Leupold CDS System Review by Edward Gramza IV
Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to purchase four Leupold VX-3 scopes with their CDS (Custom Dial System) dials. Leupold scopes with the Leupold CDS System are some of the most accurate ballistic scopes I have had the pleasure of using. They have completely taken the guess work out of shooting long ranges with a rifle and allow users to have the confidence to make accurate shots regardless of distance.
When you purchase a Leupold with the CDS system, it comes with a “dummy” dial that will be used to sight the scope in. The customer calls the Leupold Custom Shop to order a dial that will be specific for the rifle the scope is mounted on. Leupold customer service will ask rifle caliber, elevation, temperature, bullet coefficient; don’t worry if you don’t know this, just tell them the brand of bullet; bullet weight, muzzle velocity, and sight in distance. This information is entered into Leupold’s system and a dial is laser engraved with distances that are ranged for the target. Purchasers of the VX-3 line of CDS scopes get one custom dial for free and for all other lines dials can be purchased for $59.99 each.
The idea behind the custom dial is that when you range a target at a certain distance, you turn the dial until it matches the desired range. There is no need to use the lines on a bullet drop compensator reticle or guess at the hold over on the target. Depending on the rifle and the load, the dial will offer several hundred feet of range for long range shooting. You can then quickly return the gun to zero as the dial will stop at your pre-determined zero point.
Leupold features the CDS system on their VX-2, VX-3, VX-3L, VX-6, and VX-R scopes. All of these scopes except the VX-R line feature a standard duplex reticle. The VX-R line uses an illuminated FireDot reticle. Customers can choose from various objective sizes and variable power adjustments. The scopes that feature the CDS dial all have ¼ MOA adjustment for elevation and windage. This ¼ MOA adjustment allows the user to fine tune the scope for extremely accurate shooting.
I was fortunate enough to go prairie dog hunting in South Dakota while using two of my CDS scopes. One was mounted on a .223 and another on a .243. Both scopes had dials for 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets. The .223 dial is zeroed at 100 yards and the .243 is zeroed at 2oo yards. After ranging prairie dogs at all different yardages, I found that the CDS system was extremely accurate. The ability to quickly change the dial to various yardages was beneficial when acquiring targets at a fast rate. In all the adjustments that were made, I never found that the scope lost its zero or the ability to accurately move the reticle to compensate for the distance desired.
Leupold recommends that you use their line of rangefinders that use the TBR (True Ballistic Range) technology. TBR technology accurately calculates the range of your target and takes into account the incline or decline of the shot. The reading will then allow the owner of a CDS scope to accurately adjust dial to the correct range. This will give the shooter the confidence that the bullet will find the target.
Leupold has made various versions of their line of scopes with CDS including different magnification, objective sizes, adjustable objectives, and glass options. The VX-3L scopes also offer larger objectives sizes with a cutout to allow for lower mounting options. The scopes range in price from $350 to $1000.
The Leupold and Stevens Company are located in Beaverton, Oregon and is family owned. They provide one of the best warranties in the business. Leupold provides a full lifetime warranty on all Golden Ring Products with no questions asked. This is regardless of if you are the original owner of the scope or not.