Leupold Mark3HD 8-24×50

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I bought my first Leupold a Mark 3HD 8-24×50 to pair with my new Ruger Precision Rimfire 22LR rifle. Its optical performance did not disappoint. In my camera testing and naked-eye observation it produced stunningly sharp and bright images with its HD glass.

Using the USAF-51 optical resolution chart, I could see resolution lines down to Group 0 which put this scope in the same league as some 60mm and 80mm spotting scopes! In glass performance, this is the sharpest and brightest scope I’ve tested in the sub $900 tier. Not surprisingly, only its big brother, the Mark 5 was able to resolve even smaller elements on the chart but that scope is four times the price.

While I had this on a 22LR, this scope is better suited for a high-power rifle. At 8x, it’s eye relief was well over 5″ behind the eye-piece at low power. This proved to be a challenge in filming as my phone/camera mount could not really be extended that far. At high-power the eye relief contracted slightly but the eye-box did quite profoundly; at 24x its eye-box was rather unforgiving.

It’s low, hunting profile turrets were a bit disappointing. The clicks were soft and muffled. But the tracking was dead-nuts accurate. The elevation turret had a precise and easy to use zero-stop and the windage was covered by a cap, hunting-style.

It has a 2nd focal plane Mil-Spec metal P5 TMR reticle. They way Leupold designed their Mk3, it uses the exact same reticle scrim plate as the lower power Mk3 but enlarged at a fixed 24x size. Because its a 2nd focal plane, the reticle size doesn’t change. Unfortunately, this also means the reticle appears overly thick at low power. This may be great for hunters who prefer a reticle that doesn’t get lost in their field of view. But a thick reticle is anathema to precision shooters because it obscures small targets and bullseyes.

Unfortunately this was a dealbreaker for me. While I love the glass clarity and Leupold’s reputation for reliability, the reticle made this a hard-pass for me. Regretfully, I returned it and will have to look for one of Leupold’s other models for my needs.

Available on Amazon
8-24×50 https://amzn.to/3xq9hsA
6-18×50 https://amzn.to/3KKZSzH

Group: -1
Element: 5-6

Build: 5
Glass: 5+
Reticle: 3
Holds Zero: 5
Box Test: 5
Turrets: 5
Eye Box: 5
Value: 5

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Tom "Moondog" DelMundo is an award-winning copywriter and art director with over a decade of Madison Avenue experience.

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