There’s a saying in the racecar world, how fast do you want to spend? In shooting, especially when buying optics, you could say, how far do you want to spend?
As you reach further and further out for targets, the need for precision optics and high speed equipment gets exponentially greater. When you get to this point you can literally get anything you want. Companies offer features that are highly specialized and extremely high quality.
Leupold Mark 4 Review: Is it for Everyone?
Leupold is an American optics manufacturer that caters to shooters, hunters and tactical customers that include both Uncle Sam and foreign militaries. Literally any kind of shooting optic you could want Leupold makes.
The Mark 4 line of scopes from Leupold is a group of scopes used for extreme long range shooting. It is used by the military, private contractors and is a favorite of civilian sport shooting. It’s for a good reason, in short order this scope is tough as nails, packed with a specialized feature set and does its job extremely well.
- Extremely high quality rugged construction
- Functional well designed features
- Second to none optical quality
- Customizable for reticle design and turret
- It’s huge, the bell is humongous and it is very heavy
- The scope has to be mounted high and you’ll need a cheek riser
- It’s expensive. You could literally buy 3 or 4 rifles for the same price
The hardest part of giving a proper overview of this scope is nailing down what it is for. Just like not everyone needs an F350 dually truck, not everyone needs this Mark 4 riflescope. The Mark 4 is a scope for a trained, long range precision shooter who can use these features.
This is not a case of “more is better” meaning that just because this scope performs like a champ at 1200 yards it’ll be even better at 100 yards. This is a liability and these scopes are useless, even a problem, closer than 100 yards.
The features on this scope make it a champ for long range shooting on a rig that will be shot more than carried, i.e. a safe queen or range gun.
From tip to tail the scope is squared away. From the outside working in the turrets are customizable for your exact loading and they’re extremely high quality. They have a silky smooth feeling when they rotate but the detents are positive when you come across them.
The outside of the scope is wrapped in a coated that Leupold calls, Diamond Coat 2 . Essentially it’s a proprietary process of protecting the scope from dings, dents, and scratches. It’s widely used on Leupold products and works well, especially in areas like the eye piece, and turrets where a traditional gun coating would be thick and cakey.
The scope is sealed with a combination argon and krypton, over nitrogen found in most scopes . Argon and krypton is used over nitrogen because it allows Leupold to use less gas to fill the scope and guarantee an extra level of weatherproofing that the old school nitrogen can’t hold a candle too.
Being that Leupold is known as a leader in super high optical quality their glass is as good as it gets. They use several different technologies proprietary to Leupold but their strategy for getting an ultra-crisp target picture throughout the magnification range is twofold; make the absolute best use of the light that you have to work with and optimize the color spectrum for the shooter’s eye.
Leupold has this nailed down probably better than any other company and does so at a far better value than any of the others. Notice it’s not about price with these kinds of scopes but value. It gets expensive quick to manufacture in America, and even faster to make specialized optics like the Mark 4 but Leupold can do it without skimping on details.
Being a government issued item the Mark 4 line up has dozens of different models offering a bunch of reticles. They’re all the same save a few minor preferences. The scope I have the most experience with is the 6.5-20×50 (30mm) TMR with illumination .
Choose your reticle based on the job you have at hand, decide on magnification, get the biggest objective bell and tube size you can and if you can afford it, illumination is a luxury to die for. If you’ve ever shot at night, you’ll instantly know how awesome illumination is on a rifle scope. It’s a mental boost akin to having a campfire and Leupold does it top notch.
Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 6.5-20x50mm (30mm) M1 Illum. TMR
This is a great representative of the Mark 4 line up. It is a rough and ready tactical scope that has features soldiers and professional shooters can enjoy. For starters, all of the proprietary Leupold technologies from the diamond coating on the outside to the argon krypton dry purging Leupold in invented.
The 30mm tube and 50mm objective bell makes for a very bright and very heavy scope. If there’s a con to this scope, it’s the weight. The thick glass and large proportions make it weigh 23oz. The large objective bell is great for field of view, 15’ at 100 yards, but means a big mounting position, you may have trouble getting a cheek weld when shooting.
The turrets on this scope are big. They need to be, the adjustment that go into properly using a scope like this mean a necessity for easy adjustments. These turrets tick far enough out that grabbing them with gloves on or under stress is easy, but they’re big and easy to overturn. The switches are positive but so smooth there’s a tendency to over dial in either direction.
The Leupold Mark 4 tactical riflescope is a scope made for the serious shooter and riflemen who knows exactly what they’re doing when they sling lead at targets a half mile away. As mentioned in this Leupold Mark 4 review you may not “need” a scope like this but if you do then you know why it is a favorite among military and highly specialized civilian shooting.