Leupold VX 5HD 3-15×44 Scope

I recently reviewed the Bergara Ridge Carbon Wilderness, a lightweight hunting rifle. I paired it with Leupold’s VX-5HD 3-15×44 riflescope. Here’s a closer look at the optic. 


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About the Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 CDS-ZL2 Side Focus HTMR

This optic has several variations, but I opted for the Illuminated FireDot Duplex reticle. 

It has 3-15x magnification in a 30 mm tube with 0.1 Mil clicks. It is second focal plane, ideal for a hunting scope and features clear HD glass. It also has side focus, not something you typically see on hunting scopes, and is waterproof, fogproof and shockproof – designed to withstand the elements. 

From Leupold

The VX®-5HD 3-15x44mm is made for anything and everything. Its 3-15x magnification range lets you take full advantage of any situation. Turn the power down to 3x for thick timber hunting, crank it up to 15x for your trek across the open plains, or go anywhere in-between. This scope has the versatility to dominate them all. Plus, it comes with our proprietary Firedot® illumination to give you a bright, intuitive aiming point that won’t get lost in low-light conditions.

The VX-5HD defines relentless versatility. Its wide magnification ranges give hunters and shooters the ability to adapt to any environment. Built around Leupold’s Professional-Grade Optical System, it offers unmatched light transmission that’s designed to outperform in the most challenging lighting conditions. Its industry leading glare reduction provides a clear image in harsh, direct light, while the resolution and clarity will meet the demands of any professional guide or shooter in the field. And when it’s time to pull the trigger, you’ll want the accuracy and additional elevation that the CDS® ZeroLock® 2 dial delivers.

As the lightest, most rugged 5:1 riflescope in its class, your VX-5HD will never slow you down. And like all Leupold® riflescopes, it’s designed, machined, and assembled in the USA and guaranteed for life.

I really like how clean this reticle is for hunting and the 3-15 magnification range. 3-9x is very common for hunting scopes but having the extended range to 15x without losing the close range capability is ideal. It’s compact and lightweight (19.7 ounces), much smaller than many other scopes I have with the same features. 

What’s in the Box 

This optic comes with bikini style scope caps, a sticker, Allen wrench, battery, and printed material about the scope and CDS system. 

Live-Fire Testing

Watch our review of the Bergara Ridge Carbon Wilderness with Hawkins Precision Hybrid rings.

I followed my normal zeroing process, boresighting it at 100 yards and using the Longshot Target Camera system to see hits.


I followed this up with hunting style shots at D-M steel targets.

I didn’t notice any chromatic aberration and was able to easily pick up the small, unpainted steel targets out to 150 yards.

Ultimate Reloader Optics Test Rig

I’ve been working on the Ultimate Reloader Optics Test rig for a number of years, starting with a wood prototype. The current iteration doesn’t capture optics image quality in a meaningful way, but does test true optics performance.

We place a camera in front of the scope and can position it on the X, Y, and Z axes for perfect positioning to sub -0.0005”. With this unique system we can test tracking, zoom, parallax and distortion. 

We started with the tracking test, using a tracking target that goes 10.0 MOA up, left, right, and down. At 100 yards, this target is calibrated to be 20 MOA in height and width.

The observed results indicated consistent tracking though the scope may have been slightly ill-positioned due to the thickness of the reticle lines. 

To test parallax, we start with the center of the scope scope and camera collinear. With the parallax set to the testing range (100 yards), we moved the scope left and right 0.050” to simulate varying head position.

Results at 0.000”, left 0.050” and right 0.050” were the exact same, indicating properly functioning parallax.

To test image distortion, we took one frame from the video and aligned it with a rectangle to see if there is any pincushion effect.

The lines are perfectly straight – no distortion! 


This scope passed all of our tests with flying colors. I think this quality optic is perfect for hunting large game in a variety of areas, the illumination and magnification range offering great versatility. 

Get the Gear 

Leupold VX 5HD 3-15×44 CDS-ZL2 at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Bergara Ridge Carbon Wilderness

Hawkins Precision’s long range hybrid rings

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Gavin Gear

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