close

Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

Burris vs. Leupold

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Counter Strike, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. Counter Strike

    Counter Strike

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2001
    A while back I posted a .308 v. 30-06 thread and ya'll gave good and thoughtful input. The upshot is I ended up with a Browning BAR in 30-06. (A VERY sweet shootin' gun by the way!) Now it's time to pick a scope.

    I've got it narrowed down to a 3x9-40 Leupold or Burris in the VX-I or FullfieldII models, respectively. No one in my area (that I know of) stocks Burris so I am unable to do a side-by-side comparison of the optics. I know Leupold has good optics and I am supposing Burris does as well. Both scopes are very closely priced. MHO is that the optics aspect of scopes are over-hyped by the manufacturers because that is something the buyer can "see." Question #1: Within the same price range, are Leupold and Burris about the same in terms of opitcal quality? My guess is "Yes." I would like to hear from someone who knows.

    Issue number two is the ability of the scope to hold a zero over time and after getting bumped. (Now we're getting into Voo-Doo/Black Magic territory!) Having great optics and light-gathering ability is great, but if the cross-hairs have moved, you're screwed! The Burris web site goes into excrutiating detail about the construction of their scopes. They even have a posi-lock system on their higher end scopes. Leupold does not address this issue at all other than to say they have steel-to-steel contacts, big deal. I find Leupold's lack of info on this area suspect. What has your experience been?

    Next, illuminated reticles. Are they worth the $100+ over a similar scope with a regular reticle?

    Finally, I am strangely attracted to Leupold's Quick-Release scope mounts for reasons I can't quite articulate. My BAR does not presently have iron sights attached, but it is tapped for them and I am not above adding them on the gun. I'm in South Alabama where close shots are the norm. A more likely scenario for using the QR/ion-sight set-up is the scope getting bumped as I pull it into the tree stand. (Back to that holding zero issue again.)

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

    Messages:
    16,904
    Likes Received:
    2,678
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    Location:
    North-Central USA
    My two cents:

    The Burris and Leupold scopes you address are very close in optical quality, IMO. As a hunter, I think either would do the job just fine. A couple points you should know about:

    - The Leupold VX-I line has friction-locked adjustment screws (no clicks, just lines on the circular scale around the turret). They work fine, but a lot of folks like the repeatability and positive feedback of clicks. For a few bucks more, you could move up to the Leupold VX-II and get click adjustments and better lens coatings (Multi-Coat 4). I think it's worth the move.

    - The Burris FullField II has one (for me) annoying feature; the magnification mechanism is not controlled by a ring, it requires moving the entire rear (ocular) lens housing. This means when you raise the power (zoom in), you have to turn the whole rear of the scope. I don't know about you, but I use flip-up lens caps. This means my lens cap opening tab could end up anywhere in a 180 degree circle, depending on where the magnification is set. I don't like this -- at all. I also don't think a scope with this type of construction is as strong as a one-piece tube with a power ring cut-out. It's so new, there's no real-world info on durability yet, so we'll have to wait and see on that point. I bought one for one specific feature; the Ballistic Plex reticle. I like it a lot, but I'm not sure it's worth the lens cap hassle. I may be obsessing, here, but that really bugs me.

    Illuminated reticles are neat-o and everything, but not very useful under actual NORMAL hunting conditions. If it's too dark to see your crosshairs, it's probably not legal shooting hours in most areas. In some states (mine included) light "assistance" is not legal when hunting (falls under the shining/spotlighting animals statutes); better check in your state to be sure, if you haven't already. Don't think a store salesman won't sell you something illegal to hunt with; THEY DON'T CARE, you should, it's YOUR butt. If it's dark, but legal, aim at something light-colored in the critter's path, and let him walk into your sight picture, then pull the trigger. It has worked for me.

    If it was up to me, I'd skip lunch for a month or two, and step up to the VX-II; better in many ways than either of your choices. If I was forced to pick between the two you listed, I'd go for the VX-I.

    I don't think either of these scopes is prone to losing zero by being bumped; it's much more common to lose your zero because of poor quality mounts than the scope going out-of-whack. I think either one would have to be smacked hard enough to bend the tube to cause a loss-of-zero problem; and that means the shooter messed-up somewhere in his/her gunhandling skills.

    Hope this was helpful...
     

  3. Counter Strike

    Counter Strike

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2001
    You make very good and helpful points Mr. Niner. Leupold's absence of info made me unaware of the friction-lock situation - that's no good. And not being able to handle the Burris, I was unaware of the set-up with the rear lens housing - I'm with you on that one too.

    As far as the holding zero issue - I'm pretty careful with my gear. I've also got a careful friend. Last year, for whatever reason, he neglected to zero his scope. Long story short, he was off several inches to the left. I just don't get how that happens.

    Thanks for the advise. You have more knowledge than the local gun shop guy (imagine that).;Q
     
  4. Dan in Alaska

    Dan in Alaska

    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    I own or have owned Burris (Fullfield), Leupold (Vari-X II) and Nikon scopes. All of them were older models before the Fullfield II, VX1, and Monarch's were introduced. They are all quality units, but I always like the eye relief on the Leupold scopes the best. It seems much more forgiving than the other brands.

    DJ Niner, thank you for the valuable information! I am always looking to pick up another scope (it always seems that I have more rifles than scopes). Everything you mentioned addresses an important feature I need to consider before making my next scope purchase.

    Also, I agree with you on the illuminated reticle issue. If it is too dark to see the crosshairs, it is probably too early or too late to legally shoot.
     
  5. Counter Strike

    Counter Strike

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2001
    Dan, the Leupolds, per their advertised specs) do indeed offer about .5 inch more eye relief than most others.

    As for the illimunated reticles, the Burris website has a pic promoting their "electradot" reticle which appears to be a traditional crosshair with a small red dot where the crosshairs meet. The picture depicts a plausible scenario where it is low light and the deer is backlit by what light is available. You can see the outer edged of the crosshairs, but they disappear on the dark deer. I think this falls in the gee-whiz, neato, nice to have category, but come to think of it, it violates the KISS principle.

    Any thoughts on scope mounts? I've got the Leupold with one-piece base on the BAR at present. Jeff Cooper has turned me into a fanatic about mounting the scope as low as possible. I like the concept of the Burris Signature rings in theory - any hands-on experience?
     
  6. Dan in Alaska

    Dan in Alaska

    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    I prefer Burris bases and rings. I have their Signature series rings on my rimfire because I can avoid using shims to get the gun to zero at 100 yards (for some reason my scope won't adjust that far). I used the .010" offset inserts. For this purpose they are exceptional, but they don't look as nice as their regular rings. The Signature rings do work as advertised.

    I, too, like to mount my scopes as low as possible. For this reason, I avoid scopes with objective lenses larger than 40mm.

    All the centerfire rifles I own are bolt actions, so I like 2-pc bases because they give me extra clearance over the bolt. I suppose a 1-pc would be just about perfect on a BAR, where the top of the receiver is solid.
     
  7. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

    Messages:
    16,904
    Likes Received:
    2,678
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    Location:
    North-Central USA
    Thanks for the kind words, guys; glad I could help.

    I am also a fan of Burris' Signature rings; I have used them on several rifles, including one with the receiver holes drilled off-center, and another one used for informal long-range (900+ yards) shooting. The inserts allowed me to correct for known problems or extreme range quite well, and I've never had any trouble with them, from below zero to 100+ F. Zero is solid, and the fact that they do not "mark/mar" your expensive scope tube (even matte-finished ones) is another big plus in my book.

    I tried a Burris ElectroDot 3-9x a couple of years ago; what I found was if it was dark enough to need the dot, then the dot usually washed-out the target image. There is/was only two brightness settings, Medium and High. Even on the lowest setting, I could not see a target clearly as it got near dark; the light from the dot caused my pupils to close-down and then I couldn't see the target at all. Perhaps other manufacturers' scopes with multiple brightness settings have solved this problem, but the Burris didn't work for me. It's OUTTA HERE! :)

    Dan in Alaska, I found it a bit strange that you agreed with me on the lit reticle subject; when I lived there about ten years ago, Alaska was the only state I knew of where you could hunt at any hour of the day. Has that changed? Nothing like hunting by the light of the moon, deep in the bush; "SNAP"....."What was THAT?"....."I dunno; are we the hunters or the HUNTED?!?!?"

    ;f
     
  8. Dan in Alaska

    Dan in Alaska

    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    I moved to Alaska in August of 2001. I had to wait a full year before I can hunt as a resident, and I haven't had the chance to get out moose hunting yet. I am still thinking of the deer hunting I did in Wisconsin. Maybe I should give the illuminated reticles a second look.....
     
  9. johnbob

    johnbob Millennium Member

    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 1999
    I recently replaced my Leupold with a Burris. I've got a 1.5 X 6 Signature Electrodot mounted on my Remington 7400 in .35 Whelen. It was wearing a straight 4 Leupold V II I've had for probably 20 years. I'm happy enough with the Burris that I am probably going to get another one just like it for my muzzleloader. I don't understand the reply you got that mentioned the light dialating pupils and washing out targets. Mine has a very tiny point of red light at the crosshairs that I can't even see in full daylight with it on the high setting. It has proven ideal in hunting situations in Wyoming elk hunting, Ok deer hunting and Kansas deer hunting so far this fall and winter. In Ok and Kansas we can hunt from 30 minutes before official sunrise till 30 after official sunset. I typically use it the first 2 hours and the last 1 1/2. In Wyoming I used it a lot more, esp. when we were stomping around in the dark timber. I was actually a little disappointed the first time I turned it on as I was kind of expecting something like a big dot like I've seen and used shooting IPSC with handguns but after using it I appreciate it more. It is even useful when sighting in on black bullseyes. I also imagine it will be handy when hunting with my nephew so I can just say "put the red dot on his shoulder". I'm not bashing Leupold, as I have carried a pair of wind river 8 X 42's all season also and love them. Just hope you can find an opportunity to check out the Burris. Of course, I don't know what kind of terrain or distance you will be using it, so I can't offer suggestions on power ranges, but the 1.5 X 6 works for me.
     
  10. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

    Messages:
    16,904
    Likes Received:
    2,678
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2001
    Location:
    North-Central USA
    It's kind of hard to describe, but I'll do my best.

    We set up some various-colored targets on an outdoor range at 200 yards late in the afternoon. Some light-colored (white), some medium (plain cardboard-colored), and some pretty dark (black silhouettes). We had several scoped rifles, some with plain fixed-power scopes, some with high-powered variables, and the Burris Electro-Dot. We talked and plinked with our .22s until the sun began to set.

    As the sun dropped below the horizon, we quickly "lost" the crosshairs on the dark target with most of the scopes. Turning the 3-9x Electro-Dot to the lowest of the two settings worked perfectly. As it got darker, we noticed that although we could still see the lighter targets and cross-hairs with the non-lit scopes, when we looked through the Burris, the target image looked dimmer than we thought it should. Then one of the guys, who was switching back-and-forth quickly between the Burris and another scope, said he thought it was because the lit dot (by far the brightest object on the range) was causing our eyes to close-up; he noticed when he was switching that the non-lit image looked darker when he switched back after looking through the lit scope.

    We all tried it, and agreed that it seemed to make the target image LOOK darker in comparison to the image seen in the non-lit scopes. As it got near total darkness (1.5-2+ hours after sunset), we could still see the white target in some of the non-lit, low-powered scopes; UNTIL we looked through the Electro-Dot, then when we immediately tried the non-lit scope again, we couldn't see the target at all.

    Does that help explain the effect?

    It may not even be applicable in many (any?) hunting situations, but I thought it should be mentioned. Hope this was helpful...
     
  11. Pat S

    Pat S Millennium Member

    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 1999
    Location:
    Idaho
    Just my 0.02$ but I also own a Burris 1.5X6 Signature Series scope but without the illuminated reticle. I also have an older 3X9 VXII without the click adjustment and like it also for more open country. My advice to you would be if you hunt primarily in timbered country and the majority of your shooting is under 200-250 yds. the Burris has a definite advantage. On the lower power(1.5X) it gathers much more light then either my VX2 on 3X or my friends 3.5X10 VX3 on 3.5X. This is a major plus at first light and dusk and the increased field of view on the lower power is helpful also. I purchased it for elk hunting and got it with the heavy plex. It's quite an amazing scope especially considering the size of the objective lens.

    Happy hunting, Pat:)
     
  12. Dadburn

    Dadburn Millennium Member

    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 1999
    Location:
    Piedmont,North Carolina
    I looked at various scopes including Burris and Leopold before I decided on a VXII 3x9x50.To me the sight picture was much clearer on the Leopold,and as stated the eye relief was better.With the 50mm objective I can see my target way past shooting time,so the illuminated reticle is not needed.I walked around a corner in the road the other morning at 6am,way before daylight,and sighted in on a big doe at the mineral block.I could have killed her as easily as in the daylight.For the extra $40 the 50 is the way to go.