Vortex and Leupold are two of the best scope brands on the market right now. Truthfully, you might not notice a big difference between them at first glance. But on closer inspection, the differences are substantial enough to make a difference if you’re a serious hunter.
For starters, both scope brands give you true colors, no distortion, fog protection, and don’t lose 0. They’re both built like tanks and come with a range of magnification and focal lens options.
Below, we used two of the most popular scopes from each brand to compare their quality:
Although their magnification aims for different things, their quality is comparable. We’ll look at some of the key observations on each brand’s history, clarity, focus, and more below.
Vortex began in 1986 in Wisconsin. It started as a small service for outdoor goods, turning into Vortex Optics by 2002. Since then, it’s had a reputation for producing scopes, binoculars, and other optical accessories.
Leupold & Stevens Inc began in 1907. Initially, the company produced surveying equipment and water recorders. It only began to make rifle scopes after World War II. When Marcus Leupold failed to shoot a deer because of a foggy scope, he decided he could make a better one. So, the brand began its scope lines.
Since then, these two have become arguably the most trusted scopes brands. For example, government institutions like the US Army, Navy Seals, and even the Secret Service have used Leupold scopes.
Looking through both of the lenses, there’s not a big difference in clarity. The Leupold Mark 6 and Vortex Razor HD each captured true colors and crystal clear images.
They definitely both give you more mileage than lower range brands that might have fuzzy edges and lower focus. If you got rid of the crosshairs and edges on each one, you wouldn’t even think you’re looking through a piece of glass.
It is worth noting that Leupold’s clarity is marginally better, though. It seemed to capture more natural light and had more of the ‘real eye’ view effect mentioned above. But if you’re shopping on a budget, it’s nothing worth rejecting the Vortex over.
This Leupold was a 3-18X44, and it was easy to adjust the zoom by twisting near the eyepiece. It’s a first focal lens, making it easy to calculate a target distance with no problem. You can see the crosshairs get thinner the more you zoom in, without any sacrifice in clarity.
The Vortex Razor, on the other hand, is a 1-6X24. It was also a second focal lens piece, making it more challenging to calculate the distance by zooming. In action, this looks like the crosshairs are staying the same no matter your adjustments.
I did get a chance to review a 1-6X24 by Leupold. Despite it being more pricey than the Vortex model here, it did have one caveat. It was less forgiving with side-to-side movement than the Vortex.
However, for what they built the long-distance Leupold and shorter Vortex for, they did comparatively great.
Both the Leupold and the Vortex offered a 3 to 4-inch range eye box view. That’s remarkable when you consider how much more affordable the Vortex is.
Lower range brands may demand you give it a 1 to 2-inch view to point and shoot accurately. That’s frustrating when a gun is close enough to recoil and hit your eye. So, even though the price between this Leupold and Vortex are different, they both gave you remarkable views from a comfortable distance.
If weight matters to you, you might prefer going with a Leupold body. Even though the Leupold Mark 6 has a longer body than the Vortex, it still weighed less. When I viewed the 1-6X24 Leupold, I noticed that it also weighed lighter than its Vortex counterpart. You may not see it when you’re holding it, but you will if you’re taking your rifle to go hunting.
Generally, Leupold models will cost you more than Vortex scopes. There are a few factors that determine that price difference.
For one, Vortex manufactures many of its scopes in Japan. Japanese quality manufacturing is very sturdy but ultimately can cost marginally less than Leupold’s. By manufacturing there, Vortex makes comparable quality scopes to Leupold for less.
On the other hand, Leupold manufactures its scopes in Oregon, USA. Like we mentioned, it’s a top-of-the-line choice for even government army branches. So, buying a Leupold can be a way to both support your economy while guaranteeing you’re getting a high-quality scope.
Both Leupold and Vortex offer lifetime warranty protection for their scopes.
Vortex will repair damaged and defective products. If it’s completely unusable, they’ll even replace it entirely for free. This warranty doesn’t cover cosmetic damage, theft, or loss. Still, it’s good to have that knowledge in the back of your mind, so you feel more secure with the investment.
Leupold boasts a long reputation for being unbreakable. The brand even went as far as to test the Leupold Mark 6 by throwing it out of a helicopter. When they got it back, it kept working with no problem.
The brand guarantees its protection from extreme climate conditions, water, and more. But, in the unlikely event that it does break, it’ll still repair or cover you free of charge.
If you’re on a budget, go for the Vortex scopes. They perform as well as the Leupold and don’t sacrifice quality for the lower price. You can feel confident that you’ll have crystal clear adjustment, focal lens options, and a lifetime guarantee with it.
Vortex scopes are fantastic, but if you do have the money, you might as well buy the Leupold. Leupold scopes give you slightly better quality, lighter weight, and are pretty much the best you can buy. Plus, although the Vortex can take a hit, the Leupold has a longer track record of being sturdy for more than hunting, but also the army.
In either case, you’ll never suffer from fuzzy edges or awkward adjustments.