Leupold VX-R Patrol Riflescope Review

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The Leupold VX-R Patrol riflescope is part of my build for a defensive rifle. My build started with a Smith & Wesson AR 15 Sport. The upper with iron sights had long ago been set aside for new 6.5 Grendel and 223 Wylde upper receivers with longer barrels and sleek handguards. It was time to revive that very accurate barrel with new components.

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The Leupold VX-R Patrol Riflescope in 1.25-4x with illuminated Firedot reticle is a great scope for hunters, personal defense, or Law Enforcement officers. This Leupold scope has an extremely sleek design, weighs only 12 ounces and is 9.5″ long. It has a 30mm tube, 20mm objective lens and an adjustable ocular lens to adjust to your eyes for a precise dot.

Speaking of the dot, it is available in red or green depending on the reticle you choose and subtends about 1″ on 4X. The circle diameter is 10 mills. The small hash marks on the crosshair are spaced every 2.5 mils according to Leupold’s specifications.

The dot is very clear and round with no glowing star effect you get with some scopes. It is very easy to see for accurate aiming. I have seen lesser scopes with blurry dots, but this Leupold Patrol is spot on!

The Leupold VX-R Patrol 1.25-4x20mm Illuminated Scope w/ FireDot Reticle is designed with proprietary motion sensor technology that turns the scope off after five minutes of non-use and then reactivates instantly when any kind of movement is detected. The Leupold VX-R Patrol 1.25-4×20 Tactical Scope uses readily available CR-2032 coin-cell battery to power the illuminated reticle and it has eight power settings for use in day or night. I have not tested the battery life of this scope but with my other VX-R scopes, batteries last 1-2 years with several trips to the range and hunting.

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The 30mm main tube is made of weight-saving aluminum and is completely waterproof. Finger-click adjustments on the Leupold VX-R are easy to access and assure maximum adjustment precision.

The scope has the legendary Index Matched Lens System that, when combined with edge-blackened lead-free lenses, offers amazing clarity and light transmission, while the fast-focus eyepiece ensures optimal diopter adjustment in the field. The Leupold VX-R Patrol 1.25-4x20mm Illuminated Military Riflescope comes with the patented 1-button illumination design that minimizes bulk, while allowing users to select between 8 intensity settings, including a low/high indicator.

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Leupold VX-R Patrol 1.25-4×20 at the Range

I was thinking about getting a red dot scope like the Leupold RDS, but decided the VX-R Patrol 1.25-4 would better suit my needs. At the lowest power setting, it is almost like having a red dot scope, and I can shoot quickly and easily with both eyes open.

At the range, the first shot at 25 yards was 2″ right. A quick adjustment of the tactical style turrets and I was centered 1.5″ low. I bumped it to 4x and hit the 200 plate on the next shot. Two more clicks left and I was zeroed. It was easy to ring the eight-inch plates at 200 yards and because of the low power, there are no parallax or focusing problems from 25-200 yards.

I tried Federal 50 gn HP factory ammo and my handloads using 55 gn Hornady V-max bullets. Both loads were very accurate and I was surprised at the MOA groups I was getting at 200 yards shooting on 4X.

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Ballistic Firedot Reticle Description

  • Circle provides simple target acquisition
  • Fiber-optic powered center red-dot
  • Multiple brightness settings for changing conditions
  • FireDot Technology brings your eye to the center of the reticle for quick target acquisition
  • Features Leupold’s own Motion Sensor Technology (MST)
  • Intended to be used on highest magnification in a rear or 2nd focal plane scope

Everything is great about this scope except the name and measurements of the reticle. For my purposes, the reticle works great because my use is for 200 yards maximum range. If you want to use it for longer distances, you have to understand that the Ballistic Firedot reticle is not a bullet drop compensating reticle. If you zero the scope at 200 yards, the first hashmark below the dot will put you on target at about 400 yards, not 300 as the name and Leupold’s description implies.

The increments in the reticle are spaced 2.5 mils (8.75″) at 100 yards. The circle is 10 mills (35″) in diameter at 100 yards. So, what is the Ballistic Firedot good for? It is good for quick target acquisition. It is great for low light situations. In the hands of a trained precision shooter, the reticle can be used for range estimation. It is basically the same reticle as the standard mildot with a 10-mill circle around the dot. I really like it because it is fast and easy to aim.

For accurate shooting with my 55 grain 223 Remington (or 5.56 mm NATO) ammo zeroed at 200yards, all I need to do is use the elevation knob to come up 1 mill for 300 yards, 2 mills for 400 yards and 3 mills for 500 yards. I would guess most high power cartridges shooting around 3000 fps would be very close to that trajectory. A coyote might escape at 500, but bad guys in the open would be in trouble.

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Leupold VX-R Patrol Likes & Dislikes

I like just about everything about the VX-R Patrol. It has crystal clear lenses, it is light-weight, and of course, it has the Firedot Reticle. It makes quick accurate shots easy and keeps you on target in low light conditions.

I like the low tactical target knobs that can be repositioned after zeroing the scope. The tracking is very good. I am not crazy about knobs marked in mills. I had rather have MOA, but if you want to be “tactical” you will like them. For hunters, 3 clicks equal an inch instead of 4 at 100 yards for elevation and windage. Now that it is zeroed and the knobs are reset, elevation to 300-500 is as easy as coming up 1, 2, 3 mills using the elevation knob.

Of course, it is a Leupold. Made in America. Lifetime warranty for every person who owns it. Tough as nails and crystal clear. The only problem is that the VX-R Patrol is no longer made. Grab one quickly before they are all gone.

My previous post was about changing the handguard to make it more user and optics friendly. You can read that post AR15 Handguard Replacement post here.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>