Leupold VX-R 1.25 to 4 Power Riflescope with Pig Plex Illuminated Reticle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

May 22nd, 2011


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Leupold VX-R Hog has finger-adjustable 1/4-minute adjustments.





Fire-Dot reticle is easily adjusted by pressing on the side-mounted button.









Leupold has for decades now been one of the premier optics companies in the United States, serving sportsmen and law enforcement/military needs for quality binoculars, scopes, mounts, and rangefinders. Leupold’s Tactical division markets some very high quality, heavy-duty riflescopes, and their Tactical Division’s influence is apparent in the new line of VX-R riflescopes that are marketed to hunters. The VX-R scopes are built on heavy-duty 30mm tubes, which offer a wider range of windage and elevation adjustment when compared to a standard one-inch main tube. The use of Leupold’s Fire-Dot reticle adds greatly to the versatility of the VX-R line. Many times I have been in the woods at dawn or dusk, when there was plenty of light to see an animal through the scope, but not enough light to see the crosshair reticle. The VX-R scopes with the Fire-Dot have an illuminated dot right in the center. The intensity of the dot is adjustable to suit various conditions, from a level that is barely visible to a very bright red dot for quick use in the field, even at high noon. Unlike a traditional red dot optic, the VX-R scopes still utilize one of a few available reticles, for use when the dot is not needed, or for backup in the case of a dead battery. To prevent draining the battery when the operator forgets to turn the unit off, the VX-R Fire-Dot automatically turns itself on and off, using proprietary motion-sensing technology. You never have to remember to turn the unit off, nor to turn it on.

Leupold has several models of VX-R scopes available, but the one shown here is likely the most versatile scope in the entire Leupold line; the VX-R Hog. With hundreds of different Leupold scope models and variations available, that statement took a lot of thought, but I can back it up. The VX-R Hog is, like other VX-R scopes, built on that military-grade 30mm main tube. The Pig Plex reticle is very bold, being very easy for the eye to pick up quickly, but fine enough in the center for precision use. The power of the VX-R Hog is adjustable from one and one-quarter power up to four power. Set at its lowest power setting, the Hog is easily used with both eyes wide open, for use in dense woods. This makes it equally well-suited for use as a tactical scope for close-quarters fighting, inside a building or on city streets, and the lighted Fire-Dot that makes this Hog scope so useful in the woods, also makes it an excellent choice for close-quarters battle in a dark building or at night. The same features that make this scope ideal for hunting running hogs in the deep woods also make it ideal for close range fighting, and cranking the power adjustment up to four gives plenty of magnification for longer-range shots in the hunting field. For many years, a fixed four power scope was the mainstay of American hunters. Today, most hunters buy too much magnification in their hunting scopes, and that is a mistake. While many of my hunting rifles wear a three-to-nine variable, I always keep the scope set on three power in the field, as it is quicker to get on target, but still offers plenty of precision for shots out to a couple of hundred yards, and farther. The four power setting on the VX-R Hog is plenty of power for hunting any big game animal, anywhere in the world. The same features that make this VX-R Hog scope ideal for hunting in the North American woods also makes this an ideal scope for hunting large, dangerous game on the African continent. The variable power works perfectly in the thick brush, as well as for plains game at extended range.

The unique Pig Plex reticle of the VX-R Hog uses three heavy posts for the bottom vertical and the outward portions of the horizontal crosshairs. These are heavy and bold enough that Leupold has plenty of room to place the words “Pig” and “Plex” within the horizontal crosshair. These heavy posts naturally and quickly guide the eye to the center, where Leupold uses a circle-dot, with two additional aiming points below the circle, giving the shooter a total of six aiming points, using the edges of the circle, the center dot, the lower cross wires, and the top of the bottom post. In addition, on the thin portion of the horizontal crosshair, there are two hash marks to help with the correct lead on a running animal.

When this VX-R Hog scope arrived, I immediately knew that it was the ideal scope for my 50 Beowulf AR-15. I call that rifle “Thumper”, as it is ideal for hunting hogs, bear, and other heavy game at close to moderate range, and those 400 grain bullets soundly thump game with authority. I have never had to shoot anything twice with that rifle. The cartridge is very efficient in a AR-15 carbine, and functions perfectly with no special magazines. I use standard twenty-round Vietnam war era magazines, which hold seven of the fat fifty-caliber cartridges. To mount the Hog scope atop the Beowulf’s flattop Picatinny rail, I used the new Leupold Mark 4 Integral Mounting Systems scope mount. This mount is an ideal choice for use with AR rifles, as it sets the scope forward, offering plenty of eye relief, which is important, and also places the scope at the correct height for easy, precise use. The lower ring halves are integral with the base, and the base attaches very securely using hex nuts on a one quarter inch bolt. The nuts are tightened using a standard half-inch wrench, and removing the mount and replacing repeatedly made no change to the scope’s adjustment, remaining on target without any correction at all.

The VX-R Hog uses Leupold’s Indexed Matched Lens optics system for exceptional optical clarity. The exterior surfaces of the objective and ocular lenses are coated with Leupold’s DiamondCoat for scratch resistance. The scope is fog-proofed and water-proofed with both Argon and Krypton gasses, for an absolute seal without sacrificing optical clarity.

One of the best features of this new VX-R Hog riflescope is its price. I was surprised when I looked up the price online, expecting this scope to be in the thousand-dollar price range. This VX-R Hog retails for half of that, which puts it several hundred dollars below the price of the Mark 4 MR/T illuminated reticle scope, and fills the intended use just as well, and the Pig Plex reticle seems a bit more versatile to me.

The Leupold VX-R Hog is a rugged, reliable, extremely versatile scope for use in the woods, the field, or on duty. It is compact and easy to use, and extremely quick to get on target. Like other Leupold Golden Ring scopes, the VX-R Hog is guaranteed forever, backed by Leupold’s Golden Ring Full Lifetime Guarantee, and it is built in the USA. I highly recommend it.

Check our the extensive line of Leupold optics and scope mounts online at www.leupold.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Leupold Hog mounted atop Alexander Arms 50 Beowulf AR-15 with Leupold Mark 4 Integral Mounting System.



When mounting a scope, Jeff likes to line the ring halves with electrical tape, to protect the scope's finish and to provide a secure grip.



A dab of blue LocTite on the ring screws keeps everything where it should be.



Leupold Mark 4 mount uses half-inch wrench to tighten adjustment nuts.



Torx-head screws are used to attach top half of rings.