Leupold Factory Tour

Author Chris Cheng with the United States Marine Corps Shooting Team at Leupold HQ. Photo courtesy of Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

Editor’s Note: The author is sponsored by Leupold. He was not paid by Leupold to write this post.

Leupold is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon where I was given a factory tour to see the magic happen. I also happened to be there the same day as the U.S. Marine Corps Shooting Team, so I got to meet them which was great. I’m excited to share what I saw during my tour.

The author, the United States Marine Corps Shooting Team, and Leupold brass in their executive meeting room.

The author, the United States Marine Corps Shooting Team, and Leupold brass in their executive meeting room. Photo courtesy of Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

Leupold employs about 700 people in their Beaverton corporate headquarters and factory. It is situated in beautiful, natural surroundings with lush trees which make it an ideal area to test their products.

On the factory floor, there are numerous CNC machines, all cranking out parts for Leupold products. The machines run 24/7, and even at that rate Leupold says they cannot keep up with demand at this time. For someone like me who came from the computer software world, it is quite neat to see physical products being made in real time.

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Some of Leupold's many CNC machines.

Some of Leupold’s many CNC machines. Photos courtesy of Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

We saw the process around how stand alone lenses are tested to ensure they have maximum clarity. A combination of scopes, lights, computers, and other gadgetry put these lenses through their paces. And this is all before they are even installed in a product.

What was also nice to see is how Leupold focuses on reducing waste by recycling aluminum shavings. They make a good chunk of change each month selling the aluminum leftovers to a third party. Not only does this reduce waste, but it is good business when you can make money off of your trash!

They have a sizable assembly area which is buzzing with activity. Parts going to their appropriate stations, line workers assembling scopes, then final products head off to packaging. I got to watch line technicians dutifully assemble a number of scopes, each station has a number of quality control checks with many hands and eyes touching each product. If there’s any problem with a product, it goes into a reject bin whose contents are later analyzed to figure out where, how, and why things fell short.

Leupold tour guide Rick (at left) is a company veteran who's been around the block a few times.

Leupold tour guide Rick (at left) is a company veteran who’s been around the block a few times. Photo courtesy of Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

I was most impressed with the hand assembly line was the part of the tour. I assumed that a company as big as Leupold would have fully automated the production line in order to keep costs down, and to help keep up with orders. No matter the industry, slowing things down for TLC usually increases the quality of the product. Additionally, the need for hand assembly produces jobs to help support the local community.

Leupold has an intense stress test room where they push not only their products, but their competitors’ products to the limits. The details of their tests are proprietary information, but the lead tester told us stories about how he literally “sweeps up the floor” when competitor products fall apart during stress tests. All Leupold products have to pass stress tests which go far and beyond most real-world uses and applications.

For a closer look at the factory, Leupold created a factory tour video:

And for fun, to give you an idea of what kind of abuse a Leupold scope can take:

www.Leupold.com.



Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.

www.TopShotChris.com.


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  • Nicks87

    Why do Marines always look like they are constipated?

    …just kidding, I’m sure most Marines have regular bowel movements, but we all know what happens when they spend too much time out at sea with those Navy boys.

    • Shame on you Nicks:-)

    • claymore

      Says the non-serving REMF poggie bait eating pissant.

      • Nicks87

        Actually I did serve and I did see combat so good job with your assumptions. USAF all the way baby! Nothing wrong with talking trash between the services but apparently some people are too sensitive. Too much soldier worship these days I think. Whatever happened to the humble soldiers that didnt ask for any recognition. They just did their jobs and then went on about their lives and you would never know they where military unless they told you. Nowdays these guys think they need to be paraded around and have their asses kissed or they go and kill themselves. Sorry to sound un-American/patriotic but the way some of these guys act in uniform when you see them around town would make the men who sacrificed their lives on D-day roll over in their graves.

        • claymore

          Like I said a poogie bait eating zoomie.

          • Real Marine

            Served the Corps with pride from 1967 through 1972. If you have nothing positive to say please be a gentleman and keep your sour disposition to yourself. Semper Fi brother

          • claymore

            So you agree with his first comment I take it?

          • Nicks87

            Not sure what that means but Aerospace Dining Facilities ARE second to none.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Great write up Chris, was a pleasure to read.

  • allannon

    Leupold products aren’t cheap, but they’re not terribly expensive (respective to their features and specs), and I’ve never regretted buying one.

  • tincankilla

    happy to see a great company from my home state. But californians, please don’t move there.

  • Mike Knox

    One hell of a smile Mr. Cheng..

  • Teach

    Me? I want that precision tacticool jackhammer!

  • 11b

    Soldiers?

  • t-bone

    Twenty years with the company and he’s a setup machinist?! Not a lot of upward mobility in that first video.