While having a conversation with my assigned Leupold customer service rep about a customer's rangefinder, I was reasonably surprised to find out that Leupold has been undergoing some problems with counterfeit Leupold scopes in the industry. Evidently, customers are sending rifle scopes in for service and Leupold is discovering that the scopes are actually counterfeit models.
Most of the known imitation models are replicas of the ever popular Mark 4 series. If you aren't familiar with the Mark 4, it's Leupold's most popular long range and tactical sniper scope. Further follow-up by Leupold seems to pinpoint the counterfeit models arising out of Hong Kong and China. With one or two exceptions, nearly all the fake models were bought through some online marketplace, although Leupold elected not to name any specific venues. My guess would be that the sales probably originated on venues like Ebay or through online auction sites like Gunbroker. As you can guess, there seems to be very little resort for buyers that have already bought a counterfeit model, although it seems to depend on the marketplace where it was bought.
The following points will tell you if you are looking at a real Leupold or a copy:
Adjustment dial - All real Leupold scopes carry the antiqued brass Leupold medallion on the adjustment dial. So far, all the recognized counterfeit scopes have had a bare black center on the adjustment dials.
Objective ring - All legitimate Leupold scopes have black on black objective rings, with "Leupold" etched on the ring. The fake have an objective ring etched in white on black, and does not say "Leupold."
Turrent - Bona Fide Leupold scopes carry the "Leupold" logo and "Mark 4" nomenclature laser inscribed in silver on the bottom of the turret.
Serial number - All Leupold scopes have a serial number, generally on or around the bottom turrent. The current clones don't feature a serial number yet.
Should you have a question about the authenticity of a Leupold, please contact their customer service at 1-800-LEUPOLD for more information.
As with many things in life, you get what you pay for. The rifle rifle scope industry is really no different. With counterfeited Leupold scopes in some market segments, it's very important to understand how to tell the real thing and the counterfeits apart. Here's how:=> Leupold Scope Clones.