Sniper Country Duty Roster collective wisdom

Scopes - Leupold:
( For general comments and comparisons also look at Scope Choices )

What is the difference between a Leupold Ultra scope and MKIV scopes?
I was told the Ultra scopes, which aren't made anymore, had a 42mm objective, versus the 40mm objective on the MKIV scopes. Are there any other important distinctions?

Bach Melick <>
New Orleans, LA USA - Monday, November 30, 1998 at 14:30:16 (EST) 

As far as I know the Ultra's and MkIV's are the same. Some of the early M24's have scopes marked "Ultra" and the newer ones just say MkIV.

gooch <>
USA - Monday, November 30, 1998 at 17:35:39 (EST) 

Gooch: I believe the only real difference between the old M3 Ultra known to all as the M3A or M3 Alpha and the newer Mk4 M3 is that the Alpha had a glass etched reticle. I believe this glass reticle was done away with for fear of reflection. While the glass etched reticle is stronger than wire, someone must have thought the issue worrisome enough to go with the wire reticle in the Mk4 M3. At least that is the poop I have heard, true or not I can not confirm. Other than this, I do not believe there is any difference in the scopes other than nomenclature.

Scott <>
USA - Monday, November 30, 1998 at 23:18:52 (EST) 

Bach, the Ultra has a lazer etched glass retical and the MK IV has wire retical, the mildots are different also the Ultra has round mildots while the MK IV has "football" dots Also the Ultra was offered in a few variations one had a "christmas tree" type retical for use on the .50 cals and there was a "Y" shaped retical kinda like the one in the old Redfield USMC scope. All on Lazer etched glass.

Sgt. Herbert <>
Manti, Ut USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 12:59:25 (EST) 

It seems the Leupold Ultra scope (M3A) is only different from the MKIV in that the Ultra has round mil-dots, laser-etched on the glass (compared to oval mil-dots, on wire reticle in the MKIV). Does the Ultra have a 42mm objective or not? Why is the Ultra so sought after by some shooters?

Bach Melick <>
New Orleans, LA USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 13:22:21 (EST) 

Hey so I should hold on to my 20 x Ultra ?? Have it on a M 88 Mc Millan and when I bought it they said it would be better with the glass etched reticle because the recoil an counterrecoil (muzzle break) would kill a wire one ?

Torsten <>
Germany - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 15:15:21 (EST) 

Otay, here is what I beleive to be the deal on the M3A and M3 MkIV reticles. All military MkIV M3A's and old M3A Ultra's have the etched glass round mildot reticle. All commercial Leupolds have the stamped wire as they are made by Premier Reticle. I think Leupold does thier own etched glass reticles.

The advantage to the wire is that you do not get any reflection off of the flat reticle glass when it is hit with an laser anti-sniper optic detection device. The reticle is the only absolutley flat piece of glass in the scope which will do this. The other curved lenses defract it. Also a wire reticle might stay cleaner over the years. A glass reticle can gather dust spects and metal shavings etc (what ever is floating around inside of the scope)on it.

Having said all of that I prefer the round dots to the ovals. Reticles with .2 mil round dots can be easily broken down into tenths of a mil (.1) while the ovals (.25 mil) are broken down into eigths (.125). The math is easier with tenths and the breakdown is finer.

gooch <>
USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 15:26:14 (EST) 

Bach - Mark IVs and Ultras have the same objective lens size. The Ultra came in M1, M2, M3, and M3A models. The M2 was a waste of material and very hard to find now. The M3 was a limited production run with 1 MOA windage turrets. I think SOTIC has the most of those in one spot. We seldom use them. While the etched glass may catch debris faster than the wire, and there is a case for laser reflection, I would take the laser etching over the wire any day. Just don't look at electro optical devices! They will do your eyes in. A quick point for the laser crowd. Some guys use lasers that are eye safe to 35 meters. Closer than 35 meters they are not eye safe. Well that laser when observed through a 10x scope is now not eye safe until past 350 meters! That is why I do not point my scope towards any eletro optical device.

Scott - The military scopes all have the round laser reticles. It is only you poor civies stuck with the wire footballs, yuck!! Leupold made that decision, because they did not want to be directly associated with the killing of humans, (except when there is a hugh military contract involved!).

Rick <>
Fayetteville, NC USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 18:16:38 (EST) 

I recently got a Leupold 3.5x10 M3 LR-SF, to put on a Win M70 Custom Sharpshooter. The 308 BDC it came with was marked "308M". The blurb in their literature stated it was for the 168Match King @ 2600, a very standard load. After sighting it in @ 100 yards, and matching up the dial, I took it to a Sniper Match on the West Point Military Reservation and found that my 168's were digging in the dirt by several feet at 600 yards... (couldn't get past 750 yards because of MK4 Bases).
After checking zero at 100 yards on small pebbles (it was "dead on"), I figured there was a problem.
Back at the ranch, I checked the markings on the dial, and they didn't match the come-ups for the 168/2600 load by about 12 feet at 1000 yards.

Called Leupold and, after being passed around from one idiot to the next, to find someone that understood what I was talking about (remember the good ole' days when only shooters worked for shooting companies?)...
...I was told that the figure's for the BDC were given to them by the military, and since they sold 85 out a 100 of these to the military, that was what they went with. After some poking around in a ballistic program, it turns out that the "308M" dial is for the 175 Match King at 2700 fps... 100 fps faster than the stuff that Federal and others are selling to the public. And the dial is also in "meters". The "M" may be for "Military", or "Meters" (or both).
Another call to Leupold, this time higher up the ladder, and I found out that they made a short run of 50 dials for the 168@2600 load, and sent me one to evaluate. This one was marked "308Y"
It worked just fine... alla' way out to 1000 yards. It will also perfectly track the 155 Palma at 2670 fps alla' way out to 1000 yards.

About the MK4 Bases… they won't allow the M3 3.5x10 LR to track past about 700-ish yards… there's not enough elevation. I replaced the bases with Baer bases (from "Lightforce" for $65). The Baer bases are identical with the MK4's in appearance, and quality… you can't tell them apart when they are side by side… and the Baer bases will give you 25 MOA more elevation...
These bases put the LR back in the M3 3.5x10 LR, making it usable from 50 yards to about 1200 yards.

Leupold says they're going to make new dials available for the 168@2600 Match load in the Spring or early summer, if you have one of these puppies.

de Pablito (The Bandito)

Paul Coburn <>
CT USA - Saturday, December 05, 1998 at 19:59:15 (EST) 

A buddy of mine worked a way around the BDC problems on his personal M-3A. Being a reloader, he was hating that his pet load of the month did not match the BDC, so he just removed the markings on the dials, cold blued them, then went to the range and when he was on target at whatever distance, put his own marks on the turret.
E Engler <>
CP Grevious, ROK - Sunday, December 06, 1998 at 04:50:45 (EST) 
On the M3A BDC. Andy Webber of Armament Technology "" is beginning to produce custom laser etched turrets for the M3 series. Contact him if you are interested.

gooch <>
USA - Sunday, December 06, 1998 at 12:47:45 (EST) 

By the way, if anyone has trouble with the balistic drop indicator on the top of the LR M3 turret (or any other BDC type turret), just ignore the markings! Use the lower MOA markings until you know what the actual come-up is per 100 yards or meters. Then RE-MARK the upper dial indications. This is simple and FAR more accurate than relying on some pencil necks given data. Your rifle is not going to match the turret markings exactly, so why not just make it match your actual balistics?

Scott <xring>
USA - Monday, December 07, 1998 at 15:23:25 (EST) 

On the Leupold Vari-X II 3.5-10x M3LR scope, are the mil-dots only correct at the highest power, 10x, or are they correct throughout the 3.5 - 10 zoom range?

Bach Melick <>
New Orleans, LA USA - Monday, December 07, 1998 at 14:31:09 (EST) 

Bach: The LR M3 mil-dots, like most mil-dot equiped scopes, are accurate only at 10x (9.7 in this case). You can use them at other powers but you have to figure what the subtension is actually going to be. This is not hard, but you best only figure it for the lowest setting as the data you acrue for ALL the settings would be massive.

Scott <xring>
USA - Monday, December 07, 1998 at 15:23:25 (EST) 

Scott, read the review on the M3 3.5. An excellent piece of prose.
I assume the cams are designed for specific bullet weights and loads. How difficult will it be to zero for other weights and loads?
What are the chances that Leupold will thread for sun shields next year?
Will you be doing a similar review on the 4.5-14 LR?
Are the Leupold Mark 4 bases only, equal to the Badgers?
Need names of a couple of companies that sell Badger bases.

Bolt <>
USA - Thursday, December 17, 1998 at 18:28:51 (EST) 

Bolt, the Mark IV rings are not in the same league as the MWG or the Badger, you can get either from Brownells or MWG direct and Badger from Precision Reticles, link in the SC links section.

Rich <>
WA USA - Thursday, December 17, 1998 at 22:42:53 (EST) 

Bolt: NO, the elevation turret is NOT "cammed" to any specific load. It is a 1 moa per click turret. The upper markings coincide with the 173 grain M118 (in meters) but you can ignore that and use the bottom markings as they are given in 1 moa clicks. The turret is not a cam. The upper markings simply show you at what point the moa clicks would coincide with the ballistic arc of the round. You can get this turret for yards on request from Leupold - BUT I would not bother. The bottom scale is the one you worry about. You can jsut remark the upper scale to match your rifle. As the upper scale does not exactly match the 175 MK or 168 Mk it is not worth paying any attention to until you remark it to match your particular rifle.

The Badger base and rings are far superior to the Mk4 set. No comparison at all other thna general appearence.

I am told that the military didn't want a screw in sun shade (easily lost in the field) so it doesn't look like the LR M3 will get a sun shade next year. Write Leupold and beg. They do listen sometimes.
Scott <>
USA - Friday, December 18, 1998 at 14:39:27 (EST) 

Spider bait - Why wouldn't the military want a sunshade on a scope? I couldn't find the question you were responding too so I'm kinda cornfused. The M3A has a sunshade and a laser filter.

gooch <>
USA - Friday, December 18, 1998 at 16:57:13 (EST) 

Gooch: I could not possibly tell you why the military didn't want a sunshade on the LR M3. The guy who told me about this apparently spent some time on the phone with a Leupold Rep and that person said that the lack of such a desirable addition was specified in the spec! I guess they didn't want people losing them!? He also said that the Army is buying 85 out of every 100 LR M3 made. I can not verify this at this time, but if true, it would seem the army finally realized that a fixed 10x really sucks in MOUT environments!

Scott <>
USA - Saturday, December 19, 1998 at 20:38:23 (EST) 

On the Leupold 3.5x10 M3-LR-SF

OK, Scott, I'll pipe up. I don't respond to much on the site, mostly direct e-mail, cuz, I'm a lousy writer, but I'll tell you my saga, and what I know on the Leupold 3.5x10 M3-LR-SF.
I bought a Winchester M70 Custom Sharpshooter in 308 (the one with the Schneider BBL, and A2 McMillan stock). Bought the 3.5x10 M3-LR-SF, because I liked the fact that it had a BCD range dial like the MK4-M3, but also had moa grads on it. The little blurb says the dial tracks the 168 Match King at 2600 fps, the standard match/sniper load. My first day was a disaster... the gun shot itty-bitty groups at 100 yards, but the dial wouldn't go past about 700 yards. At 600 yards, I did nothing but kick up sand about 50 yards in front of the target (I heard several remarks about "Try pulling the trigger harder!")... all this after driving about 3 days to a 1000 yd. range in another state.

Back to the drawing board... A pair of Baer tilted bases solved the first problem, and some time on the ballistics software (running the 168 at 2600) said that I needed more than a harder trigger squeeze... it just wasn't going to happen.
I first called Sierra, and got an engineer. Gave him the com-ups on the Leupold dial, and he called me back and said "no way" that the 168 could not follow that track under any circumstances...
With that, I called Leupold, and got the idiots at the customer service line. I think that they hire new ones every week, cuz they didn't even understand the terminology, much less what I was talking about. Went up the ladder several levels, and was told that "...they were designed for the army, and... bla, bla".
I whipped off an e-mail with 3 pages of data, (also bitching about no threads for a sunshade)... and about week later, got a call from a very nice engineer type fella, who spoke "bullet"... we hit it off right away, and I got the following…

The 3.5x10 M3-LR-SF was "...designed at the request of the army, and had to meet the army design specs... the army stated NO THREADS for a sun shade! (so don't wait for next years model, it ain't coming!)... and the come-ups were given to Leupold by the army." He didn't know what load it was for, but he knew that it WASN'T the standard 168/2600... but the army has been shooting it for some time now and they were VERY happy. The army is taking more than 80% of the 3.5x10 M3-LR-SF's that are made.

Further conversation... It turns out that they made a short run of 50 dials that are marked "308Y", for the 168/2600 and after much negotiation (read begging and pleading) I got on of the last about three weeks later. (Leupold is going to make the "308Y" available this spring or summer).
With this information, I recalled that the new Tri-service sniper round replacing the M118 was the M118-LR, and was being loaded at Lake City Arsenal with the Sierra 175 Match King (in hand weighed cases!)... the first batches were loaded at 2580, but they were looking for a slower powder for more speed. Hmmm. Back to the ballistics program, and... Bingo! The 175 MK at 2670 to 2680 matches the "308M" come-ups exactly!

So I'll summarize...
3.5x10 M3-LR-SF was designed for the army, so once accepted, it won't change... and the army "don't want no sunshade!".
The supplied 308 BCD dial "308M" is for the new military tri-service sniper load, the M118-LR, And not for the 168/2600 Federal GM load.
For the Federal 168-GM load, wait for the "308Y" dial.
Don't look for Federal or White Feather to load the M118-LR load commercially, as it exceeds the SAAMI specs for civilian 308 sporting ammo, (and will beat the crap outa' your M14/M21).
The Federal and White Feather 175 gr. loads will be low with the "308M" dial.
It is easy to match the M118-LR load if you hand load... 4895 is a little too fast, but Varget, AA2520, and H380 will all make it at about 55,000 psi, an easy, no sweat load for any bolt gun with a 24" barrel (and it won't even dimple your primers).
The scope also won't track the old M118 load with the Full Patch 173 gr. load very well, but no loss, as Lake City, ain't makin' the stuff anymore.

...after all that, I made up new loads for the new 308Y dial, at 2635, and sighted in at 100 yards,
and when set at "6", it rang 9 out of 10 rounds at 600 yards on a 6" steel plate... it was "Plug and play"!

And a last note on BCD scopes in general.
I read many notes from obvious new-bee's on this site that think they can buy a rifle, a BCD scope, and a box of Federal GM, and Poof! They're an instant killer at 1000 yards. It ain't that easy.
I ran a chronograph test of Fed GM on four 308 rifles with standard barrels, and got a range of from 2580 to 2710 fps... with a BCD scope, only one of those rifles would hit a dinner plate at 350 yards, yet all were very "Match" grade rifles.

A long range (very long range) rifle is the culmination of a lot of work and practice, and whether you use a BCD scope, or a 1/4 minute scope, you ain't gonna' do it without some serious practice, and ammo that matches the gun...

Pablito <>
24 degrees, too clod for me!, of mind USA - Saturday, December 19, 1998 at 23:25:43 (EST) 

B.Rogers - "Scott:can we anticipate trouble with the Sunshade? Too much leverage against the 2 piece scope tube (I guess they still have that on the 30mms)."
You don't mean Leupolds do you... they haven't made two piece tubes in any size since before I was a kid, (and I hate to tell you how long ago that was.)..

Pablito <>
USA - Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 08:40:59 (EST) 

Pablito, I reread your last post and the one you wrote a couple of weeks ago on the leupolds and cant help but wonder if you have got bigger problems than the BDC dials. Assuming a 200 yard zero the 168-2600 load would require about 16 minutes elevation correction at 600 yards. The 175-2675 load would require 14 minutes. That amounts to about 12 inches difference. At 1000 yards the error would be about 60 inches. Are you sure you are not confusing yards with meters? My guess is the 308M dial is for meters and the 308Y is for yards. but as far as the dials go If you are missing the targets by several feet at 600 yards something else is wrong.
Steve <>
S.C.D.H., Ohio USA - Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 10:32:25 (EST) 
Pablito. You wrote:
... they haven't made two piece tubes in any size since before I
was a kid, (and I hate to tell you how long ago that was.)..

Hmmm. Sent a Leupold 24X in for repair about 10 years ago. The sight clicks were approximately 3/8 moa per click. They sent the scope back with a new turret and (I think) complete new front end, which included an upgraded objective adjustment mechanism. My other 24X also has "big clicks", but was not correctable because it was a first generation scope (which is longer). I know the 24Xs have gone through at least 3 generations. The diameters of the front and rear tubes differ which led me to believe they are a multi-piece setup. Also, putting "my" scopes on V-blocks reveals they are not very straight either. This may or may not point to a threaded joint. I can find no strong evidence that my scopes tube are a one piece setup as the Mk series. Could be wrong though,…..maybe I'm interpreting the data wrong (smelled too much of the early variety of Hoppes). A call to one of the scope specialists will solve the mystery. I can do that Monday and let the list know the results. Fair enough?

I've been dead wrong before…that's for sure. The older I get, the more I question "my conclusions".

Because of the straightness issue, I like to bed scopes in epoxy rather than lap the rings. This solves a couple of problems at once. Only do this on the long range rifles, not the fun guns.

These scopes were purchased new so I know their checkered history.

Ron N. <>
USA - Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 10:41:32 (EST) 

Steve... The BCD dials on all of the M3 series Leupolds require a 100 yard zero to play, and the 308m is for the 175 MK and the 308Y is for the 168 MK.

Ron, I don't know the 24 or what vintage, but many years ago, Leuplod's catalogues showed that their scopes were turned from a solid block, it was one of their big braggin' points... and the oldest ones I own, my 10x Silhouette, bought around 1975, and 1.5x5 bought in the late 60's are all one piece.
Pablito <>
USA - Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 12:30:00 (EST) 

... and Steve, the 308M dil is in meters, as the military is metric, but it will not track the 168-MK in meters, it tracks the 175-MK in meters, the 308Y tracks the 168-MK in yards
Pablito <>
USA - Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 12:35:19 (EST) 
ON Leupold 2 piece tubes.... I thought someone had posted a discussion about the Leup's being 2 pieced and I didn't see a challenge. It was news to me at the time but since the turrent totally encompasses the tube it was impossible for me to tell. Someone reported they had had Leup's break in the middle. I was more asking than telling. I would be interested in getting to the bottom of it! I shall check the manuals and such and try to find out.
Also someone else said they weren't very straight thus making me wonder how a single tube could be crooked.
B.Rogers <>
USA - Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 14:35:08 (EST) 
According to Ed Sanows article in the 1996 G&A Annual all of the VariX-III and Mk4 scopes are made out of one piece 6061-T6 aluminum. The Leupold Law Enforcement cataloge says the same thing.

Fellas, on the M3 and all other "BDC" turrets. THey are close but not exact. Remember, military snipers only require a hit to be succesful. As long as we are within 1 moa or so we will get that hit if we do everything else right (range estimation, windage etc.) THats why our scopes can have such adjustments (1 moa on the Leupolds and 1/2 moa on the USMC Unertl).

THis is the last time I will say this. If you want to drill the "X" ring then go with a scope with 1/4 moa adjustments or stick with target turrets on a Vari-X III tactical or Mk4 type scope. THese 1/4 moa adjustments will drive you nuts in tactical situations unless you train A LOT with them. It is too easy to be out 360 degrees on the turrets. I have seen it happen to a cop while attending the National Guard course.

If you have a purely tactical scope that will be used in Tactical situations, then you may want to go with the full MOA. Or maybe not.

Military types will stick to the full MOA. HOWEVER, a certain shooting buddy and gunsmith is looking at developing a scope which might fix this problem. I'll let you know if things work out.

gooch <>
USA - Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 17:45:40 (EST) 

Ok. Lets clear this up. EVERYONE lean REAL close to your computer monitor. Now that your eyes have adjusted to this uncomfortably close position and you've tuned out the parallax, ATTENTION ON DECK as our favorite little goochmonster is so fond of saying!

The LR M3 does not, I repeat, DOES NOT have a BDC turret. I'll say it again. It is not technically a BDC. You HAVE CONTROL over the turret on the LR M3. If the upper markings do not suit you, there is NO reason to use them! Ignor them and drive on! A true BDC is a cammed device that only gives you range at, say, 50 yard or 50 meter increments. With the LR M3 you can dial anywhere in between. You can put on 2 moa, 22 moa, or 46 moa. With a tapered base you can crank in a whopping 58 moa which gets you beyond 1200 yards with a 308 win. Who cares what the upper markings mean? They are only a masking tape R M3p away from matching YOUR ballistics. All this angst over the upper markings is missing the point.

What is the point? Nobody in their right mind EVER trusts a BDC! EVER. Talk to a marine. He'll tell you his rifle is set at 5 plus two clicks (or something like this) to get on at 500 meters. In otherwords, he had to figure out what the scope increments meant to HIS particular rifle. The same applies to this scope and any other you plan on using at long range. Fox Mulder says "trust no one". I say "trust NO BDC". This is why I loved the LR M3 turret so much. If you forget the markings on the upper scale, and stop worrying that they do not seem to match anything, you find that you have a ton of space to add your own dope! Why waste money on another turret that still will not match your rifle exactly when you can simply remark this provided turret to reflect your rifles performance?

And if that is to much trouble, just relate to the moa dial on the bottom of the scale. Learning the correct moa is a way better system of learning what your rifle will do than some idiot dial that TELLs you what it "should" do (but doesn't). As AL in NY would say: Capeeeesh?

Scott <>
USA - Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 18:55:28 (EST) 

Gooch; Thanks for your research on the scope tubes. That has bothered me since I read it couple mo. back and glad to know it is a one piece thing. :The thing that Gooch mentions about the 1/4 clicks is surely true of Sniper scopes and I have been the victim of what he is saying even in hunting situations. I would prefer 1/2" or 1" clicks for hunting myself. Only exception might be long range Prairie Dogs. True nobody will die if you mess up on turns revolutions in a hunting situation but if you do it long enough it will happen to you. Sorry for being redundant but it is a very very good thing to pay attention too if your shooting over 400 yards.
B.Rogers <>
USA - Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 19:01:11 (EST) 
Some comments:
On the new M3, if you want sunshades on it check out Butler Creeks honey comb type shade, cuts down a little on light transmission, but it works. Fits inside the popup cover.

On one piece scopes:
They will all break under the proper applied force. Even the best ones have holes drilled through them for the adjustments. The few dozen I've seen dropped, kicked over, and run over (pickup truck), the two that broke were in horse wrecks. So keep your tac rifles away from horses.

Pat II
P. Lakin <>
Whiterocks, UT USA - Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 19:08:25 (EST) 

Good post on the M3LR. Everyone is worrid about the wrong numbers on the scope when they have the best set of numbers on the bottom to fine tune any lod they shoot.

Pat <>
USA - Monday, December 21, 1998 at 11:51:39 (EST) 

From the Leupold Technical Department, perhaps this explains some of the confusion regarding the Leupolds and the tube design. I quote...
"The Vari-X III's, LPS's and Mark 4's have one piece maintubes. All others have jointed tubes."
B.Rogers <>
USA - Monday, December 21, 1998 at 22:29:56 (EST) 
Re: Leupold scope tubes
: I quote..."The Vari-X III's, LPS's and Mark 4's have one piece maintubes. All others have jointed tubes."


Thanks for doing the leg work by calling Leupold today. I was going to call Bill Ackerman of Optical Services to chat a little about Leupold tubes. Away from the house all day though.

As I vaguely remember, one of my scope's rear tube was about .998" dia. and the front was 1.001". Just too much difference to brush away. One of my tubes was goose-egged too. But the shape was not in the direction one would expect from the rings. As I stated in the previous posting, I couldn't find any "evidence" of a one piece design. Glad you confirmed my suspicions. I'll sleep better tonight.

My guess is that the tubes are made from extrusions, and do not go through any type of machining to clean things up. The male threads are probably cut with a die and the females with a tap. Of course this is not the way to wind up with a threaded joint that is precision and on-axis. I have spent many many hours on the lathe trying to create on-axis threads with a die. No dice. Went so far as to make a precision die holder, cut an oversize minor "pilot" starter section, etc. Was never happy with the results. Gave up.

Ron N. <>
USA - Tuesday, December 22, 1998 at 00:59:03 (EST) 

About optics, In the USA you can not go wrong with Leupold. The initial cost is low and if you have any trouble they will fix it quick. I think alot of times people are more into arm chair racing with firearms than shooting them. Many times I have had students with this or that 1 plus minute rifle and after a good cleaning, some good ammo and a little instruction, the rifle/shooter shoots 1/2 minute. I have not seen a scope make much difference on group size. What you look for are repeatable settings, enough adjustment for the range you will shoot and clear obtics with objectives large enought to gather light at dusk and night. Keep that objective no more than 50mm or you will cause other problems.

One thing I see over looked is the mounts and rings. Any of the Standard dovetail front screw lock rear are pure crap for this work! A rule is anything that can move will when you don't want it. If you are on a tight budget get the dual dovetail mounts. If not buy the Best MK4 Type you can find (Leupold ones are not the best).

When you boil all the poop out of that you can not beat Leupold for sniper scopes. Some of the European Scopes are as good but none are truly better all a round Sniper Scopes. This will cause the Arm Chair Racers to put a contract out on me but so be it, it is said. Mike
Calif USA - Tuesday, December 22, 1998 at 20:05:16 (EST) 

To:Mike M,Calif. On scopes! Could not agree with you more, buy a good
Leupold Mk IV and you won't go wrong. I was one of the people that had
bad experiences with Vari-III:s, having seen two 6.5-20X:s break in
two pieces where the objective lens assembly joins the tube. Looked
like jointed tubes to me. But this is quite a few years ago now and this might have been changed by Leupold. "Arm Chair Racers" get quickly weeded out by our conditions up here. We have quite a testing
ground for scopes and rifles, just try a saddle horse in the Northern Rockies!

Hans <>
B.C., CANADA - Wednesday, December 23, 1998 at 21:52:47 (EST) 

Remember guys, getting the gear is only half of the battle. You need to train with it. For examle, many of the comments about the M3 turrets are just voiced because of lack of training. Not a bust at all!! Heck we military guys need month long or longer schools to get the operation down pat! If you guys need help on this stuff get with me, rick, and others. THere are people on this site who have messed with every piece of shit scope, rifle, stock etc on the market. Suck our brains out. Hell you paid us guys for many years. Get your money out of us.

gooch <>
USA - Monday, December 28, 1998 at 00:11:13 (EST) 

I have the new XIII 3-9 M3 LR Scope. Can you tell me why when I move the
windage knob up (right as arrow indicates) my reticle moves left ? If my memory
serves me right, I thought down was right and up was left on the windage. Also,
I'm not able to move the elevtion knob to the 1000 meter mark (or 10) . I have centered this to mechanical zero and can't seem to figure out why. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Robert Lee <MilDot3666@AOL.COM>
USA - Friday, January 15, 1999 at 03:06:36 (EST) 
Robert Lee; if I understand what your saying that is the normal movement for all scopes. The impact point will indeed move right when the cross moves left. I'm afraid I don't quite understand your other question. But when a Leupold gets tired of going up it just quits moving but the turrent does not. It will still move but the cross just stops. Do you mean that it won't come to the mark 10 or the cross doesn't move enough to get to 1000 yard zero? If the latter is true it is very unlikely that the scope will move that high especially if the 100 yard zero is around the center of the dial range because there just isn't usually that much movement and you will have to go to tapered mounts. Gosh help somebody! I'm making it worse.

B.Rogers <>
USA - Friday, January 15, 1999 at 05:07:40 (EST) 


"Been there done that", you need a forward canted scope mount to come up to 1000 Meters. Take of the elevation knob and you can see the end of travel stop where you are hitting against now.
The scope will need to be zeroed with only a few clicks remaining toward the bottom, but a lot of MOA´s up.

Search the review section of the main page for the tapered shims, they will do you fine without having to mill an forward angle into your existing mount like I did. Ehem !
But I was a happy sniperpuppy when after I did the math, milled the angle, put everything back together, added the MOA´s to the elevation, and hit the 1´x1´target backer without another zero. It was right there were my calculations put it after angeling the mount.
It´s fun when math works for you this way.

Torsten <>
G3ermany - Friday, January 15, 1999 at 05:57:47 (EST) 

Robert Lee...
I took me a while to figgure out the first part of your question...
It's toooo early in the morning for this stuff.

"I have the new XIII 3-9 M3 LR Scope..."
(It's a 3.5x10, I have one and it's a great scope... the 3x9 is a different beastie!)

"... Can you tell me why, when I move the windage knob up (right as arrow indicates) my reticle moves left?"

The arrows and "R" and "L" indicate the direction that the "Group" moves, not the reticle. In order for the group to move "Right", the reticle must move left... If the gun is shooting 3" to the left, you must move the reticle over to superimpose it on the group... it looks like the group is moving right, but the reticle is really moving left.

"I'm not able to move the elevtion knob to the 1000 meter mark (or 10)."

You need tapered bases, or base shims... they will give you the extra you need. You can't use the 3.5x10 M3-LR-SF with standard bases.

"If my memory serves me right, I thought down was right and up was
left on the windage."

It often is, but which way the knob turns to go "right", is determined by which element, or optical group, is being moved to accomplish the "windage" adjustment... is this case it is the other way.
Pablito <>
USA - Friday, January 15, 1999 at 10:34:30 (EST) 

Pablito; Question is the M-3 like the others or the 1/4 min click models I mean to say? Does it just quit raising and let the Knob adjustment move on. I got to thinking about that and trying to remember? Maybe the turrent stops when the cross hair stops unlike my 3.5-10 tactical that just quits climbing.

B.Rogers <brogers@elkhart.,com>
USA - Friday, January 15, 1999 at 11:44:00 (EST) 

B.Rogers... on the M3-LR-SF, the dial turns about 7/8 of a turn, to go from the high point of the trajectory (about 50 yds) to the other end, and the stops are in the dial cap. If the scope is properly installed, the reticle tracks from end to the other. The scope itself has about 65 moa of vertical travel... you "Zero" it with a coin, and once zero'ed, you install the cap that matches your caliber/bullet. That cap has a range of about 55 moa (which is, hopefully, in the middle of the the scopes range).

The problem happens when this scope is installed on standard bases.
If done that way, and the scope is "mechanically centered", when zero'ed at 100 yds, you have 35 moa of "down" which is wasted, and 30 moa up... but it takes about 50 moa of up to get a 308 match bullet out to 1000 yards... so you can only get out to about 650/750 yds.
So you use tilted bases, (mine give 25 moa of forward tilt). That way, when zero'ed at 100 yds, you have 10 moa of wasted "down", and 55 moa of up. Then when you put on the BDC cap, you have the whole range available...
Pablito <>
USA - Friday, January 15, 1999 at 10:37:26 (EST) 

Yes sir reebob, the adjustments on the M3s do turn in the opposite direction of other Leupold scopes.

Pat II
Lakin <>
north of area 51 N.M., UT, USA - Sunday, January 17, 1999 at 01:22:44 (GMT) 

Just got the 1999 Leupold catalog and they have a new scope, the Vari-X III 3.5-10 M1LR. This is similar to the MKIV M1, with the larger 1/4-min. turrets. Has anyone tried this scope yet?

Bach Melick <>
New Orleans, LA, USA - Wednesday, January 20, 1999 at 16:07:29 (ZULU) 


If you're talking about the Leupold Vari-X III 3.5-10 LRM3, take a look at the 'In Review' page here at SC. Scott Powers has a very good review of this scope posted there. It may be a little difficult to read due to the background pattern, but hang in there. It'll be worth it. In fact, it looks like I'm going to have to start saving my pesos.


George L. Derry <>
Oakland, CA, USA - Wednesday, January 20, 1999 at 20:55:10 (ZULU) 

Nope, I was definitely inquiring about the new Leupold Vari-X III 3.5-10 LR M1. Yes, M1. Just wondering if they're available yet, and if the price would be the same as the LR M3 counterpart. Leupold now also offers new sunshades, Tenebraex filter, and other useful accessories for 1999.
Bach Melick <>
New Orleans, LA, USA - Wednesday, January 20, 1999 at 22:31:23 (ZULU) 
Yes Leupold is now making vari-x 3 3.5x10 LR M1. I just got e-mail from the folks at Premier Reticles. It's the exact same scope as the vari-x 3 3.5x10 LR M3 except has 1/4 moa turrets as found on the
Mark 4 M1. Prices are $621. with duplex and $681 with mil-dot. They expect their first shipment sometime in February.
S. Barrier <>
Chandler, Ok., USA - Thursday, January 21, 1999 at 03:51:21 (ZULU) 
I'm in LE as a special weapons officer (we don't call it SWAT, bad PR), and I've been reading this site for awhile, and I can make this comment about Pablito's "Drone" on the M3-LR.
I'd been shooting a Leupold MK4-M3 (old style) on a .308 PSS for several years, as a personal match rifle, and upgraded to a new M3-LR. I couldn't make it shoot even though I was using the 308 dial, like on the old MK4-M3. It wouldnt follow the BCD even close. Under other circumstances, sure, I might make a little piece of paper with corrections, and tape it to the side of the rifle, but under match condx, you hear your spotter say "Three-seven-five, pull two right", and by the time you have reached your BCD, the shooter next to you is already firing!
I complained to leupold, and got diddly squat for an answer. I was in the middle of a deal to sell the new scope at a loss and go back to the old one when I read his "drone". I bought some 175 MKs and loaded 45gr of varget, and the bullets follow the BCD like they're on railroad tracks. I can say that little one page "drone" about his (and my) non existant ballistic cam problems, saved me a couple hundred bucks i wouldve lost selling my M3-LR, but turned that scope into a joy. Paul and I have exchanged e-mail... and you might be well be reminded that Scott asked him to list that page, because Scott was also having the same "non existant ballistic cam problems". I'll bet several others saved some money and time on that boring "drone"

and as for "the fact that he thinks that he needs to zero the scope at 100 yards for it to work right."

Steve, it is clear to those on this site that know what a tactical scope is, that you don't. I doubt if you have ever handled one, I know you haven't ever shot one. In setting up a tactical scope, it is first zero'ed at 100 yards or meters, then the BCD cap is installed at "1", and then it is zero'ed at all ranges. You shoot at 600 yards, you set "6" andd you are zero'ed at 600 yards... you don't ever "hold over" and you don't "say your zeroed a 200 yards, at 400 you hold over 16.5 inches" like you said some time back.

I shot against Paul's team at the West Point Inch'on range last November, if you can call that raggity-ass'd bunch a team, and I invite you to come up and join us... I think you will learn something... and that Russian ex-sniper on his team, will clean your clock.
Longshadow <>
USA - Sunday, January 24, 1999 at 16:14:43 (ZULU) 

Thanks for your comments, As I said in my earlier post anything is better than nothing.
To suggest that a tactical scope must be zeroed in at 100 yards or meters and then set to 1 on the dial is just about the silliest thing I ever read. I am still rolling on the floor over that one. Whats wrong with sighting it in at 200 and then setting the dial to 2 instead? or 600 and then setting the dial at 6? It all amounts to the same thing. And that is the only range you can be sure that the bdc dial is zeroed for. THAT DAY! What happens when the load you are using is 75 fps off of what you are supposed to be for the dial you are using? or the temperature is 50 degrees lower or higher than the than the Ideal 59F. or the 4th round out of the magazine has a little hickie on the nose and screws up the B.C. IF you are LEO as you say you are then you are stuck with the ammo provided and also it is impractical to keep switching barrels until you find one that puts out the exact muzzle vel. that is required. It is a fantasy world you live in to expect any BDC to be all thing to all people.
Also please point me to the time and place that I said hold over 16.5 for a 400 yard shot. I dont remember saying any such thing.
I am just a student of this sniping subject. I am here to learn. I am most interested in the stuff that I cant find in books. I already have all the books. Perhaps someday even you will have something useful for me to make a note of. Too bad that day was not today.
Steve <>
S.C.D.H., Ohio, USA - Sunday, January 24, 1999 at 23:45:44 (ZULU) 
On Zeroing the scope at 100yds I think they were talking only about the 3.5x10 LR M3. When it is zeroed that way, in theory ,it is on at any number you then dial it to. If it is not zeroed at 100yds first then all the other dials will be off as well. The scope is designed with a stop so it will always come back to the "1" which is the 100 yd zero. If as you say conditions are bad or different then if you were shooting at 600yds you might dial to "6" and add a click or deduct one. It is designed for tactical long range shooting where you only need to go one rev. to reach 1000yds and this way you dont lose track of how many times you have turned the dial. Its quick and fool proof.
Pat <>
USA - Monday, January 25, 1999 at 05:33:28 (ZULU) 

Everyone is talking about the Leupold Vari-X III M3 like it was the best thing around but both I and a friend had bad experiences with this scope. I was posting to see if anyone else had experienced this problem and to warn people who are thinking of purchasing one of these scopes of this potential problem.

Both of our scopes had mildot reticles that were crooked. If you put the base of the scope on a flat surface the horizontal crosshair was not level. My scope was not as bad as my friends but it was obvious that the crosshairs were not level in either scope. I traded mine (at a loss) to someone who was looking for just a hunting scope but my friend sent his back to Leupold for repair. It came back "fixed" but the reticle was still not level.

The scope is very well designed for what it is intended to do but Leupold needs to work on their quality control. These scopes are going for $700 and that is too much to pay for defective equipment.

Jack McC.
Jack McC. <>
Lawrenceville, GA, USA - Thursday, January 28, 1999 at 01:57:22 (ZULU) 

Jack, On the crooked reticle. How far out was this flat surface you compared your reticle to? You might be seeing distortion/aberation caused by lens curvature when looking at an object that is too close. I think operator headspace might be the problem here:-).

gooch <>
USA - Friday, January 29, 1999 at 14:59:33 (ZULU) 


Re: Defective Leupold Vari-X III M3 scopes and "operator headspace"

The Vari-X III M3 scopes in question were owned by me and by Sgt. Cox, whom I believe you know. He is not only an army-trained sniper but was a professional gunsmith following his years in the service. Both scopes were definitely defective. One of the scopes was sent back to Leupold for repair. Leupold must have agreed that the scope was defective because they did a lot of work on it, including replacement of the main tube. When it was returned, both Sgt. Cox and I inspected the scope and agreed that the reticle was also crooked with the vertical crosshair at 1:00. The scope was traded to a Leupold dealer for a spotting scope. Sgt. Cox kept the second and less defective scope for use on one of his hunting guns. We are attending the June training sessions at SMTC and we will bring this scope so you can personally inspect it to see if this is indeed a case of "operator headspace."

I received an email from an individual in Australia who experienced the same problem with his Leupold Vari-X III scope. He reported that the shooters at his range consider this to be a common problem with Leupold scopes but he declined to post his experiences to the SC Roster. I own a Mark 4 M3 and have not had any problems with it. Unfortunately, I do not think Leupold is putting the same care into their Vari-X III scopes as they put into their Mark 4 scopes. As useful as variable power is, I have no intention of purchasing any Leupold scopes other than another Mark 4 scope.

Jack McC.

Jack McC. <>
Lawrenceville, GA, USA - Tuesday, February 02, 1999 at 03:40:12 (ZULU) 

Crooked crosshairs? ON a Leupold? Is that even possible? I blew a .44 handgun scope once and it was crooked all over but.. I must say I never saw that one! I'm not crying "headspace" but I've never seen it!
I think the new LR scopes were to be an advancement in technology and that usually means that someone was trying to improve the quality but I must say I've never found the VarXIII lacking in quality.
B.Rogers <>
USA - Tuesday, February 02, 1999 at 06:11:40 (ZULU) 
Checked out the US Optics booth. Sorry, but I am still not convinced it's better than my Leupolds for the price. I did see a Leupold MK3 ?? that really caught my eye. All the elevation in ONE rotation !! True. it was only 1 MOA adjustment but a 30mm tube, 40 mm objective, BDC and though it is setup for 168's(308), still.... I could find a rifle to shoot with it!!!
Will <>
"Back to Reality", AL, USA - Thursday, February 04, 1999 at 05:34:38 (ZULU) 
Just today spent some quality time with a nice person from Leupold. Among other things that were mentioned is that the VariXIII 3.5-10
LR models are built on 30 mm tubes with the 1 inch internals. (This is in response to someone several days ago who mentioned this.) The reason that Leupold does this is to allow additional elevation with the same physical plant. (Apparently you run out of elevation adjustment before you reach 1000 yards with thier 1 inch tubes?)
Anyway, that is the story and they are sticking to it.

Question: I have seen ads for the Leupold 4.5-14 with the BDC, they say they do not build them, what gives? This seems like a really nice compromise for those not into really close range tacticle, and prefer a variable. Am leaning to the 3.5-10 LR M3 otherwise, and would appreciate comments, the weekend Mass Destruction Show approaches...
seeya bye
longline <>
wa, USA - Thursday, February 04, 1999 at 06:35:40 (ZULU) 

Comments please: Hope this question hasn't been asked too many times. I have a Tactical Vari X III 3.5-10x40 M3-LR on a 700VSS .308 shooting the 168GM's. I am using the Leupold MKIV mounts on dual dovetails. I have the zero set for 100 yards and the scope turret will travel to the setting for 1000 and then about 3 more clicks. I have not thoroughly wrung out this firestick at long range targets, but when the opportunity soon arises, I don't want to come up short(literally). The question: Do I need the tapered shims, given the apparent travel of the scope, and will the scope track more accurately with the different starting zero the shims provide? Do the shims go under the base or inside the rings? Please, no hear-say, just the facts. Wild Earp
Chuck <>
SoCal, USA - Thursday, February 04, 1999 at 20:54:45 (ZULU) 
It looks to me like you are in business, What is the dial that you are using? If you are coming up 47 clicks from your 100 zero, that is a metric dial. Your ammo must be clocking alot faster that 2600 fps to make the dial track accurately in meters.
Steve <>
S.C.D.H., Ohio, USA - Thursday, February 04, 1999 at 22:25:06 (ZULU) 
I have a rooky question re: scopes. I have the 3.5x10M3LR and I haven`t used it that much but i`m trying to master it and that`s what counts,right??? I have it bore sighted in at 100 yards,I also have the standard base`s so that I could center the windage.I counted the half minute clicks from zero, going left, and then right, and they both equiled 35.5 half minute clicks, with a total of 71 half minute clicks.I also counted the full minute clicks that are on the BDC.Starting at zero and going up, I counted 41 clicks, going down from zero I counted 2 clicks.Does this make sence??? According to the top of the BDC where it`s in meters it shows that i`m only two clicks past 900 meters. I looked in Plasters Ultimate Sniper and he says on page 89 that with a 100 yard zero with a 168 gr. bullet that the trajectroy at 50 yards is -0.2in. and at 500 yards +64.6in.
He says that the MOA`s required are 0.25 down and 13 up. If that is the case then as you can see as I stated before I have 41 MOA`s to go up from zero, so if I use 13MOA`s to get out to 500 yards, than to get out to 1000 yards does that mean that I need to add 13 more MOA`s to the original 13, if thats the caes then I would have 15 MOA`s left once I got out to 1000 meters, and that doesn`t make sence??? Even to this rooky. Please help, I dont have anyone else to ask.Thanks in advance. BATCAM1 OUT

Keith Camardo <BATCAM1>
BEAV, OR, USA - Friday, February 12, 1999 at 06:53:57 (ZULU) 

Keith Camardo ...
I wish you would have left your e-mail address in the box where you put "BATCAM", I'd have answered this one "off line"... it's been beaten to death here.
The M3-LR must use tapered bases, not standard bases, or it won't shoot past about 650/700 yds/mtrs. The BDC dial you have is not for the 168 bullet, it is for the 175 Sierra MK@2675fps, and is calibrated in meters.
Sent me e-mail to continue.

Pablito <>
USA - Friday, February 12, 1999 at 11:45:35 (ZULU) 

L&S Inc. Ultra
20X - M1A
S/N 89 1055

I have the above and am confused about the Mil Dots it has. It is one of the last glass etched reticles and the dots are 2 Mil´s apart.
No info from Leupold so far, maybe Premier reticle?, I´ll try.
Anyone out there with the same scope ? How about the 10 or 16 X scopes, if the 10X is a true Mil Dot then what abot the 16 X, 1.6 Mil dot ??? cant be.

Hmmpf ???

Torsten <>
Germany - Tuesday, February 23, 1999 at 17:16:49 (ZULU) 


I got a Leupold M1 10X MilDot with a Glass Reticle. It is not an Ultra but a Mark4. The MilDots are one Mil apart. They are round. Works great with the Mildot Master. I really been having a lot fun with this great little tool. I got a range here at home, and some steel targets that I set up at random distances. Then I mil out the range and ring the steel. It is so easy. You gotta get one of these.

Bil Bledsoe <>
Shebly Co., KY, USA - Tuesday, February 23, 1999 at 18:11:21 (ZULU) 

The only thing I could find out about your Ultra is, maybe it is a 10x kicked up to 20x with the 10x reticle left in it. This is not an uncommon practice. If the bottom is marked ULTRA 10x - M3a S/N 90 xxxx L&S inc. then that's the answer.

Pat II
Pat II <>
Whiterocks, UT, USA - Sunday, February 28, 1999 at 03:35:35 (ZULU) 

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