Postscripts Part 2

Postscripts Part 2

Finishing up at 45 feet

By Dennis Adler

You know the old saying, practice makes perfect, well I had to do a shoot for Guns of the Old West, hence the real Remington Cartridge Conversion in my holster, and I decided to grab the Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action on the way out the door. After the live ammo tests with the Remington I set up targets at 45 feet and began a test with the Lever Action.

The question with the Legends Cowboy Lever Action is how well it will perform now that it is sending steel BBs downrange at velocities of 645 fps and H&N Sport 5.25 gr. alloy pellets at a gong ringing 664 fps. But as we always have to ask, does increased velocity mean increased accuracy? Given the accuracy of the original test gun which was shooting in the high 450 fps range, and grouping 10 rounds at 10 meters into 1.25 inches, with a best five measuring 0.5 inches edge to edge, you have to wonder what an extra 200 fps is going to give this lever action rifle. I had originally planned on doing a test at 45 feet, but bad weather forced me to shoot indoors at 40 feet, and the gun shot well. Now with the higher velocity from the new off-the-shelf-production gun, the 45 foot test is what I’m after for this postscript to 2018.

I was off to a good start but the temperature was dropping below freezing (28 degrees to be exact) and after I finished sighting the gun in, I headed back. I made short outings to fire in groups of five, then back inside for a few minutes for the gun to warm up, back out, and so on until I had shot 20 rounds. Not my idea of a fun shoot, but I had to know what the gun could do at 45 feet, and heck, it wasn’t raining. That’s the GO button around these parts lately for gun tests and photo shoots!

The cold shoulder

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There have been two types of weather this month, rain or snow and the rain just barely above freezing. Not exactly optimum temperatures for shooting CO2 powered guns. Today, it was a balmy 28 degrees with no wind and just a hint of sun (well not actually a hint, more of an innuendo). Dressed as one might in the Old West with double coats and heavy canvas trousers, I loaded up 20 pellet-firing shells with H&N Sport Match Green alloy pellets and decided to see what the gun could do at a distance of 45 feet pushing alloy wadcutters at over 650 fps. When you say that it sounds impressive, 650 fps with alloy wadcutters in a CO2 powered smoothbore rifle. Umarex may have been late on delivery, but they certainly delivered the gun we were hoping for, and I don’t see that the smoothbore barrel has let anyone down on performance or accuracy.

Yep, it’s a smoothbore BB rifle but it works so well with silver Peacemaker pellet shells that it is almost a waste to run BBs through the Lever Action when it delivers more performance and accuracy with alloy pellets. The pairing also makes it easy to have a cartridge belt full of loaded pellet shells for your pistol and rifle and shoot both together. At least that’s my plan for future tests.

I set up a Birchwood-Casey sighting target and ran the gun test in short order keeping the cartridges and gun indoors and only stepping out into the cold to shoot. This is the same protocol I used in February 2018 when I did the test of CO2 pistol in the snow for Airgun Experience No. 234 and No. 235. Surprisingly all the test pistols did pretty well and I expected no less from the Cowboy Lever Action rifle with its enclosed dual 12 gr. CO2 system. After the test and having sent 20 shots downrange plus another six for sighting in, I ran a velocity check to see how fast the alloy wadcutters were still traveling. Thirty plus rounds in, the 5.25 gr. H&N were still averaging 648 fps.

Shooting in sets of five rounds, my groups were actually pretty consistent at 45 feet except for two flyers at the end which I pulled right. Considering that the center diamond on the Birchwood-Casey target is 3-inches wide and a metal plate target is 17 inches (12×12) there’s no doubt that the CO2 lever action can get the job done at 15 yards. In SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) competition, rifles are shot anywhere from 13 yards to 50 yards depending upon the match.

My 45 foot test was shot in sets of five rounds and I ended up with a trio of doubles, two of which had overlapping hits, 13 out of 20 shots inside the center diamond, which has a width of 3-inches; five shots grouped above the diamond and two flyers that went to the right. My total 20-shot spread was 2.75 inches with the best 5-shot group at 0.75 inches above the diamond with one of the overlapping double hits. Not exactly precision shooting, but at 45 feet, every one would have hit a Cowboy Action Shooting metal plate square in the center. Not bad for a CO2 lever action rifle.

Final notes

This is an addendum to the article originally published yesterday (Saturday) addressing a few fine points that have been brought up in the comments. There has been an issue with both 12 gr. CO2 cartridges not being pierced when the air chamber is sealed closed with the hex head tool. This has not happened with the original test gun or this gun on the first test, though I cut short the shooting and ran out the gun without counting total shots. On Saturday’s test the Lever Action was again sending alloy wadcutters downrange at an impressive 650 plus fps for most of the test. And that was where it concluded. Today (Sunday) I did a follow up 10 meter test with the H&N Sport 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters to run out the air. The velocity after 50 plus shots was still at 648 fps. My best 10 shot group fired offhand from 10 meters this afternoon measured 1.12 inches, however, the last two shots that opened up an otherwise very tight 0.625 inches for eight rounds, sounded slower and in fact the air ran out five shots later on another target as pellets began to hit low. That gave me a total of 65 rounds for the air supply in the gun. Accuracy was certainly very good as the air dropped right up until the end and of the eight rounds in the 0.625 inch group there were five at 0.5 inches. While this should be the end of the story, when I opened the CO2 chamber and removed the two 12 gr. CO2 cartridges, the second cartridge, the one pointing up, had not been pierced, and thus everything I had done with the gun for this test was running on one 12 gr. CO2 cartridge. This leads to a possible issue with the piercing pin in the head of the chamber cover, and since I am not the only one to experience this, a follow up conversation will be necessary with Umarex in the coming week. Secondly, this also shows that the gun can perform just as well on one 12 gr. CO2, just not for as many shots. But as the wish list has gone for variations, the idea of a Wanted Dead or Alive Mare’s Laig was unlikely because of the shortened stock. Knowing the gun can perform this well with one 12 gr. functioning, it is only a matter of retooling for a stock change, and shorter barrel and magazine to add a Mares’ Laig to the Legends Cowboy Lever Action line. Not an excuse for this functional error with the CO2 loading, but one silver lining is a grey cloud that may have settled over the Lever Action. I will run several different brands of CO2 in the Lever Action to see if it makes any difference, but the failure I experienced with piercing the CO2 happened with Umarex cartridges.

With the last of the air supply in the Lever Action still pushing 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters at 648 fps, I managed a very tight 8-shot group from 10 meters before a drop in air volume sent the last two dropping low and right. The gun was out of air five rounds later, but had only been running on one of the two 12 gr. CO2 cartridges loaded.

Next week we are going to pay a quick revisit to another top gun from 2018, the Umarex Glock 17, which is now available for order.

10 thoughts on “Postscripts Part 2”

  1. Great performance from a co2 rifle in cold temp. Less than ideal conditions, and still cas accurate. A new level in Western Shooting airguns has been reached. MaybeUnarex could up the velocity in the Peacemaker as well .

  2. So now that we know the technology is there to send a 177 pellet out of a co2 lever rifle at over 600 fps,there are two other designs I could see a demand for. An 1886 co2 rifle firing a scaled up 45/70 sized case for a22 pellet at 700 fps using dual co2 but metering out more co2. The other would be a single shot Sharps rifle using the same 22 cartridge.Both with rifled barrels.

  3. The weather here in St. Louis, MO was worse this weekend. A Winter storm came in Friday afternoon and has lasted through Sunday morning. Many communities in central eastern Missouri and Illinois have received as much as a foot of snow. Fortunately, my house and property received only about 5 to 7 inches of snow. Clearing the drive this morning was no fun.

    Getting back to the Cowboy Lever Action, I shot groups of 10 shots from a bench rest at 10 meters yesterday morning. Here are my results for all 10 shots of 3 brands of BBs: Black Diamond, 1 3/16″; Daisy Premium, 1 1/4″; and Umarex, 1 1/16″. I used a 6 o’clock aim on the 2″ shot spot because the manual recommended center aim was putting shots high using the lowest notch position on the rear sight. Even with the 6 o’clock aim, the Umarex shots were still high at the top edge of the shot spot. It was then I discovered that the rear sight adjustment could still move forward some more. So I moved the adjustment as far forward as it could possibly go. With that adjustment and the 6 o’clock aim the Black Diamond and Daisy shots dead center on the spot at 10 meters (33 feet).

      • I was very pleased that I was able to get such good results at 10 meters using the open sights especially given that the rear sight is too close to my eye and not well focused. That 2″ shot spot looks really small at 10 meters too. As you and other shooters know, as distance to target increases, small variances in aim are magnified into larger spreads on the target.

        To compensate for that, my Walther Lever Action pellet rifle has the scope mount and a 4X scope on it. Obviously, that can’t be done on the Cowboy Lever Action.

        In my posting about the failure to puncture one of the CO2 cartridges, I suggested I might insert one or two U.S. pennies between the two CO2 to see if that might help puncture both cartridges. What do you think of that idea in this rifle’s CO2 chamber? Do you think it might work? Do you see any other possible problems that might occur? Pennies getting jammed in the chamber for instance?

        • Umarex says it is not recommended that anything be inserted between the CO2 cartridges, because when they are pierced the entire air chamber is under pressure. And as you will see in Tuesday’s article there is a simple fix for the piercing problem.

  4. Using Crosman co2 I had no issues with piercing both cartridges and then after my last session , after around 40 shots noticed rounds losing power . Opened stock and when cartridges dropped out one was not completely pierced. Wonder if it is a result of the valve with more power , threads not as long on cap? Will see what Umarex says and if they are running into thisptoblemun Europe.

    • Did not see the rumored P 365 blowback bb pistol . 90 percent of their lineup is probably not available to civilians , no real life interest. Maybe to real military and police. Peasants can’t be trusted with those things. PCP AR lookalike maybe interesting. Will stick to the Umarex lever rifle.

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