Making The Leupold Mark 5HD Riflescope

posted on March 6, 2024

Leupold's Mark 5HD line of riflescopes are some of the company's top-tier offerings, and not only are the optics loaded with features, they're also some of the lightest riflescopes in their class. "American Rifleman Television" headed to Leupold & Stevens in Oregon to see just how they develop and build these class-leading optics.

"We wanted to build something that was as versatile as possible and provide as much value as possible across the broadest range of shooters that we could find. So we put together a team of military shooters, snipers, a lot of competition shooters, some consultants that we'd used in the past," said John Snodgrass, product line manager, Leupold & Stevens, Inc. "Got everybody together, started just whiteboarding, you know, what features they wanted in what would be their ideal riflescope. And that's kind of where the concept for the Mark V came from. I think we did a pretty good job. It really is probably one of the most versatile riflescopes on the market."

Currently, Leupold offers four different models of its Mark 5HD, ranging from the 2-10X 30 mm on the bottom end of the magnification range to the 7-35X 56 mm riflescope at the top end of the range, all of course featuring the 5:1 zoom ratio. Options abound when it comes to reticles, too, giving shooters a range of mil- and m.o.a.-oriented designs.

"We went through and just looked at every aspect of long-range precision and said, 'Where can we do things better? Where can we improve on our own stuff? Where can we improve on things that we're seeing out there in the market?' and really talk to shooters and military users and find out, 'What exactly do you need?'" said Tim Lesser, vice president of product development & marketing, Leupold & Stevens, Inc. "So with the Mark 5HD, there's a lot of commonalities across the line."

Leupold Mark 5HD riflescope on a testing table at the company's Oregon factory.

Some of these commonalities include a 35 mm main tube, which maximizes the amount of internal travel for windage and elevation adjustments, the latter of which are particularly necessary for long-range shots. Front focal plane reticles are also used across the line, ensuring that in-reticle measurements are accurate, regardless of magnification level.

"What really defines the Mark 5 is that marriage between the optical clarity that we're known for and the ruggedness we're known for, along with the ease of use. So that's all the controls on the Mark V," said Nic Kytlica, shooting sports marketing manager, Leupold & Stevens, Inc. "The push-button locking system on the elevation is really one thing that sets us apart. It is, by far, the easiest elevation dial to use in the industry."

New Leupold Mark 5HD 2-10X 30 mm riflescope.

One of the newest additions to the Leupold Mark 5HD family is the 2-10X 30 mm riflescope, which measures less than 12" long and weighs just under 26 ozs. Size and weight were a primary consideration in its design and construction, as Leupold product managers and engineers aimed to solve many of the issues faced by owners of lightweight carbines or short-barreled rifles when seeking a companion optic for their firearm.

"With the Mark V, it really is a culmination of everything that we've learned and and studied and just found to be true with riflescopes over the last 70 years," Lesser said. "We've been building military-grade and competition-grade riflescopes for decades, but we learn little things here and there, and we find that the users are evolving and the guns are getting more precise, the ammo's getting better. And so by really going in and looking at, 'Where did we succeed immensely in the past?' and 'Where could we have done a little bit better?' and 'How can we improve and how do we stretch the limit of what we already know?' we went back and really went to the drawing board and said, 'How do we make this better from the ground up?'"

To watch complete segments of past episodes of American Rifleman TV, go to For all-new episodes of ARTV, tune in Wednesday nights to Outdoor Channel 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EST.


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