by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
I didn’t get picked for jury duty, yesterday! Yay!
Today, I’m going to make a lot of friends because I’m starting a review of the new Walther LGV Master Ultra air rifle in .177 caliber. If you just tuned in, there are 6 reports of the Walther LGV Challenger in .22 caliber already on this blog. That one was so fine that I couldn’t send it back to the importer, so I can’t wait to see its .177 cousin. Many of you also wanted to see the gun in wood — so here you go!
Blog reader Kevin asked me what the difference was between the Ultra models and others that aren’t Ultras. I thought it was just the shape of the muzzlebrake; but now that I have an Ultra to examine, I know what it is. The Ultra has conventional open sights without the fiberoptics! Hurray! The front sight accepts inserts, and the rear sight is an adjustable notch with crisp clicks between each step. The post and notch have sharp corners, and there’s plenty of light around the post in the rear notch. Sighting should be very easy. We shall see.
This rifle has a wood stock, so naturally that’s the first big difference I see between it and the LGV Challenger I’ve already tested. Many readers were interested in the wood stock — this will be our chance to test one. No, it doesn’t have an adjustable cheekpiece, but we don’t need to test every feature, do we. Adjustable cheekpieces allow you to adapt the gun to fit many more shooters, and I don’t think they have any downside, unless you just don’t like the look.
Of course, this rifle (serial number BJ002873) is in .177 caliber, so that’ll be a completely different experience, although the barreled actions of the two airguns look the same. Yes, the muzzlebrake on this one is larger and shaped differently, but it isn’t a thing you notice when you hold the gun.
The wood is beech and stained an even medium brown. You can see the grain in the wood, which is often hidden on wood stocks these days. The pistol grip has panels of what looks like laser-cut checkering on both sides. The forearm is smooth. The stock is entirely ambidextrous, with a center-mounted automatic safety switch that doesn’t favor one side over the other.
The pull (distance from the end of the butt to the trigger) is a manly 14-3/4-inches, which is 1/4-inch longer than the pull on the LGV Challenger. And the rifle’s overall length is also 1/4-inch longer, at 43-1/4 inches overall. I know the LGV Challenger specs say it’s 43.1 inches overall, but mine measures exactly 43 inches. Maybe it’s the way I’m measuring it.
What you notice with the Master Ultra is the weight. Where the Challenger weighs 8.5 lbs., the Master Ultra I’m testing weighs a full pound more. Most of that weight is in the wood stock, of course, but the smaller caliber and larger muzzlebrake do contribute something.
Like all the LGVs, the Master has the same barrel latch that must be released before cocking. It keeps the barrel locked rigidly shut when firing, and it goes all the way back to the LGV target rifles of many decades ago.
The muzzlebrake is threaded on this model as it was on the .22 I tested earlier. A knurled cap protects the threads of the aluminum brake until you need them. U.S. shooters probably won’t use them much at all because silencers that screw onto a gun are controlled in this country. And the thread pattern is 1/2″ X 20 threads per inch (tpi), which is standard for UK silencers. American silencers are usually 1/2″ X 28 tpi. But a spring-piston gun doesn’t make enough noise at the muzzle to need silencing, so we won’t lament the fact that they’ll be hard to fit. Most of its noise is made in the spring tube, and that can’t be silenced.
The two-stage trigger is adjustable; and from what I can see so far, it looks to be the same trigger I tested on the LGV Challenger. The specs say it releases at 3 lbs., but it feels lighter than that to me. As with the first rifle, the trigger on this sample feels as good as it can get, so I don’t think I’ll try to adjust it.
I remarked on this before, but it deserves to be repeated. The LGV is so positive when cocked that it feels like a bank vault. Thumbing the barrel latch up releases the barrel for cocking, then pull straight down on the muzzle end until the sear catches. The piston stroke is very short, so the barrel barely gets to 90 degrees and the rifle is cocked. When you close the barrel again, the latch clicks shut positively, giving you the feeling of a solid action. The barrel doesn’t move to either side when it’s being cocked or returned to rest, and the whole experience conveys a high build quality.
I think I like the way the lighter synthetic-stocked rifle hangs in my hands better than this wood-stocked one, but time will tell. Obviously, I need to shoot this one before I make that pronouncement.
I can’t wait to see how this .177 does at distance. I’ve already fired the rifle, and there’s not a nickel’s worth of difference to the feel.
And there isn’t much more to report because this one is so much like the first one, except as noted. Velocity comes next.