Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x50 Firedot Twilight Hunter Riflescope Review


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There are plenty of VX-Freedom scopes within the series, but one of special interest is the 3-9x50 with Firedot and Motion Sensor Technologies.

It’s a scope made for the hunt in the early morning hours or late evening when the sun rolls out and predators roll on in.

If you’re coyote hunting with an AR-15 any time soon, you’ll need illumination to get your crosshairs on target. If you’re packing a 338 lapua mag, go ahead and throw the VX scope on that too! It can handle it.

Check out the Twilight Hunter reticle and what it can mean for your howling prowl this Winter.

Quick Overview...

What We Like: Firedot twilight hunter

What We Don’t Like: No included accessories

Best Uses: Big Game Hunting, Predator Hunting, Varmint Hunting, Target Shooting, Close to Mid-Range, Light to Heavy Caliber Rifles, Low-Light

  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective Diameter: 50mm
  • Coatings: FMC
  • FOV: 33.7-13.6 ft/100 yds
  • Eye Relief: 4.2-3.7”
  • Adjustments: ¼ MOA
  • Dimensions: 12.16”/17.05 oz

Our Verdict: The VX-Freedom has the makings of an excellent low-light scope. It’s perfect for ‘yotes, oinkers, and all those critters that hover on out during dusk and dawn. The reticle is streamlined and best suited to short and mid-range shots. Packaged with Leupold’s top-tier warranty coverage and a scope having been USA-made, it’s entitled to applause.

Who is the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X50 Firedot Twilight Hunter Best Suited to?

You can top the VX-Freedom scope to almost any rifle of your choice, so whether it will handle recoil is a non-issue. What you really want to know is what it’s good for.  

You can save yourself some money and opt for the 3-9x40 non-illuminated version if you’re plinking, target shooting, and deer hunting during legal light.  

But if you need lowlight performance for hog and coyote hunting or even to stay out during the last minutes of legal light, you’ll need an illuminated reticle. This is what the Firedot Twilight Hunter is for.

It’s not for long-ranging BDC performance – you have turrets if you need to dial in, but when you know your loads and your spread and you just need that little, red dot to put on the kill zone, the VX-Freedom scope will get you there.

How Does the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X50 Firedot Twilight Hunter Perform?

VX-Freedom 3-9x50 Firedot Twilight Hunter Scope
Image Credit - Leupold

The VX-Freedom may be a budget line of scopes but adding the Firedot Twilight Hunter reticle certainly ups the cost. Is it worth it?

With a 50mm lens, you already know it’s a scope made for dusk and dawn. Adding the illuminated red dot center helps to see where your crosshairs are during those low-light hours. So, yes. It’s absolutely worth it.

The scope has excellent glass quality, as is expected of Leupold, but it still only features the Advanced Optical System. This comes as no surprise since the VX-Freedom line is an entry-level series and replaced the discontinued VX-2 series.

With precise tracking and good tactile turrets, the scope gets you on point with sub-MOA groups, and it holds zero with hard hitting calibers like 45-70 Govt. rounds. It’s supposed to handle up to .50 BMG, so there’s no questioning the recoil resistance and quality-build of the VX-Freedom scope.

This is an all-purpose scope with some low-light benefits and an illuminated reticle. The quality, performance, and American-made build is worth the extra cost.

Features & Benefits

Firedot Twilight Hunter

Illuminated Firedot Twilight Hunter Reticle
Image Credit - Leupold

The Illuminated Firedot Twilight Hunter reticle is a variation of the duplex reticle with, you guessed it, an illuminated center dot. It’s listed as a daylight bright reticle but it’s really not. It’s barely visible in daylight conditions, but this is when it’s least needed.

As the name implies, it’s excellent for twilight hours. When low-light rolls around, the large 50mm lens is going to keep you out a little longer. Realistically, there is no issue with flare although it is somewhat present at max illumination. However, you will rarely ever need that much intensity from the red dot at night. Unfortunately, it is not compatible for use with a night vision clip-on.

The illumination is provided by Leupold’s Firedot technology and is powered by a CR2032 battery. It will last anywhere between 300 to 1600 hours on the high-end depending on the intensity levels you maintain.

There are 8 illumination intensity levels and are easily activated and changed via the third turret. If you thought that third turret was a side focus, you’re wrong. It’s a push button illumination dial that is consistent with the latest illuminated scopes to market, and it also helps to shave off some of the overall weight. 

Motion Sensor Technology (MST)

To help save some of that battery life, the scope features MST. The illumination is automatically deactivated after five minutes of non-use.

The reticle is still very visible without the illumination, but even so, if you have it powered on, it will automatically reactivate once it detects movement. Now that’s fancy technology and battery conservation to be impressed by.

Great Glass Quality

Leupold VX-Freedom Firedot Twilight Hunter 3-9x50mm riflescope
Image Credit - Leupold

To be a scope worth toting out in the field at dusk and dawn, it must have the optical specs to perform. The VX-Freedom has Leupold’s Advanced Optical System. It’s not as much of an upgrade compared to their Twilight Max Light Management System, but it does do its job of providing a clear, bright sight picture with good contrast and resolution to discern targets at low-light.

With Leupold’s proprietary coatings and quality optical workmanship, the scope is free of tunneling.  Image quality throughout the entire power range remains consistent from edge to edge.

This is essential when you have a wide power range of 3x zoom, so you can make long shots when you need them and can dial back down for close-range engagement.

One thing worth mentioning is that the scope has been factory-set for parallax at 150 yards. With an SFP reticle, it’s always highly visible with correct subtensions at 9x power.

Build Quality

There’s something about Leupold scopes that keeps shooters coming back to them time and time again. Why? It could be because the scope is tough and rugged. The lenses themselves have military-grade glass hardening coatings providing an extremely scratch-resistant surface.

It could be because the scope is completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. It can withstand the abuse of internal shock that comes from drops, knocks, and of course, hard-kicking recoil. It can handle extreme climate changes and being water-soaked and still come up dry.

It could be because the scope is not only designed and engineered in the USA, but also assembled in the USA. You can tell by the iconic gold ring on the scope that it is a completely American-made optic from head to toe.

Whatever the reason that buyers keep turning to Leupold, it’s obvious that the VX-Freedom 3-9x40 is a homerun buy for everything to do with shooting and hunting.

Limitations

No Included Accessories

There aren’t really any complaints about the newer VX-Freedom scope with the Firedot reticle. If there are issues, the warranty will take care of it.

But a legitimate complaint is the lack of any accessories. Be sure to check that the scope is packaged well upon box opening, but don’t expect it to have any protective gear.

The scope comes without lens caps or even a soft cover/case. You’ll need to purchase caps for the scope and the appropriate mount. Don’t forget 30” rings since this has a 30mm tube.

Popular Questions

What are the Mounting Specs for the VX-Freedom 3-9x50?

The total length of the VX-Freedom 3-9x50 is 12.16”. The overall mounting area is 4.74”. Front mounting space is 1.67” and rear mounting space is 1.85”.
You will also need 30mm rings and height will be dependent on your setup.

Can the Leupold VX-Freedom Scope Handle Recoil?

The VX-Freedom 3-9x50 is guaranteed to be recoilproof up to .50BMG. It can handle recoil from heavy kicking rifles and yet is also well-suited to light recoil rifles like the AR-15.
If issues occur due to not holding zero, the scope is defective and must be sent back to Leupold for repair or replacement – free of charge.

Is the Twilight Hunter Reticle Good for Deer Hunting?

The VX-Freedom 3-9x50 with the Firedot Twilight Hunter reticle is excellent for deer hunting. Conditions and distance may determine its effectiveness as the crosshairs are only 0.4 MOA in size. The crosshairs are thin but there are no BDC dots or hashmarks to squint for anyway. The illuminated center dot negates any need to squint to see the Firedot center in thick brush or open fields and is extremely effective for getting sights on deer. It’s also an excellent scope for coyote and hog hunting.

What is the Leupold Warranty?

The VX-Freedom scope is covered under the Leupold Lifetime Guarantee. It covers the scope for a lifetime, transfers to the current owner, and you don’t need a receipt.

Conclusion

While it might not look like a whole lot on the outside, it’s what is on the inside that counts. Under the hood, you have the illuminated Firedot Twilight Hunter reticle, motion sensor tech, and a huge 50mm objective lens.

Optics that have better than industry-standard coatings, new push-illumination dial, and a scope that tracks and holds zero is a scope worth its weight in gold.

Fortunately, you don’t need a gold bar to afford the VX-Freedom 3-9x50.

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