In this article, we’ll review the Leica PRS 5-30x56i riflescope, Leica’s first-ever long-range riflescope with 6 power zoom. As soon as it was launched I wanted to review it, but due to some strange virus, this took longer than expected. In case you didn’t know Leica is a German company with a great heritage: founded in 1869 by Ernst Leitz. Did you know that the company name comes from the first three letters of the founder’s surname Leitz and the first two of the word camera: Lei-ca? They’re best known for their cameras and binoculars, but they make excellent riflescopes as well. This year they also started making thermal spotters and clip-ons.
Getting all things together is part of the journey when evaluating a new riflescope. I had just picked up the Leica PRS and then the mount plus some accessories arrived from Spuhr. Everything felt very well-built and high-quality. My main testing platform was a Ruger Precision Rifle in .308 Win., with some PRS-style upgrades like an ARCA rail and a Timney trigger.
I then sent the mount and some magazines to Cerakoting, for a custom blend with silver and burnt bronze. It turned out really well in my opinion. What do you think? The idea was for the mount to pick-up some of the bare-metal in the design and the exclusivity of the Leica brand. The Cerakote should also offer some contrast to the black scope.
The Aimpoint ACRO I already had in my collection, and I use it in the 12 o’clock position as a rough guide where to aim, then I dive down into the main riflescope with the magnification of my choice ON target.
Opposite side view, and a closer look at the turrets. The parallax is adjustable from 21.9 yds (20 m) to infinity. Each click gives you 0.1 Mil = 0.1 mrad = 1 cm/100 meter.
Mounting the secondary sight like this is a great way to avoid seeing grass, stones, trees, the sky at 25 power or more unintentionally. Still, when I zero it, it is possible to shoot IPSC-sized paper at 300 meters with just the ACRO.
This line-of-sight is enough to clear the Aimpoint. Below you can see the Leica PRS without the sunshade. As you can see, it is a fairly short scope on this end. It’s pretty “back heavy”, and with the sunshade, it looks better.
This rail is developed by a friend, for me to evaluate optics without pointing firearms at people or buildings.
According to Leica, the field of view at 100 m is 9.0 yds to 1.42 yds (8.2 m to 1.3 m) at the minimum and maximum magnifications. The weight of the scope is 36.3 oz /1.030 g.
The eye relief is > 90 mm. The scope has an AquaDura® coating.
The ocular and the parallax are forgiving.
The turrets for height and windage are very solid with a nice tactile feel. There’s a total of 32 Mils of elevation to play with and 18 Mils to the side and almost impossible to overtravel the clicks. The markings are white on black, no colors, and easy to read. However the adjustment of the parallax is way too stiff, and the texture is aggressive on the skin, even with gloves on. The illumination ring is not as stiff, but the surface feels even more aggressive. This is probably the biggest negative I’ve found.
The turret adjustment is toolless. Below: The parallax only has 3 readings – 20, 100 and infinity.
This is Leica’s first take on a PRS style riflescope, and they got most things right.
The Ruger Precision Rifle and the Leica PRS scope. As you can see the mount needs to go all the way forward on the Picatinny rail, and even then I had to pull the stock back to get a good eye relief. Once there, it’s a nice place to be. If you have a different rifle, you may need to use a cantilever mount. The handguard is from Catalyst Arms.
The L-PRB reticle is a First Focal Plane with a dot and scale illumination. It was developed especially for long-range sport shooting and has a so-called Christmas tree with hold marks, a crosshair thickness of 0.4 cm, a center circle of 1 cm, and auxiliary marks at intervals of 10 and 2 cm. It is available in an illuminated or non-illuminated version. The mentioned coverage is all in cm and at a 100-meter distance.
This reticle makes a lot of sense, but several PRS shooters I spoke to think that the lines are too thin and therefore difficult to see. For instance, when you miss and try to see where to hold to correct your next shot.
From 15 power to 30 power, here’s what the reticle looks like and also what parts are illuminated.
Optics are subjective. You and I will like or dislike different things. One thing that surprised me was that my iPhone and cameras did not like to take any sort of quality photos through the Leica, so take these sample photos as a very rough guide only and more what the reticle looks like at various magnifications.
Overall the image is sharp and crisp and (like most similar scopes) the reticle works best around 16x power magnification. At higher magnification of around 22 power and up I think it loses in its otherwise excellent image quality, but again this is subjective and benchmarked versus more expensive models we had around.
Below: When zoomed out, the reticle is of very little use, this is more of an observation mode.
For instance, in many of the photos, there was a lot of chromatic aberration, but I could not see it when I watched through the optics with my own eyes. In fact, there was very little or none. Taking photos through optics is difficult, but in this case, it seems that the camera stacked or added the errors.
It was extremely difficult to take images with both the target and the reticle in focus at the same time. I wanted to capture the center ring, as it’s a bit different from other reticles. I expected it to be larger.
Note the center ring and the numbers on the Christmas tree.
The target is at about 1250 meters here (1367 yards), and there is some sunshine coming in from the rear causing a reflection. I wanted to show the illumination here mainly.
Overcast and foggy. Poor conditions in the grim North. Just around +2°C, from freezing in the morning. The distance is 300 meters with around 16 power magnification. If it looks white, it’s because the scope is portraying things as they were. This is a very realistic image I would say, taken with an iPhone 12 Pro Max.
This picture is taken on another day. Overcast and very low-light, about +10°C. PRS-style targets (steel down to 10 centimeters) at 300 meters. The photo was taken with an iPhone 7i.
Here’s what they look at 3 meters. There were no issues to hit all targets, even the smallest 10 cm (3.9″).
We did a quick comparison with some popular riflescopes. From left to right: Schmidt & Bender 5-20×50 PMII (MRS2), Leica PRS 5-30x56i, Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 and Schmidt & Bender 3-27×56 PMII.
The Vortex and the Leica are in a similar price range, with the Vortex being a little cheaper. It’s funny because the owners of the Vortex wanted to keep theirs over the Leica, and the owners of the Leica wanted to keep theirs. All good I guess. They are similar in optical performance, so it’s more a choice over which reticle you like and other parameters like brand and warranty.
One owner described the Leica optics as a mixture between the Minox ZP5 and the Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 PMII. He had also tracked his scope out to 1,100 meters, and it worked fine. While dropping all these brands, you might be interested in our review of the Zero Compromise ZC527 Scope and Spuhr SP-6602 Mount.
Leica Prices – Models and recommended EU retail prices (incl. VAT):
51100 – Leica PRS 5-30x56i (L-4a reticle) € 2,700,00
51200 – Leica PRS 5-30x56i (L-Ballistic reticle) € 2,700,00
51300 – Leica PRS 5-30x56i (L-PRB reticle) € 2,700,00
The information I got was that the MSRP in the USA is 2,700.00 USD.
A few words about the Spuhr SP-4602 mount
6 MIL/20,6 MOA
Height: 38 mm/1.5”
Length: 121 mm/4.76”
Weight: 257 g/9.1 oz
- Clear and crisp image
- Mechanical feel
- Really nice turrets for height and windage. Toolless adjustments
- Good adjustment range
- The owners seem happy with their choice (always a good sign)
- The adjustment rings for illumination and parallax are way too stiff and aggressive, even with gloves on
- You probably pay a little extra for the brand versus other riflescopes of similar quality, but it may be worth it in a total cost calculation
- The reticle may not be your first choice
As usual, please feel free to let us know what you think.
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