Leupold Mark 5HD Rifle Scope
By Kevin Madison
When I’m looking for a new scope for a hunting rifle, there’s a few things that I’m going to evaluate: glass (image clarity, contrast, color, brightness, and transmission), weight, turrets, and eye relief in particular. Recently I got to mount up a new Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25 and put it through its paces at a Precision Rifle Series shooting competition.
Glass: I felt the glass was easily on par with some other scopes in its class and I was particularly impressed with Leupold’s Twilight Max Light Management System that this scope’s lenses comes coated with. It definitely helps deliver more usable light to the shooters eye at those times of day that are most crucial, dawn and dusk.
Weight: With the 5-25 model coming in at 30 ounces, this scope is very competitive weight-wise. Others such as the Nightforce 5-25×56 ATACR come in a half a pound heavier so for a long-range scope, this is a nice feature.
Turrets: A new M5C3 Zero Lock turret features a 10.5 mil dial (to allow the shooter to dial down when necessary) and 3 revolutions of adjustment. The feel of the ‘clicks’ on this turret are crisper than turrets I’ve felt on Leupold scopes recently and the numbers on my scope lined up perfectly with the hash marks right out of the box. The Zero Lock button also serves as a revolution indicator, going flush on the second revolution with a small tab popping up on the third revolution.
Eye Relief: In a hunting situation, being able to pull in behind your scope and get a full site picture immediately is a must. Thankfully, the eye relief, or eye box as some call it, is generous on the Mark 5.
Chromatic aberration (CA): This is an optical distortion that can result in colored fringes in imagines within the scope if not corrected. This scope does a great job of controlling this with little to none noticed.
Many of these things I was able to evaluate before leaving the house for the range. The real test was to come when the competition started. Through fierce winds, distances ranging from 250 to 1,250 yards, and varying light conditions, the Mark 5 performed brilliantly. I was able to pick up some tiny targets quickly and the turrets tracked true all weekend. My placing a third of the way down the standings certainly wasn’t a reflection of the scopes performance. And while a PRS competition doesn’t mimic a hunting trip by any means, I think it definitely pushes the limits of performance more than many average hunting trips would. I can’t wait to have a Mark 5 mounted up on my hunting rifle this fall.