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Picking the right optic for a Mk12 clone build

We had a customer ask us about which optic is best for her Mk12 clone build.  This is a popular topic, but here at Charlie's, and also online in social media.  It is a debated topic for three reasons:

  • The Mk12 Mod0 and Mod1 were released at time of heighten overseas battle in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters, and was a rushed release by NSWC Crane, SOCOM and other commands to get a longer-range sniper rifle in the field quickly to mount on M4 and M16 platforms with the same ammunition.  Thus, many optics that were available at the time were used.
  • In the "wild" on the battlefront, many units and operators themselves swapped-out the optics for another of their choice.  Thus, you will see pictures of many "non-spec" optics.
  • Most of the as-issued optics are out of production and are hard to find today, and when they are found, the prices are quite high, so clone builders and collectors alike are opting for either an optic they prefer over a historically correct optic, or they are opting for a less-expensive optic.

We are writing today to give you some insights and our opinions.

 

Q:  Hey, Charlie, I am building a Mk12 clone.  Thanks for your website.  It has been hughly helpful with my build.  I think I have all the parts needed.  I am lacking glass.  What do you recommend, and do you have any used glass?

 

A:  We are a clone builders.  A few of us here have done this as a hobby for about 8 years, and started a business about 6 months back.  It is slow going, every day, to build inventory, build supplier relationships, get the Website going, etc.  Inch by inch we are getting better.  Charlie's is now a dealer for Daniel Defense, Colt, Knights Armament, Precision Reflex, Nightforce, Leupold, Aimpoint, Schmidt & Bender, Steiner, etc., etc.  We buy and build and we buy and resell.

 

On my team is an ex-Crane armorer, and he builds our Mk12s, as he did for hundreds of GI issued guns while at Crane.  We have not yet released our own builds of the Mk12, but will be doing so very seen.  People will love them, as they will be true Crane builds.  He specializes in Mk12 Mod1 and Mk13 Mod1, Mod5 and Mod7.  He or another armourer will handle the Mk12 Mod0.  We also buy from PRI pre-assembled Mod0 uppers, and offer them for sale.  They are very good, but having a Colt receiver is a little more true to form and the barrel will be chambered and installed by the best guys in the business.  It will cost a tad more. 

Either is a fine choice.  Our build will use all the same PRI and Allen / Ops, Inc. material, but we will be sourcing the barrels directly from Douglas and another great barrel maker, and having the best in the business contour and chamber, align and install.

 

A couple of us spend time on researching the weapons of the Iraq and Afghanistan theater to find primary evidence, from Crane, from SOCOM, USASOC, USMC Quantico, Ft. Hood, and various posts online to understand the correct configuration of these weapons from M4s to M12s, SAM-R, SDMR, Mk11, M110, Mk13, etc.  Then, we work to put those items, as much as we can, at the disposal of people, who are building clones.  We do this to actually build or assemble the clones or upper assemblies, or the make the primary parts available.

 

As far as glass on the Mk12, there are five scopes that we recommend, based on historical accuracy and alternatives based upon budget.  Generally speaking, we carry all of these at Charlie's Custom Clones and would be very happy to help you with your plans.  We are also here to talk to you about your build, and we are generally interested in your build and want to see pics and if you are willing, for you to allow us to post here, so others can also see what you are doing.  Our social community is built not on creating a new platform, but one helping people achieve their dreams and goals in clone building, and if you wish, linking to your social site to interact with you.  And, of course, we want more people to visit Charlie's Custom Clones to buy a few items.  :)

 

For example, herer is a great post on M4Carbine.net, a superb site for community input, without the drama of some other sites:  http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?33381-Ideal-optic-for-SPR-MK12-Mod1 ,

and here from another site:  https://www.ar15.com/forums/ar-15/Nightforce_2_5x10x32_vs_Leupold_LR_T_3_5x10x40_for_a_MK12_MOD0_build_____help_me_decide_/18-428037/ .

 

 

Historically Accurate Mk12 Scopes

 

 

Alternatives if you want something different or if your budget does not allow a historically.  These are our choices, other people will have other recommendations.  We like Vortex PST Gen2, Burris XTR2 and some Primary Arms scopes as well, but would not be our first choice for Mk12, if you are trying hard to be near correct or look correct to form.

 

 

Hope this helps.

Be sure to read Charlie's other blogs on scopes:

How to Choose an all-around scope

The Mark 5 from Leupold

The scopes from SHOTSHOW 2018

YouTube of the TS30-A2