The new Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: The blog’s server went down on Thursday, April 21, 2011. It came back online Sunday, April 24. This blog was published Monday afternoon, April 25, because the previous Friday’s blog was published first thing Monday morning. We’re now caught up and will resume our regular publishing schedule.

Welcome to the new Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle. Walther brought out the Lever Action CO2 rifle back in the early years of this century, and I learned about it about half a year before it hit the market. Wulf Pflaumer, the owner of Umarex, was visiting his sister in Maryland, and I had a chat with him about airguns in general. “What would you think,” he asked me, “of a lever-action pellet rifle that looks and feels like the Winchester 1894?”

“Would it be a repeater and would it be accurate?” I asked.

“Both,” was the answer.

I thought it would be a world-beater at the time, and many who purchased that first release model felt as I did, that the realism, accuracy and build quality were right where they needed to be.

That first rifle was an 8-shot repeater with a slick-as-grease action. And it was as accurate as promised. Five pellets would stay on a penny at 20 yards. What more could you ask of a western-style repeater?

Well, gas economy turned out to be the answer. Even that’s too pat an answer, because it wasn’t the number of shots per CO2 cartridge that bothered some folks. It was the constant need to change them because they were shooting the gun so much. When a gun goes through pellets as fast as you can flick your wrist, you notice all the downtime involved in changing the two 12-gram CO2 cartridges. Everytime a change was required, you had to fumble with a Rube Goldberg contraption that housed two cartridges in tandem in the butt, and people may have resented the complexity of that system.

Well, things just got better, easier and faster with the introduction of the new Walther Lever Action, because instead of two 12-gram cartridges this one takes a single 88-gram cartridge that will last many times longer. And, instead of the cumbersome mechanism that held both 12-gram cartridges in the first model, in this one the big cartridge simply screws into a hole in the butt. There’s no fuss or mechanical contraption to deal with.


The new Walther Lever Action rifle comes in this brushed nickel finish that’s very attractive. It also comes in black.

I asked for the nickel-finished rifle for this report, just to change the pace a little from the black one. My old-style Walther Lever Action carbine has a traditional black finish and I wanted to see how different this one looked. The bright finish does add cost to the price, though, so consider that when buying.

A blast from the past
Of course, the Walther Lever Action is a mimic of Winchester’s famous 1894 lever-action rifle. No other single rifle epitomizes a hunting firearm to the extent the 94 does, and when you see one you automatically think .30-30, even though they have been chambered for many different cartridges.


Winchester model 94 at top, Walther’s new Lever Action rifle in the center and the old model Walther Lever Action carbine at the bottom. Notice the pull of the new Walther is longer than the Winchester’s pull.

Edith and I were in a local gun store one day when she spotted a post ’64 Winchester carbine that had been scoped. She wondered if it would make a nice contrast to the Walther’s Lever Action carbine we own, so we bought the rifle and have been waiting for this day to arrive. The Walther is designed as a fast, accurate plinking rifle for warm weather (being powered by CO2), and that’s how I plan to test it for you.

New tools for the rifle
With the rifle, you get two new tools that won’t be familiar. One is just a fancy screwdriver to remove the thick plastic buttplate for access to the hole in the stock where the CO2 cartridge goes. The other is a fancy wrench to tighten the cartridge the last few turns, causing it to puncture and start the gas flowing. In fact, due to the threads on the cartridge, these new rifles are much faster to charge than the old model that used the two smaller cartridges. And because the threads draw them into the piercing pin, the length of the cartridge isn’t of much concern as it is on some other rifles.


A single screw detaches the buttplate from the stock. The black key below the plate is used for that job. The blue-handled wrench tightens the 88-gram cartridge in place. The whole job takes 15 seconds. Don’t forget the Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of each new cartridge!

I’m not even going to attempt to count how many shots you’ll get from one cartridge, because it should number in the hundreds. And, when you’re done shooting, just leave the cartridge in place until the next time. As long as you use Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of every new cartridge, the gun should remain tight for years.

How do you know when the pressure is running low?
You can clearly hear that the gas pressure is low in the report of the gun. At the first indication that pressure is dwindling, stop and remove the cartridge. Don’t risk getting a pellet stuck in the barrel.

Where do the pellets go?
To open the pellet clip, press in on the front of the cartridge loading gate, which is the same configuration as on the rifle. The pellet clip will pop out to the side of the receiver, where it can be exchanged for a loaded one.


Push in on the cartridge loading gate, and the pellet clip pops out to the right for access.

General specs
This rifle is an 8-shot lever-action repeater and delivers 600 f.p.s. velocity. Given the number of lightweight pellets on the market today and the 18.9-inch barrel on the rifle, I would guess both numbers are conservative. The rifle weighs about 6.2 lbs. and the stock and forearm are real hardwood. It’s very attractive, especially in the brushed nickel version that I’m testing. The length of pull is a manly 14.5 inches; and, despite the gas cartridge in the butt, the balance is very neutral. The overall rifle is 39.2 inches long.

The lever really does cock the hammer and advance the clip to the next round. The action is smooth and easy — much easier than the firearm that it copies. However, you do have to keep track of your shots because the action continues to operate when the pellets are gone.


The lever works the action just like the firearm, only it’s a lot smoother and easier.

Price
Okay, the price on this one is high, but let me tell you a little story about that. Back in the 1980s when Beeman brought in about 100 Erma ELG-10 lever-action single-shot pellet rifles, they charged $300+ for them and the shooters avoided them like the plague. They never ordered another batch because the rifles just didn’t sell. Today, they command over $600 when they come to market. These Walthers are very much like the ELG-10s, except that these are repeaters, they’re more realistic-looking, more accurate and more powerful. Get ‘em now while they’re hot, or wait and pay double in the future. As a plinking air rifle, they don’t come much better than this.

Speaking of plinking, I don’t think that I’m going to test this rifle with a scope. This is a plinker, and that’s how I’ll test it for you. The sights are somewhat adjustable and quite nice for a plinker. The rear sight adjusts for elevation and the front for windage. I’ll go over them in greater detail in the accuracy test.

The trigger is two-stage and non-adjustable. Stage two is quite crisp, so it should help with accuracy. All in all, this is a great Western air rifle.

29 Responses to “The new Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle: Part 1”

  • kevin Says:

    Ohhh, I like this one. 6.2 lbs. Nice. Hmmmm, limited quantities in stock.

    B.B.,

    Can’t wait to hear your take on the trigger. The PA specs say noise level is 3, medium. This has to be quieter than the bsa scorpion. What would you compare the report to on this new walther lever action?

    kevin

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Kevin,

      I hadn’t shot it–yet. So just for you I did. It’s probably a 3.5. The trigger is great, but not in the hair category. Just glass-crisp.

      B.B.

      • kevin Says:

        B.B.,

        Thanks. Glass crisp is fine for a plinker. I’ll never forget your 3 lb pistol trigger that truly broke like glass. Wow.

        Is a 3.5 noise level a new years popper, a loud hand clap, a balloon popping or???

        kevin

  • Chuck Says:

    BB,
    How old is your WLE at the bottom of the picture? Here’s what mine looks like and it looks like yours has been sawed off.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/cjrley/WaltherLeverAction#5540725879474972002

    -Chuck

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Chuck,’

      Like the caption says, mine is the carbine. They sold at the same time as the rifles.

      B.B.

      • Chuck Says:

        BB,
        I guess I see only what I want to see. I was ignorant of there being a carbine AND a rifle. I don’t remember a choice when I bought mine but then…memory?
        -Chuck

        • Slinging Lead Says:

          Chuck

          How many shots do you get from 2 carts? I was going to buy the Wells Fargo special edition, but passed on it. I think maybe I made a mistake.

  • Frank B Says:

    BB,I know you wrote about the Beeman P1…..in the old blog format.I am having trouble finding it in a search.Is there anything special I need to know to search all the great older blogs??

    • Frank B Says:

      Well,never mind…..I ran another search including your name and,violla! I found both reports from ’05
      and from ’07.I was double-checking my memory of what you wrote,and it turns out I remembered it
      nearly exactly.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Frank,

      Man, talk about coincidence! I am right now redoing a new report on the P1 that should publish on Wednesday.

      B.B.

      • Slinging Lead Says:

        Hallelujah!

        I was going to beg you to do a report on the Beeman P1. I even thought about bribing you with fresh baked cornbread. Ha! Now I don’t have to share my cornbread!

        In the old report, you discussed how you always use it on the high power setting (.177) to keep it from dieseling. This seems counter intuitive to me. Seems the higher power would make it diesel more, or am I missing something? Please explain in the report.

        I suppose you will be testing a new one, not the one you’ve had for years?

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          SL,

          I will be testing the gun I own. I will explain why high power always.

          This is an opportunity to see how the P1 stands up over time.

          B.B.

  • Mike Says:

    Very nice………..except for the price. It would also be a good gun for “Squirrels and Such” probably with a scope. A quick second shot is nice. I’m pretty sure the Walter quality is there. The lever action even looks like a 1894 Winchester. It might also be good for some Cowboy Action Shooting practice at home. I have a 1950′s vintage 94 carbine in .30-30, handy and powerful even today.

    Mike

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    CO2 and too expensive — I might have to get one anyway :). Glad you are back online, BB.

  • Slinging Lead Says:

    Did someone mention Rube Goldberg?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdPDn1KUz_A

  • Loren Says:

    Nice rifle it would be nicer if it was drilled & taped for a tang mounted aperature sight,just can’t see mounting a scope on a lever rifle. Does it look like it has room on the tang for a marbles or simular sight on the tang? I drilled & taped my Winchester 9422 for one,and really like it.
    Loren

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Loren,

      There is plenty of room for a tang sight on this rifle. The top cover that resembles the bolt on a firearm doesn’t come back very far when the rifle is cocked.

      B.B.

  • Mr B. Says:

    Slinging Lead,

    I hope that Chuck sees and answers your question, cause I am wondering the same thing.

    Sure is nice to have the blog back up and running.

    Loren the bean counters probably nixed your wonderful idea.

    Bruce

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Slinging Lead and Mr. B.,

    I had no idea anyone was interested in how many shots the old model Lever Action gets.

    Here is my 3-part report:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2008/06/walther-lever-action-part-3.html

    And here is an update:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2009/01/walther-lever-action-co2-rifle-redux.html

    The answer is you get about 60 good shots from two 12-gram cartridges.

    B.B.

  • Steve Says:

    I’m surprised no one has jumped on the butt pad aesthetic (or lack thereof). Wow, that be big and ugly. I expect the 88 gram carts necessitated that approach. Shame.

  • Lee Says:

    I’ve been looking at this gun for some time now, but just cannot bring myself to purchase it for two reasons: The fore-stock stops at the barrel band instead of slightly beyond it as the real 1894 does. The models where it doesn’t go beyond the barrel band has an end cap on the fore-stock that does not also go around the barrel. Also the butt is not curved as it is on the original. Okay, three reasons: price. Since I’m also into airsoft I think I’ll just stick with my Matrix 1894. The fore-stock is truer to the original, it has a curved brass butt-plate, shoots 500+ fps and is very accurate for an airsoft gun. Oh yes! It was less than $200.

  • Lee Says:

    I’ve been looking at this gun for some time now, but just cannot bring myself to purchase it for two reasons: The forearm stops at the barrel band instead of slightly beyond it as the real 1894 does. The models where it doesn’t go beyond the barrel band has an end cap on the forearm that does not also go around the barrel. Also the butt is not curved as it is on the original. Okay, three reasons: price. Since I’m also into airsoft I think I’ll just stick with my Matrix 1892. The forearm is truer to the original. It has a curved brass butt-plate, shoots 500+ fps, has a 25 round magazine and is very accurate for an airsoft gun. Oh yes! It was less than $200.

    • Edith Gaylord Says:

      Lee,

      And that is why airsoft mfrs are getting into the pellet & BB gun business. They produce replicas that are true to the firearm they copy, yet they don’t cost an arm & a leg.

      I think the Dan Wesson BB revolvers are just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, airsoft companies have been making pellet and BB pistols for a few years, but none have experienced the success of the Dan Wessons. I think a huge swarm of new guns that are relatively inexpensive is headed our way :-)

      Edith

      • J-F Says:

        Edith I REALLY hope you’re right, they might not be the most accurate but they’re hard to beat for plinking.

        J-F

  • Fhilip the Swed Says:

    Hello !

    i own one of thees bad boys now but i cant seem to finde the scope mount for it as you guys have
    ( https://plus.google.com/photos/100673622505120864279/albums/5540725866525181505/5540725880281640338?banner=pwa&pid=5540725880281640338&oid=100673622505120864279 )

    all i can finde is this one ( http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Walther_Scope_Base_Fits_Lever_Action_CO2_Rifle_11mm_Dovetail_Weaver/469 )

    is it the same thing ? works the same?

    thanks from a trigger happy swede !

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Fhillip,

      The two mounts are different in that the one in the picture has an 11mm scope base, while the one online has a Weaver base. Other than that, they work the same.

      B.B.

  • Fhilip the Swed Says:

    so i buy this stuff online ( cant finde the one 11mm on the picture ) . mount it on my gun then just apply my scope ontop ? :) easy as pie ?

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Fhilip,

      Yes, as long as the base of your scope rings is made for Weaver bases and not 11mm bases. One-piece mounts won’t work because they will not be spaced properly between the rings.

      B.B.

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