Comment(s)

Many scopes can serve the police marksman and certain military applications, but scopes designed specifically for such use are best. In such cases, typical engagement distances are less than 100 yards, so an oversized scope will just add weight while being difficult to mount and to make a proper cheekweld—you won’t need a scope that works 600 yards and in, though it is necessary for long range. Similarly, an objective greater than 50mm is a waste of space. The sweet spot has always been 42mm or 44mm because it keeps the weight and overall length down, the focal point closer to the bore line, and the unit easy to install. (Night vision will also fit and line up better.) Finally, super-high power simply removes your field of view at lower powers, and honestly, telescopes are for looking at stars, not threats.

Turrets need to be visible without a magnifying glass—zero stops are great— and large enough to operate with a gloved hand. While a 30mm tube will suffice, 34mm is the military standard and fast becoming the norm. This size tube provides more elevation and strength as well as compatibility with a number of newer mounts. As for reticles, they must be mounted in the first focal plane, fast, and practical for holdovers and wind estimation. Given the availability of night vision, lighted reticles are fine though far from necessary. Night vision’s window of usefulness is so small as to make it a novelty, especially on higher-power scopes. And don’t forget to look for a good warrantee and customer service. If and when anything breaks, you as an operator will need solid customer support.

Leupold’s Mark 6

Leupold’s Mark 6 line represents some of the highest-quality scopes on the market. While the Mark 8 line represents its top tier, the Mark 6 includes the best scopes you can field, scopes that are more suited to tactical environments. Utilizing the Xtended Twilight and DiamondCoat 2 coatings, the Mark 6 scopes provide usable light for longer periods. A one-piece 34mm tube provides solid construction, holds the reticle in the first focal plane and features 100 MOA of total adjustment.

Leupold’s Mark 6

Leupold’s Mark 6 line represents some of the highest-quality scopes on the market. While the Mark 8 line represents its top tier, the Mark 6 includes some of the best scopes you can field, scopes that are more suited to tactical environments. Utilizing the Xtended Twilight and DiamondCoat 2 coatings, the Mark 6 scopes provide usable light for longer periods. A one-piece 34mm tube provides solid construction, holds the reticle in the first focal plane and features 100 MOA of total adjustment.

The Horus H-58 or CMR-W reticle provides tactical viability in most any situation. An M5A2 Auto-Locking elevation turret allows for precision and simple operation in the field. A single turn gets you 10 mils (34 MOA) of elevation, plenty for all but the longest ranges. There is a harder stop at each 5-mil increment, keeping you on track in the dark. A flat and covered windage turret keeps things simple and out of the way, with limits at 5 mils in either direction. A large ocular lens allows for magnification change using gloves. The quick-adjust focus ring gets the reticle in focus and locks into place, and at a mere 12 inches the Mark 6 riflescope fits on most any precision rifle or DMR (designated marksman’s rifle).

I chose my newly re-barreled Mike’s Gun Sales & Service DMR as the test platform. Chambered in 6.5mm Creedmoor, it uses all the magnification the Leupold Mark 6 can offer. The caliber is fast becoming a favorite of mine, as its low recoil, superb accuracy and flat trajectory make it incredibly versatile and perfect for police work. This DMR has produced solid and repeatable accuracy, holding 0.5 MOA out to 500 yards.

To mount the riflescope I used Global Defense Initiatives’ P-ROM L-model 25-MOA mount, which holds its zero, removes easily and provides elevation to the limits of this cartridge. I also installed Leupold’s DeltaPoint reflex sight on a Daniel Defense 1 o’clock rail for backup. I really like this red-dot for precision rifle applications. The point of the triangle offers precision while allowing for any surprises that may come up at close range.

Downrange Authority

Zeroing the Leupold Mark 6 is very easy, but it’s worth spending a minute or two with the instructions—if you’re not prepared, the zero stop function can fool you. Using a 25-MOA base requires moving down past the zero stop: You must loosen the turret with the supplied Allen wrench and turn it counterclockwise then tighten the turret and move down as needed. Once the scope is zeroed, loosen the turret again and turn it clockwise one turn—it snaps into place nicely—then re-tighten the locking screw. Now you have a hard zero stop. Resetting the number ring requires no tools: Pinch the two locking pins, lift up the ring, move it to zero and push it back in place. Now you simply pinch and turn for elevation. Clicks were very tactile even with gloves, and the hard stops at 5 mils were great. Two full rotations (20 mils) of elevation remained, taking the Creedmoor to beyond 1,500 yards.

Over the course of several days I tested a number of groups and cold bores. The scope was dead on, never missing a beat. I fired five-shot groups on each numbered power setting on the scope with no change in point of impact. A 10-shot group using 3x followed by 18x produced one ragged hole at 100 yards.

The Leupold Mark 6 riflescope I tested came with the Horus H-58 reticle, which is very fast for holdovers and plenty precise. Shooting groups at 200 and 300 yards using the turret followed by holdovers showed no perceptible change. The side-focus knob is accurate and easy to access, and while the numbers are mostly for reference, they held pretty close out to 500 yards. With the reticle wind holds were dead on. It’s why that windage turret is flat and covered—with the Horus the rifle gets zeroed and the knobs won’t likely be used again except to re-zero—but if you need to adjust windage the cover comes off easily. Both turrets have large and readable numbers, even for my 50-plus-year-old eyes.

Eye relief is just about right, allowing for a solid sight picture throughout the power ranges. Changing magnification was easy, even with gloved hands, and, most importantly, did not affect the scope cover! (Sounds trivial, but on a tactical scope that’s huge, as interference with your bolt knob or charging handle can be a serious issue.) Testing was done at dawn, at dusk and in between. The glass provides light-gathering commensurate with most any high-end scope and well beyond the threshold of my eye.

Clear Image

This Mark 6 comes as close to tactical scope nirvana as any I’ve tested so far. It’s as if Leupold applied to it all the things I have been asking for over the last 15 years: The glass is clear and crisp, the first focal plane reticle is usable on the job or in competition, and the knobs are simple, visible and rugged and cannot get knocked loose. The Leupold Mark 6’s hard zero stop is great, and 10 mils takes this cartridge out past 1,100 yards with one turn. Using a 44mm objective and 34mm tube provides ample elevation and light-gathering. And the scope fits most any tactical rifle and accommodates night vision. Finally, with Leupold’s warranty and customer service being among the best in the industry, it is pretty hard to go wrong here. For me at least, the Mark 6 is about perfect. I will definitely enjoy it while I can! For more information, call 800-538-7653 or visit leupold.com.

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