RIX Optics LEAP L-6 Test and Review (Paul Evilsizer)
Nov 30, 2023
Blog Entry 1 for RIX Optics LEAP L6 - 11/16/2023
Recently, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a RIX Optics LEAP L6 thermal imaging scope for testing. This section entails my first impressions including unboxing, mounting the scope and initial review that was collected by simply utilizing the optic outside of my home for 20-30 minutes. During this initial testing, my main focus was becoming familiar with the controls of the device and taking in my first opportunities to see the scope’s image clarity and features.
Unboxing – First impressions from the unboxing process was the packaging and presentation of the LEAP L6 is very nice. It comes with a high quality, soft-sided carrying case that appears to be well thought out for transporting the scope and included accessories. The standard package included 2 18650 rechargeable batteries and compact 2 position charger. Since the scope operates on 1 battery, it is great to have a spare battery being sent as standard equipment that can easily be brought along to the field/range for reserve power supply. Another nice gesture in the standard packaging is the inclusion of thermal targets to assist the user in sighting in the scope. Next, I took the time to review the owner’s manual thoroughly. My observation is the manual is concise and to the point, almost brief at times. Almost all information I needed or expected to find in the manual was present except for torque specifications for the included scope rings. I elected to utilize 18-inch lbs. on the ring caps as this is the average specification, I have experience using other scope rings.
First Impressions of the LEAP L6 – During the first few minutes of handling this device, it was clear it has a solid feel to it. I made notice of the robust alloy housing and large turret wheels and buttons which appear to be easily used even with gloved fingers. The optical zoom ring also has a flip lever which is like nothing I have seen on other optics to make adjusting the optical zoom level a breeze. The lens cap is well built with a nice fit which stands out compared to some of the competitors’ set ups I have experience with. The battery compartment is opened by use of a latching system which I believe will make battery changes more efficient during low light conditions. Overall, my first impressions of the RIX LEAP L6 were very positive regarding fit and finish.
Mounting the LEAP L6 and Brief Testing – Next in my process was to mount the scope to a hunting rifle and perform some brief testing. I chose to use the factory scope rings included from RIX to set the device up for use on one of my .243 AR-style rifles. The rings included with the scope did not stand out as extremely high-quality by feel but the mounting process went seamless with no issues. Further testing will be required to draw any conclusions on my overall impression of these rings. The height of the included rings allowed for adequate clearance on my flat-top AR rifle, so these should allow for mounting on most any style rifle. These rings are no longer included in the box of current and future examples. Rix is replacing them with a rebranded, 1-piece QD mount. Comfortable eye-relief was easily achieved and after leveling the scope in the rings, the caps were torqued to 18-inch lbs. as mentioned earlier. Next, I took the entire set-up outside on a beautiful fall evening (50*F, 62% humidity, clear skies) to get some initial impression on the scope’s image and features. First thing I noticed is the clarity of the 1920x1080 OLED display screen and the fact that the horizontal edges were rounded to match the shape of the eyepiece. I was able to adjust the diopter to get a very clear view of the reticle and text on the screen. The image clarity was also very impressive, I was able to observe great details of the landscape I was focusing on. I was very excited to try the optical zoom feature, as this is the first scope I have been able to test with this feature. Overall, the optical zoom is awesome, in my opinion. Being able to move from 2.8x to 8.4x with no loss in clarity is amazing. The reticle also increases in size during the optical zoom process, but my initial feeling is that will not cause many issues getting on target and making precise shots. More testing during hunting conditions will help analyze that topic in greater detail. After I optically zoomed the device many times in amazement, I moved on to getting familiar with the functions of the turrets and buttons. I was able to navigate the layout of the controls very easily and could tell memorizing the functions would not be a challenge. The menu options appear to be well-organized with easily identifiable icons to correspond to the function. One minor topic I noticed while navigating the menu was when turning the top turret, the click indicating you moved a single time was not as pronounced as those on the side turrets. Not a deal breaker of any sort, but I did take note of this. Overall, I was very impressed by the image clarity, functions, and layout of the LEAP L6 and look forward to more testing soon. Next steps will include taking the set-up to my local range to get the scope zeroed for my rifle and then out for some coyote hunts to gather some in-field experience and video footage.
Blog Entry 2 for RIX Optics LEAP L6 - 11/20/2023
As promised, I am reporting back after my first range day with the RIX Optics LEAP L6 thermal imaging scope. Yesterday, I was able to spend a couple hours at my local rifle range and had the chance to dive into using the LEAP L6 in greater detail than my brief session after mounting the scope to my rifle. Weather conditions for this testing session were the following: 60*F, 28% humidity with mostly cloudy skies. I think it’s important to take the weather conditions into consideration when using/testing thermal imaging devices, as there is a very strong influence on performance based on those conditions.
Impression of Image and Features - I placed the rifle on the shooting bench and dove right into getting the scope started up. As with most thermal scopes, the start-up time is somewhat lengthy, but the device does offer a stand-by mode that allows the screen to shut down to conserve battery but also allows for the scope to power back up to a usable state in less than 1 second. After the scope fully booted up, I began observing the environment downrange including my target at 100 yards. I could clearly distinguish trees and bushes near the 300-yard distance beyond my target. In my observation, the image clarity was right on par with most other 640 resolution scopes I have had the chance to operate. Now for the best part – optical zoom. The LEAP L6’s optical zoom adjustment was well thought-out. Placing the adjustment ring in a very similar place to where magnification adjustments are located on most day-scopes just felt natural to me. The adjustment ring is very smooth and has a nifty “stick” that can be flipped up to help adjust the optical magnification, even when wearing gloves. The optical magnification is really a game-changer in my opinion – being able to move from 2.8x to 7.6x while maintaining 640 resolution is honestly amazing to see. As I mentioned in my initial review, the reticle does increase in size while using the optical zoom at higher levels, but as I observed the scenery and target at the rifle range, this did not appear to be a large concern to me, at this time. I believe the reticle will still be a manageable size and allow for longer distance shots without impeding the point of aim on the intended target. Time will tell more as I get this out in hunting scenarios and have the chance to take some longer-range shots.
Zeroing Process – The reticle zeroing process was maybe the largest concern I have had at this point. At first, I struggled to find the zeroing option, but after a quick review in the manual, I was able to find it under the “Settings” menu option and began the process. The LEAP L6 has a similar process to other thermal scopes, whereas the user can take their first shot and mark their point of impact. While in the zeroing applet, the point of aim should be recentered on the original point of aim and then the screen can be frozen using the freeze option. Next, the reticle can be moved to the marked point of impact and then the changes saved. In theory, this should allow for the zeroing process to be done in just a couple shots. My main concern was the fact that scope would only allow me to make these adjustments on base (digital) magnification (2.8X). I attempted to use the optical magnification to improve the accuracy of moving the reticle to the point of impact, but I would lose sight of the information on the screen as I zoomed in closer with optical magnification. I was still able to adjust to the desired location by instead using the legend that appears at the lower left side of the screen during the zeroing process. It states that each “click” for the x or y axis adjustment = 0.6” at 100 yards. Using this information, I was able to make an educated guess and moved the reticle 3 “clicks” to the right, as my bullet had impacted about 2” to the right of my point of aim. Remember, follow your bullet or in other words move the adjusted reticle from the original point of aim towards the impact of the shot. After moving these 3 “clicks” my next impact was just on the left edge of the 1”x1” piece of tinfoil I used on my target as the bullseye. With the adjustments being somewhat coarse in nature (0.6” at 100 yards), this was as close to perfectly zeroed as I could accomplish. This zeroing process is the biggest topic that I would hope to see addressed in future firmware revisions from RIX. I prefer to make zeroing adjustments at least in 0.25” increments to feel the rifle and scope are totally in synch. Even with this, I am confident this set-up will be effective to 300 yards at the least. I plan to put that to the test very soon and will use that experience to make my final conclusions on the RIX LEAP L6. Overall, I am very impressed with this scope, especially at the price point and with the optical zoom technology.
Blog Entry 3 for RIX Optics LEAP L6 - 11/27/2023
Over the past weekend I was able to get out on my first coyote night hunt for the 2023/2024 season. This also gave me the first opportunity to use the RIX Optics Leap L6 in the field, doing what it was designed to do. We ended up having a great night of hunting, taking 11 coyotes in about 6 hours of hunting. This allowed me to have many interactions with the device as action was packed into our night.
Ease of use, features, function – At the start of the night, I had only less than 1 hour of testing time behind the Leap 6 optic during my original unboxing and range session, but this did not slow me down in use. The simple layout of the scope makes it rather easy to dive right in and get to hunting with it. The button layout is intuitive and as mentioned in earlier reviews, the optical zoom adjustment is smooth and works flawlessly. On our first stand we had a hard-charging triple that took us somewhat by surprise, so going right into action was the only option. We were able to take 2 of 3 on that stand, and the scope made easy work of a 150-yard shot. The clarity in the scope was very comparable to other 640 thermal sights I have used in the past as I enjoyed easily identifying the coyotes at over 500 yards when they first appeared from the cover we were calling to. The next stand produced mayhem for us, as we had a single coyote approaching from the North while 5 more were coming to the call from the South. Having low experience with a scope that has a more complicated layout could have caused some trouble in this scenario, but the Leap L6 is well laid out, so this was not a concern. We were able to contact 3 of those coyotes during a few hectic minutes and we were well on our way to a very successful night. It was after this stand I checked my battery status and realized I had 1 of 3 icons remaining in the battery status. My style during hunting is probably extreme for battery usage, as I only place my scope in “stand-by mode” between sets and while on stand until we spot a coyote with our thermal scanners. The ambient temperature that night was in low 30’s to high 20’s F, which plays a factor on battery life as well. I would estimate the run time of the scope at that point to have been 1 hour 40 minutes in either stand-by or operating modes. This was not a large concern for me, as the unit came with two 18650 batteries (scope only requires 1 to operate), so I had a spare in my pocket. After switching to my new battery, I placed the 2/3 depleted battery on the supplied charger in my pick-up truck while we continued to hunt. By the time the second battery reached 1/3 power, the first was fully charged. This allowed me to cycle between the two supplied batteries without interruption. Shutting the scope down between sets could also greatly increase run-time but I wanted to test the scope in my normal style. The single greatest feature of these Leap L6 devices will come as no surprise – the optical zoom. I was able to connect with multiple coyotes throughout the night at well over 300 yards. I found a combination of digital zoom at 2x and optical zoom around half power provided me with a great image to confidently aim on a coyote at those long distances. There is obviously more magnification to be used, but this was I found comfortable for me. The scope held zero for me the entire hunt, with the included 30mm rings, with my final shot of the night was 380 yards that made solid contact to put us at 11 total coyotes before we headed home. The Recoil Activated Recording feature is a VERY welcome addition to a new line of thermal optics. Many manufacturers have foregone this functionality (presumably, in favor of extended battery life), but an extra battery in the pack is a worthwhile tradeoff for many of us.
Overall Impression – After having the chance to review the RIX Leap L6 thermal imaging sight at the target range and on a very successful night of hunting, I feel I can give an accurate summary of my impression of the device. At its price-point, it is a bargain for the performance it provides. Crisp, 640 resolution, optical and digital magnification, video and audio recording in great quality and ease of use all lead me to believe that this optic would be a great choice for a wide variety of hunters and marksmen. Even with the battery life being slightly less than expected, picking up a couple extra 18650 batteries are also a bargain compared to proprietary batteries that various other scopes require. If you are on the fence about purchasing a RIX Leap L6, I would not hesitate to own one. This device has versatility at a very competitive price.