UTG Master Sniper - Part 3
by B.B. Pelletier
On to the range. Because the UTG Master Sniper is an airsoft gun, I started shooting indoors to keep the winds from affecting things.
How good do airsoft sniper guns get?
I tested a Classic Army M24 sniper rifle a few years ago. It had been highly modified, which included a power upgrade, a tighter barrel and the addition of an adjustable Hop Up mechanism. That gun could hold all its shots in less than one inch at 10 meters. If you were lucky and selected the right BBs (those without voids in them), a half-inch group was possible. It shot 0.25g BBs faster than 400 f.p.s., so it was really rockin'. But the 190 percent mainspring made that gun much harder to cock, and the investment topped $500, with all the work and parts. Here, we're looking at a gun selling for less than $100, so a direct comparison isn't fair.
UTG Master Sniper accuracy
I started shooting at 20 yards, but it soon became apparent the gun couldn't hold better than 12" at that distance. Remember, this was after I had dialed in the Hop Up! So I moved up to about 30 feet and tried again. With 0.20g BBs, the rifle shot five-shot group after group of about 4-5". That's not bad for starters, but it means the max range for skirmishing is going to be about 30-40 yards.
Switching to 0.25g BBs, the group size shrank to 2.5-3.5". That's much better, and the Hop Up wasn't even adjusted for that weight BB! With additional adjustment, another half inch might be shaved. That pushes the effective range for skirmishing out to 50 yards. I did not find the 24x scope to be an advantage, as many readers pointed out beforehand.
All shooting was off the bipod, which works as it should. It's lightweight and quick to deploy, but when you carry the gun it stays up and stowed, too. Can't ask more than that - especially when it comes in the box with the rifle! The gun was very calm upon discharge. I could watch the ball toward the end of its flight, but in a real sniping situation, you would use OD BBs to conceal your position and watching would be much more difficult.
The trigger was easy to use, if not exactly what I'm used to. It's a long single-stage pull with no creep, but a very long and fairly light pull. Except for the pull weight, that trigger got me ready for the trigger on the IZH MP 513M pellet rifle.
The 0.20g BBs ranged between 277 f.p.s. and 297 f.p.s., with an average of 288. The heavier 0.25g BBs ranged from 238 f.p.s. to 256 f.p.s., with an average of 247 f.p.s. I didn't try 0.12g BBs. When the power gets this high, there's usually no way the Hop Up can handle something that light.
This gun comes with a lot of nice features and accessories. I think it's a great value for the asking price. It can be used for informal war games among friends, but I don't think it's ready for the big time as it comes from the box. I didn't check into the availability of aftermarket parts, such as a tighter barrel and more powerful mainsprings. Knowing the airsoft market, I'd be surprised if they aren't out there. If you want to get into airsoft with a budget long gun, this is a bolt-action springer that has a lot going for it right out of the box.