Walther’s new LGV Challenger breakbarrel spring air rifle: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Walther LGV Challenger breakbarrel air rifle
Walther’s LGV Challenger is an exciting new sporting breakbarrel springer.

Okay, so fire me! This is like eating dessert and I can’t stop. Today, I’ll share the results of the 50-yard test of the new Walther LGV Challenger with you. And don’t worry — Umarex USA knows I’m still working on a feature article for the July Shotgun News, so they don’t expect their LGV back soon. They’re even sending me another LGV with a wood stock that I’ll test for you as soon as it arrives.

It was one of those rare perfect windless mornings at the range. They’re the perfect days to test air rifles at long rangesbecause there’s nothing to disturb the pellet in its flight. And 50 yards is plenty long when you’re shooting 10-shot groups. Yes, the shooter is part of the equation, but I really have to say that this LGV is so neutral that it holds like a PCP. Not a lot of skill is needed as long as the basic artillery hold is employed.

I decided to start with the pellet that proved to be the best at 25 yards. That was the 13.4-grain JSB Exact RS dome. It seems to be perfectly matched to this powerplant and compliments the 12 foot-pounds that the rifle develops.

Walther LGV 50 yards rest
Shooting the new LGV at 50 yards on this calm day was like shooting a precharged pneumatic! Yes, I’m shooting at those wee teeny black dots — not the larger one.

Pellets drop
When a 12 foot-pound rifle is sighted-in for 25 yards, the pellet will drop a lot as it goes out to 50 yards. A lot means as much as a foot more than at 25 yards. So, I cranked in some elevation and proceeded to start the test. The first group was still hitting about four inches low; but it was on the target paper, so I just continued to shoot. Pellet after pellet went to the same point. By the time I’d fired 5 rounds, I knew this rifle was a shooter. Of course, the earlier testing did give me a lot of confidence that the LGV could shoot; but when you stare at a bullseye that’s the size of a small pellet tin lid 50 yards away, things look very different!

Walther LGV 50 yard group 1
The first group measures 1.099 inches for 10 shots at 50 yards. This is a great beginning for the test.

After finishing the first group, I adjusted the scope up some more to compensate for the 50-yard distance. The second group landed at the correct elevation, but slightly to the left of the aim point. Ten more JSB Exact RS pellets made a second group that measured 1.35 inches between centers. This group was much taller than it was wide, and I wasn’t satisfied that I was holding the rifle steady enough.

Walther LGV 50 yard group 2
The second group measures 1.35 inches for 10 shots at 50 yards. The verticality was somewhat disturbing.

After the second group, the wind was still calm so there was time for one more good attempt. I adjusted the scope to impact to the right and started the third group.

I shifted in my seat so I was completely relaxed when holding the rifle. And the third time was the charm because this time the crosshairs stayed within 1/8-inch of the center of the bull all the time. When the last shot was fired, there was a group measuring 0.989 inches between the two widest shots. That may not sound like a big deal, but it’s one of the best 50-yard 10-shot groups I’ve ever shot with a breakbarrel air rifle. And you can’t equal it with a brand-new Ruger 10/22 that today costs almost as much as this air rifle — to say nothing of the cost for the ammo. Nine of those pellets landed within 0.634 inches of each other.

Walther LGV 50 yard group 3
The third group measures 0.989 inches between centers. This group is reasonably round and good-looking. Nine of those are within 0.634 inches.

After this third group, the wind picked up just a bit and I shifted over to Beeman Kodiak pellets, but they were dropping a foot below where the RS pellets were striking. So I tried only a few shots before giving up for the day. The wind had picked up to the point that it would affect the flight of the pellets, so I declared the test finished.

That may seem like a short test of the rifle at 50 yards, but the gun is so smooth and right that it doesn’t take a lot of special handling to deliver results. It’s what you think all spring-piston airguns should be…only many of them aren’t.

Final evaluation
If you’ve read every report on this rifle, you know what I’m going to say: It’s the finest sporting breakbarrel spring rifle I’ve ever tested or shot — and that covers a wide range of airguns. I came into this test with a chip on my shoulder about Walther using their classic LGV name for a new offering that wasn’t even a 10-meter target rifle, but it took only a couple shots before all that was forgotten. This LGV Challenger stands on its own merits and even reminds me of what I like about the old target rifle.

Cocking is smooth and light. The firing cycle is light with just a hint of buzz at the end. The trigger, while a bit creepy, is light and reasonably crisp. It isn’t a target trigger, but it’s one of the better sporting triggers I’ve tested — short of a Rekord or Air Arms unit.

Even the open sights — while they do have fiberoptic tubes — can also be used as precision open sights as long as the target is properly lit.

For those who are looking for the highest quality in a spring-piston airgun — this is it. Breakbarrels don’t normally handle as well as this one. If you fancy one and care about accuracy without a lot of hassle, here it is.

46 Responses to “Walther’s new LGV Challenger breakbarrel spring air rifle: Part 6”

  • jon Says:

    I haven’t read all your articles on this air rifle, as it’s over my price range no doubt. So, are you keeping it? Some how I don’t think you’ll give this one up.
    Great 50 byard groups there.

  • chris in ct Says:

    Looks like 2013 is a great year with the new LGV and the HW77k laminated stock. Cant wait to add those two to my collection.

  • goatboy Says:

    How much will the LGV cost in the US? In the UK the synthetic stock version is cheaper than a HW 77, and the wooden stock versions are on par with the TX200 or the HW97. This air rifle looks and sounds as if it handles like a tuned version of the other two classics, so you really are getting what you pay for.

    Top of the range LGV is walnut with adjustable cheek piece, i bet that is a dream to shoot. I know i would jump at the chance to have a go on one of those babies, you lucky old devil B.B. getting one sent your way. You have a job i would sell my grandma for, but you have worked for it all these years and deserve it i reckon.

    TTFN

    Best Wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Sir Nigel,

      This synthetic-stocked version will cost less than a TX200. I’m thinking in the middle $500s. I don’t know what the wood-stocked buns will cost, but it’s certainly more.

      B.B.

      • Wulfraed Says:

        March 18, 2013 at 8:24 am

        I don’t know what the wood-stocked buns will cost, but it’s certainly more.

        Answering the comments while sitting at the breakfast table? (0824 and “buns”)

  • /Dave Says:

    From your report, it’s definitely a winner in my eyes! Only trouble is, I just remembered there is the mav177 that will fit my ar, and I have to decide between the 2….. No real purpose to buy either I guess, just want them. I suppose there are worse problems in life.

    /Dave

  • TC Says:

    BB,
    Looks like a real winner. Thank you for posting some 50 yard results. A few questions. Can you uncock the LGV? Can you remove the open sights (both front and rear)? When do you think you will have a .177 version to test? Also, when do you think you will have a MAV-77 to test?

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      TC,

      Yes, the rifle is easy to uncock. Just push off the safety and pull the trigger while restraining the barrel.

      The rear sight will come off but the front is part of a synthetic muzzle break that’s epoxied on. I wouldn’t try to take it off.

      And I overlooked a thread protector that hides a threaded muzzle for a silencer — not that it would do any good.

      B.B.

      • TC Says:

        BB,
        The LGV .177 in wood is #1 on my buy list. I see PA is awaiting stock. Any reason to spend the extra for the Ultra?

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          TC,

          Only if wood is very important. I don’t normally like synthetic stocks, but I like this one.

          B.B.

          • TC Says:

            BB,
            Maybe I didn’t ask my question with enough details. When looking at the PA web site, they show the Walther LGV Master in wood, and a Walther LGV Ultra Master in wood. They also show the same for the non-wood versions. Can you explain what are the benefits of the Ultra versions over the non-Ultra regardless if they are wood or non-wood?

            • B.B. Pelletier Says:

              TC,

              I asked Umarex and they told me the only difference is the muzzle brake. I think it must be more but that’s what they said.

              B.B.

              • kevin Says:

                B.B.,

                You are correct.

                The barrel weight is the only difference between the Walther LGV Master in wood, and a Walther LGV Master Ultra in wood. The barrel weight is also the only difference between the Walther LGV Challenger and Walther LGV Challenger Ultra.

                kevin

                • Wulfraed Says:

                  That means three more tests: .177, and then .22 and .177 with the added feature… After all, those differences may result in undesirable harmonic vibrations opening up the shot group.

              • J-F Says:

                I also asked about this last week, thanks for checking it out.
                Wonder if it makes a difference?

                J-F

  • chasblock Says:

    Can we expect the .177 version to behave similarly? I’m a sucker for an accurate gun. Though I’m limited to 100 feet in my backyard, my collection is just crying for another addition. $566 and a lifetime warranty sounds like a good deal.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      chasblock,

      I would be shocked if the .177 wasn’t just as nice as this one. What company would build a rifle this nice and then let the ,177 version go to pot?

      But I will still eventually test one for you.

      B.B.

  • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

    OK – now I have two must have rifles – the TX200 and the LGV. As I don’t have any English in my collection, I guess the TX200 has the slight lead here but I can be persuaded to shift priorities. Off-topic, I took a basic pistol class this past weekend as I needed proof for the State of Florida that I had this inorder to apply for a non-resident concealed carry permit. At the end of the class, they took us onto the police range to fire a variety of pistols (Glocks, Walthers, S&W revolver). When I finished (7 yard distance), I had impressed the instructors – one large hole in the target. Everyone else was a newbie and also was “wowed”. I thanked them for their compliments but told them I had done this once or twice before :). Plus, the target wasn’t shooting back at me. I took the target home and hung it up in the basement. Can hardly wait for the “adulation” from the wifey (take that darn thing down!). Oh, the other side of the target, the side I hung, it has a photo of a bad guy with internal organs showing and where the bullets landed – I’m sure she’ll appreciate it (sarcasm alert).

    Shooting air rifles and air pistols really does improve your skills, especially the spring piston models.

    Fred DPRoNJ

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Fred,

      Your target sounds like my “Blue Man Group” that I keep posted in my office.

      B.B.

    • Matt61 Says:

      Nice job. Yes, it is a great thrill to see the airgun skills translated to firearms, akin to seeing that your experimental results in a lab explain the larger universe….

      Matt61

  • James Moreau Says:

    So, this out does the Berman R9?

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      James,

      It’s not even close. The R9 does have the better trigger, but in all other ways (except power), the LGV wins.

      B.B.

      • James Ryan Moreau Says:

        @B.B. That’s cool! I know people LOVE the high end Beeman springers, so hearing this blows them away in most aspects, I am very intrigued.

  • chuckj Says:

    Tom,
    Gosh! This does impress me!

    The first group of JSB RS looks like there was a slight tumbling going on. Is this a possibility? However, the second and third groups have nice clean round holes, so maybe not.

    Is there still enough oompf left in these shots at 50 yds to take small game?

    -Chuckj

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      chuckj,

      There was no tumbling happening. The paper just tore poorly at 50 yards, because it’s stapled to a plywood backer.

      Since some hunters have used 6 foot-pound guns to drop pigeons at beyond 50 yards I would have to say this rifle can also do it. Remember, in the UK this is all the power they use and they hunt just like we do.

      B.B.

  • Mike Says:

    No wind during your test. That really helps. I remember that Elmer Keith said he always did his testing early in the morning because of no wind.

    Mike

  • Matt61 Says:

    I know the feeling about the ideal shooting moment. That’s what I felt with my loaded M1 on a fine still morning. Nice shooting B.B., almost minute of angle at fifty yards with 10 shots which is way sub-minute with five shots. As long as we’re working the breakbarrel category so hard, it’s worth a reminder about what are the advantages of the breakbarrel over the side or underlever. I seem to recall that the advantages of the breakbarrel are that they’re lighter, they’re lighter….

    Where have you guys been shopping for your ammo? It must not be online. I was delighted to find some .38 Special ammo available the other day from Midway only to look closer and to see that they were blanks! That and $3 per round ammo is all that’s available. Otherwise it was a complete shut out.

    Mike, I may have stumbled onto the progressive squeeze. But what was happening is that the trigger seemed to be daring me to jerk it past the point of release and slapping me in the face with resistance in the meantime. Victor, the heavy trigger is pulling me off North, East, South, West and all points in between. At least I can’t say that there is a bias. But the Tube of Inevitability was working for me last night. I really Tubed it. It brings me out of negotiation to the more congenial mode of command…

    Speaking of which, I had been wondering about Sauron’s ability to use his will to control the armies of Mordor at a distance. I had supposed that this was something magical, but now I begin to wonder if there’s something more realistic going on. I’m doing something of the same at work with a committee spread out all over California that I’m working with remotely. I’m sure that my minions (oops) would rather be doing just about anything else than what I’m having them do. But somehow, they are producing. Of course I don’t threaten. But it’s more about persistence and creating a climate of expectation online. As a Stephen Hunter character said, “Torture you I cannot bear. Do it, I must and will.”

    Matt61

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Matt,

      Brreakbarrels are also much easier to load. That’s why people like them.

      B.B.

    • Mike Says:

      As with most things, it takes correct practice over time. Make sure that you are pressing straight back.

      Mike

    • Mike Says:

      Matt, as to where to buy ammo. There isn’t any around my local area. Other than high priced flippers on sites like “Gunbroker” it is hard to come by. The only ammo available in stores here is shotgun ammo and a little centerfire rilfe hunting ammo. Our local Wally World has increased prices for .22 LR. The 500 round boxes have gone from $19.95 to $49.95 at least in theory. They don’t have any. I’m still planning on selling some of my extra ammo at our local gun show the first week in April.

      Mike

      • Wulfraed Says:

        There is a Cabella’s opening Thursday near Grand Rapids… I wonder how many people are going to skip work in the hopes that they have a supply of the common ammo sizes…

  • Michael Says:

    B.B.,

    You teased us with a subtle, throw away comment last week. Therefore, I waited all weekend, and yep, I suspected it was another report on this obviously special air rifle. After all, you are an aficionado of the R-1 and 124. If YOU of all people sing the praises of this break barrel, well that is pretty darn high praise.

    And to those above who intimated that our B.B. might not let this rifle go back to Umarex, you might be right. But B.B. and Edith have more than once informed us that if they are so impressed with something sold by Pyramyd Air that they want to keep it, they pay for it out of their own pockets. They both confirm that they are compensated by Pyramyd, but that is for genuine labor. (No, I am not an employee of P.A.) Well, to be honest, B.B. seemed to enjoy his job testing this rifle more than most of us might enjoy our jobs, but you get my point.

    B.B., just how bursting is that rifle rack getting these days? Okay, now, Mrs. Edith Gaylord, in YOUR opinion how bursting is it? (Wink.)

    As for comparisons with the TX200, HW77, and HW97, I have to say that in my opinion such comparisons are almost as unfair as comparisons between PCPs and underlevers or CO2s and springers of any configuration. Underlevers recoil differently, at least in my experience (Hakim vs. 124D).Folks talk about the stationary barrel, etc., but to me the difference is more in the type of recoil.

    I have learned, through personal collecting / shooting experience and reading this blog for four years, that “smoothness” is a relative term. This Walther is about as smooth as a break barrel can be. The TX200 or HW97 is about as smooth as an underlever can be. But they’re different in the type of recoil they are smooth in.

    And as B.B. pointed out, this break barrel Walther is loader-friendly, not to mention a remarkable air rifle of any configuration and in its own right.

    And how many airgunners over 50 (and I’m among ‘em) thought the Golden Age of springers was long over?

    I say kudos to Umarex and any other company that still has faith in the marketability of QUALITY.

    Michael

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Michael,

      My rifle rack isn’t as full as it must seem, because I am always thinning the herd at airgun shows. To stay with me a long time means a gun has to have enduring qualities. My TX200 made the cut, as did my R1 and a number of others. But many of the guns I have written about are now gone for good.

      I think this LGV will remain, though, because it will be the finest breakbarrel .22 spring rifle in my rack.

      B.B.

  • Joe Says:

    BB,
    You said the LGV you tested here is a 12 ft-Lb gun. Does Pyramyd Air sells this gun, because all I found in your website is LGV that shoots at 10000 fps.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Joe,

      The listing does indicate that the .177 version of the LGV will shoot 1,000 f.p.s. (not 10,000). But that is based on what Pyramyd Air was told by Umarex USA, the importers of the gun. They were told that by Umarex or Germany, who own the Walther company that makes this rifle.

      In truth, this is a 12 foot-pound air rifle and will probably shoot medium-weight lead pellets in the 700s somewhere. But since these guns have not been tested in the U.S., nobody know what they will do yet.

      B.B.

  • Gerrit Says:

    Three years ago I bought a Crosman Optimus Air Rifle (.177) 1000 FPS. It was easy to shoot in and I had fun for quite some time until the spring broke. I could not find an official dealer in South Africa to repair it and I decided to look for another air gun. I had my sights on a Crosman Fury Nitro Air Rifle .177 1200 FPS that I have seen on the web. The support infrastructure was a concern though.

    Upon further investigation I came upon this review and went yesterday to buy me the Walther LGV Challenger 4.5mm. The salesman said it can reach up to a 1000 FPS, however, when I opened the box, the book indicates there are 600 FPS and 1000 FPS models. Apparently only the “Walther LGV Challenger *Ultra* 4.5m” can reach 1000 FPS.

    Questions:
    1. Which of the two models did you test: The Walther LGV Challenger or the Walther LGV Challenger *Ultra*?
    2. If your test was done on the Walther LGV Challenger *Ultra*, would you still recommend the the Walther LGV Challenger, if one is used to the power of the Crossman Optimus?

    I have not tested the Walter yet, just in case I would want to return it to the dealer.

    I bought the “JSB Exact 8.44 (4.52)” pellets with the Walther as well yesterday.

    I grew up on a fruit farm and was hunting birds since I was eight years of age. I quickly learned that every shot counts, if you are awarded at the end of every day for your bird-count. I am not an expert, but I still enjoy making each and every shot counts.

    Regards

    • J-F Says:

      There’s a 600 fps model!?!
      This is interesting, probably smoother to shoot and cock, may be an interesting option for me.

      This is an old blog, it’s almost 2 months old and not a lot of people monitor the older blogs for questions.
      You can ask question on the blog published every day of the week, no need to stay on topic. The blog comes out at 00h01 eastern time.

      In the mean time I don’t know if this can help you but here is part 5 of the Ultra tested in .177, just like this one you have links at the top of the page for parts 1 to 4.
      http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/2013/05/walthers-new-lgv-master-ultra-177-air-rifle-part-5/

      J-F

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Gerrit,

      I said exactly which model I tested in Part 1. It was the Challenger — not the Challenger Ultra. I am also testing the LGV Master Ultra at this time. It is a more powerful rifle. I have done 5 Parts on that report, as well.

      In Part 2 of this report I give the velocities that I got when testing this rifle. You need to read the other 5 Parts of this report. The links to all of them at at the beginning of this article.

      B.B.

  • John Says:

    Any thoughts on the wear coming in at the breech hinge? Mine is new and exhibits what I think is excessive wear. Not that it doesn’t happen on other b-b’s but some have washers that limit it. Also I’m finding some lessening of the breech hinge friction which I can’t tell is good or bad (it doesn’t feel sloppy, just more loose). At what point would you suggest re-tightening of the screws- such as if any “play” is apparent or ? Any other thoughts or concerns with yours BB?

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      John,

      My rifle did loosen up as I used it, but it never became sloppy. Try to shake the barrel side to side and see if you can feel movement. That’s when the breech needs to be tightened.

      My rifle is still shooting very well and has not gotten any looser.

      B.B.

  • uglymike Says:

    Just bought one in .177, along with a Hawke 4X12X50, Hawke 1 piece high mounts. Your review “sealed the deal”. Can’t wait…….!

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      uglymike,

      Report what you think, please.

      B.B.

      • uglymike Says:

        Just finished my first session with my LGV Challenger .177. Fit/finish/bluing on par with my RWS 34P TO6 .177. Trigger was the only downside, the first stage is loooooooong, second stage is crisp, clean, once again on par with second stage in my 34P TO6. Cocking is silent, equal to several pro tuned air rifles I own, lock up is hard to describe. Closing the barrel is like a finely engineered bank vault, very solid, precise feeling to it. Only put 100 pellets or so through it, but showing signs of 1 hole accuracy already. Very slight spring buzz, nice shot cycle. Just a quick little thump, leaving a smile on my face. All in all this looks like a real winner, wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a top of the line springer. I’ll get back to you after a couple thousand pellets down the tube, and internals get settled in. Couldn’t be happier at this stage, the LGV is an outstanding air rifle.

  • Dave S. Says:

    BB, Your review was right on the money. I have been shooting my Challenger Ultra almost every day for a over a month. Yes, It is the finest air rifle I have ever shot. (I have a number of very nice pro tuned German/English rifles). The rifle really grows on you. It has gotten to the point that it is the only rifle I now want to shoot. The first stage is long, but so what. You get use to it very quickly and the second stage is so fine that the shot will always surprise you. The second stage is what matters anyway. I have the 22.cal which is 12lbs, exactly where I like my springer’s. I will be getting a 177 for sure. If it shoots as accurate as the 22 then it will be a match made in heaven.
    Thanks for your review, Like I said, it was right on the money!

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