I have been in the market for some decent optics for my flat-top AR. With the economy the way it is I initially tried to keep the cost down and crashed and burned with the NCStar Mark III. Thankfully Midway USA made the recovery much easier with their no hassle return policy. After that experience I put aside some money for a little while until I was able to save up enough to order a Leupold Mark AR from Optics Planet with a coupon. I also purchased a one-piece Burris Scope Mount from Midway to go with the scope.
The Leupold Mark AR comes in a 1.5-4×20 model and a 3-9×40 model. You can buy it with Duplex or Mildot reticles and the lenses are coated with Leupold’s Multicoat 4 System. This coating is supposed to result in increased brightness, contrast, and clarity. The view through the scope looked good to me although I did have some issues making out 22 cal holes at 100yds.
I bought the 3-9×40 version with the Mildot Reticle. It is a one inch tube in matte finish.
The elevation knob is adjustable in 1/2 moa increments and includes a built in bullet drop compensator calibrated for the M193 round. A 55gr bullet at 3200fps. Leupold offers the ability to purchase a custom calibrated compensator for the load of your choice.
I mounted the scope to my AR using a Burris one piece mount. This particular mount is really intended for AR platforms with shorter stocks. I was very impressed with the amount of eye-relief that this scope offered. The optics were clear and easy to see.
For the real test I used some more of the Black Hills 55 gr ammo that I got on sale back before the election of ’08. I bought a whole lot at the time, one because I got a good deal, two because I was under the impression that Black Hills was some good stuff. I have gone through quite a lot of this in the past few years and I have not been impressed. It is supposed to be 3200fps but I have had it chrono from 2800 to about 3120 and everywhere in between. Not the most accurate in the world but it was cheap and good for plinking.
I didn’t have a lot of time this day so I got it sighted in and then started firing 3 round groups starting at 9x. 3 at 9x, 3 at 8x and so on down to 3x. You can see the results here 21 shots at 100yds. Not the best shooting in the world but I am happy to report that I did not have any real change in the point of Impact like I did with the NCStar. The next chance I get I will take some of my handloads out and practice for a little while. Even though the Leupold and the mount together were about four times the cost of the NCStar, there is a noticeable difference in the quality and I think it was worth saving up to purchase.