Umarex Fuel air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Umarex Fuel air rifle
That’s right! The Umarex Fuel carries its own bipod legs tucked against the forearm until you deploy them.

This report covers:

• I couldn’t believe it is a gas spring!
• Cocking effort
• Velocity test — H&N Meisterkugeln pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• RWS HyperMAX pellets
• H&N Baracuda Match pellets
• Firing behavior and report
• Trigger-pull
• Overall evaluation

Today we look at the velocity of the Umarex Fuel air rifle, and folks — I think we have a winner, here! I’ll tell you why I say that as the report unfolds.

I couldn’t believe it’s a gas spring!
As I shot the Fuel, I was surprised by how easy it is to cock — especially given the power you’ll see. Unlike other gas springs that fight you from the starting point of the cocking stroke, the Fuel seems to start out easy and gets hard only when the mechanical advantage of the cocking linkage is in the right place. It’s as if whoever designed this air rifle had actually cocked one before!

Cocking effort
The Fuel requires 32 lbs. of force to cock — far less than other gas-spring rifles of similar power. And the effort does build rather than be all at once from the starting point. That linkage is certainly well thought out!

Unfortunately, I had an accident while measuring the cocking effort. In an attempt to avoid damaging the plastic fiberoptic front sight, I made the cocking effort more of a sideways movement across the scale, rather than a direct downward pressure. The muzzle slipped off the scale and slammed against my bare leg, breaking off the SilencAir muzzlebrake and front sight of the rifle. That wasn’t the Fuel’s fault — it was clearly all mine.

For the rest of the test, I will be shooting the rifle without the muzzle brake that on this rifle actually has baffles to silence the report. And I won’t be able to test the rifle using the open sights, so I’ll install a dot sight to cover the first part of the accuracy test. Remember — I want to test this rifle using both the bipod legs that are permanently affixed to the stock, as well as a conventional artillery hold.

Velocity test — RWS Meisterkugeln pellets
Umarex U.S.A., who sent me the rifle to test, also sent a tin of RWS Meisterkugeln 8.2-grain pellets. So, they were the first pellets I tested. The first three shots were 999, 974, and 977 f.p.s., respectively. The fourth shot went 966 f.p.s., and that started a string of 10 that had a low of 956 and a high of 966 f.p.s. So the break-in lasted exactly 3 shots! That’s a record.

The average with 8.2-grain Meisterkugeln pellets was 960 f.p.s. That produced an average muzzle energy of 16.78 foot-pounds.

RWS Hobby pellets
Next up were RWS Hobby pellets. At just 7 grains in .177 caliber, these should be screamers in this rifle. They averaged 1045 f.p.s. — with a low of 1031, a high of 1052 f.p.s. and a spread of 19 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 16.98 foot-pounds.

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, you know that we expect spring-piston guns to produce more power with lighter pellets — just the opposite of what pneumatics do. Sometimes, there are anomalies due to the weight of the piston, but generally things work out that way.

RWS HyperMAX pellets
I wanted to see just how fast the Fuel is, so next up were the lead-free 5.2-grain RWS HyperMAX pellets. They averaged 1215 f.p.s. — with a spread from 1200 f.p.s. to 1223 f.p.s. and a total velocity spread of 23 f.p.s., which is pretty consistent for such a light pellet in a powerful piston gun. At the average velocity, they produced 17.05 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

H&N Baracuda Match pellets
The Fuel obviously has enough power for a heavier pellet, so I selected an H&N Baracuda Match pellet as the final test pellet. This one averaged 838 f.p.s. in the Fuel — with a low of 830 f.p.s., a high of 845 f.p.s. and a total spread of just 15 f.p.s. At the average muzzle velocity, this pellet produced 16.61 foot-pounds. Now, that’s an interesting number. From the lowest power to the highest seen in this test, the rifle varied by less than half a foot-pound. Even though the pellets doubled in weight, the energy difference was small, meaning that the Fuel outputs similar energy with most pellets. That’s very uncommon for a spring-piston airgun.

Firing behavior and report
The Fuel is very quiet when it discharges. Even after the SilencAir broke off, the rifle was still quiet. And the discharge felt smooth and solid — no vibration after the shot. This rifle shoots like a tuned spring rifle that costs a lot more. If it’s also accurate, we’re looking at the best buy of 2014.

Trigger-pull
The two-stage trigger is adjustable for the length of the first stage, only. Stage one weighs exactly 1 lb., and stage two breaks cleanly at 4 lbs., 11 oz. I’ll be able to shoot well with this trigger.

Overall evaluation
I’m impressed by the Fuel so far. It cocks easily, yet is spot-on for velocity. The trigger is nice, and the firing behavior is smooth and solid. I have a good feeling about this rifle.

72 thoughts on “Umarex Fuel air rifle: Part 2

  1. Im liking this rifle, but not happy to hear the front end broke off on your leg, I know you are steel forged, but come on! Update on the ruger hollowpoint pellets, they are actually pretty sweet, they clean up nice and are performing well. Id love to see you review the ruger impact in 22, most likely I’ll be picking one up and wonder how it stacks up. Third off topic, umm, topic… don’t know if I can ask this, but anybody have a 1377 barrel or steel breach for sale or trade? Hoping to find a between 14-16″ .177.


    • RifleDNA,
      Have you checked Crosman’s prices yet? The breech is about $30 but their barrels are cheap Buldawg,Gunfun,others and I have been looking at aftermarket options also, some of which can accommodate Mrod repeating magazines and one that can be shrouded. GF1 is talking about going to .25 with a shroud,which is very appealing to me, albeit not cheap. I’ll be considering these options one of these days after I have something to mount it on. There has been a lotta talk on the 2240 blogs, every time it’s reviewed that continues for days afterward.That’s the place to get ideas.
      Good luck!

      Reb


    • RDNA
      Got a cut down Disco barrel that I believe is 16” if I remember right in .177 cal. setting on the bench right now that you can have. It was a good shooter. I took it off of my 2240 only because I wanted to try a full length 23” Disco barrel I have with that hi-pac conversion. Also got a .22 cal. barrel that is the same length as the .177 barrel and steel breech for it. Let me know what one you would rather have. .22 or .177 cal.

      Get me your email and then we can exchange our address and phone numbers if you want. Reb did a while back with buldawg. And I also exchanged email and phone numbers with buldawg. I just sent him that Hatsan single shot tray I made for him. I won’t post my email and if you don’t want to post yours maybe we can exchange them another way. Let me know its up to you.


    • Your Ruger hollowpoints sound like rebranded Daisy hollowpoints ,Winchester’s got their name on them too. They didn’t shoot worth a hoot in anything but my 953.


    • RDNA
      Last chance if you want the barrel and steel breech.

      If RDNA doesn’t want it. If somebody else wants it they are welcome to it.


  2. Ouch! That’s gonna leave a mark! Sorry B.B. How many stitches? It could’ve also broken or chipped bone if that’s where it hit,I hope that’s not the case but it’s gonna be tender for a while I’m sure. Are they gonna make you buy it? As much as I hate to be the bearer of more bad news, I’m afraid it will have an effect accuracy.I don’t suppose you could talk them into sending you another moderator or even another whole barrel in order to circumnavigate the ATF’s dated stance on silencers? I’m glad the gun is doing well but I’d prefer you weren’t wounded during testing it to prove so.Take care B.B. and get well soon!

    Reb


    • Reb
      Did you see my post to you about the broke spring for the 36 not fitting the little pioneer 3 due it being twice the diameter of the spring from the pioneer 3. I appreciate the thought for sure.

      BB you got to find a safer way to check cocking effort as that could have been worse than you made it out to be because you acted like it did not hurt you much except for your pride. I hop that is the case and no unseen damage that shows up down the road.

      That fuel seems to be a pretty consistent gun in fpe with varying pellet weights, you did not state the weight of H&N barracudas though, I assume they were up at least 10 plus grians or more to be that much slower. I cannot wait to see what the accuracy turns out to be.

      Buldawg


    • Reb,

      Yes, it’s going to leave a mark. As for accuracy, I don’t think it will have any affect. The leg was hit where there is no meat above the shin bone.

      The gun still cocks and shoots as smoothly as ever.

      B.B.


  3. BB
    That’s interesting about how the gun cocks. Sounds like it could be shot for a while without to much fatigue setting in. And you know that takes away from your shooting technique.

    Ah but I forgot this gun has the built in bi-pod so you can just set it on a bench and relax when you shoot it and let the bi-pod do the work. With the velocity’s and the other smooth shooting characteristics of the gun maybe its going to be a surprise when you start shooting groups.


  4. Starting to sound like another one to keep my eye open for at a yard sale. Definitely not one I would want to show off, but if it shoots good I can pull it out when no one is around.

    Speaking of yard sales, are we even having a Roanoke show this year?


  5. I would only consider the Fuel based on how quiet it was. Sad that the system was broken. DB sound levels mean nothing to me, only comparisons to other air rifles like an R1, Cr.760 ,Benji pumper, etc.
    Thanks, B.B., Master AirGun Guru, still on our first mug of Trader Joe’s ExtraDark Roast.
    Oh, the Fuel seems very interesting, waiting for the sound level report and better stock than this “AR” flimsy thing.
    Pete
    Orcutt (Old Town Orcutt ) California


  6. Tom,

    Sorry to hear about the injury. I hope you’re not in pain. The sacrifices you make in the pursuit of furthering airgun knowledge!

    I wish all manufacturers would start locating the front sights 3 -4 inches farther back on airguns with moderators, to let the shooter grip the barrel in front of the sight to cock it. That would make the sights less prone to damage and at the same time make cocking much easier.

    While I am giving out free advice (LOL), manufacturers ought to make the front sight removable with two small screws, to make cocking yet easier for shooters using optics. The moderator must be non-removable without destroying it (say, against a leg or something), but why mold the sight to the moderator? I say give the choice of front sight or no front sight to the end-user.

    Michael




      • Ridgerunner,

        No doubt, although simply having a removable front sight would probably result in a more aesthetically satisfactory result than the Dremel, at least if the Dremel were being wielded by me. And besides, the owner ought to be able to go back to open sights if he or she wants to. Furthermore, we airgun hobbyists tend to be endless horse traders, and an air rifle without its original open sights commands a lesser resale value than the same model gun that still has them.

        Michael


  7. B.B.
    You know, there’s an entire row of keys on your keyboard dedicated to this whackedge of the leg situation. One need not worry about spellcheck. It goes like this; “#%£¥%##*+@#}%*+” and onwards just as long as is necessary.
    But I bet you already know that one.
    I know I’m all too familiar with it and I’ve the scars to prove it.
    Always remember, injury in the line of duty is an excellent excuse for taking the rest of the day off.


  8. BB, this is looking like a real winner! I’m excited and can’t wait to see the accuracy results. I know you can’t use the sights, but can you tell me if they provided a “good” sight picture (considering they are fiber optics). I also love what you reported about the cocking effort. I don’t remember reading the same about the Umarex Octane. If this thing is accurate and isn’t bad hold sensitive, this could be the “one” that many air gunners have been waiting for (a rifle that shoots like it was built by someone that shoots the gun and isn’t going to break the bank). Bradly


    • After my first post, I went to PA’s site to look at the rifle. I was let down that there isn’t a 22 cal, at least not yet. Also there are only four comments/reviews, I see more than one wanted a lower cocking effort and noted it was hard to cock. I wonder what they compared it to (say a lower power springer or a pump up Daisy) or could it be they are just young guns (youth)?



  9. The rifle can also take a licking. Yet to come are how it retains accuracy with that bipod.

    Wulfraed, how interesting about lighting. The inverse square relationship with light did not ring a bell right away, but I seem to remember something about this from the study of illumination. In any case, if it applies to all light then I’m at no disadvantage. :-) Extra bright lights of one kind are as good as another. The only other issue is this business about focusing light, but from what I can tell of the design that is not the case here. The focus is brought about by a magnifying glass, not the arrangement of lights. Thanks for the reference and for making sense out of that notation. So, if LEDs are relatively expensive for a given light output, why use them? It seems like all the keyword searches on “extra bright lights” turn up LED results. That shouldn’t be an accident. And let me get something else straight. The 100W equivalent of your example would give substantially less light than a 150W floor lamp that is locally available. Is that right?

    Matt61


    • Matt,
      LED’s ( light emitting diode) have no filament to burn out or vibrate loose so they have a very long lifespan, are compact, extremely efficient and use very little power but aren’t very bright.That’s why flashlights use more than one or a magnifying lens.They were discovered during an experiment gone awry and last pretty much last indefinitely so they would be a good candidate for your target illumination needs if you can get enough light to see it with.


    • Matt,
      Extra bright lights of one kind are defineley not as good as another. The thick wave length of florescent light is not visible through fine gaps that sunlight easily reveals. Flourescents are not desirable for things such as fletching arrows and staring at a front sight blade. But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself and see(or don’t see).


      • Your comment about “thick wavelengths” always perplexes me.

        A regular incandescent has a wide /continuous/ spectrum — it has light in all wavelengths from near infra-red to near ultraviolet.

        Common Fluorescent bulbs have a /narrow/ but very bright peak in the green, a very narrow peak in the violet-blue, a wider peak in the cyan-blue, and a weak spread in the reds. It is the lack of a continuous spectrum that results in non-realistic color rendition (and is supposed to be one reason that CFL photo lamp I have is so expensive — it is supposed to have a better spectrum rather than lots of small peaks).

        http://web.ncf.ca/jim/misc/cfl/


        • Find something with a very thin gap in sun light. Look through the same gap under florescent light, you won’t see any light shining through the gap. I don’t know about incandescent or any other artificial light. All I know is I have florescent in my shop and I dislike it for a few things, shooting being one of them. I would like to find a better setup before I head inside this winter.


          • And thank you for the link. It looks like incandescent and LED might not be the answer either. I wonder if one of the metal halide lights I have laying around will be the ticket. I won’t be experimenting until winter. I have a lot of down time then I will be experimenting.


  10. I can’t wait to see the accuracy tests. This thing has major potential to be a powerhouse. How would you compare it to the Umarex Octane? And do you know if they plan to release it in .22?


    • Chris,

      So far I like the Fuel much more than the Octane. Everything seems better.

      I think they will release a .22 caliber at some point. It just takes time to ramp up a new product.

      B.B.


      • Hmmmm, I might have to hold out for the .22 then. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with a matching pair. Damn this addiction!


  11. B.B., sorry about the leg, i have to ask, so far what do you think of this gun in comparison to the NP2? Or would you rather wait or not compare them at all? I’m still thinking np2 in .22 down the road but let’s face it as consumers we are always comparing one gun to another before a purchase is made. Good job Edith! p.s. Edith and B.B. I just received my Air arms tx200 hc walnut left hand stock in .22cal and I can’t believe how nice it is. Edith did you post a response to a review about this rifle on Pyramyd? I hope it was you because it helped in my decision as so many people have given this rifle bad reviews around the web, but the people who love’em LOVE’EM and now I know why, Thanks. Ricka.


    • Ricka,

      Yes, that was me. I completely forgot that I wrote that. Anything Air Arms makes is fantastic. The quality is obvious the minute you open the box. Glad you love your rifle!

      Edith


    • Ricka
      So you do like it so far.
      I just sold my FX Monsoon to my brother in-law and I have been wanting a TX200 MRKlll for some time now. Maybe I should do something before the money goes somewhere else.


      • Gunfun1, I didn’t want to highjack but just thank Edith for being herself. I have been looking for a good time to drop the news to everyone, it’s also the reason I never bought/talked about what chrony I didn’t get over Memorial day weekend. I had to save those pennies for the arrival of tx200hc and didn’t know the exact date as it took about 8 months? maybe.
        The rifle is Superb, the looks, feel, heft, shouldering, cocking(not that hard and getting very easy), and the firing cycle is so crisp from trigger pull all the way to follow through. No joke it has zero spring twang/buzz and basically no recoil and feels like a top notch gas spring when fired, I’d swear it had a gas spring! It is putting my Beeman hw97k blue laminate .20 cal to shame right now, honestly, and 97k is pretty sweet but this gun is just so nice out of the box. The report is loudish but more a low thud than a cracking report, the last 3 inches is an unbaffeled shroud with a screw out end cap for the air arms ldc which is not sold to U.S. customers unfortunately. Accuracy so far seems excellent and I have only a couple of dozen pellets through it from sighting in and then target shooting. Might need to recheck my mount though because it seemed like I really had to crank the scope dials for elevation and windage up and to the left. Not sure how many clicks it should take but it was almost a full rotation on the elevation and a full rotation plus almost a half rotation for windage? Sound like to much to anyone? Funny thing is I got it close with Beeman wadcutters for sighting at 25 yards and though I would let the scope settle there while I plinked a little then next shot a beeman fts almost dead center bull on a 1inch? circle target at 25 yards… I think i’m in love…



          • Ben, I was thinking more of the windage as I have never had to go that far to get centered. I might try different mounts eventually but thank you for the input.


        • Ricka
          Good to hear. If I don’t get one now it will slip by. Everybody only says good things about them.

          Oh and what scope did you put on it?


          • Gunfun1, I bought a Center point 1tl 3-9×42 30mm power class almost a year ago for this rifle. I am really liking the scope, very clear and bright, light weight at 16oz. Perfect for this rifle, and I mounted it with a bkl one piece mount.


            • Ricka
              Cool and I have had good luck with the Center points.

              And as you shoot it I would like to know if it gets better to cock and if the gun gets even smoother. I got that HW50s a while back and it just seems to get better everytime I pick it up to shoot it. And I thought it was already good when I shot it out of the box. But let me know what you think about yours after a while.


              • Gunfun1, I have had luck with my center point 4-16×40 elephant scope, man is it heavy. It takes a beating but has held up pretty good other than a few loose screws from the gas ram recoil. I use it as a test scope when I get new rifles but had the power class waiting for the tx. The power class looks like a couple of other companies models so it is probably Chinese? From the same factories? But who cares it works well other than the illumination shutting off when I fire,lol, but I haven’t checked the battery connection yet and I don’t really use the illumination on any scope much. I’ll keep you posted on the tx but I will say the shorter cocking arm is probably better for me as I need to keep my shoulder tucked in when I cock a rifle, I have a bad right shoulder, but the effort to cock it has already started to ease up as it breaks in and I get use to it. I have vacation starting Friday and next week so hopefully I can get some more time in with it. Also not knocking my 97k really as I love that gun as well but this txhc is something special…


                • Gunfun1, sorry, congrates on the hw 50 also, it sounds like you really have been enjoying it from what I have read. I’m hoping to go full on Weihrauch( instead of Beeman branded) for my next rifle but I might be getting side tracked again for a PCP that I have been watching…


                • Ricks
                  Thanks about the HW. I only have one other spring gun and that’s my 54 Air king. Every thing else is PCP or pump gun’s. And I’m like you. I got other PCP guns on my mind. But it will be a while before I can get another gun so I want this one to be special to. I think it will be a walnut stock TX200 MRKlll for me.


    • Ricka echoes my question. This looks designed to take on the NP2, at a much lower price point, and seems to be making a fair go of it so far…


    • Ricka,

      It is impossible to not compare this rifle with the NP2. Without saying it, it seems to have been crated along very similar lines.

      So far the NP2 cocks easier, and has the lighter trigger. The firing sensations seem similar. I think it will be the accuracy test that swings the vote. That and how well the bipod works.

      B.B.


  12. Edith your comment was from the heart about this rifle and it made better scense than the other arguments. I wish I could have gone through Pyramyd but I had to use another dealer to special order it. At that time Pryamyd was not special ordering these rifles as I had emailed about one and was told my query would get kicked upstairs. Funny the day the dealer called to say it arrived, Pyramyd had made this rifle available for special order, just my luck…
    The only problem is that during shipping at some point the box was damage so badly the rifle came loose from the securing features inside and the plastic sleeve slide back to expose the gun resulting in a rub mark through the blueing. I just can’t send it back so I will live with the love tap my rifle received, no matter really as the rifle feels and looks so good in every way. Thank you Edith. Ricka.


  13. Tom,

    Looking at the pictures of the trigger from underneath, it appears as though there are two screws — one fore of the trigger and a smaller one on the trigger itself, immediately ahead of the blade. Are you absolutely certain only the first stage travel is adjustable? What is the forward, larger screw for?

    Michael


  14. B.B.,
    Please excuse an off subject question. How many pounds of Air Venturi impact putty would you recommend for a 14 inch by 18 inch pellet trap made from an electrical box? I tried a local source for duct seal and it dried too firm. Now it is crumbling after several hundred shots.


    • The putty in mine is several years old and has gotten dryer with time. I’ve dug the pellets out a couple of times…too cheap to buy new and don’t like the idea of trashing it into the environment. Not sure if its biodegradable. Would be interested to know the ingredients. Clay? Anyway it pretty much broke up during pellet removal but I did it on a hot day when softer and stickier, mushed it all back together. About an inch thick. Of course, you want enough pounds to make it thick enough to stop pellets. Yeah, I know…not very specific. Pyramyd can probly advise on a correct amount.



  15. Ugly rifle but if it shoots well it will be a beauty! Pity it’s a .177. Now I have nothing against .177s but it’s a waste to have such a powerful rife and not issued in .22.


  16. I bought duct sealant at Home Depot a year ago it is holding up well..I made my own box by using 4 twelve inch squared wood, the back where you place the duct sealant I attached a thick piece of sheet metal that I purchased at Home Depot….works great


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