The owner of this scope managed to fall off of his horse and come crashing down on some nearby rocks. He had his rifle slung over his back at the time, which made for a rough landing. Suffice it to say, there was no saving his optic. I hope he had a backup.
This one perplexes even me. The note Leupold received with the scope read "Gun disintegrated in my hands and the results destroyed my new scope." I'm not sure I want to know what that fella was doing when his optic ate it.
There's not paying attention to what you're doing, and then there's what this scope's owner did. While mounting his new optic, he drilled a mount screw straight through into the rifle's chamber. When he proceeded to fire his rifle, said screw rocketed upward into the scope. Ouch.
If you’ve looked at the picture, I’m sure you’ve already figured out what hit it—a bullet. The rifle it was mounted on was leaning on a truck next to a camp fire when another nearby rifle fell over and fired a round that shouldn’t have been chambered. Fortunately this scope was the only casualty.
Here’s an optic that went out like a champ. It (and the rifle it was mounted on) fell from a helicopter. Its owner wasn’t just out for a joyride—he was hunting kangaroos. Yes, in Australia. Now that’s adventure.
This scope’s owner tried to extend an olive branch to his brother-in-law by inviting him on a hunting trip. The result? The brother-in-law wrecked his provided rifle and scope, both. Thanksgiving had to be awkward.
While on a moose hunt in Alaska, the owner of his scope had his boat capsize in a river. His rifle got away from him, and was later found stuck in some rocks two miles downriver. The scope was still in one piece…but far from salvageable.
More unsafe firearm handling killed this scope. It and and the rifle it was mounted on were hanging on a rack in the rear window of a pickup truck. The owner’s buddy went to remove a different rifle from the rack and had an accidental discharge. The resulting shot took out the scope, the pickup’s window and ultimately punched a hole in the mobile camper, too. Close call.
Everyone worries about taking their firearms and optics onto a plane, and stories like this are why. This scope was bound for a hunt when the case it was in dropped off a baggage cart at the airport…and was promptly run over by a passing 737. The case was found in bits and pieces, but the scope somehow survived the carnage, suffering only a broken main tube and scuffed eyeshell.
We're not entirely sure what happened to this scope, because it was damaged after being stolen. Its owner was baffled by the damage it had sustained by the time he got it back from the crooks, but speculates that they may have hit with an axe or other cutting tool.
It's probably safe to say that every hunter has seen their favorite rifle—and any optics or accessories that may be attached to it—take a tumble or two over the years. Time slows down and your heart stops as you watch your four-figure investment fall victim to gravity. Best case, you're back to the range to make sure you're still shooting straight. Worst case, you're on the way to the local gun shop.
And that's just what can happen when you leave the tools of your trade on a precarious rest. If you've spent enough time afield, you know that's far from the craziest thing that can happen. What happens when your scope is struck by lightning, or goes for a swim in the rapids?
Leupold knows. The company keeps a "Wall of Shame" at its Beaverton, Ore., headquarters, highlighting some of the most battered and bruised scopes they've ever received in the mail from their customers. Each has its own story, all of which you can read using the gallery of photos embedded above.
Leupold, mind you, builds some of the toughest products in the firearms industry. They're constructed with essentially every eventuality in mind—believe me, I've seen some of what they subject their optics to. But when a scope gets struck by lightning to drilled dead on by a .30-06 cartridge, there's only so much that can be done. This gallery isn't meant to make you think Leupold scopes are fragile—quite the contrary. It's really just meant to highlight some of the crazier things the company has seen in its century or so of business.
And, hey, if you do own a Leupold scope, you can feel safe knowing that you're covered by the company's lifetime guarantee.