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Hardware: Leica ER 5

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Hardware: Leica ER 5

The Leica ER 5 line is built to last with quality befitting a German optic.

German optics are legendary for three things: superior craftsmanship, outstanding optical quality and hefty price tags. Despite the well-deserved reputations of German offerings, many rank-and-file American hunters rarely give such optics more than a cursory look when it comes time to buy a riflescope, having been conditioned to expect prices well above their means. Conversely, for Americans willing to pony up for German quality, the trade-off has been learning to live with features that appeal to European tastes, but not necessarily their own.

Enter Leica’s new ER 5 line of German-engineered, American-made riflescopes, which have been designed with American hunters in mind at a price point many will find much more agreeable. By manufacturing the scopes in the United States, Leica is able to save on import duties and high German labor costs, which translates to lower prices for consumers.

The cost of an ER 5 is downright cheap for a German-engineered optic—six models comprise the line, with suggested retail prices ranging from $749 for a 1X-5X-24mm dangerous-game or 3-gun scope to $1,429 for a 5X-25X-56mm long-range rig. But don’t think the price hints at lower quality. Members of the ER 5 family are near equals to European-made Leicas.

For starters, all ER 5 riflescopes contain precision-ground HD glass that’s been fully multi-coated with Leica’s proprietary lens coatings. The result is 90 percent light transmission and a bright, crisp image on par with other top-end optics. Even under less-than-ideal conditions, image quality with the 4X-20X proved excellent over the course of two overcast, periodically foggy days of hunting in the Texas Hill Country. Just before noon on the second day, the fog cleared long enough for the ER 5 to pick up a band of Catalina goats sharp and clear on a distant ridge, allowing me to anchor a particularly handsome black and white billy at 240 yards.

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