Leupold VX-2 2-7x33mm Riflescope
By Chuck Hawks
The world renowned Leupold (www.leupold.com) riflescopes are made in Beaverton, Oregon USA. They are CNC machined out of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum alloy billets and Leupold is the biggest recycler of leftover aluminum in Oregon.
As of this writing, the popular Leupold variable power hunting scope lines include the VX-6, VX-3L, VX-3, VX-R, VX-2, VX-1 and Rifleman. In addition, there are fixed power models and a variety of special purpose scopes, including ultralight, rimfire, air rifle, crossbow, competition, hog, shotgun, AR, handgun, muzzleloader and tactical models. Indeed, the Leupold line is so extensive it can be difficult to comprehend.
Leupold scopes are continuously improved as the state of the art advances and the price of the latest technology comes down. The Leupold VX-2 line has undergone a major revision and received some notable upgrades since we last reviewed a VX-II riflescope. (Note the Arabic numeral replacing the former Roman numeral.)
As a result, the current VX-2 line incorporates most of the advantages found in the VX-3 line just a few years ago. These include Leupold's Quantum Optical System; a one inch, 6061-T6 aluminum main tube; index-matched, fully multi-coated optics with DiamondCoat exterior lens surfaces; blackened lens edges; accurate and repeatable 1/4 MOA fingertip click adjustments; tactile power ring; a purged, 2nd generation, argon/krypton gas filled and O-ring sealed interior to prevent internal fogging; an externally threaded fast focus eyepiece, super hard anodized external finish and Leupold's Gold Ring Full Lifetime Guarantee. A durable, bikini type lens cover is included.
We chose a VX-2 2-7x33mm riflescope for this review and for use on the CZ 557 Carbine we reviewed this month (July 2015). This scope normally comes with either Leupold's BDC or a standard Duplex reticle. (Other reticles are available through the Leupold Custom Shop.) We requested the Duplex, which was invented by Leupold (since copied by everyone) and remains, in our opinion, the best hunting reticle ever devised.
Our matte black test scope is protected by Leupold's super hard anodizing process on all external metal surfaces to resist scratches and wear. Other standard, hard anodized finishes for VX-2 scopes include the equally durable gloss black and silver.
Like most Leupold scopes, the VX-2 2-7x33 weighs less than most scopes of its magnification; less than 10 ounces in this case. Leupold makes a conscious effort to reduce the mass of their riflescopes, which allows the scope to better withstand recoil and also minimizes the scope's effect on the rifle's handling.
All Leupold rifle scopes, from the bottom to the top of the line, are built to the same high standards of toughness and durability. They are designed to withstand, undamaged, 5,000 repetitions of 750 G acceleration. This is the harshest standard in the industry and no competitive brand of scope has ever passed Leupold's impact test. (Leupold tests them all.)
Every VX-2 scope must pass Leupold's water test before it leaves the factory. This involves being submerged in a tank of 120 degree hot water, where a partial vacuum is created to increase the pressure difference between the inert argon/krypton gas O-ring sealed inside of the scope and the outside atmosphere. The inside of the scope is already pressurized and the increased temperature further raises the pressure. Under this torture test, tiny bubbles of escaping gas will betray any flaw in the waterproof seals.
Of course, like all Leupold Gold Ring riflescopes, our VX-2 test scope comes with Leupold's Full Lifetime Guarantee (not a mere "warrantee"). This states that if any Leupold Gold Ring product is found to have defects in workmanship or materials, Leupold will repair or replace it for free. No warrantee card is required, there is no time limit and you do not have to be the original purchaser. Leupold's customer service is world renowned for excellence.
A 2-7x scope is an excellent choice for a big game hunting rifle. It offers a wide field of view for close shots at woods ranges and sufficient magnification to do all that can be done within the MPBR of any standard big game hunting cartridge. Its petite size allows low, overbore mounting and a proper cheek weld on the rifle's stock. It is nearly perfect for a woods rifle, mountain rifle, or today's popular ultralight rifles.
Compared to the ubiquitous 3-9x40mm riflescope, the smaller 2-7x33mm is more compact, weighs less and has less impact on the handling of the rifle. Smaller size and lower weight makes the rifle easier to tote on a long day in the field. A 2-7x scope is virtually a perfect match for hunting rifles like our CZ 557 Carbine and cartridges such as the 6.5x55, .260, 7x57, 7mm-08, .30-30, .308, .30-06, .338 Federal, .35 Whelen and similar numbers.
As soon as the scope was mounted and bore-sighted on our CZ 557 test rifle, we were ready for a trip to the rifle range. Guns and Shooting Online's Rocky Hays, Jim Fleck and I participated in the test shooting. Since the rifle had been bore sighted with an optical collimator, we started shooting at 25 yards.
The first shot was about five inches high and about an inch to the right. The Leupold VX-2's accurate adjustments meant that the second shot was in the 10 ring. So much for shooting at 25 yards.
Moving back to 100 yards, the first shot hit 4.5 inches high and 1.5 inches to the left. Being both lazy and frugal, until the final three shot group fired for verification, I fired single sighting shots. (This is feasible only if the scope's adjustments are accurate and repeatable and the shooter can call his shots.) The appropriate number of windage and elevation clicks were made and the second shot hit only 0.5 inch low and 0.75 inch to the right. Three clicks left and two clicks up put the final three shot group right at the point of aim. This is what a good scope with accurate adjustments can do for you. The money you save in ammo just sighting-in may pay for the upgrade to a Leupold.
Ordinarily I would zero a 6.5x55 rifle to hit about 2.7 inches high at 100 yards with a 140 grain bullet to take full advantage of the cartridge's maximum point blank range. However, in this case we were sighting-in to test different loads in the CZ 557, so we wanted the point of impact to coincide with the point of aim at 100 yards.
As expected, our VX-2 provided bright, sharp, clear, contrasty views of the target across the field of view and made hitting easier than with lower quality scopes. Color rendition is excellent.
The total light transmission is stated to be 94%. With a 4.9mm exit pupil even at its maximum magnification, the 2-7x33mm VX-2 transmits plenty of light to the eye even in dim light. Reduce the magnification to 5x and the exit pupil is 6.6mm, which is probably larger than the pupil of your eye, even when fully dark adapted.
Flare, coma, distortion and other aberrations are very well controlled. With all riflescopes there is some fall off in sharpness and contrast at the edge of the field of view, but it is not noticeable in the VX-2 unless you are looking for it.
The eye relief averages about four inches, making this scope appropriate for use on a hard kicking rifle. The eye relief and eyebox are generous, so eye position behind the ocular is not critical and target acquisition is fast. This is an area where many competitors' riflescopes are found lacking.
Also appreciated, although in this instance we didn't need it, is the substantial latitude (65 MOA) for windage and elevation adjustment. You are unlikely to run out of adjustment range with one of these scopes.
The new version of the Leupold VX-2 2-7x33mm is significantly improved over its VX-II predecessor, which was a very good scope in its own right. Sometimes "new and improved" is just hype, but not in this case. A fine riflescope has been significantly improved.
Copyright 2015 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.