Clearidge Ultra XP5 4.5-22.5x50mm Review

As I’ve said before, I’m always looking to upgrade my glass for my squirrel rifle.  I have a particular set of options I look for when searching out a new scope.  I like a higher than usual magnification range.  I prefer a mildot reticle for longer range shots.  I also need side focus or adjustable objective that parallaxes down to 10-15 yards.  These demands can be a tough combination to find in an overwhelming scope market, but who doesn’t love endless options?  Meeting most of my demands, is why I chose a Clearidge Ultra XP5 4.5-22.5×50 to evaluate.

 

I have a little history with the Clearidge brand, starting with the Ultra RM line.  They source the glass and production out of Japan, at the Light Optical Works facility.  If you are not a fan of a Chinese produced optic, then Clearidge could be the option you’ve been searching for.  Clearidge deals direct to the consumer, giving you more optic for your money.  For many years I’ve used each of the scope lines they offer with exception of the XP5, and have mostly good to say about what they produce.

 

SCOPE APPEARANCE:

The XP5 line has an smooth, matte black finish, and comes in a rather large box.  It’s on par with other optics in the 30mm realm, with relation to length and weight.  The markings on the turrets and side focus are very legible.  Clearidge furnishes a sunshade, and a bikini style scope coverings with each XP5.  Along with the Sightron STAC 4-20×50, the XP5 will turn some heads when seen on your squirrel rifle…..

 

GLASS/CLARITY:

Happily, I can report that the XP5’s glass is very good.  I would say it’s on par with its little brother in the Ultra XP line, of which is my favorite pick out of the scopes that Clearidge offers.  The XP5 stays clear to the edges through the entire power range, with the brightest power being 4.5.  The lowest magnification on any scope will be the brightest, however I’ve had little degradation at the top end of 22.5 power.  The glass to me, is better than that of the Weaver V16 or V24, which is manufactured in the same plant.  Eye relief is excellent on the XP5.  I haven’t experienced the “black ring” in the acceptable eye box area, which is very generous at 3.9 inches!  After hunting with this optic for one full season, the dawn to dusk capability of drawing in ample light is impressive.  It has allowed me to be effective in the squirrel timber at those vital times.

Without Sunshade

 

ADJUSTMENTS:

This category has its pluses and minuses for me.  Let’s hit the positives first.  Having the fast focus eye piece on an optic of this price should be a given, and Clearidge gets it right.  The large, exposed turrets, may not appeal to some, but I really appreciate the legibility.  The side focus is a great feature that the XP5 offers, that bottoms out 25 yards.  I can deal with that, although I’d prefer a 10 yard minimum parallax.  Tracking has been a non-issue.  Taking my impacts to the center of the target can be done in few “clicks” with the 1/4″ at 100 yard adjustments.

Now the downsides….  The elevation and windage turrets have ZERO audible feedback, and little to no tactile feedback.  I may be in a different camp here, but I want to know both audibly and by feel that I’m making an adjustment.  On an optic of this cost ($450) I expect an audible turret.  The turrets likewise have a reset to zero feature, but lack a zero stop.  Resetting the turrets to zero requires removing three allen head screws, popping off the turret, and placing it back to zero.  The hang up is that an air pocket is created under the turret cap when trying to re-position to zero, which means you must apply pressure while replacing the allen head screw.  It’s quite cumbersome.  The side focus on the XP5 is both too small, and it lacks accurate markings in correlation to target distances.  Being that I had all of these hang ups, I was still able to use this scope without issue.  I’ve certainly become a bit of a nit pick over the years, but scope manufactures won’t get better if you don’t touch on the downsides of their product. 

 

 

RING HEIGHT:

If you’ve read any of my other scope reviews, you know I have a particular maker of scope rings I prefer, and that’s BKL.  I attached the XP5 to my CZ 452 with a pair of BKL-303 Low rings.  They work with the 30mm tube, and fit both 3/8″ rail along with 11mm rail.  The BKL-303 Low rings will work with objectives up to 56mm.

RETICLE:

Clearidge is always on my radar, because of the variety of reticles they offer in their lineup.  Having different options of reticles keeps me purchasing within the same brand.  A mildot reticle is my go to for squirrels, and Clearidge offers it from the Ultra RM line all the way to the XP5 line.  The mildot reticle on the XP5 is slightly smaller than that of the mid-line Ultra XP optic.  Either is usable for target work, or squirrels at longer ranges.  Having the ability to range in the glass, along with having a holdover aiming point is invaluable to me when chasing bushytails.  Clearidge also offers a standard duplex, and German #4 reticle for the XP5 line.  A mildot reticle is one of my main requirements when looking for a squirrel hunting optic, and so many companies are dropping it from their lineups, for more high tech options.  These options are usually too busy, or too thin for hunting applications.  All the more reason to give my business to Clearidge, as they offer exactly what I’m looking for in a squirrel optic.

MAGNIFICATION:

It’s no surprise to those of you who’ve been readers here before that I have a preference for an optic that has a wide and higher powered magnification range.  The story is no different with the Ultra XP5.  Having a bottom end at 4.5 power for those “end of the rifle barrel shots,” while being able to transition to 22.5 power to take a squirrel at 80 yards offers me a endless ability with this scope.  I undoubtedly prefer this type of range on most of my squirrel rigs.  To me it covers the squirrel hunter who prefers the fixed 4 or 6 power, while accommodating the longer range capabilities I seek in both sight in/range work, and being able to collect that long range limb chicken.  Most squirrel hunters choose a 3-9, and it’s a perfect all around choice.  However, it’s an early season only choice for me, because I’ll always take the magnification when I can get it.

 

MANUFACTURER SPECS:

 

Product Number:

3910

Finish:

Matte

Reticle:

Mil Dot

Power:

4.5-22.5x

Objective: (mm)

50

Eye Relief: (in)

3.9

Length: (in)

13.3

Weight: (oz)

23.2

Adjustment: (MOA)

1/4

Total Adjustment: (MOA)

48

Field of View: (ft@ 100 YDS)

21.8@4.5x/4.4@22.5x

Main Tube:

30mm

Adjustable Objective:

Side Focus

AO Adjustment: (YDS)

25-Infinity

Would I pay $450 for this scope again?  Honestly, no I wouldn’t, but that comes with a couple caveats.  One is the turrets.  I need audible and tactile feed back, and the lower priced Ultra XP line offers that.  Two is the weight.  This optic with sunshade is over 24 ounces, so again give me the Ultra XP line.  I wouldn’t let these deter you from trying this optic if you can handle the weight and like silent turrets.  The glass is great, along with having a myriad of reticle options.  I’m thankful Clearidge has decided to continue to add another valued option to the optics market for a reasonable price.  Check them out for options to outfit any of your squirrel rifles.

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