Rifle Scope Tools  2            8-2015

After about 15 minutes this is what the caps look like. I'd say there's about 90% cleanup which is much better than I had before. The lapping compound is a fine grit and it worked well.



If you look close you can see the crosshatch pattern that I was talking about. Basically I treated this process like I was honing a cylinder bore on a car engine.



The bottom of the rings don't have as much cleanup but is much better now. It looks like I could have turned the front ring a little more as it left material at each corner but I didn't know this before I started. I figure there's about 75% cleanup so now it's time to mount my new optics.



I've owned Leupold scopes all my life and love them so why change now. This new one is from their VX-3 line and has variable power that ranges from  4.5-14, has a 40mm objective lens and a 1" tube diameter. Remember my old one only went to 9X but the new one can go up to 14X, which should be perfect for my older eyes.

Stepping up one notch from my old VX-2, the new VX-3 has much better glass, better coatings, a matt finish (compared to my old glossy finish), comes in many different configurations, like the Custom Dial System (or 'CDS' which I'll talk about later) and has a Wind-Plex reticle. You have many choices of reticles with this scope with the most common one being a Duplex.



All Leupold optics are water tight and fog proof but this one has all kinds of upgrades from the one I replaced. I put the new one and old one side-by-side to do a visual comparison and couldn't believe the difference. This new one is much more clear, almost like my old one had window tint on the lens. Yes, it was that much of a difference.



To keep all the screws from coming loose in the rings, I used Loctite 243 on them (blue). This is a medium strength thread locker so you can still remove the screws if you need or want to later.



Before the scope was fastened down, I placed my level on the bottom-half of the rings to make sure that it was level. The reason for this is to eliminate as much 'cant' as possible. If your rifle is sighted in at 100 yards and your crosshairs are canted by just one degree, you'll be aiming almost 2" to one side when you raise elevation for a 600 yard shot. Now this won't be to much of a problem for me because I won't be shooting out that far but it's good to know about.



Once I had the rifle level, it was time to do the same with the scope. I kept the level on the scope while I installed the rings and then tightened them down. With the hard part out of the way, let you show you a little bit about the scope itself.



This is the Wind-Plex reticle, which is similar to a Duplex but the Wind-Plex reticle takes the versatility of the Duplex and adds wind hold marks on the horizontal plane (windage) for simple corrections. My old duplex only had solid posts, like you see in the vertical plane below. This new reticle should come in handy if I'm shooting into a cross wind.



The power or magnification is towards the top. As you can see it goes from 4.5X to 14X. After talking with a Leupold rep, he told me that it's closer to 15 power than 14. If that's true, I wonder why they didn't call it 15 or 14.5? Not sure but I'll take it!

The numbers on the bottom are for ranging your target but I'm not concerned about those because I own a hand held range finder already (made by Leupold). Oh...and notice the built-in 'power lever'. Almost every scope manufacture has implemented this (many years ago) which is very nice to have built-in now. As for the one I made for my old one? Well, I guess I'll have to put that old scope on something else someday.




The CDS on this scope is something I've wanted for a long time and now I finally have it. This system allows you to dial in the exact distance to your target and be able to hold dead on up to 600 plus yards (for my setup). What you do is call Leupold with your guns ballistics and they custom make a dial for your firearm. I received my dial two weeks later and went to the gun range to site it in. I'll have to say after playing with it for a short time, it works great!



You have your choice of site-in distance: 100 or 200 yards. Once you tell Leupold your site-in distance (100 yards for me) you shoot your paper target dead center with your CDS dial set to 'one' (meaning 100 yards). Once you've done that you're ready to aim at a long distance target, hold dead center and pull the trigger. As long as you know the distance to your target, it's as simple as turning the dial to that yardage and that's it.



Here's an example of shooting at 250 yards.



And this one is set for 600 yards.



Now this is such a great system and I had a chance to test it out to 300 yards from a bench rest. The range I shot at had small metal targets (6" diameter) at 200 and 300 yards down range. I turned my dial to the number 2, aimed at the small metal target 200 yards away and pulled the trigger. To my delight I was rewarded with a 'ding' . Next I cranked the dial up to the number 3, aimed at the 300 yard target and same thing, 'ding'.

Then the moment of truth, does it still shoot the bullseye at 100 yards when I turn my dial back to 'one'? Yes it does (I'm smiling while writing this) which is everything because if it doesn't repeat, it's useless. One more thing to note here: dialing back to zero is easy because the custom dial has a positive stop built in that won't let you go past the number one. This is a nice feature and you could do this without looking if you wanted.

In case you were wondering why the scope looks longer now, it's because I have a 2 1/2" Sun Shade made by Leupold screwed into the objective lens along with spring loaded dust caps at each end. This new scope sure does make a difference while I'm shooting now and I should have done it years ago.

If you're going to mount any new optics on your firearm, you can make your own set of tools like I did or buy some that are made for it. Either way you'll end up doing the job right if you do.


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