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0% Success Rate with UltraDot Optics

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Post by JRV 2/23/2024, 8:41 am

I have now had two Ultradots fail in identical ways during matches.  One on a .45, and now one that has only been mounted to a .22.  Both were purchased new through MidwayUSA in May of 2023. 

In both cases, the rings failed, despite following the factory mounting instructions.  Then, the rheostat detents failed. Rings are not a big deal.  But, the power knob failure is a major problem.

I shot the unit on my .45 with new Burris rings after the split rings failed.  That fixed the scope creep and zero loss issues for one match… and then the rheostat detents gave out the following month.  I had it repaired under warranty. 

I did not have the option to try new rings with the unit on my .22. The rheostat came loose during the same match as the ring failures. 

That’s a 0% success rate, and it only cost me about $500, plus the costs of warranty repairs/shipping for the .45 unit, to end up back at square one with no reliable optics.  A sample size of two with two identical failure patterns is enough for me to never recommend a product or company ever again.  To me, as an end user, that’s sufficient evidence of fatal materials, assembly, or QA problems (or any combination of the three) to completely lose my trust. 

If any part of the shooting community is supporting the UltraDot business, it’s the bullseye community, but it appears their current production optics are no longer suitable even for .22 only use.

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Post by Pinetree 2/23/2024, 8:46 am

I have two Ultradots and a Matchdot with zero issues, but they were all purchased six or seven years ago.

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Post by JRV 2/23/2024, 9:06 am

I had a fairly positive warranty experience with the company, too.  I was able to speak to real, live human beings on the phone, and I was kept apprised of repair efforts and timing.  

Not being involved in the manufacturing process, I can only speculate as to whether a batch of imported products were unsuitable (and were wrongly accepted) or whether something changed in the product specifications as ordered from OEMs.  Either way, it's disheartening to have this experience with a major, well-reputed manufacturer with a significant history in our sport.  I was prepared to deal with potential negative magnification issues; I was not prepared to purchase a paperweights for a half-grand.

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Post by chiz1180 2/23/2024, 9:31 am

fwiw I have seen aimpoints fail too. This is why when I go to a match I typically bring a metallic sight option for a back up. Make sure your gun is sprung correctly too, if it is under sprung you are putting the optic under more shock load than it should be. 

This may not necessarily be your situation but often people who run reduced shortline loads with hotter longline loads don't have their gun sprung correctly for the longline loads, prioritizing the function of the reduced loads.
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Post by RoyDean 2/23/2024, 9:35 am

I have owned at least a dozen Ultradots - all versions. The products are great for Bullseye. I continue to confidently say that the 1" 4moa typically presents the cleanest, roundest, most consistent dot image on the market for the average Bullseye shooter. (The Elite Shooters might have different opinions).

But, I have had to return numerous units to the UD Service Center. The service is excellent and the repaired units are returned very promptly, cost pretty much equating to postage cost. My issues have mostly related to tubes coming loose (some of those were due to me not positioning rings correctly - must keep the rings very close to the central body) and thereby "de-gassifying" which eventually leads to internal misting, etc. But I've also experienced thread sealant particles detaching themselves and floating around internally and also the fact that for the 30mm units the dot is typically not located concentrically in the middle of the field of view (this issue is usually not a big issue until you try to put Photoescape apertures at both ends of the tubes - OK, the Elites tell me that is not good or necessary anyway!).

So, whilst I have generally moved on to Aimpoint 9000sc on most of my Bullseye guns (and I still have a couple of Aimpoint H1's on certain guns that are not suited to 9000's), I continue to recommend the Ultradots (particularly the 1" 4moa) for typical Bullseye shooters.

They are good value, excellent dot image, good after-sales service. The OEM vertical split rings are totally naff, but there are numerous horizontal split rings (from inexpensive Monstrum to ultra-strong Warne Maxima readily available). I have read that the Military Marksmanship Units generally chose to move on from Ultradots because, accorsing to testing by their armorers, the UD turrets are less precise and the zero might not return correctly (e.g. after clicking up for 50 and back down for 25), but I have to say that I never experienced that issue.

Bottom line. Good value for money, great dot image, holds resale value. Whats not to like!

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Post by DA/SA 2/23/2024, 9:41 am

JRV wrote: I was prepared to deal with potential negative magnification issues; I was not prepared to purchase a paperweights for a half-grand.
True, and understandable, but you still haven't approached the price of one Aimpoint Micro. Smile
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Post by PhotoEscape 2/23/2024, 10:19 am

RoyDean wrote:...... the fact that for the 30mm units the dot is typically not located concentrically in the middle of the field of view (this issue is usually not a big issue until you try to put Photoescape apertures at both ends of the tubes - OK, the Elites tell me that is not good or necessary anyway!).

Not to hijack OP's tread, but feel that this warrants clarification.  All red dot tube style sights have emitters mounted off-the-center.  Hence projection of the dot is not and can not be concentric with dot's horizontal axial from end to end.  Installing apertures on both ends of the tube, especially when using rings with smaller ID on the shooters end, and trying to create laser-like experience, will not work correctly when moving from 50Y to 25Y.  Ultradots are more susceptible to such effect than Aimpoints.  However by design, aperture rings should only be installed at the target end of the tube.  Rubber Band Ring, using Dr. Norman Wong's terminology, the ring with ID same or very close ID of the tube should be used on shooter's end.  That's how Elite shooters use Aperture rings.

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Post by JRV 2/23/2024, 10:31 am

RoyDean wrote:

Bottom line. Good value for money, great dot image, holds resale value. Whats not to like!

I like things to work and to have a proper defect rate for mass manufacture, especially when the thing in question is a design that has remained pretty unchanged for several decades and is considered one of the "standards" in the sport.  A good warranty is an unnecessary warranty.  

Even if we assume your largest sample size (12) and the smallest possible qualification of "numerous" (2 or 3), that's a defect rate (uncentered dots, loose tubes, improperly applied thread sealant) you have personally experienced of 16 to 25%.  That's anecdotal, but even then, that's completely unacceptable.  Could you imagine if one out of every four or five bullseye pistols from a brand needed to go back to the factory because of defects?

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Post by RoyDean 2/23/2024, 10:43 am

JRV. Fair comment. I guess that's why, at some considerable expense, I've switched to Aimpoints!

Sadly, I recently had to send a 9000sc back to Aimpoint due to a loose tube (am I a complete numpty? Don't answer that!), even though it had only ever been mounted on a Kodiak.

So. About $200+ for a 1" UD. $500+ for a 9000sc.

There are lots of other brands in between, or even cheaper. Ya pays ya money and takes ya chance!

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Post by Merick 2/23/2024, 11:54 am

Vertical split rings are garbage, no argument there.

For what they are they are still priced like it is 1995 and there are no other options, which is no longer the case.

I've got a holosun 403 on a .22 and am pleased with it, thought I'm not sure how it would cope on a 45 slide mount.

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Post by Steve B 2/23/2024, 12:34 pm

I had 2 Ultradots fail over a couple year period about 10 years ago.  I switched to Aimpoint Micros and haven't had an issue since.  I've sold a couple with guns but still have 4.
What's nice about the Micro is you can position where you want on the gun.  Use the aluminum base or add one of Fred Tott's steel bases for extra weight.  They have virtually no parallax issues, while Ultradot parallax is very evident.

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Post by hengehold 2/23/2024, 11:46 pm

JRV wrote:I have now had two Ultradots fail in identical ways during matches.  One on a .45, and now one that has only been mounted to a .22.  Both were purchased new through MidwayUSA in May of 2023. 

In both cases, the rings failed, despite following the factory mounting instructions.  Then, the rheostat detents failed. Rings are not a big deal.  But, the power knob failure is a major problem.

I shot the unit on my .45 with new Burris rings after the split rings failed.  That fixed the scope creep and zero loss issues for one match… and then the rheostat detents gave out the following month.  I had it repaired under warranty. 

I did not have the option to try new rings with the unit on my .22. The rheostat came loose during the same match as the ring failures. 

That’s a 0% success rate, and it only cost me about $500, plus the costs of warranty repairs/shipping for the .45 unit, to end up back at square one with no reliable optics.  A sample size of two with two identical failure patterns is enough for me to never recommend a product or company ever again.  To me, as an end user, that’s sufficient evidence of fatal materials, assembly, or QA problems (or any combination of the three) to completely lose my trust. 

If any part of the shooting community is supporting the UltraDot business, it’s the bullseye community, but it appears their current production optics are no longer suitable even for .22 only use.
Sorry to hear about your unfortunate experiences with Ultradot. I purchased a new Aimpoint Micro last year and the damn thing broke after only about 150 shots on a 45. The dot disappeared because the weld for the dot projector broke inside the tube. At $750 For the original scope and a 2-3 month wait to get a replacement from Aimpoint I can say that I was also not impressed at that time. So the moral of the story is that nothing is fail proof, even if you pay 3 times as much money. 

I now have an Ultradot to use as a backup. 

Thanks for sharing your experience and best of luck with the replacement sights. 

-Trevor

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Post by Wobbley 2/24/2024, 12:24 am

One way to take a look at unreliability is to buy “throw-away” decent quality dots and carry spare(s).  I know these don’t have a huge following here, but you can buy a SigSauer Romeo5 for about half the price of an Ultradot.  So for the same $ you can get a dot and a spare.  It may not be as fancy, but….

As Stalin once said Quantity has a quality all of its own.
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Post by Dcforman 2/24/2024, 5:57 am

My Bomar and Rock River combo rail haven't failed me yet...  Wink

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Post by tovaert 2/24/2024, 7:59 am

Agree. After reading the experiences of others, I decided to go the inexpensive (but decent reviews) route. Bushnell TRS-25...about $65 on sale. Crisp but coarse click adjustment, okay dot/optical clarity. Lifetime warranty, just send it back and voila a new one (not a re-built one) appears at your door. I question two things about these optics. First, how different (internally) are they? Could there be some company in China that mass produces the internals? Second, is it really a good idea to disassemble them? Disassembly and re-assembly can introduce new reliability issues. They are not like an old hunting riflescope that lost its purge over the years, and may see another 50(?) recoil impulses over the lifetime of its owner. Service rifle shooters that run 3k - 4k rounds per year on their $2000+ Nightforce or March scopes...still experience failures, but rave about customer service. Oh great (muffled sarcasm here). I think the manufacturers know what they can charge in order for the customer to obtain their desired enhanced optical features, but by (price) necessity that's accompanied with perhaps an inherent deficiency in design and/or manufacturing reliability.

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Post by Allen Barnett 2/24/2024, 8:18 pm

Personally I have 2 30mm Match Dot II's and 4 Ultra Dot 4's.  They first thing I did was get rid of (I.E. trashed) the split rings they came with and went with some quality steel rings.  I have shot thousands of rounds through all of these and never had any problems.

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Post by Cmysix 2/25/2024, 11:04 am

as far as warranties go.... VORTEX is the answer, don't care how old who bought it or who owns it, they fix it or send a new one.
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Post by Wobbley 2/25/2024, 1:55 pm

PLEASE KNOW THAT I AM NOT AFFILIATED WITH THESE GUYS.
Just passing on some information….

There is a new (new to me) manufacturer of dots.  There isn’t a lot that is the preferred setup for bullseye but they do have one.

https://gideonoptics.com/shop-all/

In this video there’s an industry insider explanation of what you’re buying between the top-tier dots and the lower grade optics.  

https://youtu.be/Y7C9JWIjP6U?si=pa65rsb1nH8u2eWz

In the top-tier makers like Trijicon, Aimpoint, EoTech, and the like make optics that have design requirements that maybe you don’t need.  It’s because these companies primary market is/ was military.  Described in the video.
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Post by JRV 2/25/2024, 3:01 pm

The only small tube-format dot I could find locally in short notice was the Romeo5.

Dot is clean. Adjustments are mushy but functional enough to get a decent zero at 50ft (only took a couple slow 5-round groups).  Seems to be a little parallax-y and the emitter reflection is visible in certain lighting/angles.  After zero, I was able to hold the 9-ring in SF practice.

If it makes it through Indoor Sectionals and the Eastern Games, I’ll probably buy an handful and see if I can break one on a wadgun.

0% Success Rate with UltraDot Optics Img_4211


Last edited by JRV on 2/25/2024, 4:01 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by chiz1180 2/25/2024, 3:34 pm

I have romeo 5s on a few conversions, for my use case of backup/loner guns they work perfectly. I prefer the 30mm objective, but for a micro style dot they are a good option especially at the price point.
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Post by BruceV 2/28/2024, 12:20 pm

Allen Barnett wrote:Personally I have 2 30mm Match Dot II's and 4 Ultra Dot 4's.  They first thing I did was get rid of (I.E. trashed) the split rings they came with and went with some quality steel rings.  I have shot thousands of rounds through all of these and never had any problems.
I have the same experience as you.  I have 2 30mm MD II's never used the split rings that came with them.  In fact on my Pardini I only use one ring and have 50,000 rounds through it, the sight has never moved and functions perfectly. (Of course I now probably jinxed myself).

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Post by Outthere 3/4/2024, 11:10 pm

I've had 2 Ultra-Dots fail, both on the line at Perry,(of course).
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Post by WillH 3/8/2024, 6:23 pm

I have bought multiple Ultradots over time and can report the following from my experience:

Two 1" Ultradots:  One works fine on 1911 45, the other one I had on a 38 revolver that would go out occasionally and sold that one.

Four Matchdot IIs:  Three of the four work fine. Two mounted on 22s, One on a 32, and 4th on 45. The fourth goes out on #1 brightness setting with vibration and I just returned that for service. This one is the oldest and has seen most hard use.

That makes 6 total with problems with 2/6 so that's a failure rate of 33% in my case.  Not great but I think still a better value than Aimpoint if one is prepared to use spare guns during repairs and that 100% probably not realistic regardless of brand. However, all Ultradots I have had take and hold zero extremely well, have nice round dots, and are repeatable with adjustments which means they are very serviceable.  I would rather for it to just go out completely (and do a return) than have wondering zeros or non responsive controls any day.

I like the Match Dot IIs somewhat better because of the adjustable size dot and elevation turret. I like to use smallest / 2 moa dot for gallery / 50' targets and 4 moa for regular bullseye targets.  The wider field of view really isn't necessary though and the multiple reticle shapes (circle dot, cross hair) are lost on bullseye but might be cool for an AR or something.

Agreed that the UD split rings are not very good for 45 but I have found them passable but not ideal for use on 22. Horizontal split rings seem better than vertical split since the bottoms can stay on the gun and remove the optic for service if/when needed with less change to zero after re-mounting. Mounting and leveling much easier with horizontal split.
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Post by CrankyThunder 3/9/2024, 6:51 am

It is funny but I have a handful of ultra dots, mostly newer models from 2010 to now.  I was never happy with the quality of the dot which is why I went to the Aimpoints.  

Borrowed my buddy's 208s with a much older ultra dot and I was impressed with the dot on that ultra dot.  So much so that when I got home I pulled out my ultra dots to see what was going on and my newer ones have a cruddy dot whereas that older model has a nice crisp round dot.  

Go figure.
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