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Thumbs down on Leupold MK 4

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Unread 02-20-2010, 08:53 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 4,895
Re: Thumbs down on Leupold MK 4

As this thread demonstrates, one reliably good thing about Leupold is if and when you want a scope with better glass, you will always find a buyer and they hold their resale value very well because of Leupold's top-of-the-line customer service, repair, lifetime warranty policy and reputation. I didn't have any trouble selling mine. In fact, if you can find a used one to purchase, you can use them for a good while, decide whether or not you like them, and if not, get your purchase price back out of them without too much trouble.
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Unread 02-20-2010, 11:43 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: NC, oceanfront
Posts: 4,227
Re: Thumbs down on Leupold MK 4

Jon, I have several NXS scopes as well. Nothing wrong with them, but they do not match Mk4 scopes.
They mount higher, are way heavier, the eyepiece turns with power changes, and NF does not offer OEM flip-up lens covers like Leupold's Alumina. On the bright side(literally) NF offers nothing that betters mk4s for me.

As well as glass, there are many attributes to consider(to score) in scopes, and the scores can be taken as a total. In this respect, I consider the Mk4 as the best overall.
For me, there is weight, mounting height, cost, field adjustable turrets(not capped), durability, glass, side focus, second focal plain, reticle subtension, MOA adjustments, repeatability, eye relief, options, accessories, service & pluses and minuses.

A lot of good scopemakers out there offer models with this or that scoring better than a Mk4 in one or two areas. They always score worse in others though.
Therefore, regardless of score, they do not MATCH Mk4s.

Analogy -when you consider the Corvette a standard. It could not be said that any of the Ferrari, Viper, Mercedes, NASCAR, etc, MATCH the corvette, until they first do so.
Their scores go all over the place, never matching the standard.

So an objective assignment of the attributes -important to me, applied to any current offering out there, always leads back to my standard -the Mk4.
When that changes, when March offers a Mk4 match -with ED glass, I'll pull out the checkbook believe me.

Now if FFP and MIL adjustments are part of your standard, and weight doesn't matter, then the Mk4 would score differently for you I'm sure.
But keep in mind that anything that can be done with a scope, can be done with a Mk4. So it will get the job done, as any standard should.
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Unread 02-20-2010, 03:12 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
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Re: Thumbs down on Leupold MK 4

For the record, my 2 favorate scopes is the 5.5-22x50 NXS and the ORIGINAL mark 4 in both 10x and 16x fixed power. They are my favorates because I cannot afford the one I would rather have.

If I am going to have a variable power scope with average glass with a big objective, I would rather just get the NXS over the mark 4 variables. However, the fixed power mark 4's are MUCH lighter as well as crisper clearer than the NXS and are every bit as bomb proof if not more so as the NXS. Both have very accurate, reliable dials.

Any time you eliminate the variable power, optical performance increases noticabley. I spend most of my time behind the mark 4's.

My 338 Edge sports the NXS most of the time and my 308's sport mark 4's most if the time. When I am in the backcountry on a pack in hunt, you can bet that regardless of which stick I have in my hand, it will be wearing a mark 4 fixed be it 10x or 16x.

The biggest reason that these are my 2 favorates is because I am VERY hard on equipment. I refuse to let my scope be the weak link when I am setting up on a shot on the critter I have waited 1/2 my life to harvest. I have knocked other scopes out of zero be it on the 4 wheeler or out climbing in the rough country. I have HAMMERED both my NXS's and mark 4's and none of them have ever once been knocked out of zero. They are both very robust, precise and smooth operating. Is the glass among the best? Nope. Is it sufficient? Yes. If they were not, be assured that I would not own them. I can forgive sub Swarovski glass for a scope that will be dead on and track accuately when I need it the most. As most of you know, I went on an Arizona coues hunt in December. I waited for 16 years of off an on applying for the hunt and applied for the last 8 years straight. The last thing I needed was a scope that had been knocked off of zero when I set up on the buck of my life. My cousin had his scope knock off of zero from a mediocre fall. Fortunately we caught it when we went to the range one afternoon. When it came down to the wire, he ended up shooting his buck with my rifle. Why? Because he knew without a doubt that my rifle and scope combo would get it done. Since he shot his in the last hour of the last day, he couldnt afford to miss as he would have not had another opprotunity.

I am sure there are other bomb proof scopes out there. For me, I am going to stick to what I know works. It is scary to think that I have over 7500 bucks worth of optics. I am not willing to part with any more cash just to see if a scope will hold up to the abuse I subject them to or not. Unfortunately, I probably wouldnt find that out untill I was shooting at my 1st 40" or bigger dall ram. IMHO, this is not the place to figure this out. Sadly, there are few enviornments that will subject as scope to the type of punishment that will test its reliablity before I go to harvest a ram. So I would rather just keep using what keeps the freezer full and my taxidermy bills high.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.

Last edited by Michael Eichele; 02-20-2010 at 03:32 PM.
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Unread 02-21-2010, 01:16 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 653
Re: Thumbs down on Leupold MK 4

I set up on a bench looking at details of a hillside of houses 2 miles away to compare
a) Leupold Mark 4 8.5x25x50 LR/T 56090
b) IOR 2.5x10x42

I put the IOR on 10X and got the best resolution I could with just the eyepiece to adjust.
I put the Leupold in ~10X [going back and forth looking at both scopes until they seemed the same magnification] and got the best resolution I could with the eyepiece and the side focus to adjust.

The IOR was better.
So I cranked up the power on the Leupold until the resolution on the decking material of those houses was the same.
It was ~12X, scaling off the power ring markings for [magnification/rotation] gain and assuming the Leupold had started at 10X.

Only when I go back and forth with the scopes on the same object can I see a difference. The memory of such small resolution discrimination does not last more than a second or two in my brain.

Is the Mark 4 as good as the IOR?
Is the Mark 4 usable?

Is the Super Sniper 20X usable?
Is the Bushnell 3200 4x12x40 usable?

How low WILL I go?
I have shot (8) deer in the last (2) years between 329 and 510 yards with a Leupold VX1 2x7x33.
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Unread 02-21-2010, 08:29 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Potomac River
Posts: 5,088
Re: Thumbs down on Leupold MK 4

Three interesting points in the recent posts.

First the fact that fixed power rifle scopes ( and spotting scopes) are easier and cheaper to build to high quality optical properties than variables.

Second is to detect small differences in quality you really must have the scope completely still. I just do not know how people can go out into a store parking lot holding a scope in their hand and look through it and see those differences.

Third, optical devices are built as a set of compromises according to the established principles of optics. The human eye is variable from individual to individual and It has been a great surprise to me how many hunters have some amount of color blindness and/or eye sight problem. If an optics designer decides to maximize a scopes performance in the blue green spectrum (as Leupold has done) and a individual in not very sensitive to blue green light then they will certainly not see much benefit from that aspect of a scope. If a person's night vision is excellent then they may not see much benefit from a large objective lens and so on.

On the last point I will add is that if you should wear glasses and don't, or if you if you need to have the prescription changed because your current glasses do not provide the adequate correction to your vision then you are not in much position to judge scope quality.
The Smokin Fur Rifle Club
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Unread 02-21-2010, 09:35 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 410
Re: Thumbs down on Leupold MK 4

+1 on what BB said.
It always shocks me what people do with scopes. I have seen people want to return scopes because they say the one they bought is not as clear as the display model they looked at when they were looking for a scope only to find out They had never adjusted it to their eyes. Just took it out of the box, looked through it and said "Wow this isn't the same as the one on display"
There are a lot of people out there that have bad eyes and just are too proud to wear glasses but cannot get a scope to adjust to their eyes and yet feel qualified to say whether a scope is good or bad.
If you know what your doing it only takes a minute to focus a scope to your eyes but if that person does not know how to do it correctly they just complain about how bad the scope is and do not do anything about correcting the problem.
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Unread 02-26-2010, 11:49 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 61
Re: Thumbs down on Leupold MK 4

I have a Nightforce2.5-10x24, a Zeiss Conquest 6.5x20 and a Leupold Mk 4 3.5x10 with M3 turrets. I bought the Nightforce last after stopping at a dealer and looking thru one. The glass was just pure crisp and clear and the etched reticle was really sharp. The first scope of the three was my Leupold as I have always owned nothing but. I had never looked through a scope as clear at the time. My only complaint with it is that it has backlash in the side adjustment and if you don't start at infinity you can eliminate parralax but have a blurred image. If you start at infinity and stop as soon as the parralax is gone then the scope is crystal clear. The Zeiss is clear and my only complaint with it is that the adjustments are backwards from the Leupold's that I am used to. I bought the Nightforce thinking I would sell the Leupold to help pay for it as I think it will prove to be a very durable hunting scope and the lack of parralax adjustment is user friendly for the distances I shoot would make it an ideal large game scope. The Leupold is bomb proof also and if it wasn't for the lash in the parralax I would have never bought the Nightforce. The Zeiss is on my varmint rifle as I like the higher magnification and I use it at the range more so than the high power rifles. So there it is, I have a Chevy, Ford and a Dodge and which one is best? I could not tell you as all three are crystal clear, very repeatable and the Nightforce and Leupold appear to be bombproof! I really like the reticle choices that Nightforce offers but I am also very fond of the Leupold cpc which can be had from the custom shop. One thing is for sure, they are all better than the Weaver K2.5 with a Lee Dot that I used very successfully in my youth when I thought I had died and gone to heaven when my dad replaced the Marble peep sight on my trusty Springfield. Tom
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