Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

C96 BB pistol
Umarex Legends C96 BB pistol.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol, and I can sum it up in a single word: Spectacular! Those who like accurate BB pistols will want to put this one on their list.

I shoot all BB guns at 5 meters, which is about 16 feet, 5 inches. While that sounds incredibly close, it is the distance at which the Daisy National BB Gun Championship is shot; and if it’s good enough for the champions, it’s good enough for me. Besides, testing all BB guns at the same distance gives consistent results that can be compared across many tests.

I shot this test with my forearms rested on the back of a wooden chair, and the gun held in 2 hands. That eliminated as much of me as possible, giving the pistol a fair chance to shoot its best.

I used 50-foot smallbore rifle targets whose black bulls are almost 1.5 inches across. At 5 meters, they make perfect aim points for open sights. The C96 has a tapered post front sight and a V-notch in the rear. When the target is illuminated with 500 watts of halogen light, the sight picture becomes sharp and crisp, and sighting can be precise.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs
The first target was shot with Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs. The very first shot hit at the extreme bottom of the paper target, and I discovered one of the great features of this pistol. It has a tangent rear sight like the firearm it copies, and it was easy to raise the rear notch up just a bit. By sheer luck I got the elevation almost perfect on the first try, so I left the sights alone after that.

C96 BB pistol rear sight
The rear ramp is easy to elevate, just like on the firearm. You can see the sloped surface the sight adjuster rides up as it moves forward.

The next 9 BBs went into a shockingly small group, so I loaded one more BB into the magazine to make up for the first shot that was low. When I fired it, it was the only Daisy BB to hit outside the black after the sight adjustment. The 10-shot group measures 0.852 inches between centers. I think you’ll agree this is a very nice group of 10 from any BB pistol!

C96 BB pistol Daisy BB group
Ten Daisy Premium-Grade BBs made this 0.852-inch group at 5 meters. Notice the first BB that landed very low.

Crosman Copperhead
Next up were Crosman Copperhead BBs. They hit the target in the same place as the Daisys, and the 10-shot group measures 0.937 inches, which isn’t much different than what the Daisy BBs did.

C96 BB pistol Copperhead BB group
Ten Crosman Copperhead BBs made this 0.937-inch group at 5 meters. As with the Daisys, one BB is outside the black bull.

Umarex Precision Steel BBs
Finally, I tried the Umarex Precision steel BBs. They rival the Daisys in precision and this time that was evident. Ten of them went into 0.863 inches, with nine of them in a much tighter bunch. Like the other 2 BBs, these also threw a single BB into the white.

C96 BB pistol Umarex BB group
Ten Umarex Precision Steel BBs made this 0.863-inch group at 5 meters. It’s only slightly larger than the Daisy group.

Sight adjustment
Like the Mauser firearm it copies, this BB pistol has no provision for windage adjustments. Both the Mauser firearms I owned shot about a foot to the left at 25 yards, so I’m used to this. Some older pistols have sights that can at least be drifted to the side in dovetails, but not the Mauser. With this gun, you soon learn to apply Kentucky windage to lay your shots where you want them.

But let’s face it, this isn’t a realistic test for a BB pistol. BB gun shooters plink at cans. They don’t shoot groups at paper targets — at least not often. This pistol is easily a minute-of-Coke-can handgun out to 20 yards.

Firing behavior
I found 2 things about the trigger pull when conducting this test. The first is that the trigger blade is located too close to the grip. That’s a part of the lack of ergonomics that the Broomhandle family of pistols all share, and there’s nothing to be done for it. This BB pistol is a faithful copy of the firearm, including a less-than-optimum grip.

The second thing I noticed was how hard the 2-stage trigger seemed to pull. Looking back at Part 2, I see that I did not measure the pull, so I got out the electronic gauge and measured it this time. Stage 1 requires between 2 and 3 lbs. to complete, and stage 2 breaks at an average of 7 lbs., 11 ozs. The range went from 7 lbs., 1 oz. to 8 lbs., 3 oz.; and the slower and more deliberate the pull, the greater the force required.

Even with that, though, the pistol is blisteringly accurate. And the blowback is pleasant. It’s nothing like the snapping recoil of a 7.63mm Mauser cartridge. So, there’s a benefit of shooting the BB gun over the firearm.

Overall evaluation
Umarex has a winner, here. Their Legends airguns are all remarkable guns, and the C96 takes its place among them proudly. Not only is it realistic-looking, it gets an astounding number of shots per CO2 cartridge; and, as we now see, those shots all go to the same place.

56 thoughts on “Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol: Part 3

  1. This one will make it to the UK, eventually…. Always wanted a C96, such an odd looking pistol and something I always associated with ‘baddies’. The nastiest characters in films depicting the early 20th century seem to be armed with C96′s. A question, do you think wooden grips might fit this reproduction?


  2. A POX ON YOU!!!!! Once again I am sorely tempted to re-enter the world of CO2! That thing is a shooter! I wonder how it would do with Avanti BBs?

    I guess I am one of the baddies to which Oliver refers. I have always wanted one of these. One of the reasons I never did get one was I had heard that the bolt has been known to come loose and implant in a face. That and ammunition was hard to find at the time. I never saw the sense of owning a firearm I could not fire. I am the same way with my air guns.


    • RR,

      I just KNEW that someone would wonder about Avanti Precision Ground Shot. Here is what I think. Although this pistol is very accurate, it is one order of magnitude less accurate than a 499. Avanti shot wouldn’t improve the accuracy one bit — in my opinion. It would be like running 100-octane gasoline in a Volkswagen. The benefits of the better fuel would be lost in the lack of precision of the engine.

      But, you know what? We don’t know that for sure — do we? If I were to re-run this accuracy test with Avanti shot, would you trust me to try my hardest to shoot just as well as I did here?

      B.B.


      • RR,

        I could re-run this test as a blind test. If Edith gave me the BBs to load — 10 at a time — and I shot 4 groups — 2 with Avanti shot and 2 with regular Daisy shot — never knowing which ammo I was shooting — would that be something you could trust?

        B.B.


        • B.B.,

          I, for one, would love to see another report on this one, so a test using Avanti bbs would be just the right excuse.

          Might a trigger shoe make the close trigger less of an issue?

          I am a bit troubled by the price, only because $100 is a lot for a mostly plastic BB gun, especially when the mostly metal Makarov is about half as much, and the new blowback Mak and the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five are roughly the same price as this but are mostly metal.

          Michael


        • Now that would be a interesting test.

          But Edith would have to load the bb’s. Because knowing you with all the years experience you have you would be able to touch the bb and know which one your loading. ;)


        • I think I can trust you to give an honest test, whether blind or not. If nothing else this will give you an excuse to play with it some more.

          As for the bolt, my source was likely totally ignorant concerning them in the first place. That was sooo long ago. Although I would like to shoot one sometime, I do not see me ever getting one now. I cannot afford this addiction.


    • RR,

      I never heard the thing about the bolt coming loose on these Mausers.

      As for ammo, you should reload. You can get a setup for just this caliber for less than $100 and then make all the ammo you want for pennies. The basic case (for the 7.63mm Mauser round that is far more common in these guns than the 9mm Luger) can be made from a .223 Remington/5.56mm military case. They are so common on the ground at ranges they constitute a tripping hazard!

      B.B.


      • I have never heard of a problem with the bolt on the C96. However, if the Canadian Ross Rifle of WWI is in correctly reassembled, you can eat the bolt on that one. It is a straight pull design.

        Mike


      • While I agree every shooter should reload, now is not the time to get into it. Brass is about the only thing you can find. Bullets can be sourced online, but powder? fugeddaboutit! I’ve been out of my favorite W231 for over a year now with no hope of finding any soon.
        Of course it may be different in the great state of Texas.
        Great deals on reloading equipment are everywhere though…I suspect because you can’t actually use it!
        Kinda like all the cool .22lr replicas…People snap ‘em up as soon as they hit the shelves, but they can’t shoot ‘em. No ammo.


        • DD,

          I have purchased 35 lbs. of gunpowder and passed on another 25 lbs. in the past 5 months. All you have to do is get on the list to be alerted when it arrives. Same for primers. I have never has so many primers on hand! And I’m buying this from Midway, who are located in MO.

          B.B.


          • Hey, who do you know at Midway?!??? I’m on the list but haven’t heard a thing!
            Still, wish I could get it locally, that hazmat charge hurts.

            Watch for me on the news….”Gun Nut Robs Hodgdon with Muzzleloader!”

            (Pyrodex is still plentiful thank gawd!)


            • DD,

              Here is whatcha do. You register for the alerts and get your friends to register, too. If you can get somebody who works on the internet during the day, that is ideal. Everyone who gets notified buys the product. Soon you will be overwhelmed, so you start trading pounds of various powders or thousands of various primers to get what you really want.

              Register for both the 1 lb. cans and the bulk cans, too. Each is listed and notified separately. When you get a notification do not hesitate — order it immediately. This works so well for both powder and primers that I have had to stop doing it.

              B.B.


              • Minions! I need minions!
                I’ll have to train the 5yr old how to identify powder types and enter credit card numbers. : )



                  • Ah but see BB is blessed with a wife who not only encourages but participates in his sport of choice!
                    Mine, on the other hand, gives me the hairy eyeball if I even THINK about buying something gun-related!

                    wife-Why do you need another 1927? Don’t you already have 3 or 4?
                    me-It’s 1911 dear. And yes, I’ve got 1 or 2. But not in flat od green!!
                    wife-Green gun, purple gun, gold gun, you bring another one into this house and you can sleep with the beagle mister!

                    (That may not sound bad to you, but then, you don’t know our beagle. Pretty sure he’s from Hell.)


          • I have to say that those alerts are not reliable. I got on a list to be notified for IMR 4064 at Midway, but when some came in as I happened to check, there was never a notification. Also, I’m told that powder will not be shipped until four to six weeks after ordering. Agreed about the hassle of hazmat shipping. I need to take a vacation day on the day of arrival so that the building management will not intercept my shipment and send it back…. But at least, I’ve got my four pounds of powder ordered, and I can get my M1 Garand into action again.

            Matt61


            • Looks like there’s enough reloaders here on BB’s blog we should be able to come up with a trade-a-powder program. Of course, I’d never have anything to trade, but maybe BB’s idea will work.
              Btw Matt, I think it was you that had asked….
              I did pick up the sr1911 and it is every bit as finely made as my Kimber or Gold Cup, tolerance-wise. Not as pretty, but then that’s not the point. I think at it’s price point, and considering the manufacturer, it’s tough to beat. I’ve only fired factory hardball and some old PMC Starfire I had lying around through it so far (again, crying for lack of w231, power pistol, unique, etc etc) but 1 1/2″ groups at 25 yards is the norm. Trigger breaks at a hair over 4.35lbs after a mild polish job.
              Totally impressed…this one’s a keeper!


              • Ooh, count me in. I got a pound of Red Dot and a pound of Bullseye. Well, not quite a pound anymore since I’ve been using it for 35 years! You can tell I don’t reload that much. But my primers are fresh.

                Fred DPRoNJ.


                • Guys,

                  For the .45 ACP a great load is 5.1 grains of Titegroup and a 200-grain lead bullet. Goes out at close to 900 f.p.s., has low pressure, operates every action I have tried it in and groups tight at all distances. Burns clean, too.

                  B.B.


                • Wow… and here when I was cleaning out my apartment to move to MI (after the layoff), I sprinkled about 2.5lbs of powder (3 part used canisters, that hadn’t been used in decades) onto the lawn as fertilizer. Did keep the unused 4 canisters of Pyrodex.


                  • Wulfraed,

                    Pyrodex? Really?

                    Hey, I have a buddy who “brews his own” B.P. A bit of charcoal dust, a dash of sulphur, a dollop of potassium nitrate, and presto! Youv’e got some FFg or FFFg . . . . Just choose your screens carefully and do your grinding separately.

                    Reloading seems complicated to me, and I don’t even shoot fireburners, but if there’s no Goex around, anybody can throw together some BP. (SMILE)

                    Michael


                    • One word per line, heh…

                      Pyrodex was for one of those Italian made Cap&Ball replicas: a Remington New Army as I recall — but with very non-period adjustable target sights.

                      Never got up the nerve to try it out at the range — even have two cylinders for it (but the cylinder pin is going to need a plastic head hammer to get loose).

                      Also have an ancient “New Orleans Ace” with RIFLED barrel, from the mid-70s. That has been fired before, but lacking sights isn’t the most accurate thing.


  3. Mike, you have only scratched the surface re the Ross rifle controversy. There were several models of the Ross, only the last ( model 1910) had the problem. Ross 1910 rifles were used by hunters and the military well into ww2. The bolt assembly problem was supposed to have been fixed by the installation of a pin to prevent improper assembly. I had a 1910 rifle for several years. I used it in 200 yd matches. It was very accurate and it did not take a rocket scientist to field strip and correctly assemble the bolt. I was a newcomer to highpower rifle competion and had no formal training on Ross rifles ( I was self taught) . After Ross rifles were withdrawn from combat troops, they were used as trainers ,and I have seen pictures of sharpshooters exploding floating mines with them (ww2) .That said, the 1910 Ross was long, heavy and clumsy in the trenches. They were built to tight tolerences (That’s why they were accurate). Mud , wartime ammo, and weak extraction ( common to many straight pull firearms)made them unsuitable for ww1 service. They had a large, strong bolt handle that could be stamped on (and often was)by a soldiers boot to extract a stuck cartridge case. Read Mc Brides book “a rifleman went to war ” . He was a famous ww1 sniper and used a Ross 1910 with a Warner-Swazey scope. I am only scratching the surface, but if you get the itch, researching the Ross rifle is an interesting subject. Ed


  4. So, the reproduction is more accurate than the original in spite of the same ergonomics. I’m guessing that the lack of recoil removes the problem of the high bore position which causes problems with the firearm. The gun certainly looks menacing. But that business about holstering the weapon in the stock is kind of funky although it may have been considered cool when it first appeared.

    gunfun1, any martial arts that works without direct contact is beyond the pale and should be viewed with extreme suspicion. The fact is that it is not impossible. But where I’ve seen this work it takes the form of a very advanced and sophisticated form of faking. In boxing, you fake a jab and someone moves their hand defensively. This principle can be extended so that by making certain movements, even using your eyes, you can make people anticipate in a way that will really mess them up and even fall down. This is a very rare, grandmaster type level, but at least it has a rational explanation. Generating fire with your mind is something completely different, and I have no knowledge of that at all.

    Matt61


    • Matt61
      He would go into some kind of deep concentration while rubbing his hands together and steam or vapor would start rising from his hands. I think I saw it on myth busters.


  5. B.B. , wow you have temped me but yet again. Looks like this pistol is a winner! Would you say it’s the most accurate bb pistol you’ve tested? If memory serves me right, I think it out shot the Umarex Mak….but wait…now we have the Ultra Makarov. Wow…I have to save my pennies!
    B.B., on another note, I was watching the videos of the New NP2 rifle on Crosman’s Crossroads site with you in them. I could hear what sounded like an automatic “air” gun in the background. Was this in fact a air gun I heard? If so, was it a Umarex or so other brand. I was just wondering. Thanks again for all the great reports! Bradly
    P.S., I guess I need a different name…so many good catchy ones on here


    • Checking the Umarex Makarov (non blowback) I see it shot .753″ at 15 feet. So that’s 17″ closer up. Not sure it could equal the C96 or not.


    • Bradly,

      Most of the guns on the range on Media Day were firearms. Crosman was the only company out of over 100 that had airguns. I believe that was a belt-fed full auto firing a couple ranges over from where we were. There were also several slam-fire guns (semiautos with devices that allow fast firing without full auto conversions), but the one you heard was so regular that I think it has to be a full auto.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        The part of Bradly’s post that got my attention was his implicit question asking for a comparison of the C96 and the Umarex Makarov. Both seem to be tantalizingly accurate for BB pistols, and they do both look cool, of course. An Avanti 499 might be a tackdriver at 5 meters, but these look infinitely more cool pointed at a pop can. ;^)

        A Mak with Avanti shot is a standard of sorts. That is why I wonder how a C96 with Avanti shot might do.

        Michael


  6. Hello Fellow Airgunners
    Well, this Legends C96 BB pistol is another air gun BB has reported on that I started out disliking, and then found it growing on me after 2 or 3 blogs. I have stated before I am not a fan of BB guns, however, I admire the fact this is an accurate replica. For us Canucks who can never hope to own the real deal, this gun fills the bill. That it seems to be a good shooter, just adds to its appeal.
    Oh,and one other thing my wife actually pointed out. Being an avid Star Wars fan, she observed it being quite similar to the blaster Hans Solo wore in the canteena in episode 3 (the first Star Wars film). Anyone else observe this?
    Caio
    Titus


    • Titus, YES I have. In fact, I believe one of his earlier “blasters” was based on this gun. I have a pic on my other PC of it, and I swear it’s a C96 under it’s skin.
      Bradly


    • Titus, According to the Internet Movie Firearms Database, Han Solo’s DL-44 Blastech blaster pistol was indeed based on the 9 mm C96 Mauser pistol.



    • Why can one never hope to own the real deal in Canada? Any of the versions with the longer barrel (over 4.13 inch) should only require a Restricted PAL to own right?


  7. B.B.

    Well, I’m gonna have to eat crow. A week ago I said I was through buying bb guns. Guess again. I really enjoy collecting the replica pistols so if the only way I can get one and is buying a bb gun so be it.

    I thought the P-08 was my last but I just ordered the C96, it just looks too cool to pass up. And what the heck, I like shooting coke cans as much as anybody.

    G&G


  8. If the new Makarov Ultra (the new one with blowback) is close to being as accurate as the other one or this one I may have to sell a kidney to get yet some more BB guns.

    I hope you guys living in the US don’t forget that most of these handguns are unobtainium for us living outside the US. Handguns are such a pain to get, WHEN you can get them here… these BB guns are the next best thing.

    My wishlist is getting longer and longer by the day, if they could stop bringing new guns out for a few months… yeah that would be great.

    The P08, the C96, the new Makarov, the cool new Colt Python revolver and now ASG is expending the CZ line too! UGH, maybe I could ask for a raise?

    J-F


  9. B.B.,

    What do think of the Marksman BBs? I liked their performance with the C96. I got about 1 inch groupings with them shooting from a bench rested position at 18 feet distance to target.

    I would also like to ask if you will be reviewing the new Daisy Winchester MP4 pellet rifle anytime soon?


    • Charles,

      I haven’t ever used Marksman BBs, so I know nothing about them. From your results, it sounds like they are a premium BB.

      As for testing the Winchester MP4, it is on my to-do list this year.

      Should I be welcoming you to the blog? If so, welcome. If not, you’re welcome, still. ;)

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        Thanks for the reply and the welcome. No you are not mistaken about welcoming me. Last night’s posts were my first on this blog. I had previously submitted a customer review of the Legends C96 to Pyramyd Air in which I reported my grouping sizes for Marksman, Avanti, Firepower, Umarex, Crosman, and Swiss Arms BBs. I didn’t do nearly as well with Umarex and Crosman BBs as you did, but I had done about as well with the Marksman BBs and I thought it worth mentioning on the blog.

        I am also eager to read about the results of your accuracy tests with the Winchester MP4. Just last weekend I submitted my review of it to Pyramyd Air. I took to heart the recommendation to try several types of pellets / BBs with my airguns and maybe went a little over board with it. Of the 18 different pellets, my smallest groupings were about 1 inch with the JSB Match Diabolo Light Weight pellets shot from a bench rested position at 10 meters. Some pellets that I thought would perform really well actually didn’t. Those pellets were RWS R10 Match (1 3/4″ grouping), H&N Field Target Trophy (2″ grouping), and RWS Meisterkugeln Pistol (2 3/4″ grouping). At least I think these are bad groupings. I’m still new enough to this airgun hobby to not yet have a good understanding of what grouping sizes are considered bad or good.


    • B.B. / Charles, I too have often wondered about the Marksman bb’s. Some people say a bb is a bb. Well our very own B.B. has proved different. Certain brands do better than others in certain guns. I’ve often “pestered” B.B. about what “size” are the different brands. Well I’ve found the following sizes on another site. They are as follows: Avanti 5.5 gr .174 cal, RWS 5.4 gr .174 cal, Daisy 5.3 gr .172 cal, Crosman 5.1 gr .170 cal. The rest are probably for rifled barrels as they are bigger: H&N (Copper plated) 8.4 gr .177 cal, Gamo 8.0 gr .176 cal and Beeman Perfect Rounds (H&N) 8.3 gr .178 cal. That said, if your smooth bore is a bit over sized, you might could try the Gamo being that they are .176, but you’d have to have a gun with enough power to shoot them (No Red Ryder types need try). I’m taking it all this info. was averages. It was obtain through Charles Ward. I read all his reports too.
      B.B., do you know Charles Ward? He has mentions you on his site and gives links for some of your reports.
      Bradly



        • B.B., his page can be found here: http://co2airguns.net/index.htm He doesn’t sell anything, just collects, tests and so on. If you click on the C02 links tab, you’ll see where there are articles that Tom Gaylord wrote. That is why I thought you might know him. Also on some of his reviews, he has a link to PA on the reviews you did. Cool page for a C02 collector or collector want to be. Bradly


          • Bradly,

            When I read your comment that there are articles Tom Gaylord wrote, I thought you were saying he had duplicated Tom’s articles on his site. But I see that he’s just got links to this blog, the old blog, other sites from Pyramyd Air and many other airgun sites.

            Edith


            • Sorry Edith, my bad. I don’t always make myself clear/explain things very well. You are right in that he doesn’t copy anything. I just figured as much as he like airguns and gives links, I thought maybe B.B. would know him. Bradly



  10. I don’t know why this never came to my mind until now. But after hearing about everybody talking about gun powder and reloading. It sounds like alot of you all were into firearms before airguns.

    If that’s true what made you think about airguns or how did you get into airguns if you don’t mind me asking.

    I was always into airguns growing up more than firearms. I did hunt alot when I was younger with shot guns and firearms. But it always seemed like if I picked up a airgun it was to relax and have some fun.

    You know. What came first. The chicken or the egg/Airguns or firearms?


    • GF1,

      Airguns were first for me. Then I did firearms from the time I was 14 until I turned about 26. Then airguns came back and I have done them together ever since. That was 40 years ago.

      B.B.


      • I was just wondering when or how people got involved with airguns.

        I’m willing to make a bet that kids aren’t involved with air guns like we were when we were kids. Now days there are so many people ready to holler if they here the word gun or see a gun that it ain’t funny.

        I wonder if there are any programs out there that involve airguns and going to schools and teaching kids about shooting. This is something we did. Back in the late 80′s to about the mid 90′s when I was pretty heavy into flying the R/C airplanes. The club that I belonged to went around to all the local schools and talked to the principals and the school board and asked if we could distribute flyer’s to invite the students out to fly some of the trainer airplanes to see if they could be interested in Radio Controlled airplane modeling. It was actually a pretty good turn out and some kids did join the club as well as some of their parents and family.

        Maybe something like that could be done to get kids involved in airgun shooting. But the only problem for me right now if I tryed to set something up. The closes ranges are about 50 miles east or west of me. I will have to think about that some more to see what could be possible.


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