Leupold mk4 versus... are they good?

Fenix Mike

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I’ve read a ton of reviews over the last few days, however no one really directly compares the Leupold mk4 to higher end as it seems to be more in a target shooting class where as most high end spotters are on the bird and hunting forums.
Previously I’ve owned a Vortex viper hd, then as I pushed out to a mile I upgraded to the Nightforce ts82. Having switched jobs and moved, I sold the spotter and wasn’t sure what shooting would be like here, but sure enough, I’m back into the 1000 yard game, and come cooler weather, likely getting into a larger caliber and pushing to 1500+ if I find a spot.

My question though... with le/mil pricing, the Leupold mk4 is a steal, followed closely by the vortex razor hd, but the next tier tends to be nearly double the price well into the $2,000+ range... am I going to be disappointed with the mark 4 spotter, or has anyone had that, and compared it directly to the $2,000+ spotters? The only stores locally are a small cabelas and a sportsman’s warehouse, but It’s tough to judge glass based on a 75 yard view, other than reading price tags, which all can do at that distance. The Cabelas euro hd is on sale for $1899 (same as the Nightforce), but after tax I’m still over 2k, otherwise the big lower price competitors are the razor hd and Leupold. I’d like the reticle, but I’ve lived this long without it, so it won’t kill me not to have it.
 

FUNCTIONAL

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for what its worth...

I owned a 85mm Razor and sold it for a Mark4 for inside of 1500 (no range further for me to test beyond so take it for what it is). The 85mm was as good to my eyes as the Swaro spotters us ROs were all given to test at an NRL match and the razor for me was easier to adjust.

The Mk4 for some reason I can see mirage better than the razor. Other than that I dont feel like I lose much of anything to the 85mm razor and as such, sold it for a mk4 with reticle for its lighter and more compact size. not to mention better FOV and more useable zoom range (never went above the minimum power on the 85mm razor) for shooting and following trace/etc.


And since this question might come next. The Gold Ring HD from everything I've read up on gives you a slight better pop of color but shines more for digiscoping. If you arent digiscoping 9/10 people said the MK4/ Gold Ring non -HD was so close it was a wash. If you dont need a reticle you can snag the Gold Ring HD for about $300 cheaper than the mk4 though.
 

Fenix Mike

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Huh good to know about the gold ring... I haven’t looked at those. The only time I used my ts82 at full zoom was to see hits on my 1 mile steel, which it did with ease from my 300 win mag and 338 lapua. The majority will be spotting 22 and 30 cal holes at 200 yards max in paper, and steel from 750 and further, so I think the 40x high end is more than enough.

Edit - the gold ring hd is $300 less and the non hd is $500 less... how noticeable is the hd? I may just save the $300 and go hd, presuming the non hd would be similar to the mk4?
Their sx5 hd is only slightly more than the mk4 as well.
 

FUNCTIONAL

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Edit - the gold ring hd is $300 less and the non hd is $500 less... how noticeable is the hd? I may just save the $300 and go hd, presuming the non hd would be similar to the mk4?
Their sx5 hd is only slightly more than the mk4 as well.
the nonHD is the same glass quality as the MK4. If given the option everyone said go HD vs non HD if deciding between the two gold rings unless money was that important. The reticle need in the Mk4 outweighed the slight color pop of the GRHD. That is what my final decision came to...the Gold Ring HD and the MK4. At LEO/MIL pricing the GRHD is a steal if you dont need a reticle.

EDIT: No idea about the SX5. I liked the form factor and eye relief the GR and MK4 gave so I stuck just with those in my research and testing.
 

Fenix Mike

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the nonHD is the same glass quality as the MK4. If given the option everyone said go HD vs non HD if deciding between the two gold rings unless money was that important. The reticle need in the Mk4 outweighed the slight color pop of the GRHD. That is what my final decision came to...the Gold Ring HD and the MK4. At LEO/MIL pricing the GRHD is a steal if you dont need a reticle.

EDIT: No idea about the SX5. I liked the form factor and eye relief the GR and MK4 gave so I stuck just with those in my research and testing.
Any issues with the mark 4 or are you happy with your choice? I may go to sportsman’s today and see if they have the gold ring to see.
 

FUNCTIONAL

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I borrowed a few buddies on and off for about a year while deciding and used my 85razor back to back to check. My personal one is on the way right now.

No regrets. No one I know who owns one has had issues and I didnt experience any all the time I had one in my possession. Took a lot for me to sell the razor for it but I wouldnt go back for what I'm using it for.
 

Fenix Mike

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I borrowed a few buddies on and off for about a year while deciding and used my 85razor back to back to check. My personal one is on the way right now.

No regrets. No one I know who owns one has had issues and I didnt experience any all the time I had one in my possession. Took a lot for me to sell the razor for it but I wouldnt go back for what I'm using it for.
It sounds like I should be pretty happy with it... I know its kinda the gold standard for target shooting and such, im just amazed that in over a decade, there hasnt been any improvements such as HD glass, or an alternative with similar features unless I want fixed power and a reticle, but then still have to buy the extra eye piece. Unless I hear some defense on the Razor, or another option, I think im going to get either the Leupold Gold Ring or MK4, but likely the MK4 for resale purposes in case I change my mind later.

Edit - looking more closely, the Gold Ring does offer a reticle, and is still a couple hundred less than the MK4... Unfortunately its a MOA impact reticle, and I really want the TMR.
 
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FUNCTIONAL

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It sounds like I should be pretty happy with it... I know its kinda the gold standard for target shooting and such, im just amazed that in over a decade, there hasnt been any improvements such as HD glass, or an alternative with similar features unless I want fixed power and a reticle, but then still have to buy the extra eye piece. Unless I hear some defense on the Razor, or another option, I think im going to get either the Leupold Gold Ring or MK4, but likely the MK4 for resale purposes in case I change my mind later.

Not to throw a wrench in this BUT...if you can look into a Kowa 554/553 Prominar. Call up Doug at cameraland and he can give you a good price. I havent used one personally but you read anywhere and its the best glass you can get (florite crystal). You can size up to the 60 class 70 or 80 class but the Kowa 554/553 is in the cost ball park of the MK4 with your discount. No reticle options available though and eye relief can be short which are the downfalls.

If money is no object the Hensoldt 45 spotter is the best you can ever get. I have used this one and it blows everything I've looked through out of the water. A little too rich for my blood though.
 

Fenix Mike

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Not to throw a wrench in this BUT...if you can look into a Kowa 554/553 Prominar. Call up Doug at cameraland and he can give you a good price. I havent used one personally but you read anywhere and its the best glass you can get (florite crystal). You can size up to the 60 class 70 or 80 class but the Kowa 554/553 is in the cost ball park of the MK4 with your discount. No reticle options available though and eye relief can be short which are the downfalls.

If money is no object the Hensoldt 45 spotter is the best you can ever get. I have used this one and it blows everything I've looked through out of the water. A little too rich for my blood though.
Ive been looking at Kowa the last 20 min or so because they continuously pop up in reviews... Money is flexible, the biggest thing is not spending to much on a scope I dont need, and I liked the idea of the reticle and compact size on the MK4, but im still looking around and checking pricing. Lot of MK4 spotters on gunbroker for $1000 or less, and havent started looking for the gold ring yet, no reason not to add Kowa to that list!

Im surprised how few spotters are for sale right now... figures as I need one!
 

R0CKNR0LLKL0WN

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Tagging this for later. I’m also considering getting a Mk 4 myself. One thing I really liked about it, other than what was already mentioned, is the huge aftermarket support it has. Lots of different covers and attachment devices out there to trick it out.
 

hermosabeach

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buy the mark 4
enjoy it and set $200/ month aside

If it does not work out, sell it used for $150 more than you paid and step up to night force, US optics or something better suited for your shooting needs.... LEO pricing is very hard to pass up
 
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Fenix Mike

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buy the mark 4
enjoy it and set $200/ month aside

If it does not work out, sell it used for $150 more than you paid and step up to night force, US optics or something better suited for your shooting needs.... LEO pricing is very hard to pass up
With that in mind, what is your opinion on the Gold Ring HD vs MK4? $300 cheaper for the Gold Ring, and supposedly better glass from the 2 reviews I could find comparing the two. Reticle would be nice, but $300 buys me a bench rest and tall tripod...
 

LawnMM

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You'll never beat it for LE pricing. Swaro and Hendsoldt might be nicer but you'd have to spend a ton of time on glass dealing with heavy mirage to ever justify the cost difference.

The few times a year I'm spotting it does everything I ask of it.
 

Fenix Mike

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You'll never beat it for LE pricing. Swaro and Hendsoldt might be nicer but you'd have to spend a ton of time on glass dealing with heavy mirage to ever justify the cost difference.

The few times a year I'm spotting it does everything I ask of it.
When I lived in phoenix, I was shooting twice a week on average because my desert spot was only 25 min away... here its mostly at the range so the majority of use will be 50-200 yards for dialing in optics on paper. If/when I get a good spot out here to shoot, and a shooting partner, I may revisit my decision and get something in the 60-70x range, but I think the advise on here has pushed me into Leupold. Most say get the MK4 with the reticle, and I think resale will be higher that way as well, although im going to hit sportsmans after work and see if they have both.
 

svthuh

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Personally, if I didn't need a reticle in a spotter, I would look REALLY hard at the Cabelas branded Meopta MeoPro (Cabelas Euro HD)

You get a bit more magnification, Schott glass, lifetime warranty, etc. all for a similar price to the Razor.
 

Fenix Mike

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Personally, if I didn't need a reticle in a spotter, I would look REALLY hard at the Cabelas branded Meopta MeoPro (Cabelas Euro HD)

You get a bit more magnification, Schott glass, lifetime warranty, etc. all for a similar price to the Razor.
I did last week when they were on sale for $1899, back to $2399 today. It’s the same as the Nightforce ts82, which I loved.
 

Fenix Mike

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Thought id toss another one in the mix, the Bushnell LMSS - quite a bit cheaper than all the above scopes with LE pricing, yet seems to get pretty decent reviews. I cant find any direct comparisons of course, unless its against Swaro, which it always loses to though.
 

Sheldon N

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FWIW I sold my Leopold Mark 4 spotter for a Cabelas Euro HD 82mm, same as the Nightforce you had previously, essentially a Meopta S2.

Leopold glass was good but not as good as the Meopta made 82mm spotter. I switched because my purposes for a spotter were picking up hits on very long range steel, 1200 yards+ with 6mm. The higher magnification and higher resolution of the Meopta was better for that, where the max 40x of the Leopold wasn't quite enough.

Where the Leupold shines IMO is the 300-1000 yard range, where you want to watch trace and see a wide field of view, and when you need a reticle. The Leopold has excellent eye relief and a wide FOV for a given magnification, so it's great for general purpose spotting. If you zoom in to stare at just the target with max mag you're missing how to best use the Mark 4. Guys I know seem to get the best results when at 15-20x and are carefully watching trace, giving corrections based on the trace rather than just watching the target for splash or impact.

I like binos better for that middle distance spotting, and only pull out the spotting scope when doing really long range stuff.
 

Currycure

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There is absolutely nothing 'better' about an NXS over Leupold Mk4. 6br is full of it...
 

Fenix Mike

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I went to cabelas and sportsman’s warehouse today and looked at a bunch. Honestly indoors, the Leupold sx5, razor and euro hd all looked very similar, reading price tags and looking at colors across the room, with the euro hd having a bit more “pop” to it. Went to sportsman’s and they had the Leupold gold ring hd, and older razor 20-60, both for $1000, and the older razor is pretty amazing other than seemingly having less fov than the Leupold, although the Leupold I hit 40x pretty quick and wondered how it would do for extended long range. Glass was great in both, and the Cabelas guy said I can go back this evening and try them outside if I wanted to see low light, so I may take him up on that. As it sits I can get the Leupold sx5, mark 4 or razor hd for the same price, or save $300 and get the Leupold gold ring or older razor. I can’t find the Bushnell in town anywhere, although a few have highly recommended it, and it’s quite a bit cheaper than all the options listed.
 

FUNCTIONAL

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Another factor for my switch was weight of carrying the razor got tiring. Mk4 compact size and weight were big deciding factors.

Might want to keep that in mind when thinking over your use for it.
 

dgheriani

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Thought id toss another one in the mix, the Bushnell LMSS - quite a bit cheaper than all the above scopes with LE pricing, yet seems to get pretty decent reviews. I cant find any direct comparisons of course, unless its against Swaro, which it always loses to though.
Has anyone here compared an LMSS (or the Athlon spotter that I figure is pretty much the same unit) to a Mk4 or anything else? I have a Legend Tactical and it's finally time to upgrade as I couldn't pick up trace at a match this weekend where others (with nicer glass) could. I can get a good deal on the LMSS or Athlon and a decent deal on a Minox...
 

Fenix Mike

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Has anyone here compared an LMSS (or the Athlon spotter that I figure is pretty much the same unit) to a Mk4 or anything else? I have a Legend Tactical and it's finally time to upgrade as I couldn't pick up trace at a match this weekend where others (with nicer glass) could. I can get a good deal on the LMSS or Athlon and a decent deal on a Minox...
my Google fu couldn't find the LMSS compared against anything... nor many who own it. The few reviews I found were mostly just talking about it, but no solid comparisons to the Mark 4 or others in the sub $1600 price range.
 

dgheriani

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my Google fu couldn't find the LMSS compared against anything... nor many who own it. The few reviews I found were mostly just talking about it, but no solid comparisons to the Mark 4 or others in the sub $1600 price range.
Same here, it's kinda weird how little feedback there is on the LMSS online.
 

dgheriani

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Do the Mk4s come with a usable cover (that would work in say the KDG Optics Hub) or do you have to buy another cover? I have the Triad Tactical one for my Legend Tactical and it's a really nice unit (the cover that is).
 

trob

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Well, it seems like you guys would know this answer. I’ve been tasked with sourcing a mk4 spotter with TMR. Is it better to go through Leupold direct for the LE pricing, or can dealers get you close? I’ve heard some of the bigger online stores have LE pricing, but I’m not sure where the best price would be. Feel free to PM if it’s preferred.

Thanks guys,
Tom
 

Fenix Mike

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Well, it seems like you guys would know this answer. I’ve been tasked with sourcing a mk4 spotter with TMR. Is it better to go through Leupold direct for the LE pricing, or can dealers get you close? I’ve heard some of the bigger online stores have LE pricing, but I’m not sure where the best price would be. Feel free to PM if it’s preferred.

Thanks guys,
Tom
No store I’ve found (and I’ve found them all), touches Leupold le pricing. Thankfully Leupold is almost up to 1990 technology and finally has the ability to give you a le account for ordering online with proof of creds by signing up on their website, however they still don’t have live inventory, so when you order, it’s a toss up of when it ships. For what it’s worth, even after the “up to 8 weeks” warnings after sending, both optics I’ve ordered (mk5 scope and delta point pro) shipped within a few days.

Vortex has been the only company so far where 99.9% of what I want is on 6 month back order, so often I just buy pre owned if I really want it, or from a company like euro optic, who gets really darned close to direct le price, having my instant gratification and receiving the product quickly.
 
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FUNCTIONAL

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So....

Used the elite lmss a bit today and honestly i almost wish i went with it. Great eye relief, clear for spotting out to 1100 today, no edge cloudyness i could tell and the reticle is useable but leaves plenty of scope to have an unobstructed image.

My disclaimer is I only used it from like 15-20 power but i was very impressed. No regrets with the mk4 but id have a harder decision if I looked through the lmss first
 
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dgheriani

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So....

Used the elite lmss a bit today and honestly i almost wish i went with it. Great eye relief, clear for spotting out to 1100 today, no edge cloudyness i could tell and the reticle is useable but leaves plenty of scope to have an unobstructed image.

My disclaimer is I only used it from like 15-20 power but i was very impressed. No regrets with the mk4 but id have a harder decision if I looked through the lmss first
Did you get to look through both the LMSS and Mk4 side by side?
 

Fenix Mike

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So....

Used the elite lmss a bit today and honestly i almost wish i went with it. Great eye relief, clear for spotting out to 1100 today, no edge cloudyness i could tell and the reticle is useable but leaves plenty of scope to have an unobstructed image.

My disclaimer is I only used it from like 15-20 power but i was very impressed. No regrets with the mk4 but id have a harder decision if I looked through the lmss first
Well, for $500 less than the mk4, I may have to try one out...
 

CavReconScout

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The price sheets I have show the TS-80 as less than the smaller Mk4, and the TS-82 as about the same price as the 80mm Mk4. FYI they are not the 2019 lists tho. And no they don’t have a reticle but neither does the Kowa.
 

Fenix Mike

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The price sheets I have show the TS-80 as less than the smaller Mk4, and the TS-82 as about the same price as the 80mm Mk4. FYI they are not the 2019 lists tho. And no they don’t have a reticle but neither does the Kowa.
While I don’t want to post le cost on here, the mk4 40mm is $1000 less at le than the ts82, and I don’t have much interest in the ts80. I’m getting closer to waiting as I have surgery next week and will be out for a while, but I just want it all ready for when it cools off here.
 

Terry Cross

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About 3 years ago, I saved up some extra money and ordered 2 of the Leupy spotters with MLR reticles to replace the 2 spotters I had been using in the 1 Mil Right classes. They have had the shit used out of them and transported all over the place. We just got through with a 1 week class with Anchorage SWAT and Alaska State using them every day. I have been super pleased with my purchase decision.

The Leupy spotters go down to 12X, which is WAY more usable on some ranges and drills than you could imagine compared to higher X on the bottom end of other variables. The reticle is FFP which is WAY nice. As stated above, there is a lot of aftermarket support for them including Badger's skeletal frame that we mount Raptors, MAWLS, DBals, clip on nv and other usable "tools".

Besides very good image quality, probably my biggest happy comes from the fact that the eye relief and overall user friendly eyepiece make these way more easy on somebody behind them all day long compared to a lot of other brands.

I try to give credit where due. I am not a fan of Leupy rifle scopes. I want to be and I have forever been a die hard Leupy supporter before about 10 years ago. So while I can't get in heat over their rifle glass, I definitely give props to their spotters.

./
 

AIAWinAU

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I have had a Leupold 12 - 40 FFP spotter for, well I suppose 8 years at least. There is a choice of reticles available and I was lucky enough to get mine with a P4F reticle which matches the SuB scopes that I have. Not sure if that variant is still available. The cover that comes with them is useable, however Tactical Tailor used to make a nice cover, but the one I have had on for years is the Triad Tactical and it has protected the scope well. It is reasonably light for what it is, and it can fit into the pack with a light weight tripod and not be a burden. I find the straight through eyepiece design much easier to use than the angled eyepiece of some of the others. I have never found the need for the exoskeleton systems like Badgers but its nice to have the option of if that's your thing. I like the clarity of the optic, and we get a lot of mirage on the ranges I mainly use and you can actually focus down very well to various points across the range to see the differences in the mirage direction - not all are capable of that. Very happy with mine and would not sell it - as an overall package of good optics, compact size and reasonable weight its hard to beat.
 

FUNCTIONAL

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Did you get to look through both the LMSS and Mk4 side by side?
Unfortunately no. I was loaned a vortex razor for this match instead of the MK4 (loaned to another guy looking at getting one). I had looked through them side by side a while back but I cant recall any noticeable differences.
 

Fenix Mike

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Cabelas has the euro hd on sale for $1899 today, and 10% off online orders... made my decision for me and while it isn’t as cool looking as the nf ts82, it’s the same spotter for a lot less with the sale!
 

Sheldon N

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Cabelas has the euro hd on sale for $1899 today, and 10% off online orders... made my decision for me and while it isn’t as cool looking as the nf ts82, it’s the same spotter for a lot less with the sale!
Fun fact, the Nightforce cover fits onto the Cabelas scope.

No one needs to know. :)