Leatherwood Professional 2.5-10×44
Here is a brief review of the Leatherwood Professional 2.5-10×44 scope.
I have looked at another Leatherwood scope (Uni-Dial) earlier this year and was not particularly impressed with it. That set the bar pretty low for this scope. However, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised by it once I looked at it in more detail. Still, there are quite a few things I would like to see different and I am unlikely to make this one of my recommended choices, but this is a better fit than the Uni-Dial in its respective price bracket.
Reviewing this scope turned out to be a bit more difficult than I expected. I always try to draw some parallels to competing products, and I had a difficult time finding proper comparables for it. The problem is really with the pricing. It puts it pretty close to some Japanese made scopes like Mueller Tac II. Here are a few scopes in varying price ranges that are configured similarly to the Leatherwood.
||Leatherwood Professional 2.5-10×44
||Hawke Frontier 2.5-10×44
||Barska SWAT 3.5-10×40
||Mueller Tac II 3-10×40
||Nikon Monarch 2.5-10×42
|Field of View, ft@100 yards
||47.2 – 11.9
||35.3 – 9.2
||29.2 – 9.4
||36 – 11.4
||40.3 – 10.1
|Eye Relief, in
||5 – 3.7
||4 – 3.8
|Click Value, MOA
|Adjustment Range, MOA
Leatherwood is a chinese-made scope that is a fairly bare-bones design: mid-range variable with a Mil-Dot reticle and not a whole lot of gimmicks that plague many Chinese scopes these days. I am a “meat and potatoes” kinda guy (according to an optics company rep whose product I ripped to shreds a while back for having too many features I deemed unworthy), so this simplified approach to riflescopes, espoused by Leatherwood Professional, appeals to me.
This Leatherwood is a hefty scope built on a 30mm tube. Aside from the somewhat bulky appearance the scope is not overly large. It is a little heavier than competing 1″ tube scopes, but not excessively so, and it does have a 44m objective lens (20% more surface area than 40mm objective).
Optically, it is an all right scope. I compared it to the Barska SWAT and the Leatherwood is better in every way I could think of. I also compared it to a few typical hunting scopes retailing for ~$200 scopes, and Leatherwood shows about as much detail as most of those. The closest would probably by Burris Fullfield II. The Achilles heel of the optical system in Leatherwood Professional 2.5-10×44 is the same thing as for the large Uni-Dial scope I looked at a while back: tunnel vision. It is pretty significant (though not quite as severe as it was on the higher magnification Uni-Dial). Interestingly, all things should be looked at compared to competition. I thought that the Leatherwood had very significant tunnel vision when comparing it to Vortex Diamondback and Burris Fullfield II. Then I looked at Barska SWAT, which gave a completely different understanding of what severe tunnel vision really is.
In low light, the Leatherwood performed all right, with a reasonable assortment of optical artifacts: flare, reflections, ghost images, etc.
I did not see anything particularly good, or particularly horrible there.
Aside from the tunnel vision, I thought that the optical quality of the Leatherwood Professional was roughly appropriate for the price range, although some similarly prices scopes (like Vortex Diamondback) are visibly better when looked at side by side.
I tested this scope on a fairly hefty rifle chambered for 308Win, so recoil was not really a concern. However, it is still worth noting that the scope held up just fine and stayed zeroed. There was also no discernible shift in POI with change in magnification.
Here is a snapshot of the scope on the rifle:
This is a fairly heavy rifle and the Leatherwood does not look out of place on it. The scope is equipped with Leatherwood’s version of a MilDot reticle that they call “No Math MilDot”. That is a normal Mil-Dot with a couple of hashmarks added to it for bracketing a target of specific size. It has semi-tall 1/4MOA knobs with screw-on covers. Here is a snapshot of the knobs with the convers removed:
These are fairly common looking knobs, but they are easy to grasp and provide 15MOA of adjustment in one turn. At the bottom of the turrets are revolution counters. They go from 0 to 8, although I counted a total of just over nine revolutions of both elevation and windage adjustment. I assumed that it is designed fro 120MOA of total adjustment and whatever you get on top of it is just gravy. The knobs tracked reasonably well, although at the very edges of adjustment the clicks were not quite as accurate. However, I suspect that there is enough linear adjustment range to fit most users. The adjustments themselves are quite audible, but barely tactile. There is a little bit of slop between clicks and since the tactile feel is not very good, you have to pay attention. However, the knobs are quite usable and I did not have any problems with them.
Eyerelief is a bit on the short side, but serviceable. It is listed as 3 inches, but it measured out at ~3.2″-3.4″. That is still not huge, but reasonable.
In the end the scope left me a little conflicted. It seems like a decent scope overall, but I can’t see myself recommending it to people. Not until some things on it are fixed, most notably the tunnel vision.
Also, there are a couple of other things I did not like. One is the warranty. It is a lifetime warranty, but limited to the original buyer and you have to send in a warranty card. This is not a good choice in a market place where a lot of the competition provides transferrable life time warranties.
Another is some verbage on the Leatherwood website. I headed over to the website serachign for specs and stumbled onto a description of Leatherwood Professional scopes where it says that the larger diameter tube (30mm) somehow contributes to the brightness of the scope. That is pure BS, since tube diameter has nothing to do with it (definitely not for conventional scopes). Yes, I know, pretty much all scope manufacturers make outlandish claims in their advertising, but I neither have to like it, nor keep my mouth shut about it.