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Testing the Leupold Mark 4HD Scope

Written and tested by Bill Gabbard

I was like a kid in a candy store and the delivery truck had just showed up! Leupold’s Shawn Skipper had just sent me one of Leupold’s newest scopes to evaluate and boy, did I have plans for it! I had it out on the work bench looking it over and reading the paperwork when a couple of local shooters, Andrew Neace and his teenage son Colton walked in! The intended test mule for the Mark 4HD 4.5x18x52 34 had just arrived, and I couldn’t wait to get everything put together. Shaundi Campbell of Browning/Winchester had sent me a new Winchester XPR in 6.5 PRC. Andrew like me was really excited about trying the new scope out but Colton looked it over, handed it back and said “Leupold’s are for old men”.

Fast forward a couple of days and I went to our local Sportsman’s Club Range to zero in the scope so when I had time to test a variety of ammo, the rifle and scope would be ready. Andrew, Colton and another local competitor Tyler Price were at the range preparing for an upcoming match. Extra hands and eyes are always good when setting up a new rig, and everyone but Colton seemed excited about it. To zero in the scope Mark 4 you need to remove the windage and elevation dials using the supplied Allen wrench, make your adjustments with the ¼ inch click slot on the turrets. I like using the Allen wrench to make adjustments. The clicks are positive and easily felt and the Mark 4HD tracked perfectly. Then replace the windage and elevation dials and you are ready to go. I had only taken one box of ammo to zero the scope and do a little shooting to get familiar with the rifle. Long story short, Colton shot the best group of the day and admitted that he absolutely loved the Mark 4 HD. I think Leupold just earned another fan!

Leupold scope

The scope looked great on the rifle and the First Focal Plane Crosshair did not obscure the ¼ inch dot at any distance. The Mark 4HD punches all the buttons when looking for a tactical or competition scope. The 4:1 zoom ratio on the 4.5x18x52 gives you a fantastic range of magnification. The elevation dial has three full turns of elevation, giving you plenty of elevation to dial in for those long-range shots. The removable throw lever gives great leverage to make fast magnification adjustments. The side focus gives you the option of dialing parallax free from 25 yds to infinity. Over the years putting multiple aiming points in reticle has almost become a requirement for any scope it seems like. I for one always preferred a simpler reticle, especially for hunting. Leupold’s Duplex has been one of my favorites for years. Some scopes had so many crosshairs that I jokingly referred to them as “Barbwire” crosshairs. More than one hunter over the years has missed his mark because of using the wrong aiming point. The FFP PR2™ crosshair is entirely new to me. With First Focal Plane (FFP) scopes the reticle changes sizes as the magnification changes. That is the easiest way for me to understand it. There are entire articles written comparing FFP to SFP. For target shooting I loved the FFP and the PR2 crosshair while a little confusing at first really grew on me. I loved the fact that the top half of the scope picture was open and did not interfere with target acquisition. The design of the PR2 reticle is simple enough to use that you would almost have to try to use the wrong aiming point. At no time during my use of the Mark4 HD did the crosshair obscure the target. No small feat when shooting at buttons smaller than one-half inch at 200 yds. The Mark 4HD features the same lenses that are used in the Mark 5 and VX-6 line, ensuring a crisp view all the way to the edge. The MOA graduations in the PR2 reticle gives you precise aiming points without dialing if you prefer to do that.

Leupold scope

While working on a “Loading for the 6.5 PRC” article I used the elevation dials to adjust when changing bullet weights. I loaded bullets from 120 gr to 156 grain and after working with each weight I simply returned the dials to Zero. The Zero Stop on the Mark 4HD put me right back where I had the scope set every time. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but to do this repeatedly and never be off zero was pretty impressive. Shooting at 50 yds, 100 yds and 200 yds with 120, 135, 140, 143, 147 and 156 gr bullets and always being able to return to Zero was handy.

During this test I had the Mark 4HD on two rifles. The Winchester XPR in Mossy Oak Country DNA chambered in 6.5 PRC and an old Remington 700 chambered in 17 Remington Fireball. The Winchester is primarily a hunting rifle, while the Remington’s primary use is shooting Dum-Dum suckers and other small objects at 200 yards. Dialing the elevation in or using the graduations in the crosshair simply boils down to the choice of the shooter, both worked exceptionally well. During the test, I had no problems or malfunctions. When dialing up and down the scope tracked perfectly and never failed to return to zero.

Two rifles and a few hundred rounds later, I am like young Colton, I love this thing!

Read More: Best Caliber for Deer Hunting

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