This scope has a lot of history.   Leupold made these in the 90s and for a long time, it was the standard scope that came with the Remington M700 police sniper rifle package sold to countless LE departments across the country.    The scope is the  Leupold VARX-III 3.5x-10X tactical with mil-dot . It has a one inch tube and  comes with the target turrets used on most target and varmint optics from that time.

Adjustments are 1/4 inch per click with  60 clicks in one full rotation.  Being a leupold, the adjustments are solid, repeatable and accurate.This scope is over 20 years old and it has not failed me.  The turrets have set screws that can be loosened to reset the turret to have the index line  and the “0”  line up  where you want to set it.  You can also remove the turrets and replace them with a large version that can not be covered by the turret protective caps that screw on and protect the turrets. If you don’t like either of these, leupod will install the M1 tactical turrests for $130 yankee dollars.

The scope comes with the tactical mild dot reticle.  The glass is clear as is usual for leupold.

The power is 3.5x at the low end and 10x at the max end.  The power ring is also marked like all variX-IIIs in that you can use magnification and the reticle to range a target within hunting distances. Not needed with a mil-dot, but  was marked anyway.


It is a long way from the ultra modern long range tactical optics found today with its once inch tube and  no side focus knob or illuminated reticle. It does have enough internal adjustment for long range shooting.  It has a reticle that is useful still especially for those of us older guys who grew up with it and not the various christmas tree reticles now popular.    It is a tough and dependable optic so much so that I still use it on my MK12 MOD1 and have no plans of replacing it.

Mounted on the most excellent Larue SPR base it is a favorite combo for me.   If you see one some where used at a good deal I give it my highest recommendation.  Even if its too”cold” or not tactical enough for you, or you are ashamed to show it at the gun prom it would still serve you perfectly in any thing you see fit.





  1. These were THE scopes back in those days. Their Mk4 line was still heavily invested in the fixed 10x (and one 16x) models but their tactical line up had this and the fixed 6x42AO model. All good scopes. I’d love to find one of these old sights.
    And it’s probably no coincidence their original Vari-XIII LR scopes were essentially beefed up 3.5-10 scopes. This was also when Premier Reticles would install the “better” football mil dots, or darn near any reticle you could dream up, into the Leupolds.

    • yep. these were the hit ticket back then. They are great optics. Now of course, you HAVE TO have a 30mm tube or the scope is just crap and those reticle and target turrets? Ha! who would be caught dead with those!?

      • I’d say now everything has to be a 34mm tube with a reticle that’d make a high school geometry teacher proud. I wholly understand larger glass will give you better light transmission and, if it’s quality glass, a better image. At some point it’s just diminishing returns if you ever plan on having to carry the thing farther than from your trunk to the ready line. I’ve seen some scopes with 40mm tubes yet. It’s like having the Hubble on your boomstick! It was a great image though, won’t deny that.

        This got me thinking of old scopes and one I’d love to get hold of again was an old 80s era Tasco 6×44 sniper model. If I recall correctly the IDF used them but I might be wrong. I had one many years back but traded it off when I thought I’d never use it or want to keep it. The Tasco name makes me dubious now, thinking of WalMart .22 plinking specials, but it was actually a very solid optic or at least the one I had was. It had a dedicated M118 BDC dial and “nimrod” reticle/rangefinder and the main adjustment cap had the same cartridge case head cut like the Colt scopes. I occasionally look on eBay but I don’t reckon I’ll find one for a price I’d be willing to pay for one now.

        • Those older Tascos were not bad, at one time they did make some good stuff In fact they even made a scope not unlike a Unertl. but those are hard to find now with a capital H. You are right about the 34mm tubes. that shows you just how fast I fall behind on what the new fad is with optics. I still use stuff circa 1995, 1/4 inch click, no reticle that grows with magnification, no mil adjustments and 1 inch tubes! how will I ever be able to hit a target? Im so uncool even my one 30mm tube nightforce still uses 1/4 MOA adjustments!

  2. Ha, I have one. I didn’t think too much of it until I read this article.

    Mine is a Leupold VARIX III 3.5-10 X40 tactical, no gold ring, it has the duplex reticle instead of the mil-dot. I bought it around 1992. First mounted it on my Remington 700 PSS, put about 80 rounds through it. Then sat in the safe for about 28 years. Just recently mounted it on my MK12 mod1 (like the one in picture, mine has the fixed stock) , with A.R.M.S. rings and 1″ reducers. It’s been just sitting around.

    Since I have other Leupold Mark 4s, so I always thought this is a mediocre scope.

  3. I missed this article back when it was written but it’s interesting timing…

    I just bought one of these – a buddy found it unopened in the back of a closet and has moved on to the current cooler models. I’m thrilled with it. Going to be just right on the 20” upper I just built.

  4. I’ve got one from my FBI Counter Sniper Days in the 1990’s (Badger Mounts serial numbered) with illuminated 3/4 Marine Mil Dot. It replaced my fixed 6x Zeiss which was as accurate.
    Originally mounted on my Steyer SSG and was as accurate. Now it’s my primary long range optic, since it still competes favorably with Nightforce or any other modern optic on an AR with 262 77 grain Ammo. However, nothing the 5.56 can do that the Federal 168 Premium .308 couldn’t do better.


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