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In-depth testing of the Sightmark Presidio 5-30x56 LR2 riflescope


I am excited to test one of the latest offerings from Sightmark, the Presidio 5-30x56 LR2. An optic build for long-range enthusiasts at an affordable price. A riflescope isn't just an accessory; it's a fundamental piece of equipment that you must be able to rely on.

We'll delve into its features, advantages, and performance, shedding light on this versatile optic. If you are a novice marksman or looking to upgrade your entry level optic to something with more performance, the Sightmark Presidio deserves your attention. So, let's explore what this riflescope has to offer. The Presidio 5-30x56 Riflescope comes in at a price point of around 530 Euros and boasts many features like: a straightforward zero stop system on the elevation dial, an etched, first focal plane reticle that facilitates rapid corrections at any magnification. The IP67 waterproof dust proof construction and designed to endure recoil forces up to the 338 Lapua Magnum.

This sounds like the Presidio promises to deliver a great quality to price ratio. Sightmark has been improving a lot over the years and their products have come a long way.

Now, let's delve into our testing and evaluate how this riflescope performs.

Testing

As usual first impressions matter, that’s why we start off with evaluating what we can see and touch right after unboxing. The Presidio’s surface finish, solid aluminum construction, and weight of just under 1kg (935 grams) immediately convey a sense of quality, a great start!

Regarding ergonomics, such as turret profile, magnification ring, and diopter adjustment, I won’t go to in depth into evaluating these aspects as these are largely subjective and depend on personal preferences. The turrets have a rather standard profile with double spiral knurling on the top edges for grip.

The magnification ring has the same spiral pattern for grip and operates very smoothly ensuring easy handling. The diopter ring unfortunately does not come with a locking system, this can be an issue when the diopter ring moves easily as in this case. This may lead to unwanted changes during transport and handling, especially when using the supplied lens protector caps. (During my testing I did not encounter this problem, but it is something to keep in mind)

When unboxing the Presidio, you'll find a well-protected optic along with accessories like a microfiber cloth, battery for the illuminated reticle, hex keys for the zero-stop ring, user manual, throw lever and the lens protector caps (these are actually really nice to have provided).


Glass Quality


The Presidio is made for long-range and precision shooting applications so naturally the glass quality is of importance. I started by evaluating the presidio’s glass quality in a expansive outdoor settings where I do most of my optics testing. Of course, I compared the Presidio with optics in the same price range to provide a fair assessment.

On a clear sunny day, the presidio presented me with a clear and crisp image quality, allowing me to easily discern intricate details up to ranges of 800m. When observing a small chapel at 1009 meters, I could clearly see individual stones and detailed artwork on the chapel's fence door.

These results are attributed to Sightmark's use of high-quality glass and finishing and the 56mm objective lens, all of which allows more light to enter the scope and provide a clearer image.

This is all the more important with the 30 mm scope tube.

During low-light conditions. The scope remained effective in spotting targets up to approximately 300-400 meters during the last minutes of the day. Additionally, the illuminated reticle enhanced shooting opportunities in various lighting conditions.

While the image quality impressed me for this price point, common effects like image distortion and chromatic aberration (CA) on the edges of the image and objects were present. However, these effects were in line with other optics in the same price range and did not pose significant issues.

Turrets

The turrets on the Presidio are perhaps its best feature. The design of the turret caps and the knurling aims to offer users a tactile experience, and it succeeds in doing just that. The aggressive knurling makes it easy and reliable to work the turrets in wet / humid conditions and even when using thick tactical gloves.


The Presidio does not come with locking turrets, which may or may not be a negative point depending on your preference. Personally, I like locking turrets as they can help prevent inadvertent turret adjustments during use and transport. The clarity and precision of the turret clicks are crucial for a good long-range scope, and the Presidio achieves just that.


Both elevation and windage turrets provide clear tactile and noticeable audible feedback, minimizing the chance of errors in corrections. There is also no play or slack to be noticed between clicks, something that entry and even mid-range optics used to suffer from.

The markings on the turrets are clearly readable and make for easy corrections.

They are calibrated in the metric milliradian system, and each click corresponds to 0.1 mill as marked on the top of the scope caps.


A nice design choice to see implemented on the Presidio is the use of left and right denotations on the windage turret.


Perhaps my only negative point concerning the turret caps are the way they are mounted to the scope. The turret caps are placed on the scope and tightened down to the corresponding component on the scope by means of three small grub screws.


Personally, I don’t like this system as it isn’t reliable in my opinion.

Many things can go wrong here, starting off with the hex key required to remove the turret caps in order to re zero for example. If you forget or lose the hex key, you will no longer be able to re zero. Something that can ruin your shooting session or hunt in the field.


Next, due to the way these turrets are designed, if by any means these small screws become undone, releasing enough friction of the turret post. The turret will start to spin freely without engaging the scope internal mechanism, making click corrections impossible.


If this happens you will immediately know as moving the turrets will no longer make the distinct clicking noise.

Even worse, before this failure point there will be a moment at which the turret cap will start slipping due to insufficient friction with the turret post and this will lead to incorrect ballistic inputs.

Lastly, I think these small grub screws will not last overtime after being tightened and untightened several times, ultimately the hex head will strip out and give you a hard time removing the grub screw.


The zero-stop system in the Presidio is straightforward It involves introducing the zero-stop ring underneath the elevation turret cap after zeroing your rifle. However, the small size of the grub screws and the material difference between the screws (steel) and the zero-stop ring (aluminum) can lead to potential issues with time or over-tightening. Increasing the size of the grub screws and the zero-stop ring could enhance this system's reliability.

Parallax and Reticule Illumination Dial

The Presidio’s parallax dial is calibrated in the imperial system and covers a wide range, from 20 yards to infinity (Personally I would have calibrated the dial in the metric system since the scope used milliradians for its turrets, but this is a minor detail) This versatility makes it suitable for both short-range and long-range shooting scenarios with a wide variety of calibers. The dial operates smoothly and requires minimal force for adjustments. Although the indicated distances did not always perfectly align with reality, it's not a major concern, as shooters are recommended to fine-tune parallax by observing through the scope.

The illumination dial offers various brightness levels from 0 off, to 6 maximum brightness. It also provides a 0 / off setting between each brightness level, while this feature might not be extensively used by long-range shooters, it can be valuable for hunters and use in tactical situations. The illumination function works as expected, providing flexibility in different lighting conditions.

The only negative point I must mention is the illumination dial being very hard to turn. This may be an isolated issue with my test scope or may even get better with use, however during my testing the dial remained very hard and difficult to move.

Tracking and Box Test

Next up, testing the Presidio's internal mechanism. I conducted a tracking and box test to assess the accuracy and reliability of adjustments.


The vertical adjustment provided a total of 28.7 milliradians or 287 clicks, while the windage offered only 17 milliradians or 170 clicks. These results are interesting as Sightmark specifies 26 Mrads for both turrets.

It would have been advantageous to have a similar adjustment range for elevation, especially for cartridges like the .22 LR.

During the tracking test, the Presidio performed well, consistently returning to zero even after repeated turret adjustments in all directions. This reliability is crucial, as any failure would render the scope uses and may even become unsafe for use.

Reticule


The Presidio features a reticule known as LR2 (Long range 2), and it lives up to its name. This First Focal Plane reticule ensures that values, in this case, milliradians, remain true at any magnification level.


The reticule is designed for long-range precision and tactical shooting, offering up to 10 milliradians horizontally and 10 up and 11 down vertically (with 5.5 mills available below the center at maximum magnification).


The reticule design strikes a balance between simplicity and functionality, with easily readable value indications. Notably, it features increasing windage holdover indications to account for wind during target acquisition.

The reticule's simplicity, devoid of excessive clutter, ensures a clear view of the target without overwhelming the shooter with unnecessary information. It includes numerical values every two mills for easy readability, with 0.5-mill intervals in the middle and 0.2-mill indications on the three outer edges for precise measurements. This design makes the reticule a very effective tool.

The illuminated reticule offers 6 brightness settings and comes in a red color.

Magnification

The Presidio has a magnification range from 5 to 30 times. The magnification ring is smooth and user-friendly, providing a versatile range suitable for various shooting scenarios. Since this scope is in the First Focal Plane, at lower magnifications, the reticule remains thin for precise aiming while offering a broad field of view for easy target acquisition.

At higher magnifications, the scope delivers a clear and detailed view of the target, even out to extended ranges, without an overly large reticule obstructing the view.

Lastly the presidio comes with a throw lever in the box. The lever can simply be screwed in place if you wish to use it, a handy feature for quick and easy use of the magnification ring.


If, however your do not want to use the throw lever, the Presidio comes with a grub screw to fill in the dedicated hole.

Thermal Testing

Thermal testing involved exposing the scope to a wide range of temperatures within its stated operating limits to assess its performance and any effects it may produce.

During a heat resistance test, the presidio was placed in an oven at +30°C. Afterward, it was allowed to cool down to room temperature (19°C). The reticule remained on the exact same spot, demonstrating the scope's resistance to heat-induced point-of-impact shifts.

Conversely, the freezer test involved exposing the scope to -18°C to evaluate its resistance to retraction.

The immediate condensation and periodic freezing of moisture on the cold surface of the scope upon transitioning to room temperature are normal phenomena. Importantly, this process should not be confused with the scope's anti-fog or anti-reflective capabilities.

In summary, the presidio maintains its zero reliably regardless of temperature extremes, ensuring shooters can trust it in various environmental conditions.

Recoil Testing

The Presidio was tested on a range of rifles with diverse calibers, from .22 LR for long-range competition to .308 Winchester and 300 Winchester Magnum known for its recoil. The scope handled this range of cartridges without noticeable issues, demonstrating its robustness and suitability for a variety of calibers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Sightmark Presidio passed my testing and did not present any major problems, proving its place among other scopes of its category. I hope this review helps your decision-making process and allows you to determine whether the Presidio is right for you.

I want to extend my gratitude to the team at Sightmark for providing me with this optic for review.


https://sightmark.com/products/presidio-5-30x56-lr2-ffp

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