This past August I was lucky enough to be invited out to Beaverton OR to take a tour of the Leupold factory with a number of other outdoor journalists. After the tour, we were all taken to the Leupold Optics Academy to test out some of the scopes we just witnessed being constructed. We got to play around with many different scopes from different manufacturers in early lighting situations. The two scopes we primarily used for the three days at the Academy were the MARK 5HD 7-35X56 and the subject of this review, the MARK 5HD 2-10X30 M1C3 FFP PR1-MOA.
Leupold @ TFB:
The MARK 5HD 2-10X30 M1C3 FFP PR1-MOA was sent to me by Leupold for this review and while I am allowed to keep this optic indefinitely, this will not change my current or future opinion on any Leupold products.
Aside from using MARK 5HD 2-10×30 in Oregon for 3 days at the Optics Academy, I have been using and testing this scope for the better part of the past 3 months on my 14.5” AR-15. It has been taken to the range with me a number of times and was also my optic of choice at the Tactical Games in South Carolina where it was beaten up pretty well.
- Magnification: 2-10X
- Objective Lens Diameter: 30 mm
- Reticle: TMR
- Eye Relief: 3.6 inches (2X), 3.7 inches (10X)
- Length: 11.2 inches
- Weight: 24 ounces
- Adjustability: 48 mil elevation; 23 mil windage in .1-mil clicks
- Accessories: Throw lever, lens covers, sun shade, adjustment tool, manual
- MSRP: $2,000
Quality and Construction
When it comes to quality and construction, this is one of the places where Leupoldd really shines. All of their scopes in the Mark 5HD line are very well manufactured with the 2-10 being no exception. The housing of the scope is made out of lightweight aluminum yet still feels incredibly robust and like you could throw it off a cliff and probably still use it (as long as you can find it). All of the dials on the scope are great to use with very audible and tactile clicks to them when making adjustments.
The zoom ring has a good amount of force required to move throughout the zoom range. I appreciate this as it means that when you’re running around with a rifle, your zoom range won’t change in between shooting. This became a feature I appreciated when moving with a rifle and wearing body armor. Lastly, the fit and finish of the optic are exceptional as you would expect from a scope that comes in at this price point. The light transmission through this optic is also phenomenal both in harsh, and direct lighting scenarios. This was one of the things we were able to test back in Oregon with multiple different scopes from different manufacturers and it was interesting to see how different optics handled intense and varied lighting conditions.
Optical Clarity – Zoom Range
While talking to some of the guys at Leupold during my visit there, it seemed to me that they prioritized optical clarity over most other aspects when it comes to the image of your scope. This certainly shows as the 2X on this scope is phenomenal. The 2X on the scope is very usable and obviously offers a very wide field of view for the shooter in shorter engagement ranges. At 2X the image is also very flat and when you combine that with a larger-than-normal ocular lens, this scope becomes a real treat to use at this zoom level.
While the 2X is really phenomenal that doesn’t mean the 10 is not. The 10X on this optic is also very solid. There is virtually no fringing in high-contrast situations and the sides of the optic are just as clear as the center resulting in an overall great picture. Unfortunately for me, I feel that it is overall let down by the reticle in the scope.
While the zoom range and glass on the scope are phenomenal, I think the reticle could use some work. The TMR reticle is very minimal and precise to a point. The first time I used this scope back in Oregon, I felt that the 10X in the reticle was not quite precise enough for me. I know that sounds like a strange statement and trust me I’m not some insanely talented Special Forces Sniper, but I would like to have a finite cross here in this optic. I also think that this reticle is a bit too simple and I would love to see a little bit more information. It would be nice for there to be some ranging options for 10X so that you can try and do some quick referencing when shooting at unknown-range targets. I also think that at 2X it’s very easy to lose track of the reticle as the lines are very thin. I think this could be simply rectified with a small, semi-transition horseshoe incorporated into the reticle like we see on many low-power variable optics these days. While I’m not an optics engineer, this seems to be a simple fix. I probably should have mentioned this before but this is a First Focal Plane optic meaning the size of the reticle will appear bigger or smaller, in line with the target image, as the scope’s magnification is changed.
Aside from a few of my minor issues with the scope, I think the useability of this optic is great. This truly is a scope that can fit a wide variety of roles given its zoom range. I really love that there is a parallax adjustment on the side of the scope. This is a feature I haven’t seen on many other optics at this zoom range. While yes, a parallax adjustment probably isn’t something 90% of shooters will ever need, I did find out how useful it can be while engaging targets at 800 meters and beyond in Oregon.
It also might be overkill to have 30 mils of adjustment in this scope but I can tell you from personal experience sometimes you do need that much adjustment when shooting at extreme ranges. As mentioned before, the dials have a very nice tactile feel and click to them. Thankfully on the scope to zero, you only need to undo one screw and then you can make your zero adjustments. I do hate it when other scopes require you to undo three or four separate screws just to make your zero adjustment which becomes very annoying very quickly. I found the eye relief on this optic to be very generous overall. Obviously, at the lower zoom ranges, it is very easy to acquire a sight picture, and then at 10X it does become a little bit more difficult but you still have a good amount of relief, and a forgiving eye box. 3.7 inches of eye relief to be exact.
I do think there is room for improvement with an aforementioned horseshoe-style reticle, as it would make this scope easier to use at lower zoom ranges. Finally, if I haven’t been in over your head enough at this point, the optical clarity on this scope is fantastic, and certainly helped me out in a couple of more difficult shooting situations.
- Lifetime Warranty
- Manufactured in America
- Optics that work in difficult lighting situations
- Bult like a Tank
- Not a fan of the simple reticle design
In the end, I think the Mark 5HD 2-10×30 is a really impressive scope that just has a not-so-great reticle in it. The fit and finish, build quality, and glass quality of the scope are phenomenal. The scope is entirely manufactured in America and has a lifetime warranty as well. I do love it when a company feels so strongly about their products that they slap a lifetime warranty on them. Also if you compare it to other high-end optics, you’re going to be very impressed with how much value you get out of this scope.
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