BB guns

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle: Part 2

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

Part 1

Today’s report is a continuation of the guest blog from HiveSeeker. Today, he tells us about accuracy

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Over to you, HiveSeeker.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle

Winchester MP4 is a realistic and fun-to-shoot military replica pellet rifle.

This report covers:

• Shots per fill
• Heavy trigger
• Best results
• The normal grouping
• Bug Buster
• Summary
• The Dallas Field Target Club inaugural shoot
• How the blog changed my life

Shots per fill
While testing pellet accuracy, I shot at 6 bullseye targets (60 shots), swapping CO2 cartridges after each set, and did not notice any decline in performance at 10 yards. I also did a lot of enjoyable spinner silhouette shooting and started noting an increase in misses only as I approached the 80-shot mark (you go through pellets fast with this semiauto!). In conclusion, shooters can expect at least 60 accurate shots before swapping CO2 cylinders, depending on temperature.

It doesn’t matter how good the Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle looks with that bipod or red dot scope on it while you’re reconnoitering the backyard. How well does it shoot? A gun is only fun if you can hit what you’re aiming it at, and the Winchester MP4 does reasonably well in the accuracy department.

Heavy trigger
My rifle does not appear to be suffering from the reported loose barrel problem (which can ostensibly be remedied by removing the 6 screws holding the Picatinny forearm and hand-tightening the barrel). However, the trigger-pull on this rifle is a conspicuously heavy 7.6 lbs. according to my hand scale. My wife and brother-in-law, who is former military (both ends of the spectrum, and both experienced shooters), singled this out as a major complaint. This is no youth rifle. I agree that accuracy would be better without having to exert so much pressure to get a pellet off. However, after some limited travel, the trigger — heavy as it is — breaks clean and crisp.

I shot outdoors at 10 yards from a benchrest using the aforementioned Bug Buster scope and a Leapers Golden Image 30mm red dot sight. All pellets tested grouped right around 1″ — give or take a little. Results were slightly better using the BugBuster. This rifle is not a tackdriver but is certainly a solid performer as long as you keep the range at 10 yards.

Best results
The following pellets gave the smallest 10-shot groups. At least one out of three measures 7/8″:
Crosman Destroyer
Crosman Destroyer EX (the slightly different version sold only in discount stores)
Crosman Premier Hollowpoint
H&N Finale Match Pistol
Air Arms Falcon

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle Destroyer EX
Ten Crosman Destroyer EX pellets (a slightly different version of the Destroyer pellet sold at discount stores) went into 7/8″ at 10 yards.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle Finale Pistol
Ten H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets made this 7/8″ group at 10 yards.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle Falcon
These Air Arms Falcons also grouped in 7/8″ at 10 yards.

These three pellets gave at least one 10-shot group out of three as small as one inch between centers:
Crosman Competition Wadcutter
Crosman Premier Super Match
Gamo Tomahawk

The worst pellet tested was the JSB Match Diabolo Light Weight. They gave a best group that measured 1-1/8″ between centers.

The normal grouping
Most groups were erratic and inconsistent, with more pellet scattering than clustering. Nevertheless, the largest groups I got were still a reasonable 1-1/2″ (for the Crosman Destroyer EX and Gamo Tomahawk). Since each group was 10 shots, I filled one drum of the magazine completely (8 pellets) and then put only 2 pellets in the drum on the other side of the mag.

One interesting and frustrating observation was that my final 2 shots, after flipping the magazine around, almost always opened up the group, in some cases by a full half-inch or so. At least part of the time, though, this gun is capable of significantly tighter groups than I’m reporting here.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle pellet scattering
On the left is the only really tight group I got — 7/8″ for the Crosman Destroyer EX. Nearly every other group looked a lot more like the Crosman Premier Hollowpoint group on the right, with hardly 2 pellets in the same hole anywhere.

Bug Buster
I mentioned that I shot this gun with a Leapers UTG 3-9×32 Bug Buster scope. When I first started sighting in at 10 yards, my initial POI was a very low 5″ under the bullseye. I had to do a lot of clicking to get the POI near the bullseye; and by the time I was finished, I noticed a fair amount of blurring in the bottom quarter of the scope’s field of view. I suspect I’m approaching the limit of adjustment on this sight. The amount of blurring worsens at higher magnifications. I own another Leapers UTG 4-16×40 scope that I just love, but field of view and eye relief on the compact Bug Buster are not nearly as forgiving or comfortable. Both my wife and brother-in-law (again, each an experienced shooter) complained about how difficult it is to sight through this scope. Although the Bug Buster has performed reliably and adds to the military look of this gun, I’m going to try a 40mm or larger compact scope on it at a later date.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle Bug Buster
The Leapers UTG 3-9×32 Bug Buster was much better to look at than to look through. The scope showcased the drawbacks of a small-objective compact.

A couple minor notes before wrapping up: Although Pyramyd Air rates this rifle a 4 out of 5 for loudness, I didn’t find it to be especially noisy outdoors. On my screened porch, the report was definitely loud, but that depends on how the sound is bouncing off the walls. Shooting noise from inside a bedroom was only average, which is how I would rate this gun for sound.

Also, the manual states that you should store this gun uncocked. Every time you fire, the bolt is re-engaged by CO2 pressure for the next shot. After you’ve finished shooting and have removed the CO2 clip, remember to point the rifle in a safe direction and squeeze the trigger one last time before casing it.

Summary
In conclusion, the Winchester MP4 is an authentic- looking and handling military replica with some known issues but enough accuracy to make it quite enjoyable for casual shooting. For plinking around the yard while looking like a commando, this rifle fills the bill — and does so nicely.

The Dallas Field Target Club inaugural shoot
Bob Dye submitted the following report and photos of the first Dallas Field Target Club shoot.

Twenty-six shooters appeared on a beautiful June 14 day for the event, some traveling from as far as Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Dallas FT Club meeting
The first Dallas Field Target Club match was well-attended.

Everyone had fun with friendly competition in all the usual AAFTA competition classes. Among them were 6-7 new shooters. Some chose to participate in one of the regular AAFTA classes, while four others participated in a Fun Rifle category, where basically anything goes concerning shooting style and equipment choices.

Great scoring latitude was offered, scoring one point for simply hitting the animal faceplate and two for a knockdown. This appeared to be a great way to let the novice shooters have fun scoring points plinking lead against steel, along with the extra satisfaction when the target falls over. It also served as a fun change of pace among the experienced shooters.

Dallas FT Club shooter
Shooters enjoyed the relaxed pace of the day.

While the facilities have lanes long enough to create a challenging Troyer difficulty of 36 or more, this first, 50-shot match was built on 9 lanes to a 23 Troyer, again to put some smiles on faces the first time out. [Editor's note: Brad Troyer devised a way to rate the difficulty of a field target course based on the size of the kill zones; the distances at which they're placed; and the difficulty of the shot based on placement, light and shooting position.]

Accordingly, two of the seasoned veterans rose to the challenge to ace the course. David Alsup shot a perfect 100/100 in Open PCP. And, while I told him I thought he was a shoo-in to do this, David asked to keep his score card, indicating it was a special day for him, too. Great shooting, David!

Likewise, perennial Hunter Class leader Ron Robinson also shot 100/100 with his brand new TM1000 rifle. I haven’t seen such a big grin on Ron’s face is some time. Or at least since last weekend in Pulaski. Ask him how he likes his new rig and be prepared for 5 minutes of superlatives. Excellent match with a new rifle, Ron!

Altogether, 17 of the 26 competed in one of the two Hunter Classes, including two in Hunter Piston. Four people posted scores in Open PCP — rather unusual in these parts.

The mostly sunny weather cooperated for a mid-June day, with a high of only 85 degrees F during the match, which made the humidity bearable. The turnout was superlative for this first ever club match.

Thanks to members Kevin Enzian, Jeff Latimer and Jerry Cupples for helping me set up the course the afternoon before. I couldn’t have done it by myself.

Next match is in August. Stay tuned. Visit the Dallas Field Target Club website.

How the blog changed my life
I initially published this section on the May 30, 2014, blog. I’m going to repeat it at least once a week during June and July so it doesn’t get lost or forgotten.

From the comments many of you make, I believe the blog may have positively impacted your lives. I invite you to send me an email telling me about that impact.

Were you a firearms shooter who accidentally discovered airguns through this blog? If so, tell me how this blog has helped your understanding of airguns.

Were you already an airgunner, but you thought what you saw in the big box stores was all there was? If so, how has this blog helped you understand more about airguns?

I’ve gotten quite a few responses already, but I want to make sure you know that I’m not looking for “attaboys,” pats on the back or personal recognition. I’m looking for real feedback on what you’ve learned so I can target my blogs to what you feel is important, what you’d like to know and what you’re still unsure of. This blog is written for its readers, and I want to share your stories with others who may be where you were before you found this blog.

Pyramyd Air has created a special temporary email address for this. I’ll be the only person to get these emails, and we’re not going to generate any lists from the addresses.

My plan is to publish one or more blog reports with the more interesting comments. If you want, I will use your real name or blog handle; but you can be anonymous, too. I won’t use your name or handle unless you give me written permission to do so.

This email address will be live for only a few weeks. We have tens of thousands of readers worldwide. Even if you’ve never commented on the blog, you can email me your message if you like. If you’re reading this blog after July 2014, email submissions will no longer be forwarded to me, and you may get an auto-reply email stating that or your email might bounce back to you.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle: Part 1

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

Today’s report is a guest blog from a new reader, HiveSeeker. He wants to tell us about a pellet rifle he thinks highly of. This is a complete report with the description, velocities and test targets, so I am breaking it into two sections.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Over to you, HiveSeeker.

This report covers:

• Description
• Sights
• Loading
• Ammo feed
• Velocity

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle

Winchester MP4 is a realistic and fun-to-shoot military replica pellet rifle.

Description
Considering the astonishing array of military rifle lookalikes in the airsoft world, it’s a shame that there are so few choices among airguns. But those who would enjoy shooting an accurate reproduction pellet rifle might consider the Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle. Styled closely after the AR15, this .177 airgun features a full-metal receiver, quad Picatinny rail forearm, working selector switch (safety), realistic magazine catch and adjustable stock — lots of authentic moving parts that are only fixed plastic on a number of the other military replicas. The forward bolt assist is only ornamental, but the charging handle (hereafter called the bolt) is fully functional. This also happens to be one of the few semiauto replica pellet rifles available. My ex-military brother-in-law experienced a fair amount of nostalgia shooting this rifle.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle The selector switch, magazine catch (on right side of gun) and adjustable stock are fully functional. Note the position of the fully inserted CO2 clip, which looks like the ammo magazine.

Sights
The first thing you’ll want to do after unboxing the MP4 is remove the cheap plastic open sights — among the unfriendliest I’ve ever squinted through. They’re not individually adjustable, and the manual doesn’t include one word about them. Just know that you can raise or lower the aiming point by moving the front sight closer or farther in relation to the rear sight; they apparently cannot be adjusted for windage. [Editor's note: The manual and Winchester's website state the rear sight is adjustable, so we asked the manufacturer about it. They say it's not adjustable and plan to remove that statement from their website and from future reprints of the manual.]

A red dot sight works well (and looks tacti-cool) on this gun, though I primarily used a Leapers UTG 3-9×32 Bug Buster scope, which also looks very good. The all-metal receiver provides a very solid platform for mounting optics compared to the plastic receivers of some other contenders in the military pellet rifle arena. Despite being a low-recoil CO2 gun, the bolt recocking mechanism apparently generates some vibration. As a shooter who admittedly tends to over-tighten everything, I was stunned to find my scope mounts loose after about 300 shots. Keep an eye on this.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle You’ll want to replace the plastic open sights right away.

Winchester MP4 red dot

Winchester MP4 scope
The MP4 looks ready for combat with either a red dot sight or compact scope. That quad Picatinny rail is just begging for more accessories!

Loading
This gun requires two 12-gram CO2 cartridges. You can spend all day trying to “remove the cover from the base of the CO2 clip by inserting a finger into the ammunition magazine hole and pulling the cover off” (as the manual suggests). There’s no hidden release, and the instructions of course mean the larger CO2 clip hole to the right (go ahead and laugh, manual-spurners).

My CO2 clip fits very tightly in the receiver; and the first time I tried to shoot this gun, it took me a couple trigger pulls to realize the clip was not seated all the way. Look closely at the photos to see how far the clip must slide in. Clip insertion and removal are slightly smoother now but initially required a fair amount of pressure.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle Remove the CO2 clip cover by inserting a finger into the larger hole on the right (not the smaller one on the left) and pulling up. It’s easy if you’re not following the wrong instructions! The plastic key above the clip cover is used for installing the CO2 cartridges.

Ammo feed
Exercise more care in gently inserting the ammunition magazine, however, as the thin plastic of the round rotary drums is easily cracked. A magazine holds 16 pellets or BBs, though this is a bit deceptive. There are only 8 rounds in each end, and you have to perform a magazine flip to shoot all 16 rounds. I suggest buying at least a couple extra magazines. The buttplate I found to be uncomfortably hard, but a rubber AR-15 add-on fit perfectly, as will most other AR accessories, except anything for the nonstandard pistol grip. My next add-on will be a bipod, which should fit perfectly on the forearm.

Winchester MP4 CO2 rifle Insert the ammunition magazine gently. The thin plastic of the 2 rotary drums is easily cracked.

If you’ve read any reviews of the Winchester MP4, then you already know that there’s a major ammo feed issue with this gun. Mine is no exception, but so far the problem has been occasional enough to live with — only about 1 pellet out of every 1 to 2 magazines (averaging around 5%) is failing to fire. This is despite carefully using a pellet seat; a tiny ridge inside each individual drum cavity stops the skirt, allowing consistent loading of each pellet. Other owners, however, have experienced a much worse problem, so I’m keeping my gun as is.

Velocity
Let’s look at some chronograph data. My 10-for-$10 test printout from Pyramyd Air with 7.1-grain Beeman Lasers showed a velocity range of 480-538 fps, with an average of 500 fps even. Waaay lower than the listed 700 fps (which I initially figured was just for BBs), as a number of reviewers have pointed out. For my own tests, I shot 10-shot strings at sea level, waiting one minute between shots, using a Shooting Chrony Beta Master. With 4-grain Crosman SSPs I got a range of 683-710 fps and an average of 694 fps in the better of two tests (air temperature was 88˚F).

Interestingly, the other test string averaged a lower 686 fps but contained my single-shot velocity record of 722 fps. So, the Winchester MP4’s velocity stated on the box is correct, and this gun indeed shoots just as fast as Daisy claims — and with pellets, no less. I did not test with BBs, although this gun is designed to shoot them, wishing to save my barrel (and its accuracy) for pellets only.

Testing with a more typical pellet, the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier Super Match, provided expectedly lower velocities: 487-562 fps with an average of 511 fps (at 84˚F). This was much closer to the 10-for-$10 results. Below are my average shot string velocities.

Shot string….Avg velocity
1-10…………………..511
11-20………………..496
21-30………………..483
31-40………….…….470
41-50…………….….449
51-60………………..444
61-70…………….….438
71-80………………..421

Summary
HiveSeeker continues his test with accuracy results in the next report. I’ll run that next week.

Hatsan 250XT TAC-BOSS: Part 1

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

Before I start, here’s a word on the project I’m doing on how this blog has affected people’s lives. The emails are coming in, and they’re big and full! I think we’re going to get a lot out of this.

A reminder to those who don’t know what this is. I’m asking readers to email me the story of how the blog has impacted them. I’ll maintain complete anonymity for everyone unless you tell me that you want me to use your name or handle. And your email addresses only go to me — no list is being kept.

To join this project, click this link to find the special email address at the bottom of the May 30 blog report. I look forward to hearing from you.

Hatsan 250XT TAC-BOSS
Hatsan’s 250XT TAC-BOSS bears a close resemblance to the Ruger Mark III Hunter.

This report covers:

• BB caliber
• Piercing problems
• Description of the gun
• Action
• A lot of BB guns!

The airguns at this year’s SHOT Show were exciting for a number of reasons. I mention them as they come up in these reviews, and today we’ll begin looking at a BB pistol that I was very surprised to see. Hatsan’s 250XT TAC-BOSS bears a strong resemblance to a Ruger Mark III Hunter .22 pistol. Normally, lookalike airguns are copies of either military or otherwise iconic firearms. The Ruger Mark III is certainly a popular handgun, but it’s not really in either category. Yet, here’s a BB pistol that copies it so closely that it even has the quirky Ruger disassembly lever in the back of the pistol grip.

The 250, as I’ll call it for the rest of this report, is powered by a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge that’s contained in the magazine with the BBs. That mag slips into the pistol grip, just like a firearm mag. The gun is made in Taiwan and has an airsoft heritage. That seems to be the popular thing today, an airsoft manufacturer converts one of their guns from 6mm plastic BBs to 4.3mm steel BBs.

Hatsan 250XT TAC-BOSS magazine
The magazine is held in by a spring at the bottom, just like the Ruger mag. It holds both the BBs and the CO2 cartridge. The piercing screw is hidden from view in the magazine floorplate.

The magazine holds 17 BBs in a stack. To load the gun, you pull down on the magazine follower and drop the BBs in through the top portal one at a time.

BB caliber
And, by the way — I know that nearly all airgun makers refer to steel BBs as 4.5mm and .177 caliber these days, but they’re not! BBs measure 0.171-0.173-inches in diameter, which works out to just over 4.3mm. This is important when owners try to do things that won’t work because their guns are mislabeled. That’s why I always refer to steel BBs as either BB caliber or I tell you the nominal measurements.

Piercing problems
This airgun doesn’t have blowback but I wanted to make sure, so I installed a CO2 cartridge. Naturally, I used a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip. When the cartridge is pierced, the gas usually stops flowing instantly. It didn’t this time. A soft hiss went on for 15 seconds as I tightened the cartridge more and more, using the large Allen screw in the magazine base. That’s very unusual, so I exhausted the gas and tried a second cartridge from a different manufacturer, also with Pellgunoil on the tip. Since I had to release all the gas in the first cartridge, the magazine was allowed to sit for 10 minutes to return to room temperature before the second trial.

The second time, the gun sealed immediately, just as it should. Since I used a different cartridge for this test, I conducted a third test using the first brand of cartridge, just to see if it was a cartridge problem. It wasn’t. The third cartridge also sealed immediately. This is a lesson in how important it is to always use a drop of Pellgunoil on the tip of each cartridge, because this pistol really needed it!

Incidentally, I really like how the piercing screw is hidden in the base of the magazine. I know BB pistol shooters make a big deal over being able to see the piercing mechanism, and on this gun you can’t.

The gun
The gun is finished entirely black. The grip frame and grips are plastic, as well as both sights. The remainder of the parts are metal, including the fluted barrel jacket. The barrel is 6.75 inches long and smoothbored. The shape of the triggerguard doesn’t match the Ruger Mark II triggerguard. This one is scalloped for the finger(s) of a second hand. That’s probably an improvement because two-handed pistol shooting is very popular today.

The gun weighs 29 oz., and the grip is very comfortable. Both sights are fixed, and the front sight has a green fiberoptic tube. That probably makes sense on a BB gun as it is a point-type airgun. You don’t need precision for a BB pistol.

Hatsan 250XT TAC-BOSS front sight
The front sight has a green fiberoptic tube. The rear has none.

The bolt doesn’t move, though the Ruger-like flanges at the rear will make you at least give it a try. I think a blowback version of this pistol would be so cool because that bolt would come back just like the bolt on a firearm.

Hatsan 250XT TAC-BOSS safety
The safety is on the left side of the frame and can be operated by the thumb of a right-handed shooter. The rear sight is fixed. The bolt tabs look like they might move, but they don’t.

The safety is in the same place as the safety on the Ruger firearm, and it works the same way. It’s easy to apply, and a right-handed shooter can both apply it and take it off with their thumb. Once applied, it blocks the trigger.

Action
This pistol is double-action only. That said, the trigger-pull is light and smooth. There’s no stacking (sharp increase in the pull effort) near the end of the trigger travel. There’s a pause at the end of the travel, however, and a skilled handgunner will be able to pull to this point, then squeeze off the shot.

A lot of BB guns!
Before anyone mentions it, I have been testing a lot of BB guns this year. And there are a lot more to come. This seems to be the year of the BB pistol, and Edith and I have selected the ones most people are talking about; or in the case of today’s pistol, the ones they should be talking about.

Legends Makarov Ultra: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol
Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra is very realistic!

This report covers:

• Loading
• Winchester Target Cube
• Rested position
• Accuracy
• Overall evaluation

Today is accuracy day for the Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol and the big question is: How does it hold up against its non-recoiling brother that we all know is very accurate? I think you’re going to be pleased with the results.

Load up
I installed a fresh CO2 cartridge, which — thanks to yesterday’s report on CO2 – reminded me to put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the cartridge before piercing. As before, the piercing was nearly instantaneous with no loss of gas. I looked at the face seal with a jeweler’s loupe and saw that it’s a thick (relatively) clear synthetic that looks like it will do its job for a long time to come.

Next, I loaded some BBs into the front of the magazine. Here’s a tip for this. Lock down the mag follower at the bottom of its slot and elevate the bottom of the mag. This way, the BBs will easily fall into the enlarged hole in the front of the magazine. If one overshoots the mark, it remains in a trough and can be rolled back to the hole very easily.

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol loading magazine
Elevate the bottom of the Makarov magazine, and the BBs will roll right in.

Winchester Target Cube
Once again, the Winchester Airgun Target Cube was pressed into service for a target holder and backstop. I taped the targets to the cube that now has thick cardboard on both sides. No more styrofoam comes out because of the cardboard; and the targets tear better, even when the BBs are shot at lower velocities.

The Target Cube keeps the BBs from bouncing back. That keeps the shooting area cleaner; and since I shoot BBs in my bedroom, that’s a good thing. If you shoot a lot of BBs in the house, I recommend the Target Cube.

Rested position
I then sat on a chair at 5 meters from the target and put a large pillow on my lap. When doubled over, the pillow allowed me to rest my arms so I could achieve a very steady 2-hand hold. It’s the gun we want to test — not the shooter.

The sights on the Makarov are very fine, but also sharp. I had no problem getting the same sight picture, shot after shot.

First group
The first target I shot was a 50-foot smallbore bull. Those are just slightly larger than 10-meter air rifle bulls. I had no idea where the pistol was shooting, nor how accurate it might be; but at 16 feet, I felt this target was large enough to keep all the shots on paper. I used a 6 o’clock hold, like I always do with handgun sights like these.

The shots landed about 3/4-inch below the point of aim. While the first 3 shots seemed to scatter, the next 7 stayed inside them, resulting in a fine-looking 10-shot group. In measures 0.916 inches between centers and looks even better. The bulk of the shots landed inside a half inch!

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol target 1
Ten BBs in 0.916 inches, with 7 of them well under a half inch! The 3 shots on the right were the first 3 shots. This gun can shoot!

Second group
The second target looks even better.  I called that shot that went to the left because of the very hard trigger pull we’ve already discussed. Actually, the trigger isn’t that hard for a double-action pull (which it isn’t), but for target shooting it’s way more than you want. This time, 10 shots went into 1.189 inches, with 9 of them in 0.727 inches.

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol target 2
Ten BBs in 1.189 inches, with 9 in 0.727 inches. That shot on the left is a called pull.

I was really impressed with the way this pistol wants to lay them in the same hole at 5 meters. That trigger pull, though, takes discipline to overcome. The tendency is to try to overpower it, which will result in shots thrown wide to the left in my case.

Third group
I decided to try a larger aim point for the third group, so I substituted a 10-meter pistol target instead. The bull is twice the size of the others, and I wondered what it might do. Oddly, it pulled my shots closer together, though I did get a very vertical shot string. This time, 10 shots went into 1.334 inches, with 9 in 0.683 inches. Look at this group, and you’ll see the pedigree of the non-recoiling Makarov showing through.

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol target 3
Ten BBs in 1.189 inches, with 9 in 0.727 inches.

Results
Yes, I think this Makarov is just as accurate as its non-recoiling brother. What separates them is the stiffer trigger on this one. It makes you really hold tight, and any distraction will cause you to throw a shot.

Overall evaluation
I like the Makarov Ultra BB pistol. In fact, I think I’m going to buy this one for my growing collection. This is what inexpensive BB pistols should be.

Legends Makarov Ultra: Part 2

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

Part 1

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol
Legends Makarov Ultra is very realistic!

This report covers:

• Single-action trigger.
• Charging.
• Loading.
• Velocity.
• Blowback.
• Slide remains back when magazine is empty.
• Shot count.

Let’s look at the velocity of the Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol. Because the gun has blowback, I’ll also report how that works.

Umarex is currently making a huge marketing push on their lookalike airguns and the undisputed leader in airguns that look like firearms. The Makarov Ultra is one of their latest and greatest new products.

Trigger
A firearm Makarov has a trigger that’s both single-action and double-action. Single-action means the hammer must be cocked for the gun to fire, and the blowback action of the slide accomplishes this. But for the first shot, you must manually cock the hammer, because, unlike the firearm Mak, the trigger on this pistol will not cock the hammer on its own. The Makarov Ultra trigger is not double-action.

The trigger-pull, however, is quite odd. A single-action trigger is traditionally light and crisp. The Makarov Ultra trigger, however, pulls through a long arc, and the pull force increases as the trigger nears the end of its arc. It feels like a double-action trigger, even though by strict definition it’s single-action because the hammer must be cocked separately.

The trigger is not objectionable, nor is it too heavy. It just doesn’t feel like a conventional single-action trigger.

Charging the pistol
The pistol is charged by a conventional 12-gram CO2 cartridge. The cartridge fits into the magazine that drops from the Makarov’s pistol grip. Because the Makarov has a magazine release located behind the rear of the magazine floorplate, it’s not convenient to release from the pistol and requires the use of 2 hands to do the job.

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol magazine
Like many BB pistols, the Makarov Ultra’s magazine houses the BBs, CO2 cartridge and the gun’s valve.

Once the magazine is out of the pistol, the CO2 cartridge installs easily and is tightened in place by the tension screw on the bottom of the mag. The piercing went so fast there wasn’t even a telltale hiss of gas that escaped the cartridge. Naturally, I put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the cartridge before installing it.

Loading
The stick BB magazine loads very easily. I put the base of the mag up on a small ledge to elevate it and pulled the follower down to its locking point. A funnel-shaped hole on the magazine is where the BBs are fed in. If the magazine is sloped forward just slightly, up to 16 BBs drop in and roll forward with ease. This is perhaps the fastest-loading stick magazine I’ve yet encountered.

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol loaded magazine
With the bottom (floorplate) of the magazine elevated slightly, the BBs drop easily through the widened hole and roll out of the way.

Velocity
Umarex rates the Ultra pistol at 350 f.p.s., and I found the rating to be slightly conservative. I started shooting BBs with the first shot out of the pistol, and the first few shots with a 12-gram cartridge are almost always above the expected average. Let me show you 10 shots from the first string of 16 BBs that were fired. Several BBs failed to trigger the chronograph’s skyscreens, but all 10 shots came from the first string of 16 BBs fired from the gun.

Shot Velocity
1       370
2       372
3       364
4       360
5       344
6       350
7       349
8       344
9       346
10     342

I allowed at least 10 seconds between each shot, except for between shots 4 and 5. There were several BBs that failed to trip the skyscreens between those 2 shots and I didn’t allow as much recovery time. The average for these 10 shots is 354 f.p.s., with a variation of 28 f.p.s.

The next 10 shots are much more telling. This time I allowed at least 15 seconds between each shot, and when they failed to trigger the skyscreens, I still allowed the time.

Shot Velocity
1       383
2       352
3       374
4       364
5       361
6       358
7       360
8       355
9       356
10     353

This time, the average velocity was 362 f.p.s. and the spread was 31 f.p.s. That means the average went up with the second 16 shots. Notice how fast that first shot is? The gun had laid dormant for at least 10 minutes after the first string. All of this is on the same CO2 cartridge.

Blowback
The Makarov Ultra is a lightweight BB pistol, so the blowback is pretty snappy. It feels very much like shooting a firearm.

Slide remains back
After the last BB has been fired, the slide remains back, making it obvious the gun is out of ammunition. This is the same thing the Makarov firearm does.

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol slide back
The slide stays back when the magazine is out of BBs.

Shot count
Besides velocity and how well the blowback works, another important performance parameter is the number of shots you can expect to get from a CO2 cartridge. For the first 2 magazines, I was conserving gas unrealistically, just to get an idea about the velocity potential. So, I shot the entire third magazine the way a shooter might — pulling the trigger as fast as I could. That took the total count up to 48 shots. On the fourth magazine, I slowed down to one shot every 10 seconds and got an average velocity of 320 f.p.s. The numbers declined steadily as these shots were fired. So the gun was running out of gas. But that’s still a shot count of 64 on one cartridge.

Blowback was still strong through magazine 4. On the fifth magazine, though, the gun started to sound weaker almost immediately. And on shot 9, the slide failed to cock the hammer for the first time. Therefore I think it is safe to say the Makarov Ultra will give you 4 good magazines on one CO2 cartridge.

Accuracy testing will come next. I hope the Makarov Ultra is an accurate BB pistol because its manual cousin — the gun that doesn’t have blowback — is legendary!

Legends Makarov Ultra: Part 1

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

This report covers:

• Recent trend of lookalike airguns
• Introduction of the Umarex Legends line
• Makarovs
• 4 Makarovs
• Makarov Ultra description

Umarex has made lookalike airguns for over a decade, now, and the guns they’ve made have had a big influence on my firearm ownership trends. It seems that I acquire the airgun first, then long to own the firearm as a companion. I know that sounds backwards, but that’s how it’s happening to me!

First was the Walther PPK/S BB pistol — a cool sidearm that spawned a desire for a firearm PPK/S. I satisfied that with a .22 LR Walther several years ago. Next was the pellet-firing Colt M1911A1. That one came after I had owned a number of 1911s; but when I got it, I didn’t own any 1911 firearms at the time. But within 10 years, Edith and I are broke out with them — having more of that type than any other firearm!

The Umarex pellet-firing Magnum Research Desert Eagle was impressively accurate but so large that I thought myself immune from its charms. But just a couple years ago, I added a .357 Desert Eagle to the gun closet.

The one firearm I never thought I would own was the Winchester 94. I’ve never warmed to that design; but when Edith saw the pellet-shooting Walther Lever Action, she warmed to it right away and soon there was a 30-30 in the closet next to it.

Here come the Legends
Umarex has decided to step up the pace on lookalike guns by introducing their Legends line. The Legends are also lookalikes, but they’re copies of firearms that are legendary. Not that the 1911 and the Winchester 1894 aren’t legendary — for they certainly are, but now Umarex will concentrate on those firearms that have achieved a spot in everyone’s eyes — either by their design or by their role in life or both.

They chose the Luger to kick things off. You all witnessed the test of the Legends Parabellum P.08 pistol that turned into a desire to renew my acquaintance with Herr Luger’s legendary 9mm sidearm. That happened just this past Christmas. As it was happening, Umarex launched their Legends C96 Mauser pistol! To that I said, “Absolutely not!” We’ll see how long that resolve lasts.

Just a week ago, I completed the test of the Legends Colt Python BB revolver. I owned a Python in .357 Magnum years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was one handgun I worried about spoiling by over-handling. I don’t need that. Give me a good old Ruger Security Six any day, and I’ll turn a blind eye toward the scratches.

Makarovs
Today, I’m starting the review of a lookalike handgun that has had a huge influence on me in a number of different ways. I’m now looking at the Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol.

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol
Legends Makarov Ultra is very realistic!

Umarex began the Legends line of guns as special copies of iconic firearms, and it was fitting that the Makarov was the first to be produced. That one was not offered with blowback, but I found it to be amazingly accurate when I tested it. Then I “taught” Crystal Ackley to shoot with a BB Makarov on American Airgunner, and the gun really took off. In truth, if you saw that episode, I didn’t teach her anything. All I did was tell her what to do, she did it and it worked! Always! Crystal was a natural shooter who out-shot everyone on the show.

Umarex Makarov BB gun
Original Umarex Makarov (now inducted into the Legends line) does not have blowback.

At the same time, I acquired a Makarov firearm that I’ve mentioned from time to time in this blog. It’s the only semiautomatic pistol I’ve ever seen that has never jammed or misfired one time in close to a thousand shots. The design is rugged, yet the gun is accurate, and it has a light double-action trigger-pull and mild recoil. Too bad the puny 9x18mm cartridge it’s chambered for is so entirely unsuited to military use, because the gun is a rock-solid reliable piece. A 1911 should be so reliable!

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol Makarov firearm
This Bulgarian Makarov firearm fits right in with the airgun lookalikes.

To complete the Makarov story, I must mention the firearm Maks that were converted by Izhmash to fire BBs. They were imported into the U.S. for a short time, until our Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined they can be converted back to firearm status and stopped all importation.

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol Ishmash Makarov BB gun
This pistol started out as a Russian 9mm Makarov, then Ishmash converted it to shoot BBs. The Russian grips look different than the Bulgarian grips, but Makarovs had many different styles over the years.

That makes a total of 4 Makarovs in my possession at this time. Three are BB-guns and the other is the firearm. This is a mini collection within my airgun/firearm collection. Now the question is if the new Legends Makarov Ultra is a worthy addition to the party.

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol Four Makarovs
Four Makarovs — two as straight BB guns, one as a firearm and the other as a firearm converted into a BB gun.

The Makarov Ultra
The Makarov Ultra appears very similar to the original Umarex Makarov, but how different can it be and still be a close copy of the firearm? Of course, the big difference with the Ultra is the addition of blowback. When the first Mak came out, the usual suspects howled, “I would buy one in a second, if it just had blowback!” Now, it does.

The pistol is sized to the firearm, and I doubt even an expert could notice any difference unless he examined the gun. With a CO2 cartridge installed it weighs a shade under 24 oz., where the unloaded firearm weighs 26 oz. Only the slight presence of the folded cartridge piercing screw handle under the magazine floorplate gives any indication of what’s inside.

The metal finish is a matte black that’s more subdued than the blued steel on my Bulgarian Mak, but very similar to the Russian version. The grips are closer to the Bulgarian grips, though there are so many Makarovs in the world that just about any grip can be found on them.

The Makarov firearm is both single- and double-action. So, it can be safely carried loaded with a round in the chamber — just pull the trigger when you want to start firing. The Makarov Ultra is single-action only. The trigger looks like it will fire the gun; but pulling it with the hammer down accomplishes nothing. Once the hammer is cocked, though, every shot makes the slide blow back and cock the hammer again. After the last BB has been fired from the 16-round magazine, the slide remains open — to tell you it’s time to reload. Extra magazines may be purchased so you never need to stop shooting.

Umarex Legends Makarov Ultra BB pistol Mak and magazine
Both BBs and the CO2 cartridge fit into the Makarov Ultra’s magazine. As with all Makarovs, the mag release is located at the bottom rear of the pistol grip.

Umarex Legends Makarov Lanyard loop
Two of the 4 pistols have a lanyard loop — the Makarov firearm (right) and the non-blowback Umarex Makarov.

The sights are fixed — front and rear. This is identical to the firearm. There are Makarov firearms with adjustable sights and double-stack magazines, but I believe these are civilian models, only. Contrary to what the wikipedia writeup says, the Makarov firearm is a very accurate pistol.

It disassembles
Yes, the Makarov Ultra does disassemble, just like the firearm. Pull the triggerguard down in front and slide the slide back and up off the frame. Disassembly takes about 2 seconds. There’s no reason to disassemble the pistol, but I know that some owners just have to do it! Just know that disassembly is not authorized by the factory; and if you damage your gun or lose parts, the warranty doesn’t cover you.

Summary
I give the Ultra model high marks for realism. It lacks the lanyard loop on the bottom left of the grip frame and the safety doesn’t decock the hammer like the firearm safety does; but other than that, it’s a remarkable package. For those who like realistic BB pistols, the Makarov Ultra is one to have.

The Colt Python BB revolver: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Colt Python
Colt Python from Umarex looks like the real deal!

This report addresses:

• Sighting in.
• Corrections to the manual.
• Accuracy at 16 feet, 4 inches (5 meters).
• Accuracy at 25 feet.
• Summary

Today is accuracy day for the Colt Python BB revolver. I know this is a test many readers have been waiting for, and I think it’ll be worth the wait!

I shot the revolver from a rested position, using a 2-hand hold with my hands forward of the rest and unsupported. My forearms were resting on a cushion, and the revolver was steady in my grip. The target was lit brightly, so the sights were in sharp relief.

I charged the gun with an Umarex CO2 cartridge and shot only Umarex Precision steel BBs in this test. I loaded the cartridges individually, and I found that was faster than using the speedloader. It eliminates some steps that take time.

The first few shots landed too low on the target and also a bit to the left. I first adjusted the elevation of the rear sight and left the windage alone. I did this without consulting the manual, because we all know that the rear sight must move in the direction you want the round to move on target. The gun was shooting low so the sight had to come up — it’s as simple as that. There are directions for elevation adjustment on the rear sight, and they told me to turn the screw counterclockwise to raise the sight. It worked perfectly, but I had to make several adjustments before the BBs were hitting as high as I wanted.

Then, I shot my first 10-shot group. Yes, I shot a complete cylinder and 4 more from the next cylinder. And I’m glad I did. The first group was the best of the day, putting all 10 shots into 0.537 inches between centers. Until I walked up to examine the target, it seemed as though all shots were going into the same hole. But as you can see, the group isn’t quite that spectacular. It’s close, though.

Colt Python target 1
This first 10-shot group was the best of the day. It measures 0.537 inches between centers.

Manual has errors
Next, I wanted to adjust the group slightly to the right, so the rear sight had to be adjusted again; but this time I was stumped. The windage adjustment requires a 1.5mm Allen wrench, while the elevation adjustment is a plain slotted screw. I carry a pocketknife that has a screwdriver, but now I had to find a small Allen wrench. It turns out neither the windage nor the elevation adjustment tools are provided with the gun. I think that’s a mistake because the typical buyer of a gun like this in not likely to have a lot of Allen wrenches laying around (there’s an Allen wrench included, but it’s larger and for removing the cap that holds the CO2 cartridge).

There are no directions for the rear sight adjustment on the gun, so I consulted the manual. That’s when I discovered that both the windage and elevation instructions are backwards in the manual! This is of no concern for elevation, because the instructions are on the gun — but for windage, you have to stop and figure it out yourself.

Then, it was back to shooting targets. This time, I used the slightly smaller 10-meter bulls instead of the 50-foot rimfire bulls I’d used for the first group. The BBs landed higher on this smaller bull, and it appeared that I adjusted the rear sight too far to the right.

The next 10-shot group measures 1.119 inches between centers. The first shot was a flinch that went high and right — out into the white, and the other 9 shots were in the black and measure 0.941 inches between centers. It’s twice the size of the first group and represents the second-worst group shot from 5 meters.

Colt Python target 2
This group is still good, but much larger. The shot in the upper right that missed the black was a called flyer.

I didn’t change the sights before the next group. Eight of the BBs went into 0.602 inches, but the other 2 shots opened the group to 1.166 inches. It’s the worst group; yet, it contains a remarkable smaller group inside the main group. I think concentration is what determined the group size, more than the accuracy of the gun. In other words — I was tiring out!

Colt Python target 3
All these shots looked perfect at the release. That one in the white was not a called flyer. This group measures 1.166 inches, with 8 shots in 0.602 inches.

25 feet
Finally, I tried shooting a group at 25 feet. This time only, I fired all 12 shots from 2 full cylinders. The group measures 2.121 inches and demonstrates how quickly the accuracy of a BB falls away as the distance to the target increases.

Colt Python target 4
Shot at 25 feet, these 12 shots went into 2.121 inches.

The Colt Python is accurate
Without a doubt, this Colt Python revolver is an accurate BB gun. I don’t like to make comparisons, but I know a lot of readers want them. I looked at other accurate BB pistols I’ve tested over the years and found this one to hold its own. In other words, about on par with the other accurate BB pistols, and quite a bit better than an average BB pistol.

I like the trigger in both single- and double-action, I like the sights, I like the speedloader and the way the cartridges grab each BB so positively. The power is good and so is the shot count. There’s nothing to dislike, save the lack of sight adjustment tools and the small transposition in the owner’s manual.

If you have a hankering for a Colt Python and cannot or will not spend $1,400 to buy one, this revolver scratches a lot of the itch.

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