January 21, 2024
Building on the success of it’s premium, professional-grade Mark 5HD line of riflescopes, Leupold & Stevens, Inc., has just introduced the Mark 4HD family. These scopes use the same high-quality glass, durable construction, and proven optical design as the larger Mark 5HDs, but they narrow the power ranges to provide a trimmer and more affordable package. Users will also appreciate the inclusion of a Low Power Variable Optic (LPVO) in the new Mark 4HD family.
Built on a 4:1 zoom ratio, as the name denotes, the new Mark 4HD offerings will be available in five magnification ranges: 1-4.5x24mm; 2.5-10x42mm; 4.5-18x52mm; 6-24x52mm; and 8-32x56mm. The 1X and 2.5X models are both build on 30mm main tubes before the line steps up into 34mm tubes for the larger magnification ranges. Both mil- and MOA-based adjustments and reticles will be offered in each of the power ranges.
My buddy John Snodgrass, Leupold’s Tactical Product Line Manager, described the new scopes as follows: “The Mark 4HD family was designed to deliver incredible performance and versatility — there’s an answer in the line for every rifle, on every range. While its features will allow it to immediately find a home on the rifle of even the most experienced professionals, we’re also excited that, right away, the Mark 4HD offers shooters across the board the opportunity to make the jump to premium performance optics.” In short, for any rifle-shooting range or scenario, the Mark 4HD line with had an accessible answer.
As a tactical-minded shooter, I am most excited about the addition the 1-4.5X LPVO which is an ideal configuration for AR-15-pattern rifles. The low-profile body and 18-ounce weight lend themselves to use on lighter defensive rifles and, especially when using an illuminated reticle, these kinds of riflescopes can pull double duty as 1X reflex sights and magnified optics. All the 1-4.5X offerings utilize second-focal-plane (SFP) reticles.
The 2.5-10x42mm Mark 4HDs offer even more versatility in only a slightly larger package. I find this power range to be an excellent choice for almost any application, tactical or hunting, since you won’t be over-scoped at 50 yards and you’ll have plenty of magnification for targets several hundred yards out. It’s a great pairing for standard .30-caliber cartridges and the like, such as .270 and .308 Winchester. Their trim design also makes them well suited for use on AR-10-style gas guns. Illuminated first-focal-plane (FFP) and SFP reticle options are both available in the 2.5-10X configuration.
If I’m most excited about the Mark 4HDs going small, I know my precision- and long-range-minded friends will be looking forward to handling the big boys in the lineup. Stepping up into the 34mm main tube models, all the of the reticle options transition to FFP configurations, and holdover-centric designs become the standard. Most notable is the new PR3-MIL reticle available in the 6-24X and 8-32X scopes. Based off Leupold’s PR2-MIL reticle and its .25-mil base holdover increments, the PR3-MIL provides ample holdover and holdoff stadia for on-the-fly elevation and windage adjustments, but it offers a less cluttered display than Christmas-tree-style reticles.
On The Range
While I’m eager to top a defensive carbine with one of the 1-4.5X Mark 4HDs, the first scope I’ve had the opportunity to test is the 4.5-18x52mm with the FFP PR2-MIL reticle. Using mid-height rings, the Mark 4 is a perfect pairing for the Aero Solus Hunter rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor that I had in for evaluation. The rifle is what I would describe as a tactical hunter – it’s a sporting arm, for sure, but it’s chock full of features that would appeal to tactical and precision shooters. I think that description, reversed, is appropriate for the Leupold scope – it’s a professional-grade scope, perfect for competition or duty use, but there is a lot for hunters to like, as well.
If I were working toward an ultralight built, I’d want a scope that eschews the extras such as the exposed, target-style windage turret. But, paired with a versatile platform like the Solus Hunter, the Mark 4HD is a great fit. The objective bell seemingly tapers perfectly with the rifle’s fluted barrel, and the Solus’ 90-degree bolt throw leaves plenty of room between the lifted bolt handle and the eyepiece.
Light transmission and edge-to-edge clarity were very good during shifting lighting conditions. From overcast to direct sun, I had no issue clearly seeing the target or the reticle. To get zeroed, I did need to remove the elevation turret cap to move the reticle down a couple of mils, but the 4.5-18X Mark 4HD has more than 36 mils of total elevation adjustment, or 125 MOA, so it wasn’t an issue. Once zeroed, I simply put the cap back on aligning the “0” with the reference mark. Once the cap is re-tightened, the scope’s zero lock feature is engaged. Now, to dial elevation for a shot, I need to push the release button to leave zero. After the shot, I can quickly spin the turret back down and it will stop and re-lock at my preset zero position. The windage dial shares this feature, too.
The turrets offer tactile and audible clicks with each .1 mil of adjustment. A quick shoot-the-box test confirmed that the adjustments tracked consistently. The power adjustment ring smoothly rotates through the full magnification range, and purchase is improved by both its ribbed texture and the knurled quick-throw lever. A side focus ring can keep the target sharp in the scope, and can be dialed from 1,000-yard-plus focus all the way down to 25 yards, which is super helpful during sight in. There is also a focus ring on the ocular lens housing to adjust for individual eyesight.
Leupold is known for its durable high-performance sporting optics, and the new Mark 4HDs offer a nice addition to the professional-grade lineup. Pricing will range from about $1,000 to $1,600, based on magnification and reticle options, and with 17 configurations announced, there does seem to be a scope to fit every shooter’s needs.
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