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You’re going to hear a whole lot of this acronym this year — LPVO. It stands for Low-Powered Variable Optic, and it’s the insurgent category of riflescopes from at least a dozen brands. What are you going to hear precious little about? Spotting scopes.
Those are two of the dominant trends in sporting optics that we took away from SHOT Show 2022, and we’ll detail the reasons for each. But it’s also worth considering the other trend: not every brand has a new optic model this year. That’s largely because of the same dynamics we’ve seen in other categories, including ammunition and guns. There is simply too much energy being devoted to fulfilling orders with existing inventory and there’s no time to devote resources to innovation. Brands that planned to introduce new products this year have slow-rolled the releases, largely because they can’t get basic components—aluminum riflescope tubes, objective lens elements, illumination modules, and the seals that keep optics water- and fog-free—because of supply chain woes.
Still, there’s a lot to look at — and through — this year when it comes to riflescopes. A couple brands, including Zeiss and Vortex, have tasty new precision riflescopes. But it’s the LPVOs that rule the day. One reason they’re on the rise is that they are so versatile, suited for AR platforms but also straight-wall carbines, shotguns, and even muzzleloaders and dangerous-game rifles. Most of these scopes are in the 1-6x, 1-8x, or 1-10x magnification range, and generally feature 24mm objective lenses. The first-plane reticle models are the best expressions of the platform’s versatility. At 1-4x, the illuminated reticles work as a red-dot sight, giving shooters quick target acquisition and high situational awareness in any light conditions. But at 5-8x or 5-10x, many of those front-plane reticles enlarge to reveal holdover references that allow for surprisingly precise bullet placement. Adding to their versatility: these first-plane models can be set on any magnification to benefit from reticle references.
New LPVOs 2022
As with nature, the optics market abhors a vacuum, and most of us have all the 5-25×56 precision behemoths and 4-12×44 hunting scopes (and spotters) we need. But a little 1-8×24? We can always find a gun begging to be fitted with such a smart and versatile accompaniment.
We’ve been charmed by the low-mag Vudu since EOTech brought out a 1-6x version back in 2015. That first-plane model had the simple SR-3 reticle with an illuminated inner speed ring and BDC references tuned to the drop of standard 5.56 rounds.
This year’s model has a 10-times magnification range and a little larger objective lens, thanks to its 34mm tube. But it also has a new generation of that venerable SR-series reticle. Available in either the MOA-based SR-4 or Mil-based SR-5 or LE-5 reticles, each with abundant elevation and windage references, this is a scope for fast close-in work and surprisingly precise distance shooting. For hunters, think dark-timber elk or African savannah game, and for target shooters, think about engaging the wide range of targets at modest distances. The scope has 10 brightness settings engaged with a push-button illumination control, re-indexable low-profile turrets, and excellent Japanese glass.
EOTech Vudu 1-10×24 Specifications
- Configuration: 1-10x24mm
- Reticle Options: SR-4 features 40 MOA drop and windage and 100 MOA total travel. The SR-5 has 29 Mils of total elevation, and an open aiming circle, compared with the center crosshair of the LE-5.
- MSRP: $1,799
Bushnell’s newest entry in the Trophy line won’t win many long-distance precision target matches, but it’s not intended to. This is a scope for short to mid-range hunting. Think straight-wall cartridges in lever guns, slug guns, and ARs.
The second-plane reticle has six illumination intensity settings and ½ MOA click values under its capped turrets. The reticle itself allows for instant holdovers of up to 20 MOA in 2 MOA steps, allowing shooters to go from, say, a 50-yard zero out to 200 yards and beyond instantly, without dialing turrets or counting fine reticle references.
Bushnell Trophy QA 1-6×24 Specifications
- Configuration: 1-6×24
- Reticle Options: Second-plane ½ MOA illuminated dot-drop with 2 MOA increments
Leupold’s entry into the LPVO is a 1-6x low-profile gem that comes in two internal configurations. Both have second-plane reticles and 30mm tubes and Leupold’s proprietary glare-reducing coatings. The $1,399 model features ¼ MOA adjustments under capped turrets and Leupold’s illuminated FireDot duplex reticle. The other, priced at $1,499, has the same ¼ MOA click values but comes with Leupold’s CDS-ZL2 turret system that is fully compatible with custom dials that allow for two revolutions of elevation adjustment. CDS-ZL2 model has an illuminated CM-R2 reticle with a 6 MOA aiming circle and 43 MOA of elevation holds, making it a good choice for both close-in work and precision shooting at modest ranges.
Both models come with an integral throw lever to make magnification changes quickly and an in-scope anti-cant level to simplify mounting and reduce imprecision at longer ranges. Both feature a whopping 170 MOA of total internal elevation adjustment and both weigh just a shade over a pound.
Leupold Patrol 6HD Specifications
- Configuration: 1-6×24
- Reticle Options: The standard model features Leupold’s FireDot duplex reticle in the second plane. The CDS-ZL2 is built around the CM-R2 MOA-based reticle with 43 MOA of elevation references and a 6 MOA center aiming circle.
GPO has entered the tactical game with a first-plane LPVO built on a 34mm tube and an illuminated mil-spec horseshoe-type reticle. The 1-8x version of the GPOTAC has 0.1 Mil click values and 104 inches of total elevation travel. The auto-off illumination system lights up the center aiming dot and horseshoe center circle with non-illuminated elevation and windage hashes. At nearly $2,000, this isn’t a casual optic, but it has wide versatility, from its intended use on AR platforms to dangerous-game rifles and other short- to medium-range shooting.
GPO GPOTAC Specifications
- Configuration: 1-8×24
- Reticle Options: Called the Taci Reticle, the first-plane design features an illuminated center dot (.01 Mil) and enter aiming circle and non-illuminated hash-indicated elevation and windage marks on the central stadia.
- MSRP: $1,999
This Texas-based outfit has gone from selling its competitors’ products to branding a line of its own optics. The 1-8×24 PLx is designed to do one thing: direct 5.56 and .308 bullets downrange. The partial red illumination in the first-plane Raptor reticle is compatible with night-vision on the lowest settings, a feature that hints at its tactical intent. The re-zeroable turrets feature 0.1 Mil click adjustments and the 34mm tube holds nearly 30 Mil of total elevation and windage adjustment. The turret has a chevron aiming point and holdover references out to the equivalent of 800 yards with a 100-yard zero.
Primary Arms PLx Specifications
- Configuration: 1-8×24
- Reticle Options: First-plane illuminated ACSS Raptor M2 reticle tuned to 5.56/.308 drop profiles
- MSRP: $1,499
This direct-to-consumer optics brand is expanding its TORIC line of riflescopes with a tasty LPVO in both MOA and MRAD configurations. Externally, these look and operate the same way: they’re built on graphite 30mm tubes and feature capped turrets tuned to .2 MRAD (or .5 MOA) click adjustments with tool-less zero reset. The scopes, which retail for $1,194, weigh just 20 ounces and measure only 11 inches, making them good mates for ARs, lightweight mountain rifles, and your next 350 Legend or .45/70.
The second-plane illuminated reticles are equally similar: modified German 1 duplex reticles with bold peripheral stadia. But the magic happens inside the lines. The MOA-based reticle is divided into 4 and 10 MOA hashes, offering 40 MOA of both holdover and windage. The MRAD version has 1 and 2.5 MRAD hashes, with 10 MRAD of both holdover and holdoff.
Tract TORIC 1-8×24 Specifications
- Configuration: 1-8×24
- Reticle Options: Either MRAD or MOA-based reticles in second plane with 30 MIL/100 MOA total elevation adjustment
- MSRP: $1,194
New Precision Riflescopes 2022
Not all the innovation this year is in the LPVO category. A number of brands are bringing to market some extremely appealing precisions scopes. Here are the standouts.
Vortex has a new flagship, an update to its very successful Razor HD riflescope. The third-generation model has more magnification, a new EBR-7D reticle in the first focal plane that’s available in either MOA or MRAD references, and even brighter glass than previous models.
The scope is built around a reticle intended for elite long-range target shooters. The stratospheric price puts it out of range of most mortals, but for competition shooters looking for a reticle with clear windage and elevation holds at any magnification above 10x, this is a great addition to the field. Coupled with Vortex’s extremely precise and positive exposed turrets that allow shooters to set their zero between clicks and the scope’s abundant internal adjustment (120 MOA, 36.1 MRAD elevation range), the simple illumination adjustment and throw lever make adjustments quick and precise. The Christmas-tree EBR-7D reticle has red LED main-stadia illumination and hashes and dots with 10 MRAD (36 MOA) elevation holds and 10.5 MRAD of windage that step out from a .03 mil center aiming dot.
Vortex Razor HD Gen III 6-36×56 Specifications
- Configuration: 6-36×56
- Reticle Options: The new EBR-7D is available in either MOA or MRAD configurations. Both feature a center aiming dot (.1 MOA or .03 MRAD) and 10 MRAD (36 MOA) of elevation holds
Zeiss has finally entered the precision-scope conversation with a pair of doozies. The new LRP S5 line has a lower-powered 3-18×50 that makes a great crossover scope for hunting and precision shooting. The 5-25×56 is all about going long.
Both scopes are built on 34mm tubes, and both feature some of the most positive turrets on the market, with smart amplified clicks at important demarcations (1 mil or 5 MOA). And both feature class-leading internal adjustment; 40.7 MRAD (140 MOA) of elevation travel. The LRP are built behind Zeiss’s best class of glass, which means images are sharp and clear at any magnification.
In keeping with the modification vibe, both scopes are available with Zeiss’s ZE-MRi or MOAi first-plane reticles that feature an open aiming point. The mil version is a modified Christmas tree design with a blizzard of holds for elevation and windage. The MOA version is a simpler hash style. The only thing that’s not twinned in these scopes is their price. The 3-18x version will sell for $3,299 while the 5-25x version retails for $3,599.
Zeiss LRP S5 Specifications
- Configuration: 3-18×50 and 5-25×25
- Reticle Options: First-plane MRAD version is the ZE-MRi, with 10 mils of elevation hold and 20.2 mils windage. The MOA version is the ZE-MOAi with 36 MOA of elevation references.
- MSRP: $3,299 for the 3-18×30; $3,599 for the 5-56×56
Neither Burris nor its kissing European cousin, Steiner, exhibited this year at SHOT, but Burris has some interesting news for PRS and NRL shooters. The brand is upgrading its XTR line of tactical scopes with brand new glass, pimped-out furniture, and a new zero stop that doesn’t require tools. And, for steel-ringers who want a fully customizable elevation turret, the “Race Dial” system allows them to add an indexable ring to make speed dialing to known distances a cinch.
The updated line is built on the same 34mm 5-30×56 configuration, though the platform features new and brighter glass. The differences are inside. Burris is offering the new XTR in three reticle choices: two versions of the Special Competition Reticle (SCR-2) and the venerable TREMOR5. All use milliradian references.
Burris XTR Pro Specifications
- Configuration: 5-30×56
- Reticle Options: TREMOR5 or either the SCR 2 or SCR 2 ¼ Mil. All feature 26 mil (90 MOA) of total elevation adjustment.
- MSRP: $2,639 for the SCR 2 models, $2,999 for the TREMOR5 reticle
Hawke has entered the precision target game with a pair of new first-plane models. The 3-18×50 model costs around $1,300 and the 5-30×56 version will sell for about $100 more. Both are built on 34mm tubes and both feature Hawke’s legendary wide field of view.
Both have exposed “Zero Lock ‘n Stop” turrets (which sounds like the commands you’d give a person on fire) and shooters have a choice of illuminated reticles tuned to MOA (the MOA Pro Ext) or Mils (Mil-Pro Ext). In the 5-30x model, the Mil version has 15 Mils of holdover and 1, 0.2, and 0.1 Mil brackets for range finding in the semi-Christmas tree design. The MOA version has 60 MOA of holdover.
Hawke Frontier 34 FFP Specifications
- Configuration: 3-18×50 and 5-30×56
- Reticle Options: Both scopes are available in either Mil or MOA versions. They both feature modified Christmas-tree designs with red LED illumination and abundant (and really smart) windage and holdover references.
- MSRP: $1,299 for the 3-18×50 or $1,399 for the 5-30×56
New Hunting Riflescopes 2022
One of the dominant trends in the rifle category over the past year is the rise of the semi-custom mountain rifle. Think about the Weatherby Mark V Backcountry Ti, Browning X-Bolt Mountain Pro, Savage 110 Ultralight, and the new Bergara Premier Mountain, among many others. You’re not going to put a 2-pound, 34mm precision scope on these rifles, which tip the scales at around 6 pounds. You’re going to find a premium lightweight riflescope to do the job, and manufacturers have a few you should consider this year. Meopta, Maven, and GPO all have scopes configured for a wide variety of hunting, but they have in common light weights, second-plane reticles, and useful magnification ranges.
Meopta is swinging for value-conscious consumers with its new MeoSport R 3-15×50 RD riflescope, priced well under $500. The versatile configuration features an illuminated 4C reticle in the second plane, 0.1 Mil windage and elevation adjustments with capped, lockable re-zeroable turrets, and a 30mm tube. The scope ships with indexed 1.5-inch scope rings that mate up with a white line on the belly of the scope to aid in mounting. Of interest to the legion of new shooters competing in rimfire target matches, the scope has a side focus from 10 yards to infinity.
Meopta MeoSport R Specifications
- Configuration: 4-15×50
- Reticle Options: illuminated 4C reticle in second focal plane
- MSRP: $449
Maven is coming out with a pair of scopes in a new affordable product line. The CRS line is the riflescope equivalent of the company’s C-Series binoculars, priced below the flagship lines but featuring a wide variety of attributes that should appeal to both beginning and veteran shooters.
In the CRS line, the 3-12×40 CRS.1 sells for $450. The 4-16×44 CRS.2 sells for $550. Both are built on 1-inch tubes and the Simplified Holdover Reticle (CSHR) in the second plane is controlled by capped turrets tuned to .25 MOA click values. The CRS.2 has a side parallax focus, while the CRS.1 does not.
The reticle features modified duplex stadia, but has holds for 5, 10, and 20 MOA at the highest power on both scopes (those are 20, 40, and 80 MOA at the lowest magnifications). The CRS.1 weighs a shade over 14 ounces, making it a great choice for a mountain rifle.
Maven CRS Specifications
- Configuration: 3-12×40 and 4-16×44
- Reticle Options: Both scopes feature the same CSHR holdover duplex reticle in the second plane. The CRS.1 has 50 MOA of total internal adjustment; the CRS.2 has 36 MOA of range.
- MSRP: $450 and $550
German Precision Optics is going old-school (and maybe even German old-school) with a fixed-power riflescope that would be at home on any number of new mountain rifles (or Bavarian driven hunts). At 7.5-power, the 30mm scope brings a lighter-weight build and ample optical attributes.
The heart of the scope is a traditional German 4 modified-duplex reticle with an illuminated center dot behind a 50mm objective lens. The SPECTRA has a 100-yard fixed parallax and capped turrets tuned to fractions of inches (or centimeters). With fewer mechanical parts, the scope should be more durable than variable-power models, but in case something goes wrong, the GPO is covered by the company’s Spectacular Lifetime Warranty.
GPO SPECTRA Specifications
- Configuration: 7.5×50
- Reticle Details: Illuminated G4i in first plane and 100 inches of total elevation and windage adjustment
- MSRP: $599