View Full Version : Looks like my scope is going back to Leupold again.

March 28, 2011, 10:47 PM
Well, I'm a little upset now. My Leupold Vari X IIc 3-9x40 scope is acting up again. I've had 5 Leupold scopes, and 3 of them have been in for repair. The other two I never mounted, but the guys I sold them to seemed to be happy with them. This Leupold has already been in for repair once. I bought it about 2 months ago and it had a spec of dust in it or spec of something. I figured, no big deal as I could send it in for repair. Plus I got a hell of a deal, so what's to lose? It took over a month for me to get it back, but I finally got it back. I also asked them to check over the rest of the scope since it was made in 98, and is now 14 years old. They claim they went over it all. When I got it back, I looked through it and all looked good, but I didn't check it out too much, just did a quick glance through it to make sure nothing was obvious like it was. I was going to sell it, but decided to mount it on a rifle instead. I went to sight it in and finally got it sighted in. I for some reason just couldn't get this rifle sighted in. It took me 39 shots to sight it in, but I was taking 3 shots groups then making adjustments. I thought all was well, and it just took a little longer for me to sight it in that expected, but that was my fault for pulling a couple of shots. This rifle fits me great for free hand shooting, but doesn't fit me well if it's on bags so I'm in an awkward position and have a hard time shooting it.

Well, now that it's sighted in I brought it home and went to clean it. I happened to glance through the scope while in the house looking towards a light. I immediately noticed what appears to be a ton of dirt particles, or scratches on an inside lens, or something that resembles one of the two on the bottom half of the lens. The dust was on the top half last time, but this other stuff wasn't there. I cleaned the outside once again just to make sure that it wasn't on the outside, but it clearly looked to be on the inside. After getting the outside lens clean it obviously was still there. I also noticed that it appears to be a small hair in there too on the lower left corner. This is absolutely ridiculous. I'm not sure if it was like this since I got it back and I didn't notice, or if shooting it to sight it in brought this stuff from around the edges. Seriously, my others scopes don't have hairs and dust floating around in them. Not even the cheap $30 made in China Tasco. Is it really that hard for Leupold to make sure the lens are clean?

I guess I will be taking this off once again and sending it in for repair again. I'm dreading it though as not only did I waste 2 boxes of ammo sighting it in, but I will have to waste more ammo sighting it in again when it gets back, or sighting in another scope if I put something else on it.

The sad thing is I used this to replace a $70 Center Point from Walmart that I'd bought to review, but I guess I should have left the Center Point on there as it worked properly without having dust and hairs inside of it.

It's just a little frustrating, and it seems like every Leupold I get has something wrong with it. Like I said, I've had 5 and 3 have been in for repair. The 1st one had to be sent in twice. The first time when you took a shot the insides would shake, the second time it quit holding zero. It does work fine now. The second one had to be sent in once as it also quit holding zero and just started shooting all over the place. When it came back I sold it as soon as it came back. This one I guess will have to go in twice also for having dirt inside of the scope on the lens. As I said, the other two I bought and never mounted, but they appeared in good working order, and one buyer never contacted me and I told him to if he had any problems, and the other buyer contacted me telling me his worked great. Seems like I just can't have luck with Leupold scopes.

phil mcwilliam
March 29, 2011, 03:12 AM
Ive bought 3 Leupold scopes brand new over the years & have never had any issues with any of them. I know plenty of others that have purchased brand new Leupold scopes & have never had issues.
You buy a 14 year old second hand Leupold at a bargain price & have problems with it - go figure. "Let the buyer beware".

March 29, 2011, 09:21 AM
So you got a Vari-X II scope with friction adjustments and had a hard time getting it zeroed? I find that the friction adjustments do take a few extra rounds to get them where I like them. The friction adjustments just aren't as precise as the click adjustments IMO. There is nothing wrong with them as long as they hold zero as I don’t change the adjustments once the scope is zeroed unless I change ammunition.

As far as the other issue, sometimes things slip through the cracks. It happens, it is kind of like taking a car back in to your mechanic after he was supposed to have the problem fixed. Leupold should have more than one person inspecting the scope that has been in for repair just to improve QC. I’ve had two scopes go back to Leupold, and taking longer than a month is pretty standard. My scopes have been back in my hands in about 5-6 weeks on average. I’ve had nothing but good results with Leupold scope repairs.

The one scope was brand new and I lost part of the reticle on a VX II, the other was a Vari-X II that I picked up from a pawn shop used. On the Vari-X II Leupold I had a scratched objective lens, and missing adjustment caps. Leupold replaced the lens, both caps, and installed a new erector. I’m hoping to take it out this weekend and shoot it, to see if it will make the trip with me to Alaska.

I would still rather trust my AK hunting trip to a Leupold than that Center Point scope you mentioned. I’ll take another scope with me as well in case the one on the rifle doesn’t survive the baggage handlers. Again I’ve never had a problem traveling with Leupold scopes on my rifles.

March 29, 2011, 09:31 AM
Well, some of the others have been bought new, some not.

My problem isn't that a 13 year old scope is having problems. While no one wants to see that, it's not all that bad, which is why the first time I wasn't too bothered by it. However, when I sent it back to Leupold for a piece of dirt or something floating around inside the scope, I expected them to send it back with the internals clean. Not with that piece of dirt removed, but having several more pieces of dirt or something as well as what looks to be a hair now floating around in the bottom.

I'm not sure why I have such bad luck. Seems like I talk to a lot of guys that love Leupold and have nothing but great luck from them. My experience isn't the same, but I must be getting their lemons.

March 29, 2011, 03:41 PM
It could be Leupold made a bad hire and someone is putting out some poor work.Things could be exactly s you say they are.
One question I always ask when someone is plagued by scope troubles,Do you lap in your rings?
A scope is thinwalled aluminum tubing,and very easy to distort.
If you distort the tube,the destruction that may occur inside the scope may show up as debris.

March 29, 2011, 10:56 PM
I do not lap my rings, just because I didn't see the need to buy the tool to do it. I've read many many articles on the subject and some guys like to, while others don't. However, I will say that I've had a few other scopes mounted in these exact same rings including a cheap $30 Bushnell package deal as well as a Bushnell Elite 3200, and I've not had any issues with any of them, or any other scopes.

April 14, 2011, 04:04 PM
Well, I have to give Leupold major credit for the the repair this time. I was originally told a 3.5 week turn around time and was a little disappointed. I did include a letter explaining out of 5 Leupolds I've had, this is the 3rd one that's needed repair. I wasn't going to mention this, but I had many people tell me I should, so I did, but in a nice fashion. So anyway I sent it in and it arrived on April 7th. To my surprise when I got home yesterday on April 13, it was waiting for me at the house. I'd actually told myself I was going to call on the 14th just to check on the status, but it was back here a day earlier. It just really shocked me how fast it was. I've never had service anywhere near this fast from them, or anyone else really. It seems to take about 4-5 days to get there via UPS, so they must have fixed it and gotten it back out right away. I'm extremely impressed with the turn around time this time, and looking through the scope it appears to have all dirt and dust removed. They really treated me well this time, and I just wanted to update the thread to let everyone know it wasn't the 3.5 week turn around I was told, but instead, I had it back less than a week after they received it. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to keep this scope or sell it. I really kind of like it, but at the same time I don't have a rifle to put it on as I've bought several scopes lately and no new guns.

April 14, 2011, 06:47 PM
Glad you finally got the service you are entitled to.
As for lapping the rings, that is your choice. Personally, for general shooting, like hunting, you probably do not need the tiny amount of benefit gained from lapping. But if you spend a lot of time on the bench hunting Xs in competition then it sure will help. It really isn't a huge job. A 1" dowel wrapped with fine emery paper or coated with abrasive grit will do the job at almost zero cost and in a very quick amount of time. Plus, by leaving the abrasive on the inside you provide a better grip on the scope when you install it. Sometimes little things can reap big benefits.

April 29, 2011, 12:09 AM
Lapping the rings comes after you first check the rings for alignment with an alignment tool. Lapping before you check is like cutting stock before measuring. Further, it's amazing how many folks feel that you don't need to check ring alignment before mounting the scope and then wonder why tubes get bent and the scope won't hold zero because the erector system is binding.


May 1, 2011, 07:00 PM
Call Leupold and talk to someone 'higher up' than the C/s rep. Ask whos attn to send this scope to do a quality check and second repair. Ask for a UPS pickup so the cost is their dollars.

Guess you got it fixed--I only read first couple posts.

May 2, 2011, 12:09 AM
Yes I did get it fixed and very quickly. I actually just sold this though. I liked the scope and it was one of my favorite Leupolds I've had despite the problems, but I just didn't have anything to use it on, and I decided I'd rather get something else.

4V50 Gary
May 2, 2011, 12:39 PM
Do send it back.

When it returns, zero the scope before mounting it on the gun. Never assume the knobs are at their zero setting before mounting them. John Plaster talks about it in his book, The Ultimate Sniper.

May 8, 2011, 04:01 AM
On ring alignment/lapping:Agreed my comment was not in depth about checking alignment and lapping,my point was misalignment causes many scope problems that are wrongly blamed on the manufacturer.
The folks who say you don't need to worry about it,or that it only applies to benchrest shooting are mis informed.
One process I have used(informative)is to set the receiver on parallels on a surface plate.I then run a dial indicator over the bases,front to rear.It is not unusual to need to remachine the bottoms of the bases to get everything on the same plane within .001 or so.I do not shim.
For lapping rods,I have some OD ground bar ends from a Swiss Turning Machine.This stuff is great because it is precision ground .005 under nominal size.So,I have a 30 mm-.005 bar and a .995 bar.The size of the lapping grit increases the effective diameter of the lapping bar . 320 grit gets me real close.With the ring caps off,I lay the bar in he ring saddles and give a few strokes,then I look at my cut.I like to get at least 80% or so.Then I can float the caps a few strokes on the bar,and check for high spots.
Go read your scope mfgr's info on how they precisely machine and align the internals to .0005 or whatever.Then the thinwall tube gets laid into rings misaligned .015,or .030,and the screws get tightened to 4 white knuckles.You bet,the tube distorts.Reticles break,adjustments are inaccurate,won't repeat,it takes 64 rounds to sight in,the glue/sealant pops and makes floating junk in the scope.
OP,you said something like"Now,the other scopes I sold seem to be OK for those guys.(hmmm).Just mine go bad.(hmmm)But,no,somebody told me I didn't need to worry about ring alignment,hmmm.
OK,do whatever makes you happy.I'm probably all wet.My scopes work fine,and I have one experience with a broken Leupold reticle.I loaned the scope to a brother so he had something on his new AR.This was an old 8x fixed power leupold.He bought a pair of cheap extra high rings and tightened it up on the rifle.The reticle broke.The rings were poor,and did not align.Leupold gave 10 day turnaround,no charge.
Those rings were tossed,and replaced with an Armalite ringmount.No more problem.
If you were rebuilding a motor,would you be concerned about a line hone job? Or checking the crank was straight,and the rods were straight?At the very least,would you hand turn the motor to make sure there was no bind?Or is that just for Indy cars?

May 8, 2011, 06:53 PM
So why is it that I've used these exact rings on quite a few other scopes, and I've had zero problems from any of the other scopes if it's the rings fault? That said, I'm a big fan of the Burris Signature rings, and then you have no need to lap the rings at all even if you did have a need to in the first place. The other two scopes I've sold that were fine, I'm saying, worked when I sold them and I never heard back, but that doesn't mean they didn't break 3 weeks later, because I honestly don't know if they did or not. I just know I never heard back from the buyers complaining about them. I also know that each Leupold I've had that has given me problems has each been in a different set of rings, including the first one professionally installed by a local gunsmith. The rest have been installed by me. I'm just not believing it's the rings fault, when every other scope I've mounted in the rings has functioned perfectly.

Now, I'm not saying it's not a good idea to lap your rings if you are using traditional rings as I'm sure it is, but the fact is the majority of people out there don't do it, and the majority of them have no issues. I've talked to several bench rest shooters with several thousand dollar scopes, that have told me lapping the rings is a waste of time. If they aren't having problems, I'm doubt I'm going to. I will also say, I've seen quite a few "lapping" jobs that were done improperly and imo that's a bigger issue than using them without lapping them.

May 8, 2011, 07:43 PM
Just a another data point on the Vari-X II line of 'scopes . . . I've had one on my .30/06 M70 since since the '70s. I've used it in Minnesota winters and Texas summers, and it's made three trips to Africa with me. The only time I have to adjust zero is if I change loads.

I have a number of other Leupold rifle & handgun 'scopes with nary a problem.

It sounds like you got one of Leupold's rare lemons - it's unfortunate and no doubt frustrating to have to send it back not once but twice to get it properly repaired, and I hope for your sake that they got it right this time.

I didn't lap the rings (Redfield) on this particular Leupold, but I do it routinely on new 'scopes I mount. Usually it goes quick, but I remember a set of Ruger rings that had a burr inside the ring (suspect it was actully a casting flaw) that took a lot of work to get out.