In 1907 Fred Leupold set up shop at 5th and Oak Streets in Portland, Oregon. Soon joined by his brother-in-law, Adam Voelpel (and a bit later by John Stevens), the company didn’t make riflescopes in those days. Although scopes existed, they weren’t in much demand. In fact, it wasn’t until after Fred Leupold’s death that Leupold made their first riflescope, but his slogan remains in the corporate culture: “The customer is entitled to a square deal.”
The first commercial Leupold riflescope was the 2.5X Plainsman, introduced in 1947 after Marcus Leupold missed a shot at an Oregon blacktail due to fogged lenses. He figured he could make a better scope than that, and the legend began. Today, this homegrown (now fifth-generation) Oregon company has become a world power in sporting optics.
Life was simpler in the 1960s when I owned my first Leupold scope. It was a fixed-power 2.5X, still a fairly standard optic for the day. But things would change. Today, between hunting/shooting and tactical lines, Leupold offers something like two dozen lines of magnifying scopes—excluding reflex “red dot” sights and nonmagnifying scopes. To encapsulate what’s offered, we’ve rounded up some of the best Leupold riflescopes on the market.
- The VX-3 is Leupold’s basic “great hunting scope” line. The VX-3 is Leupold’s largest line, with 25 models ranging from 1.5-5x20mm to 8.5-25x50mm, with some models offering turret adjustment, side focus, illuminated reticles, 30mm and one-inch configuration, and quite a bit more. The VX-3 has become Leupold’s top hunting scope line, and while I doubt that anyone can claim experience with all the options, I’ve used quite a few. A VX-3 4.5-14X variable has long been a favorite for mountain hunting and is pretty hard to beat.