Top vintage military arms

Top vintage military arms

CO2 in War and Peace

By Dennis Adler

When we are talking about copies of legendary military arms as CO2 models, it is not just a gun based on a design, it is a gun copied in detail from an original design like the Umarex Luger P.08 Parabellum and Mauser Broomhandle Model 712. Pictured are the limited edition WWII models. Only the P.08 is currently available.

In the past several years the world of CO2 pistols and rifles has been exposed to military history in ways that airgun enthusiasts could only have dreamed about as little as five years ago. Sure, there have been BB and pellet guns in the past that were based on military arms, like the Crosman Model M-1 Carbine built from 1968 to 1976, as well as a number of military training air rifles manufactured during WWI and WWII (very rare finds today), and more recently the Winchester Model M14 CO2 BB and pellet rifle, introduced in 2012, and of course, the excellent Diana K98 Mauser (under lever cocking) pneumatic pellet rifle. But in the world of blowback action CO2 pistols, rifles, and CO2 BB and pellet cartridge loading revolvers, the period from 2015 to 2019 has been a remarkable one for military arms enthusiasts. read more


DPMS vs. MP40

DPMS vs. MP40

Can an historic automatic subgun rival a modern AR-based SBR?

By Dennis Adler

With almost 80 years separating these two designs it is impressive that they still bear so much in common. The German MP40 was one of the most successful submachine guns of its time and remained in use for decades after WWII. The DPMS is among the more recent SBR designs based on the Vietnam-era M16, but in a modernized M14 version with collapsible stock, short barrel, and quad rails. However, when you get down to the skin and bones, they are both the same fundamental idea. Choosing one over the other in CO2 is really a matter of preferences for vintage or modern military designs.

Recreating the MP40 as a blowback action CO2 model with full auto firing capability gave the Umarex Legends series a second superstar for vintage military arms enthusiasts to enjoy. An original WWII-era MP40 would be cost prohibitive for most firearms enthusiasts, as well requiring a Class III firearms license to own, while the CO2 model, which joined the Umarex Broomhandle Mauser Model 712 as a second vintage select-fire airgun design, provides as much authenticity as possible at a mere fraction of the cost for an original. The Crosman DPMS Panther SBR is a modern counterpart to the MP40 and like original WWII guns, a new centerfire DPMS SBR is also expensive and requires special permissions and expenses to own. But these two have more in common than ownership restrictions for their centerfire counterparts, even as CO2 models they are counterparts in the theory of their design and operation. Like the DPMS compared to the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine, there is that same generation gap that makes the vintage arms so much more appealing. Only here, these guns are on a truly equal footing. read more


My favorite CO2 air pistol of all time Part 2

My favorite CO2 air pistol of all time Part 2

And what makes it special

By Dennis Adler

The Maschinenpistole 40 or MP40 was one of the big hits from Umarex in 2017.
The CO2 version of the full auto 9mm WWII submachine gun allows semi-auto fire as well as full auto, making it much more CO2 and BB friendly. The self-contained CO2 BB magazines use a pair of 12 gram CO2 cartridges. It doesn’t hurt accuracy, either.

When you have a veritable history of American and European firearms recreated today in .177 caliber BB and 4.5mm pellet firing airguns, everything from selective fire pistols like the Mini Uzi, Broomhandle Mauser Model 712 and WWII German MP40, to state-of-the-art semi-autos like the Glock 17 and legendary guns from the American West, like the Colt Peacemaker, finding one gun that raises the bar or hits your “must have” list, is like going to a premier firearms auction with the determination that no matter how many guns catch your eye, you are only going home with one. And so we begin Part 2 back in 2017. read more


Photo Finishes

Photo Finishes

What is it about battlefield weathered guns that is so appealing?

By Dennis Adler

Weathered finishes on new guns are intended to duplicate naturally aged finishes on actual handguns and longarms. The faded bluing and loss of finish and discoloration on the 1858 Starr double action revolver at top is about a 50 to 60 percent gun for finish. The weathered finishes on CO2 models like the John Wayne Signature Series Umarex Colt Peacemaker and Air Venturi Model 1911 are less severe but show fine edge wear and fading to give them a more historic appearance. A lot of airgun enthusiasts and collectors find this very appealing.

When you look through high end firearms auction catalogs, like the Rock Island Auction Co. Premier Auction catalogs, the first thing you want to see is the photo or photos of the gun for sale, then the item description, and at the very end, what is written after the word Condition:

What you want to see is “Excellent” or “Very Fine” or at the worst “Fine” which usually indicates a worn but attractive patina with 60 percent of the original finish remaining. The rarity of the gun is part of what makes “Fine” actually fine because the gun is either hard to come by in any condition, and this usually applies to guns that are over a century old, or to those used in battle where the finish has been worn or faded over time. When it comes to WWII firearms, gun collectors look to find Very Good and Excellent guns, Fine, once again, is only appealing if the gun is rare or has historical provenance, and that is what makes Battlefield Finish CO2 pistols particularly interesting, they have the look of a gun that has a story to tell! read more


Dennis’ Top New Airguns for 2017

Dennis’ Top New Airguns for 2017

And the winner is… Part 2 Part 1

By Dennis Adler

This year saw a number of new CO2 models, many based on guns from previous years, and a few that were first time models like the Umarex MP40 German submachine gun. The special John Wayne Edition Model 1911A1 was the first semi-auto in the John Wayne signature series, the odd but alluring Umarex Legends “Ace in the Hole” gave movie buffs a real taste of not being Expendable, ASG gave us a new 2-1/2 inch Dan Wesson Model 715, and Webley & Scott delivered its best MK VI CO2 model yet, the weathered and rugged Battlefield Finish.

Among the best CO2 models introduced in 2017 these five soared to the top of my “Best New Air Pistol or CO2-powered rifle” list. It is a fairly diversified group by gun types, but there is a dominant theme among the choices, vintage military arms with battle worn finishes. For arms collectors, condition is paramount but when condition becomes secondary to rarity, you look for a gun that has the most acceptable “patina” or as it is described in the Blue Book of Gun Values “…a good example of an older, used revolver in above average condition.” This is 70% condition which can show areas of wear, some discoloration and pitting. This also falls into the NRA Modern Good condition, which ranges from 60% to 80%. This is what most airgun makers are shooting for (pardon the pun) when weathering their CO2 military models. The weathering on the John Wayne 1911A1 is a bit more severe, closer to 60% condition, and the Webley MK VI is closer to 70%, while the “Ace in the Hole” falls somewhere in between, the MP40 is also around 70 percent finish in most areas. All four look very authentic, but the Webley and MP40 are just a little more realistic looking overall. read more


Dennis’ Top New Airguns for 2017

Dennis’ Top New Airguns for 2017

The Best of the Best in .177 and 4.5mm Part 1 Part 2

By Dennis Adler

I know many of you were hoping for more new models this year, but there are several in the wings for 2018 that are going to fulfill a lot of wishes. Still, 2017 brought quite a few new and significant CO2 models to the .177 and 4.5mm class of air pistols and magazine-loading rifles, and today we are going to review my top picks for the year. Let’s start with one of the most interesting new rifles, well actually submachine guns, in the world of centerfire or CO2 arms, the WWII era MP40.

Is it real or is it Umarex? The MP40 at the top is an original WWII model rated in “fine condition” by Rock Island Auction Co. The estimated value is between $13,000 and $19,000. Makes the Umarex weathered CO2 model a real bargain! (MP40 photos courtesy Rock Island Auction Co.)

Umarex Legends MP40        read more


Saga of the MP40 and the baffle box

Saga of the MP40 and the baffle box

Stopping steel and lead in its tracks

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex MP40 is not only accurate but pretty powerful, even at 25 feet on full auto. And I have a blown to bits baffle box to prove it.

My recent exploration of the MP40 weathered model’s accuracy proved to be quite exceptional. After Thursdays article, I went back and shot several more magazines to test quick reloads (I have one spare magazine) and firing with the gun shouldered and my support arm through the sling (as pictured) my groups from 25 feet kept getting tighter. This is one very accurate CO2 air rifle on full auto, especially shooting in short bursts. I average six to 10 shots by feathering the trigger, i.e. just enough pull to fire the gun but not an extended trigger press, on and off in under a second. You can hear it and feel it in the bolt’s recoil so less than a second and you’ve got it. Some of you have already tried this using the shoulder strap to really stabilize the MP40 from the shoulder and are getting the same kind of accuracy, so I haven’t done anything exceptional. What I did do, however, is blow the entire center out of my baffle box! I usually get about 10 gun tests done before I have to make a new baffle box. I shot this one to piece in two days with the MP40. read more