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Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS Riflescope Review | Optics Trade Reviews

In this blog post, I’ll review the Leupold VX Freedom 4-12×50 CDS riflescope. It comes in a single configuration with the Duplex reticle and 1/4 MOA adjustment per click.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS Riflescope Review
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS

About the Leupold

Leupold, the oldest optics manufacturer in the US, has gained immense popularity not only due to its historical legacy but also because of the unparalleled quality of its products. Situated in Beaverton, Oregon, Leupold was founded in 1907. Initially specializing in surveying equipment, the company made a groundbreaking entry into the market in 1947 with the introduction of its first riflescope, aptly named the Plainsman.

Leupold manufactures and assembles all rifle scopes in Beaverton, except for the lenses, which are sourced globally from reputable companies.

The VX Freedom Series of Riflescopes

The VX Freedom series of riflescopes made its debut at the 2018 Shot Show. These affordable hunting rifle scopes offer excellent value. The series includes both 30mm main tube scopes and 1-inch scopes. All scopes in this series feature a 3x zoom factor and are remarkably lightweight.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS

Physical Properties

Manufactured in the US, the Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 scope boasts a robust all-metal construction, devoid of any rubber components. Its shockproof design makes it compatible with all calibers, while its complete waterproofing ensures reliable performance. The scope is argon purged, guaranteeing no internal fogging even in extremely cold conditions.

The scope is very lightweight, weighing just 440 grams. It boasts a compact design, measuring a mere 305 millimeters in length. The main tube of this scope measures 25.4 mm (one inch) in diameter.

The magnification ranges from 4x to 12x, with a 50-millimeter objective lens diameter. As a result, this scope is specifically designed for low-light conditions. The larger lens allows for better light capture, resulting in a brighter image.

If you’re considering buying flip-up covers, please note that the outside diameter is 58.4 millimeters.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS

Magnification Ring

The magnification ring on this scope is incredibly smooth, making it effortless to operate. It offers a unique feature of transitioning smoothly from the smallest to the largest magnification with just a 90-degree turn, which is quite rare. I haven’t come across any other scope that offers such a limited turn range.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Magnification Ring on Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS

Locking focus

The eyepiece is highly adjustable, allowing for precise and smooth adjustments. It is well-made and offers a wide range of adjustments.

The diopter setting is lockable with a reverse locking ring. Once the diopter is set, it remains fixed in place until the locking ring is loosened. This feature is excellent as you only need to adjust the reticle to your eye once and never again. This prevents accidental setting changes while hunting or when taking it out of the bag. It’s a great feature for hunting rifle scopes, and more scopes should have this option.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS features locking focus


This scope offers only one reticle option, known as the Duplex reticle, which is positioned in the second focal plane.

The Duplex reticle, invented by Leupold in 1962, is characterized by its heavy posts that distinctly stand out against cover in low light conditions. Its design facilitates quick target acquisition due to the thinner center, minimizing obstruction of the target area.

The Duplex reticle is renowned for its practicality and efficiency, making it the most widely used reticle worldwide. It consists of a simple crosshair design and is particularly popular in Europe for hunting purposes.

Duplex Reticle
Duplex Reticle

No Illumination System and Fixed Parallax

The Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 scope does not come with an illumination system, meaning that the reticle is not illuminated. Additionally, this scope is equipped with a fixed parallax feature, which means that the parallax is fixed at 150 yards or 137 meters.

CDS Turret

The Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 is equipped with a CDS custom dial system turret, allowing you to personalize your turret (adjustment dial) to perfectly match your ballistics and environmental conditions. Leupold’s Custom Dial System (CDS) simplifies compensating for bullet drop and enables quick adjustments with ease.

Like every CDS model scope, the 4-12×50 comes with a standard MOA dial right out of the box, so it’s not a custom dial yet. To get yours, enter your ballistic information and some of the environmental conditions where you’ll be shooting the most, and Leupold will laser-etch a new elevation dial to match. Once you receive the new dial in the mail, swap out the standard MOA dial, and you’re good to go.

Each CDS model scope is eligible for one complimentary custom dial. You can place an order for the custom dial on the official Leupold website ( Alternatively, if you purchase the scope from the website, simply send us an email with your ballistics information and we will handle the ordering process for you.

Additional custom dials can be purchased for $80.00 each.


Elevation Turret

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS features an uncapped, tactical elevation turret that allows for direct adjustments.

In one revolution the turret features exactly 15 MOA of travel. There is no MIL turret option available. The scope exclusively offers 1/4 MOA adjustment clicks.

The internal elevation is 67 MOA, roughly equivalent to 190 cm at 100 meters, which is considered substantial for a 1-inch hunting rifle scope. This adjustment capability should provide sufficient for long-distance shots.

The clicks on the turret provide satisfying tactile and audible feedback, enhancing the overall experience. While they may not be as tactile as those on a higher-end rifle scope, they still offer a pleasant feeling.

In a single revolution, as previously mentioned, you have 15 MOA of travel. The markings are provided at intervals of 3 MOA, 6 MOA, 9 MOA, and 12 MOA. While it is user-friendly, I personally prefer having numerical values for each MOA as it adds further convenience. This eliminates any confusion that may arise when determining the direction for adjustments, especially when aiming upwards.

The elevation turret on this scope is a multi-turn turret. However, it lacks a zero stop or locking function, which is not ideal for a hunting rifle scope. If you carry the scope in a bag or while moving around, there is a risk of accidentally adjusting the turret by a few clicks. In such a situation, it becomes difficult to determine the correct direction to return to zero. Having a zero stop would greatly improve this issue, in my opinion. Personally, I believe a locking turret is the optimal choice for a hunting scope.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Elevation Turret

Windage Turret

The windage turret is a multi-turn turret with a 1/4 MOA adjustment per click. The turret is capped, which is a great feature in my opinion. However, under the cap, you’ll find a plastic turret that, in my opinion, lacks quality. You have to look at the turret from a side perspective, and there are no marks from the shooter’s perspective. There’s only a small mark indicating your current position.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Capped Windage Turret

The clicks on the windage turret are noticeable, although not as precise as those on the elevation turret. Unfortunately, they are not audible. It would greatly enhance usability if the turret had visible marks from the shooter’s perspective. Ideally, these markings should encompass the entire turret for optimal visibility. I understand that the hunting rifle scope is typically adjusted only once, after which the cap is put back on. However, I believe this is not a significant problem or excessively challenging to address.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Windage Turret with markings on the side

Optical Performance

The image quality of the scope is exceptional, as one would expect. There is a slight presence of chromatic aberration, but it is only noticeable when observing white targets. However, during hunting activities, it is highly unlikely that one would ever perceive any chromatic aberration.

The scope offers a magnification range of 4x to 12x, with a zoom factor of 3x. I really appreciate it is the small zoom factor, which adds to its overall appeal. At the lowest magnification, the field of view is 7.3 meters at 100 meters. At 12 times magnification, the field of view narrows to 3.5 meters at 100 meters.

The scope does not exhibit any tunneling effect. The eye relief ranges from 107mm at the lowest magnification to 94mm at the highest magnification. One thing I noticed is that when you adjust the magnification, you need to adjust the position of your eye relative to the rifle scope. While this is generally not a significant issue, it’s worth mentioning because changing the magnification requires adjusting the position of your head. It’s important to find the most comfortable position when installing the scope for both the lowest and highest magnifications.

The eye box is excellent at the lowest magnification and acceptable at the highest magnification. Although it may not match the quality of more expensive Leupold scopes, it remains user-friendly even at 12x magnification.

The image showcases accurate colors. Additionally, the image boasts exceptional sharpness, indicating excellent optical quality. However, it should be noted that the edges of the image may not exhibit the same level of sharpness as the center.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS

Mounting Solution

The Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 has a 25.4 mm main tube diameter, requiring 25.4 mm scope mount rings for rifle mounting.

 Looking for a Scope Mount? Find it right below:

Price and Warranty

The scope comes with a 10-year warranty and is priced at around 550 euros.

Scope of Delivery

Inside the box, you will find a range of valuable items. Firstly, a Leupold sticker is included. Additionally, there is an owner’s manual that provides comprehensive information on the scope and its proper operation. Furthermore, a hex wrench is provided to assist with zeroing. This wrench allows you to adjust two screws, enabling you to rotate the turret.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Scope of Delivery

Looking for more accessories? Find them below:


Firstly, let’s discuss the positive aspects of the scope. One notable advantage is its remarkable lightweight design, which becomes evident when you hold it in your hand. Weighing only 440 grams, it is impressively lightweight for a rifle scope with a 50-millimeter objective lens.

Additionally, the entire scope is very well made, with each part expertly machined to perfection.

The optical quality of this riflescope in its price class is truly impressive. One of the things I really appreciate is the ability to request a custom dial at no additional cost. This allows for the inclusion of engraved distances that are tailored to your specific rifle, resulting in an authentic bullet drop compensation turret. This exceptional feature holds even more significance when considering the price range. In my opinion, it adds great value to the riflescope.

I appreciate the fact that the windage turret is capped. As mentioned earlier, it is not common to utilize windage adjustments on a scope of this kind.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS

Pros summary:

  1. lightweight design
  2. great build quality
  3. great optical performance
  4. CDS elevation turret
  5. capped windage turret


Now, let’s discuss some areas for improvement. Firstly, I would like to explore the concept of using MIL clicks for the European market.

Secondly, I dislike the fact that the included elevation turret lacks customization options, restricting users to fixed clicks. This poses a challenge for many hunters who are unfamiliar with using such turrets. It would be much simpler for them if they could simply adjust the turret to a specific distance, like setting it to 2 for 200 meters or 3 for 300 meters. This would make it easier for hunters to take accurate shots.

I believe there is further potential for enhancing the design of the elevation turret. Rather than solely relying on a symbolic representation for “up” (U), incorporating numerical indicators like 3, 4, 5, and 6 would greatly enhance user-friendliness.

Having clear and visible marks and numbers positioned all around the windage turret would greatly benefit shooters, allowing for easy adjustments from their perspective.

It would be beneficial for the included elevation turret to have at least a zero-stop feature, as it already lacks a locking function.

The last area for improvement, in my opinion, is the eye relief distance. When changing the magnification, one must adjust the position or distance of their head to the riflescope. This can lead to stepping out of your comfort zone more easily, as the eye relief is not consistent.

Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS

Cons summary:

  1. no MIL clicks
  2. design of the elevation turret
  3. no markings on the windage turret
  4. eye relief distance

Final Thoughts

Overall, I believe that the Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 is an exceptional hunting rifle scope, particularly suitable for low-light conditions. Its lightweight design is one of its standout features, making it a preferred choice for hunters like myself who value a lightweight scope for their hunting needs. When mounted on the rifle, you’ll hardly notice its presence.

However, due to the current market conditions, particularly the strength of the dollar, this 3x zoom factor scope is relatively expensive in Europe. As a result, it faces tough competition from other rifle scope manufacturers offering higher zoom factors at similar price points. This puts the scope in a challenging position.

Looking for a Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×50 CDS? Find it below:

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS Riflescope
Product Name
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x50 CDS
EUR 479
Product Availability
Available in Stock



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