i had a Leupold VX-L 4.5-14x50mm not the one you mentioned , it was a great scope good clear optics , good zoom ,good build quality ,good low light scope no problems at all. i sold it and bought a S&B which i rate as far far better........neil
Of the ones you mention, I have had the Leupold VXIII 6.5-20x50. It was just not upto the job in low light and my S&B's far out performed it when doing a side by side test in twilight.
Funny really as when I mention it to others it is surprising how many people have had that series of Leupold and said the same thing.
Also just my opinion but the high mag on these scopes is not required. I would say upto 14 times is fine for long range shooting and one thing that can be forgotten is that you are rarely able to use high mag anyway after a shot due to the amount of mirage which is exaggerated at these kind of magnifications.
I have the NXS 3.5-15 x 50 on my long range rigs and you also have an illuminated ret on these don't forget.
I can also put you intouch with a shop in the US that will send them out to the UK.
Just my opinion but if you need dial up for long ranging I would go with either the NXS or the S&B. If you need a scope for run of the mill hunting distances (read upto 300 yards) I would go S&B.
Personally, I have a Leupold Mark 4 3.5-10 x 40 M1 - the reticle does not line up with the turrets, the thing is that the reticle is custom one from Premier Reticles, so the movement lines up perfectly with the POI movement, so the problem is not with the installation but something to do with the internals. I've not really seen much a problem with the parallax knob, mainly because the magnification isn't that high (less noticeable). Also, the image is a bit ragged around the edges when zoomed out. It is otherwise a good scope...
I've heard good things about Sightron, so I've got one on backorder with Grafs.com a SIII SS 6-24x50 LR MD
I picked because: it's not too heavy, not too expensive, plenty of adjustment and the tracking should be solid.
If I could afford it, it'd have to be an S&B or a Nightforce.
Well this is all news to me. Personally I can say hand on heart that in all the years I have used Leoupold scopes, and I know many who have used them longer, I have only heard of one being returned off a 375H&H and that was in1998.
I have never had a single problem with any I have used past or present, on all of my rifles and in Africa, Finland and all over the UK. I have a VXL which I bought last year, top scope. It has been used in the lowest of light conditions on Sika, and it works great.
Any idea of the waiting time on S&B at the mo? I had to wait 5 to 6 months for my PM2. Love the thing though! First one in the country in second focal plane! Well so I was told by the importers!! Great build quality to the thing, feels like its indestructable Huge tube on it too, 34 mm! Can nearly use the thing in the pitch dark!
Are you sure you don't mean first focal plane? Second focal plane reticles aren't all that special - first focal plane reticles stay the same size relative to the target, so it you have a mildot or similar reticle then it works at any magnification (and appears to grow and shrink as you zoom).
My Leupold is first focal plane with a Gen 2 mildot reticle (Premier Reticles stopped making them after Leupold started offering a similar service with their custom shop).
"Robust reticles in the second focal image plane do not increase size, therefore always remaining equally precise. A decisive advantage at long distances" - Gunroom website.
" As with the Bushnell and Burris, the reticule is second focal plane and so it does not enlarge in size as the magnification increases." - Shooting Times 19/01/08
The S&B 2nd focal plane reticle scopes are more expensive!
As for 'narrowing the choice' that is quite a selection! I don't have personal experience of any of them. I do know that the PM2 has seen extensive recent use by our khaki brethren and I believe that the Nightforce range is much favoured by USMC Scout/Snipers.
6x42 S&B has never let me down, even a second hand one. Many people over scope, so unless you are bunny bashing at 500 yds 6x is more than adequate . I have a 6.5 to 20 by 50 thing on my .308, but really I never use the zoom, just waste time messing around with it when I should be looking for deer through me binos!!!
Very true what Richard Parsons said. Have had a Ziess variable on my Heym- Ruger for 30 years. I don't think its been off six power in all that time. As the variable scope has been so usefull over all those years i have just bought a S&B 3.12x50 flashdot, with MP3 player and 3 mp camera, or is that the mobile phone. Any way If i live for another 30 years i don't suppose the S&B will get past 6 power. Us boys must have our toys.
I have a couple of Leupolds on my stalking rifles, never had cause to doubt them. Take a look at the photos from my Polish trip. In particular the night shot. Snow on the ground IS a help, but 10.30 ish with just the moon. How late do you want to shoot? There may be some perk to S&B, but how much perk for how much ££££'s I couldn't say.
I'm sure you will be happy with the S&B, and if you doubt the ability of the Leupold, it will never be as good, in your eyes at least.
Kind regards, and enjoy the search,
I have a big Swaro variable, 95% of the time it is at 8x. PM2 are a nice scope if you can actually get hold of one. I use a little Ziess Diavari C 3x9x36, superb all round scope, best low light scope I have used. My most recent scope is a 50mm Nightforce for loooong range static work and a bit of lamping etc. Available and far cheaper than PM2, is it as good maybe not but my eyes are not good enough to tell the difference these days.
A 7x50 from Ziess or S&B would cover 90% of my use and most other peoples.
I fitted a Leupold VXII 4-12X50 scope to my .243, using the supplied Warne, (vertically split) rings. I found the magnification ring wouldn't turn unless the rings were loosened off. I then fitted Nikko rings without any problems. On contacting Leupold they said they were aware of the problem with Warne rings and now advise a maximum torque of 28 inch/pounds. I was unable to zero various 80,90 and 100 grain rounds and I blamed the problems on the scope. Leupold say they don't believe the crimping of the tube will affect the scope, but to keep them informed of my ammo tests. The rifle is currently being tested by the suppliers who, in the absence of my Leupold, will need to use an alternative scope. If they can subsequently print the heavier bullets with my rifle, and their scope, perhaps my Leupold was to blame after all.........