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Old November 30, 2020, 07:27 AM   #1
tpcollins
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Any difference in Leupold VX2 vs VX3i

I have a VX2 3-9x40 with the CDS reticle on my 450 Bushmaster and looking thru it the other day while hunting, the glass doesn’t seem to have that “wow factor” to it in early light like some of my other scopes. And the crosshairs don’t stand out.

I was thinking of getting the VX3i 3.5-10x40 CDS with the ZL reticle which supposedly has heavier crosshair lines and should be easier to see in low light.

Just wondering if anyone has had experience with both scopes and whether there’s any significant optical difference between the two? Thanks.
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Old November 30, 2020, 08:13 AM   #2
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I have several of both. As far as light transmission, the VX-3i (and the VX-3) are both a little brighter. However, I have to add that it’s not to the level of a “wow factor” and/or significant enough to make a difference in real world hunting. That’s just my opinion, others may differ. The biggest difference between the two in my mind are some of the features of each scope.
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Old November 30, 2020, 10:33 AM   #3
tpcollins
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Thanks NoSecondBest. I happen to look thru one this morning at Cabelas (177823) and I was under the impression this model had a heavier duplex but I saw no difference between it and the reticle in my VX2.

Actually it’s a better reticle I’m after so I’ll call them today to see if I can send my VX2 in after the season and have them install either the Heavy Duplex or the 4A reticle in it.
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Old November 30, 2020, 10:45 AM   #4
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I have both scopes. The VX3i MIGHT be ever so slightly better in low light. But not $200-$300 better.

I do like the ZL reticle and I was able to get one under $400. It was worth it to me for the reticle at that price. Not sure how helpful that would be at the ranges you'll be shooting 450 BM.
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Old November 30, 2020, 01:04 PM   #5
taylorce1
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Hate to break the news to some of you as I have others, but Leupold's custom shop has been shut down for quite some time (at least two years now). They will not do any modifications to any scope, only repair or replace non functional scopes.

Other than that you have one of my favorite scopes from Leupold, if you want "WOW" factor you better open your wallet. The VX2 is a good optic but it's only about a $250 scope on the used market with CDS.
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Old November 30, 2020, 02:44 PM   #6
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Back in the day a Vari x 3 was much brighter than a Vari x 2. I don't know about the newer VX designated scopes.
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Old November 30, 2020, 03:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Back in the day a Vari x 3 was much brighter than a Vari x 2. I don't know about the newer VX designated scopes.
Leupold has changed their nomenclature several times over the years along with upgrades along the way. The Vair x scopes were replaced with VX scopes and at different times they used Roman numerals, then later changed to Arabic numerals.

In 2012 they did a major upgrade to all scopes with no name changes. The VX-2's were essentially VX-3's starting in 2012. The VX-1's were really just older VX2's with VX-1 badges. The VX-3 was upgraded at that time and it eventually morphed into the VX3i. Prior to 2012 only the VX-3's had click adjustments and the others used friction adjustments. After 2012 everything is click adjustment. That is the easiest way to know if it is pre-2012 or post 2012.

A VX-2 made after 2012 is a lot of scope for the money. About 2 years ago they dropped both VX-1 and VX-2 and replaced both with the VX-Freedom. Supposedly it is VX-2 glass. I've used one and I can't tell any difference between the VX-2 and VX Freedom. Long term, who knows?

Normally I can't justify the expense of the VX-3 or VX3i over a VX-2 or VX-Freedom. Like I said earlier, while the VX3i may be better, it isn't enough better to justify another $200-$300. A basic VX-Freedom is $199, with CDS or BDC reticles they are $300+.

But a local store had some 3-9X40 VX3i's with the ZL CDS reticle priced at $375. I got it for $399 OTD including tax. I like the reticle and at that price it was worth it to me. That is normally a $500 scope. But I don't like it enough to pay $500+tax.
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Old December 1, 2020, 06:28 PM   #8
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Another one to consider that is excellent in low light is the Vortex PST:

https://www.eurooptic.com/vortex-vip...t-210s1-a.aspx
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Old December 1, 2020, 06:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bedlamite View Post
Another one to consider that is excellent in low light is the Vortex PST:



https://www.eurooptic.com/vortex-vip...t-210s1-a.aspx
I wouldn't have agreed with you until this year. I have two of them and they were nice and bright at dusk during my coues deer. During normal light I didn't think they were anything special.

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Old December 7, 2020, 07:52 AM   #10
tpcollins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bedlamite
Another one to consider that is excellent in low light is the Vortex PST:

https://www.eurooptic.com/vortex-vip...t-210s1-a.aspx
I have that same scope but with the crossbow reticle. I should have mentioned that I have a DNZ 1” unimount shimmed and bedded on my 450 Bushmaster so I want to stay with a 1” tube.

I don’t need illumination but I do want a CDS type elevation turret. Thanks.
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Old December 25, 2020, 09:51 PM   #11
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If you get the VX3i, buy it from a reputable dealer. There are counterfeits out there that are hard to tell from the real thing.
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Old January 12, 2021, 01:36 PM   #12
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Leupold

Big Leupold fan here. Recently bought my first Freedom, a 1.5-4x. That $200 dollar scope is noticeably crisper than an older M8 6x42mm, which I thought was a truly great optic at the time I acquired it. The Freedom is also slightly better than my rather large assortment of Vari-Xii's.

I have no intention of dismounting any of them, and all provide useable sight pictures far past any hour that I have any business shooting at game. All have been tough as nails as well, w/ none back for service, some seeing a good bit of hunting. What is interesting, is that a price point scope (the Freedom line) appears to be a good optic and superior to most stuff made 20- 30 yrs ago.

While the jury is still out on how tough the Freedom line is, the optic side of the scale seems very positive, and I can see more (hopefully) in my future.
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