Scope Review: Leatherwood / Hi-Lux TB-ML 3-9X40 Scope Review

    This review was written by Dr. Jim and Mary Clary.

    Over the years, we have mounted just about every make and model scope on our muzzleloaders in a quest to find the perfect ML scope.  We think that we have finally found it.  The Toby Bridges Signature Series, TB-ML3-9×40 scope by Hi-Lux.  It arrived last month and when we looked through the eyepiece, we were absolutely astounded.  It was so clear and the focus was so phenomenal that we were hard pressed to believe that such a scope was possible for the price.  We compared it side-by-side with our NXS Nightforce tactical scope which cost $1,800 and it was just as good.  The edges of the viewing field were just as sharp as the center.  Mr. John Wu, the head man at Leatherwood Hi-Lux, was not exaggerating when told us that he will not settle for second best.

    Since researching Hi-Lux scopes and testing the TB-ML scope we have found out why the optics are so clear.   The lenses are polished to photographic quality standards, the same as those found in high-end cameras and telescopes.  That ensures exceptional clarity and light gathering capability from dawn to dusk.

    Toby bridges, the designer of this scope, has been a muzzleloader hunter for more years than we can count.  He is the first and only man to design a scope specifically for muzzleloaders, with range crossbars below the primary crosshair to provide an accurate point-of-impact for ranges out to 250 yards.  Unlike conventional scopes with similar crossbars or mil dots, Toby and the folks at Hi-Lux fired more than 1,000 rounds using different loads/bullets to compile the ballistics charts included with the scope.

    We considered it unnecessary to verify the ballistics charts, since we have known Toby for quite awhile and respect his efforts and findings.  However, we know that some readers would question our taking the charts at face value.  So, Jim hit the local range and fired over one hundred rounds with his new CVA Optima V2 using Blackhorn 209 powder, Alliant Black MZ powder, Hodgdon Triple7 pellets and IMR White Hots pellets.   He used the 260 grain Harvester Scorpion PT Gold with Crush Rib sabots and 250 grain “Powerbelt” Aerolite bullets.

    Jim's .50 caliber CVA Optima V2 with TB-ML 3-9x40 Hi-Lux Scope

    Jim’s .50 caliber CVA Optima V2 with TB-ML 3-9×40 Hi-Lux Scope

    Jim didn’t have to fire 1,000 rounds to confirm that the Bridges/Hi-Lux charts are accurate.  Even if you don’t have a chronograph to check your loads, you can closely approximate the velocities using load data provided by Toby.  Talk about someone doing your homework…. TOBY DID!

    Hi-Lux ML Scope Reticle

    One of the tables included with the scope is reprinted below.  It is for hunters using three of the most popular spitzer or spire point bullets with sabots, as well as CVA’s Aerolite bullet.  Our range test confirmations have been inserted (in blue) for reference.  You will want to verify the crossbar distances for your gun on the range before heading out to hunt, as your velocities may be more or less due to the working bore of your gun.

    Toby Bridges with a Nebraska buck taken at 191 yards with his Knight .50 caliber  Long Range Hunter topped with a Hi-Lux TB-ML muzzleloader hunting scope

    Toby Bridges with a Nebraska buck taken at 191 yards with his Knight .50 caliber
    Long Range Hunter topped with a Hi-Lux TB-ML muzzleloader hunting scope


    The Hi-Lux Optics TB-ML Owners Manual


    With an MSRP of $179-$189, depending upon whether you order the blued or silver finish, it is a real bargain.  And, if you order directly from the North American Muzzleloader Hunting Association website, you can get a $50 discount.

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!