Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

Two entry-level CO2 models with great features, authentic designs and shared handicaps based on retail price point (actually selling for just $69.95), the new Umarex Glock 19 and updated Umarex Walther PPS M2, have the looks down pat, good performance, and make the issue of separate CO2 and stick magazines much easier to live with. Note that the stick mags in both pistols have full size base pads so the guns look right from the top down!

It’s the best new non-blowback action BB model vs. the latest update to an unseated champion in entry-level blowback action semi-autos, the Umarex Glock 19 against the Umarex Walther PPS M2. No two CO2 models could be better pitted against each other despite the fact that the Glock is a non-blowback pistol…it’s just that good!

It is a masterpiece of external design that does the best job of looking like its centerfire counterpart of any air pistol on the market. The Umarex Glock 19 is almost indistinguishable from the 9mm model, and Glock being aware of that subtly made one obvious change to the gun by eliminating the caliber markings on the slide. There is also the equally subtle crossbolt safety at the top rear of the trigger, even though the air pistol has a working Safe Action style blade trigger. Attention to details in the grip panel pattern, front strap grooves, checkering and every functional feature, such as the slide release are perfect, even though it is a non-blowback action pistol.

What Umarex and Glock have delivered with an entry-level model of the G19 is about as much fine detail as it is possible to get into a CO2 pistol’s exterior design. And you can say the same for the Walther PPS M2. Both the new Glock and updated Walther look like their centerfire counterparts in almost every important detail. Neither has a self-contained CO2 BB magazine, both use separate CO2 chambers in their grip frames and easy to load stick magazines. Overall, they are pretty much equals in the air and BB loading department and are priced the same selling discounted for $69.95. They are very affordable entry-level pistols with exceptional performance and design. read more


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 2

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 2

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex Ruger Superhawk while based on the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 is pretty much its own gun with Ruger trademarks, different barrel design and different sights. With the optics rail removed from the top of the barrel the gun takes on a more practical look and with pellet loading shells is a pretty accurate shooter. The shells are more efficient to load into the cylinder using Bianchi Speed Strips. The speed loader hits the side of the grips making it a little awkward to use, i.e., not as much “speed” in speed loader, which is a moot point with pellet shells since they don’t fit the speed loader.

As might be expected, a revolver up against nine semi-autos of varying design would have little chance of prevailing, unless it was a 4-3/4 inch, rifled barrel Umarex Colt Peacemaker, (just a hint to Umarex about the standards and expectations we have here at Airgun Experience), so the first of the 10 to go is the Ruger Superhawk, but not without a good run at the title. While it is a blatant re-branding of the S&W 327 TRR8, the Ruger name, logo in the grips and shorter bull barrel are neat touches that set it apart from the S&W DA/SA model. The real surprise for me came with the improved trigger having a smoother 6 pound, 7.0 ounce DA and 5 pound, 11.0 ounce SA average pull and a solid staging of the hammer firing double action. read more


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 1

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 1

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

Each year since I began writing the Airgun Experience I have selected one new model as my Air Pistol of the Year. For 2018, given the variety of new air pistols and satisfying, though not overwhelming number of models introduced, the focus has specifically turned to CO2 air pistols that are based on actual centerfire handgun models, whether new (like the Sig Sauer M17) or older (like the HK USP) so long as the air pistol is new. I am also establishing an updated point system based on five comparative categories with values from 1 to 10 points for each. This is going to separate out a number of guns simply because of their various features, or lack thereof. The gun chosen as Replica Air Pistol of the Year will be based solely on total points earned. read more


More Childhood Approved Airguns

More Childhood Approved Airguns

’Tis the Season

By Dennis Adler

Only Jean Shepherd could turn a kid’s BB gun mania into one of the most beloved Christmas movies ever. It’s an annual event in our house, we even have an early Christmas Story Daisy Red Ryder that sits on the fireplace mantle every Holiday Season. Our own BB gun mania.

I must admit that when I was a teenager I didn’t expect, nor did I want an “official Red Rider carbine action 200 shot range model air rifle.” (Of course, in truth I would have had to want a Red Ryder Model 94 Carbine back in the 1960s; the Red Ryder in A Christmas Storey was based on the Number 111 Model 40 Red Ryder Variation1 made in 1940 and 1941). The movie wasn’t released until 1983 and the gun didn’t even exist as it was written in Jean Shepherd’s Christmas classic until after the film. So what did I want? Well, as I mentioned in Thursday’s Airgun Experience I wanted a real Colt Model 1911. But there were other guns with which I had become equally absorbed. None of which existed as air pistols back then. Today, I would be in absolute airgun bliss. The guns I wanted back then were mostly all WWII models and earlier (I have always been a step out of time), and looking at this week’s Pyramyd Air emailing of “12 Airguns you wanted as a kid but never got” I decided to wrap up the week with my old Christmas list and why I wanted them (even though they didn’t exist as airguns back then.) read more


What Drives Your Passion?

What Drives Your Passion?

Some airguns are a personal link to the past

By Dennis Adler

Not sure what this says about me but Richard Boone as Paladin was my favorite western hero when I was a kid.

I am drawn to certain CO2 air pistols and the occasional CO2 air rifle by my past and my passions for certain guns I have owned, be they airguns or actual cartridge firing guns. I grew up in a family where there were no guns. My interests stemmed from watching TV westerns in the 1950s and 1960s, Have Gun, Will Travel, Wanted Dead or Alive, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza, (and I could throw in a few others I liked like Trackdown and the Rifleman) and classic TV detectives like Richard Diamond, Peter Gunn, and Mike Hammer. read more


Umarex Legends Lever Action Rifle Part 4

Umarex Legends Lever Action Rifle

The Classic Winchester Model 1894 on air Part 4

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action Rifle is a perfect long gun for either the BB cartridge firing 5-1/2 inch Peacemakers or the 7-1/2 inch rifled barrel pellet cartridge firing models. The lever action can load and fire either cartridge and does surprisingly well firing alloy or lead wadcutters down its 19-1/2 inch smoothbore barrel.

What is a 19-1/2 inch smoothbore barrel capable of in terms of accuracy? Considering that before the use of rifling in the 1700s, (for longrifles; rifling of barrels for cannons goes much further back), the vast majority of long guns had smoothbore barrels and frontiersmen managed to do quite well with them. The use of smoothbore and rifled barrels in air pistols and air rifles alike is almost as old; Lewis & Clark carried a version of the Girandoni air rifle, manufactured for Meriweather Lewis by Philadelphia gunsmith Isiah Lukens, during their Corps of Discovery expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific Coast from 1803 to 1806. The rifled barrel, .46 caliber Girandoni air rifle was also carried by the Austrian Army from 1780 until the early 1800s, so air rifles of both smoothbore and rifled barrel designs were not uncommon over 200 years ago. Of course, by the time of the Winchester Model 1892 and 1894 lever actions, smoothbore rifles were the exception (though they were manufactured, including an 1892 smoothbore for Annie Oakley, who used shot shells in the Winchester repeater during part of her act in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show). Winchester has also made smoothbore models of the 1873 and other lever action models on special order, so the smoothbore Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action Rifle is not altogether inaccurate! And there is something to be said for a CO2 powered lever action rifle with a smoothbore barrel. At CO2 powered air rifle distances it is accurate with BBs and even better when loaded with wadcutter pellets. read more


Umarex Legends Lever Action Rifle Part 3

Umarex Legends Lever Action Rifle

The Classic Winchester Model 1894 on air Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

By Dennis Adler

With an open spread from the Winchester catalog dated March 1897, you can see the various models of the 1894 that were available. The most modern lever action rifle of its time, the 1894 was originally chambered for rifle cartridges and not compatible with pistol cartridges like the Model 1892 before it. Umarex made that one noteworthy change to allow the CO2 model to use the same BB loading cartridges as the Peacemaker.

Up until the new Umarex Legends model, the only western lever action CO2 rifle was the Walther pellet firing model which uses an 8-shot rotary magazine inserted into the firing mechanism at the front of the receiver (Part 9 of my “Airguns of the American West” series in the September 2016 Airgun Experience columns), and this is a considerably more expensive gun with an MSRP of $500. The Walther lever gun uses an 88 gr. CO2 cartridge loaded into the stock and rather than a wood grained injection molded stock and forearm like the Umarex Legends model, the Walther uses high grade walnut. But you pay for it and even while the Walther has a rifled steel barrel and excellent accuracy, it still can’t hold a candle to the experience of loading 10 shells into the magazine and ejecting spent shells from the new Umarex 1894-based model. read more