Subscribe

The New 2021 Leupold VX-3HD Review

2021 Model Leupold VX-3HD

I’d planned on taking the new VX-3HD 4.5-14×50 to Africa on my Winchester M70 .30-06 last month.

I couldn’t.

Some absolute unit in Leupold’s manufacturing facility in Oregon tightened one of the CDS elevation turret screws so tight that I bent two Allen wrenches trying to loosen it to set the zero stop. This has been my first and only issue with a Leupold scope in over 25 years of hunting with the brand. And it was really just the result of someone overdoing their job.

Instead of taking that scope, I remounted my rifle with a VX-3HD 2-8×32 that Leupold sent with the aforementioned optic. I didn’t have time to wait on a replacement with higher magnification.

Eight power magnification should be plenty in Africa, right?

On a quick trip to the range, I set the zero on the smaller scope and collected some last-minute speed data on the Doppler. The rifle was shooting sub 1/2” MOA and I felt confident in the rifle / optic setup, so I went back to the office and packed everything up with two days to spare before setting off across the ocean.

On the flight over, I adjusted my data to 5,000 feet of elevation to have a good average for where we’d be hunting and went to sleep.

Two days later, on our first hunting day, a big greater kudu bull ran within 20 feet of us as he was chasing a cow. He had one thing on his mind, so he didn’t catch us in his peripheral vision. When he finally stopped, he gave me a 240-yard downhill shot. Without touching the elevation dial, I anchored him where he stood.

Quick kill.

Kudu taken down using the Leupold VX-3HD.

What follows is a series of one-shot quick kills using the Leupold CDS dial for range/elevation:

Zebra taken down using the Leupold VX-3HD.
Zebra: 232 yards…heart shot
Fallow deer taken down using the Leupold VX-3HD.
Fallow Deer (brought in by the Europeans settlers centuries ago): 205 yards…lung shot
2021 Model Leupold VX-3HD
Blesbok: 470 yards…heart shot

I did miss a fallow, but the range was bad as was my shot off the sticks. I hate shooting sticks. It certainly wasn’t the rifle or the scope’s fault. That one was all me.

In summary, the Leupold 2-8×32 VX-3HD is good to go. It’s very lightweight and would be best paired with an ultralight mountain / sheep rifle. While 2-8 may seem like low power, it’s plenty to for getting the job done. Also, the elevation tracking is absolutely spot-on. This scope wasn’t designed with 500-yard shooting as a priority, but it will perform there if you need it. Light transmission was plenty adequate for safari hunting…which isn’t a super low light hunt. One of those kills was just after sunup and I had no issues with the shot.

Full Setup:

Winchester Model 70 Super Grade

Leupold VX-3HD 2-8×32

Talley Steel Quick Release Rings/Bases

Unknown Munitions 180gr Barnes TSX

Pros:

  • Very Light
  • CDS helps you reach out when needed
  • Very clear glass

Cons:

  • None if the Leupold assembly guy doesn’t inject HGH before tightening your elevation cap

Recommended?

Absolutely. Call this one “The little scope that could.”

Subscribe for More
Weekly Kickass Stories and Gear Reviews from Yours Truly

WIN A HUNT

with Donald Trump Jr, Colin Jones, and Luke KUECHLY