Leupold Scopes Tips

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What is an exit pupil and why should I care?

Exit Pupil

No, the exit pupil has nothing to do with getting expelled from grammar school. The exit pupil is the circle of light a shooter sees when the scope is held at arms length. It is a measure of the quantity of light that reaches the shooter's eye, and is not influenced by the diameter of a scope's main tube.

In typical low-light conditions in the field, a shooter's eye dilates to a pupil width of about 5 mm. If the exit pupil of the scope is smaller than the shooter's pupil, too little light will reach the shooter's eye and the scope will impose limitations on the shooter's ability to see.
The diameter of the shaft of light exiting the scope toward the eye is used to rate the brightness of a scope's sight picture. For example, a 4X scope with a 40mm objective lens has a exit pupil of 10mm. The larger the exit pupil, the easier it is to keep the eye aligned with the sight picture and the better the scope will perform in low light.

What is parallax?

The Parallax View

If you thought parallax was a laxative used by paratroopers, you're on the wrong site. According to the experts, parallax is a condition that occurs when the image of the target is not focused precisely on the reticle plane. It's visible when there is an apparent movement between the reticle and the target when the shooter moves his head or, in extreme cases, on out-of-focus images.

Some scopes are set to be parallax-free at a specific range, like 100 yards. Other scopes have an adjustment to eliminate parallax on the objective bell. Parallax is normally eliminated by manual adjustment of the objective lens or by manual adjustment of a parallax knob, depending on how the scope is equipped. Leupold rifle scopes, as well as scopes from other major manufacturers, do a creditable job of controlling parallax.

Can I get a quality scope for under $200?

Low End Leupolds

If money is an object, as it always seems to be, many of the major manufacturers produce sub $200 scopes. The vx-1 scopes by Leupold are touted to be one of the best scopes for your money. They come with a lifetime guarantee, and offer popular features that include:

• Standard multi-coat lens for excellent optical clarity
• Micro-friction windage and elevation adjustment dials that makes fine tuning easy
• Waterproof and fogproof
• Choose from Duplex reticle or wide Duplex reticle (use latter reticle if you intend on doing lots of hunting in heavy timber)

How does a Leupold rifle scope work?

The Guts of a Leupold Scope

OK. Listen up class. This here is how a Leupold (and virtually all other brands) rifle scope works. As you know, the purpose of a scope is to make it easier for you to hit the thing at which you are aiming. Essentially, a scope is designed to deliver as much pure light as possible to a shooter's eye. Light rays bouncing off the target image go into the objective lens at the front of the scope and are magnified.

The target image comes into the scope upside down and enlarged, like in the old-time Brownie cameras. The erector lens system, cleverly built in to the middle portion of the scope's main tube by ingenious engineers, magnifies and turns the upside-down image right-side up. Obviously, however, it doesn't stay that way. There is another lens at the rear of the scope that magnifies the target image further. It is this lens that shoots the target image and the central aiming point, known as the reticle (reticule) or "crosshairs", to the shooter's eye. Bam! Any questions? Class dismissed.

What is contrast and why is it important in a rifle scope?


Not to get too technical on you, but contrast is how you judge a scope's ability to manage light. And, if a scope can't manage light, you might as well go bowling.

Contrast is enhanced by resolution, which has to do with producing a crisp, finely detailed image. Contrast is also enhanced by light transmission, a parameter that is affected by the number of glass or mirrored surfaces, the absorption of light in the glass materials, and the quality of the anti-reflective and mirrored coatings.

As we all know, glare is the enemy of contrast. Glare is the stray light that reflects off internal parts of a scope and sneaks into the field-of-view. Glare also diminishes detail and color quality of the image. Needless to say, you should look for a scope that has more contrast and less glare.

What scopes are best for birding?

Leupold spotting scopes

Whether you want to creep up on a cuckoo or sneak up on snipe, binoculars are best for close-up birding. But to spy on far-off feathered friends, you'd do well to get a spotting scope. You'll not only find more birds, you'll be able to distinguish field marks on way out waterfowl, shorebirds, and hawks that you could not with binoculars. A birding scope works great at close range as well. You'll be able to enjoy plumage details like never before.

When you're ready to buy a birding scope, you won't have much trouble spotting a good one. There are dozens of manufacturers like Leupold that offer a bunch of diferent scopes with all kinds of options.

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Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt