Given that writing anything takes me forever these days, I figured I’ll go over most of it in a video.
The Mark 5 HD is an interesting design in that it really brings into question whether it was intended to replace the Mark 6 3-18×44 or whether Leupold is planning to carry on with both scopes.
As I say in the video further down, in terms of optomechanical performance, I definitely prefer the newer Mark 5HD. Mark 6 is a couple of ounces lighter and offers wider FOV. Outside of that, I do not see why you would be going with the Mark 6 over Mark 5.
Most of the testing of the Mark 5 HD was done on my AR-15 chambered for 6.5Grendel. The gun is accurate and this scope is really at its best on precision gas guns.
Here is my customary comparison table. There are quite a few other short scopes that I have not added to the table, largely because most of those are either a lot more expensive (Kahles K318i) or have substantially different magnification range (EOTech Vudu 5-25×50).
Tangent Theta TT315M is in there because I have it on hand and it is my reference standard for scopes in this magnification range.
|Sig Sauer Tango6 3-18×44||Nightforce ATACR F1 4-16×42||Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44||Tangent Theta TT315M 3-15×50||Leupold Mark 5 HD 3.6-18×44||Vortex PST Gen 2 3-15×44|
|Main Tube Diameter||34mm||34mm||34mm||30mm||35mm||30mm|
|Eye Relief, in||3.74||3.35 – 3.54||3.8 – 3.9||3.54||3.54 – 3.82||3.4|
32 – 5.8
10.44 @ 10x
|26.9 – 6.9
|36.8 – 6.3
|38.4 – 8.4
12.6 @ 10x
|28.4 – 5.8
10.44 @ 10x
12.9 @ 10x
|Exit Pupil, mm||12 – 2.4||11.5 – 3.5|
|Click Value||0.1 mrad||0.1 mrad||0.1 mrad||0.1 mrad||0.1 mrad||0.1 mrad|
|Adjustment range||27.6 mrad||E: 26 mrad
W: 18 mrad
|E: 29 mrad
W: 14.5 mrad
E: 22 mrad
W: 11 mrad
|Adjustment per turn||12 mrad||10 mrad||10 mrad||6 mrad
|Parallax||Adjustable||Adjustable||Adjustable||Adjustable||Adjustable||Adjustable down to 20 yards|
|Price||$1500||$2500||$2200 – $3400||$3200||$1900 – $2300||$1000|
The comparison table does not reveal anything revolutionary. Compared to the field, the two Leupold scopes are short and light (ish). Sig Tango6 is also short, but needs to go on a diet. That having been said, Tango6 has a built in electronic level that is very well executed, in my opinion. I am wrapping up with the test of a 4-24×50 Tango6 and I really like the level. Another thing to pay attention to is how much difference there is between FOV at 3x and 3.6x (or 4x). Magnification is multiplicative, so keep in mind that 3.6x is 20% more magnification and 3x and, all other things being equal, 20% less FOV.
Lastly, notice that I added the Vortex PST Gen 2 3-15×44 into the table. It is a lot cheaper and a bit bigger than other scopes here. However, its optical performance is dangerously close to most $2k scopes out there. It has a good reticle, decent turrets and well sorted out illumination. And it focuses close enough to use on airguns and rimfire trainers. How it does in terms of durability remains to be seen, but I have been keeping track since I started recommending it to people and it seems to be doing well. Just some food for thought.
I did not talk much about low light performance. Honestly, there isn’t much to tell. It performed very nicely and did not exhibit any weird flare or other strange artefacts. H59 reticle is not great in low light, but then again, to me it is not great in good light either, so there is that.
Fundamentally, if the reticle selection was a bit more up my alley, I would have the Mark 5HD on my 6.5 Grendel permanently. I know David Tubb is going to have his DTR reticle in the Mark 5. That would be interesting, so perhaps I will pick one up.
Here is a snapshot of how compact the Mark 5 (center) is compared to Tangent Theta TT315M and Vortex Razor AMG 6-24×50: