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Review of the Leupold VX-6 Multigun

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If you follow ThruMyLens, then you know the 3-Gun bug has hit me pretty hard in the last year.  To be competitive in the sport, I’ve had to acquire a ton of new gear.  I’ve upgraded my shotgun to the Benelli Performance Center M2 3 Gun Edition, ordered the new 2016 edition of the Colt Competition CRP-18 rifle, and even purchased a new 3 Gun range bag, and built a gun cart to haul it all around in during matches.  Until my new rifle comes, I’ve been making due (quite well actually) with my Colt 6940P AR-15, with an Aimpoint PRO red dot, and Aimpoint 3x magnifier.  Truth be told, there really wasn’t a pressing reason for me to make a change to this set up.  I’ve only been shooting local club matches – most of which have rifle stages set up no further than 100 yards, with a maximum distance of 200 yards.  A 3x magnifier is plenty of glass help to get you on target at 200 yards and under.  But I’ve always wondered how much a traditional magnified scope would help my 3 Gun rifle performance.  Since I’ve ordered a new competition optimized rifle, it was pretty easy to justify the purchase of glass which would perform as well as the rifle.  But which scope?

Based on b0th my limited experience at the 3 Gun matches I had competed in to date, and a review of online resources, I determined what the important factors were for me.  1)optical performance/clear glass with a 1x-6x magnification range, 2)a true 1x setting for close quarters shooting (which seems to be the lion’s share of the ranges I shoot in), and 3)A reticle purposely designed for the needs of 3 Gun competition.  Fortunately, the popularity of 3 Gun has brought with it many choices for good 3 Gun rifle scopes.  In fact, there are many good choices in this product segment, and few bad ones.

The gold standard for 3 Gun scopes seems to be the Swarovski 1-6×24 L Z6i – unfortunately it’s standard costs a lot of gold at around $2500.00 (depending on where you buy).  Another extremely popular choice for 3 Gunners is the Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6×24 Riflescope with JM-1 BDC Reticle.  It delivers glass performance on par with Swarovski, at a price that’s at least $1000.00  less (about $1400.00 depending on where you buy).  It’s also bulkier and heavier than most every other 1x-6x scope out there.  Despite the weight disadvantage, I was quite close to pulling the trigger on the Vortex Razor when I looked at the Leupold VX-6 1-6x24mm Multigun scope.  It was both lighter and less expensive (by a coupe of hundred bucks) than the Vortex Razor.  I’m also more familiar with and trust the Leupold name more, as I have a couple of their Deltapoint red dot optics on pistols I own.

The Leupold VX-6 has been upgraded in 2016 with a new reticle – the FireDot BDC.  It’s clearly designed to compete head-to-head with the JM-1 BDC Reticle on the Vortex Razor.  Here’s a photo showing the JM-1 BDC:

reticlejm-1 bdc ret

Now here’s a photo of the Leupold VX-6’s new FireDot BDC:

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Both reticles are clean and clear with illuminated centers and targeting points going down the center line designed to use with target distances.   The FireDot on the VX-6 is 1 MOA.

After receiving my VX-6, the first order of business was mounting it to its temporary home on my Colt 6940P (as of this writing, my Colt Competition CRP-18 is still about a month out in production).  There many mounting solutions available, but since one of the things that attracted me to the Leupold VX-6 was its light weight, I selected the lightest weight scope mount available – the Aero Precision Ultralight 30mm Scope Mount.  It’s combination of durability and lightweight has made it an extremely popular choice among 3 Gunners:

IMG_0521-Edit-Edit

Once mounted, I took the rifle out to my local range to zero it.  I used a laser to bore sight the VX-6, which got me on paper when I went out to the range.  Then it only took a few additional trial and error adjustments using the turret dials for both windage and elevation (which move in 1/4 MOA increments) to get impressive results at 50 yards:

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I moved my point of aim left a couple of clicks then headed to the 200 yard range to see what the performance was like:

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I was pretty happy with that group, which was just as good as my 50 yard group, with the point of impact being exactly where you’d expect for a rifle that was zeroed to 50 yards shooting .223 – just an inch or so above point of aim.  The sight picture at 200 yards with 6x magnification was roughly equivalent to looking through my Aimpoint 3x at 100 yards.  Since I can shoot acceptable groups with my Aimpoints at 300 yards, I’m speculating that with the VX-6, I’d be OK out to 600 yards.  That’s a range only a select few 3 Gun matches in the country use, so I’m quite comfortable with the capability of this scope for 3 Gun competition.

Having adjusted the magnification at the range while zeroing, I noted that the magnification dial was quite stiff and not easily (or quickly) manipulated.  Given the requirements for making fast magnification changes during 3 Gun matches, the industry has devised a solution to this common problem on scopes – a throw lever.  A throw lever is attached to a scope, and usually fits around the point on the scope tube where the magnification adjustment dial is located.  It effectively enlarges the magnification adjustment dial, and provides greater mechanical advantage during manipulation.  For the Leupold VX-6 Multigun, I purchased the MGM 1613-1655SV – Switchview:

IMG_4789-Edit

Now that I’ve used the VX-6 in both range practice and competition, I’m extremely pleased with the scope, and believe my rifle performance is both faster and more accurate during competition.  I’m guessing the previously mentioned Swarovski 1-6×24 L Z6i and the Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6×24 might well offer some advantages optically, with possibly superior eye relief,  “eye box” (basically the room you have to move your head around before losing the sight picture), and clarity at extreme distances.  The VX-6 is no slouch optically though, and offers real advantages in both weight and cost.  I believe it’s the “baby bear soup” choice currently available among 1-6 power 3 Gun rifle scopes and a perfect choice for me that will meet my needs for years to come.

The only negatives I can think of in using this scope have to do with the FireDot and it’s adjustment.  Firstly, I wish there were a positive adjustment dial instead of the button you press to move the brightness up and down, as this would be less confusing for the end user to determine where the brightness is vs. where you want it to be.  Secondly, the green FireDot isn’t quite as bright/large as I’d like it to be.  Most shots taken with a 3 Gun rifle will be from 50 yards and closer – for that, you want a nice big, bright dot to blaze away at the A-zone.  The 1 MOA dot is nice for precision shots where you don’t want the dot covering the target, but a quick adjust changing the size of the dot would be better.  Related to the size is the brightness – it’s clearly visible is bright sunlight, but doesn’t seem to stand out quite as well as I’d like.  However, I’ll stress these are minor criticisms – the VX-6 does what I need it to do quite well in a durable, lightweight, and very affordable package.

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

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