The Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×56 hunting riflescope made its debut in 2018. The larger objective lens size makes it an ideal choice for low-light hunting conditions. However, thanks to its wide magnification range and the inclusion of the BDC turret, this riflescope is equally suitable for various other hunting applications.
About the Leupold
Leupold, headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, USA, is a venerable company with a rich history. Established in 1907, it holds the distinction of being the oldest sports optics manufacturer in the United States. Notably, Leupold remains family-owned and operated, now under the stewardship of its fifth generation.
The VX 5 HD riflescopes represent the epitome of premium hunting optics by Leupold, boasting a 5x zoom factor magnification. Within the VX-5HD series, there are a total of six distinctive models available to cater to varying needs and preferences.
- Leupold VX-5HD 1-5×24,
- Leupold VX-5HD 2-10×42,
- Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44,
- Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×56,
- Leupold VX-5HD 4-20×52,
- Leupold VX-5HD 7-35×56.
With the exception of the two largest riflescopes that boast the highest magnification, all other riflescopes are outfitted with a 30mm main tube. Conversely, the two largest scopes are equipped with a 34mm main tube.
The rifle scope housing is crafted entirely from aluminum, devoid of any rubberized components except for the small illumination button, which is made of rubber.
As previously mentioned, the main tube has a diameter of 30 millimeters. The objective lens measures 56 millimeters in diameter, and if you wish to mount a clip-on night vision or thermal attachment, the outside diameter of the objective lens is 64.5 millimeters.
The rifle scope is designed to handle all calibers, making it capable of withstanding even the most powerful ones. It is built to endure varying temperatures and can be used in any condition. Leupold asserts that it has been extensively tested in extreme environments, so I believe it can perform flawlessly in temperatures ranging from sub-zero to scorching heat.
The scope is nitrogen-purged ensuring zero fogging even in extremely cold conditions. Additionally, it is fully waterproof.
The scope measures 345 millimeters in length and boasts an impressively lightweight design, weighing only 630 grams. With its 56mm objective lens and this level of magnification, it truly stands out as one of the lightest rifle scopes available on the market.
European style eyepiece
The eyepiece features a European-style design, with only the rear part rotating. The adjustment is exceptionally smooth, yet slightly stiff— a perfect balance, in my opinion. This design ensures that no accidental adjustments are made while carrying the rifle or removing it from the shooting bag.
The rotation of the magnification ring is incredibly smooth, allowing for seamless transitions from the smallest to the largest magnification settings in just under a 180-degree turn. The surface of the ring itself offers a pleasant tactile experience, providing a secure grip when adjusting the magnification.
Additionally, there is a convenient throw lever integrated into the magnification wheel, further enhancing ease of use. For those seeking even more control or a higher throw lever, an optional larger throw lever can be easily mounted.
The reticle is situated in the second focal plane, ensuring consistency across all magnifications. At present, two reticles are available for selection.
- FireDot Duplex
- FireDot 4
Both of the reticles feature the fire dot illumination, which is crafted from fiber optic. In my opinion, fiber optic illumination is one of the finest, if not the finest, available on the market. Its exceptional tunability allows for both subtle and intense illumination, making it suitable for low-light conditions as well as bright sunny days.
The Leupold motion sensor technology incorporated in the scope is designed to enhance battery life. It automatically deactivates the illumination if there is no activity for five minutes. However, as soon as the scope detects any movement, it promptly restores the illumination to the previous intensity level. This intelligent feature ensures optimal battery usage while maintaining convenience and functionality.
In total, there are seven intensity settings available, and you can easily activate the illumination by pressing the button located on the side turret. To increase or decrease the illumination level, simply continue pressing the button until the reticle starts flashing at the lowest or highest intensity setting. Subsequently, the next press of the button will switch to the opposite side. For example, if you are currently using the highest illumination setting, the next press of the button will take you one setting lower.
The battery compartment is located beneath the cap of the left-side turret. To activate the illumination system, simply insert a single CR2032 battery. Thanks to the automatic turn-off feature, the battery’s lifespan is significantly extended, ensuring long-lasting performance.
The illumination system and parallax adjustment are located on the same side-turret. The parallax can be adjusted from 35 meters or yards all the way to infinity. I appreciate the parallax wheel as it provides ample space for fine-tuning the parallax to suit your target perfectly. Additionally, there is a small mark at 150 yards, making it easy to determine the current parallax setting even in low-light conditions.
The elevation turret, known as CDS-ZL2, is a BDC-type turret that incorporates the zero lock system. This system, represented by the button on the elevation turret, ensures that once the turret is set to zero, it remains securely locked in place. In my opinion, this design is flawless. I appreciate the turret and consider it to be one of the finest BDC turrets currently available on the market. It ensures that accidental adjustments are prevented, whether you’re carrying the rifle on your back or storing it. This feature guarantees that you won’t miss your target when engaging it.
The scope is offered in MOA or MIL configuration. Opting for the MIL version provides clicks in 0.1 MIL or one centimeter at 100 meters. Alternatively, the MOA model offers clicks in 1/4 MOA, equivalent to approximately seven millimeters at 100 meters.
The turret has a 20 MOA per turn adjustment. This means that with two complete turns, you get a total adjustment of 40 MOA. Alternatively, if you’re using the MIL version, each turn provides an adjustment of 8 MIL, giving you a total of 16 MIL. This scope is capable of reaching extreme distances, even with calibers that have a non-flat trajectory. It allows you to shoot at great distances with precision and accuracy.
The internal elevation, naturally, exceeds that of the turret, measuring 75 MOA or 22 MIL, equivalent to 220 centimeters at a distance of one hundred meters.
Resetting the Turret to Zero
Resetting the turret to zero is very easy. You just have to loosen the screws on the turret. There are three all in all and then just turn the turret back until it stops or locks in place. Then just tighten the three screws back in and like this, the turret is already set and this is just a matter of few minutes.
This button on the elevation turret acts like a lock on the zero and is also a turn indicator. When you come to the second revolution, this push button disappears inside the turret. And now you know exactly that you have to look on the upper side of the numbers. So, you have a visible and also during the night you can feel it also this indicator in which revolution you are currently in. So, perfect design, in my opinion.
The clicks itself on the turret are very tactile. And you can easily feel every single click. So it is very easy to operate the scope even in a dark environment. If you want to shoot at a longer distance you can easily count every single click.
The windage turret is capped, which, in my opinion, is perfect. Most of the time, we don’t use the windage turret for hunting, especially with a rifle scope like this. The cap is made of aluminum, and underneath it is a plastic turret. This turret also has 20 MOA or 8 mm per turn. Furthermore, it’s a multi-turn turret, allowing for multiple revolutions in both directions.
Resetting the windage turret to zero is a simple process. Just lift and turn it so that the zero is facing forward, then push the turret back down. In a matter of minutes, you’ll be ready to go.
I am not fond of the turret being made from plastic; I believe it would be better if it were constructed from aluminum, considering it is a premium riflescope. Additionally, it tends to be slightly unstable. I believe some alterations could be made to improve its stability. However, it is worth mentioning that once adjusted and the cap is put back on, we typically do not use it, so it serves as a satisfactory solution in its current state.
As mentioned earlier, the magnification of this scope ranges from 3x to 15x. It features a 56mm objective lens and a zoom factor of 5x. The field of view at 3x magnification is 12.7m at 100m, while at 15x magnification, it is 2.5m at 100m.
Given its modest three times magnification, this rifle scope can undoubtedly be paired effectively with night vision or thermal attachments. Additionally, its generous field of view allows for optimal visibility of the front attachment, making it a crucial asset for nighttime hunting.
The scope does not exhibit any tunneling effect. The eye relief, or the distance to your eye, ranges from 94 to 96 millimeters, making it quite forgiving. You can slightly adjust your position closer or farther from the scope and still enjoy a pleasant visual experience.
The same principle applies to the eye box. At three times magnification, it offers great forgiveness, while at 15 times magnification, it becomes less forgiving compared to the smallest magnification. However, even at the highest magnification, it remains user-friendly.
The image itself appears slightly blurry towards the outer edges, particularly at lower magnifications. However, beyond five times magnification, this blurriness becomes imperceptible. The optical performance of Leupold’s highest-priced hunting riflescopes is exceptional, with a crisp and accurate image at the center, vibrant colors, and outstanding overall resolution.
While there is some blurriness, I believe that a wider field of view is more crucial than a minor blurriness at the edges. A wider field of view allows for easier and quicker target acquisition.
The Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×56 features a 30 mm main tube, requiring the use of 30 mm scope mount rings when mounting the scope onto the rifle.
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Price and Warranty
The scope is manufactured in the United States and is accompanied by a 10-year warranty. It is priced at 1,870 euros.
Scope of Delivery
What is inside the box along with the rifle scope? Firstly, you will find a small tool that is necessary for resetting the turret. Additionally, there is a Leupold sticker and, of course, the owner’s manual which contains all the essential information and everything you need to know about the rifle scope.
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Now, moving on to the summary, let’s start with the positives. In my opinion, the standout feature of this scope is its elevation turret, which is truly one of the best available. Not only does it have a locking feature and a turn indicator, but the clicks are also precise and satisfying. The elevation turret is undoubtedly the highlight of this scope.
Another great aspect is its lightweight design, weighing in at just 630 grams. For a low-light rifle scope, this is a remarkable feat. It offers the convenience of a lightweight build without compromising on performance.
Lastly, the illumination of this scope is top-notch. Made from fiber optic, it provides exceptional brightness and clarity, making it an ideal choice for hunting purposes.
Overall, this scope excels in terms of its elevation turret, lightweight construction, and illumination, making it a top contender in the market.
- great elevation turret
- lightweight design
- great illumination system
Now, let’s pinpoint the areas where there’s room for improvement. In my opinion, the windage turret stands out as it’s made of plastic and feels rather unstable. I believe there’s an opportunity to explore alternative designs for this component to enhance its functionality.
- plastic windage turret
In general, I believe that the Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×56 is an incredibly versatile rifle scope. While its primary design purpose is for low-light hunting from an elevated position, its magnification and lightweight construction make it suitable for stalking and mountain hunting as well. Additionally, the excellent elevation turret makes this scope highly capable of long-range hunting.