By Dave Domin
In today’s world, riflescopes are more advanced than ever. When speaking of riflescope performance, most are judged by their overall light transmission but not all light transmission is equal. It’s not enough to merely have a high percentage of light transmission because most riflescopes are optimized to transmit midday light, when light transmission matters least. This is how so many optics companies can claim such high percentages of light transmission. It is for this reason that Leupold optical engineers worked diligently to redesign one of the greatest scopes of all time into the all new VX-3i.
The VX-3i is built around Leupold’s new Twilight Max Light Management System which balances all available light wavelengths, eliminates glare, and pushes resolution to the limit. Beginning with lead-free lenses, Leupold applies Twilight Max lens coatings. These coatings optimize the red and blue frequencies of light, those found at the very first and last moments of the day, while maintaining a high transmission of the light at the center of the spectrum, delivering exceptional contrast and low light performance. These lenses are then topped off with Diamondcoat 2 for the highest level of abrasion resistance. The next step is the elimination of glare. Although not often said, this step actually lowers overall light transmission by removing or absorbing stray light, only transmitting useful light to your eye, creating an improved sight picture. This is accomplished by first precision machining the VX-3i’s interior and then by blackening the edges of key lenses within the scope.
Leupold engineers didn’t stop at light management on the VX-3i. They began with a one-piece maintube crafted out of aircraft grade aluminum for unrivaled durability. With a large range of magnifications, from 1.5-5x to the jaw dropping 8.5-25x, 1 inch and 30mm tube diameters, and eight reticle options, this new riflescope will be ideal for virtually any hunting situation. An aggressively redesigned power selector is easy to grasp and turn and allows the shooter to quickly verify the power setting due to larger and brighter numbering. The dual spring, ¼ MOA finger click adjustment system ensures match grade repeatability and strength. Lastly, Leupold purges the scope of all its oxygen and replaces it with their second generation Argon/Krypton gas which more effectively resists thermal shock and ensures a 100% fog proof and waterproof seal.
Select VX-3i riflescopes are equipped with Leupold’s Custom Dial System or CDS. When the CDS is coupled with Leupold’s latest generation of RX rangefinders, shooters are afforded the best possible combination to achieve long range accuracy.
Unlike other systems that use generic ballistics information to generate equally generic drop data, the CDS uses the shooter’s unique ballistics and environmental conditions to calculate true custom drop values that are laser engraved onto the dial. The first step in getting this done is to determine the best load for the rifle. Since no two guns will shoot the same load identically, it is important to get the most accurate ballistic data possible. Since the CDS system will be as accurate as the information the shooter supplies to Leupold, loads should be chronographed and the elevation and temperature, +/- 2000 feet and +/- 20 degrees Fahrenheit respectively, should match the intended use area. Leupold will need the following data, cartridge, bullet type, bullet weight, ballistic coefficient, muzzle velocity, average altitude, average temperature and sight height. The CDS will have a 100 or 200 yard zero in most cases (determined by the customer), then read in 50 yard increments out to the maximum yardage that can be reached in 14.5 minutes of angle (MOA). The CDS dial itself is a one turn dial with a built in zero stop. This allows the shooter to come back to zero without looking or counting clicks.
The RX-850i TBR and RX-1200i TBR/W are the perfect companion for the Custom Dial System. Leupold’s latest Digitally eNhanced Accuracy (DNA) rangefinding engine incorporates advanced signal processing techniques to generate longer range capability with more accurate returns. Leupold’s exclusive True Ballistic Range (TBR), and True Ballistic Range/Wind (TBR/W) available on select RX rangefinders truly sets these units apart. TBR links laser ranging, an inclinometer, and an advanced ballistics program to give extremely accurate distance measurements--regardless of the angle at which the laser is fired. TBR/W retains all of the capabilities of TBR with the addition of wind hold values. TBR and TBR/W algorithms were developed by the same engineers who developed Sierra Infinity Exterior Ballistics Software and who helped develop navigation and guidance systems for ICBMs and other missiles with far more demanding trajectory requirements than a hunting bullet. The result is distance measurements accurate to less than a yard, no matter the angle at which the laser is fired. Bullets travel in a ballistic arc, yet conventional rangefinders only provide a linear distance to your target. TBR delivers the ballistic equivalent range to the target, accounting for the effects of inclines or declines on the path of your bullet. For rifle shooters, the Leupold team has added to the TBR functionality by adding wind hold calculations that will provide a fixed 10 MPH full wind value. Other features that are provided for firearms are outputs that display either MOA adjustments, inches, centimeters, or mils of holdover at that specific distance. TBR eliminates any potentially significant error, and provides a precise range for your aiming calculations. TBR is matched to each of seven firearm ballistics groups, while TBR/W is matched to twenty five, allowing compatibility with today’s most popular cartridges.
When these two state of the art technologies are combined, hunters and shooters are armed with the best possible tools to achieve long range first shot hits.
It took Leupold to bust the myth of “light gathering” optics and turn the conversation to light transmission. Now prepare to hear a lot more about light management, as the rest of the industry tries to catch up to the new VX-3i. Check out the new Leupold VX-3i at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse today.