Leupold’s SX-2 KENAI

Leupold’s high-definition Kenai spotting scope performs under fire

The author checks his shooting position and sight picture

The author checks his shooting position and sight picture as he gets ready to fire a Bullseye match. Notice how the height of the scope is set so that he can simply lean over and check the target. This is especially important during the slow-fire stages of the match.

Story and Photos by Dr. Martin D. Topper

Whether you’re a hunter, a competitive shooter or a person who just likes to plink at long range, a good spotting scope is an essential piece of shooting equipment. The usefulness of a spotting scope is undeniable. Binoculars just don’t cut it when trying to pick out the best buck at dawn or dusk, or when trying to see where your previous shot hit during a stage of fire. The only real question is how to get the most scope for your money.

Like rifle scopes and binoculars, bargain basement spotting scopes generally transmit less light, have lower definition and are less durable than scopes that cost more. Which scope you choose depends on what you intend to do with it. That having been said, a shoote’s needs usually change over time.

Years ago, I bought an inexpensive 20-60x scope to use when shooting Bullseye matches. It was good enough to see most .22-caliber holes on bright days at 50 yards. Performance on cloudy days was so-so, and when I started using it to spot hits from .30-caliber rifles at 200 yards, things got pretty iffy. Then, when the scope tube worked loose from the baseplate, spotting at even 100 yards was a real chore on windy days. I should have spent the money to get a good scope in the first place.

SX-2 KENAI Scope

A quality spotting scope is essential for competitive shooting, and the Kenai is right at home on the firing line at the Flagler Gun and Archery Club’s Pistol range.


The SX-2 Kenai (pronounced keen eye) is one of the latest editions to Leupold’s fine line of spotting scopes. The Kenai is an especially interesting scope because it performs like scopes priced in the $1,700 to $2,500 range, but it has an MSRP of $999.

While not inexpensive, the Kenai’s features make it well worth its price. These include genuine high-definition glass, fully multi-coated lenses, an 80mm objective lens, two eyepieces (25-60x and 30x wide-angle), a sturdy lightweight magnesium scope body that’s nitrogen filled and waterproof, a built-in retractable sun shade, high-quality BAK-4 prisms and a wide focus ring located right over the attachment for the tripod. Of course, the Kenai also comes with Leupold’s outstanding lifetime warranty.

All of these features add up to superior performance. The HD glass and BAK-4 prisms provide razor-sharp images that are true in color and free of distortion, even at the edges of the field of view. The Kenai’s fully multi-coated lenses also provide excellent color fidelity and allow maximum light transmission by reducing internal reflections. In addition, the nitrogen-filled tube prevents fogging. The Kenai’s sun shade further aids in reducing reflections by preventing sun flares that cause glare in the scope in the early morning and late evening when the sun is at a low angle.

To read this article in its entirety, pick up a copy of the November issue of Gun World, available at newsstands now.

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