by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, I want to tell you about the scope I mounted on the .25-caliber Benjamin Marauder. It’s a Leapers UTG Accushot 6-24X56 scope that comes with a 30mm tube, adjustable objective with sidewheel focus, and an illuminated reticle with 36 different colors and shades. Packed inside the box are a set of UTG 2-piece high rings that have Weaver bases. These bases present a problem for mounting to most airguns because 11mm dovetail grooves are far more common these days than Weaver dovetails on airguns, but Leapers does make an optional UTG Weaver-to-11mm adapter that fits inside the jaws of the scope mount base and makes it fit an 11mm scope mount. This adapter costs only $10, so it really isn’t a big deal; but you must have a set to fit this scope to your 11mm scope rails if you have them. Luckily, I have a set, so mounting the scope to the Marauder was no problem.
The UTG scope fits the Marauder well, and the power is suited to long-distance shooting. Lower rings were used to bring the height of the exit pupil down to eye level. These rings are also adjustable, and the scope is slanted downward to correct a barrel droop problem.
The one problem I did have was the scope is too high when mounted with high rings. I had to hold my head too high on the stock for a natural fit. The Marauder already has a receiver that’s above the barrel, so the scope doesn’t need as much extra clearance at the objective lens.
I discovered this problem while shooting those groups at 25 yards that were shown in Part 3 of the .25 Marauder report. I was able to hold my head high enough to shoot well; but it wasn’t comfortable, and I knew that for 50-yard testing the scope had to come down some.
Also I had to put a lot of elevation adjustment into the scope knobs to bring the groups up to the target. When I swapped rings, I intended to put a shim under the rear ring to offset a drooping situation. Fortunately, though, I found a vintage set of 30mm B-Square adjustable rings that could be adjusted in the rear to fix the droop. For most people who will use a fixed ring set, I think one shim would work fine.
Locking adjustment knobs
In the bad old days, our scope knobs did not lock. If someone were to give your adjustments a twist, you were thrown off target easily. I saw this happen deliberately on more than one occasion in a field target match.
This scope has a simple solution for locking the adjustment knobs that I’m growing very fond of. A knurled ring at the base of each knob is screwed down to lock the adjustments or up to loosen them. It’s quick and it works. There are other ways to lock scope knobs, including those that need Allen wrenches, but this UTG way needs no tools and is very quick, yet positive.
Adjustment knobs are clearly marked. The locking ring at the base of each knob is simply loosened to make adjustments, then tightened to lock it down. An Allen screw in the center of the knob allows the scale to be slipped to zero and locked down once the scope has been adjusted.
A single Allen screw in the center of each adjustment knob loosens to slip the adjustment index scale around to zero once you have the scope where you want it. That’s perfect for hunters who want to have several zeros on the same scope because they can always return to the starting point. For example, if you zero your scope’s elevation knob to impact the point of aim at 20 yards (as I do), then that becomes the zero point. The pellet may be back on zero at 32 yards, and all distances in between 20 and 32 yards are less than two pellet diameters above the intersection of the crosshairs.
But what if you want to take a shot out at 45-60 yards and not lose this zero? By knowing the trajectory of your pellet, maybe you know that if the pellet is set to impact on the point of aim at 55 yards it will be one inch low at 40 yards, a half-inch low at 50 yards and 3/4-inches low at 60 yards. And you know that 16 clicks of elevation will raise the impact point from 20 yards to 55 yards, so all you have to do is click up from the zero point by 16 clicks to set the new point of impact. When you’re finished shooting at that distance, you know that returning to the zero on the scale puts your gun back on at 20 yards.
This explanation has been just an example of how this process works. You have to find out for your particular rifle, power setting and pellet where the actual adjustments must be made.
This scope has superior glass. All the lenses are high-quality optical glass and, because the scope tube is 30mm in diameter, the lenses inside the scope are all larger than similar lenses inside a one-inch tube. Larger lenses mean more light can pass through, so your image appears brighter. Blog reader GunFun1 asked me to address low-light optics a couple days ago. A scope like this one is always going to be brighter than a scope of similar power but with a one-inch tube.
The mil-dot reticle is comprised of 2 parts. The outer lines are thicker and draw your eye into the thinner central lines. The thin central lines are separate from the outer ones. It looks like a duplex reticle because of the thick outer lines, but it is the inner lines that do all the work. They’re not wires and are not even drawn on the lens. They are etched into the glass. What that means is that when the illumination comes on at even its brightest level, there’s no flare of light on the inside of the scope tube. Those who have used illuminated reticles in the field will appreciate that, and those who haven’t won’t understand why it’s important.
If you hate illuminated reticles and never turn them on or even put a battery into your scope, you lose nothing with the UTG design. The reticle appears black all the time and needs no battery to be seen. And the battery compartment and electronic switches that operate the lights are miniaturized, so they add very little bulk to the scope’s profile. But if you need them, they’re there.
When I hunted in Germany in the 1970s, I once had to skip a perfect shot because I couldn’t see the reticle. The silhouette of the deer was centered in my field of view, but I wasn’t going to take a shot if I didn’t know exactly where the bullet would go. That’s a situation where an illuminated reticle would have been useful.
How clear are the UTG optics? Well, I have a test. There’s a house behind me whose roof is about 27 yards away. I look at the that roof’s shingles on a scope’s maximum magnification to see if the asphalt granules are sharp and defined. And I compare all scopes against the Hawke 4.5-14X42mm Tactical Sidewinder. I’ve rated some scopes down in the past based on this test, including some lower-end scope made by Leapers. This scope, however, shows an image that’s just as sharp as the Hawke and slightly larger. No Leupold scope that I own is sharper than this. I can clearly see common houseflies walking on the shingles.
The last thing I will say about the UTG optics is that they’re extremely adjustable. My shooting buddy, Otho, has been getting rid of his fine vintage scopes for several years because he can no longer adjust them enough to see the reticle lines. This includes Leupold scopes that many shooters regard as the best optics on the market. But all Leapers and UTG scopes have enough eyepiece adjustability for Otho to sharply focus the crosshairs both with and without his glasses. Because of that, he’s now able to shoot many rifles that he’d set aside for several years.
I haven’t thoroughly tested the accuracy or reliability of the adjustments, but so far they seem to be right on. Since I had to remount the scope to lower it, I’ll be sighting-in again, and perhaps that will afford the chance to check the adjustments once more. I can say that, up to this point, the adjustments have always moved the reticle without needing to fire the gun or bump the scope. There’s no reticle stiction to speak of.
This is not an inexpensive scope. Yet, compared to the Hawke or Leupold scopes with similar features, the UTG scope is budget-priced. At $230, you get a lot of performance — enough to start competing in field target, for example.
And don’t overlook the fact that the scope does come with some nice 2-piece rings. If they suit you, they do shave some money off the total price of scoping your airgun.
I would recommend this scope to anyone who wants a good long-range sight. It’s ideal for the Marauder on which it’s mounted.