Precision Optic Review: Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x Scope
Accuracy and speed are everything when it comes to precision competitions and shooting in the field. The Mark 5HD 5-25x scope is one of Leupold’s premier optics, and it offers both of those capabilities in spades with a lot of extra features that have it hitting above its weight class for the price.
We put this optic in the hands of experienced precision shooter and founder of the Mid-Atlantic Rimfire Series, Dave Luu, to see what he thought about it. After putting it to the test, he’s sold on the optic and adding it to his personal lineup for precision shooting. Here’s why:
Performance and Value
In Luu’s hands, the Mark 5HD offers matchstick-splitting accuracy. But just as importantly, it offers superior performance when trying to identify targets on the range or in the field. Aside from the obvious need for accuracy, that is something that really stands out about this optic for him.
Superior edge-to-edge clarity and lowlight performance certainly help. But it’s the 5-to-1 zoom ratio that really shines. Frankly, Luu isn’t even sure how they pulled it off inside the scope, but it makes for excellent target identification. That’s half that battle in precision rifle shooting, and the Mark 5HD offers a clear advantage in that arena.
At the same time, the scope is very light. Despite its size – 15.7 inches long – the scope only weighs in at 30 ounces. That puts it up to 20 ounces lighter than some other optics in its class, and it’s a nice advantage when you need to maneuver the scope and rifle around.
The optic also boasts an integrated, knurled throw lever to make it easier to adjust magnification levels. Many shooters find that they have to add their own aftermarket levers, so that’s a nice touch. Mark 5HDs also boast some great features up top at the elevation adjustment turret.
The scope has a unique zero-lock feature for the elevation turret. The lock itself prevents the turret from unintentional adjustments when moving around. Unlike most optics, which require you to awkwardly pull up or push down on the turret to unlock and lock it, this one features a rear locking button. But that lock actually only auto locks in the zero position.
This prevents you from moving to a shooting stage and forgetting to reset your zero. At the same time, the rear lock also integrates with the markings on the turret to allow you to track how many rotations you have made while adjusting. It’s common to get lost in the turret, and this feature helps prevent that. You can also customize the elevation dial with your own etched cap.
Even the zero stop has some modifications that can serve you well for precision shooting. Once you reach your zero stop, you can still adjust .5 mils below that position, which is a common challenge for shooters who encounter closer targets that fall below that zero.
Other Features and Advantages
Leupold’s Mark 5HD has a 35mm tub, unlike many optics that are pushing more toward 34mm. That may seem minor, but it opens more space inside the scope to allow for a greater range of adjustment. That said, 35mm scope rings are a bit harder to find, but there are plenty of options, including ones that fit perfectly from Leupold itself.
Turret adjustments are also nice and positive. You can both feel and hear each adjustment, but it’s not so stiff that it makes it feel like you are over forcing the turret. Unlike the elevation turret, the windage turret is capped and does not feature a zero lock. In a nice nod to precision shooters, Leupold put the windage zero mark higher up, so you can see it from a prone position without having to strain or break your shooting position.
Leupold offers various reticle options for the Mark 5HD. While most scopes use .2 mil hash marks, the optic Luu tested uses .25 mil hash marks. It took a bit of time, but the simplicity of breaking the adjustments into simple quarters was actually something that Luu came to really like about the reticle.
One issue worth noting for Luu was the reticle’s vertical line. It removes a lot of clutter from the reticle for the shooter. But depending on how you want to zero and adjust your scope while shooting, the top vertical line only extends two mils for elevation. That could make it harder to preplan holds if you intend to use vertical holds after you zero.
Quality scopes that you intend to use for precision competitions are not cheap. But if you’re looking to invest in a precision optic that gives you a lot of value for the price, the Leupold Mark 5HD might be exactly what you’re looking for in a scope. It’s earned a place on Luu’s rifle, and that’s a testament to the optic that’s hard to argue with.