The Umarex Steel Storm – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


Umarex Steel Storm.

Today, I’m testing the accuracy of the Umarex Steel Storm BB submachine gun. Of the three BB guns I’ve been testing…this, the HKMP5 K-PWD and the Umarex EBOS…only the Steel Storm lacks a shoulder stock. Shooting for accuracy means I have to hold the gun in two hands as far in front of my face as I can reach, to allow me to see the rear sight notch adequately. So, that was what I did, but this is not a natural way to hold a gun.

As I mentioned in an earlier report, submachine guns are not target guns in any sense of the word, and people usually walk their shots into the target while firing from the hip. With some subs like the H&K MP5 that isn’t as necessary as it is with guns like the Mac 10 and the M3 grease gun, but I find most people do it anyway because it’s fun. No doubt that will be how people shoot the Steel Storm most of the time, but I wanted to show the potential for accuracy in this report.

As with the other BB guns, I stood 15 feet from the target. Ten shots of each type of BB were fired at a 10-meter pistol target using a six o’clock hold. Unlike the HK-MP5, the Steel Storm did not always shoot to the point of aim. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I also tested the gun on full-auto, which with the Steel Storm is a 6-shot burst, only. The guns shoots very fast in this mode; much faster than most firearm submachine guns. I found that actually helped with accuracy more than I would have imagined before testing it.

Daisy zinc-plated BBs
The first test was with Daisy zinc-plated BBs. I shot 10 rounds for accuracy using the semiautomatic mode, where there’s only one shot per pull of the trigger. They gave pretty satisfactory results.


Best group of the test was this one with 10 Daisy zinc-plated BBs. It was deliberate, aimed fire.

After semiauto, I moved the selector switch to rock and roll and shot three 6-round bursts at another target at the same 15-foot distance. It didn’t surprise me when the group opened up wide, because full-auto fire without a ground mount or pedestal mount of some sort is usually woefully inaccurate. I was wrong about the cause, but didn’t know it at the time.


Three bursts of six shots on full auto with Daisy zincs opened up to this big spread at the same 15 feet. I attributed the group to instability with full-auto fire, but was soon proven wrong.

Crosman Copperheads
After the Daisy BBs, I tried the same exercise with Crosman Copperhead BBs. They grouped just about the same as the Daisys, though just a trifle more open but without several groups of each BB it’s tough to say they’re not just as accurate. However, that wasn’t what surprised me.


This group of 10 is nearly as tight as the Daisy zincs. It would take several groups with both rounds to determine if there’s a clear advantage to either one.

On full-auto bursts, the Copperhead BBs stayed together much better than the Daisys. It wasn’t due to my technique or from gaining experience with the gun. These BBs just went where the gun was aimed! So, it isn’t the full-auto nature of the gun that’s opening the other groups. This gun just seems to like Crosman Copperhead BBs.


Three bursts of Crosman Copperhead BBs stayed together better than the same with Daisy BBs. This was not due to technique or learning. The gun just shot better with Copperheads in the full-auto mode.

Finally, I tried the Steel Storm with the RWS BBs that I’m evaluating. They’re very smooth, and I’ll be testing them with many BB guns to find out if they offer any clear advantages. With the Steel Storm, however, they don’t seem to. Not only was the semiauto group the largest of the three BBs tried, they also didn’t shoot to the same point of aim as the other two rounds.

RWS BBs
The point of impact shifted to the left, and the group size opened just a bit with RWS BBs in the semiautomatic mode. And, the first shot of the 10 missed the trap entirely at 15 feet.


The group is only a little larger than the other two, but the point of impact has shifted to the left.

When I went to full-auto, I aimed for the center of the black bull, just to keep all the impacts on the paper. The RWS BBs went everywhere! Obviously, these are not the best BBs for this particular Steel Storm.


Three bursts of RWS BBs on full-auto fire made this wide group.

Overall impressions
The Steel Storm has much to recommend it. It loads quickly and easily, it has plenty of power and the accuracy is pretty good for a gun without a shoulder stock. Shooters are going to love the high rate of fire in the full-auto burst mode. It’s the least expensive of the three BB submachine guns I’m testing, yet it offers a lot of nice features. One of the best features is the lack of fiddley loading and gas-charging procedures. I can see cutting soda cans in two with this all day long!

23 thoughts on “The Umarex Steel Storm – Part 3

  1. duskwight,

    Pyramyd Air has asked to see the new MP-656 pistol you mentioned the other day. Do you have any links they can follow?

    B.B.


  2. Why didn’t put a shoulder stock on this thing??? Put one on it or give me a easy and solid way to put one on it and I’d buy one right away. Heck I’d buy two
    This gun is like watching a fun action movie. Absolutely no sense to it but loads (pun intended) of fun.

    J-F


    • What I’m not getting is Umarex also makes an airsoft version of this nice little gun (the Heckler & Koch MP7 A1) with an extendable shoulder stock and foldable front grip. Why didn’t they put these features in the steel bb version???
      Mr. B could be right about the noise factor… but I’m sure if you let the neighbors try it out they won’t care anymore and will want one for themselves LOL.

      J-F


      • I found a neat way to ‘suppress’ the noise. A 4″ under lawn sprinkler casing, -remove the ‘guts’- makes a good looking and functional suppressor. If fit is loose, (1)layer of scotch tape on ID will work fine to snug it up. Will work well in both settings regardless of power. See pics I downloaded to Steel Storm on Amazon’s site.


  3. Morning B.B.,

    I wonder how long it will take the after market to come up with a “shoulder stock for this thing???”. However, for me anything like this is much too loud to shoot where I live which is too bad cause it looks like a fun gun to bounce cans around, etc.

    Bruce


  4. BB:
    I concur with J-F.
    We call it the ‘Grin factor’ over here.
    It can apply to cars or motorbikes as well amongst other things.
    An involuntary grin spreads across your face.You just can’t help it.
    After reading your report I give the Umarex Steel Storm. :) :) :) :) :) out of five.
    DaveUK


    • Dave,

      You’re right about the grin factor (we use the same expression here). The Steel Storm on full-auto is something to behold.

      B.B.


  5. BB,

    Just saw one of these in real life at Cabellas Friday! It is a monster for a “pistol”! I am leaning to the EBOS as it has a shoulder stock.

    Had a Drozd was a ton of fun shooting branches out from under birds using the 6 shot burst mode. Aim at branch, shoot a 6 shot burst on fastest fire rate and if you’re lucky the branch drops away from the tree with the bird on it. Usually fall about an inch or so before the bird takes flight! Just make sure to aim far enough back on the branch that the bird does not get hit with stray bb’s!

    Once killed a squirrel I was trying to scare from chewing up my bird feeders as a stray bb hit him in the head. Only meant to scare him but oh well. He never chewed my feeders again and we had squirrel as an unexpected main course for dinner.

    Unfortunately my drozd went south and no longer fires and can’t find any one to fix it!


  6. B.B., the hold that you described for this sounds just like a two-handed pistol hold. That seems workable since there is negligible recoil.

    I was away when you posted your epic report on Friday and you can just imagine my feelings. I just read it now. Congratulations on your acquisition. As it says in a Green Arrow comic: “Patience is the heart of the hunter.” That’s surprising to see that bubble-level technology was at work in the 19th century. I had assumed that David Tubb invented it. The best conclusion to this story would be an accuracy report where the rifle really kicks butt. I’m supposing that this is a rifle that you are willing to shoot.

    By the way, that’s interesting about the flawed Winchester M1 carbine. That sounds like it would have been a disaster in combat.

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      The early Winchester carbines were used, just the same. Their receivers did crack, but most of the time the cracks didn’t threaten the integrity of the receiver, so they were left in service. They even had a test program to see how long a cracked receiver could last, and I think they quit when the rifle digested 6,000 more rounds after the cracks first appeared.

      Winchester finally redesigned the spring tube to not have that problem, and then they got tooling that let them drill deep straight holes the same as the other carbine manufacturers.

      As far as the bubble level goes, it is even older than my rifle, but not that common. Apparently except for target shooters and a few varmint hunters, most riflemen refused to believe that cant was a problem. For deer hunters it isn’t. For those hunting woodchucks at 400 yards, it is.

      I am cooking up the first batch of loads for the rifle right now. And you will be surprised by how anal I will get with them, but that’s what it takes to shoot half-inch 10-shot groups using iron sights at 200 yards. This rifle will never be able to do that, but Harry Pope made a few that could. And one he made was even better than that!

      I hope to be able to shoot sub two-inch ten-shot groups at 200 yards with this rifle some day. But I’m at the beginning of what promises to be a very steep learning curve.

      B.B.


  7. B.B.,

    At first I had my eye on the Air Arms TX200 MkIII, but after your report on the Beeman HW97, and the fact that I’m partial to thumbhole stocks, I’m now considering the Beeman HW97K Air Rifle, Thumbhole Stock, as my next higher-end rifle. Any reason why I would be better off with the TX200 Mk III? My primary concerns are accuracy, and how dead they shoot. My recent experience with springers is that they are tricky to shoot well. I hope these two rifles (the TX200 and the HW97) have better shooting characteristics. Also, what might you recommend as a good FT scope for these rifles? Let’s put a limit at around $200.00, unless it’s absolutely necessary to go higher.

    Thanks,
    Victor


    • Victor: Just my two cents worth, and BB may see it differently.

      Both rifles are excellent, and I do mean excellent in mechanics, fit and finish etc. My 97k will shoot one hole groups at 10 meters and beyond all day long if I do my part. The TX200s I have shot will do the same. Both are only moderately hold sensitive due to their weight and the overall excellent designs. A little torque upon firing but nothing like some other springers. I regularly shoot my 97k from a leather bench rest bag with no issues of “artillery hold” required. The 97k has the famous Rekord Trigger from Weihrauch but… the TX200 has a similarly fine trigger as well. The latest version of the TX200 is probably the best finished and refined of the TX series so far. It appears that they have also improved the cocking lever mating system both visually and by design. The 97k has always had a great lever design and a small moderator tube at the end of the barrel (it’s just hollow in the U.S. but can be “improved”)

      In .177, these guns are tack drivers and eye pleasers both. Not inexpensive but, they are probably the best value in a springer that I can think of due to the fixed barrels, great wood and metal work and accuracy. Last, both are years old designs and at their most mature both in manufacturing quality as well as capability (my 97k still shoots in the 880 fps region with 8.9 gram pellets after about 7 years, with no signs of giving up any time soon) To me, the primary difference in the two designs is the additional anti-bear trap lever on the TX200, while the 97k isn’t a true anti-bear trap design although it has a very positive safety device etc.

      If I were in the market for a new underlever, I would go get the TX200, only because I already have it’s “cousin” in the 97k.


    • Victor,

      Putting a limit of $200 on a “good” field target scope is akin to putting the same limit on a “good” Olympic-level target rifle. They don’t exist.

      “I’d like a dollar’s worth of fives, please.”

      Now, had you said a workable scope, and I know that’s what you meant, I can recommend one, but you will never will a field target match with it. That would be the Leapers 6-24
      http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Leapers_5th_Gen_6_24x50_AO_Varmint_Rifle_Scope_Illuminated_Mil_Dot_Reticle/338

      A better and more workable scope would be the Leapers 8-32
      http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Leapers_Accushot_8_32x56AO_SWAT_Rifle_Scope_Illuminated_Mil_Dot_Reticle_1_8_MOA_30mm_Tube/2264

      As far as the HW 97 goes, it’s a good rifle. I say get it.

      B.B.


    • Brian, B.B.,

      I’ve only recently starting seriously considering to get back into competition. This forum is a huge help in teaching me so much! It is also the source of inspiration for getting back into competition. I’m planning on buying a high-end small-bore rifle, and I expect the scope for that will be around $800 (e.g., Leupold 6.5-20 40mm Dot EFR AO) from Champion Shooters. If I’m going to invest myself into something, and I do tend to really throw myself into things, then I won’t buy anything cheap. However, I know that it’s always possible to spend some multiple of what is necessary for what you really need and can get without penalty. In other words, I don’t want to buy something just because it’s the most expensive. If it’s just for informal playing around, then I’ll look for the most bang for my buck within reason. If it’s serious, then I’m not willing to sacrifice.

      Had it not been for B.B.’s and Mac’s review of the HW97, I never would have considered anything but the TX200. All things considered, and performance being about the same, I like the thumb-hole stock of the HW97. So with all of this said, what would be considered an ideal FT scope for this?

      Thanks for your responses!
      Victor


      • Victor,

        Serious field target shooters often go with Nightforce scopes, or they go with other quality scopes in the high-magnification range. The key is being able to resolve small details at the maximum distance (55 yards) so you can see clearly when it’s in focus. That way you scope becomes a great rangefinder, which is more important, now that everyone is shooting at 12 foot-pounds.

        B.B.


        • B.B.,

          Good Lord! Those are expensive scopes! I’ll have to sell one of my kids for medical research. Ha-ha! They’re twice the cost of the air-rifle. You’re not kidding when you say “serious”.

          Victor


  8. Victor:
    If you decide to try field target, I sugest you begin at hunter class. Now I’m no expert at this in fact I’m a rank beginer. But I have researched the game and shot one match. I knocked down half my targets and I was told that was ral good for my first time. I will stay in hunter class because you can use a stool and a portable bipod. Now you can use any highpower scope but in hunter class it must be turned down to 12 power. Also you must use hold over no el. clicking allowed. So in hunter all you need is a 12 power scope. I recomend the Hawke 4-12×40 $139 at Pyramyd. It has a range estimation system for air rifle. Also Hawke scopes have a good reputation with airgunners.
    I use a TX200 in177 cal. but the 97 should work just as well. And by all means “google” AAFTA and read all about the field taget game.


    • Loren,

      That sounds like a good suggestion. Get my feet wet with something possibly a little more accessible. I’m finding springers to be a real challenge. Of course, at this point, I don’t have a great springer. What I have is great for plinking. I bought a few springers recently just to understand what B.B., and others were talking about when they refer to “hold sensitive”, “artillary hold”, and other things. I am finding that the details really matter when it comes to shooting springers, not that they don’t when shooting other rifles, but I didn’t know that shooting off a rest could be so difficult.

      In truth, I’ve really learned to appreciate and respect the work and skill that B.B., Mac, and others are capable of because of my purchases. I expected my Gamo CF-X to just do magic. Not even close. Decades ago I used to be able to shoot X’s indoors with both my smallbore rifles and my FWB air rifle. I had no idea that shooting an air-rifle could be so difficult! Accuracy is NOT a given when it comes to springers, no matter the accuracy of the barrel. The hard part is finding out what the accuracy really is.

      So really, I still consider myself a novice, despite a lot of experience competing in smallbore and precision class air-rifle and pistol. Springers are a whole new dimension in shooting, and one that I am working hard to master. An important goal with these low-end springers is that I don’t develop bad habits. When I do decided on the final gun to purchase for serious competition, I hope I will have really mastered the basics. Just today I learned something from shooting my Crosman Titan with the stock trigger. Boy does this require patience and attention to detail!

      Thanks for the advice!
      Victor


  9. Totally agree that a folding or removable shoulder stock would make this about perfect. With the added weight off sights, dots, and lights, in needs the stability of a shoulder stock. After all, that’s why shoulder stocks were invented back in the earliest days of fire arms.

    Tiger


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