Putting the ‘tact’ in tactical optics

I believe I have the best job in the world. I get to meet really interesting people, shoot all the new products and write about my experiences. This October, I visited the folks at Leupold in Beaverton, Ore. My visit included a factory tour and a little...


The MSR has an adjustable folding stock, which begs the question: How does Remington squeeze such precision out of a platform with so much adjustability? I got to run the .338 Lapua Mag version, which uses a Trynite coating in its components. I'm not sure what Trynite is, but it had an extremely smooth lockup and a better trigger than one of my match rifles.

The MSR is designed to engage up to a click and a half. If you aren't familiar with a click, ask your military buddies. This is not a common product and the Mark 8 ER/T is not a common scope. The most notable features of the Leupold Mark 8 ER/T 6.5-20x50mm scope are the auto locking turrets, which allow for adjustments on the fly and exceptional coatings. Coatings, by the way, are what one pays for in a scope. The Extended Twilight Lens System coatings on this product add to the crispness of the image during twilight or dusk.

Ideal for high-risk stops

The engineering it takes to make a 1.1-power scope go seamlessly to 8-power without serious distortion is astronomical. This scope has interchangeable BDC rings, which allow the user to switch bullet weights for a specific mission. I had a chance to peek at this one with a thermal sight in front of it.

The Mark 4 CQBSS comes with a Horus H27 reticle and allows for snap engagements and ranges that would be considered extreme for an AR 15 variant. The 34mm maintube allows for a wide range of adjustment.

I shouldered the Remington carbine that this scope was mounted on. The scope has aggressive knurls for rapid adjustment, as well as a .10 mil pinch and turn adjustments. I rocked the magnification from 1.1-8. Then it hit me: This is a front focal plane instrument, meaning the reticle always stays in proportion to the magnification. The Leupold Mark 8 CQBSS floats a 5 MOA dot on the target, when illuminated.

Where would the Mark 8 CQBSS excel? On a high-risk stop where the threat is perceived, but not fully known. The responding officer can engage at the compressed distance of the driver door/ patrol car door with a mid magnification, and scan for additional threats at 1.1. If the incident develops into a longer engagement, the scope is appropriate. If the stop at dusk goes to darkness, the officer doesn't need to change anything.

I cranked the power down and double-tapped steel with this one. I cranked it up and looked at my hits on paper. This scope has exceptional clarity.

Putting rounds downrange

Obviously, the best part of participating in a product introduction is the opportunity to put rounds downrange with these new products. I was feeling pretty good about the 1x8 scope mounted on an AR-15 variant.

On a range near Beaverton, we warmed up a bit with steel plates at 25 yards. I began by experimenting with the CMR reticle on the new Mark 4 HAMR. This is a 4-power rugged scope with a Leupold Delta Point optic mounted on top. It took a few minutes to get the cadence of switching between the Delta Point and the HAMR optic, but the CMR2 reticle was incredibly easy to center for a snap shot.

We began running through a move-and-shoot stage, which looked like the carbine-friendly part of a three-gun match.

Remington provided the carbine here and this was also my first chance to run rounds downrange with the ACR (Adaptive Combat Rifle) -- a modular combat system that is fully ambidextrous with a piston driven action and equipped with an AAC suppressor. With the HAMR mounted, I found the Remington ACR was ergonomic and felt more natural than several carbines I tested this past year. This one was 5.56 Remington, but a quick bolt head change makes the ACR a 6.8 Remington.

I was feeling pretty good on my first run with the HAMR equipped Remington ACR. I shouldered it and moved smartly down the course, double tapping each target. I was rewarded with the staccato sound of jackets on steel at the end of the stage. Good hits. Superior glass.

The HAMR has an exit pupil of 6, a quick calculation of the potential brightness of an optic based on the quick calculation of the size of the objective divided by the magnification. Coatings and quality of construction complete the package. I will spend a little more time with this product next year, but the night fighting potential of this product is self evident.

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