Like you, I have no ties to Leupold or any other manufacturer. I post this as a strong reference for the Leupold VXR illuminated scopes.
For a very long time I had 20/10 vision…went to 20/15…am now at 20/20 and pleased with that being 70 yo. I say that because I believe the mid and upper level Zeiss scopes I’ve happily owned are a bit sharper in defining detail than the Leupold VX3’s I’ve looked thru and shot. Same for the Leica’s I currently own. Out of 10, for my eyes, I’d put the Zeiss and Leicas at 9.5…and the VXR at 9.0. As my vision is not as sharp anymore and especially in rapidly fading light, that’s when the VXR scopes really earn their keep.
Over decades of hunting, compared to my Leupolds, my Zeiss and Leica scopes have given me noticeably more time to shoot when the light went down hard. Not so anymore when the red fire-dot comes on. Now…if I have to choose a scope in those very, very last few minutes, I’ll take that fire dot on low. The very slight difference in scope clarity under these conditions, IMO, does not surpass the superiority of that tiny fire dot to place your bullet with precision under very trying conditions. My opinion comes directly from the field and game on the ground, not keyboard experience.
There are many, many good references on these scopes all over the net so I won’t repeat them here. I will say this…if you’ve never looked at a fire dot on low in low light conditions…you owe it to yourself to do so. If my VXR’s turn out to be as durable as I think they will, they will be replacing some of my other “top end” scopes. Not kidding, the VXR fire dot truly is a wonderful thing for the hunter at very early and very last light. The clarity of your animal in the higher end scope at near dark may be fractionally better but never again will the center of your cross hairs disappear. Me? I’ll gladly trade the very slight clarity difference for having been able to put that red dot exactly where I wanted it.
And for those who say it can be too bright in low light conditions…turn the brightness down!!! I keep mine on a low setting and it’s absolutely wonderful when my crosshairs start to fade into the background.
OK…back to our regular programming. Just thought you’d like to know.