January 4th, 2020

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm MOA Scope Review

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

In the world of F-Class, PRS and other precision rifle disciplines, scope manufactures such as Nightforce, Kahles, and Vortex currently dominate the firing lines. However, Oregon-based Leupold has set out to change all that. Long known for premier hunting and military scopes, Leupold has set its sights squarely on the long-range competition market with the Mark 5HD series scopes. With these scopes (available in both MIL and MOA versions), Leupold now has a clear, repeatable, versatile scope in a wide range of magnifications, all the way up to 7-35X. We tested the Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm MOA second focal plane (SFP) optic. Though it features a very large 35mm (yes thirty-FIVE mm) main tube, it is one of the lightest scopes in its class — a bonus for guys struggling to make weight with their comp rifles.

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm Field Test
Report by F-Class John
The Mark 5HD is a beast of a scope packed into a great-looking and sturdy form factor. While mounting and bore-sighting the scope, I immediately like the size, shape and feel of the elevation and windage knobs. The knobs have a solid, positive feel with distinct, lovely clicks every time they were turned. I was happy to see that Leupold designed the elevation to actually go under zero which can be helpful in some situations.

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

Scope Box Test in Tunnel
I ran a box test while shooting in a 100-yard tunnel going clockwise then counterclockwise around the corners. I found that the repeatability to be “spot on” with each 5 MOA adjustment landing me basically back on top of the previous shots. After five passes back and forth I was left with four ragged holes in each corner. That’s impressive.

The power ring became one of my favorite features, with its incredibly functional throw lever. Actually more of a throw knob, this allows for quick and smooth change of power. Combine these features with 100 MOA of vertical adjustment and 50 MOA of windage and you have just about everything need to achieve your goals.

Reticle Options for Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm — TMOA Plus on Test Scope

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescopeLeupold currently offers two reticle options for its second focal plane (SFP) Mark 5HD 7-35X scope: the TMOA Plus (above) and the Impact-60 (right). The Impact-60 reticle features Xmas Tree-type vertical and horizontal hold-offs. My test scope had the TMOA Plus reticle, a much simpler design with an open aiming point in the center of the reticle for precise shot placement.

The TMOA Plus takes a little getting used to especially if you’re coming from a center dot or crosshair like I did. This is because there’s nothing dead center in your reticle, only four small hold squares at 3, 6, 9, 12 o’clock around center. You can use the aiming center to center up on a bullseye or any of the points around the center as hold off points. A side benefit is that the center set of squares are designed to perfectly fill the X ring at 1000 yards for easy aiming. I will say that once you get used to the reticle configuration it starts to become more intuitive and you can find different ways to use it when holding off for different conditions.

Leupold Mark 5HD Delivers Outstanding Brightness and Clarity
As I got behind the scope, I was surprised by the amount of light coming in through the large 35mm main tube. I tested the scope in the early morning just after dawn, during mid-day, and also at night. Where I shoot there is often a good amount of head-on light coming over the hills in the morning. With my current premium scope, I often see a faint glare (often seen as a haze or whiteness) that will ultimately resolve itself by mid-day but nonetheless bothers me in those early relays. The Mark 5 had NONE of this. The first time I thought it was a fluke but after countless mornings without the annoying haze I was convinced it was the glass. Leupold told me that the Mark 5HD’s superior haze- and glare-free morning performance was a function of how the lens coatings are applied.

While many top-end scopes have quality coatings, the method of applying coatings can produce micro flaws. Leupold explained that such flaws, under certain light conditions, can create a hazy view through the lens. Leupold has clearly mastered this process, achieving a visually clear scope no matter what direction the light comes from, even head-on.

HD Glass Eliminates Chromatic Aberration
Optical performance during mid-day was bright and clear. Importantly, I did notice the absence of chromatic aberration which I have experienced with some other popular-brand scopes. Chromatic aberration usually manifests as fringes of color around hard edges and can be seen even in some of the better scopes. This can affect your ability to see mirage, or to see details on a long-range target. With the Leupold Mark 5HD, chromatic aberration was noticeably absent.

The Leupold Mark 5HD also worked great during an evening shooting session. My club has night shooting for our 600-yard matches. We do it every Tuesday night, so I had lots of time to test the scope in the evening. Our club has lit targets, and even with the rest of the range dark, the targets were clear and bright, making it easy to aim precisely.

SUMMARY — Great Sharp, Clear Scope — More Magnification Would be Welcome
The majority of my testing was in F-Class and while I found nearly every aspect of the scope enjoyable, I did find myself wanting just a little more magnification. I have no doubt that in other disciplines such as PRS and ELR the 7-35X is more than enough and in fact perfectly suited. However, in the current F-Class world, 35X max magnification is on the low end, as other leading optics-makers offer scopes in the 50-60x range.

Overall, I really enjoyed this scope and think it’s going to become the favorite for a lot of shooters. It is easy to use and incredibly clear. Despite its beefy look it actually weighs less than many scopes in this category. Leupold says the Mark 5HD is “up to 20 ounces lighter than other scopes in its class”. That’s great for disciplines with tight weight limits. If you’re in the market for a new competition optic you should give one of the new Mark 5HD scopes a try.

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July 9th, 2019

Affordable 10-50X — Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm REVIEW

Sightron Scope 10-50x60mm SIII SS scope James Mock long range competition review MOA MOA-2 reticle

Many of our Forum members who shoot F-Class and Long Range Benchrest have asked: “Is there a reliable high-magnification zoom scope under $1100?” The answer is yes — the Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm scope will do the job, and you can buy one now for under $1100.00. In fact, at the 2017 IBS 600-yard Nationals, four of the Top 10 shooters (including the 2nd-place finisher) used Sightron 10-50x60mm scopes. This quality 10-50x60mm optic is definitely good enough to win long-range benchrest and F-Class matches. Here is a review by James Mock. Note James tested a version with 1/4-MOA clicks. Sightron also offers versions of this scope with 1/8-MOA clicks.

Sightron 10-50x60mm Riflescope Field Test
Review by James Mock
Mr. Allen Orr of Sightron was kind enough to loan me one of their fine SIII riflescopes for testing. Since I shoot 600-yard score matches more than anything else, I requested the 10-50x60mm model with MOA-2 reticle. This is a premium scope in every way and it may be the very best buy for a long range scope today. Real world price for this scope is around $1100 ($1089.99 on Amazon.com). This represents a good value considering the scope’s build quality and features: 50X max magnification, 1/4-MOA adjustments with 10 MOA per revolution, ExactTrack windage and elevation system, Zack-7 lens coating, 60mm objective lens, target knobs with zero stop, and lifetime warranty. The MOA-2 reticle’s hash marks span 2 MOA at 24X and 1 MOA at 48X. Eye Relief is ample: 4.5″ at 10X and 3.8″ at 50X. Field of view at 100 yards is 9.6′ at 10X, 2.2′ at 50X.

Sightron MOA-2 Reticle Manual | Sightron Riflescope Manual

NOTE: Sightron also offers this scope with 1/8-MOA clicks with a Fine Cross-Hair Reticle, Target Dot Reticle, and Mil-Dot Reticle. There are also multiple Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm models with illuminated reticles.

Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm Shows Excellent Repeatability
After receiving the scope, I mounted it on my BAT 6mm Dasher and did my “standard tests”. I shot the “square” and the adjustments were spot on and the repeatability was faultless. I also shot a group at two powers (24X and 50X) and the point of impact was the same.

In our August 600-yard match, I used the scope and was favorably impressed. I did not have the opportunity to shoot 600 yards prior to the match but I do have a 100-meter range at my house. From past experience, after zeroing my Dasher at 100 I simply dial up 11 MOA to shoot at 600 yards. The weather in Louisiana has been something that I have never seen before and the August 20th match was moved to August 27th, but there was still standing water in front of the targets. Also, the fog was so heavy that the start of the match was delayed for 45 minutes.

Sightron Scope 10-50x60mm SIII SS scope James Mock long range competition review MOA MOA-2 reticle

Sightron Nails a 50 Score on First-ever Match Target
When the match started, the Sightron with 11 MOA dialed in was perfect for elevation and a little right. After a couple of clicks I was ready to shoot. My first target was a pleasant surprise — scoring a 50-1X. I was very impressed with this scope and I shot it at 48X all day in the heavy mirage. I ended up finishing third, two points behind the winner.

This video is from Europe, but it does a good job explaining the 10-50x60mm Sightron’s features:

With its 60mm objective lens, this is a large scope. It is 16.9″ long and weighs 30.1 ounces. If you can tolerate that weight in the discipline you shoot this scope represents a great value for the long-range shooter. I am favorably impressed with it. For you varmint shooters, this scope with its wide range of power would make a superb addition to you favorite prairie dog rig. Do note, as we explained above, there are other versions of this scope with 1/8-MOA clicks if that is your preference.
Good shooting — James Mock

Sightron Scope 10-50x60mm SIII SS scope James Mock long range competition review MOA MOA-2 reticle

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