Leica has long been famous for their binoculars, but after their first attempt to gain a foothold in the riflescope market failed they seemed to forget all about making scopes, at least until now.
Back in the late 1990s, Leica brought out a line of scopes bearing their name that were manufactured in America for them by Leupold; only the lenses came from Germany. Optically brilliant and with eye relief long enough for the heaviest recoiling rifles, it was surprising that these hybrid European/American scopes failed to gather much of a following, and were soon dropped from production. Last year Leica launched their second attempt to woo hunters with a trio of entirely new Magnus scopes made in Germany. Choice is limited to a 1-6.3×24, a 1.5-10×42 and a 2.4-16×56 – at least initially. The sample sent for evaluation was a 1.5-10×42.
An extremely high-range variable is great for testing a rifle’s accuracy on the range and they are quite popular with benchrest competitors, but from a practical point of view, a maximum magnification of 10x is all we actually need in the hunting field. More magnification best used for varmint shooting where the quarry is small and a long way off, but only under ideal conditions. Too much power will drive you crazy on a hot day when mirage becomes a factor and heat waves make distant targets dance around like a hula dancers belly button. On the score of power I give the new Leica full marks.
The Magnus is your typical Germanic variable – big, heavy and bulky with a 30mm tube. It will add 620 grams to the weight of your sporter, but its length of 317 mm is within reason. As far as I can determine there is no brightness advantage to be gained from a 30mm tube, however, the claim that the larger diameter tube is stronger probably has some relevance.