January 02, 2019
The Mark 5HD is my favorite scope from Leupold. These are not Leupold’s most expensive scopes, but they offer a tremendous amount of performance for the money they command.
The Mark 5 line falls into what I call the “precision rifle” category of optics. The features it offers make it a good choice for everything from long-range plinking and serious competition to military and law enforcement use.
The Mark 5HD heritage comes to us from the Mark 6 and Mark 8 lines. These two models of scopes were joint projects between Leupold and the U.S. Special Operations community. The focus of each was to provide our military with scopes that met strict size and weight parameters while offering military-specific reticles and turret types.
While the military got what it wanted, these lines seemed to be either loved or hated by us regular folks. Leupold took everything it learned from building all those Mark 6 and Mark 8 scopes and applied it to the updated Mark 5HD.
A pertinent fact about Leupold is that they employ approximately 107 optical and mechanical engineers. Not only does Leupold produce its optical and mechanical designs in the U.S., they also build the Mark 5HD in its entirety in Oregon. The only part of the Mark 5HD that Leupold doesn’t make in Oregon are the glass lenses. They set the specifications and then check each one as the scope is assembled. All design, labor and manufacturing belongs to Leupold.
That matters, because having all those engineers, machine operators and infrastructure means Leupold is beholden to no one and retains all of the knowledge they accumulate each year. Every day, all those people come in to work and generate a ton of skull sweat. The company captures that and no one learns faster and takes advantage of that knowledge better than Leupold.
Scoping the Mark 5HD The Mark 5HD is the latest representation of where Leupold is at from an optical design and manufacturing standpoint. It is my favorite scope because the company has had a decade designing, refining and producing the Mark 6 and Mark 8, giving the Mark 5 a huge leg up. Although the Mark 8 is quite a bit more expensive than the Mark 5HD, I have yet to see the difference between the two when looking through both scopes.
The Mark 5HD also has a better selection of reticles than previously offered, and their new Combat Competition Hunter (CCH) reticle is an excellent pick for those looking to explore holdover reticles. Leupold put a lot of thought and effort into the CCH and sought out some exceptionally talented consultants, and it shows in the final product.
The cherry on top is its turret system. It is so simple to set the zero stop and there are three revolutions offering plenty of elevation travel. Once you’ve zeroed the scope, just loosen the setscrews on the turret’s exterior, lift it off and replace it with the witness marks lined up. Tighten the setscrews and you’re all done.
The Mark 5HD scope line currently has two models: the 3.6-18x44mm and the 5-25x56mm. The reticles offered in both models are the TMR, TMR-illuminated, Tremor-3, H-59 and the CCH.
Leupold Mark 5HD
Power: 3.6-18X (tested)
Tube Diameter: 35mm
Elevation Adjustment: .1 Mil/.25 MOA per click
Windage: .1 Mil/.25 MOA per click
Reticle: TMR, TMR-I, CCH, Tremor-3, H-59
Length: 12.6 in.
Weight: 1 lb., 10 oz.
Eye Relief: 3.8 in.
Manufacturer: Leupold, 1-800-538-7653,
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