Octane combo from Umarex: Part 1

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

Octane combo
Umarex Octane gas-spring rifle combo.

Here’s another new air rifle from Umarex USA. The Octane combo is a breakbarrel air rifle powered by a gas spring. Umarex calls their gas spring the Reaxis gas piston. That title Reaxis signifies that the gas spring unit is mouned in reverse of what’s normal. Instead of the heavier piston going forward with each shot…what would be the tail end of most gas springs…is where the piston seal is mounted. That lowers the reaction mass, which lowers the recoil felt by the shooter. Whether or not it works as advertised is something I’ll test and report.

I’m testing a .22-caliber rifle, at my request. I dislike wasting the energy of a super magnum gas spring on a .177-caliber gun that can’t develop the full power potential, so this is a chance to test this gun the way I would order it. The manufacturer claims a velocity of 1,250 f.p.s. with lead-free pellets and 1,050 f.p.s. with lead. Of course, you know I’m going to test that, as well.

The rifle I’m testing is serial number 00371165. It’s clearly marked Made in China, but don’t ask me what the base gun is. I find that these rifles change their personality a lot when manufacturers have them built to their specifcations, and tracking down the lineage often becomes misleading.

The Octane is a huge air rifle — 48.5 inches overall with a 14.5-inch pull. And it weighs 8.5 lbs. and 9.5 lbs. with scope and mounts. So, it’s longer than an M1 Garand and nearly as heavy. But that weight is biased toward the muzzle, so the rifle holds very steady — a huge point in its favor. And the black synthetic stock has a forearm with a thin cross-section that makes the rifle sink deep into your hand and hold much easier. Laying your off hand under the forearm just forward of the triggerguard provides a stable resting point.

The stock is designed as a permanent thumbhole with a well-shaped pistol grip. The synthetic material is rough to the touch and is checkered on two small panels on either side of the forearm at the place you want to hold it. The buttpad is a very soft and grippy black rubber pad. It’s fitted perfectly and holds on the shoulder without movement. I normally don’t like thumbhole stocks, but this one saves weight, pushes the weight forward toward the muzzle and seems to compliment the rifle very well.

The open sights are fully adjustable, but they have fiberoptic tubes both front and rear. Aiming is, therefore, not going to be precise unless you light the target to keep the fiberoptics from appearing. I’ll initially shoot the rifle with the open sights at 10 meters to see if this is possible.

Octane combo front sight
Front sight is a long fiberoptic tube.

But this is a combo that comes with a 3-9X40 scope and mounts. The scope has adjustable parallax down to 10 meters, so it’s ideal for airgun use. I’ll report on it as the test progresses.

There’s one additional point to make about the scope. The rifle comes with a Picatinny scope base attached to 11mm dovetails that are cut directly into the spring tube. So the shooter has the choice of using either Weaver rings that will fit Picatinny grooves, or removing the base from the gun and using the 11mm dovetails directly. Either way, though, there’s no provision for a positive scope stop, which is risky on a rifle that recoils heavily. I’ll be watching for any movement of the scope mounts and bases during the test.

Octane combo scope base
Here you see the Picatinny base that’s attached to the integral dovetails. Either can be used to mount a scope, but neither has a positive scope stop because the base is just clamped to the dovetails.

The metal on the barreled action is finished to a satin sheen. It’s shinier than a matte finish, but not as shiny as most European air rifle finishes.

Discharge sound
Like all gas springs, there’s a loud crack when the rifle discharges. The Octane has a silencer muzzlebrake they call the SilencAIR. It has internal chambers that might attenuate the discharge sound somewhat. But it’s still a loud airgun — make no mistake! Pyramyd Air rated it as a 3 on the sound scale. I thought it was closer to 3.7, so Edith changed the loudness rating to 4 since Pyramyd Air’s scale has no fractions. It’s louder than most breakbarrel magnums that have coiled steel mainsprings.

Trigger
You know I have tried the rifle a few times already — just to see how it feels. I found the 2-stage trigger a bit heavy but very crisp. It’s adjustable, so I’ll see what I can do to it in Part 2. I do like the fact that the trigger blade feels fairly straight up and down because that gives me the feeling of control I want.

Octane combo trigger
The trigger is adjustable and is a crisp 2-stage right out of the box.

Accuracy
I read the reviews of the rifle, and they rate it very high. Accuracy is mentioned by several reviewers. I can’t wait to see this for myself, as I’ve not had good luck with the accuracy of magnum rifles with gas springs. I would love to find one that was accurate.

One thing that might work in the Octane’s favor is that the barrel pivots are screws rather than pins. That means they can be tightened. The ones on the test rifle need to be tightened before testing, as the barrel will not stay in position. The owner’s manual also says to clean the barrel before shooting. I will do both things, and report back to you on how it works.

Initial impressions
If there’s a category of airguns that I’m dubious about, it’s the magnum springer — especially the one with a gas spring. I’ve seldom seen them shoot accurately. But I’m more than willing to believe they can be good. And if any of them has a chance, this appears to be the one. Given its power and low price, if the Octane is also accurate I’ll sing its praises to the skies!

60 thoughts on “Octane combo from Umarex: Part 1

  1. I have been curious about this one. It has been getting mixed reviews from “the professionals”. Personally, I do not care for the looks of the stock, but if it functions well and is comfortable, I might could live with it. As for the glowey thingey sights, a dremel tool can work wonders.

    Your description of the trigger being crisp gives me hope for this one. If you can lighten the pull and have it keep that crispness, we may end up with a winner here. I do have major concerns about the quality control at the factory where these are made though. They keep putting the safety in backwards.

    I really hope that for once, someone has made an “interesting” magnum sproinger.


    • RR,

      I was going to save this for Part 2 but the only adjustment the trigger has is the length of the first stage travel. The lightness is not adjustable.

      As for the rest of what you said — me, too!

      B.B.


    • Howdy Ridgey, Dremel tools are for girly men. Whatcha need here fur this job is a chainsaw, a 2×4, some sheetrock screws & a rolla duct tape. We’ll have that stock & them sissy sights fixed right up. Oh & have Cooter bring lotsa beer.

      Bubba


    • There are all different ways to appreciate rifle stocks. The stock on my Savage 10FP has been pretty usefully condemned as cheap and ugly. I don’t have a strong opinion about this but the way this rifle shoots so accurately makes that stock just hilarious. I sort of feel like I’ve put one over one somebody.

      Matt61


  2. I hope the accuracy is acceptable. Looks like this might be a nice entry level gas spring gun. Stock is definitely ugly though… Guess I’m just not a fan of the hollowed out look, especially on the cheek piece.

    /Dave


  3. Let me get something straight in my head. Instead of a piston, they mounted the seal on the end of the gas spring and are using it as the piston? Is the moving mass actually less or is the overall mass just reduced?


  4. RR,

    Yes, the piston is turned around. The part that moves does have to have a piston head, of course, but the mass of what moves is greatly reduced. But the unit still weighs about what all gas springs weigh. The heavy part just doesn’t move.

    B.B.


    • That backwards cylinder should take care of a lot of the recoil. You’ll have to let us know if the recoil is replaced by a stinging slap when fired. Despite its weird stock, I hope it turns out to be a good buy!

      /Dave


    • B.B.,

      The turned around air piston has my head spinning around! I am having trouble picturing this thing, both as a still object and in motion.

      Is this something that will recoil back to the shooter, like a P1 or Webley air pistol, or will it still recoil forward like most springers?

      Michael


      • Michael,

        The gun does jump forward like most springers. So the gas spring and piston works just like all of them do — they have just managed to remove a lot of the mass from the moving parts.

        B.B.


        • B.B.,

          This sounds like something that could be quite an innovation.

          I’m smiling right now, because back on May 13 you wrote a blog entry entitled, “Is That All There Is?” The answer from anyone who has studied even a bit of history, and you are quite a historian, is that there is always something genuinely new just around the next corner.

          Michael


      • Beware nasty ASCII art…

        Traditional gas system:
        __________
        ]|_________===|

        ] is piston, =| is the inner shaft. As I understand the description, this model is

        ]|===______| (I’m not going to try to align _ for the “top” of the tube)


  5. BB,

    I don’t know how often this has been mentioned before, but I just wanted to comment on how much I enjoy the articles you write that accompany the Pyramyd Air catalogs. Your articles in the latest, volume 4, catalog were as useful and informative as ever. Your tips for accuracy and setting-in to a firing position are timeless. I end up saving the catalogs to refer to or reread past articles. Particular favorites are in volume 2, details of the Rekord trigger and the article about pellet ballistics. These articles are great!

    Thank you,

    Jay


    • Jay,

      Thank you! I like writing those articles because I know how much I enjoy reading similar things in catalogs of things I am interested in. A company cannot underestimate how valuable it is to educate the customer about the products. Pyramyd Air understands that and they give me the space in their catalogs to write what you see. I hope I can continue to do these articles for a long time to come!

      B.B.


  6. I share the suspicions with B.B. on this. I’m thinking that this is not going to be a very good gun. But my reasons are a bit different. First I know these magnum springers are not easy to cock so after a few shots your arms are going to start to shake with fatigue which will throw off your shot. Second the gun looks to be partly cheap plastic and it’s chinese made. We have already seen with the fusion that the chinese do not do a very good job in manufacturing and I’ve had several chinese made guns fall apart in my hands. One put springs in my face. So I suspect this gun is made no better than any other chinese gun. I’ve heard people say. “If you think you can do better, show us.” I already have. I’m now building a very high end pcp gun that I’d love to see go into production but not in china. Once it’s built I’m thinking of trying to crowd fund production. I think we need a better quality airgun than is being made today.



      • I have it mocked up using a modified disco on the actual custom stock now. It fires good and hard and almost has all the performance the actual prototype will have. I have a few internal parts to replace and it will be up to my standards. then I need to put on the dual air tank and custom top end. It’s only a single shot now. The finished product will use a marauder magazine just to keep things simple. But what I have now is functional and just passed a pressure test. Been holding 2100 pounds for 3 weeks now.


        • I know from a practical and from a marketable standpoint that a repeater design is best, but I regret not snatching up one of the Katanas when they were available.



          • that’s the good thing about what I’m building. You can add the marauder single shot tray and it will work. Or swap it out and have a repeater. my design is adaptable like the marauder to a certain point and the marauder shot tray and magazines will interchange with what I’m doing.



              • I’m working on a .22 cal since that seems to retain more velocity and energy over distance however rechambering to .177 is not hard to do. I have sources for hard to find parts as long as they are not too old and I do have a few machinists I work with so I’m far from out of options. So a .22 cal single shot tray is not out of the question yet.




                  • B.B.,

                    The “cheap shot” answer is Crosman doesn’t explain themselves because they don’t make sense! (LOL)

                    But the truth is that Crosman probably sells one .22 tray for every one hundred .177 ones, and they probably sell one .25 tray for every five hundred .177 ones. Crosman probably makes an impressive margin on the .177 trays, due to the economy of scale and the inflated wholesale price of such a simple little speck of plastic, but they probably have negative margin, a loss of money, for every non-.177 tray they sell.

                    You don’t become and stay one of the big four airgun makers in the world by following unsound business practices.

                    Michael



  7. B.B.,

    I wonder if the trigger’s weight might be due to the unusual design. Is the sear close to the trigger blade, or is it kind of like a bullpup where the actual sear is quite far (perhaps fore, not aft as in a bullpup) from the trigger and requires an intermediary mechanism?

    Michael



    • GF1

      Maybe someone simply flipped a ram around backwards to see what would happen, and got a bit more velocity with light pellets. More velocity is good, so we have a new selling point.
      Might be some drawbacks with more suitable pellet weights, but we will have to wait and see.

      twotalon


  8. So, gas springs in magnums are LESS accurate than conventional springs. Now why would that be? I thought the only difference was the cocking effort. And when the .22 maximizes a powerplant that does not imply that it is any more accurate than a .177. Is that right?

    Yes, B.B., about the airsoft and another advantage is that you avoid the danger of shooting yourself with the quickdraw technique. You convinced me not to attempt that with a pellet gun, not to mention a firearm. In the novel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, hacker extraordinaire and genius, Lisbeth Salander, shoots a 260 pound attacker in the foot with a 9X18 Makarov, and it certainly takes him out of action.

    Regarding the unfortunate shooting of the kid with the airgun in California, I don’t believe there was orange tip on that gun either because it had been removed or because it was a pellet gun. I saw a picture of the gun that was either the original or something made to look like it and it was indistinguishable from an AK-47. You wonder what was going on in the kid’s head. Maybe nothing at all. Or maybe his own knowledge that he didn’t have a gun made him not register the command. Kids…

    That is a weird story about people trying to rob people at ATMs with guns painted to look like airsoft. I believe that the law says that any crime committed with airguns will be punished as if they were firearms. So, legally there is no advantage and the paint will presumably frighten the victims less, not more. It’s like a Honolulu police officer wrote in his memoir, “Most criminals are about as smart as potted plants.” As an example he described one suspect who was supposed to read from a script for a line-up, and the guy told him, “That’s not what I said”….

    Matt61


    • Matt61,

      I have an airsoft springer sniper rifle that I bought for casual backyard plinking because it was VERY cheap and the thing is extremely quiet, hardly makes any sound at all. The thing is a repro of some military rifle and is very tactical looking, so I have decided the orange tip is not noticeable enough, so I’m going to mask the barrel a bit farther back and extend the dayglow to about three inches or so with orange spray paint.

      Michael


  9. I’m leery of Chinese made air guns,but the one exception is the Benjaman Springer Magnum
    It is pretty nice.I also am curious about the Benjaman Rogue,I don’t hear about it anymore and
    Pyramid doesn’t list it anymore,I wonder if it’s discontinued?I am surprised it’s made there.I think
    Hatsan of Turkey has more quality than the Chinese,they have really come up in the world.


  10. Well I couldn’t understand what you guys were describing so went looking. According to an Airgun Reporter video, Umarex claims “Unlike other nitrogen filled gas pistons, the Reaxis is reversed meaning the gas strut is turned 180 degrees on its axis so that the larger mass of the gas strut pushes the piston instead of the rod thereby generating more power, velocity, and impact than other gas pistons.” My claim? this is baloney physics; admittedly I kicked my physics book back to the dorm after class so what do I know. But, first, from my observations of several rams, the body of the typical gasram is less massive than the rod, not more, so turning around does nothing.

    Second, let’s assume the ram body IS significantly more massive than the ram rod. Many have experimented (and still do) with piston mass changes (likely on the order of +/-5%) and we all know you rarely get away with that without undesirable side effects on recoil, surge, etc., but most importantly on accuracy. So the sum of the reversed gasram body mass plus REDUCED piston mass (i.e. the total moving mass) had better stay in the historically successful range. If Umarex’s claim of more power is true, it has nothing to do with the flipped ram; it would have to be because they charged the ram to a higher pressure. So recoil can be expected to behave the same way it behaves in any other springer whose power has been increased; in which case, get ready to apply your well-honed artillery hold skills. I hope I’m wrong and that this gun is the bomb. Meantime…Reaxis? Schmieaxis! ;-)


  11. Great. I’ve been looking at this and other guns for weeks, looking for something at a reasonable price for dealing with some thicker boned pests. I finally bought this, most people were saying it would be quiet enough. It showed up today, and now i see your blog, and you say it’s loud. Oh well, I’ll see if i have time to clean it and go over it tomorrow before work, find out how loud it is in my neighborhood. I’m really hoping it can deal with predators going after the chickensfrom a short distance.i really didn’t want to have to invest in pcp.


    • BB i forgot to ask i want to clean it up before i take it to the range to test it out, and I’ve never shot a springer before. After cleaning it can i de cock it by pulling the barrel all the way down and pulling the trigger, then carefully letting the barrel back up while holding the trigger? Or will this damage something?



  12. I’ve got a few questions about this gun. First of all, I’m very new to these higher-end air rifles, so if my questions sound like I’m a beginner, it’s because I am…

    Can you mount a traditional scope on this gun or does it need to be a scope designed for air rifles due to the forward recoil?

    I’ve read in some other reviews that you need a heavier pellet for this gun (22cal) due to the higher velocities, what exactly is considered a “heavier” pellet compared to a lighter one?

    Has anyone narrowed down a specific type pellet that works best with this gun?

    Thanks!


    • Beageler,

      First of all, most modern scope are now properly braced for airguns. If they parallax-adjust down to 10 meters you may assume they are made for airguns and firearms.

      In .22 caliber a medium-weight pellet weighs about 15 grains and when they get to 18 grains and more they are considered heavy. I don’t know if anyone else has found the right pellet for the .22 Octane, but that’s what I will be trying to do in my Part 3 accuracy test. So keep reading the blog and you will find out as I do.

      B.B.


  13. Ok, Thanks.

    Now, will I need a cleaning kit designed for air rifles or will the same stuff I use on my other rim/centerfire rifles work on this gun?


    • Beagler,

      What is to clean? We don’t clean our barrels until accuracy drops off. I have guns that have been fired over 10,000 times without cleaning.

      When you do clean, use a brass brush (on steel barrels, only) and JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound. Run a loaded brush through the barrel 20 times in each direction, then clean with cotton patches. Use a rod only, not a pull-through if you can avoid it.

      Wipe down the entire gun with a cloth soaked in Ballistol.

      B.B.


  14. Ok, I’d read on here that the NEW gun needs a good cleaning b/f shooting, so thought I’d ask. I should get my new Umarex Octane today, looking forward to putting a few (hundred) rounds through it.

    I’ve got 80+ pecan trees on my property and they are loaded with pecans & squirrels, so I should have plenty of live targets to practice with…


    • Beagler,

      That is a good point that I had forgotten. Yes, it is sometimes a good idea to clean a new barrel — especially those in spring-piston guns.

      The cleaning method I described is the one to use.

      Please let us know what you think of the Octane?

      B.B.


  15. BB, are ya kidding me? Many of the instruction manuals tell you to clean the barrel prior to shooting including the TX200 you expound upon. And they tell you NOT to use a bore cleaning brush. What gives?


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