Optic Review: Leupold Mark 5HD 2-10×30 Rifle Scope

by Tommy Grant

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As my Texas hunting experience grows, so, too, does my understanding of the value of a high quality LPVO, or low power variable optic. From earliest dawn to latest dusk, quality glass allows you to see clearly in all lighting conditions, and a wide zoom range allows for fast, accurate shots at distances from right here to way over there. Leupold’s Mark 5HD 2-10×30 scopes fit the bill for serious, reliable use on all sorts of different rifles from close to medium-long range.

The Mark 5HD 2-10x comes in two different reticles, one with MOA ranging marks and one in MILs, with the MIL version available both with and without illumination (the MOA version isn’t illuminated). All three models have first focal plane reticles, meaning the reticle image scales with the zoom level so the MOA or MIL distances are always accurate regardless of your chosen zoom level.

Billed as “an evolution of the riflescopes used on the MK12 SPR,” this Leupy is designed to be tough as nails for legitimately hard use, yet it won’t break the scales at a respectable and carry-able 24 ounces.

The aforementioned MK12 SPR is a 5.56 carbine designed to stretch the range and accuracy potential of that cartridge for use in a designated marksman role, which requires tactical capability for everything from kicking down doors to taking long shots. A scope with a minimum magnification level of about 4x or more is awfully difficult to use quickly and confidently at short range (e.g. room clearing), but a red dot or low-power optic doesn’t cut it for precise shots at longer ranges.

Cue the popularity of the LPVO, an optic capable of zooming from no- or low-power magnification up to usually 6x or 8x power for longer shots. Leupold takes this a step further than the norm by bumping that max zoom up to a full 10x magnification.

I’ve shot steel targets at 1,440 yards with a 12x magnification, with great consistency, and can assure you that with good quality, clear clear glass and a 10x zoom you can really reach out there and touch things.

Though billed for “special purpose rifle” use, I’ve found the Mark 5HD 2-10x to be an absolutely fantastic companion on hunting rifles, whether semi-auto or bolt-action.

On most of the hunts I’ve done in Texas, there are areas where I’m trekking through brush and require an optic that can be shot, ideally, with both eyes open. This is close range, fast-moving kind of stuff where target acquisition needs to happen almost immediately, because the targets do not hold still.

A 2x magnification with a big, clear field of view is great for this sort of use. It’s a low enough zoom that most people can use it with both eyes open in the sort of scenario described above, and it’s easy to track a running hog.

At a 4.5x magnification, for example, and a hog running perpendicular to you through brush about 20 yards away…forget it. That’s too magnified to “get” what’s happening inside of the scope picture with too limited a field of view to keep up with a moving target.

Rotate the super smooth magnification dial on the Mark5 HD 2-10×30, though, and you’re right on, all the way up to 10X zoom. Precise shots out to ranges many times farther than nearly anyone hunts at are at your fingertips.

The knurled throw lever can be removed from the magnification ring by simply unscrewing it. I like it a lot for quick adjustments, though. It’s small enough that it isn’t in the way, but it’s big enough to provide additional leverage and a slip-free point with which to rotate the dial.

Two reticles are available in the Mark 5HD 2-10×30 scope, both of which are on the first focal plane (FFP) meaning that the reticle scales with the zoom level so the MOA or MIL markings are always correct. One reticle, the PR1-MOA, is available in good ol’ ‘Murican minutes of angle and the other reticle, the TMR (tactical milling reticle), is in milliradians (MILs aka mRADs) as is the military standard.

Leupold’s ZeroLock system is integrated into the elevation turret. This turret locking system allows the user to zero their scope and then set that as the lock point. Whenever the turret hits the zero, a large, rectangular tab protrudes from the shooter-side face of the turret and the turret locks in place. Push the tab inwards to unlock the turret and dial from there as desired.

This provides two functions: a quick and reliable return to zero without having to look at your turret or count clicks, and insurance against your turret getting turned through unintentional contact with clothing, brush, bumping around inside vehicles, etc.

On the top of the elevation turret is a stainless steel pin, indicated above with that engraved arrowing pointing to it. It pops up out the top of the turret to provide a tactile and visual indicator that you’re onto the second rotation of elevation adjustment and then even higher for the third rotation. This way, if you’re looking at the engraved elevation numbers on the turret, you know how far you’ve dialed away from your zero.

On the right side of the scope, the windage turret is capped. Set it, cap it, and forget it. Then use the reticle to hold for shifting wind calls.

The Mark 5HD 2-10x has lots of internal adjustment range. About 165 MOA or 48 MIL in the elevation turret, and 80 MOA or 23 MIL in the windage turret.

Unlike a lot of scopes in the 10x and under magnification range, the Mark 5HD here has parallax adjustment. I wouldn’t say it’s mandatory, but it’s definitely nice to have. At 10x zoom in particular, the ability to dial out the parallax for shooting at 50 yards vs. 500 yards makes a real difference in your accuracy potential.

On the Mark 5HD 2-10×30, the parallax dial rotates about as smoothly and as nicely as on any scope I’ve ever felt.

I’ve had this bad boy since early spring and I’ve run it on all sorts of rifles. It’s been on an AR-10 in 6.5 Creedmoor and 375 Raptor, as well as bolt guns in 7.62×39, 5.56, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 375 Raptor.

With its compact form factor and widely useful 2-10X magnification range, the Mark 5HD works on just about any gun for just about any purpose outside of precision bullseye style target shooting and super long range work. It’s at home on a carbine, on an SPR or DMR, and it’s right at home on any sort of hunting rifle.

If I have one complaint, it’s the 35mm tube diameter. While it’s fairly popular in Europe and we’re starting to see it on more scopes in the U.S. as well, it’s still a bit annoying in that it limits the number of available rings and mounts since it’s still a bit of a “niche” size domestically. Your options are more limited and they tend to cost more (as of when this article was published, there are 34, 35mm ring/mount options on Brownells compared to 109, 34mm ones and 208, 30mm ones).

I have two sets of nice rings for using this scope on bolt guns, and I have one cantilever AR-height mount for using it on semi-autos like AR-10s. So I’m covered for effectively any gun I want to throw the Mark 5HD onto, which is a lot of them because it’s a really useful optic.

As you’d expect from the higher-end Leupold lines, the glass in the Mark 5HD is simply fantastic. It’s super-clear, bright and crisp, with great color clarity and light transmission. It gathers and passes light beautifully, so if there’s enough light for you to make out a target with your bare eyes in the darkest dusk or earliest dawn you’ll be able to pick it up through the Mark 5HD, as well.

I admit I haven’t intentionally torture tested it. I have shot quite a lot of rounds through the compact little Leupy, though, including some heavy hitters like 375 Raptor firing 270 grain slugs at 2,200 FPS through a 5.4-lb Pork Sword. It banged around in the back of a side-by-side on two ranch trips, once on the CZ 600 Trail in 7.62×39 that’s seen in a number of these photos and once on a Black Collar Arms Pork Sword Rifle pictured here, too. I may have dropped it on the floor, but let’s not talk about that.

It still tracks correctly. I’ve successfully re-zeroed it on a bunch of different guns and shot it out to 600 yards. Given Leupold’s stated design purpose for this optic as a “professional-grade” scope intended for military SPR use, I’m going to go ahead and feel confident that it’ll hold up over a lifetime of ranch duty, hunting trips, and much more demanding use.

If you’re in the market for a do-it-all kind of a scope, a really high quality, robust LPVO is very hard to beat. With a quick-adjusting magnification range that takes you from 2X to 10X and super-bright, clear glass, the Leupold definitely fits that bill.

Specifications: Leupold Mark 5HD 2-10×30

Magnification Range: 2-10x
Reticle Type: First Focal Plane
Objective Lens Diameter: 30mm
Eye Relief: 3.6-3.7 inches
Field of View @ 100yds: 52.9 ft @ 2x – 10.5 ft @ 10x
Tube Size: 35mm
Adjustment Per Click: 1/10 MIL or 1/4 MOA
Turrets: Capped windage turret, ZeroLock elevation turret with tactile revolution indicator
Max Elevation Adjustment: 48 MIL or 165 MOA
Max Windage Adjustment: 23 MIL or 80 MOA
Weight: 24 ounces
Length: 11.2 inches
MSRP: $1,999.99 without illuminated reticle, $2,499 with (includes motion sensor auto on/off technology)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Overall  * * * *
The Leupold Mark 5HD 2-10×30 is a premium optic made to serve you over a lifetime of serious, demanding use. Its glass is absolutely fantastic, and the 2-10x magnification range is extremely useful for all sorts of different firearms and scenarios. While “simple” in terms of technological features (e.g. in-reticle level indicators and on up from there), it does what it does extremely well and it’s of high enough quality to view it as an investment in your shooting future.

 

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