with Andrew L. Butts
SHOT Show 2012: New optics from Leupold & Stevens
New for SHOT Show 2012 is line of 34mm main tube scopes from American optics maker Leupold & Stevens. These new scopes are called the MK6 line and they are built on lessons learned from the earlier MK8. Currently, the MK6 series incorporates two scopes.
The first is the MK6 1-6x20mm. This new scope features an illuminated reticle based on the company’s CMR2 reticle introduced last year. The new reticle is called the CMR-W and is available for either 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester 175gr or 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington 62gr. Like the earlier CMR2, the CMR-W uses an illuminated semi-circle at the center but now features holdover points for crosswind.
The reticle looks to be very simple and uncomplicated and should prove to be quick and effective in actual use. On its lowest setting, the 1-6x20mm offers a huge field of view and a non-magnified image for quick both-eyes-open shooting. This scope offers a great deal of versatility and would be a good choice on an AR15 that might pull double duty as a patrol carbine and a marksman’s rifle. The second scope in the MK6 line is the 3-18x44mm. This new scope is available with either the CMR-W or Horus H-58 reticle. This scope features a large objective bell for good light gathering capabilities and uses a clever “pinch and turn” auto-locking adjustment system that locks the scope’s turrets in place to help avoid accidental adjustment.
Also new is a facelift for the tried-and-true 1-3x14mm CQ/T scope. The CQ/T doesn’t get much press nowadays since it is an older design. But the scope still has some very nice features and is caveman simple and reliable as the sunrise. Historically, this scope has only been available with an illuminated circle and dot reticle but Leupold has wisely chosen to offer the CMR2 reticle in the CQ/T as well. I’m a fan of the CQ/T and have used one for several years with good results. I leave my CQ/T on 1x most of the time and think of it as a red dot optic that has the option of some slight magnification for target identification or distance shooting if needed.
The CMR2 reticle is perfect for my application, since it offers a large center aiming semi-circle for quick shooting but offers bullet drop hash marks below the central aiming point for distance shooting.
In addition to giving an old favorite an overdue reticle update, Leupold has also added another scope to its MK8 line. This new scope is called the M5B2 and is going to be a game changer. The M5B2 is built on a 35mm tube and features a 56mm objective lens. The scope’s elevation turret incorporates a resistance point in its rotation. This point lets the user know that he is halfway through his adjustments. Going along with this resistance point is a small detent on top of the elevation turret.
When the scope is reaching its upper elevation adjustment the detent pops out. The detent can be felt with a thumb or finger, allowing the shooter to know he’s in the upper levels of elevation adjustment without having to take his eye of his target or if he’s working in low light. The bullet drop compensator is easily removable without tools and can be customized by Leupold’s Custom Shop to match any factory ammo or pet handload.
The M5B2 is available with an illuminated mildot or Horus H-58 reticle that is night vision compatible. Battery life on the lower settings is reported to be 500 hours. This scope is going to be pricey but it incorporates some interesting features that will help justify the cost. It should sit nicely atop the heaviest of precision rifles and give the shooter nearly unmatched versatility to engage targets from close-up to as far as his rifle can shoot.