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by Gregg Richter a.k.a. Gregg Richter Last updated: 2012-08-26 14:43:22
The type of sight known as a "reflex sight" has become wildly popular; nowadays you can find them mounted on all types of firearms; from rimfire rifles and pistols to centerfire rifles and handguns, and even shotguns. Today there is hardly an optics company that doesn’t produce a reflex sight of their own.
And Leupold & Stevens, Inc., known for the excellent optical quality as well as ruggedness of their scopes for rifles and pistols, is no exception. Their version of the reflex sight is called the Leupold Deltapoint.
Personally, I like the name; forgive me for saying this, but it sounds “tactical,” which of course seems to be the buzz word in the gun world today. But in reality, the sight is named for a “delta,” which in this case means a simple triangle. This is a bit confusing, however, as only one version of the sight actually has the "Delta," which is the 7.5 MOA version. Hence it’s name. However, please note that the 3.5 MOA version of the Deltapoint does NOT have the delta; it has simply a 3.5 MOA red dot; NO "Delta" (triangle). I have not ever looked through, much less shot, the 7.5 MOA version, so I have no comment on that version's use as a sight on a handgun.
I am familiar with reflex type sights on handguns; I have used them for several years on a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 magnum and a Freedom Arms 83 in .500 Wyoming Express; and more recently a custom Ruger Bisley in .475 Linebaugh as well as a Ruger Mark III .22/45 pistol. I very much like them for hunting, as there is no front and rear sight to line up; you just place the red dot where you want to hit and squeeze off. I have killed an antelope, two mule deer bucks, and one bull elk using reflex sights on revolvers.
My contact at Leupold sent me a Deltapoint in the 3.5 MOA version for my review and write-up on one of my handguns. Those familiar with shooting heavy recoiling handguns (generally .44 magnum and up) know that a main concern for optics, including reflex sights, used on these big bruisers is whether or not they will hold up to the unforgiving recoil. There have been many handgun scopes as well as reflex sights that have given up the ghost and self destructed from being mounted on a big handgun.
A big enemy of an optical sight is being at rest and then instantly being accelerated into motion at several dozen G’s of force when the gun is fired. Due to Newton’s law that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, when that object is rapidly accelerated into motion it is stressed and literally can be torn apart from those stresses.
One advantage of a reflex sight that helps in this regard is their light weight. Due to the law of inertia a lighter object will have less stress on it from the acceleration; ie. the heavier an object is the more stress it will undergo, other factors being the same.
The Leupold Deltapoint features an extemely durable and lightweight housing made of magnesium, weighing only .6 of an ounce, including the tiny 3 volt CR 2032 Lithium battery. The fit and finish is generally excellent. The aspheric lens window gives it a wide field of view and has a scratch resistant coating on it, and comes with a nice rubber cover that fits on snugly. The sight is motion activated, and does not automatically turn off in darkness, like some other brands. This is a useful feature if being used at night. The Deltapoint has a proprietary brightness control called Intelligent Brightness Control, which adjusts the intensity of the red aiming point according to the lighting conditions. With the rubber cover on, the sight goes to its lowest setting and therefore prolongs battery life while carrying it, since it would be constantly on due to the motion. After about 5 minutes of being at rest, the sight shuts off, but goes on within one tenth of a second when moved. A very useful feature also is the low battery indicator, which causes the brightness setting to flash from dim to bright constantly; warning you that you have only a few hours of battery life left. And if you get mud or blood on your Deltapoint, it is ok to rinse it with water as it is completely waterproof and can even be immersed.
Since I planned on mounting the Deltapoint on my FA revolver in .454 Casull and the fact that it already had a T-Sob scope mount on it, (picatinny rail type) I ordered my Deltapoint with the Cross-Slot mount. It mounted perfectly on the T-Sob with the one screw as supplied. The sight is also available with 10 other types of mount bases to fit most any handgun.
Recently I got the chance to go to the gun range and try the sight out. It was a warm bright sunny day in Colorado, and even though I used targets with orange bull’s eyes and orange rings, the red dot showed up plenty bright for easy sighting. My handloads for my .454 Casull were 335 grain hardcast lead bullets traveling at the moderate speed of 1425 fps. This load is by no means maximum for this caliber, and certainly not the hardest recoiling load, but it would serve well for my purpose.
The sighting in of any reflex sight can be frustrating. I was used to the other reflex sights I have used, where you move the red dot to the impact point. In other words, if your bullet hit high and left, you move the red dot high and left. The Leupold is the opposite; resembling more like how you adjust a scope. In the case above you would move the Deltapoint red dot low and right; the direction you want the impact point to go.
After 12 rounds I was able to get mine on paper. The nice thing about the adjustment screws on the Deltapoint is the “D” for Down and “R” for right means the same as they do on a scope; D moves the impact point down and R moves it right. This is just the opposite of some other reflex sights, as I mentioned above. The adjustment range for both windage and elevation is 60 MOA, which is quite generous. One important note here: Make sure you take the supplied Torx wrenches provided in the box. Especially the tiny
T-5 one for the adjustment screws, which the average shooter's tool box is unlikely to have; this one is also used to tighten the locking screws to lock down the adjustment screws after you are sighted in. I definitely like this locking feature for a hard recoiling handgun.
Once I had the bullets hitting paper, it was a matter of adjusting and shooting until the gun was sighted in. I then proceeded to shoot targets for groups and also had fun blasting six inch rocks at 50 yards on the hillside. I am not a very good target shooter and my groups at 25 yards were not very impressive, but it was not due to the Deltapoint. I found the 3.5 MOA red dot very easy to see and use, no matter the target. All in all, I fired 95 rounds, and the Deltapoint kept right on ticking. Once I got it sighted in, I experienced no problems.
Now I know that 95 rounds from my .454 is not by any means a conclusive durability test, but it gives you a pretty good idea that the Leupold Deltapoint is more than likely to stand up to Leupold's durability reputation. As I stated, I am not much of a target shooter, but my last 5 shots I tried standing, off-hand at 15 yards. Even though I had the "recoil shakes," four of the five went into the 2 inch bullseye, and the fifth one close by. Hey, I’ll take it!
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