Skip to content

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 Riflescope Review | Optics Trade Reviews

The Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 is a hunting riflescope that was launched in 2019. The scope comes in various configurations, allowing users to customize their order. When purchasing the scope, users have the option to select from six different reticles, with five of them being non-illuminated.

When placing an order for the scope, users have the option to request a complimentary CDS custom dial system turret.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 Rifle Scope Review | Optics Trade Review
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44

About the Leupold

Leupold is a highly renowned company, particularly in the United States, as their headquarters is situated in Beaverton, Oregon. Established in 1907, Leupold holds the distinction of being the oldest optics manufacturer in the United States. While the company initially started with surveying equipment, in 1947 it made its mark by introducing its first riflescope, known as the Plainsman.

Since then, Leupold has been consistently enhancing and innovating their line of products and riflescopes. Even today, they continue to design, manufacture, and assemble all of their riflescopes at their headquarters in Beaverton.

The VX-5HD Series

The VX-5HD series comprises riflescopes with varying magnifications, yet they all share common features.

All of them come with a five times zoom factor magnification. They are lightweight, compact, and equipped with the newly designed CDS-ZL2 elevation turret. I believe that one or two riflescopes in the series have the CDS-TZL3 elevation turret, which offers three turns.

The riflescopes within the series are available with either a 30-millimeter or 34-millimeter main tube, depending on the desired magnification. All of them are manufactured in the USA. It’s worth noting that while Leupold procures lenses from external vendors, the rest of the production is done in-house.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44

Physical Properties

The Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 offers a magnification range of 3x to 15x, complemented by a 44mm objective lens. Notably, the objective’s outer diameter measures 53mm, a crucial detail for those considering night vision or thermal attachments.

The riflescope is constructed entirely from metal, devoid of any rubberized components. It boasts exceptional shockproof capabilities, enabling it to endure the most powerful recoiling calibers, including the 50 BMG.

The scope is completely waterproof and fogproof, thanks to its internal argon-purging. This means that even in extremely cold environments, you won’t experience any internal fogging.

The VX-5HD 3-15×44 scope measures 343 millimeters in length, making it compact and ideal for mountain hunting. Weighing just 539 grams, it is incredibly lightweight. Carrying a heavy rifle while navigating mountainous terrains can be burdensome, but with this lightweight scope, you can enjoy a more comfortable hunting experience.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44

Fast Focus Eyepiece

The eyepiece boasts a user-friendly fast-focus design, allowing for easy adjustment of the diopter setting by simply turning the ring adjacent to the eyepiece. This feature ensures effortless adaptability even for individuals with varying diopter needs, as the adjustment process is both seamless and intuitive.

A fast-focus eyepiece refers to a type of eyepiece that enables swift diopter settings. With this advanced eyepiece, you can effortlessly fine-tune the diopter setting to suit your eyes, reticle, and even the target image simultaneously, providing optimal visual clarity and precision.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Fast Focus Eyepiece

Magnification Ring

The magnification ring offers a remarkably smooth experience. Its surface, though not perfectly smooth, provides excellent grip, allowing for easy usage even with gloves. In my opinion, it is expertly crafted, showcasing attention to detail.

The magnification transitions seamlessly from the smallest to the largest magnification in just a 180-degree turn. Additionally, there is a convenient throw lever integrated into the magnification ring for easy adjustments.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 features throw lever integrated into the magnification ring

Reticle

The reticle in this rifle scope is situated in the second focal plane, ensuring consistency across all magnifications. In total, there are five non-illuminated reticles to choose from, along with one illuminated reticle.

Non-illuminated reticles:

  1. Boone&Crockett
  2. Duplex
  3. HTMR
  4. Impact 29 MOA
  5. Plex
  • Wind Plex Reticle
  • Impact 29 MOA Reticle
  • HTMR Reticle
  • Duplex Reticle
  • Boone & Crockett Reticle

Illuminated reticle:

  1. FireDot Duplex
Fire Dot Duplex Reticle
Fire Dot Duplex Reticle

The scope utilized in this review showcases a FireDot Duplex reticle, characterized by a conventional crosshair complemented by an illuminated dot at its center. It is worth noting that this particular reticle is widely favored and extensively employed throughout Europe. Consequently, it is highly commendable that Leupold offers this option to its customers.

Illumination System

The left-side turret houses the illumination system, which offers a range of eight intensity levels. Activating the illumination is as simple as pressing a button on the turret. Personally, I find the construction of the illumination system to be of exceptional quality.

The illumination is incredibly bright during the daytime, even on the sunniest of days. The red dot is clearly visible thanks to its fiber optic illumination, making it ideal for use in bright conditions.

The illumination also incorporates motion sensor technology, automatically switching off after five minutes of inactivity. When the rifle is moved again, it promptly restores the illumination to the previous setting. This feature ensures optimal functionality and convenience while preserving energy efficiency.

To power the illumination system, a single CR2032 battery is required. The battery compartment is conveniently located beneath the turret cap.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
The battery compartment is located beneath the turret cap

Parallax Adjustment

Located on the same side turret as the illumination system is the parallax adjustment, offering a range from 50 yards to infinity.

The turret is marked with distances and a tactile line indicating 150 yards, allowing you to effortlessly determine whether your parallax is appropriately set for the distance at which you’ve sighted in your riflescope. This feature remains visible and discernible even in low-light conditions, ensuring optimal visibility and accuracy.

The parallax rotation is incredibly smooth, and there is ample room for precise adjustments, making it exceptionally well-crafted.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
The illumination system and parallax adjustment are located on the left-side turret

Turrets

The elevation turret features 1/4 MOA clicks, equivalent to approximately 7 millimeters at a distance of 100 meters. With each revolution, you can cover a distance of 20 MOA. The elevation range is 38 MOA, while the internal elevation amounts to 75 MOA, equivalent to approximately two meters and 20 centimeters at a distance of 100 meters.

The elevation turret is equipped with a convenient zero lock function, accessible through a button located on the turret itself. By pressing this button, the turret can be freely adjusted to the desired position. Once the adjustment is complete, simply rotate the turret back, and the button will automatically engage, securely locking the turret in place. This ensures that accidental movements are prevented, whether during transportation, removing the scope from its bag, or while out on a hunting expedition.

In my opinion, this turret is one of the finest BDC turrets available on the market. One key advantage is its zero lock feature, which ensures simplicity and reliability by keeping it locked at the zero position.

For the European market, it would be ideal to have the turret available in one-centimeter clicks. However, if you are accustomed to MOA, it remains a user-friendly option.

The tactile feedback of the clicks is quite pronounced, although they are not particularly audible. When it comes to hunting riflescopes, I believe this is acceptable as they do not necessarily need to produce an audible sound. However, they are still sufficiently audible, I would say, to ensure that each click is clearly heard.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Elevation Turret with the zero-lock button

Turn Indicator

As you rotate the turret and enter the second revolution, you’ll notice a zero-lock button entering the turret. This signifies that you have now entered the second revolution. It provides both a visual and mechanical turn indicator, ensuring that you are precisely on the second revolution and not on zero. This solution is truly exceptional and arguably one of the finest options available, particularly for hunting riflescopes.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
During the transition to the second revolution, the elevation turret discreetly hides the button within its own structure

The turret provides 37 MOA of travel, with the option to make an additional four clicks, resulting in a total of 38 clicks on the turret. This adjustment range is more than sufficient, even for long-range hunting.

Resetting the Turret to zero

Resetting the elevation turret to zero is a straightforward task that can be easily accomplished while on the range. Begin by unscrewing the three screws located at the top of the turret. Next, rotate the turret to face forward, and as you do so, the button will automatically pop out. Finally, tighten the screws, and you’re good to go.

Windage Turret

The windage turret is fitted with a cap, concealing a distinctly different turret made of plastic underneath. The clicks provide satisfying tactile and audible feedback. However, one drawback of this turret is the lack of visibility from the shooting position. To ascertain your position, you must observe the turret from a side perspective.

One aspect I find unfavorable is the presence of marks in only one direction without any marks in the opposite direction. Consequently, one has to count backward. However, this is not a major concern since windage adjustments are seldom utilized for hunting riflescopes, with elevation adjustments being the primary focus.

The windage turret offers internal travel of 75 MOA. It is a multi-turn turret, allowing for multiple turns in either direction. Resetting the turret to zero is easy- simply lift the turret and rotate it until the zero aligns with the white line on the riflescope. To secure it back in place, just clip the turret back on when you’re finished.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Capped windage turret

CDS Turret

The Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 features the CDS custom dial system turret, which can also be purchased separately. This custom dial replaces the standard MOA dial that comes with the scope.

To place an order for the CDS, it is necessary to share your ballistics data with Leupold. They will then create a custom dial system turret, complete with markings for accurate shot placement. By providing bullet drop information for various distances, you can align your shot precisely with the corresponding turret marking, ensuring a precise bullet trajectory. This guarantees exact shot placement, perfectly matching the bullet drop.

Each CDS model scope is eligible for one complimentary custom dial. You can place an order for the custom dial on the official Leupold website (https://www.leupold.com/custom-dial-system). Alternatively, if you purchase the scope from the optics-trade.eu website, simply send us an email with your ballistics information and we will handle the ordering process for you.

Additional custom dials can be purchased for $80.00 each.

CDS BALLISTIC DIALS
CDS BALLISTIC DIALS

Optical Performance

The optical quality of the scope is excellent, with highly accurate colors. The image is incredibly sharp, providing a clear and precise view from edge to edge. At the lowest magnification, the field of view spans 12.7 meters at a distance of 100 meters. However, at the highest magnification of 15 times, the field of view narrows to 2.56 meters at the same distance.

The scope does not exhibit a tunneling effect and offers generous eye relief ranging from 94 millimeters to 96.5 millimeters. It can be effortlessly mounted on a high-recoil caliber, providing safety and protection to the user.

The eye box is not exceptional, but it is still good. Looking through the scope provides a clear picture without excessive black surrounding it. Even at 15 times magnification, it remains quite good.

Mounting Solution

The Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 features a 30mm main tube. To securely attach the scope to your rifle, you’ll require 30mm scope mount rings.

 Looking for a Scope Mount? Find it right below:

Price and Warranty

The scope comes with a 10-year warranty. The starting price for the scope is 1379 euros, but this does not include illumination. For the illuminated riflescope, the cost is 1,480 Euros. The price for scopes with non-illuminated reticles is approximately 1680 Euros.

It is worth noting that the price is higher in the EU compared to the US due to the current situation with the Euro and U.S. dollar exchange rates.

Scope of Delivery

The scope comes with several valuable additions. Firstly, you receive bikini covers that provide a pleasant tactile experience, surpassing the quality of covers provided by other manufacturers. Additionally, a hex wrench is included to effortlessly reset the elevation turret to zero. Moreover, if you opt for an illuminated scope, a battery for the illumination is also provided.

The scope package includes a sticker and an owner’s manual that provides all the essential information you need about the scope.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Scope of Delivery

Looking for more accessories? Find them below:

Cons

For a brief overview, let’s identify areas for improvement. Firstly, catering to the European market would greatly benefit from having a MIL version of this scope. This would allow for measurements in centimeters, which aligns better with European standards. Such an adjustment would enhance usability and convenience for European users.

I find the markings on the windage turret to be displeasing since they are not visible from the shooter’s point of view. However, I believe this issue can be effortlessly rectified.

I dislike the fact that the elevation turret provided with the Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 scope is not customizable. Unlike many other brands that offer riflescopes with adjustable turrets allowing you to set meters on the turret, Leupold requires you to order a separate CDS turret. While the initial turret may be provided free of charge, if you decide to change your ammunition, you will need to order another turret at an additional cost.

Lastly, an area where I see room for improvement is the parallax, which currently only goes down to 50 yards. It would be ideal if it could go even lower. I understand that typically parallax isn’t used with lower magnifications, but if you desire to observe finer details or make highly precise shots at, let’s say, 20 or 30 meters using the highest magnification, having the parallax go lower would be highly beneficial.

Cons summary:

  1. no MIL model
  2. markings on the windage turret
  3. parallax adjustment range
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44

Pros

On the positive side, you have a total of six reticles to choose from – one with illumination and five without. This diverse selection of reticles provides you with ample options to suit your preferences.

The elevation turret is perfect if you use it without changing to the BDC. In my opinion, this turret design is the best for a hunting rifle scope.

I appreciate the fact that the windage turret is capped, as it is rarely necessary to adjust the windage turret while hunting.

I am impressed by the exceptional build quality of this hunting rifle scope. It exudes a sense of premium craftsmanship and attention to detail. Every component is meticulously designed and expertly machined, resulting in a product that is both visually appealing and functionally superior.

Lastly, one aspect that I appreciate is the inclusion of a complimentary BDC turret (the CDS turret) from Leupold. It’s a thoughtful and generous addition to their offering.

Pros summary:

  1. 6 reticle options
  2. great elevation turret
  3. good build quality
  4. CDS turret
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44

Competition

In this price range, the Zeiss Conquest V4 4-16×44 presents a formidable contender. While the Zeiss is more affordable, it lacks the BDC turret. Additionally, the Zeiss has a higher minimum magnification, resulting in a narrower field of view.

The next one on the list is the GPO Spectra 2-16×44. GPO offers an impressive 8 times zoom factor, resulting in a wider field of view due to the lower magnification. However, it’s worth noting that this scope only comes with capped turrets, meaning no BDC turrets are available. On the bright side, the GPO still manages to be more affordable.

Next up is the Sig Sauer Sierra 6. While it comes at a lower price point, it does not have a BDC turret.

Lastly, we have the Leica Amplus 3-18×44, which poses as tough competition. However, the Leica, with its illuminated reticle, comes at a higher price of 1600 euros.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44

Final Thoughts

Overall, I believe that the Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 is an exceptional rifle scope for hunting, particularly in mountain terrain. It offers an outstanding balance between price and performance, particularly when considering its illumination feature. However, I find it to be too costly when considering alternative reticles that lack illumination.

Looking for a Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44? Find it below:

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44 Riflescope
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
Product Name
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44
Price
EUR 1329
Product Availability
Available in Stock

SHARE THIS POST

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *