Right here at Sniper Central, we don’t simply solely give attention to the devoted excessive finish and costly sniping gear, we are also always looking out for merchandise and gear that is probably not devoted sniper gear, however would nonetheless work properly. We do that as a result of it appears by simply attaching the time period “Tactical” to any product permits the producers to cost extra for it. However there are many items of kit that aren’t designed as “tactical” however will work completely nicely and often value considerably much less. That’s the subject material of the scope we’re reviewing right here. Leupold discontinued the business availability of their Mark four line of tactical scopes and changed them with the Mark 5, Mark 6, and Mark eight scopes, that are all wonderful but in addition quiet costly. Their VX-3i LRP is an providing that’s extra reasonably priced and is tailor-made for competitors capturing, however we expect we’ve got discovered one other providing of their business lineup that is also a strong selection and may go properly for tactical use. The VX-5HD scope is a really good business searching scope, however it has lacked the tactical options which may make it work properly for sniping. However we did discover one particular mannequin which may work. That is the Three-15x44mm with CDS knob and the impact-29 MOA reticle. It’s the solely mannequin within the VX-5HD lineup that gives a reticle that may work for tactical use. However can this scope actually do the job? And even when it does, why would you need to think about it over one in every of their Mark collection? That’s what we’re right here to seek out out.
With this being a business product and a not part of their tactical lineup, the VX-5HD is available in the usual business field and comes with the traditional Leupold equipment which embrace a bikini type lens covers, as an alternative of flip up caps, after which the traditional instruction manuals and guarantee playing cards. It does additionally embrace a voucher for a free customized CDS dial that Leupold will make to your particular specs, which is a pleasant function and one we’ll speak extra about. The scope is matte black which works for tactical use, however it additionally has the normal golden ring across the goal bell housing, which isn’t fascinating for tactical work, however straightforward to cowl up.
With the eyepiece, Leupold has additionally moved away from their previous conventional sluggish focus eyepiece and has adopted a quick focus eyepiece fashion which on this case has serrations on it to assist with gripping it in an effort to rotate it and modify it. With the older type the whole eyepiece would rotate round after which there was a lock ring to lock it in place, not any extra. The ocular lens rotates by way of the entire diopter adjustment in about 1.Three rotations, however there isn’t a indicator mark to make use of to trace the place it’s at. With the eyepiece prolonged all the best way out, there isn’t a looseness or aspect to aspect motion that you simply may see on a decrease high quality scope.
The eyepiece is bigger than the older Leupold eyepieces, however it’s nonetheless not giant in comparison with others. Simply in entrance of the eyepiece is the facility selector ring that’s clearly marked from 3x to 15x utilizing a vibrant white font. This energy selector ring is presents a good bit of resistance however the thumb protrusion and serrations assist right here. It does rotate easily by means of your complete vary with equal drive all through. The markings and full vary covers only a bit lower than half of the circumference of the dial. There’s a hash mark on the 7.5x location to point the half method level within the zoom energy, this can be utilized to double the dimensions of every marking on the reticle. That is attainable as a result of the reticle is situated on the second focal aircraft and it is just correct at one energy. On Leupold scopes that’s all the time the very best magnification, 15x on this case, and so at 7.5x the place that mark is, every reticle hash is double giving the operator an alternative choice for utilizing the reticle another way.
In entrance of the facility ring, the 30mm one piece aluminum tube extends simply over 2.5″ that can be utilized to mount the rear scope mounting ring. The end of the tube and the whole scope is a really matte black anodized end that’s of top of the range. Once we visited the Leupold manufacturing unit, they tell us that they have been the second largest aluminum shopper within the western USA, second solely to Boeing. They undergo a whole lot of it with their scopes and their one piece tubes are very good and machined from a strong block of aluminum on their CNC machines.
The shoulder the place the scope controls are situated is a decrease and rounded profile shoulder. The “Customized Dial System (CDS)” elevation knob itself can also be a decrease profile exterior fashion knob that has a pleasant form to it with two ranges of marking numbers. Every click on is .25 MOA and there are 20 MOA of adjustment per rotation. Leupold signifies that there’s 75 MOA of complete adjustment, however we can’t check this simply because the CDS knob has each a zero cease (proper at zero with no buffer under zero) and a tough cease on the highest finish of the second rotation, supplying you with a tough 38 MOA of elevation to make use of. In case you want greater than 38, you’ll have to maintain over, which the MOA reticle truly makes fairly straightforward. The zero cease is definitely a zero “lock” function and the knob locks in at zero and may solely be moved if the silver button situated above the zero mark is pressed and the knob then rotated.
The clicks on the elevation knob are wonderful with a superb feeling muted click on, although there was a tiny little bit of slop detected. It’s so minor that it isn’t observed until you’re on the lookout for it. 38 MOA provides sufficient adjustment for most traditional sniping cartridges to go from 100 to 1000 yards, the M118LR wants 39.5 at sea degree and commonplace atmospheric circumstances. The knob is straightforward to function and works nicely and is straightforward to learn and grip with its wider diameter and serrations alongside the highest. With its exhausting cap at 38 MOA it’ll not be appropriate for plenty of excessive vary capturing until used together with the reticle, however at solely 15x that’s in all probability not the perfect match for this scope anyway. The voucher for a free customized marked BDC dial that may substitute the usual MOA marked CDS dial is a really good function for tactical work and establishing the scope particularly on your rifle.
Whereas we just like the elevation knob and assume it might work properly on a tactical rifle, the windage knob is a unique story and we don’t prefer it in any respect. The knob is capped, which we have now no drawback with, however once you pull the cap off, the primary drawback turns into obvious. The knob is finger adjustable, however there are NO visible reference level indicators which might be seen from behind the scope. There are markings on prime of the knob, however that isn’t helpful in any respect for tactical use as you can’t look and see the place you could have your windage set to. On prime of that, the serrations on this knob are very mild and the clicks are heavier than the elevation knob. This issues mixed make it a ache typically to exactly dial in your clicks, in addition to maintain monitor of them. The design is a tool-less design that permits the operator to “carry” the knob and rotate it round and set it to zero with out having to make use of any Allen wrenches or different instruments. We’ve got not seen any of most of these techniques but that doesn’t introduce numerous slop between the clicks, and this Leupold design is not any totally different. We have been very disillusioned within the windage knob and need that they might simply do a knob of comparable measurement and form because the elevation knob with good clicks and no less than some primary reference factors visable from behind the scope.
With the issues of the windage knob described, we do want to say that many tactical shooters and snipers favor to carry off for windage as an alternative of dial it into their scopes, and the Influence-29 MOA reticle on this scope is ideally setup for simply that and actually makes the poor wind knob bearable. The reticle, as you will notice within the image later within the evaluation, is a Christmas tree fashion reticle that helps with maintain overs and maintain offs and can be utilized successfully with this scope as properly.
On the other aspect of the windage knob is the adjustable parallax, or aspect focus knob which truly has yardage marks labeled on the knob from 50 as much as 600 after which infinity. Your complete rotation of the knob solely covers about 60% of a full rotation, which we want to see elevated to permit for extra exact changes, nevertheless it does rotate easily and it really works properly sufficient for what we requested the scope to do. We have been capable of focus a pointy picture simply in all the capturing circumstances we examined. There are serrations on the highest of this knob that matches the identical on the elevation knob and it does present a very good gripping floor.
In entrance of the shoulder of the scope there’s a scant 1.Three″ of scope tube during which to mount the ahead scope mounting ring. This can be a shocking small quantity of area however was widespread on a few of their earlier four.5-14x scopes as nicely. In case you are not utilizing a picatinny rail, you could have a tough time getting the scope mounted in a superb place. Fortunately, most all tactical shooters use a rail. From there the tube opens up properly to the target lens bell housing the place the well-known Leupold Golden Ring is situated. As a result of the target lens is just 44mm, the bell is a bit smaller than many tactical scopes which permits for it to be mounted a bit decrease than most.
That golden ring on the bell housing is straightforward to obscure and in case you use a flip up scope cap it’ll cowl it up for you (see our footage with the scope on the rifle under). In the event you use a sunshade with the scope, you’ll have to cowl the ring one other approach. The general dimensions of the scope are pleasing and the dimensions shouldn’t be giant and it weighs in at simply over a pound, so pretty mild weight. The end is nicely carried out and as we talked about already, it is extremely matte giving off virtually no shine, additional enhancing its means to double as a tactical scope.
The glass on the scope is makes use of Excessive Definition lenses and Leupold’s Twilight Max HD Mild Administration system, therefore the HD within the identify. The optics do appear to match very properly with different scopes giving a brilliant and crisp picture from edge to edge. They even declare the lenses and coatings supply 30 additional minutes of capturing mild, although we aren’t positive what that’s compared to. However the low mild capability is sweet and the readability and distinction are very good. This specific mannequin doesn’t have an illuminated reticle choice for this reticle.
The reticle known as the Impression-29 MOA and as may be seen above, it’s a Christmas tree type reticle with hash marks alongside the horizontal stadia in addition to hash marks taking place the decrease vertical. The dots to the left and proper within the decrease quadrants symbolize blocks of two MOA spacing. This makes it straightforward to carry over in addition to maintain off for windage making the scope work properly for fast DMR fashion engagements. In fact, the massive variety of dots could be a bit busy and distracting, however they’re sufficiently small on this case that it isn’t too dangerous. The numbers alongside the stadia assist to maintain monitor of the rely, which tends to be useful in MOA reticles because the numbers can get excessive. The marks may also be used to carry out vary estimation calculations simply as you’d with a MIL reticle. Because the reticle measurement by no means modifications, Leupold was capable of make it a very good thickness that works for precision and but continues to be seen towards busy backgrounds. Whereas FFP reticles are good for tactical scopes, the SFP scope does permit you to do some little tips with the reticle. Corresponding to setting it at 7.5x as we talked about earlier after which the auto ranging trick the place you zoom in till 2 MOA covers the space between the belt and the highest of the top of a human goal after which simply learn the magnification. That’s how far away the goal is in lots of of yards. That solely works on this specific scope the place the reticle is correct at 15x.
For our sensible checks, we would have liked to mount the scope onto a rifle for some reside hearth testing. In case you are not conversant in how we check rifles and scopes, be happy to learn that article now. Resulting from our plans to make use of this scope on some future exams and articles, we didn’t mount it to our regular 700P check rifle, as an alternative we used a set of Leupold Mark four 30mm Medium peak rings and mounted it to a Howa 1500 tactical rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and bedded right into a McMillan A5 inventory. (You may be studying extra about this rifle sooner or later). As a result of it has a 20 MOA rail on it, mounting the scope was straightforward and ring spacing was not an issue, although we do have it pulled as far again to the rear as is feasible. The Medium peak rings have been a tad larger than we needed, however nonetheless not dangerous.
We have been utilizing Selection Ammunition 123gr Scenar match ammo for all of our checks on the vary, which appeared to be capturing okay on this rifle, although not nice. The primary field check was no drawback and the changes appeared to be monitoring very true and when the dimensions of the edges of the field have been in comparison with the reticle, they seemed to be the right measurement. The tape measure would affirm that later as nicely. That is the place we actually began to not just like the windage knob, however at the least it was monitoring true.
The subsequent check was our click on measurement measurement check and we fired our first group, which measure a tad underneath 1 MOA, after which dialed in 20 MOA of left and fired our subsequent group, it too was proper round 1 MOA. Lastly we dialed in 20 MOA of proper again into the scope and fired another spherical to insure the changes got here again to the unique group, which it did. The space between the 2 teams measured 21.1″ in comparison with a theoretical 20.94″, displaying an error of solely zero.eight% which is properly inside our Three% that we permit for this check.
Firing the scope and rifle combo at combined precision targets from brief to medium vary labored nicely and the scope, past the windage changes, carried out very properly and the reticle was additionally a sensible choice. The main target knob had no drawback giving us a pleasant crisp picture and as we talked about earlier than the optics are very good. We nonetheless had a number of extra exams to run to see if there was any reticle drift throughout focus and zoom modifications in addition to check for a wandering reticle when monitoring up and down. So out got here the bore sight grid system.
With the grid mounted to the rifle and squared degree, we adjusted the scope so the crosshairs have been centered on one of many gross hatches. First we examined the aspect parallax adjustment and went by way of all the vary of adjustment from finish to finish and watched the reticle for motion. It stayed planted with virtually no perceptible motion. We then did the identical for the complete zoom vary and had the identical outcome. The outcomes of those two checks have been excellent and the scope handed with no issues. We expect a whole lot of that has to do with the truth that this scope isn’t being requested to do an excessive amount of. The zoom vary is a modest 5x centered proper in a average vary, not making an attempt to zoom too excessive. The main target is about to a workable vary that’s slightly below 50 on the shut finish, once more, not making an attempt to do an excessive amount of. It appeared to work.
The ultimate check was to align the reticle on one of many vertical grid strains after which modify the elevation via its complete 38 MOA of adjustment and watch the way it tracked alongside the road. Once more, a strong outcome because it stayed precisely alongside the vertical line and didn’t wander proper or left. We did the identical with the windage alongside a horizontal line and had the identical outcomes. This was one other affirmation of excellent monitoring with the interior mechanisms.
Functionally, this scope is rock strong. The standard appears excellent, the glass is excellent, every thing tracks and operates to requirements which are very excessive and impressed us. The magnification vary is superb for a midrange tactical scope that might be used within the area with out going too excessive to harm your area of view or mild gathering capacity. The zero-stop and lock function is beneficial and whereas it’s restricted to only the 38 MOA of vertical adjustment this quantity matches the magnification vary very nicely. The reticle is a really usable tactical reticle that permits for fast maintain over and maintain off engagements and supplies vary discovering functionality. You get all of those very sensible options in a scope that runs $1100 USD, which is much less then an equal tactical scope with all the identical options and functionality would run. We now have talked sufficient concerning the windage knob and whereas we don’t prefer it, we will reside with it particularly if utilizing the reticle for wind corrections. Again once we first began Sniper Central over 20 years in the past, there weren’t many tactical scopes available on the market and it was not unusual to make use of a business goal scope for tactical use, we didn’t have lots of decisions again then. Right now we do, however there’s nothing mistaken with utilizing this non-tactical scope for tactical work, it might work with none drawback and we give it a strong four stars out of 5 and our SC Endorsed tag.
Sniper Central 2019
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