October 09, 2020
Leupold was quick to embrace the .350 Legend cartridge. The company’s VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm for the .350 Legend ($365) takes its CDS system and matches it to the round’s ballistics—specifically a 150-grain bullet running at 2,325 fps, which is what Winchester’s 150-grain Deer Season XP load does.
Say you’re sitting in a stand, watching a woodlot, and your rifle is zeroed for 100 yards because you expect deer to move through the woodlot. But then, of course, you spot a deer across a field 200 yards away.
You could hold over, sure. But depending on the deer’s position, you might need to be more precise. With the VX-Freedom Legend scope, you simply adjust the knob to the “2” on the upper portion of the turret and you’ve just applied the right amount of adjustment—no counting (or miscounting) clicks when your heart is pounding.
The turret has two sets of markings. The top row corresponds to yardages: 1 for 100, 1.5 for 150, 2 for 200 and so on. The lower row indicates adjustment in m.o.a. for the 1/4-minute clicks. They’re numbered in three m.o.a. increments, with tick marks in between.
The VX-Freedom .350 Legend is equipped with a zero stop/limiter, so you have to remove the turret cap to zero it. Turn out three small screws in the turret cap with the supplied Allen wrench and remove the cap. Zero the elevation by turning the adjuster.
Once zeroed, replace the cap with the “0” mark indexed to the scope body and the small ball bearing on the interior of the cap resting against the right side of the zero stop. Tighten the screws.
The zero stop prevents accidental clockwise/down rotation of the turret, and counterclockwise/up is limited to one revolution. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about accidentally changing zero or getting lost in terms of upward rotation.
I mounted the Freedom .350 Legend on a Winchester XPR. After zeroing at 100, I moved the target back to 200. I cranked the scope from “1” to “2” and fired a single shot. I repeated this three times—back to zero, then up to 200—and each shot landed on the money.
Yes, the group is a bit high, but where I shoot is at 4,900 feet with low humidity, and those atmospherics easily account for the group being an inch higher than it might otherwise be.
But look at the group. That’s a dead deer with every shot, and it speaks to the integrity of the Freedom’s adjustments. I shot the rifle with other types of Legend ammo, and the clicks were repeatable in every case.
The VX-Freedom line is packed with features. Of particular interest to deer hunters is Leupold’s Twilight Management System. This essentially eliminates stray light and increases acuity in low-light conditions, and Leupold says it can extend your hunting time by 10 minutes on either end of the day.
It’s lightweight at just 12.2 ounces and is waterproof and fogproof. It’s tested on the company’s recoil-simulating Punisher to ensure durability.