Leupold Mark 2 4-12x40mm AO T2 Riflescope
By Chuck Hawks
Leupold describes this Mark 2 scope as "Dual Use," appropriate for hunting and recreational shooting as well as Tactical employment. The T2 scope is similar in size to a Leupold VX-II 4-12x40mm AO hunting scope and incorporates many of the same features.
Like a VX-II, the T2 boasts Multicoat 4 lens coatings, a durable anodized external finish and a lockable fast-focus ocular bell. It is purged, nitrogen filled and guaranteed to be waterproof in all conditions. Of course, back in 1949, it was Leupold that first applied this process to riflescopes. The ends of the objective and ocular bells are threaded to accept Leupold accessories (lens caps, Alumina filters, anti-reflection device, etc.). A nice touch is the heavily knurled zoom ring that incorporates a tactile bump (magnification indicator) designed to provide a certain grip in all conditions. Leupold states that the Mark 2 is tested to the same performance standards as Leupold Mark 4® optics. T2 scopes are Custom Shop serviceable and carry Leupold's industry leading Full Lifetime Warranty. All Leupold riflescopes are proudly made in Beaverton, Oregon, USA.
Packaged in the attractive "carbon fiber look" box with the scope is an Owner's Handbook, Ballistic Reticle Supplement booklet (since our scope came with a ballistic reticle) and a scope wrap cloth. A tiny Allan wrench is even included. Lens caps, however, are not supplied, although Leupold's superb caps are available as accessories from your local Leupold dealer or online from the Leupold web site at: www.leupold.com
The T2 is finished in an overall matte black with small white numbers around the adjustable objective and zoom rings. The familiar Leupold Gold Ring that is usually found around the objective bell is absent. Instead, "Leupold Mark 2" is written on the left side of the adjustment turret. A "U" with a white arrow indicating adjustment direction appears immediately below the elevation adjustment knob. Below the windage adjustment knob there is an "R" and an arrow. These arrows indicating adjustment direction face the shooter for easy reference from a shooting position. The only other markings are a fine "+ 0 -" engraved at the rear of the ocular bell to indicate the direction to turn when focusing the scope for the shooter's eye.
The front objective focus is adjustable from less than 25 yards to infinity with marks and numerals representing 25, 50, 100, 200 and 400 yards. The windage and elevation adjustment turrets are of the target type and are fingertip adjustable. They "click" in ½ MOA increments. The windage and elevation knobs are protected by removable, threaded caps.
Here are some basic specifications for the Leupold Mark 2 4-12x40mm AO riflescope as reviewed.
Standard reticles for the T2 include the Mil-Dot, Fine Duplex and Long Range Duplex. Our sample came with the LR Duplex, which is a type of "ballistic" or "bullet drop compensation" reticle. It is basically a Duplex reticle with two dots strung along the vertical wire between the intersection of the wires and the top of the bottom post. These dots serve as secondary aiming points at known distances given the trajectory of the cartridge and load in use.
To take advantage of this reticle you first determine if your cartridge and load falls into Group A or Group C. (There is no Group B.) The list of Group A cartridges/loads includes such stalwarts as the .223 Rem./40 grain, .243 Win./100 grain, .270 Win./130 grain, 7mm Rem. Mag./150 grain and .300 Win. Mag./180 grain. These are loads with between 35-45 inches of bullet drop at 500 yards. For these cartridges, zero the rifle to hit dead on at 200 yards using the main crosshair. The first dot below the crosshair then represents 300 yards, the second dot 400 yards and the top of the bottom post 500 yards.
Group C cartridges include very flat shooting numbers such as the .270 Wby./130 grain, 7mm STW/140 grain and .300 Wby./150 grain. These are loads with less than 35 inches of bullet drop at 500 yards. For these and similar cartridges, zero the rifle to hit dead on at 300 yards using the main crosshair. The first dot below the crosshair then represents 400 yards, the second dot 500 yards and the top of the bottom post 600 yards.
The central crosshair's zero range is not affected by the magnification setting, but when using the ballistic dots the scope must be set at its maximum magnification (12x). Overall, this is a simple, easy to understand system. Providing that you have time to laser-range the target and crank the scope up to 12x (not to mention a rock solid rest and an absolutely still rifle) it is convenient and works well. For additional details, see the Ballistic Reticle Supplement booklet supplied with the scope.
For this review, we mounted our T2 riflescope on an Heckler & Koch 91 Target Model tactical rifle, belonging to Guns and Shooting Online Gunsmithing Editor Rocky Hays, using the HK proprietary mount/ring system. The Leupold T2 made an effective looking rig when mounted on this sophisticated HK rifle. This autoloading rifle is chambered for the .308 Winchester cartridge and features many accuracy enhancing features such as an adjustable trigger, adjustable stock, interchangeable grips and so forth so that it can be customized to suit the shooter's preference. We know, courtesy of Rocky's prior experience with this rifle, that it prefers bullets weighing 147-150 grains, so that is what we fed it.
The view through the T2 is what I have come to expect from a Leupold scope, bright, clear and optically well corrected. The Multicoat 4 lens coatings keep flare to a minimum. The zoom, AO and focus controls work properly and the fingertip windage and elevation adjustments are accurate and repeatable. Leupold's Duplex reticle is still the best in the business. Once zeroed, the scope retains its point of impact, just as it should. The scope's ultra-hard anodized finish resists scratching by mount rings and a hostile environment.
Bore sighting, preliminary zeroing at 25 yards, refining the zero at 100 yards and final sighting-in at 200 yards all went smoothly and predictably ho, hum. I have been using and reviewing Leupold scopes for more years than I care to acknowledge and I can tell you that it is actually kind of boring. It seems like nothing untoward ever happens. They simply work as they are supposed to, time after time, year after year, scope after scope. Leupold's use of the finest materials, in house manufacturing and stringent quality control has a lot to do with this. The Mark 2 4-12x40mm AO is no different from past Leupolds in that regard.
Come to think of it, that is a Very Good Thing. If you are serious about shooting, be it hunting or tactical, the last thing you need in a critical situation is a problem with an inferior scope. I guess that's a pretty good reason to buy a Leupold. I will tell you this: if I were unfortunate enough to be taken hostage by a bad guy, I'd want the police sharpshooter assigned to take him out to be sighting through a Leupold scope.
Copyright 2008 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.