UTG 4-16X56 Bubble Leveler scope: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

UTG Bubble Leveler scope
UTG 4-16X56 Bubble Leveler scope.

This report covers:

  • What is a bubble level scope?
  • Bubble levels in scopes are not new
  • Many years in the works
  • See the bubble
  • What do you have to do?
  • Great optics
  • So far
  • The test

Today I start reviewing my dream come true — The UTG 4-16X65 Bubble Leveler scope. It isn’t in stock yet, but the first shipment is in transit and Pyramyd Air is expecting them soon. Guys — this scope will rock the airgun world!

What is a bubble level scope?

A level on the gun allows you to put the barrel and action in the same orientation for every shot. When you do that, the sights that sit above the barrel are also in the same place every time. With scopes that sit far above the bore, this is very important, because tilting the reticle by just a few degrees (called canting) will throw the shot wide. At 50 yards I have moved a pellet as much as 6 inches, based on the orientation of the rifle. Read the report titled Why do you need a scope level? to find out more.

There are levels that attach to the outside of the gun. To use them you have to divide your vision between the sight picture and the bubble level. It takes two eyes to use one. Then there are levels that are built right into the scope, itself. With these you can see the bubble without taking your eyes off the target. For absolute accuracy, this is one of the best sighting tools to come along.

Bubble levels in scopes are not new

This scope is not the first scope with an internal bubble level to hit the market. I remember seeing one in the ’90s in field target matches. That was a Hakko brand scope, modified by a gentleman in Florida.

Several years ago Sun Optics came out with their own scope with an internal bubble level. I saw it at the SHOT Show, but have never actually tested one. At least one of our readers owns one, and perhaps he will give us his impressions.

Many years in the works

I talked to Leapers owner, David Ding for many years about producing a scope with an internal bubble level. About 5 years ago he told me they were starting the project. Veteran readers have read about this several times over the years.

David brought prototypes to several SHOT Shows, but he was never satisfied with the quality of the image or the visibility of the bubble. Then, at the 2016 show, he told me he had one he was finally proud of. For some reason I didn’t include that information in my SHOT Show report. It might have been because I have been telling you about it every year and I didn’t want to disappoint you if it didn’t come out.

But at the Pyramyd Air Cup last month Leapers brought it and I got to look through it! So did several readers of this blog who also attended. We all agreed — the optics are superb! And the bubble is quite easy to see when sighting.

UTG Bubble Leveler scope reticle
This is what the shooter sees when looking through this scope.

See the bubble

The reason to have the bubble built into the scope is to be able to see it when you are aiming at the target. With an external level you have to switch between eyes to see if the bubble is level. Theoretically, a bubble that’s in your sight picture should be easier to see and also to watch while you aim the rifle. I say “theoretically” with good reason.

Scopes with internal bubble levels have not been that clear or bright in the past. They have been dark and muddy and the bubble is only visible when the target is brightly lit. This new scope and bubble is very bright and visible! That’s what makes it stand apart from the rest of the crowd and that’s why I am so excited.

What do you have to do?

How does a scope with a built-in bubble level work? What does the shooter have to do? Well, relax. There is almost nothing to do except tilt the rifle until the bubble is bisected by the vertical reticle. Do that for every shot and you know the rifle is always firing in the same orientation.

Great optics

The scope we are looking at is a UTG (Under The Gun) scope from Leapers. That tells you the quality is already there. Besides the bubble it offers an illuminated etched-glass mil dot reticle with their EZ-TAP switches, a parallax sidewheel adjustment from 10 yards to infinity, emerald-coated lenses for superior light transmission and flip-up lens covers. The scope tube is 30mm, so the optics are large — again for optimum transmission of light.

So far

Up to this point I have not mounted the scope on a rifle. I’ve only held it in my hands. The bubble moves pretty quickly when you just hand-hold the scope. But, when there is a rifle underneath it I am thinking (and hoping) the bubble becomes more stable. That will be in my report, because this is the first time I have actually tried shooting with an internal scope bubble level. I did have a bubble level on my Ballard, though, and I found it relatively stable.

The test

I just had my second-generation .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder tuned for maximum shot count, and I’m planning to test it for you. I have decided to mount this scope on the rifle for this test. We already have a good accuracy baseline for that rifle, and this test will possibly show us if there is any improvement. The tune is not contributing to accuracy — it just gives many more shots per fill.

55 thoughts on “UTG 4-16X56 Bubble Leveler scope: Part 1

  1. Cool, I look forward to the rest of the report.

    Why not try it on a airgun that has a relatively high mechanical offset?
    Like a talon or a condor?

    I am sure a lot of us Airforce owners will be getting this scope. And ditching the external bubble level.

    I am also interested to see what he shot count on the .25 is now.



      • B.B.,

        In my opinion it would be a great idea to test this scope both with high mounts on a rifle such as the Condor AND test it with especially low mounts very close to the bore of, say, a Marauder, too. The difference in height will certainly have some effect. As an analogy consider the fact that higher decks on a vessel roll much greater distances than do lower decks. I have no idea what effect that will have on the scope’s performance, but it will be an interesting lesson to find out.

        Michael


  2. BB,

    You did not say anything about the price, as usual, so I checked it. At that price it is a no brainer. If it is good then I buy it.

    A normal carpenters level has two lines equidistant from the middle for easier as it is easier for the eye to see whether the bubble is exact between the line than seeing whether the bubble is bisected exactly. Is there any reason not to include those lines?

    Regards,

    August




    • Yogi,

      I just mounted one of these last night on top of my new RAW HM1000X.

      https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Hawke_Sport_Optics_HD_IR_Series_2_7x32_AO_Rifle_Scope_Illuminated_Mil_Dot_Reticle_1_4_MOA_1_Tube/3864

      This is an awesome little scope. The optics are clear and bright and the mil-dot reticle is not as thick as a telephone pole. I put it on there because I did not have any mounts that would work for the scope I was going to put on there, but this one may end up staying on there for a while.




          • RR

            Since we have a common interest in hunting feral pop-cans the “RRR” rating is good by me – added the 2-7×32 to the top of the wish list. 🙂

            I have scopes with 32, 40, 44, 50 and 56 mm objective lenses, guess that I have been a willing victim of the “bigger is better” disease.

            Been thinking too much about light gathering power and suffering the weight penalty. Since I don’t hunt black squirrels at midnight, I have come to the conclusion that the light weight smaller objective scopes are perfectly adequate for 99% of my usages.

            RR, I know you like sproingers but you should try a Maximus if you get a chance – I find it a fun light rifle for plinking even with the glow-thingy sights.

            Hank


            • Hank,

              For many years I used 15, 20 and 32mm objectives with not issues. I too was sucked in by the huge lenses and such, but after picking this up for a sweet deal I may have to try and find some more.

              I have considered and I am still considering the Maximus. I have several sproingers and an Edge to deal with the feral soda cans right now. When my grandson gets a little older I will likely have to have one so he will leave my others alone. 😉


              • RR,

                I can relate to your concern with your grandson – the main reason (excuse?) to get a Maximus for my granddaughter was so I could get my HW100 back from her 🙂

                I have done some trigger work and put in a lighter hammer-spring and it is shooting nicely. Have a Ruger 4×32 on the Maximus at the moment but I need to get an AO scope for it.

                I tried to get the EURO version (12 fpe, 65 shots per fill) but it was not available in Canada, too bad for that.


                • Vana2,

                  You can put an even lighter hammer spring in it or even better, make a new, smaller transfer port if you want to bring the power down even more. It is pretty easy and easy to change back out when she wants more power.


                  • RR,

                    Good suggestion about adjusting the transfer port – haven’t disassembled the rifle to that extent (yet) but I will look into as an option.

                    I talked to Crosman suggesting a 495 fps version of the Maximus for the Canadian market (under 500 fps doesn’t require a license) and the reply was that they “had no plans for a Canadian version”.

                    I think that attitude is pretty short-sighted on Crosman’s part. IMHO, the Maximus is an ideal youth rifle and I am sure that there are many (unlicensed) young people who would love a rifle of their own to go shooting with their parents. Heck, you never know when there will be a assault of feral soda cans where you will need the whole family up on the shooting line for the defense 🙂

                    Wonder if B.B. could talk to the Crosman/Benjamin Rep about a 495 fps Maximus.

                    Cheers!
                    Hank


                    • Hank,

                      From an engineering point of view, it would be simple to tune a Maximus down. From the marketing and manufacturing point of view it is not so simple.

                      First they would have to research if there is a viable market. Would sales support another production line for the Canadian “unlicensed” market?

                      Next you would have the issue of keeping all of the differing parts in the proper production lines so you do not have a weenie rifle going to the US market. Since the Maximus is already going to Canada as it is, imagine if you had two versions.

                      Finally, there is the issue of liability. As I said, the engineering would be simple. It would also be simple to reengineer an unlicensed version. I am certain Crosman has enough concerns with litigation without taking on the Canadian government.


                  • RR, No “Reply” link on your last post so I am using this one.

                    You bring up a lot of good points in your post. Being a “technical creature” I have a strong engineering perspective but I have thought of the marketing concerns…

                    In Canada we have a few (maybe half a dozen) outlets for high quality air rifles and pistols that cater to the serious airgunners.

                    Cost and visibility put these sources off the radar for the average shooter. Say Weihrauch or Feinwerkbau at a typical Canadian gun counter and the clerks will have no idea what you are on about. There is still a very strong RedRider “BB-gun” perspective applied to all air powered weapons.

                    Hardware and sporting goods stores that stock pellet guns carry a couple of C02 pistols, BB-guns and uber-magnum rifles that only an adult can cock. There is very little available that is suitable (price, weight, size, power, accuracy) for a young shooter (I was looking for years before I found the Maximus).

                    The full-power Maximus has to compete with adult pellet rifles. With a bit of advertising and availability through hardware and sporting goods stores already selling Crosman products a 495 fps version should do extremely well.

                    Liability and litigation should not be a concern as Canadian laws require persons to be at least 18 years old (old enough to drive and vote 🙂 ) to be able to purchase a pellet gun. Parents are responsible for the use of the rifles they would buy for the under age shooters in the family. Think that Crosman would be in the clear.

                    This litigation thing is a sore point with me – normal intelligent people have to suffer compromised products (eg. 5 pound triggers and luke-warm coffee!!) because stupid people do stupid things, mis-use the product and then sue the manufacturer.

                    Would like to see Crosman/Benjamin do well with the Maximus; would like to see more people have access to the rifle (I could sell 3 right now) but it is not really my battle. I am licensed 🙂

                    Anyway, off of my soap-box. Weather is decent today so I’m off to do some shooting. Hope you are enjoying you new RAW!

                    Hank



        • SL,

          I picked it up Saturday and have not had the opportunity to shoot it yet. What I can tell you so far is it is well crafted and functions butter smooth. It is like riding around in a VW Bug for years and then taking a Porshe for a ride. Hopefully life will allow me a little free time this weekend.


      • What caliber RAW did you get? I’ve shot .177 and .30 and they were both awesome. The 30 would stack pellets at 35 yards but the one hole that it made was pretty awesome 🙂 I only live about two hours away from the factory.

        Brent


        • Brent,

          Mine is .357. I am crossing over into the Deep Dark Side. Soon I hope to see what she will do at 100 yards. I would love the opportunity to slide down there sometime. It is about 8.5 hours from here.




  3. Pingback: UTG 4-16X56 Bubble Leveler scope: Part 1 | Airguns: Air Rifles and Pistols

  4. I had a Sun Optics 6-24×56 side focus illuminated reticle 30mm tube with bubble level for a bit. The bubble level in it worked great, however the optics were dark at the higher powers. Also, that scope was huge!

    I very much liked the bubble level. It was very easy to use and in no time it became second nature to level everything up. If the optics had been brighter (better light transmission) I probably would have kept it. I traded it to Lloyd for a Leapers 3-12×44 SWAT Compact.

    This thing is most definitely going on my Wish List.


  5. B.B.,

    Very nice. This is the same scope that I have on the M-rod,… minus the level. I see the scope “link” also shows indicating lines below the W/E knobs. Mine have a lock ring at the bases’, but even their “tool free” version does not have lines below the knobs,… so I think this is new. The magnification #’s face the shooter also. Mine face away. Thank you UTG for making things better.

    The battery compartment hides the mag. level mark. I find that if I am all dialed in at 70,.. and see something at the 100,.. I must come up off the scope/butt to change the mag level. Something on the side would be nice. Right side in my case as I shoot left. A mag. indicator illuminated in the scope picture? Or, a mag. adjustment ring that could be “split” and re-positioned so as the # and line could be seen at 9, 12 or 3 O-clock? That would require lines to be at the 9,12 and 3,.. not just the 12.

    Nice job on the scope leveling link also! There is also another link that article that is REAL good that illustrates the whole scope/gun leveling/canting concept. Both are worth the time to re-check out.

    Be sure to let us know the specifics of the M-rod adjustments, if you happen to know. Assuming nothing internal was done,…. it should be easy to say if the hammer spring is 2 turns out from full back,.. the striker is 3 turns out from full back,.. and the port screw is 4 turns out from fully bottomed.

    Looking forward to future testing.

    Chris



      • RidgeRunner,

        Thank you for that. Wow! Talk about something that has ALL the “bells and whistles”! For what it has, not a bad price either. Now that I have seen that,.. I am a bit surprised that UTG did not go the electronic route for the leveling device.

        I shoot the M-rod off a short bi-pod. So, no excuses for my level being off. I do wish that today’s featured product had been out before. Oh well,….. there will always be something new coming out.


        • Chris,

          It does have three drawbacks.

          1. It eats batteries like I eat M&Ms. You have to buy the power pack.

          2. The supplied IR light is about worthless. You have to buy the next step up.

          3. Add the scope, power pack and light and you have a fairly hefty amount of weight added to you rifle. You can put the power pack on a belt, but the scope still is a big bugger.


  6. B.B.,

    Glad you are taking a look at this unit. Like Chris, I have the model without the level, although mine is mounted on a Hatsan Gladius. A bubble would indeed be helpful since the weight of this scope makes the rifle prone to canting. This should be a valuable improvement for a scope that is already a best-buy for delivering decent optics and very good mechanics at a modest price. I’m thinking that this could be an option for serious target shooters on a budget.

    Thanks!

    Walt


  7. B B, just a small fyi, I had a UTG 4-16X44. After two of them went South, they offered to replace it with a comparable glass reticle model. After doing a little research, I discovered the only comparable was the 4-16X56. I then did some measuring of the O.D. and the gap to the action. Even though they send tall rings, the medium fit perfectly and keep the scope about 3/16″ closer to the bore centerline on my NP2.


    • Mobilehomer,

      I did something similar when deciding on a scope for the M-rod. I actually made a full scale (flat) paper mock up of the scope (and) one of the action to butt area of the gun. The UTG site was great on providing all of the critical dimensions. In doing this,.. I was able to take eye relief amount into account,.. based on other rifles. Also, turret body/mound over loading port interference,.. which turned out to be not an issue. And,.. it also became blatantly obvious that I needed an off-set rear ring. All of that, along with the ring(s) specifications and I was able to be 100% confident that everything would work right the first time.

      Well worth the time and research.

      Interesting too was that as the scope power went up, the only thing that really grew was the front bell length. Yes, the other areas did too,…. but not by much,.. if at all.




  8. Does it matter if the cross-hairs in the scope are off perpendicular with the axis of the rifle by a degree or two so long as the hold is consistent?

    or can accuracy at different ranges be affected by difference in alignment? if so what is the best way to align the scope axis and the rifle axis?


    • 6.5,

      In my opinion,…. a weighted string, hung from the ceiling will insure the scope level. View it through the scope.

      The gun,…. use a level that will clamp to the dove-tail.

      That said,…. I agree that IF the hold is repeated,…. the shot will be the same,…. regardless of minor misalignments.



    • 6.5,

      The way I align the reticle with the rifle is I insure the bottom of the reticle is bisecting the center of the action. I have never had an issue with this method and it is quick and easy. If you are feeling a bit more anal, Chris’ method works great also. If are feeling real anal, you can spend all kinds of money on a leveling kit.

      As BB pointed out, consistency is the important factor. If your hold is repeatable, your results will be repeatable.


  9. Is there supposed to be a bubble visible in the sight picture of the scope? If so, I can’t see it. But I can appreciate the idea. Super shot, David Tubb, describes a system he worked out with a bubble level over his iron sights. So, he would jump back and forth between his sight picture in one eye and the bubble in the other. It seems like a good idea, and I can only imagined the shots I’ve missed without a bubble level.

    Sirinako, just saw your post about the Mosin M44 for the other day. It’s a nice reproduction. But reproductions try to recreate an original, and I have reservations about the M44. While the Mosin 91/30 is very long, it is surprisingly easy to shoulder for me, and the long barrel absorbs the stiff recoil. I can only imagine the recoil from the shorter M44 which also produces a giant fireball which is not very safe. With all these, you lose a lot of the accuracy that makes the Mosin such an appealing gun. And I can certainly dry-fire my full-length rifle at my range which is something that I should be doing more of anyway.

    Still, I appreciate the attention paid to the Mosin design for this gun, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

    Matt61


  10. BB:

    A while back you mentioned that UTG was coming out with new 3 – 12X Bug Buster scope. Do you know when it will be available and price range?

    The reason that I am asking is that right now I have one more air rifle than scopes. I have a 3 – 9X Bug Buster mounted on CCS 2400 that I really like. I’m looking for a light weight scope to mount on my 1377 (steel breech, 18″ barrel, and shoulder stock). I had a UTG 3-9 hunter scope mounted on the 1377 but moved it to my Sheridan Blue Streak.

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a scope for the 1377?

    Thanks,

    Jim



    • Jim

      I have a 1377 that is similarly modified. It has a .22 cal 18″ barrel, furniture from the 2289 (can’t recommemd that enough) and the aforementioned steel breech. It is outfitted with the 3-9 x 32 bugbuster, and I like it quite a bit. The problem is, as I am sure you are aware, that the Crosman steel breach is rather short in terms of dovetail real estate. This limits your options as to the position of the scope. With the stubby length of the bugbuster your options are even more limited, there is basically no leeway. Fortunately the one place it fits happens to provide propper eye-relief. Your mileage may vary.

      I used to recommend the Leapers Goldenimage which was a 3-9 x 32 with no reticle illumination. It was light, inexpensive and had impressive optics for the price. I have at least 4 of them, maybe more. Alas, PA does not carry them anymore.


    • Jim,

      Up higher in this blog I recommended a small Hawke to Yogi and provided a link. You really should check into one of these. The optics are so clear and it will focus down to point blank range. It is only a 2-7×32, but how much do you really need? Right now I have it mounted on top of my new RAW HM1000X in .357. I will probably end up going to a higher power as I start to “stretch it’s legs”, but for now this will do just fine out to around 50 yards.



  11. Years back when I bought an FWB602 used it came with Gehmann sights installed (stock sights in a box) and there is a bubble level up under the front sight. My understanding is that the level is verboten in ten meter competition so I have always wondered what sort of shooting this setup was intended for. The rear sight has a fairly long anti-glare tube on the front side of it too. Anyone out there have any ideas? I don’t shoot competitively so I’ve kept the bubble level in place. What the heck, gives me one more thing to worry about when I’m shooting!

    Every so often I get the urge to blow some money on one of those multi-colour filter rear units, lenses etc. Sure it won’t improve my shooting in the least but they really look cool, don’t they? 🙂


    • Nowhere,

      If I am not mistaken, those sights are for 50 meter rifle competition.

      When I had my FWB601 I considered getting one of those level front sights and also a magnifying rear aperture and adjustable front iris.

      I did pick up a short loading port cover and mounted a scope on it for a while and shot 50 it out to 50 yards. It makes for a dandy mini-sniper.

      When you do not have to follow the rules, you can have all kinds of fun with a 10 meter rifle and pistol.


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