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#3282608 - 09/27/21 09:46 AM Leupold - VX3-HD to VX3i comparison
fishballer06 Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 02/03/20
Posts: 69
Loc: PA
I've got about a half dozen of the VX3i scopes and I love them for the money. However, I've got a few more rifles that I need to upgrade the glass on them. Now the new VX3-HD line is out and that will likely be my next purchase. I was curious if anyone who owns both can compare the quality of the two? Hopefully the bump up in price is justified by some additional quality.

Thanks in advance.

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#3282687 - 09/28/21 10:20 AM Re: Leupold - VX3-HD to VX3i comparison [Re: fishballer06]
Zastava223rem Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 667
Loc: Pennsylvania
I dont think the difference is in quality as much as it is in features. Same product + offering lockable CDS and integral throw lever = we can now justify $200 increase in price. Runs in my mind they did change the coatings to something similar to the more expensive brothers like the VX5HD and VX6HD which makes sense if you think about it. Manufacture and coat with only one or two types of coatings instead of 3 or 4 = cost savings. Todays hunters want a good scope without paying $1000 retail so Leupold can make these nicer while cutting cost elsewhere.

I think the 2.5-8 option is a little goofy since you would most likely put it on a LW rifle and having that big ugly turret is unnecessary. I have looked through a bunch side by side and cant tell a difference indoors. I dont own a VX3HD so idk what the performance difference is in real world hunting conditions
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Varmint Rifle Stable
-Sako 85S SS Varmint .22-250 Rem Vortex Gen II Viper PST 5-25x50
-Stiller TAC30 6MM Creedmoor 24" Bartlein Vortex LHT 3-15
-Mini Mauser Douglas 26" .223 Rem Leupold VX3i 6.5-20x50
-Sako A7 Coyote .223 Rem Leupold/VX3i 3.5-10x50 CDS

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#3282804 - 09/30/21 10:14 PM Re: Leupold - VX3-HD to VX3i comparison [Re: fishballer06]
Dultimatpredator Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 2674
Loc: Wisconsin
Got my information right from Leupold in the last few months. There isn’t any difference in glass quality, coatings, or internal upgrades. The only differences are cosmetic. The “L” is now laser etched instead of a gold “L” medallion. They have an exposed, a locking CDS turret, and a screw in throw lever. Leupold told me they decided to go that route on all of their scopes except for the Freedom price leaders because that’s their target market now… tactical AR shooters. IMO they wrecked the “classic” Leopold look. Leupold customer service said most consumers want a CDS dial and throw levers now…lol. The reason I know this is I have a VX3i 2.5-8 that Leupold customer service upgraded for an old 3-9 vx2. I bought brand new around 90’ or so. They sent me the 2.5-8 VX3i around January/February of this year time frame. The VX3i came NIB with a chunk of something stuck to the crosshairs. I didn’t unbox it till about 2 months ago to install. I sent it back for replacement but they instead chose to replace the crosshairs in the brand new optic instead of just sending another scope. They repaired scope to me about a month later with some really thick “dangerous game” crosshairs by accident… is what they called them anyways. Thick as barn boards. I sent it back again immediately( this was a few weeks ago) for the original style thinner crosshairs. I once again received the same scope back two days ago with yet a different set of crosshairs along with a lgold thin wire that was attached half way up the right side horizontal crosshair snd half way across to the right side of the vertical cross hair. It looked like a crack till I figured out it was a wire that had to be left over from the install and not removed. Customer service tried to get me to take the HD version every time instead of the crosshair replacement. Apparently the VX3i was on the way out when they upgraded me the frost time around. I told them I appreciate the offer of the HD but hate the looks and idea of the exposed CDS locking spin dial turret on a 2.5-8 and would pass. I am still grateful that they upgraded me but IMO whoever is working in the department replacing crosshairs needs to be retrained, have their work double checked by someone else before leaving the shop, or just fired. At the rate Leupold is going with the repair I think I’m going to use one of optics off one of my other guns so I have a “proven” reliable optic sighted in before deer season. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t want a CDS dial and a tactical throw lever on a classic old firearm. I can tell you I won’t be buying any more Leupolds till they go back optics with turret cap overs and no throw levers. I can tell you I’ve owned countless Leupold optics over the years and have several I sent a couple over the years that would not “track” when I move my turret dials. They all were returned by Leupold stating there was nothing wrong with them. Everyone of them still had the same issue when they cam back. The scopes are long gone needless to say. The scope they replaced was back once before as well. When I adjusted the turrets the POA would not track. After about 6 or 7 shots the POA would shift from the prior scope adjustments and be way off. It would also loose POA every other year besides the coating was 3/4’s worn off. I was told by Leupold about 4 years ago that there was nothing wrong with the optic and sent back. The following year the scope was sighted in 3 days before hunting, on opening day I wounded and recovered a buck. Knowing I could not have hit it where I was aiming I used another [beeep] for the rest of the season. The day after season closed I checked POA . It was 6” to the right from where I sighted it in. I am not a fan of Leupold needless to say. At least they switched out the optic but keep screwing up the replacement. I’m about ready to have them send me the HD version that's NIB so I can sell it off and buy another brand of optic. I’m sure there will be ALOT of warranty optics that won’t track going back to Leupold. Sure wouldn’t want to find that out spinning my dial on a “once in a lifetime” or trophy animal. I don’t remember having that much time to spin dials EVER when real world hunting…and if I did the animal is moving to a different yardage anyways. To me the CDS dial system is a gimmick that will be by the wayside in a few years.


Edited by Dultimatpredator (10/01/21 08:54 AM)

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#3282861 - 10/01/21 06:36 PM Re: Leupold - VX3-HD to VX3i comparison [Re: fishballer06]
pyscodog Offline
PM Junkie

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 15093
Loc: okla
I just ordered a 3.5-10x40 for my 7 mag. The throw lever can be removed and a somewhat flush screw comes with the scope to replace it with. I have two other Leupolds with the CDS dial and even though I haven't needed them, I do know they are pretty much dead on. I've only shot mine out to 300 yds and hitting a 3" steel wasn't any trouble. I'm not real excited about the button on the elevation dial and not sure how it works. I guess I'll figure that out when it gets here.
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Stay away from negative people, they have a problem for every solution.

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#3283670 - 10/16/21 10:08 PM Re: Leupold - VX3-HD to VX3i comparison [Re: fishballer06]
Dultimatpredator Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 2674
Loc: Wisconsin
Got my vx3i 2.5-8 back again Thursday from Leupold. I took it out out to the range to sight it in yesterday mounted to my 30-06 and also my 300 RUM that currently had a 2.5-10 monarch on it. The 300 RUM was zeroed with three shots at 100 yards. I then pulled out my 30-06 with the vx3i. With one spin of the dial and 2 shots I zeroed it approx a half inch or so low it at 25 yards. I moved to my 100 yard target next. First shot was approx 1/2”, or so, to the right and and an inch low of bullseye. Thought this was going to be quick. I adjusted it 2 clicks left and shot. I hit the exact same bullet hole. It basically looked like the number “8”. I then clicked 3 to the left and clover leafed with the first two shots. This is a proven hand load that will shoot .4” or less ive used for almost 20 years out of this gun. I then clicked up 6 and three more clicks left. The bullet struck exactly 1.5” high and directly above the clover leaf. I then clicked down 2 to center the shot and three more clicks left. The shot hit a half in low and directly below the last shot. I could draw a straight line up and down through all five shots. I then clicked over 3 more to the left and fired. The binding adjustment finally let loose and shot 3” inches to the the left of center. I took another shot to make sure I didn’t flinch. My next shot touched the same hole thst I just shot 3” to the left. I then clicked the turret back 12 clicks that should have taken it back to center at 100 yards with 1/4” adjustments. The next shot after the 12 clicks back to the right adjustment hit dead center again but….5” to the right of bullseye!!! I took another shot to make sure I didn’t flinch and it touched the same hole I just shot 5” to the right. Needless to say I was beyond frustrated. So I called leupold to tell them that the left and right turret was binding and not adjusting properly. My plan was to give up The covered turret cap optic and let them replace it with the new model vx3hd with the CDS dial and throw lever this time around. But…the last call before I sent this optic back for the 3rd time I asked if I could pay the difference it would cost for a vx5hd 2-10 since it was about the only optic they offered with closed turret caps plain old crosshairs. At the time I was told no but they would send me the tactile 2.5-8 vx3i since it was the comparable model. So on the call yesterday I explained how the left and right adjustments weren’t working properly but I never got to the point of asking to just send me the upgraded 2.5-8 vx3 with throw levers. The customer service guy told me to give him a few seconds to review their notes. He then volunteered to send me the 2-10 I asked to pay for at no charge! I am shocked they are sending me a $999 suggested retail optic. To be completely honest, I won’t be to excited till i sight it in and find out it actually works. So I have to say Leupold customer service is top notch but their quality is in the toilet. I can tell you my price leader vx1 2-7 optic I had out to the range the other day is way clearer and brighter than the vx3i was. I can also tell you when I got the vx3i the first time around with the burr in the crosshairs is was bright and clear. I would have to say it almost looked hazy and foggy on Friday after 3 times back for defective crosshair changes.

So… I sent in a vx11 that kept loosing POA and would not adjust and bind on and off for a brand new optic that did didn’t adjust properly and bind. I am sure Leupold will be very busy doing warranty work with all the new CDS scopes. It does explain why every time I call their phone says I’m anywhere from 25 to 47th in line and asks to call you back. Once again…LOVE their customer service but their current glass and build quality is horrible. I have cheap Tascos that are brighter and clearer than my VX1V’s I paid over $1600 for.

I have a new Nikon Monarch I bought last winter that had a broken turret screw NIB that’s getting warranted out as well so no ones perfect. I think my first Vortex will be replacing the Nikon.


Edited by Dultimatpredator (10/16/21 10:23 PM)

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#3283953 - 10/21/21 08:53 PM Re: Leupold - VX3-HD to VX3i comparison [Re: fishballer06]
Vance Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 365
Loc: Southern Utah
I have a VX3i in a 3.5-10x40 and a VX3HD in a 2.5-8x36, between these two the only difference I see is the obvious in different specs. They are both great scopes and I feel that the VX3HD is a slight step up in picture quality. I love the added throw lever option for the power selector. And they finally added the CDS to the 2.5-8x36 which I had long wanted and bought as soon as I saw that option was available. I don’t feel you can get a better scope for the money!

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