Chris Heuss for TTAG
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For about six months now I have been shooting with this Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56.  And absolutely love it. Okay, maybe love is a bit much. To love a scope, I’d have to have it for more than six months; my relationship with this Leupy is still fairly new. So maybe I should say I’m open to the idea of loving the Mark 5.

You see, I have been burned in the past. I have trusted too many scopes and been let down too many times to fall in love with a flashy new optic so quickly [ED: yes, but you could have written a full review much more quickly].

Still, I am confident it’s better than most other scopes I have used, but only time will tell for sure. If I had a therapist [ED: not a bad idea!] I’m sure she (or he…but probably she) would have a ton to say about all this [ED: I’m sure we all do]. 

So, back to the scope [Ed: please]. The Mark 5 series is geared toward modern long-range shooters who demand low weight, a lot of adjustment, high magnification, ruggedness, and smart turrets. The Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56 here checks all of those boxes, but that’s not why I think I might love it. There’s one feature keeps me coming back.

But before that, let’s cover the basics. 

Chris Heuss for TTAG

Technically, the Leupold Mark 5 is called the Leupold Mark 5HD, but I’m not sure what HD stands for. Home defense? Probably not. Heavy duty? That would make sense. High definition? Again that would make sense, too.

I suppose it could mean home defense, you would just need a very long house. I could probably find out but I’m way behind on this review. Let’s assume it means Heavy Duty and High Definition, because this scope is both of those things. [ED: Chris, it’s high definition.]

Weighing in at 30 ounces, the Mark 5HD 5-25×56 is within a half ounce of the EOTech Vudu and is an impressive 5.9 ounces lighter than the US Optics B-25 5-25x. So while it’s not exactly a featherweight, it’s light enough to be considered a light weight long-range scope. You can definitely say it’s light for a telescope and, with an impressive 25x zoom on tap, that’s not really a stretch.

Chris Heuss for TTAG

The zoom is quick thanks to the unobtrusive and removable throw lever. A quick zoom on a high magnification scope is vital. So is a smooth throw with consistent resistance.

How high does it zoom? I’m glad you asked. Higher than Snoop Dogg on a Monday at 2pm. I almost said noon, but Snoop probably isn’t up by noon. [ED: You’re one to talk, Chris].

And in case Dan edits that out: Its zoom is higher than my dad’s blood sugar. And in case he edits that out: The Mark 5HD from Leupold is also available in an oddly specific 3.6-18x. And if you really want to reach out and touch squirrels at 1,500 yards, you probably need their 7-35x model.

Chris Heuss for TTAG

The entire area of the Leopold Mark 5 glass is crystal clear no matter what zoom level you are on. Leupold coats all external elements with their DiamondCoat 2 treatment which they say provides the highest light transmission and abrasion resistance. I see no reason to doubt that.

Shooting extreme long ranges or maximizing your holds requires edge-to-edge clarity because your point of aim might be at the far edge of your scope, and the farther away your target is, the less edge blur and haze you can afford.

While you can certainly get the that high degree of magnification with lesser scopes, you’ll frequently lose clarity and brightness. At extreme ranges, clear glass is more important than a high magnification. Better to have both, and the Mark 5HD is extraordinarily clear and bright.

Chris Heuss for TTAG

All Leupold scopes are built to last a lifetime and warrantied for it, too. The Mark 5HD is dripping with quality, which is easiest to see by testing the finish.

I had this Leupold Mark 5HD in a backpack with a handful of loose aluminum and steel parts for a few days. And the backpack was with me so it was thrown around a lot.

After a few days of borderline disrespectful abuse [Ed: which also describes editing this review] the Mark 5HD showed no signs of damage to its 6061-T6 aluminum housing; only a few of scuffs which I could easily wipe off.

Chris Heuss for TTAG

Look, it’s a Leupold. From my experience, that means the glass is excellent and the build quality is top-shelf. So what really sets the Mark 5HD apart from its competition are its turrets. More specifically, its elevation turret. It’s simply a genius design and what keeps me coming back to the Mark 5. 

Zeroing the elevation and windage knobs is simple. Just zero as you normally would, loosen two set screws, rotate the turrets to zero, and tighten the screws. That’s common enough these days, but the Leupold turrets have a hidden feature that takes the functionality a step further.

Chris Heuss for TTAG

The exposed elevation turret on the Mark 5HD has a wide zero lock button on the vertical face and a small metal rod that’s flush with the top of the turret. Press the lock button to unlock the turret so you can turn it. This is handier and easier in the field, especially when prone behind your rifle, than turrets that must be lifted upwards against a detent or what’s often strong suction and/or friction.

Chris Heuss for TTAG

Keep turning the turret a full rotation, and the lock button retracts into the turret, becoming flush with the front face.

Chris Heuss for TTAG

Rotate the turret another full turn and the metal rod on top pops up. Having a reference like this is extremely helpful, especially when navigating the 120 MOA of adjustment range.

Sometimes when I’m feeling dumb [ED: fingers…aching…must hold back] I take my old TI83 graphing calculator and hit a bunch of random buttons. Something about playing with a graphing calculator makes me feel smart. The Mark 5HD’s elevation turret makes me feel the same way as the TI83 graphing calculator…i.e.,smarter than I am.

Chris Heuss for TTAG

The windage knob is a bit more traditional than the elevation knob. It’s non-locking and under a threaded cap. With 60 MOA of range you should have enough adjustment to hit your target no matter where you are. I almost looked up the windiest place on earth, but I’m too far behind on this review to do that [ED: as if Texans needed more reasons to pick on Oklahoma].

The Leupold Mark 5HD might be a perfect sailboat gun, because of all the wind, if that’s even a thing. The windage indicator dash is located at the 2 o’clock position when looking down the scope. Which means to see where your windage turret is you barley need to move your head. It’s a simple idea that really helps in practice. I don’t get the artificial feeling of being smart from the windage turret like I do with the elevation turret, but it’s still very nice. 

So, long story short, the Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56 is a great scope that’s ideal for modern long range shooters. The zoom is smooth, it’s lighter than most, it’s extremely well made, and the glass is crystal clear and oh-so-bright [Ed: brighter than some bloggers I know].

The turrets are the best in the industry; it’s not even close. I would trust my life with it. I hit targets beyond a mile with it. What more is there to say?

Specifications: Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56

Magnification Range: 5-25x
Objective Size: 56mm
Weight: 30oz
Reticle Pattern: Tremor, H59,  TMR, and several others depending on model
Eye Relief: 3.58 – 3.82 in
Field of Field of View @ 100 yards: 20.5 – 4.2 ft @ 100 yds
Adjustments: 1/4 MOA per click for MOA models or 1/10th mil per click for mil models
Tube Size: 35mm
Batteries: 1 CR2032 Lithium Battery for illuminated models only
Focal Plane: front (first)
Elevation Adjustment Range: 120 MOA
Windage Adjustment Range: 60 MOA
Parallax Adjustment Range: 75 yds to infinity
MSRP: $2,599 and up

Ratings (out of 5 stars):

Quality: * * * * *
Like all Leupold scopes, the MARK 5 is very well made and backed by an epically good lifetime warranty.

Durability: * * * * *
It survived being disrespected by me for 6 months. The high-end Leupold scopes are made to survive dangerous people using them in dangerous areas. They simply must always work.

Glass: * * * * *
The glass is up there with the best out there.

Reticle: * * * *
A handful of MOA or MIL reticles are available. From simple to complex grids, take your pick.

Overall: * * * * *
It tried to find something I didn’t like about this scope and just couldn’t. It’s a tough, reliable scope that’s packed with useful features. And the Mark 5HD has the best elevation turret design in the industry.

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    • Oh Geez. I actually spewed coffee on my monitor on the price point.

      I’m cheap (frugal) as well as grumpy…and on a fixed income.

      • I don’t have Twitter but I would like to comment about another subject,This Pisspot David Jogg sure has a lot to say about guns,accessories, and what he calls stupid people that own them.If he didn’t have shit.for a brain maybe he’d be worth listening to.

    • I bought one last year on Optics Planet for under $1800 between their sub-MSRP price and a 15% off holiday sale.

      Also, this is pretty cheap for a decent scope. S&B, Kahles, March, Nightforce, Zeiss and a few others have scopes that will cost you twice what this does.

  1. I played with the same model scope this weekend. I was very favorably impressed. It’s nice to see Leupold not allowing Vortex and Nightforce to take the high-end scope market away from them.

  2. my son bought a vx-3i for his 6.5 creedmore ar platform rifle
    600 dollars
    excellent glass
    great reticle
    the eye relief isnt any better than any of my 200 dollar scopes redfield vortex primary arms etc and its even worse than a few
    and my 200 dollar scopes have glass and reticles that are more than good enough
    >not worth the extra 400 dollars in my opinion

  3. Many, many yrs ago I purchased a Ruger M77mkII heavy target/varmint model in .204 Ruger, the rifle was beautiful BUT it weighed nearly 10lbs, I topped it off with a Leupold 4.5-14×56 VXL…Great rifle, great scope, could see for days, when all was said and done, the rig weighed over 12lbs, it wasn’t much good for anything but bench shooting…never again…

  4. $$$$$$$…Considering I spent over a grand at my LGS within the last couple weeks, this is way off the table.

  5. It tried to find something I didn’t like about this scope and just couldn’t

    I don’t like what it’s gonna do to my wallet.

    • It also doesn’t focus at less than 50 yards, so it’s useless for NRL 22. I had to buy another scope for that.

  6. Ed. So many cute remarks about the authors wits and then he misses a gem like this: “Which means to see where your windage turret is you BARLEY need to move your head.” 😁

  7. I’ve had this same 5-25×56 on a Christensen Arms Mesa LR .300 WM for 8 months now. I have sent plenty 230 & 215 grain Bergers downrange with it.
    This optic does what it was meant to do. I like the turrets a lot also, and cannot find a fault with the optic yet.

  8. What a precious review, Chris. Gets to play with a $2500 scope for six months, and the best we get is, “This is a really nice scope and has a nifty elevation turret” buried in among his oh-so-clever witticisms. Nothing, zero, nada – about actual scope performance. I get that a high-end Leupold (or NightForce, or whatever) is not going to fail a box test, but sheez… Leupold should be charging you for the lost revenue on keeping that scope for a half year without producing any scrap of useful review.

  9. Snagged a VX5HD 3-15×42 a few months back to go on a 280 Remington elk rifle I am putting together… very impressed with this optic. Tracks well, clear optics, solid resolution at any range I expect to hunt at. I love the multi-rotation indicator and zero stop that you get when you step up to this model.

    I also have a couple VX3i in various magnification/objective diameters and those are tremendous value for what you get. The CDS is simple and intuitive, and the optics are outstandingly clear. In good light I was able to easily spot trace from a friend’s 7mm Rem Mag at 750yds. For what I use them for they are exceptional.

  10. I have the “civilian version” VX5-HD in 2-10×42. It’s a good scope, but I had to send it back to the factory for improperly sized O rings that were flopping under the turret caps and scratched finish. They replaced it, but still.

    The low light leaves something to be desired to my eyes, but that’s from in a blind in a shaded area. It’s clear, edge to edge. I really wish I would’ve gone for the Vortex Razor HD LH in 2-10×40 or 3-15×42 instead. Weight savings alone would’ve been worth it.

  11. Among the long range crowd everyone knows tracking is Leupolds achilles heal. This guy has the scope for 6 months and doesn’t do tall target or tracking test? I’ve got a vx6hd that doesn’t track but Leupold says is within spec. Until they start building scopes that track well I’ll be using something else.

  12. I would think some technical testing would be included in a review; IE shoot the box, brightness, etc.


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