansive field of view, making it a perfect addition when both eyes need to stay open. Rear sites are built-in to replace the stock sights and allow co-witness on a handgun, or a carbine, depending on the platform.
This thing is strong, built with full aluminum housing, and built with the operator in mind keeping easy battery access. The sight reticle is adjusted with a click adjust for more precision. Finally, it is waterproof to thirty-three feet.
DeltaPoint Pro Night Vision
The price of the DeltaPoint Pro Night Vision varies, so check the latest price at
I genuinely hope you have enjoyed this foray into the world of Leupold as much as I have.
If you have been inspired to bolt one of these optics to your gun, please leave a comment. Or, if you have been inspired to upgrade to one of the most excellent scopes ever made, please leave a comment.
Take advantage of some of the sale prices now, before the end of the year (that works for any year and any time), and get this ordered, mounted, and sighted in so you can have the best hunting or shooting season you can have.
Good luck, happy hunting, and good shooting.
Which of these Leupold scopes is your favorite? Let me know in the comments. And for more in depth reviews of manufacturers best offerings, check out the best Vortex scopes.