Editor’s Note: In Part I of this series we looked at the history and concept of the Leatherwood Hi-Lux M1000 ART Scope. In Part II, we’ll discuss setting up and sighting in this unique optic. And in Part III we’ll head out to the big range to see how well it ranges and compensates for shots out to 550 meters.
Having discussed the history and set-up of the Leatherwood ART M1000 Automatic Ranging and Trajectory scope in Part 1 and Part 2 of this review, I took the optic out to a local 600-yard range to see if it really works.
As a review, the scope was mounted atop an Armalite AR-10 National Match, and the ammunition was Hornady’s 168 gr. Match Grade TAP in .308.
One thing to note about this scope is that everything is delineated in meters, not yards. I first established that the rifle was hitting dead center at a 250-meter zero, with the power ring down on 2.5. Even though I had followed the suggestions in the instructions to start with a 100-meter zero by using the top bracket subtend in the reticle, my shots were actually about 6 inches high at 250. No matter, with a quick adjustment, that was corrected and the target moved back.
Now, one of the advantages of the Leatherwood ART scope — why the optic was so effective for Army snipers fighting in Vietnam — is the fact that you don’t have to know the range.
You only need to bracket a target of known dimensions (say an 18-inch chest of a deer) by zooming in or out with the power ring. And then you shoot.
That being said, I wanted to test the scope’s cam and thus placed my target at 400 meters. I then zoomed in until my 18-inch white target fit in half of the reticle bracket (see photo). Again, because this was a test, I then peeked at the power ring to verify. Sure enough, 4 power … and 400 meters — right on the money.
I took a five-shot string and assessed the target — a nice dead center group. Certainly accurate enough to have resulted in a dead elk or mule deer.
Impressed, I moved the target back to 550 meters. Rebracket the 18-inch tall white piece of paper. Verify — 550 meters on 5.5 power. And shoot.
At this greater range, the 5-shot string landed about 8 inches low, and the shooter clumsily neglected to compensate the .5 mils for wind, so they landed left of the target in about a 7-inch group.
Even so, for having done no calculations, these shots were all kill shots on any elk. All would have “rung the gong” had I been shooting at steel.
I expressed the opinion in Part 1 of this review, that the limiting factor with the scope is the thickness of the reticle. Out beyond 400 yards it took some doing to bracket the target precisely in the center of the thicker crosshairs to get an accurate reading and cam adjustment on the scope. Very doable, but it took some practice.
That being said, the Leatherwood ART M1000 scope lives up to its claims. It gets you on target fast, with no calculations. I’m still amazed that, for a retail price around $400, this scope can make any shooter effective at virtually any distance — even me.
My only regret was not having access to a 1,000-yard range to really test it out. However, with this scope’s price point and ease of use, I believe it is most ideal for hunters heading out west, perhaps for a plains antelope hunt, or mule deer and elk in the mountains. It excels at quickly giving you center-chest hits on deer-sized game and does so especially well at ranges from 250-500 yards.
Users of high-end mil/mil tactical scopes might say the ART M1000 is not a precision accuracy scope. I quite agree, but that’s missing the point. The point is that what it gives up in precision, it gains in speed and ease of use. It’s a practical scope that I think will be welcomed by rifle hunters who need to take that shot no matter the range when it presents itself.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Having shot with this unique optic, it’s plain to see why the Viet Cong so feared it. Jim Leatherwood’s original design allowed our soldiers to frame, aim and shoot — without any complex mathematical or ballistic calculations — in the heat of battle under the most extreme stress. And by golly they hit what they were aiming at. Yes indeed, it truly is a “no math” long-range scope that works as advertised.