Leica ER Riflescopes on the Web
Last updated on March 29, 2015

Information About Leica ER Riflescopes

Welcome.  I've owned and used a Leica ER 2.5-10x42 riflescope since July of 2011.  I created this page because there seem to be more questions about Leica ERs on the web than answers.  There certainly wasn't a lot of information on the Web when I was researching the ER in early 2011. My hope is that this page will help everyone who is seeking information about ER scopes.  Here you will find an account of my personal experience with my ER and links to the resources on ER scopes that I could find on the WEB (as of December 2012).

2014 Update

Leica has replaced the ER line of scopes with the new line of ERi scopes (i=illuminated).  Some of the discontinued ER scopes are still available (at great prices) from Eurooptic.com at the time I write this in May of 2014. Note that if you are interested in a 3.5-14x42 scope you need to move quickly to get a discontinued ER scope because the ERi line replaces the 3.5-14x42 with a 3-12x50 scope.  I got a discontinued 3.5-14x42 ER with IBS reticle from Eurooptic for my 7mm Rem Mag last month and saved $500 in the process.  I can't image finding a scope as good as these Leica ERs at anywhere close to the discontinued prices that Eurooptic is selling them for.

Here's a picture of my Leica ER 2.5-10x42 on my left-hand Hill Country Custom Rifles .308 Win (hereafter referred to as the "HCR").
(The gray heart shape on the chamber covers the serial number.)

My Leica ER 2.5-10x42mm on my Hill Country Rifle Custom .308 Win

The Leica ER is by far the best scope I've ever owned.  But then, until recently I was not a scope-snob. My first riflescope was a Tasco 3-9x40 #627T (Trajectory Compensating Scope) purchased in 1977 for eventual use on a deer rifle.  That Tasco now resides on a Ruger M77-22 still doing yeoman work. (Please don't judge me for owning a Tasco. I got it at time when I couldn't afford anything better from the limited selection of scopes at the R.R. Sparks Rod and Gun club on the NATO base in Iceland.)

My other scopes currently in use include:

Leica 3.5-14x42 ER with IBS reticle on a left-hand Savage 110CL 7mmMag
a Leuopold VX-6 2-12x42mm on a left-hand Tikka T3 Lite in 270 Win
a Leupold VX-3 1.75-6x32 on a Kimber Montana in 308 Win
a Nitrex TR Two 2-10x42mm on a Sako Finnlight 308 Win
a Leupold VX3 3.5-10x40 on a Remington R15 Predator 223 Rem
a Bushnell Elite 4200 1.25-4x24 on an HK91 in 7.62x51mm
a Bushnell Elite 4200 3-9x40 on a left-hand Remington 788 in 308 Win
a Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5-10x40 on a right-hand Tikka T3 Lite in 270 Win
a Bushnell Elite 4-16x40 w/DOA 600 reticle on a Ruger M77 in 223 Rem (Bushnell dropped the 4200 model number sometime around late 2011.)
a Weaver Grand Slam 3-10x40 on a Sako Forrester in .243 Win

You can probably tell that I like the Bushnell Elite scopes and Elite 4200 scopes. I think the Elite 4200 and Elite 6500 line of scopes offer a great combination of quality, features, and value for the money (especially if you can wait to buy one when Bushnell is selling them with a rebate).

I've been upgrading scopes the last couple of years so I have some that are not currently being used. They include a Burris Fullfield II 3-9, an extra Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5-10x40, a Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40, a very old Leupold 3-9x40, and a Weaver K4x38. (I'm considering putting the Elite 4200 on my Sako 243 in place of the Weaver Grand Slam next spring. The Grand Slam is a nice scope but the Sako Forrester is my backup deer/prairie dog gun so I think it makes sense to swap the Elite 2.5-10 for the Weaver 3-9.)

Why I Chose the Leica ER 2.5-10x42mm

I chose the Leica ER for my HCR because I wanted a top quality scope to put on a top quality hunting rifle and the Leica ER had the best combination of the features that I desired for the cost that I could find. 

My interest in the Leica ER line of rifle scopes began in 2011 when I was deciding what scope to put on the custom.308 that Hill Country Rifles was building for me.  Initially, I planned to mount a Bushnell Elite 6500 2.5-16x42mm with DOA 600 reticle on the HCR. As the deadline for a decision about the scope drew near, I decided against the Elite 6500 when I realized that I really wanted to put a top tier scope on my top tier custom rifle.

Some reasons why I chose the ER over other top tier scopes are:
  1. I found a good deal on an open-box Shot Show demo ER at OpticAuthority.com (this is the same site as EuroOptic.com). The price of the open box ER was much less than the other scopes I was considering.
  2. The ER's 4X power range.  I hunt whitetail deer in thick woods in Eastern South Dakota and mule deer and antelope in western South Dakota. The 2.5 to 10 power range met my needs quite well.
  3. The Leica AquaDura coating.  AquaDura is similar to Bushnell's Rainguard coating. (Rumor has it that Leica licensed the coating from Bushnell.) These hydrophobic coatings help keep the scope usable in rain and cold. After hunting deer several seasons with Bushnell Elite scopes with Rainguard I concluded that hydrophobic coatings are worthwhile and that I wanted a hydrophobic coating on the scope on my HCR. In fact, I eliminated Swarovski scopes from consideration because Swarovski wasn't offering a scope with a hydrophobic coating
  4. I ruled out Leupold scopes because at that time I'd not been that impressed with the Leupold VX3 and VXIIIs scopes that I had on other rifles.  I especially don't like the fact that Leupold often misrepresents the power range of their scopes. For example, my VX3 1.75-6X32 is actually a 1.9-5.5.  In my opinion Leupold should advertise it as a 2x5.5.  (2015 update: in late 2014 I purchased a VX-6 2-12x42mm with Firedot LR illuminated reticle. I have to admit that I am quite happy with it.)
For what it's worth, I still think the Elite 6500 2.5-16x42 would have been a viable choice for my HCR.  If I hadn't been able to afford a top tier scope like the ER I probably would have been happy with the Elite 6500.  In the last six months I've read a lot of articles in gun and hunting magazines that featured rifles with the Elite 6500 2.5-16x42.

My Experience with the Leica ER 2.5-10x42 Riflescope

Between load testing, sighting in, practice, and hunting, I've shot about 250 rounds through my HCR rifle with the ER. So far, I've used the HCR with the ER scope to take five deer and one antelope.  The deer were all within a 120 yards when I shot them. The antelope was laying down with its head up 320 yards away (as measured by a Leupold RX-1000 rangefinder). 

Things I Don't Like About the ER

The only thing I don't like about the ER is the feel of the power adjustment ring.  Both of my ERs have stiff power rings--the stiffest of all the variable scopes that I own--and the feel is not as smooth as most of my other scopes.  The stiffness doesn't affect the usability of the ER but it does seem out of place on a top quality scope.  The  review of the Leica ER in the August 2012 American Rifleman mentioned the stiffness of the power adjustment ring on their sample so I assume the stiffness is a characteristic of the scope.

What About That Thin Reticle?

Some people on the web have expressed concern that the thin inner lines in the Plex Ballistic Comp reticle will be too hard to see in dim light. The reticle looks like this:

Leica Ballistic Reticle Image
I haven't found the thin inner lines to be a disadvantage in low light yet. (As this is updated in 2015, I've hunted four deer seasons with this scope. Out of the dozen deer I've harvested, a half dozen were in dim to very dim light.) But then, I practice dry firing my HCR in the early morning and at dusk so I'm accustomed to viewing the recticle in dim light.  Even so, I think the reticle would be improved if the thick portion of the lines were a bit longer and then tapered to thin lines.

  1. The reticle is in the second focal plane.
  2. Every dot is .5 mils from the line immediately above or below it, and vice versa: every line is .5 mils from the dot immediately above or below it.
  3. Every stadia line (short or long) is 1 mil from the next (dissimilar) one above or below it.
  4. Every stadia line (short or long) is 2 mils from the next (similar) one above or below it.
For reference, the Leica IBS reticle looks like this:

Leica IBS Reticle image

Leica's web site has ballistic calculator that works for both the Ballistic Reticle and the IBS Reticle. The calculator calculates bullet drop and windage information for your reticle for your ammo and your gun.  See the Leica IBS Calculator.

Another great resource for using ballistic reticles that you should consider is the Strelok Ballistic Calculator program for Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone 8.  Strelok supports the Leica Ballistic and IBS reticles. A free version of Strelok is available, a paid version (Strelock+ for about $5), and a Pro version (for about $20).  To me, the bargain of the bunch is Strelok+.  I emailed a question about the Leica IBS reticle to the programmer and he sent a very useful email reply within an hour.

The Large Eyepiece

The large eyepiece means you might have to have your bolt handle thinned slightly if you want to use low mount rings with the ER on your rifle. See the picture of the ER on my HCR above for an example of a bolt handle that has been ground down to accomodate the large eyepiece.

The eyepiece is 1.807" at rubber ring and 1.811" diameter at metal body.
Scope caps that fit the eyepiece include the Butler Creek #7 and the Weaver Polar M.  I don't recommend the Polar M cap because I've had too many of them that have lost the yellow tab that is used to release the cap.

Resources on the Web for the Leica ER Riflescope

Leica's Web Page for the ER Riflescopes

Leica's IBS Calculator

Optic Authority.com: A Good Source for the ER Riflescope - I bought my ER from OpticAuthority.com at a good discount because it was an open box item. It was their demo ER at the Shot Show that year.  The guy at OpticAuthority said the scope was in like-new condition and he wasn't exaggerating one bit. When the scope arrived I went over the scope very carefully and it was in perfect condition. OpticAuthority's service was excellent and their reputation on the web is very good.

Online Reviews for Leica ER Riflescopes

  1. August 2012 American Rifleman Review
  2. Outdoor Life Review
  3. John Barsness on opticstalk.com gives the Leica ER a score of 8 in his night-test.
  4. ILya Koshkin at OpticsThoughts.com briefly mentions the Leica ER in his top tier list

Online Discussions About Leica ER Riflescopes

  1. The Leica ER is in the top tier of the 2009 OpticsTalks Riflescope Rating Scale
  2. http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f17/i-found-love-leica-scopes-100269/
  3. http://24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/4968868/Re_Leica_ER_Riflescopes
  4. ILya opines that the ER tops the Swaro Z5
  5. Another discussion of the Leica vs. the Swaro Z5
  6. And another discussion of the Leica ER vs. the Swaro Z5
  7. http://www.opticstalk.com/leica-scope-german-no-1-reticle_topic33949.html
  8. On the Leica ER 2.5-10X42 with the German #1 reticle
  9. Question about the ASV turret for the Leica ER
  10. Good discussion about the size of the eye piece and how the ER compares optically to other alpha scopes