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IHMSA News Feature Article
Published in The IHMSA News, the Official Publication of The International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association
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Leupold Makeover - 2.5 X 8 Pistol Scope
By Todd Spotti
     Leupold certainly has given silhouette shooters and handgun hunters a major Christmas gift for this year. It has completely overhauled what is undoubtedly the finest pistol scope on the planet making it even better.

Leupold Makeover - 2.5 X 8 Pistol Scope

     First of all, it has added what every silhouette shooter has been asking for ever since the 2.5X8 was first introduced to the marketplace i.e. finger  adjustable click elevation and windage adjustments. As you know, the original model use the traditional Leupold friction type adjustments in which you placed a coin in a slot and turned the mechanism to the appropriate setting. The adjustment was smooth with no audible or tactile clicks to indicate the amount of movement being cranked in. This system is ok if youíre setting the scope for only one distance and you never intend to change the setting for the rest of your life. However, for we competition shooters who shoot at four separate distances or handgun hunters who shoot relatively low velocity loads with a revolver, it was a less than perfect system.
     We had two alternatives available to work with this system. One, we could mark the correct settings for the various distances on our scope with a pencil or felt tip and hope that in the normal handling of the gun, the marks wouldnít get rubbed off. Or we could also scratch markings indicating the correct settings on the top of the turret with a sharp awl. But if we changed our load later on, those settings wouldnít be valid any longer but the marks would still be there. Again, a less than perfect situation. Besides, using reference marks, permanent or otherwise, isnít very precise, and if we didnít turn the adjustment exactly right, we could easily be off by a click or two from where we really wanted to be.
     The other alternative was to send our scope off to Leupold and spend some extra bucks to have a target elevation knob installed. This was the absolutely the best approach by far when using the gun/scope combination for silhouette competition. However, if we wanted to use that same gun and scope combo on a handgun hunt, that big tall target turret could prevent the gun from being carried in a holster. It could also act like a built in hook just waiting to get snagged on something when moving through heavy brush. What we really needed was some built-in, low profile, click adjustable target turrets, and thatís exactly what Leupold gave us. Thank you, thank you!
     Additionally, theyíve completely revamped the optics. This scope is now part of the new VX -III line and has the Index Matched Lens System - Leupoldís best. If you remember, I discussed the Index Matched system when I reviewed Leupoldís excellent 15X30X50 spotting scope a couple of issues ago. 
     As you know, coatings are a prime contributor to a quality image. Among their several functions, coatings are designed to eliminate reflection down to almost undetectable levels. Light that is reflected away, is light that is never going to reach your eye. Additionally, light that is scattered off of the objective lens on the outside of the scope, and light that is scattered around in the interior of the scope, is going to degrade our image. Consequently, we want to be sure that we buy only scopes that have coatings on both the internal lenses as well as the external lenses.
     Itís not a well know fact, but optical lenses can, and are made from several different types of glass. In fact if you go to a glass catalog, youíll find dozens and dozens of optical glass types with all kinds of varying chemical compositions. As it turns out, in order to optimize the efficiecy of any lens, the coatings for that particular lens should be custom matched to it as well. Thatís what the Leupold Index Matched system is all about i.e. matching the coating to the lensís glass index of refraction and thatís determined by its chemical make up. The result of this customization is a brighter, more pleasing image with lots of good definition. 
     Iíve been working with one of the new scopes for several weeks now, and I can definitely say that the new system works. I can make this statement in spite of the fact that most of the time that I was checking out the scope, California was experiencing some of the worst Winter rain storms in its history. In spite of that, I found that the images are clear and edgy with excellent color fidelity. Resolution is also excellent with no fall off in resolution until you get to the very extreme edge of the image. As far as distortion is concerned, forget it. It doesnít exist.
     The bad weather also gave me an opportunity to check out Leupoldís new Alumina scope filter kit in less than ideal conditions. Man Iíll tell you when you screw on the yellow filter, itís like someone has turned on the lights in a dark room. Everything becomes much brighter and blacks become super black - including the crosshairs. It was a heck of a lot easier to see the targets with the filter. If you donít have one of these kits for your Leupold scope, youíre missing a very important boat. If your Leupold scope is an older model that doesnít have screw threads on the front, send it off to Leupold and theyíll put them on for a reasonable fee. You need these filters.
     A quick note of information - as you may know, the standard practice of all manufacturers is to set the parallelax of center fire scopes not equipped with an adjustable objective lens at 100 yards. This includes pistol scopes. Consequently, just like with the previous Leupold 2.5x8 model, you wonít be able to use the 8X setting and get an in focus image at less than that distance. But of course, you really donít need the full magnification power of the scope at the closer distances for shooting either the full sized or even the 22 targets. I found that if I cranked down the power to around 5X or 6X, all targets at 25, 50, and 75 yards were perfectly focused. It was when I was working at 100 yards and beyond, that the 8X capability of the scope could come into play. However, if you feel that you need that 8X for the close-ups, no problem. Leupold can adjust the parallelax of your scope to what ever distance that you specify for a small fee.
     So hats off to Leupold for giving us target shooters and handgun hunters what weíve been needing in the way of precise click adjustments and then as a bonus, throwing in a set of even better optics than we had before. What a great deal! 
Good luck and good shooting, Todd

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Warning: All technical data mentioned, especially handloading, reflect the limited experience of individuals using specific tools, products, equipment and components under specific conditions and circumstances not necessarily reported in the article or on this web site and over which IHMSA, The Los Angeles Silhouette Club (LASC), this web site or the author has no control. The above has no control over the condition of your firearms or your methods, components, tools, techniques or circumstances and disclaims all and any responsibility for any person using any data mentioned. Always consult recognized reloading manuals.