When it comes to buying riflescopes for tactical community, besides quality and usability, two other factors are considered and they are status symbol and in-crowd trending. When it comes to Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44, it satisfied all these factors. However, another added factor that works in its favor is the US manufacturing of the scope. Most tactical shooters and some in hunting community are found to place maximum emphasis on the place where the scope was built. Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44 M5B2 rifle scope 34mm Tube Front Focal Mil Dot 115946 costs above the $2,000 price range and that’s why the tactical shooters must be extra sure before buying it. Here, we will try to provide our readers with a comprehensive review of the same so that they can take an informed decision at the time of buying.
Two aspects that we liked in this robust riflescope include 34mm scope body and placement of Mil Dot reticle in the First Focal Plane. 34mm scope body diameter ensures that the long range shooters can get extra elevation to hit targets at extreme long range distance. Therefore, 34mm scope body is surely a beneficial feature for the long to extreme long range shooters. Pro shooters always prefer placement of reticle in the First Focal Plane because it enables them to spot and hit the target even in the longest ranges. For the dummies that are not aware of the importance of FFP scopes, it needs to be mentioned that with change in magnification, the reticle size seems to change too. With increase in magnification, the reticle size also seems to enlarge proportionately. This is especially helpful for long range shooters as enlargement of reticle size helps shooters put bullet at the right spot where they want it to be at.
Unboxing the Scope, Specifications, and First Impression
While testing Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44 M5B2 rifle scope 34mm Tube Front Focal Mil Dot 115946, we found out that it is the perfect scope for tactical shooters as well as hunters because of it being small in size, lighter in weight, and faster in performance. This riflescope is 11.9 inches long and weighs just 23.6 oz. Maintenance of low weight is especially significant here because of the fact that it comes with a 34mm body tube instead of a 30mm one. Besides 44mm objective lens diameter, this Leupold scope comes with 36.8 feet to 6.3 feet per 100 yards field of view and significantly large (3.8″ to 3.9″) eye relief. While the magnification range in Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44 M5B2 is 3x to 18x, the scope turret adjustment is .10 Mil.
There is another aspect of this scope that we found unusual and that is the elevation knob as well as the battery door that is intricately hinged. The scope we tested comes with a M5B2 knob. There is another knob configuration available too and that is M5C2, which can also be found in Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44. As we are testing the scope having M5B2 knob, here we’ll discuss about it only.
M5B2 knob locks at any position and therefore needs squeezing during rotation. You will find zero stop feature here and it can be adjusted through the use of a large hex set screw. In many other scopes, the adjustment needs to be done with the use of three small hex set screws. However, here you will find only one, thereby easing the adjustment process (in terms of both durability and ease of use). A tactile revolution indicator is also present, which helps users to find out what revolution the knob is on. Every turn of the knob comes with 10 mils and there are two revolutions present.
This elevation knob comes with external changeable scale, which is held by two spring-loaded pins. When you depress the same, either the entire ring gets replaced with another or the zero indicator moves. The windage knob is low profile, moves 5 mils each way, and is essentially capped. Diopter in Mark 6 comes with euro style locking unit and grip of the power change rings is easy because of the large and nice structure.
How’s the Optics?
Leupold always incorporates the top flight optics into its Mark 6 products. Hence, brightness of image as well as the contrast of these glasses is simply great. The tactical shooters will be able to see even the minutest details through it at long distances without any kind of problem even at dimmest light. It comes with a 44m objective lens diameter and allows enough light to pass through the lens. When compared with similar short sized riflescopes, this one is not as heavy as others. The only reason being the advanced technology used here in bending the light wavelengths within the short sized riflescope. Usually, scope manufacturers use entire groups of lenses so that every one of them provides little bending of the light. Use of such group of lenses makes these scopes heavier. However, Leupold has been successful in restricting the weight to just 23.6 oz even when the length of the scope is restricted to just 11.9 inches.
While testing Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44 M5B2 rifle scope 34mm Tube Front Focal Mil Dot 115946 we decided to compare the optical features with some of the other renowned scopes such as Nightforce SHV, Vortex Razor HDII 5-25×56, Burris XTR II 4-20×50, USO LR-17 3.2-17×44, and Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14×44. While testing, the target market we had in our minds is that of the tactical shooters.
We found out that these scopes can be categorized into three distinct categories, on the basis of optical performance. Best optical performance witnessed among these scopes is that in Vortex and USO. Whether it is regarding higher resolution, larger field of view, lower chromatic aberration, or better contrast, Vortex Razor HDII 5-25×56 and USO LR-17 3.2-17×44 are found to surpass every other scopes tested. The next group of scopes where the optical performances are found to be similar include Nightforce SHV, Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44 M5B2, and Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14×44. From our testing we found out that optical quality surpassed that of Burris XTR II 4-20×50. Therefore, it can be easily said that when size of the scope along with weight of the same is factored in, side-by-side with optical quality, Leupold looks quite impressive among all the scopes tested.
Testing the Knobs
As already mentioned at the beginning of this article, Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44 M5B2 rifle scope 34mm Tube Front Focal Mil Dot 115946 comes with M5B2 adjustment that is much lighter than the knobs of the other scopes tested by us. Rather than using the usual brass in manufacturing the adjustment parts, Leupold has used exotic aluminum alloys. That’s why the adjustment parts in the Mark 6 riflescope is slimmer and lighter in weight.
When it comes to size of the M5B2 knobs, especially for tactical usage, the size seems perfect and can be used a lot of time by the user easily. However, the pinch and turn system could have been better. They are found to be perfectly balanced when convenience and accidental adjustment avoidance factors are considered. Another feature that we liked about this scope is the presence of removable scale that enables the shooters to choose the exact spot where they want to set the elevation. Two other aspects that are likable are the size of scale markings as well as their clarity. We also found the turn indicator system to be great. Too much mushiness of the turret is not that much of a likable feature. Though the clicks are audible, their use for tactical purposes can be put at the borderline.
Another thing that Leupold could have worked upon is the turret locking feature. Even after locking the turret, we found the same to move within .1mil of the click, thereby making the reticle to move too. While form as well as function of the M5B2 turrets is good, they lack feel and fit.
A point of concern about this scope is magnitude of deviation from the actual target. We found out during the test that reading at the target was 10.6 when the knob reading was just 10. Similar deviation in reading has been found in case of windage too. When deviation in reticle size is compared with that of deviation in travel, magnitude of the latter is found to be larger than that of the latter (to the extent of 1 per cent).
Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44 M5B2 rifle scope 34mm Tube Front Focal Mil Dot 115946 comes with good optical quality and is comfortable for the eye. However, the parallax is found to be a bit touchy. The elevation knob is good to hold but could have been better in adjustment. At a price just above the $2,000 price range seems to be a good proposition for the tactical shooters. In fact, some hunters may also find this light weight riflescope to be perfect for medium to long range hunting.