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I see my chance to brag about Leupold. I worked for a guide a couple of summers back packing meat and moving camps around. This was sheep camp, and each client was paying to the order of $10,000 just to be there. Optics consisted of Leica, Zeiss, Swarovsky, and Leupold. I don't think I saw anyhting other than those brands.
When it came to clarity, I really can't tell you who was best. When it gets that good, I really couldn't tell a difference. The guys who had more experience than I said that the european glass was better, but side by side, they really couldn't tell me why.

I bought a Leupold 7.5x fixed power scope. The finish was all worn off, but other than that, there was nothing wrong with it. I sent it in to the factory to see if they would refinish it. I got a call from the factory saying that they stopped making that scope in 1975, so they couldn't refinidh it. They would, however, replace it at my option. They gave me a choice between several current models, and then sent me an M8 12x42 AO. They sent it to me 2nd day air, no questions asked.

So if you don't want a Leupold because of the expense, just remember that it compares quite well with much more expensive glass, and if anything ever does go wrong, they'll fix it.
 
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