Leupold Mark 4 Riflescope Review

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Over the last few years the interest in higher power scopes with more durability has increased among hunters. Some hunters look to these scopes to improve visual clarity at longer ranges in order to increase the range at which they can consistently make a kill shot, while others want a more rugged scope that can take a few bumps and scrapes. For decades Leupold has developed their line of tactical Mark 4 scopes that offer both a rugged scope and optical superiority. For this review we'll be taking a look a the Mark 4 lineup of scopes along with a closer look at a Mark 4 LR/T 4.5-14x50mm Illuminated Mil-Dot scope.

The Leupold Mark 4 Riflescope. Our review model is a LR/T
4.5-14x50mm with Illuminated Mil Dot reticle and M1 turrets.

The Leupold Mark 4 line is diverse with three main lines of scopes and some additional AR-style rifle focused scopes that we will not be covering at this time. Broadly the Mark 4 line is divided into the LR/T, the ER/T, and MR/T series. The LR/T features a 30mm main tube which allows for an extensive amount of adjustment in elevation and windage. The ER/T is a higher end version of the LR/T with improved optics which allows better low-light clarity at a much higher cost than the LR/T. The MR/T series is based around smaller scopes with lower magnification that are best suited on AR-style rifles.

The excellent end to end turret adjustment of 100 MOA with the LR/T allows the long range shooter to correct bullet drops of at least 50 MOA assuming the reticle was originally sighted in at the middle of the elevation adjustment. By sighting in toward the top end of the turret adjustment (and using a canted 10-20 MOA base ) it is possible to get even more of the 100 MOA geared toward the bullet drop at longer ranges. Considering that 308 Win will drop around 37" at 1000 yards (168gr Sierra Match King at 2650 fps muzzle velocity with a 300yard zero), this allows the Mark 4 LR/T to accomplish all the long range adjustment necessary without using a canted based. Magnum cartridges that drive the bullet faster will drop less at further distances and need less correction.

Both M1 turrets are marked in 1/4 MOA with 15 clicks in one
revolution. Turrets can be recentered after zeroing the rifle.

Because the Mark 4 line is used primarily for precision shooting, the reticle choices are limited to the standard Mil Dot and TMR (tactical milling reticle) reticles, although with some Mark 4 scopes it is possible to have the scope equipped with a duplex cross-hair. The Mil Dot and TMR reticles work very well for those that are willing to figure out the external ballistics of their given cartridge. Obtaining such data can be done simply by shooting paper at various ranges and noticing how bullet drop corresponds to the evenly spaced dots on the reticle. However it is easier to use a program such as Sierra Infinity software to calculate the external ballistics and have the drop described in Mils. One can also use the excellent online ballistics calculators at JBM ballistics. Once the drop is known in mils its relatively easy to quickly correspond the reticle to various shot distances.

Our review model, LR/T 4.5-14x50mm Illuminated Mil-Dot with M1 turrets, displayed top notch optical properties. The image is clean, bright, and sharp at ranges well beyond 500 yards. In fact most of the higher power Mark 4 scopes can be used in place of a full blown spotting scope in a pinch. The side parallax focus is quick and easy to use and preferable to the objective mounted parallax adjustment rings.

All Mark 4 scopes use a side parallax adjustment.

The Mark 4 series uses a variety of turret systems from the factory and perhaps the most common is the M1 turret system that use ¼ MOA click adjustments. There are also a variety of after-market and custom turret options available from Leupold. A popular Mark 4 upgrade is to take the known ballistics for a given rifle, then have either Leupold or an after-market manufacturer make custom turrets with various yardages marked on the turret for quickly dialing in for longer range shots.

The illuminated reticle is available on some versions of the Mark 4 and is simple to use. Simply install the battery then turn on the reticle by rotating the control knob. Intensity can be adjusted up or down based on the number of clicks of the illumination control turret. A nice feature of the control knob is that there are "off" notches between illumination levels. This allows the shooter to turn off the illumination and then quickly return to a given intensity without going through the entire range of intensity levels.

View of the illuminated Mil Dot reticle.

The illumination of the reticle is controlled by the rear turret.

In conclusion the Mark 4 is a rugged scope that has top shelf optical characteristics. For those that enjoy precision shooting they will find the TMR and Mil Dot reticles choices are easy to work with once understood. The only downside to the Mark 4 line up is the cost, with our review model coming in at $1380. However given the features and quality the cost is not out-of-line relative to competing options from other manufacturers.

For more information visit www.leupold.com.


COMeatHunter's picture

In my opinion, Leupold is one

In my opinion, Leupold is one of the best optics providers for hunters.  I have only Leupold scopes on my rifles--just not interested in putting anything else on them.  I've never had a problem with a Leupold scope either.  Always on target every time, never had one move on me in transit or otherwise.

The Mark 4 scopes would be a bit much for me on a hunting rig.  I don't usually do much in long range shooting while hunting but have thought this might be something I could pursue.  The big barrier for me would be the overall investment in getting this type of equipement to get started with a suitable long range set up.  If I ever do make the leap, this scope will be on my short list!

Retired2hunt's picture

  Leupold Optics are quality


Leupold Optics are quality - definitely hands down and without a doubt.  Bottom line is you have to match your hunting style and the most scenarios presented expected to the scope that will fit the shooting you will complete.  If I was shooting every other day and getting paid to do it then this would be a scope of possible choice. 

As a hunter howerver you may not have the opportunity or time to be dialing in all the required adjustments to make the "perfect" kill shot.

The model reviewed offers a tremendous amount of "extras" - by far.  At $1380 you should expect the scope to almost pull the trigger for you as well.

Bottom line - a very fine optic instrument!  The need to must have out in the field... really not conducive to 99% of the hunters on this web sitede .

PS... Leupold let's see you make this a 1st place prize on a future Grand Slam Conest!!!





numbnutz's picture

Great looking scope. Since

Great looking scope. Since it's made by leupold it's more than likely a great product. I have no need for a high powered scope as 99% of the shot I have took and will take in my hunting career have been 100 yards or less. In my opinion if you can't get within 100 yards your not trying hard enough. Taking 1000 yards shots is impressive but to me it's just great shooting and not hunting, but to each their own. I will not critize long range shooters but that's just not for me. The price on this scope is way out of the range that i could or even would spend on a scope but with the popularity of long range shooting I'm sure there is a pretty big market share for a product like this. I don't own any Leupold products but know several people that do and have used them on friends guns and stuff and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them for anyone looking for a good set of optics.

This scope looks like it is

This scope looks like it is going to be of great help for those who purchase it. This review is very helpful and very well written. Thank you for taking the time to share this with us.



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hunter25's picture

Looks like a great scope but

Looks like a great scope but like was a siad a bit out of my price range. I have a few Leupold scopes and will quickly recommend them to anyone as being a quality product. This scope looks really good but has a few feature I don't really need or be willing to pay for. Illumination is one and the target turrets another. The durabilty claims are what matters most to me as I've had to many others that just wouldn't hold up. Anyway I'm sure I will be buying more Leupolds in the future but not quite as high end as this one is.

Thanks for the great review.

swisheroutdoors's picture

Very Impressive

This line up Mark IV Leupold scopes is very impressive.  I'm big on durability.  If it's not durable then I don't want to invest in it.  The price is way out of my range.  I confess I'm and avid hunter with basic bottom of the line equipment.  Who is the target market for these scopes?  I always here terms like a "serious" hunter uses top of the line equipment.  I really wish I could get one of these scopes alas the old iron sights will still be my choice and limit me on hunting terrain.