It wasn’t that long ago that if you wanted any quality at all from a scope you had to set aside a substantial sum to pay for it. In the last few years though, technology has leapt ahead, and with it has come a massive price reduction in working class glass.
A new scope from Leupold
At Shot Show 2018 Leupold unveiled their new scope line, the Leupold VX-Freedom. The VX-Freedom replaces both the VX-1 and VX-2 in Leupold’s rifle scope lineup. Price wise the scope is close to the VX-1, but Leupold have confirmed that the scope comes fitted with VX-2 glass among other ‘improvements’. The scope has a one inch maintube and reticle in the second focal plane. It also features Leupold’s Twilght Light Management System, which is said to deliver excellent performance in low-light situations and handle glare well.
At this time the scopes will available in the classic Leupold magnification ranges 1.5-4×20, 2-7×33, 3-9×40, 3-9×50 and 4-12×40. Interestingly the series will also be available in muzzleloader and rimfire options on top of the normal centerfire. Duplex, Pig-Plex and the new Rimfire MOA, Tri-MOA and UltimateSlam reticles will be available.
What I like about the Leupold VX-FreedomWhile there are many arguments for and against certain changes, I am the one writing this article and I am sharing what I personally do and do not like about this scope. There are two things I like about the Leupold VX-Freedom. Firstly I like the fact that it has VX-2 Glass. The VX-2 always had pretty great glass and if you ask me it has always been the best price point of the Leupold lineup. To see its quality glass sneak into the VX-Freedom is fantastic, and a little surprising.
The second reason I like the scope, and the reason I’m surprised by the inclusion of quality glass, is the price. The VX-Freedom is currently available on pre-order from my local retailer for $299 for the 3-9X40 version. That same retailer is selling the equivalent VX-2 on a run out special for $435 (these prices are in Australian dollars). When you consider that the scope comes with Leupold’s famous gold ring forever warranty, the VX-Freedom is a bargain.
What I don’t like about the Leupold VX-Freedom
Now keeping in mind I am yet to see one of these scopes in the flesh, I do have a few initial reservations about its design. For one I am not a fan of the new tactical look that Leupold have gone for with the new VX-Freedom. What is with the square turret housing and that awful oversize magnification ring? Leupold hunting scopes have always had those classic hunting scope lines, it is one of my favourite things about them. I feel as though some of the magic has been lost here.
One of my other favourite attributes of Leupold hunting scopes is their weight, they are light. At a 346g (12.2oz) the VX-Freedom is a full 28.35g (1oz) heavier than both its VX-1 and VX-2 predecessors. To be fair it isn’t a heavy scope, but in the mountains, the grams count. I only hope that these grams come as the result of an upgrade. Looking over the specs though, I don’t see it.
What I do see when I run my eyes over the specs as that the field of view is reduced in the VX-Freedom when compared to the equivalent model VX-2. Not a huge deal but not a change I would willingly choose. The mounting surface has also decreased and while this makes for a smaller scope package, it reduces mounting options, especially on long action bolt guns. You might need a rail depending on the rifle and scope combination.
The Leupold VX-Freedom offers a lot of scope for the price. Sure its new exterior may not be my cup of tea, but the feature set certainly place it among the top contenders in the price range. If I was looking for a new scope for under $300 it would be hard to go past the VX-Freedom.