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Vortex vs. Leupold Rifle Scopes – Who makes the best optics?

Two fantastic scope manufacturers are Vortex and Leupold. These optics manufacturers both produce quality work, and it can become challenging to choose when deciding between the two. If you’re having a hard time deciding which scope to purchase, then you have come to the right place.

Comparing the different rifle scopes from Leupold and Vortex - Which company makes the best scopes?

How to compare Leupold and Vortex riflescopes?

Here we are going to do a side by side comparison of the two product lines and see how their various scopes stack up.

We’re picking a popular scope in each of the following categories and compare them head to head:

  1. Entry Level Scopes
  2. Mid-Level Scopes
  3. Top of the line Scopes
  4. Out of this World Riflescopes

Please leave a comment if you disagree or agree. We love to hear from you!

Entry Level Scopes

Vortex and Leupold both offer a great selection of entry-level scopes. These scopes are designed for those who need an optic for hunting but don’t want to spend more on their scope then they did on their rifle. Let’s have a closer look at Vortex scopes vs Leupold scopes in the entry-level segment.

Vortex Diamondback HP

A popular model of entry-level scope from Vortex is the Diamondback HP. The Diamondback HP comes in a variety of sizes. The 4-16×42 and the 2-8×32 as well as the 3-12×42. This review focuses specifically on the 3-12x42mm version.

Below is a quick rundown of the features on the Vortex Diamondback HP 3-12×42.

  • Multilayer coated optics that help increase light transmission and minimize light reflection
  • The second focal plane reticle maintains the size of the reticle, therefore providing more accurate magnification sighting.
  • The waterproofed interior seals with an O-ring
  • Both fog proof and shockproof
  • ¼ MOA adjustment with 15 MOA full rotation
  • Parallax free with parallax setting 20 yards to infinity
  • Eye relief of 4 inches giving you a fast target acquisition experience
  • Magnification from 3x-12x
Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42 Second Focal Plane Riflescope
Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16×42 Second Focal Plane Riflescope

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The Vortex Diamondback HP is a solid entry-level scope. Most hunters and marksmen are going to find that this scope can meet a majority of their sighting needs. The big selling points of this scope are the second focal plane construction and the parallax adjustments.

Many budget scopes do not feature second focal plane construction. The size of the reticle on first focal plane sights can interfere with precision shooting for inexperienced marksmen. Having this option in a lower-priced scope is fantastic.

Many high-end scopes don’t feature parallax adjustment. Finding this feature on a lower end scope is phenomenal. Eliminating parallax will crystalize your target in the sights and make your scoped target clearer.

Another great entry-level scope from Vortex is the Crossfire II which we reviewed extensively here!

We also made a detailed comparison between the Diamondback and the Crossfire II!

Leupold VX-Freedom

The Leupold product line contains several entry-level scopes. One popular option is the VX-Freedom. You can find several models of rifleman scope with various magnifications or objective diameters. For this review, we are exploring the VX-Freedom 3-9×40.

Following is a brief overview of the features built into the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 riflescope.

  • Features the Ballistics Aiming System, the Leupold proprietary reticle
  • Nitrogen filled main tube makes the inner optics fog-proof and waterproof
  • 4.2-inch maximum eye relief
  • ½ MOA adjustment
  • 4-layer multicoated external optics allow for higher light transmission and lower reflection
  • Parallax free at 150 yds
  • Fixed focal plane glass construction
  • Magnification of 3x-9x
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope

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The Ballistics Aiming system utilized by Leupold offers marksmen multiple aiming points for long-range shots. The reticle can also help offset shots by helping calculate the windage for you. There are an infinite power selector settings to help you match the ballistics of your rifle and eliminate the need for additional calculations.

The best part about the Leupold VX-Freedom scope is the rugged construction. The 1-diameter main tube is filled with nitrogen to make the optic waterproof and fog proof. The scope maintains its durability while weighing just over 12 oz. making it a great addition to any rifle.

Bottom Line

When looking at the function of these two optics, there isn’t a lot of difference. The performance difference is the use of the second focal plane construction on the Vortex Diamondback HP. The second focal plane usually outperforms its fixed focal plane counterpart.

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Mid-Level Scopes – Vortex Scopes vs Leupold

The main difference between mid-level scopes and the entry-level scopes are the construction materials used. While the performance specifications may look similar to an entry-level riflescope, the materials used to build these scopes are far superior.

Both Vortex and Leupold offer a sufficient selection of mid-level scopes. The Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×50 and the Vortex Razor HD LH 2-10×40 have similar viewing capacities. Let’s compare the capabilities and quality of the Vortex scopes vs Leupold scopes in the mid-level segment.

Vortex Razor HD

The Vortex Razor HD LH 2-10×40 has some serious power and options when it comes to a moderate-range riflescope. The field-of-view at 100 yards for the 2x magnification is 56.2 feet. You get a generous viewing field allowing you to sight your target easily.

Here is a quick rundown of the specifications for the Vortex Razor HD.

  • HSR-A or G4 BCD reticle available on this model
  • 3.8-inch eye relief
  • Parallax set to 100 yards without adjustment available
  • ¼ MOA adjustment graduation
  • Waterproof and fog proof with argon gas-filled innertube
  • Single piece innertube construction aid of aircraft-grade aluminum
  • The multicoated external lens is delivering high light transmission and antireflective properties on all air to glass surfaces
Vortex Optics Razor HD 3-15x42 LHT Second Focal Plane Riflescope
Vortex Optics Razor HD 3-15×42 LHT Second Focal Plane Riflescope

Vortex has put a lot of consideration into the glass to deliver sharp and bright images when sighting your target. The minimum 2X magnification allows for excellent field-of-view. Even at the maximum 10 X magnification, the field-of-view is a generous 10.8 feet.

This lightweight scope comes with a lens cover and a 3-inch sunshade eliminating the need to purchase additional equipment. The argon gas filled innertube provides shockproof in waterproofing and fog proofing allowing you to utilize this scope in multiple weather conditions.

Another great mid-level scope from Vortex is the Strike Eagle riflescope family that we reviewed here.

Leupold VX-3HD

When looking at a mid-range scope, the Leupold VX-3HD 3.5-10×50 is a strong performer. Leupold has invested heavily in the exterior coating of the glass on the VX-3HD. In addition to high-quality glass, the waterproofing and shock proofing elements are excellent with this scope.

Here is a quick rundown of the key features on the Leupold VX-3HD 3.5-10×50 (have a look at our Leupold VX-3i riflescope review).

  • ¼ MOA finger turn adjustments
  • Argon and Krypton filled internal chamber eliminates thermal shock and fogging of interior glass.
  • Duplex reticle or ballistic aiming system reticle available on this model
  • 1-inch main tube made of aircraft-grade aluminum
  • The Twilight Max light management system delivers excellent image quality in low light conditions.
  • Generous 4.4-inch eye relief
  • 29.8 feet field-of-view at 3.5 X magnification, 11 feet field-of-view at 10 X magnification
Leupold VX-3HD 3.5-10x50mm Riflescope
Leupold VX-3HD 3.5-10x50mm Riflescope

Check out the review of the Mark 3HD scope – the tactical counterpiece to the VX-3HD.

The VX-3HD is a high performing mid-range scope. The Leupold VX-3HD 3.5-10×50 offers plenty of features and high-quality construction elements to deliver excellent performance. The Argon and Krypton filled inner chamber offer exceptional protection for the inner glass.

Leupold’s ballistic aiming system is ideal for those who use custom ballistics. This aiming system eliminates the need for calculations and corrections when aiming. It’s nice to have a reticle that does the work for you.

We compared the VX-3HD from Leupold and the Viper HST from Vortex here!

Bottom Line

When comparing these two scopes, the Vortex offers a more generous field-of-view at the lowest magnification. At 2X magnification, it is almost twice the field-of-view than the Leopold at 3.5 X. Concerning the FOV, this is the only place that the Vortex supersedes the Leupold scope.

When it comes to eye relief, tube filling, and reticle, the Leupold VX-3HD 3.5-10×50 is a superior scope.

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Top of the line Scopes – Made for Long-Range Shooting

A top-of-the-line riflescope targets the precision marksmen. These scopes stand out above the rest because of their performance capabilities. When choosing a top-of-the-line scope, you can expect to pay more, but you will also be able to see the difference in the image quality.

Vortex Viper PST Gen II

One of the top-of-the-line scopes at Vortex is the Viper PST GEN II 5-25×50. This scope packs some powerful features into its relatively small package. The tube is only 30mm, and it weighs in at 31.2 oz. With a 50mm objective lens, Vortex designed this scope for some seriously long shots.

Let’s look at the features that set the Viper PST GEN II 5-25×50 apart from other scopes in this category.

  • Glass etched, illuminated reticle for aiming in low light conditions.
  • XD and XR lens elements feature extra-low dispersion glass and proprietary anti-reflective coatings on all glass to air surfaces.
  • Single tube construction using aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof; filled with argon gas to prevent fogging and O-ring sealed.
  • Zero stop turrets prevent the zero from going below the sight-in range.
  • ERB-4 reticle allows you to use MOA or MRAD subtension lines
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 Second Focal Plane Riflescope
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 Second Focal Plane Riflescope

The Viper PST GEN II 5-25×50 works for long-range shooters. The max magnification provides a generous 4.8 ft field of view. Those who are looking for long-distance assistance find that this scope offers that.

The scope is available either in a first focal plane or second focal plane construction. Those shooting with the second focal plane glass will enjoy a parallax-free setting 25 yards and beyond.

You might also be interested in our review of the Viper HST optics from Vortex.

Leupold VX-5HD

The Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 offers mid-long-range shooters plenty of features to make sure that they are on target. This scope packs a ton of features into its 30mm tube. There is a lot to love about this scope.

Here are some of the top-selling features of the Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44.

  • Argon and Krypton gas-filled inner chamber prevents fogging, provides thermal shock proofing, and seals to be waterproof.
  • Quick zero with the CDS-ZL2 turret reset and zero locks.
  • Fiber optic fire dot illumination
  • Motion sensor technology deactivates the scope after 5 minutes of inactivity and re-illuminates immediately with motion.
  • Generous 7.9 ft field of view at 15x magnification
  • 3.7- inch eye relief allows for easy target acquisition.
  • Proprietary glass coatings giving you exceedingly useful light transmission
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Side Focus Riflescope
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Side Focus Riflescope

There is a lot to say about the Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44. This sleek scope allows mid to long-range marksmen to acquire their target easily. The push-button illumination makes it easy to light up your target without losing sight.

What sets this scope apart from everything else in its category is the motion sensor tech built into the scope. This technology can be invaluable during long-range shots. It is a fun and useful feature.

Check out our review of the Leupold VX-5HD scopes: Leupold VX-5HD review – Riflescopes for Hunters

Bottom Line on Long-Range, High-Quality Scopes

Both Vortex and Leupold are strong performers in this category. Leupold pulls ahead with their motion sensor tech and their easy push-button activation.

Elevation and Windage turrets exposed - Caps removed

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Out of this world Riflescopes

These are the scopes that you dream about owning. If you have ever wanted a riflescope to do something, these out-of-the-world scopes can probably do it.

Vortex Razor HD Gen II

The Vortex Razor HD GEN II 4.5-27×56 has a ton to offer. If you want something that can perform in strenuous conditions, this is it. The customization on the scope to lock zero between MOA clicks is impressive and helps you narrow in on a target that is far away.

Here are some other amazing things that the Vortex Razor HD GEN II 4.5-27×56 has to offer.

Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 FFP Riflescope
Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 FFP Riflescope
  • Zero Stop for elevation, micro-adjust zero settings
  • Illuminated reticle and glass etched reticle
  • First focal plane design
  • Choice of MRAD or MOA reticle at purchase
  • Plasma tech coating with HD lens elements and AR coating
  • Single-piece tube made of aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof
  • 11 levels of illumination intensity and a locking side dial

Have a look at our in-depth review of the Vortex Razor HD Gen II riflescope.

Leupold VX-6HD

Leupold has designed an excellent scope with the VX-6HD 4-24×52. This massive performer comes equipped with features like the electronic reticle level. This level will help you keep your sights accurate and will also shut off the reticle when the gun is tilted more than 30 degrees to save the battery.

Other high-end features built into the Leupold VX-6HD 4-24×52 are just as good.

Leupold VX-6HD 4-24x52mm Side Focus Riflescope
Leupold VX-6HD 4-24x52mm Side Focus Riflescope
  • Side focus parallax adjustment
  • Push-button illumination with one button for high or low settings
  • Motion sensor technology that deactivates the reticle after 5 minutes and re-illuminates on detecting any motion
  • Ballistics aiming system or choice of MOA based reticle
  • Argon and Krypton filled chamber that stops thermal shocking also helps waterproof and fog proof the sight

New Leupold VX-6HD Riflescopes

Bottom Line

Both scopes are great. You aren’t going to be disappointed no matter which you choose. Those who need to be able to adjust their illumination intensity will prefer the Vortex Razor Gen II. On the other hand, the motion sensor technology makes the Leupold VX-6HD a tough contender. Your shooting style will dictate which scope to choose.

Vortex scopes vs Leupold

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Who makes better scopes?

Your choice of a Leupold or Vortex riflescope should be based largely on your shooting style. These two product lines come very close to one another in terms of performance. They differ on some key features like Motion Sensor Technology, Reticle Illumination Settings, and parallax functioning.

Your personal preference is going to be a much stronger indicator of your happiness when you purchase either Vortex scopes vs Leupold scopes. Some features you can live without, while others are a must-have. Only you know which are necessary when you hit the range.

Find more reviews of Leupold scopes and red dot sights here.

Here are more Vortex red dot sight and riflescope reviews for you!

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Comparing the different rifle scopes from Leupold and Vortex - Vortex Scopes vs Leupold showdown
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Kevin Collins