Review: Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18X Scope

By Jeremy Tremp
Posted in #Gear
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Review: Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18X Scope

September 3rd, 2022

5 minute read

When choosing an optic, there are so many factors that should affect your choices. Optical clarity, ease of zeroing, holding zero, tracking, magnification range, reticle options, and locking turrets are just a few.

Leupold Mark 5HD scope review
Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18x44mm proved to be an excellent match for the incredibly accurate Springfield SAINT Edge ATC rifle.

I’ve had the pleasure of using quite a few great scope options out there, and one of my favorites is the Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18x44mm. Let’s break down the features and what they mean to the practical shooter.

Leupold Mark 5HD: The Details

My experience with this optic was doing some accuracy testing at 100 yards, and then shooting steel at distance from 200 yards all the way out to 1,300 yards with a Springfield Armory Saint Edge ATC (see him do it in his Edge ATC review). So, from a practical shooting perspective, let’s look at the scope and why I think it’s one of the best options on the market.

Review of Leupold Mark 5HD scope
The author found the optical quality of the Leupold Mark 5HD scope lives up to its professional status.

The optical quality of this Leupold scope is fantastic, which is not surprising. The Mk5 3.6-18 is built around Leupold’s Professional Grade Optical System, which is exactly what it sounds like … professional. When shooting tight groups at 100 yards on 10X, it’s crystal clear. Even when stretching out to hit steel at a staggering 1,300 yards on 18X magnification, the image was still plenty clear enough to make accurate hits on the ISPC targets. I didn’t get a chance to test the low-light capabilities, but I imagine they are as stellar as the clarity.

Leupold Mark 5HD scope magnification
The scope reviewed by the author offers a significant range of magnification with an optical zoom of 3.6-18X.

How about the ease of zeroing and floating your turrets? Now, this may sound silly, but I’ve seen some scopes with some real silly ways of doing this. I like to keep things simple. Dial your zero in, back out some screws, pop the turret, set to zero and tighten screws. This is exactly how the Mark 5 3.6-18X works, and in my opinion is how all scopes should work.

Leupold Mark 5HD scope turret
Leupold uses a ZeroLock dial to prevent unintended adjustments. This can mean the difference between hitting and missing.

Holding zero will tell you how durable and dependable your optic is. If you are on a hunt and your rifle gets banged up by either taking a tumble on a steep hill or you throw your rifle in a bag in the back of your truck and it gets bounced around, this is a major concern. How well is that optic built, and can you trust it to be zeroed when you need it? Without destroying the scope, I was not easy on it throughout my range trips, and the optic never needed to be re-zeroed.

Tracking is how well an optic can make adjustments with precision while also returning to a proper zero. I ran this optic at 100 yards on my confirmed zero, and then shot from 200, 400, 600, 800 and, finally, 1,300. Then I shot back at 100 yards, and I made consistent hits at each distance, maintaining zero back at 100 yards.

Why You Need

Magnification range really has a lot to do with where you are shooting and what you are shooting. If you are mostly hunting in dense wooded areas, then something like a 1-10X or 3-18X deer scope is more than enough. If you are out west with miles of expanse, you may want a 5-25X or higher. For me, the do-all-range seems to be the 3-18X. It’s low enough to get accurate shots sub-100 yards, yet it still has clarity and magnification for accurate hits out to 1,000 yards and beyond.

Testing the Leupold Mark 5HD scope on the range
A platform like the Edge ATC proved to be an excellent rifle to test the Leupold scope on the range.

Reticle options are a big one. You can have the finest optic in the world, but if the reticle is too busy, too sparse or in the wrong format, you won’t have as good of an experience. Personally, I prefer Mil-dot reticles, which is exactly what the Mark 5 3.6-18X comes in. Information is awesome, but when you are on high magnification and all that info is occluding your target, it’s not so helpful. This optic uses the TMR reticle, which has just enough information to be useful, while not making the reticle too busy. The Leupold scope is a first focal plane design.

Leupold Mark 5 3.6-18x44mm review
The Leupold Mark 5HD performed very well on the range with excellent eye relief, superior optical clarity and rugged durability.

Locking turrets are, in my opinion, a must for any optic that has decent magnification ranges — particularly if you plan to move around a lot with your rifle. There is nothing worse than having to take a quick shot after some movement only to realize you missed the shot entirely because your dial moved when taking the rifle out of a bag or off your back. Having locking turrets is just one more way to ensure they only move when you want them to.

Review Conclusion

All-in-all, I am excited to get more time in behind the Leupold Mark 5 3.6-18x44mm, and I think it’ll find a permanent place on one of my bolt-guns for precision shooting or hunting trips where I must implicitly trust it to put the rounds exactly where I intend them. And that is the story of Leupold’s history: building scopes for riflemen who put the bullets exactly where they want them to go.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Jeremy Tremp

Jeremy Tremp

Jeremy Tremp is a filmmaker/photographer who turned his passion for the firearms industry into a dream job. Having identified a need in the 2A space, he and some like-minded friends started Offensive Marketing Group to help bring their unique skillsets to an industry in dire need of "outside of the box" marketing approaches. One of the perks is getting access to some of the best gear and training in the industry. In his spare time, he loves to be at the range testing gear and learning to be a better shooter, firearms advocate and content creator.

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