Re: Leupold Mark 4 vs VX-3 Optics
Hi Tom and welcome to the forum!
I have the Mark 4.5x14x40, the vx-iii 3x10x40, and the vx-ii 4x12x4o. The glass in the Mark 4 is the same glass that was used in the vx-iii. Leupold upgraded the vx-iii to the vx-3, but the Mark 4 hasn't been upgraded yet. I am looking to replace my vx-ii with a vx-3 or Mark 4 so I called Leupold just two days ago to see when they planned on upgrading the mark 4 to VX-3 glass. I got a really helpful tech that explained that there are no plans to upgrade the Mark 4 at this time. He said to tell the difference between the Mark 4 and VX-3 you would have to test the two in a lab as real world performace is almost identical. Some may disagree, and I have not spend enoguh time behind a vx-3 to comment.
What most folks will agree on is that whether you get a VX-3, VX-ii, or Mark 4 Leupold is a middle of the road optic. I Like luepold, te glass is clear enough for me and the warranty and customer service is worth the extra money. I also lucked out in that my vx-11 is 90% as clear as my Mark 4. I have also had zero problems with any Leupold and they hold there value very well.
If you are set on a leupold Iwould look at a vx-3 4.5x14x40 LR. It's very close to the Mark 4 with the exception of not being available in mil dot. The turrets can be upgraded by the custom shop. It's also lighter and cheaper. I went with the Mark 4 because I got a screaming deal on one($650 NIB). If you are not set on Leupold you may consider a Bushell Elite for a little less $ or a Zeiss for a little more. I have heard good things about Nikon as well. Also, you can still find some great deals on the discontinued VX-iii. Good luck