Had some free time Friday afternoon to wander around Gander Mountain, where I actually found two of the scopes on my list:
Leupold VX-2 2-7x 33mm CDS did not appear much different than the VX-3 in optical quality although I prefer the eyepiece design of the VX-3. I was under the impression that all Leupold scopes had stiff turrets but this model was noticeably easier to turn than the others I handled; both the CDS and standard dials. Again I did not notice slop and but the adjustments were definitely easier to feel.
Nikon Monarch 2.5-10x 42mm is a very nice scope but on the heavy side. Surprisingly this scope was not too difficult to keep both eyes open at close range. Until I looked at this scope, I failed to realize the Monarch BDC reticle is not the M-223 BDC-600 reticle. The Monarch BDC reticle has a resemblance to the German #4 design with three small open circles located below the horizontal; indeed much simpler than the BDC-600.
Thoughts on ballistic-specific dial systems:
Short answer - Nikon Monarch seems to have the most options.
Leupold charges $90 for a single CDS turret to be added or upgraded. Additional dials in other calibrations are available for $60 each. The Leupold CDS dials have a zero stop except for the generic dial included for setup purposes.
Nikon Spot-On dials replace the stock dials at the cost $100 each. Nikon also offers taller target dials at $65 for a single and $100 for a pair. I have not been able to determine if any of these do or do not have a zero stop. Note that the scope does not need to be sent to Nikon for these changes which means the design/layout can be changed at any time.
Removing two from the final list:
Nikon M-223: After looking at several models in different stores, I came to the conclusion the turret knobs are a bit larger than I prefer and I will not be using the eyepiece cap. Yes this decision is based upon aesthetics only. If I intended to shoot a lot wearing heavy gloves this would be the scope to have.
Weaver Grand Slam: I have yet to see any Weaver optics after visiting four different stores. Yes I could order one and then return it but I would need something to compare side-by-side.