by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

UTG 4-16 OP3 Compact
UTG 4-16X44 OP3 Compact scope.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Huh?
  • Pyramyd Air Cup
  • What makes this scope special?
  • The reticle
  • Reticle adjustments
  • True Strength scope tube
  • Sidewheel parallax adjustment
  • Bright optics
  • Compact
  • Rings included
  • The plan
  • Summary

Huh?

Okay, Lucy (from the TV series “I Love Lucy”) got some ‘splainin’ to do. Why is today Part One of a report on the UTG 4-16 AO Compact scope and yet there are links to Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4? Well, those links all go to the FX-Dreamlite that I last tested in July. At the end of Part 4 I said I had more to test, and this is the start of it.

As you know, the Dreamlight that I tested had problems delivering the accuracy we expect from an FX. It has the Smooth Twist II barrel, which we discovered is very pellet-specific, but I still have not tested it with a good range of pellets it likes — especially the heavier ones. I told you way back in July that there was more to test and today is the start of it.

I Part 3 I had mounted a UTG 8-32X56 SWAT scope on the rifle and went through the horrendous problem of sighting it in. Because the Dreamlite that I am testing is a super drooper I had a hard time getting it to zero. But I did zero the rifle and also shot some groups. Now I want to continue testing this rifle with today’s new UTG scope.

Pyramyd Air Cup

While I was at the 2019 Pyramyd Air Cup this year, the guys from Leapers showed me a brand-new second focal plane UTG scope — the one I am reporting on today. I was stunned by its clarity. That remark deserves some explanation, because it’s the same thing I said about the new Meopta Optika6 scope I just finished testing on the S510. While I don’t compare products, one to another, I will tell you that the Optika6 is a clear winner for clarity. But, by how much? And, are you willing to pay $650 for that edge, when this beautiful new scope costs $230? I bought the Meopta to have at least one scope that compared to a $3,000+ scope. But this UTG is hands-down the clearest scope you will see at this price or even perhaps a hundred dollars more.

What makes this scope special?

This isn’t the first 4-16 power scope you have seen. That range of powers is a wonderful blend for a lot of different shooting including plinking, hunting and some target shooting. There are many other scopes with a similar power range on the market, so what makes this one stand out? Here we go.

Etched reticle
MOA reticle
Illuminated reticle
True Strength scope tube
30mm scope tube with 44mm objective lens
Sidewheel parallax adjustment from 10 yards to infinity
Zero-lockable turret knobs
Low target turrets that adjust in MOA
Compact scope body

The reticle

Like I said, this reticle is etched on glass, so it stays clear and sharp. The illumination only lights up the central cross, which is perfect for hunting in low light because there is no flareup reflection on the inside walls of the scope tube. Plus, the EZ-Tap reticle has 36 potential colors and brilliances, so there will always be a color and intensity to suit the situation. And the illumination stays on until you turn it off so you aren’t fiddling with it all the time. Press either button for two seconds to turn it off.

The reticle is a sort of duplex with a marked MOA cross in the center to help with rangefinding and shot adjustment. The reticle has hash marks that are two MOA apart on both lines. These help a shooter get on target without adjusting the scope. You just move the hash mark where the pellet is striking over to your target. Field target shooters do it all the time on windy days.


This is the OP3 reticle. Both the elevation and windage are marked in MOA. Only the small cross in the center is illuminated. This image courtesy of Leapers.

Reticle adjustments

The reticle adjusts via lower knobs that are also marked in MOA. The clicks are very muted. I can’t hear them but I can just feel them. Fortunately for me they correspond to the markings on the scale, so a visual inspection of that scale is the most accurate way to keep track for me. The locking rings are smooth and positive. And you can loosen the adjustment knobs and turn them to zero on each scale after the scope is sighted-in. An Allen screw on the edge of each knob is loosened for this.

UTG OP3 reticle adjustment
Here you see how the reticle adjustment knobs are marked. You can also see the screws that are loosened to slip the adjustment knobs to zero.

True Strength scope tube

UTG’s True Strength scope tube is machined from a solid aluminum billet. Unlike some scopes with tubes made from parts that are pressed together, True Strength tubes are solid. That means the scope is extra rugged, and Leapers tests for this with Mil Spec shock tests.

Sidewheel parallax adjustment

Of course this scope has the parallax adjustment on the side. UTG has been an industry leader in putting it there. Perhaps you don’t understand why it is in that location. You only have to hold a heavy rifle with one hand one time while trying to reach out to the objective bell to adjust to appreciate why it’s there This is something airgunners did first and best. Just 5 years ago the firearm industry was doing backflips over this “new” innovation that we have enjoyed for more than two decades.

Leapers also sent along an 80mm adjustment wheel that I will attach, once the scope is mounted and zeroed. That’s the way you want it, because not only does the larger wheel give you more purchase for adjusting; if you re-calibrate your personal scope, a larger wheel gives more space for accurate yard markers. Not that a 4-16 scope is used for rangefinding very much, but hunters should appreciate it.

Bright optics

UTG scopes have always been bright and this one is no exception. The 30mm scope tube means the lenses inside the scope can be larger and the 44mm objective lens allows a lot of light to pass through. Of course when the light gets real low you can always do better when a lower magnification is selected.

Compact

This is one of the most attractive features. All this performance comes to you in a compact package. I have 4-16 scopes that weigh a pound more and are a good 4-inches longer. This scope isn’t quite in the Bug Buster class, but it isn’t a lot larger. It weighs 21.5 ounces and is only 11-1/8-inch long. It’s the size of a 4-power scope from 20 years ago. Now, that can be a good thing but also cause some concern. The length of the scope tube where the rings attach has to be shorter to keep the overall length down. That can make mounting on some airguns a little tricky. Tomorrow I will show you how I mounted it on the FX Dreamlite which is one of the most challenging PCPs to scope because of the tall 21-shot magazine that sticks out high above the top of the receiver.

Rings included

The scope comes with two Max Strength Picatinny/Weaver rings. If you want to mount it to an 11mm dovetail be sure to pick up a set of UTG 11mm (3/8″) Dovetail to Weaver Adapters.

The plan

The way I plan to test this new scope is to shoot the Dreamlite at 25 yards with pellets we have already seen tested. The first scope was a 32 power, so this 16-power will be challenged. But I did it with the 3-16 Meopota scope and I believe this one can do it as well. That will also give me a good idea of how sharp the image really is.

After we see that I plan to test the Dreamlite with other premium pellets to see if I can find a second one that’s good in this barrel. This UTG scope will stay mounted for that test, too.

Summary

It looks like UTG has brought out another great scope that we need to be aware of. The size is convenient, the features are impressive and if the performance bears out, we will have another excellent scope to consider.