View Full Version : Leupold M3 Scopes

02-26-2003, 09:00 PM
I am looking into purchasing an M3 scope for all around shooting at ranges from 300 to 700 yards. I need a pretty sturdy scope as it will be on my favorite 340 Weatherby. I am not familiar with the mil dot reticles but they seem to eliminate the need for a laser rangefinder which I like. Does anyone have any experience with these scopes as well as feedback on the mil dot reticles and ballistic cams? Is the ballistic cam a little overkill if you have the mil dots to use for an aiming reference? Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks, Kurt

Tim in Nevada
02-27-2003, 12:58 AM
Another rangefinding system is the Shepherd Scope. Pretty effective setup. Tim

02-27-2003, 12:58 AM
Mil dots are great if you know how to use them... most refrences you may find on useing them for rangefinding is regarding human targets though.

Its always nice to have extra tools for ranging your target, but if your going light, the Mil-Dots will get you on the "paper".

Mil-Dots are also nice for leading on moving targets...

02-27-2003, 01:00 AM
Good call Tim

Also,if you can find an unmounted one, a Soviet/Russian PSO family scope has a built in rangefinder. Some scopes in this family are of exceptionally high quality.

02-27-2003, 04:52 AM
Tim, I've seen the Sheperd scopes advertised and should probably look at them again. I've had really good success with Leupold products in the past and it seems like the M3 has some pretty nice features going for it. I get quite a lot of shooting in each year and getting familiar with the mil dot ranging system should be doable for me. I am considering the plain duplex model, but it just concerns me that if the batteries go out on the laser that ranging will become exceedingly difficult. The Sheperd and the M3 with mil dots seems to cover that scenario nicely. Thanks for the info.

03-01-2003, 07:43 PM
There is an article about M3 scopes in snipercountry.com. Hot tips and cold shots. I think M3 scopes have 1 moa clicks which work for large human size targets. The M1 scope has 1/4 clicks which might work better for hunting.

03-02-2003, 10:17 PM
Kurt, I have literally thousands of rounds through Remington 700's and M-21s, as well as a few through SR-25's and Barrett .50BMG, all mounted with M3 and M1 scopes. Bottom line is they are great optics. Now that the M3 and M1 configurations are available in variable power, you might take a look at that. The M3 has 1 moa elevation and 1/2 moa windage adjustments with side focus. I personally prefer the M1 series, because I like 1/4 moa adjustment, but the target turrets are bulky for a rifle you are going to carry. I have encountered people, gun store employees mostly, who argue that Swarovsky and Kahles are brighter better scopes. Whatever, they have an opinion and although I agree that the European scopes are fantastic, I am a firm believer in the Leupold Mark 4 series of scopes. I've parachuted with them and drug them on the ground without a failure. Optics are bright, and the tube wall thickness is twice that of a standard Vari-X III. Side by side with the Euro scopes I couldn't detect a difference, although maybe that's just me. A quick note on the ballistic cam of the M3 series. First of all, it is not really anything more than a dial on the elevation turret marked in hundreds of meters for the ballistic come-ups of a given round. So, if you range a target at 400 and are using ammo that duplicates the ballistics of the dial, you simply turn it to 4. That is no big deal. If you know the ballistic drop of your bullet, you can dial in the required elevation using any scope. I do not know if the M3 comes with a "cam" for your round. Understand though, that the ballistic cam is only an approximation of the correct come-up on the scope. How much your bullet drops varies from lot to lot of ammunition, heat, humidity, barometric pressure, winds, etc. Most guys I work with keep detailed log books with the actual come-ups for various lots of ammunition and environmental conditions. You might find that you need to come up 4 plus 1 click, or whatever.

Mil-dot reticles are great if you know how to use them. Most of your other replies have validity, and I would like to add to them. First of all, use of the mil-dot requires an understanding of the math, then with practice you will be able to range many things. Contrary to popular belief, this method of ranging was not designed for human targets, although it works out that way well for military purposes. A Mil is actually a milli-radian, or 1/6,400 of a circle. It is an angular measurement that equals 1 meter measured from 1000 meters. Worked out mathematically, using the familiar Minutes of angle, with 60 minutes of angle per degree and 360 degrees in a circle, you will find that one Mil equals 3.375 minutes of angle. So, although not perfect math, we will say that one moa equals one inch at 100 meters. Therefore, a mil equals 3 1/3 inches at 100M. If you mil a prairie dog at 1/2 mil, and the prairie dog measures 3 1/3 inches wide, you know him to be 200M away. Remembering that a mil equals a meter at a thousand meters, and knowing the width of a truck is about 6 feet (roughly 2 meters), if you mil the truck at 2 mils, it is 1000m away. If you mil it at 4 mils, it is 500M away. So, Mils can be very useful for ranging any object PROVIDED YOU KNOW THE OBJECTS SIZE, but I wouldn't leave behind your laser range finder. If you pick up your M3 and need assistance becoming fluent in mils drop me a mail and I can suggest some references. Take care. Bill

Jim T
05-17-2003, 02:59 PM
I have the M3 3.5X10. It is hands down my favorite scope. My next scope purchase will be the new 6.5X20 M1 for one of my .223's. The M3 is on my Ultramatch right now, but there are days I think about moving it to my hunting rifle.

I know the purists will howl, but I think the M3 and a Leica LRF1200 would be the ticket. Don't forget to throw in lots of practice with the pair.

I'm not the greatest judge of range, and the LRF would tell me how far. Then my computer (re. brain) would say: Too far or doable. Then dial the range on the M3. Done deal. Obviously there is wind, extreme angles, time, etc. I would also suggest the Mil Dot Master, which is a slide rule for computing ranges using the mil dot reticle. It is designed to go to the field with you. At only $30, it is well worth the money.

Bottom line is that if it entices one to practice more, then perhaps we won't hear stories about holding over six feet and leading ten at a long ways off. Of couse, we only hear about the shots made, not the cripples.