View Full Version : Leupold VX-I or Rifleman Scope?

Flux Capacitor
05-04-2007, 6:48 AM
After buying crappy scopes, I decided to get a Leupold. I came across these budget Leupolds and I know they don't have clickable adjustments but they fit the bill. Both have excellent reviews and are priced pretty much the same (same power rating). Which one should I get?


05-04-2007, 6:52 AM
I sell these scopes and I would like to know the difference too!!! They are pretty much identically priced which makes me wonder what the difference is. Last time I bought some, I just went with the VX-I. Until I know the difference, I can just claim they are better. :D

05-04-2007, 9:53 AM
The quality, number and hardness of the coatings improves with each higher designation, as well as overall designs are more complex, and lenses are better polished and have a higher pass/fail spec.

So you will get better light baffling (keeps the glare away, also keeps the internal lens elements from reflecting against each other to avoid lens flare), more contrast (which makes an object easier to see in underbrush or in shade), better light transmission (brighter sight picture), less optical distortion (pincushion, astigmatism, .

You also get more available features as you go up in class, like duplex ranging in variable powered scopes, more reticle options, parallax adjustability, and even illuminated reticles when moving up in quality...

I don't particularly like the Rifleman series, but they do compete with the Tasco/Burris/Bushnell/Nikon scopes in the $125-$175 range and may not have as nice features, but have equal or better glass.

The VX-III line compares in quality to Zeiss, Swarovski, and many other high end scopes.

In comparison, the Super Sniper is somewhere between Rifleman/VX-I quality.
A VX-III makes it look like a Chinese knockoff.

05-04-2007, 10:16 AM
In a nutshell, the Rifleman is the old Vari-X I renamed (not to be confused with the VX-I), and the VX-I is the old Vari-X II renamed.

Neither the Rifleman or the VX-I have click adjustments, as you said. Most of the Rifleman scopes are "fully coated" (single coating on each lens surface), while the VX-I are "multi-coated" (multiple coatings on lens surfaces - not sure about if it's on all surfaces). Coatings increase light transmission, reduce chromatic aberration, and other good stuff.

The Rifleman is also only available in matte, while the VX-I is available in gloss or matte. There's a lot more variety in the VX-I offerings as well.

Both have Leupold's basic optics, giving generous eye relief (one of Leupold's big benefits compared to other scopes in this price range), and both have Leupold's excellent warranty and support. The VX-I tends to cost about 20% more than the equivalent Rifleman at SWFA, but if there's not much difference between prices between similar models, the VX-I is definitely the way to go.

05-06-2007, 11:08 PM
In a nutshell, the Rifleman is the old Vari-X I renamed (not to be confused with the VX-I), and the VX-I is the old Vari-X II renamed.

That's not what happened.

The rifleman came out because people kept complaining that Leupold didn't have any offerings in the <$200 market... The VariX-I was reanmed the VX-I, the VariX-II renamed VX-II, and the VariX-III was renamed VXIII, except the VariX-III Tactical line was renamed and added to the MarkIV line.

Before the renaming, there were only 3 MarkIV scopes... the 10x40 and 16x40 M1 and the 10x40 M3. The difference between them was the M1 had 1/4 MOA clicks, and the M3 has 1 MOA elevation, 1/2 MOA windage and was used on the M24 before being replaced by the illuminated 3.5-10x40 LR/T

Now, all the Tactical scopes got renamed into the MarkIV line, and a number of previous scopes were discontinued... my favorite, which was the VariX-III 4.5-14x40 AO Tactical 1" tube with target turrets. :\

The Rifleman is a completely newly designed scope based off an outdated design to reduce costs and has cheaper materials. It is not a Gold Ring product, and does not carry the same warranty as a Gold Ring scope either... Just FYI... But they will most likely treat it the same, just because, their customer service is that good.

05-07-2007, 10:31 AM
I don't have much expertise in the upper-end Leupolds, as I don't buy many expensive scopes, but I've owned a fair number of the lower-end ones, and currently have several Vari-X II and VX-I scopes.

The Vari-X II was a friction-adjust scope (with a few exceptions), while the VX-II is a click-adjust scope. The Vari-X II shares many of the same features of the VX-I, including friction adjust and lesser coatings, and the look, feel, and performance are very similar. The VX-II is a good bit better scope, and priced accordingly.

According to Leupold, the Rifleman is a Golden Ring scope, and is covered by their lifetime warranty.

Here's a quote from Internet scope old-timer Ken Marsh's page. While this isn't necessarily gospel, I've followed Ken's work for many years, and tend trust his info, barring better data from elsewhere:

VX-I and Rifleman
The low price level VX-I scopes, introduced in 2002, are essentially the few remaining survivors of what used to be the Vari-X II lineup. The initial VX-I was limited to 2-7x33mm, 3-9x40mm, and 4-12x40mm models in Gloss with Duplex reticles only. Initial VX-I features were the same dated technology of the discontinued Vari-X II, including friction (click-less) adjustments, 3 piece bodies, and a good (if not great) Magnesium Fluoride (MgF2) fully single-coated lens system. In 2003 Matte was added, and "industry-standard" multi-coating added to Objective and Ocular lenses. Despite their dated 3 peice tube construction, these scopes have the same excellent durability reputation as their Vari-X II predecessors.

About the same time as this multicoating change, the Rifleman scope line was introduced. With the same limited number of models available, Rifleman scopes are only available in Matte and have fully MgF2 single coated lenses and friction adjustments. In other words, they are the original Vari-X II's in Matte. Rifleman scopes are Leupold Golden Ring products, meaning they have the lifetime warranty, however they are not eligible for reticle upgrades like the VX-I. They are only available in the same sizes as VX-I's.