September 23, 2010
By Joseph von Benedikt
Buying an optic for a long-range tactical rifle can be a daunting prospect--most will cost almost as much as the rifle did. Fortunately there's a less-expensive option: Leupold's Mark 2 Tactical scope, which I used to test three of the rifles reviewed here.
The Mark 2 is available in several sizes/power ranges from 1.5-4x20mm to 6-18x40mm. I borrowed the 6-18x40 for the simple reason that I knew I'd be using it for accuracy testing while wringing out rifles with a lot of potential, and I wanted the high magnification and adjustable objective. I also got the mil dot reticle to facilitate shooting at steel silhouettes at ranges out to 600 yards. After all, what's the fun of reviewing long-range rifles without stretching the distance at bit?
The more I used the Mark 2 the more impressed I became. Sighting it in was a cinch, no mean feat considering I mounted it on three different rifles. Tracking and click adjustment value is so precise that I would shoot a target at 100 yards, measure how far the group clustered from center (in some cases 18 inches or more), calculate and make the adjustment in 1/4-inch clicks, and land subsequent shots in the 10-ring almost every time. At one point I ran the required info through Sierra's Infinity Version 6 ballistic software, made the recommended turret adjustment to transition from a 100-yard point of impact to a 600-yard point of impact, and smacked the 600-yard steel ram with the first round.
I should have shot "around the square" with the scope, but due to time constraints and the fact that I was seeing constant affirmation that the scope tracked perfectly, I didn't. Neither did I get to do anything fun like freezing it in a block of ice or rolling it down stairs. However, Leupold has an unquestioned reputation for durability, and I'm sure the Mark 2 will take any typical punishment and then some.
By the time I sent it back to Leupold, I had developed a high regard for the Mark 2. Clarity and resolution are outstanding. It looks great, works great, and for a high-performance scope the price is great. Try one. MSRP: $485 to $775.