Leica Magnus Riflescope

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.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.