Posts Tagged ‘Winchester 1894’

Lookalike airguns: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

In Part 1, we saw seven airguns that copy firearms. Let’s look at some others, plus I’ll give you an appraisal of how one of them functions as a firearm.

This is such a fascinating part of airguns, and the time has never been better for collecting airguns that look like firearms. But lookalikes have been with us a lot longer than many suppose.

The Egyptian Hakim 8mm battle rifle was an adaptation of the Swedish Ljungman 6.5mm rifle. It’s a gas-operated semiautomatic that has close-fitted parts (the Swedish heritage) and an adjustable gas port to adapt the rifle to different ammunition. It’s been called the “poor man’s Garand” and the “Egyptian Garand,” but its operational history tells us it was anything but. Where the Garand operated well in a dirty environment, the Hakim jammed quickly when sand was introduced into the mechanism. Not a gun for use in the desert!

In 1954, Egypt contracted with both Anschütz and Beretta to make a number of training rifles. Anchütz made .22-caliber air rifles, and Beretta made a 10-shot .22 LR semiauto. Navy Arms wound up buying most of the air rifles and importing them to the U.S. in the 1970s. They ranged from a few that had apparently seen little use to the majority that looked like they had been stored in a sewage ditch.

I acquired a Hakim air rifle through a newspaper ad. After discovering what it was, I went on a buying spree that netted me more than a dozen rifles over the next few years. I’ve cleaned and rebuilt them exactly as they came from Egypt, and I’ve also seen a couple that others have cleaned up and tuned. The least I’ve paid for one was $60 and the most was about $150, but the price has risen considerably since those days a decade ago. Today, a good shooting specimen should sell for about $250-300, while a nice one will command considerably more. But beware of the ones that have been reworked, because they’re out there. I see one on Gun Broker that has parts missing, and the starting price is about twice what it’s worth, in my opinion.

The Hakim pellet rifle was made by Anscütz in 1954.

The 8mm Hakim battle rifle is closely fitted and not suited to a dirty battlefield.

The Hakim action is based on the Falke 90 air rifle that I showed you last year. And the Falke 90 is based on the BSA Airsporter. The rifle is an underlever spring-piston action that’s loaded through a tap. And like the Falke, the Hakim is doing very well to make it into the mid-500s with medium-weight, .22-caliber pellets. They can be tuned to shoot faster, but in doing so you lose the calm demeanor the rifle was designed to have and get a bucking, snorting headache machine in return. It isn’t worth it, in my opinion.

Because it’s a taploader, the Hakim will do best with oversized pellets and with those that have thin skirts. I’ve always found RWS Superpoints to be the most accurate in my rifles.

As far as accuracy goes, I had no problem putting 5 shots into a dime at 10 meters. I never really shot the rifle at longer distances, but I think the accuracy would hold together out to 25 yards or so.

Ruger Mark II — Crosman Mark I
I don’t know very much about airguns, but I’ve been shooting and collecting them long enough that, to a newcomer, I can sometimes sound knowledgeable. Several times each year, I’m asked why no one has ever thought about copying the Ruger Mark I and II target pistols. Well, the fact is, they have! But not recently.

You have to go back to 1966 to see the first Crosman Mark I (.22 caliber) and Mark II (.177 and BB caliber) target pistols. They were single-shots and had the lines of the Ruger pistols down pat, as you can see in the photo. Both airguns were powered by CO2 and had remarkable triggers–but also high-quality, rifled barrels. With modern pellets, these guns can hold their own with a firearm Mark I or II out to 20 yards with no problem.

Ruger Mark II above the Crosman Mark I Target pistol. Both are wonderful target sidearms.

My own Mark I air pistol is a delight to shoot; and until I tested it against a Crosman 2240 a couple years ago for a Shotgun News article, I thought it was just about the most accurate pellet pistol I owned — other than an outright competition model. But the 2240 beat it fair and square, so I have to concede that.

Of course, many readers own the Ruger pistol and can tell you what a joy it is to shoot. For less than half what some .22 target pistols cost, the Ruger will keep up with all but the specialty Olympic models. In fact, I’ve gotten rid of Colt Woodsman and High Standard Victor pistols because my Mark II Ruger is everything I need.

Desert Eagle
Several years ago, I got the Magnum Research Desert Eagle .177 pellet pistol to test and ultimately kept it. I was impressed with the accuracy and the blowback action, though this air pistol does use a lot of gas when it shoots. But the thing that impressed me the most was the huge grip. I wondered for years what the actual firearm would be like.

Edith joined me in this curiosity, because she could see how large the grip is. It’s incredibly long front to back, so even though the magazine (of the firearm) is a single-stack design, the grip is still very large.

The Magnum Research Desert Eagle pellet pistol (top) is larger but lighter than the .357 Magnum Research Desert Eagle. The air pistol copies the current Mark XIX pistol, but my .357 is the earlier Mark VII, which accounts for the lack of accessory rails.

Then we happened to see not one but three Desert Eagles in a local pawn shop about six months ago. Edith got to hold the .357 (the other two were .44s), which was the only one I thought we might be interested in, and the salesman was surprised to see her one-hand the gun. Unfortunately, the price was too high and although we made an offer, they declined to accept.

Fast-forward to a couple weeks ago. We happened to stop by the same pawn shop and looked around, but saw nothing. When the salesman asked if we had found what we were looking for, I told him we were looking for a Desert Eagle but none were in the case. He asked us to wait a moment and brought out the very .357 that Edith had looked at previously. Someone had started buying it and didn’t finish paying for it, so it was for sale again.

This information gave us a tremendous bargaining position, because the gun had already earned the store some money. So I lowered my offer from several months earlier (they didn’t remember it) and stood firm. We got this gun!

Now, we have the firearm to compare to the airgun. This is the third firearm we’ve bought on the basis of seeing the airguns first. There was the Walther PPK/S BB pistol that turned into a .22 LR pistol and the Walther Lever Action rifle that became a Winchester 1894 .30-30.

Now that we had the .357 Magnum, I had the opportunity to dispel a rumor that’s very common — namely that a Desert Eagle pistol soaks up so much recoil because of its gas operation and its weight that shooting a .44 Magnum feels just like shooting a .45 ACP. Bull! Our .357 Magnum, which has considerably less recoil than a .44 Magnum, still has at least twice the recoil of a .45 ACP in a 1911 pistol! It’s true that it recoils less than any other .357 Magnum I’ve fired, but that’s not the point. The point is that the gun still kicks hard, and shooters need to know that going in. I did find it very pleasant to shoot about 30 rounds of full-power magnum ammo, which usually starts me flinching if I do the same in a revolver.

As for accuracy, that’ll have to wait for another day. The ammo I was shooting was not what is recommended for the firearm, and the best I could do was an 8-inch group at 50 yards. I know I can do much better than that when the gun does its part. We’ll have to return to this sometime in the future.

Cleaning firearms
I don’t have any place else to put this, so I’m adding it in to today’s post. If you dislike firearms talk, now is the time to stop reading.

For decades, I’ve stayed away from shooting genuine black powder because of the mess involved in cleanup afterwards. Just this past week, as I was reading Ned Robert’s The Muzzle-loading Cap Lock Rifle for the umpteenth time, I happened to pay attention to how he said to clean a rifle that’s been shot with black powder.

When you return home from shooting, boil water and remove the nipple of your rifle. If you have a patent breech, remove the barrel from the stock and stand it in a pail. Pour two quarts of boiling water down the muzzle while holding the barrel with a towel wrapped around it. It does get very hot! You will see particles of black soot coming out of the nipple hole.

Then, let the rifle stand until the barrel cools down to just warm. When it is cool enough to hold, run an oil-soaked swab down the bore several times. I used Ballistol on a wool mop, and it worked perfectly.

This entire process took about 10 minutes start to finish. The next day, I ran a dry patch down the bore and removed the excess Ballistol. No dirt came out! The rifle is sparkling clean. I even looked down the bore with a tactical flashlight, and all I see is clean rifling.

This process won’t work as well for a flintlock because of the small flash hole not draining water fast enough. But with a cap lock, this is the easiest way I’ve even seer to clean a rifle. My centerfire rifles take longer and are messier and more involved than this charcoal burner, which is a .32-caliber by Thompson Center! I’m going to stop shooting black powder substitutes and return to the genuine product, now that I know how to clean my gun so fast.

Marinate the barrel
The black powder process reminded me of another great cleaning tip I learned. If you don’t want to clean your gun right away, coat the bore liberally with Ballistol and let it sit and “marinate” for several days. Using this process, Mac and I have cleaned dozens of guns that hadn’t been cleaned in many years. Ballistol softens the residue and makes it come out with minimal effort when you finally get around to cleaning.

Get the rust out
Earlier this year, Mac acquired a Ruger Mini-30, which is a Mini-14 chambered for 7.62×39. The rifle appeared to be in excellent condition until you looked down the barrel. It was coated with red rust that even repeated soakings of Ballistol could not remove. What happened is that an owner unknowingly shot military surplus ammo in his rifle without appreciating that it is corrosive. It then rusts the bore within a couple of days.

So, I fired three rounds through the gun and then cleaned it. The bore came out sparkling — with no trace of pitting or frosting from the rust. When I finished cleaning the gun this time, you could not tell that it had ever been abused.

The reason I knew this would work is that I used to encounter a lot of GI 1911A1 guns back in the 1960s that had the same problem. Uncle Sam used some corrosive pistol primers in WWII, and that ammo was still available in quantity in the 1960s. The guns that shot it often had rusted bores. But shoot a couple rounds of FMJ through them, and they cleaned up just like it never happened.

Lookalike airguns: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Aliabas Abas is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card.

Aliabas’ winning photo. Looks like he’s got a Gamo.

I had a different blog prepared for today, but I can’t use it because the products haven’t arrived at Pyramyd Air yet, and I don’t want to talk about something that you can’t get.

Yesterday’s blog got me thinking about lookalike airguns. I mentioned that Crosman had made the M1 Carbine BB gun that I love so much, and they made a host of others like the SA-6 that resembles a Colt SAA revolver, and the 38-T and 38-C revolvers that look something like Smith & Wessons.

Today, I want to talk about many airguns that are lookalikes. Some of these are airguns that are seldom seen, though they exist in quantity, while others are very unique. Let’s go!

I owned a Makarov BB pistol before I ever bought the actual firearm. And the pistol I owned was made on a genuine Makarov firearm frame. Then, I got a Bulgarian Mak in 9x18mm that hasn’t jammed or failed to feed one time in close to a thousand rounds. It’s accurate and has a soft recoil.What a great gun it is!

Then to my surprise, Umarex brought out their Makarov BB pistol, and it turned out to be a superior airgun. If you ever saw the American Airgunner TV show, it was the Makarov that I used to teach Crystal Ackley to shoot. And after a single lesson, she started out-shooting Paul Capello, me and even a national silhouette champion — WITH HIS OWN AIRGUN!

Mak firearm at top, then the first BB gun Mak that was made on a firearm frame and the Umarex Mak on the bottom. When I put these away, I got confused and put the Umarex gun in my nightstand, where the firearm should be!

M1911 A1
I was a 1911 fan long before Umarex brought out their CO2 version of the Colt M1911 A1, which is why I got one to keep forever. The realism is astounding. Of course, today I could say the same about many new BB pistols, because the 1911 is one of the most-copied firearms of all time.

Taurus PT 1911 on top, genuine World War I 1911 in the center and Umarex Colt 1911 A1 CO2 pistol at the bottom.

The Walther PPK/S is the airgun that got me interested in lookalikes. I owned the Crosman M1 Carbine; but when I got the WaltherPPK/S, I decided that I also had to own the firearm, as well. So I got a .22-caliber PPK/S that’s a bit of a rarity on its own.

Both are genuine Walther PPK/S pistols. Top is a .22 rimfire. Bottom is a BB pistol.

M1 Carbine
I’ve owned three Crosman M1 Carbines. The first had a wood stock, which was only made in the first two years of production (1966-1967). Then I owned one with a Croswood (plastic) stock, but I let it get away. Then Mac gifted me the one I own today, which also has the Croswood stock and the original box.

I would own this even if it weren’t any good as an airgun because of the association with the military rifle, but the irony is that this is also one heck of a BB gun! It’s powerful and accurate and has fully adjustable sights. What’s not to love?

The M1 Carbine is so very popular that besides the 6 million that were produced during World War II, there have been millions more made commercially after the war. They’re still being made today! And some of these commercial guns are in calibers other than .30 Carbine. My .22 Long Rifle German-made Erma made for Iver Johnson is one such gun. So, here were have an original firearm, a copy that is also a firearm, as well as an airgun copy.

Genuine military carbine on top, then an Erma .22 carbine and the Crosman BB gun at the bottiom.

Walther Lever Action
The Walther Lever Action is a copy of the iconic Winchester 1894 lever action rifle that ushered in the era of smokeless powder for the maker. Except for the butt that is larger to house the 88-gram CO2 cartridge, it’s very similar to the firearm. Not only is this air rifle a close copy of the firearm, it’s also very accurate and a fun gun in its own right! While pricy, it’s worth it if you value the similarity to both the look and operation of the firearm it mimics.

A Winchester 1894 30-30 on top and a Walther Lever Action at the bottom. The firearm has a side-mounted scope, because it ejects empty cartridge cases straight up.

Daisy model 26
Not to be outdone, Daisy had its own lookalikes — starting with the 1894 lever-action and progressing to a copy of the BB gun you’re about to see. They copied the Remington Fieldmaster 572 — a slide-action (pump) — .22. Why they chose that particular model, I don’t think we’ll ever know. When I asked at Daisy, they told me that firearm was such a classic! Yeah! Like a Hudson Hornet is a classic car! Anyhow, they made a beautiful lookalike BB gun that was first marketed as the model 26 for reasons no one seems to know, and then as the model 572, which is understandable. The guns are identical, but the model change allows collectors to date their guns to a certain degree.

Daisy’s model 26 was the first copy of the Remington Fieldmaster 572. Daisy later changed their model number to 572.

Something really odd
Up to this point, you could buy any of these airguns or firearms within a couple of months of diligent searching here in the United States. Now I want to show you something that I bet you’ve never seen and were not even aware that it existed. Even advanced airgun collectors do not know about what you’re about to see.

In 1976, this country celebrated its 200th anniversary and the party was huge. I was in Germany at the time, so I missed it, but I see the reruns on TV all the time.

One gun manufacturer — called Ultra-Hi — had been manufacturing black powder guns in Japan and decided to make an airgun to commemorate the bicentennial. An underlever BB gun was made that looked very much like an 1840s caplock rifle. Airgun collectors know about the Pioneer ’76 and consider it very collectible.

What they don’t know is that Ultra-Hi copied one of their own black powder rifles when designing this BB gun. Here, for the first time, you’ll see both the BB gun and the muzzleloading rifle it copied.

Here’s an airgun and firearm pair nobody knows about. The Ultra-Hi Pioneer ’76 on top is a BB gun that is well-known among collectors. The Ultra-Hi .45-caliber percussion rifle underneath is the gun nobody knows about. Both guns have fake brass-colored plates where there should be patchboxes, and both rifles have stocks made from two separate pieces of wood to save money. The brass strip on both stocks hides that fact.

What comes next?
I made this Part 1 in case this is a subject that interests you readers. This is an area of airgun collecting that’s nearly ignored, because airgun collectors often don’t like firearms and firearm collectors don’t care for airguns, as a rule.

I’ll watch your reactions to what I’ve shown today to determine if it’s worth pursuing this subject any farther, but from the response to yesterday’s report on the Crosman M4-177 Multi-Pump Air Rifle, it looks like it might be.

The new Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

The brushed-nickel version of the Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle is extremely attractive.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Before we start today’s report, I want to update you on another report that’s ongoing. The .25 caliber BSA Supersport test had to be stopped because the forearm screws on the test rifle will not tighten. Also, the velocity of the test gun seems to be way too low. It’s in the 400s. We’ve contacted Gamo USA to get a replacement rifle. When it arrives, I will re-start the test from where we left off.

Today is a special fourth part to the test of the Walther Lever Action rifle. I did the accuracy test with open sights in Part 3, so today I’m mounting a scope to see how much better this rifle will shoot.

I’m using a prototype scope mount made for the older Walther Lever Action rifle by B-Square. It was eventually offered as a standard item for many years, but it is no longer available. However, Umarex now sells their own version of this mount that they call the Walther scope base, and it looks even nicer. It’s made to accept either Weaver or 11mm scope rings, which is a big plus. Also, it has three mounting screws instead of the single screw the B-Square base has.

This old B-Square prototype mount was never finished, so the bare aluminum is a close match for the silver rifle. The small Leapers scope looks just right for the rifle’s size.

For a scope, I was very selective. This rifle is more of a carbine size, and I didn’t want to overpower it with a huge scope. Even the usual 3-9x scopes that are considered normal on most air rifles are large for this one. I had a Leapers 5th Gen 4×32 Compact Mini CQB scope with a 100-yard fixed parallax that looked right for this installation, so I used it. Normally, this would be the exact wrong scope to use on a short-range air rifle, because the parallax is set for 100 yards, but I found it clear enough at 25 yards to let me see .177 pellet holes when they landed in the white. I could bisect the bull with the crosshairs, and the extra bit of eye relief this scope gives made it a good choice in this case.

I praised the trigger-pull back in part 2. I said I thought it would satisfy most shooters, but when I looked through the scope in this test I found the trigger a little too heavy for perfect work. So, I applied a technique that always works well on heavier rimfire triggers. Instead of squeezing the trigger gently, pull faster and with more force. The gun will fire sooner, which I found offsets the desire to wait until the crosshairs are on the exact point of aim. It sounds like a sloppy way to shoot, but when there’s a heavier trigger I’ve found that it works well.

All shooting was done from a rest indoors at 25 yards. I began the test by seating the pellets with just my fingers, but that didn’t work too well. After switching to the seating tool, the groups shrunk in half. Don’t forget to use that tool!

Crosman Premiers
I shot the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domed pellet, but this time it didn’t do very well. The 8-shot group was nearly one inch, which is on the large size in view of the other groups I got.

Air Arms Falcons
Another domed pellet that didn’t work as well as I’d hoped was the Falcon from Air Arms. They grouped about 0.90 inches for 8 shots, but in light of the other two I tried, that was lacking.

JSB Match Diabolo Exact RS
One of the pellets that performed well was the JSB Match Diabolo Exact RS. It’s another lightweight domed pellet, but unlike the Falcon, the Walther really liked this one. However, it wasn’t as consistent in the rifle as the next pellet I tried.

JSB Match Diabolo Exact RS pellets did well at 25 yards. This 8-shot group measures 0.652 inches between centers. This was the best group of the test.

JSB Match Diabolo Exact 8.4-grain domes
The pellets I found best in this rifle and the pellets I kept coming back to, magazine after magazine, were the JSB Match Diabolo Exact 8.4-grain domes. They just always wanted to go where I was aiming, once the gun was sighted in for them.

The JSB Match Diabolo Exact 8.4-grain pellet proved to be the most consistent in this rifle. Though they didn’t shoot the best group of the day, they were all close to this one, which measures 0.748 inches between centers.

Shooting this rifle is like eating peanuts. You never want to stop, because it’s just so much fun to do! I shot a lot more groups than I normally would for a test like this. Both the JSB Exact 8.4 and the JSB Exact RS were super performers that did their job, so long as I did mine.

Final impressions
It’s still shooting the rifle on the first CO2 cartridge I installed. With today’s testing, that’s over 225 shots for certain. You get lots of shots from one of these big bottles.

I’ll be sad to let this one return to Pyramyd Air. I know I can’t hang onto them all, but this one is the high-water mark of the lever-action design. It’s smooth, slick and balanced perfectly. It handles like you wish a .22 rimfire would, and it builds dreams with each pull of the trigger. I’m going to put it in my recommended list of airguns, because I know how happy it will make all potential owners.

The new Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

The brushed-nickel version of the Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle is extremely attractive.

Today, I’ll shoot the gun downrange and find out if this newest Walther Lever Action rifle has the same pinpoint accuracy as the first model. Many readers have written in to support this latest offering, so I think I should share some personal observations with you.

General observations
For starters, the new buttplate doesn’t look that bad in person. When you’re shooting the rifle, you don’t have time to look at it, and it does feel right in your hands. How it holds is far more important than how it looks, but I’m telling you now that it doesn’t look that bad.

Next, I want to convey the absolute butter-smoothness of the action. If Marlin or Winchester rimfires worked this smooth, they would sell a lot more of them! The lever doesn’t have much work to do, so it can move unimpeded through its arc. It even sounds right when it cycles, with a satisfying snick-snick.

Finally, I now know the trigger a lot better than before. There’s an ever-so-slight hint of creep in stage two, but it still releases crisply.

I’m back to open sights
My eyes suddenly became better last week, so I was able to shoot the rifle with open sights. I tried it at only 10 meters, because the bull was beginning to get fuzzy, but I wanted to see how well I could do without the aid of a scope. I surprised myself — or, I should say, the rifle surprised me because it stepped up to the mark and did all that was asked of it. I remembered my older Walther Lever Action was very accurate with open sights, but with all I’ve been through getting other guns to shoot well recently, this was still a pleasant surprise.

All shooting was done offhand, with a support. Like the strong-side barricade position for practical handgun shooting, I supported the rifle against a door jamb to steady myself.

RWS Hobbys
The first pellets tested were RWS Hobbys, which fit the circular clip very tight. I used the pellet seater tool that comes with the rifle to seat every pellet, but Hobbys were the only ones that actually popped forcibly into the chambers when their skirts were sized down. All the others slid in without a complaint.

Shooting from 10 meters offhand supported, these eight RWS Hobby pellets made a nice little group that measures 0.698 inches between centers.

Seeing that tight group of Hobbys gave me some confidence that I could shoot with open sights. At least at 10 meters, things were clear enough using the reading glasses I described in several past reports.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets
The next pellet I tried was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domed pellet. This is the so-called “lite” pellet in the .177 caliber Premier line. Domed pellets don’t mark a paper target as distinctively as wadcutters, but with the Walther’s velocity ranging in the mid 550 f.p.s. region, they leave holes that are clear enough to see. Any slower, and you’ll get ripped holes that are very difficult to locate.

Eight Crosman Premier lites made this group that measures 0.615 inches across the farthest centers. It was the best group of the test.

Let’s get crazy!
Just for fun I decided to shoot 8 Crosman High Velocity Super Sonic Pellets, to see what they might do. We tested them for velocity in Part 2, and it seemed only right to give them a chance here, as well. And they didn’t disappoint.

Crosman High Velocity Super Sonic pellets
As anyone with experience using Crosman High Velocity Super Sonic lightweight pellets knows, they scatter like shot from a blunderbuss. That’s not a criticism of Crosman pellets; all lightweight, non-lead pellets have this tendency. Only when a lot of manufacturing care (and a lot of additional cost) is put into their making can they keep up with lead pellets — and even then only out to about 25 yards.

Crosman High Velocity Super Sonic pellets gave this 1.561-inch, eight-shot group. In light of the performance of the other three pellets, I don’t think anything more needs to be said.

H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets
After the Super Sonic pellets I loaded H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets, so we’re back to a lead pellet with some hope for accuracy. Sometimes, these will be the most accurate pellets of all. I used the pistol pellets instead of the rifle-weight pellets because of the rifle’s available power.

The H&N Finale Match Pistol pellet also did well in the Walther Lever Action gun. This group measures 0.835 inches between centers.

Although the Premiers and the Hobbys outshot the H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets in this test, I would have to group all of them into the same category of accuracy because I didn’t shoot that many groups. The non-lead pellets, on the other hand, are clearly in a different category.

I’m not done with this rifle. I’m going to mount a good scope and shoot again at 25 yards. Then, we’ll have a complete picture. I’m not saying this is supposed to be a target rifle, but from past experience I know that its accuracy is well above average. I just want to show that to everyone, plus I really like shooting this one. It’s like an R7 that’s easy to cock.

Oh, one last comment. After at least 150 shots, I’m still shooting with the first 88-gram CO2 cartridge I installed.

The new Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle

Today, we’ll look at the power the new Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle generates. Since my old Walther Lever Action is a carbine with a shorter barrel, I hoped to see some improvement in velocity from this rifle, and I surely got it.

Like most of the repeating airguns made by Umarex, the Lever Action uses a circular 8-shot clip. Instead of 10 shots for velocity calculations, I used 8. I’ll also do that when shooting targets for the accuracy test.

Trigger performance
Kevin had asked about the trigger on the rifle. It’s not adjustable, but the second stage does break cleanly at 4 lbs., 6 ozs. It’s a very nice, crisp feel that I think will satisfy most shooters.

Velocity test
Walther recommends that you use either wadcutters or domed pellets in their repeaters that have a circular clip. Since either of those pellets will be more accurate than hollowpoints or pointed pellets anyway, I say, “Why not?” I find myself using domes for almost everything these days,anyway, because they’re so accurate at long ranges, but since the Walther Lever Action will be used primarily for plinking at shorter distances, wadcutters will do just as well.

The first pellet tested was the Falcon from Air Arms. This is a lighter domed pellet that’s often quite accurate in some rifles. I’m hoping it will be in this one, too. They averaged 576 f.p.s. for 8 shots with a spread that went from 571 to 587 f.p.s. The average velocity delivers a muzzle energy of 5.4 foot pounds.

Next, I tried the old standby Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domed pellet. At an average of 561 f.p.s,. they delivered 5.52 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. The spread went from 555 to 569 f.p.s.

Easy to cock
I have to observe at this point that this is an easy rifle to cock and load. The butter-smooth lever works with so little energy that you can cycle it with the rifle on your shoulder and the sights aligned with the target.

Then, I tried H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. They weigh 7.56 grain, and in the Lever Action rifle they averaged 569 f.p.s. The spread went from 562 to 581 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the energy at the muzzle was 5.44 foot pounds. This is another pellet that should be accurate in this rifle.

The last pure lead pellet I tested was the lightweight RWS Hobby. At just 7 grains, Hobbys are usually the fastest lead pellet in any gun, and they didn’t disappoint here. They averaged 583 f.p.s. for 8 shots. The spread was only from 577 to 593 f.p.s. They averaged 5.28 foot pounds of muzzle energy.

Trick pellets
I couldn’t finish without testing at least one trick pellet, so I selected the Crosman High Velocity Super Sonic Pellet that weighs just 4 grains. It averaged 689 f.p.s., but the spread was large, running from 660 to 706, a spread of 66 f.p.s. At the average velocity, these pellets produced 4.22 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Just for fun, I’ll also test these pellets for accuracy. Wouldn’t it be fun if they turned out to be accurate?

General observations
I’m still impressed with the rifle’s smooth action, crisp trigger and with the overall look of quality. I hope this rifle will continue Walther’s Lever Action tradition of being a tackdriver.

Please take note that lighter pellets produce less energy in CO2 guns. That’s because CO2 gas needs longer to accelerate the pellet to an optimum velocity. So, just like pneumatics, light pellets produce less energy than heavy pellets.

The new Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: The blog’s server went down on Thursday, April 21, 2011. It came back online Sunday, April 24. This blog was published Monday afternoon, April 25, because the previous Friday’s blog was published first thing Monday morning. We’re now caught up and will resume our regular publishing schedule.

Welcome to the new Walther Lever Action CO2 rifle. Walther brought out the Lever Action CO2 rifle back in the early years of this century, and I learned about it about half a year before it hit the market. Wulf Pflaumer, the owner of Umarex, was visiting his sister in Maryland, and I had a chat with him about airguns in general. “What would you think,” he asked me, “of a lever-action pellet rifle that looks and feels like the Winchester 1894?”

“Would it be a repeater and would it be accurate?” I asked.

“Both,” was the answer.

I thought it would be a world-beater at the time, and many who purchased that first release model felt as I did, that the realism, accuracy and build quality were right where they needed to be.

That first rifle was an 8-shot repeater with a slick-as-grease action. And it was as accurate as promised. Five pellets would stay on a penny at 20 yards. What more could you ask of a western-style repeater?

Well, gas economy turned out to be the answer. Even that’s too pat an answer, because it wasn’t the number of shots per CO2 cartridge that bothered some folks. It was the constant need to change them because they were shooting the gun so much. When a gun goes through pellets as fast as you can flick your wrist, you notice all the downtime involved in changing the two 12-gram CO2 cartridges. Everytime a change was required, you had to fumble with a Rube Goldberg contraption that housed two cartridges in tandem in the butt, and people may have resented the complexity of that system.

Well, things just got better, easier and faster with the introduction of the new Walther Lever Action, because instead of two 12-gram cartridges this one takes a single 88-gram cartridge that will last many times longer. And, instead of the cumbersome mechanism that held both 12-gram cartridges in the first model, in this one the big cartridge simply screws into a hole in the butt. There’s no fuss or mechanical contraption to deal with.

The new Walther Lever Action rifle comes in this brushed nickel finish that’s very attractive. It also comes in black.

I asked for the nickel-finished rifle for this report, just to change the pace a little from the black one. My old-style Walther Lever Action carbine has a traditional black finish and I wanted to see how different this one looked. The bright finish does add cost to the price, though, so consider that when buying.

A blast from the past
Of course, the Walther Lever Action is a mimic of Winchester’s famous 1894 lever-action rifle. No other single rifle epitomizes a hunting firearm to the extent the 94 does, and when you see one you automatically think .30-30, even though they have been chambered for many different cartridges.

Winchester model 94 at top, Walther’s new Lever Action rifle in the center and the old model Walther Lever Action carbine at the bottom. Notice the pull of the new Walther is longer than the Winchester’s pull.

Edith and I were in a local gun store one day when she spotted a post ’64 Winchester carbine that had been scoped. She wondered if it would make a nice contrast to the Walther’s Lever Action carbine we own, so we bought the rifle and have been waiting for this day to arrive. The Walther is designed as a fast, accurate plinking rifle for warm weather (being powered by CO2), and that’s how I plan to test it for you.

New tools for the rifle
With the rifle, you get two new tools that won’t be familiar. One is just a fancy screwdriver to remove the thick plastic buttplate for access to the hole in the stock where the CO2 cartridge goes. The other is a fancy wrench to tighten the cartridge the last few turns, causing it to puncture and start the gas flowing. In fact, due to the threads on the cartridge, these new rifles are much faster to charge than the old model that used the two smaller cartridges. And because the threads draw them into the piercing pin, the length of the cartridge isn’t of much concern as it is on some other rifles.

A single screw detaches the buttplate from the stock. The black key below the plate is used for that job. The blue-handled wrench tightens the 88-gram cartridge in place. The whole job takes 15 seconds. Don’t forget the Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of each new cartridge!

I’m not even going to attempt to count how many shots you’ll get from one cartridge, because it should number in the hundreds. And, when you’re done shooting, just leave the cartridge in place until the next time. As long as you use Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of every new cartridge, the gun should remain tight for years.

How do you know when the pressure is running low?
You can clearly hear that the gas pressure is low in the report of the gun. At the first indication that pressure is dwindling, stop and remove the cartridge. Don’t risk getting a pellet stuck in the barrel.

Where do the pellets go?
To open the pellet clip, press in on the front of the cartridge loading gate, which is the same configuration as on the rifle. The pellet clip will pop out to the side of the receiver, where it can be exchanged for a loaded one.

Push in on the cartridge loading gate, and the pellet clip pops out to the right for access.

General specs
This rifle is an 8-shot lever-action repeater and delivers 600 f.p.s. velocity. Given the number of lightweight pellets on the market today and the 18.9-inch barrel on the rifle, I would guess both numbers are conservative. The rifle weighs about 6.2 lbs. and the stock and forearm are real hardwood. It’s very attractive, especially in the brushed nickel version that I’m testing. The length of pull is a manly 14.5 inches; and, despite the gas cartridge in the butt, the balance is very neutral. The overall rifle is 39.2 inches long.

The lever really does cock the hammer and advance the clip to the next round. The action is smooth and easy — much easier than the firearm that it copies. However, you do have to keep track of your shots because the action continues to operate when the pellets are gone.

The lever works the action just like the firearm, only it’s a lot smoother and easier.

Okay, the price on this one is high, but let me tell you a little story about that. Back in the 1980s when Beeman brought in about 100 Erma ELG-10 lever-action single-shot pellet rifles, they charged $300+ for them and the shooters avoided them like the plague. They never ordered another batch because the rifles just didn’t sell. Today, they command over $600 when they come to market. These Walthers are very much like the ELG-10s, except that these are repeaters, they’re more realistic-looking, more accurate and more powerful. Get ‘em now while they’re hot, or wait and pay double in the future. As a plinking air rifle, they don’t come much better than this.

Speaking of plinking, I don’t think that I’m going to test this rifle with a scope. This is a plinker, and that’s how I’ll test it for you. The sights are somewhat adjustable and quite nice for a plinker. The rear sight adjusts for elevation and the front for windage. I’ll go over them in greater detail in the accuracy test.

The trigger is two-stage and non-adjustable. Stage two is quite crisp, so it should help with accuracy. All in all, this is a great Western air rifle.

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