UTG 4-16X44 OP3 Compact scope : Part 1

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.

60 thoughts on “UTG 4-16X44 OP3 Compact scope : Part 1

  1. I have several UTG scopes. Tell me is this is normal: I’ll adjust up or left and the pellets don’t change the poi. But the next day the adjustment will have taken hold, and will stay there.



      • Sorry I’m late to reply. So should I leave the turrets unlocked for a few shots, tapping I’ve tried and doesn’t help much. It seems like waiting a day helps the most.


        • Edw

          Are we talking about a temperature change here ???
          It may only take 10 or 15 degrees to stick or unstick a scope.
          I have some scopes that are very sticky when it is cool (not real cold) , but work fine when they are warm.
          tt


          • That is interesting. I’ve actually been leaving the troublesome one in the garage to avoid temp changes. At the moment we’re 40-60f. I’ll take it inside for a night at 72 and see what happens.


            • Edw
              Another thing…
              On a SUNNY warm day with little wind, the scope can get warmer than ambient air temp.
              A scope that is temp sensitive for sticking will drive you nuts.

              Another thing…
              If you are adjusting up or right and it seems to stick, adjust it farther than you need to by 1/2″ or so, then tap on it . Check to see that it now shoots farther than you needed, then back up the adjustment by the offset “extra” and see if it is in the right place now.

              tt


    • B.B.,

      In True Strength scope tube
      You got unwelcomed help from the predictive text Gremlin!
      “UTG’s True Strength scope tube is machined from a solid aluminum bullet” (billet).

      shootski


    • Edw
      Like BB said. Stiction.

      When I adjust a turret be it one or both I tap each turret a couple times then shoot.

      And that is the reason I don’t use scope turret clicks to adjust for different distance shots.

      I’m a hold over and under guy along with windage holds. Good ole Kentucky windage for me. I zero my scope at a given distance to keep my poa to poi in a given kill zone as much as possible in a range of distance. That’s where Chairgun comes in handy. Their program even has matching reticles to match the scopes they make.

      Basically what I’m saying is when my scope is zeroed on the money at a given distance it stays that way. Then it’s all about the Kentucky windage.


  2. B.B.,

    So,… they have made the glass more clear than previous glass? I notice an “OP3″ in the description. Is that a designator for their newer/clearer glass?

    Side note: The P.A site does not list the length in their product description. You did, as 11 1/8”. Thought that maybe they would like to know.

    Good Day to you and to all,……. Chris


  3. B.B.,

    I’ve commonly encountered significant darkening of the image when the magnification is turned up. Is there an objective manner this can be measured? Most likely not in my opinion but it would be nice if there was a way.

    Siraniko

    PS: Section Summary second sentence: “The size is convenient, the features ate (are) impressive and if the performance bears out, we will have another excellent scope to consider.”



    • Siraniko,

      This is always a difficult one to ‘splain but I’ll give it a try. Most folks only look at the light transmission numbers on the box or users manual which is certainly a good first thing to look at since it has mostly to do with how high the quality of the lens glass and which lens have coatings. But your question is the real one that most of us notice with variable magnification scopes. The cause is the exit pupil. Riflescopes are optical devices. They use light to transmit an image through lenses, just like our eyes do. Think of the scope’s exit pupil like our own pupils. The larger the exit pupil, the more light is transmitted through the optics of the scope. The formula for exit pupil is: objective lens diameter in millimeters / magnification = exit pupil in millimeters. Example: a 6x scope with a 30mm objective has a 5mm exit pupil (30 / 6 = 5). A neat way to get a look at a scope’s exit pupil is to hold the scope at arms length and look through it. The “light pencil” you see through the scope is the exit pupil. Try a variable power scope at low magnification and then again at high magnification and observe the difference. More magnification equates to smaller exit pupil size, thus less light reaching your eye. Exit pupil affects a couple of things. Light transmission is less when magnification is greater. Also, the larger the exit pupil the less critical you head placement needs to be when looking through the scope. Sounds great doesn’t it? Simply get the scope with the biggest exit pupil possible…not so fast, you have an entry pupil and it can only open so far (each of us is a little different) and an exit pupil on a scope larger than your eye’s entry pupil is lost as far as light transmission is concerned; it does make the eye box larger (the area you can have your eye behind the scope and not have the black ring start to show) but that has nothing to do with the darkening with increased magnification settings on a variable power scope.
      Fixed magnification scopes with the same size, magnification, and quality lenses will always have better light transmission because they have fewer lenses than variables and therefore fewer air to glass surface transitions for the photons to get lost.

      Hope that answers your question.

      Shootski


    • Siraniko,

      Check out the HAM sight for recent back articles. They recently got a machine to measure/quantify everything you are asking about. Graphs, charts,… the whole deal. It is quite interesting and surely what the better scope makers use when developing new products.

      Trust me,… you will learn more than you wanted to know! 😉

      Chris


    • Siraniko,

      I will add,…. that/this is the type of (quantitative) information that we consumers need to make an informed purchasing decision. HAM does it now,…. but I do not believe it will ever become an industry standard in scope advertising. On the other hand,… if I were a top scope maker,… I would be laying it (ALL) out, for all to see,… along with product results of more inferior competitors.

      Chris



        • Siraniko,

          Good! Please give us some feed back once you have “wrapped your head around it” for a bit. I only quick scanned the several articles,… so I can not say that I can speak of it with any,… ?,… anything! 😉

          My quick take of it did leave me with the impression that “this” is a quick/(quantitative) way of cutting through the BS and speculation with regards to scopes.

          Chris


      • Chris USA,

        Fortunately the rabbit wasn’t too deep. Trioptics is the name of the company making the instrumentation possible for the objective measurement of a scope’s quality. They seem to have partnered with HAM to promote their product. This is not something that would be available for the backyard scientist yet.

        Siraniko


  4. This looks like a good scope and specifically the adjustment knobs and just the sort of reticle very well suited for hunting or precision target shooting open in the middle like it is. I even have a gun and mount in mind for this scope. Some of you here would cringe, but i have a very plastic 22 NP Gamo CAT trigger 2nd stage screw replaced and even after making sure with mallet its safe. Right now i have a bug buster on it to keep the weight down. So the guns not a bug buster and this scope seems the right solution.

    I wont even try going into detail about the rifle as in theory it has what i would say were negatives low weight & made mainly of plastic and not great plastic at that and absolutely needs artillery hold and yet every time it comes to grabbing it and dispatching a squirrel i manage to hit the mark the thick reticle of the bug buster is the real issue and this scope looks like the proper solution.



      • Well besides the size that target reticle and i dont know the proper nane for it is the same used in the SWFA target scopes and Athlon argos btr 10-40×50 SFP only with the addition of the arguably superior 36 color lighting. Only one very big issue i have with every UTG scope i have seen with 30mm body and that is without exception they dont have real sunshades just the sloped hood and extended scope cap and in use that setup just is not good enough for hunting.

        I suppose they don’t think it is a big deal, but that alone is the reason i have purchased scopes from other manufacturers.



          • BB,

            That is where they needed to go. As Mike has said, that little awning is pretty much worthless.

            My old SWAT Compact came with a real sunshade along with having an awning. It does not have a lighted reticle either. They have sunshades for the Bugbusters. I wish I had one for my 4-16X56.


        • I am sold then. I see Shootski opened the whole can of worms with exit pupil and i hardly am more than casually knowledgeable clarity of glass and light transmission is important but the clarity and lack of aberrations in the glass matter more than the excessive exit pupil sizes in point of fact take this scope for instance at minimum magnification you get an exit pupil of 11mm and that is letting a lot of light through, but your iris is opened a max of perhaps 5mm when you are young and smaller when you are older, but ok these are very rough averages and lets just assume for arguments sake an opening of 5mm so all the light of the image you can take in is the light within that 5mm so the clarity of the glass really comes into play.

          Also if you get a large objective scope at low power the more the distance to target the more it will matter how centered you are in the exit pupil field of view. I think this is the main reason benchrest scopes are so high power it makes the exit pupil so small that you have to be exactly centered on a sub 2mm exit pupil in order to even get the image and at those high magnifications you get no depth of field and that is what makes ranging by focus work. I find a big advantage in short range pesting having a scope on minimum magnification for target acquisition and having raised cheek piece to keep me straight behind the exit pupil. It has been a very long time since i read up on the formulation of glass and lens aberration balancing and the complexities involved for high quality ED variable magnification scopes, but glass is not clear and making class as clear as it can be well i do know from the prices and how affordable higher quality glass has become.


          • Mike Ogden,

            Well Mike. Shame on me! Lol

            See my post about zero magnification or say 1.25 – 1.5 for the low end on variables for beginners to scopes and pesting in yesterday’s blog comments.

            I could (should) have thrown out the Seven deadly sins of optical systems: Phillipe von Seidel had identified and mathematically described the 5 monochromatic aberrations (spherical aberration, coma, distortion, field curvature, and astigmatism) by the mid seventeenth century. The other two major aberrations, longitudinal and lateral chromatic aberration, were known well before by almost everyone with eyes. Thank God! If those last two didn’t exist we would have NO Rainbows and therefore no Pots O’ Gold to find…. I think we are in WILD agreement!

            shootski


            • Yep i should have read your post you said everything i said only perhaps better than my lame attempt. I have noticed though even though i need more practical experience with high quality scopes or just better than the ones i have.

              I know the non variable scopes are going to be better and i almost opted on my last purchase for a SWFA 20×42 for that reason, but in the end needed higher magnification. I am interested in the chemistry of the lenses and of the coatings and the resulting quality of those combinations. My first light gathering dawn dusk scope i purchased about 9 years ago a cheap[ish] Barska 2-24×60 and it was a model they changed the manufacturing on they make a scope with the same specs and it is clear and sharp better light transmission than every other scope i own. Oh i would never put it on an air rifle so i have a hard time believing the glass is that much better so i am left wondering about the coatings and would love to find some resource that describes them and their properties in some depth. Asking just in case you or anyone reading this knows of such a resource?


            • Yep i should have read your post you said everything i said only perhaps better than my lame attempt. I have noticed though even though i need more practical experience with high quality scopes or just better than the ones i have.



  5. B.B.,

    I will seriously consider purchasing one of these if your test is exceptionally positive. It is priced quite a bit higher (despite its affordability for what it is) than the Bug Buster I already have and like very much. But as my eyes age, I find I want a scope more and more. It took very klittle for me to grow tired of moving my scope around from air rifle to air rifle, so a second one would make a significant difference.

    Michael


  6. BB,

    Once again you are being the Great Enabler.

    As with Edw, I have several UTG scopes and have been pleased with them, most especially compared to anything else in their price range. I really like that glass etched reticle. I wish UTG would offer that in the Bugbuster. Speaking of which, I picked up a used 3-12X32 Bugbuster with sidewheel at the Show the other day. Nice.

    P.S. Any of you out there in LaLa Land who have not had one of these SWAT Compact scopes, though they are smaller than most others, this is still a good size scope. These new low turrets will help, but that 30mm tube makes this thing chunky. They are great scopes and rugged as all get out, but the size will surprise you anyway.


  7. Hi BB,
    I always like reading about companies that up their game by providing better products and companies that listen to customers. I appreciate UTG for this.
    As a left handed user I find side focus scopes to be very inconvenient for range fining. I either have use my right hand and reach over the scope to adjust the AO or I have to hold the rifle with my right hand and adjust the scope with my left hand. Someone told me that he had turned AO scopes upside down and that it will work but I have not tried that. I would have to mount the scope fairly high and the left/right and up/down adjustments would be backwards. I don’t really see a good solution to this problem so I stick to front focus scopes.

    David Enoch



    • David: I, too, am a Leftie (which means, of course, I/we are in our right minds) and deal with the right-handed world as you do. I guess I don’t understand why one wouldn’t support the rifle with the off/right hand and move the trigger hand up to the AO turret? It would seem actually quite natural to me – maybe because I’ve had 72 years of work-arounds?

      I have a greater problem with cross-bolt type safeties. They are always, of course, backwards. This is exacerbated if the pistol grip is good sized on either a rifle stock or an actual handgun. A smallish grip can often be “sneaked around” by a thumb (often a good reach) and the button moved. Otherwise, it is drop the trigger/left hand under the trigger guard to thumb the cross bolt from below – and annoying solution.

      We suffer the indignities of “right-mindedness” together!


      • LFranke,

        I am 100% right handed,.. but shoot rifle 100% left. I am a fan of side of AO (left),.. and have no complaints. After all,.. I am not looking at the side wheel. I am looking through the scope for the clearest image. The wheel marks will change based on ambient temperature and so on. Ever see a pro’s side wheel with 3 different markings/scales?

        I will say though,… a right,.. or even a ((top AO??)) side wheel might be a consideration.

        Right now,… no complaints.

        Chris



  8. BB
    I have had I know at least one UTG scope with those locking and zeroing turrets. They aren’t new are they? They just have them on this particular scope also is what I’m thinking.



      • BB
        Oh ok that may be so.

        Would like more info about why they chose shorter turrets. What’s the difference between these short ones and normal ones is what I would really like to know.



          • BB
            I was wondering if it changes how much poi changes per click.

            Maybe it’s a more precise amount per click? In other words it takes more clicks to get the same movement as a regular turret. That’s what I like from a scope. I like the scopes that move a 1/8″ per click rather than the usual 1/4″ per click at a 100 yards.

            Not many scopes are a 1/8″ per click. I had a 30 mm tube sidewinder Hawke scope on one of the FX Monsoons I had. It was almost a $500 scope. But what I’m getting at it was a very precise scope when adjusting the turrets. Maybe they accomplished that with the UTG scope your testing with the short turrets.

            But that’s what is in my my mind. That would be nice especially at the cheaper cost of this UTG scope compared to that Hawke scope I had.


  9. B.B.

    Sounds like an interesting scope. I just wish it was in Milradians. They are so much easier to range find by “bracketing”. Any chance they they will offer a different reticle?

    -Y


    • Yogi,

      This reticle of scope IS marked off in millradians! I said that up front. The reticle hash marks are two mils apart. It doesn’t get more millradian than that, does it?

      Maybe you mean something else, but I’m not seeing what it is.

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        I know it is Halloween, but your article clearly states:
        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

        I was under the impression that MOA=1 inch at 100 yards, MIL=10 centimeters at 100 meters.

        I swear I have not touched the punch, yet!
        For FT Hunter class MIL is much easier to use. MOA has to many hashmarks to count.

        -Y


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