It was time to update the Nikon P-223 3x scope on my Windham Weaponry SRC to a more powerful variable magnification scope.
I had recently made an update to the Ruger ‘Scout” rifle with a Leapers UTG 2-7×44 LER scope and I am very pleased with it. I am so pleased with it that I began to ponder another Leapers UTG scope for the WW SRC MSR. Of course, rifle scopes are plenty and I really considered the Nikon P-223 in 3-9×40. However, after researching scopes for the best quality for what little budget I had, and having the experience with the Leapers UTG 2-7×44 LER, I decided to try the Leapers UTG 3-12×44 Compact Tactical Rifle Scope. I had to have three things working for me, however.
- The first was that the scope must clear the rear Magpul sight, which I did not want to remove from the SRC. That was a function of rings and a set of UTG 30mm Law Enforcement, quick detach/lock; hi-profile scope rings (RQ2W3223) would tackle that issue.
- The second issue to contend with was eye relief. The UTG 3-12×44 Compact Tactical Rifle Scope has an eye relief of 3’ at the highest magnification level to 3.5” at the lowest magnification level. My mounting of the scope would require that the rear scope ring be as close to the rear sight base as possible.
- There was a third issue that is common with the ‘Stoner-Based Modern Sporting Rifle’ when adding a magnified optic, and that is having enough clearance to operate the charging handle. The charging handle release on the WW SRC is on the left side. Being a left-handed shooter, I would normally use my right hand to operate the charging handle and also to press the magazine release button. For the time being at least, and until I can purchase a charging handle with a release on the right side, or an ambidextrous charging handle, my usual routine is to pull the charging handle with my left hand while holding the forearm with my right hand – and I have no problem doing that. The scope rings took care of any operating rod clearance issues.
The scope was mounted in a matter of minutes; the Wheeler Professional Reticle Leveling System and Wheeler ‘Fat Wrench’ making the task faster and easier. With everything locked into place, let’s take a look at the scope itself.
First of all, the Leapers UTG 3-12×44 Compact Tactical Rifle Scope is robust and has a lot of features for the price paid.
- 30mm 1 Piece Tube for Maximum Light Transmission
- Built on True Strength Platform, Completely Sealed and Nitrogen Filled, Shockproof, Fogproof and Rainproof
- Provides Amazing, True and Consistent Extended Eye Relief for Shooters to Effectively Use on Any Firearm Where the Optics Cannot be Mounted Directly Above the Action
- Innovative EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing (IE) System with RGB in Dual-Color Mode and 36 Colors in Multi-Color Mode to Accommodate All Weather/Light Conditions (U.S. Pat. 8,437,079; EU Patent Pending)
- 1-Click High-tech Illumination Memory Feature Gets You Right Back to the Color/Brightness Setting Last Used
- Premium Zero Locking and Zero Resetting Target Turrets with Most Consistent and Precise 1/4 MOA per Click Windage/Elevation Adjustment
- Emerald Coated Lenses to Achieve Maximum Light Transmission for Best Clarity
- Unique 6 Mil-dot Tactical Range Estimating(TRE) Etched Glass Reticle for the Ultimate Performance
- Side Wheel Adjustable Turret(SWAT) for Parallax Adjustment from “True 10 Yards” Up, and Ready to Accept Optional Big Wheel to Achieve Finer Parallax Adjustment
- Practical TactEdge Angled Integral Sunshade
- Complete with Twist Lock Medium Profile Picatinny/Weaver Rings and High Quality Flip-open Lens Caps
- 3-inch to 3.5-inch eye relief.
- Adjustable eyepiece for fine-focusing.
First of all, I have really come to appreciate turrets that can be adjusted quickly without the use of tools; the UTG has them. Secondly, I really like the AO (Adjustable Objective) that allows quick focusing at varying distances. Most of my shooting takes place at an indoor range and I find, in some instances, that scopes will not focus when operated at short distances when the focal length dictates operation at medium and beyond distances. I have found this on even some expensive scopes that now sit on a shelf because of it. In addition to the side-adjustable AO (what UG calls a SWAT AO) the eyepiece diopter provides additional focusing capabilities.
I also like the fact that the adjustable turrets are lockable and can be set to my zero distance. If I need to zero at a different distance, I can (using ballistic software) re-adjust the scope for that zero, but quickly return to my original zero. The turret detents are positive and can be turned by the fingers. No tools needed, yeah! Once zeroed, I can also lock the turrets, and with the provided wrench, loosen the top cap a bit to set the cap indicator to my zero, and then lock the cap down.
The illuminated reticle is a nice touch. I appreciate it when sighting in on a dark target where the cross-hairs disappear. A push of a button or two on the EZ-Tap housing buttons gets me to the desired brightness and color. There are five levels of brightness for each red and green color. Press the R button for red and the left button for green to turn the color on. Then, press again, as necessary to adjust the color level or turn the color off. By default, the color is at the highest level when first selected. The Colors and brightness are controlled electronically. With thirty-six colors to play with, even Martha Stewart would be pleased. Once you get the desired color selected, a memory features allows you to save the setting so that you can return to it at next use. For Multi-color mode, simply press both the G and R buttons simultaneously for one (1) second. To vary the colors press either the R or G button until the desired color is achieved.
Also, the reticle is a MIL-DOT type and UTG provides a nice card with /TACTICAL MIL-DOT RANGE ESTIMATING’ information.
The UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Tactical Rifle Scope, AO, 36-color uses a single CR2032 3V battery that is mounted in a top housing and you get one as a spare. I can’t estimate battery life and none is provided in the specifications.
The 30mm tube allows more light to enter the scope, which makes it much brighter than with the one-inch scope that I had been using. The glass is crystal clear and the built-in sun-shade keeps the lens shaded when facing into the sun’s direction.
The 3” to 3.5” eye relief is near perfect for my eyes with the scope mounted properly. The 44mm objective lens and 30mm tube are definitely a plus.
The unit comes with a set of Picatinny/Weaver 30mm quad-mount scope mounts that, for the most part, are robust and more than adequate. As mentioned earlier, I did not use the rings that came with the scope and opted for a high-profile set for rear-sight clearance. If I need to remove the scope, for whatever reason, the QD levers on the scope rings allow me to do so. The center-line of the optic resides 2 7/8 inches above the bore of the rifle and I could not ask for better clearance between scope and rifle.
A down-side is the weight of the scope. At 25.4 ounces (1.5875 pounds), this is a heavy scope to be mounting, but the weight pays off when it comes to recoil, which is not much on a ‘Stoner-based Modern Sporting Rifle’ anyway.
There is an optional ‘wheel’ that can be purchased, which attaches to the side-parallax adjustment knob that allows you to ‘precision’ adjust the parallax. This device; however, is not needed in my viewpoint. The parallax was adjusted just fine, thank you.
Whether you need a ‘Tactical’ scope or would simply like to mount one on your favorite long-gun, the UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Tactical Rifle Scope, AO, 36-color might just be a good choice for you. For the price of the scope, there are a lot of features to be had.
I’ll soon be rounding out the WW SRC MSR with an ambidextrous charging handle and safety lever.
- Leapers UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Tactical Rifle Scope, AO, 36-color: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004KRA4YG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- UTG 30mm/2PCs Hi Pro LE Grade Picatinny QD Rings: 22mm Wide: https://www.amazon.com/UTG-30mm-Grade-Picatinny-Rings/dp/B004HIJCWS/ref=pd_bxgy_200_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B004HIJCWS&pd_rd_r=ME7B59R90V44W3VVCWEE&pd_rd_w=apI8X&pd_rd_wg=t7A8M&psc=1&refRID=ME7B59R90V44W3VVCWEE