Leupold VX-III 4.5-14 CDS problems!!


Well-known member
Dec 19, 2010
NW Montana
I purchased this scope early 2011, mounted it in Burris Sig. rings with a one piece Burris base. It has been sent back, once again, to Leupold to have the elevation turret either fixed or replaced as it has twice been knocked off and will not hold a 200 yard zero. I took it to Africa this past April and upon checking for zero first morning discovered it was shooting 10" high @ 100 meters. Windage was right on, but elevation way off. Has anyone had a similar problem. Were these Leupold scopes made in China or the Phillipines (sp)? Thanks for the input. MTG
Never had any issues with any of mine.
Hope they get things worked out for you.
Like mtmuley stated what do you mean by being knocked off?
The zero or the turret?
I had similar problems and won't own another Leupold scope. Lots of people like them but mine was a problem so I went to another brand.

No, they're not made in China.
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Knocked off...

By the term knocked off I mean that the elevation reticle was disturbed from zero. I zeroed it at 200 yds. Went to Africa for a hunt and of course shot it at 100 meters to be sure was still zeroed. It shot 10" high at 100 meters. This would equate to approx. 325 yds. Not 200 yds. as zeroed. MTG
I have this scope on a .300 wsm first shot is dead on second shot 6 inches high next shot 12-18 inches high. Not sure if it's the scope but the wind age is correct.
If your first shot is always on, then they climb it's more likely a heat problem. Scopes that have been shook don't come back to zero.
I have this scope on a .300 wsm first shot is dead on second shot 6 inches high next shot 12-18 inches high. Not sure if it's the scope but the wind age is correct.

As WB mentioned, if it is zeroed on your first shot and then doing what you stated, it certainly isn't the scope that's causing the vertical stringing. As far as the problems the OP is having, I wonder how the rifle is being handled that may have caused the scope problem to be off two different times or if that particular scope just happens to be a lemon. I have a Leupold on all of my "go to" rifles and have never had a problem with any of them needing rexeroing after their initial setting.
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Twice knocked out of zero...

The irony of the situation is that this problem presented itself on two trips to Africa. I am sure it has something to do with baggage handlers, albeit I have Burris compact 4.5-14x32 that was taken on these trips and nothing, but nothing has knocked this scope out of zero for many years. This Burris compact is one that I bought from SWFA used. Wish I could find another. I sent it to leupold for warranty work. Will see what they have come up with to resolve this dilemma. Twice burned, I am skeptical. MTG
I don't think you should be so quick as to blame the scope. After it was "knocked off", did you attemt to re-zero and fire any groups? mtmuley
I've had the same Leoupold scope on my rifle since 1981. I have lost track of how many times I have slippped or fallen and some of those left a visible mark on the scope and still I have never had any problems.
Scope blame...

I could not rezero it to 1 1/2" high @ 100 meters in RSA. The horizontal elevation knob would not turn down enuf to obtain the desired 1 1/2" high at 100 meters. Yes, the baggage handlers may well be the culprits, they could care less about baggage that is not their own. But, I should not have this problem with a Leupold. No problem with the Burris compact. Both, IMHO, come from reputable companies. I do have other Leupold scopes, older models mind you, that have never had a problem as this. Perhaps it is the design of the CDS scope. Again, I am disturbed by this dilemma. I have a trip booked for New Zealand 2016 for Red Stag and Tahr. I need to have a comfortable feeling about the rifle optics that I will take with me. MTG
Odd for sure. I've twisted the crap out of my CDS scopes without issues. So far have not had one that didn't return to zero. mtmuley
Leupold will fix it. Typical turn time for me was 2 weeks.
Leupold is well known for good scopes and happy customers as well as scopes that require service creating some not so happy customers. We make scope parts for a top end brand and just hired our 2nd ex Leupy employee so some insight is easy to come by. Just like any product, if you like it and it works for you, keep it, if not, there are other brands.
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I am slowly changing all my scopes to Leupold VX2 and VX3 ,I only own one Nikon buckmasters.All are great scopes and have never had a problem.That being said ,I probably hunted more and took more big game with a Bushnell $59 scope back when I was young and could not afford any thing else and thought it was great.Never had a problem with any of them.
Hope you get your leupold fixed up.If there is a problem with your scope they will find it and repair it. Good Company.
If this has now happened both times you have gone to Africa, I would be looking closely at the gun case you are transporting the gun in. No matter how good a scope is made by any manufacturer, if it isn't protected well in a heavy case the way the airline baggage jackasses handle stuff, things like you've experienced can happen.
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Leupolds of today are not the Leupolds of 15-20 years ago. Coupled with the huge increase in the amount of people "dialing" and problems become routine. I see hundreds of Leupolds shot and used every year. 80% of them have issues straight out of the box whether it's canted reticles, incorrect adjustments, inconsistent adjustments, failure to return to zero, etc. Within a few hundred rounds most will have lost zero or have a significant problem.

All the people that say they've never had a problem is an interesting phenomenon and either means that they don't shoot all that much and/or don't test their scopes for tracking, repeatability and return to zero.
Leupold has some of the best quality on the market in the price that very competitive with with a low failure rate. If they had a high failure rate they would have been out of business a long time ago. They also have top notch service and custom shop that will turn around any work needed pronto. They are better than the Chinese made scope brands all day long.
There is not a company on Earth, regardless of the product manufactured, that could stay in business with an "80 percent out of the box" failure rate. Highly doubtful numbers. mtmuley