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Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm Hunting Rifle Scope

The Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm hunting rifle scope with a Wind-plex reticle is based on the discontinued Mark 4 scope line—proven for hard use—but sells for half the price.

Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm Hunting Rifle Scope

(Mark Fingar photo)

If I was looking for a hunting scope that offered the most capability for the lowest price, today I would purchase Leupold’s VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm carrying a Wind-plex reticle. I used this scope with a CZ 557 Eclipse in 6.5 Creedmoor bolt-action rifle on a hunt for scimitar oryx, and it did everything I needed from a hunting scope.

The VX-3HD scope line is new and, if you look closely, you may notice that the magnification ranges offered match those of the discontinued Mark 4 scope line. The two lines share the same erector assembly, but the VX-3HD has a redesigned and improved optical package. The VX-3HD also benefits from an improved turret-manufacturing process.

Leupold’s Mark 4 scopes, at one time, were the best tactical scopes made in America, and they often sold for around $1,500. For decades, they were in service with the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies. They were proven, hard-use scopes.

The VX-3HD is an improved version of the Mark 4, and it sells for less than half the price. (They start at $500. My favorite 4.5-14x40 Side Focus CDS-ZL Wind-Plex model is priced at $750.) Leupold’s optical engineers teamed up to redesign the Mark 4 line with improvements such as more reticle options and Leupold’s elevation dial and scratch-resistant lenses for the benefit of the hunting market. The savings come from using components that have long since been paid for.

Leupold also gave the VX-3HD its popular CDS elevation turret system. It tracks more accurately than anything Leupold made in the past for their hunting line. Manufacturing changed a lot since the Mark 4 was introduced in 1988, and those manufacturing changes created the more repeatable CDS elevation turret system. 

Based on my experience, the VX-3HD is a top pick for hunters today because of the Wind-Plex reticle. The reticle allows for precise wind holds because each minute of angle is marked on the horizontal crosshair; it’s finally possible to make small and accurate corrections for wind drift that occurs during the bullet’s flight.

It’s not every day that a better product comes to market for less than half the price of its predecessor, but that’s exactly what’s happened with the VX-3HD. 

Several models are available with differing magnification ranges in the 3:1 zoom ratio and a variety of reticle choices. There’s a solution for any hunter needing a great optic. 

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