TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP Scope

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    The Leupold MK5HD is built to deliver superior edge-to-edge clarity even in low-light conditions.  A 56mm objective lens and 35mm main tube aim to provide the best image clarity and light transmission for your dollar.  I had the opportunity to review the MK5HD on a couple rifles over the past six months, and here’s what I found.

    Leupold @ TFB:

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP Scope

    Features

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP Scope

    All three variants in the MK5 lineup are First Focal Plane (FFP) and I opted to review the 5-25×56 as it seemed the best all-around option for use on multiple hosts.  The 35mm tube is slightly larger than the norm but there are plenty of ways to mount this optic.  As I did want to move this optic between hosts, I opted for the Spuhr SP-5016 mount (if you’re not moving the scope around, I’d recommend using Leupold’s own scope rings).

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP Scope

    Included with the MK5 are a set of scope caps, a sunshade, an Allen key, and the user’s manual.  What sets the MK5HD series apart is the vast assortment of reticle options in both MOA and MILs.  For this review, I’d be using the PR2-MIL reticle with 1/10 mRAD adjustments for both windage and elevation.

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP Scope

    The MK5HD has all the features you’d come to expect from a high-end tactical optic.  There are more options like image stabilization and reticle illumination available, but I was happy with the adjustable parallax knob on the side and the European-style focus ring at the rear.  This would be a test of just the base optic and its quality.  An added bonus point is the included (and removable) throw lever that makes cranking the magnification much easier.

    Zeroing and Tracking Test

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP Scope

    The first rifle I tested with this optic was the Cadex Kraken that I finished reviewing a few months earlier.  I established a solid zero with both .308 Winchester and .338 Lapua Magnum barrels before moving on to the box tracking test.

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP Scope

    With the rifle stationary and MIL target set, I tested both windage and elevation tracking using these Rite in the Rain 100-Meter Sniper Targets.  These are very handy as each square is .1 MRAD, and the target from the center is 1 MRAD (10 clicks) to each edge of the center cross.  Confident the optic was tracked perfectly, I put down the groups to match.

    Behind The Glass

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    5x Magnification

    The drawback of any first focal plane optic is always the varying reticle size, and the PM2-MIL reticle is rather fine at 5x magnification.  It seems Leupold is aware of this predicament and have made the X-Axis of the duplex slightly larger at each edge.  These thicker outside lines do a good job of giving your eye a reference point when finding the crosshair at low magnification.

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    12x Magnification

    At 12-16x magnification, the optic is right at its sweet spot.  The light transmission is excellent and the reticle is very easy to use for holdover or range estimation.  This is the magnification range I like the most as it allows for easier target reacquisition under recoil.  Between 5x and 12x there was no discernable change in clarity or light transmission.

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    25x Magnification

    When you really crank it down to 25x, well, it’s still actually very good (pictures really don’t do it justice).  Like all optics, the last 10% of your magnification range will always be slightly darker.  And the eye relief does shift slightly.  Due to its superb glass, fine reticle design, and massive 35mm main tube, the MK5HD reticle never felt overmagnified even at max magnification.  I was able to make fine precise shots without having to overlap what was once a fine duplex, and now resembled two pieces of string.  I’ve shot a lot of FFP optics with various reticles and this is one of my favorites.  It’s not overly complicated and has a nice fine center dot that’s very usable for precise shots at max magnification.

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP Scope

    The only thing I dislike about the MK5HD is the windage adjustment.  For whatever reason, the indicator mark that’s usually at the 9 o’clock position has been moved up to like a 10 o’clock position.  It’s not as easy to tell when you’re lined up with any given marking or setting a zero.  I found it easier to just keep track of the clicks when making adjustments.  Not a deal breaker as the windage turret is already capped, but still slightly annoying.

    The Verdict

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP

    TFB Review: Leupold MK5HD 5-25×56 FFP Scope

    This particular Leupold MK5HD has an MSRP of $2,099.99.  Some variants cost slightly more and some slightly less depending on features.  While there are certainly more expensive options on the market, I think the MK5HD is arguably the best bang for your buck.  If you’re looking for an FFP optic in this price range, it really checks all the boxes. It’s American-made, backed by a lifetime warranty you’ll probably never need, and has some superb glass with excellent light transmission.  Just the 5-25 model alone has 12 reticle options you can choose from. So if you’re looking to buy once and cry once in the FFP optic market, I’d seriously consider picking up a MK5HD.  I’m sure they have one that fits your needs.

    Special thank you to Leupold for sending this optic over for review.  More information on the MK5HD family of optics can be found on the product page here.  Thanks for reading.

    Product Specs

    • MSRP: $2,099.99
    • Part #: 180222
    • Adjustable Parallax: Side Focus
    • Reticle Focal Plane: First Focal Plane
    • Elevation Adjustment Type: M5C3
    • Rezero Type: Set Screw
    • Reticle: FFP PR2-MIL
    • Weight (oz): 30
    • Elevation Adjustment Value per Click: 0.1Mil
    • Elevation Adjustment Range: 35 MIL (120 MOA)
    • Windage Adjustment Value per Click: 0.1Mil
    • Windage Adjustment Range: 17 MIL (60 MOA)
    • Objective Lens Diameter (mm): 56
    • Linear FOV Low Mag ([email protected]): 20.4
    • Linear FOV High Mag ([email protected]): 4.2
    • Eye Relief Low Mag (in): 3.6
    • Eye Relief High Mag (in): 3.8
    • Minimum Parallax-Free Distance (yd): 50


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    Austin R

    The author is a military contractor who enjoys conducting independent firearms research and reloading. Article inquiries and suggestions are welcome at austinjrex at gmail.com


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