When the U.S. Military went looking for a spotting scope to compliment and complete their new SASS Sniper unit, they went to Leupold. What they got was a compact, ultra-clear spotting scope that has the durability to handle any situation thrown at it. Just what you’d expect from Leupold.
My first experience with a Leupold spotting scope came on an antelope hunt in Wyoming. Oddly enough, it was the same basic scope as this new tactical model, without the ballistic ranging crosshair, giving the spotter the same image as the shooter. This crosshair system is extremely effective when judging range to target. I knew this scope wouldn’t let me down and it won’t let our special forces down either.
Leupold first entered the high-end spotting scope market with the Golden Ring®12-40X60mm. This unit incorporated their Folded Light Path lens and mirror optical system to give you an effective optical path of a scope nearly twice as long – translated, mirrors reflect the light twice and you get great optical quality in a scope that is short enough to easily fit in your pack, just what you’d want for hunting applications. At only 12.4″ long, this scope is smaller than most all of the competition in its class. Leupold added a High Definition (HD) fluoride-based glass objective lens system. While complicated to explain, the end result was exceptionally clear and bright images. After looking through it, we noticed that the real difference was in the color differentiation. The kind of clarity I experienced with this scope is vital for the kind of work it is intended to be used for.
Besides the clarity, the thing I really liked about this scope was the compact size and light weight. For a quality 40-power spotting scope with a 60mm objective lens, this scope was extremely compact and easy to pack. In the field that means you will be sure to have it with you when you need it.
One of the coolest things I found about the Leupold scope was the field carrying case that it came in. The soft-sided case is lightly padded and constructed of a rugged nylon that is designed for field use. If you believe in quality optics enough to spend $1500 or more on them, then you want to protect them to ensure they will be with you for many years to come. In a spotting scope, protecting the lens and the coatings is most important. You want to ensure that your image stays bright, and with most other brands of scopes you have to fiddle with lens caps in the field. And if you’re like me, you eventually lose the lens caps or get tired of dropping them and just leave them in the truck and risk scratching your expensive optics.
Leupold’s handy soft-side field case actually incorporates lens protection without having easy-to-lose caps. The precious objective lens and its coatings are covered by a hinged piece of padded fabric that is held in place by a Velcro® tab, and the rest of the case zips around the eyepiece. When you are ready to use it, just unzip the back half of the case (side Velcro® tabs hold the case out of the way), flip down the objective cover, and you are seeing clear.
The military chose a winner in this spotting scope and what is great here is that this technology is available to you, and it is practical as well. If you are looking for a spotting scope for long range shooting, hunting, or service, this is a great option. You may ask yourself why I am talking about a tactical spotting scope here. Take a look at the rifle scopes that are all the rage right now and you’ll have your answer.
This is the only spotting scope I’ve seen with a tactical crosshair built in. The military chose this to help snipers range and hit targets at any distance. I think that would sure be handy when looking over a trophy buck, bull or pronghorn, whether that is across a grassy plain, a rugged mountain top, or a snow-covered cornfield.