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Leupold is often one of the first names that comes to mind when thinking of the best scopes and optics. The Mark 6 is no exception, being one of the top AR-type or tactical scopes on the market. Both competition shooters and hunters have been raving about the Mark 6 line, and it has also won numerous ‘Scope of the Year’ awards as well.
Still, instead of believing the hype, this Leupold Mark 6 review seeks to see just what it is that makes this scope so special, and also how it stacks up against the competition.
Leupold MK6 1-6x The best 1-6x on the market?
The Leupold Mark 6 line includes two different sized scopes; the Mark 6 1-6x20mm and 3-18x44mm , both of which are available in several different reticle choices. Both scopes are made of a solid, one-piece body tube to ensure a lightweight, ultra-durable product. The tube measures 34 millimeters in diameter, which is the largest commonly available size currently on the market. By using a larger diameter tube, the scope offers an increased adjustment range and higher resolution image, while also allowing more light into the scope and thus improving the image quality in low light situations.
- Large diameter tube
- Excellent light transmission in all conditions
- Lifetime warranty
- Locking adjustment knobs
Like all other quality scopes, the Mark 6 line features fully multi-coated optics to provide a clearer picture and better light transmission. However, Leupold takes this one step further with its unique DiamondCoat 2 exterior lens coating that helps improve durability and increase light transmission. Better still is the Mark 6’s use of the Xtended Twilight Lens System, which uses wavelength specific lens coatings to provide better transmission of low-light wavelengths.
Most optics are designed to provide optimal transmission of light only in the green spectrum, which is what dominates during daytime, full-light conditions. However, during dusk and dawn, the green spectrum is mostly replaced by light in the violet/blue spectrum, causing the picture to suffer as most scopes block out much of the light from this spectrum. The Xtended Twilight System eliminates this problem by using special lens coatings designed for both the green and blue/violet spectrums, providing an unmatched level of clarity. Leupold claims that this system provides a brighter, clearer and higher definition picture in low-light situations than any other scope in the world, and judging by all of the outstanding reviews, it seems that this might just be true.
Being made of a solid, one-piece body tube, the Mark 6 is already much more durable than most others. Like other top scopes, the tube is nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed to ensure it is fully fog-proof, waterproof and shockproof. Further adding to the durability is the DiamondCoat 2 exterior lens coating, which makes the lens extremely resistant to scratching and abrasion. In fact, it is the most abrasion resistant lens Leupold has ever offered, even exceeding military standards for durability and hardness.
In truth, this scope is about as strong and durable as they come, unless you choose to go with one of the military-style tactical scopes that are supposedly bombproof (yes, they do exist). However, the biggest reason that the Mark 6 deserves perfect scores for durability has as much to do with its warranty as it does with its construction. Like all other Leupold products, these scopes come with the company’s lifetime replacement warranty, meaning if something ever does happen to it, you can rest assured that Leupold will send you a replacement at no charge.
The Mark 6 line comes is several different reticle choices, depending on which size scope you buy. The 1-6x20mm is available in either the CMR or TMR-D (Tactical Milling Reticle). The CMR is a ballistics-matched reticle available in either a 5.56 or 7.62 model. The CMR reticles include BDC marks designed to make it easy to compensate for the bullet drop and windage using the MOA markings.
On the other hand, the TMR-D is an illuminated mil-dot reticle that is designed for those who wish to do their own range calculations. The 3-18x44mm scope is also available in either the TMR-D or standard Mil Dot reticle, such as those used by all branches of the US military.
All of these reticles are definitely decent options, especially for tactical and competition shooting. Choosing between the reticles comes down to whether you prefer the added help of a BDC reticle or are more concerned with the fast target acquisition you get with a mil dot reticle.
One major advantage that the Mark 6 line has over many competitors is its Front Focal Plane feature, whereby the reticle is etched into the scope’s first focal plane. This means that when you magnify the image, the reticle is also magnified, thus making it easier to estimate distance at any magnification setting.
Magnification and Adjustments
Deciding which of the two sizes to buy is really a matter of choice and depends on what type of shooting you’ll mostly be doing and at what distances. Still, for hunting purposes, the Mark 6 1-6x20mm would definitely be my choice. The biggest reason for this is that this scope offers a true 1x magnification setting. This means that there is absolutely zero magnification on this setting, offering a 100-percent true picture that is ideal for shorter range shots.
Both sizes feature the company’s new ZeroLock adjustment turrets, which lock in place automatically after each revolution to prevent the turrets from moving once you have the scope zeroed in. The turrets use the mil-based system, with each click providing a 2/10 MIL adjustment (or around 0.5-inch MOA).
As the old saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for,’ and somewhat unfortunately, this is entirely true in the case of the Mark 6. Yes, it may offer one of the clearest, brightest images of any tactical scope on the market, but it also happens to anywhere between $2000 and $3000. If you’ve got the money to spend on it, it is definitely one of the best scopes money can buy. However, you can easily find scopes that perform almost as well for half of the price or even less. Of course, the fact that it features a lifetime warranty means it should be the last scope you’ll need to buy, making it an excellent choice if money is no obstacle.
As you can see from this Leupold Mark 6 review, very few, if any other products currently on the market can come close to competing with this scope in terms of light transmission, picture quality and durability. It also has a decent range of reticle choices, although in truth, there are definitely better reticles out there for hunting purposes. Still, the Mark 6 generally performs exceptionally well in every category except price, so it’s no surprise to see why its quickly become one of the most popular high-end tactical scopes out there