Umarex 850 M2 Part 2

Umarex 850 M2 Part 2

Latest evolution of a classic Hammerli air rifle

By Dennis Adler

Air rifles that are not copies of semi-auto or select-fire rifles are a different breed of airgun than I usually cover in Airgun Experience and the few exceptions, like the Air Venturi Seneca Aspen, have been impressive new designs. The Umarex 850 M2 is neither new nor technically impressive but rather familiar and welcomed because it continues a design by Hammerli that was always well liked by air rifle enthusiasts. The handful of improvements the M2 brings to the design are almost inconsequential for general sport shooting, but each adds to the versatility of the gun for target and precision shooting. With the addition of the short Picatinny rails around the forearm adding a UTG 28ST bipod (or any rail-mounting bipod) takes the 850 into new territory for target work. Combined with a good scope, the 850 in .22 caliber is a much more capable air rifle than its predecessor.

The biggest advantage to the short Picatinny rails on the forend of the 850 M2 is the bottom rail, which makes it possible to mount a bipod like this UTG 28ST.
Another plus for the 850 M2 is the clip-on cheekpiece which raises the cheek weld for those who need it and when shooting with a scope. It clips on and stays put.
Clipped in place you have a fair increase in comb height that is symmetrical for right or left-handed shooters.

Running through the steps

Find a Hawke Scope

For me, and probably for a good many of you, the 850 M2 is a different kind of CO2 air rifle. Most of you have been looking at ways to upgrade some of the better CO2 models like the Mosin-Nagant and M1 Carbine with optics and it has been a little challenging. The 850 M2 makes it easy, and also gives you far greater range and accuracy being a pellet rifle. Pesky varmints beware! The M2 in .22 caliber has the FPE to bring down small game.

The original Hammerli 850 Air Magnum and new Umarex 850 M2 are designed to be powered by an 88 gr. CO2 canister that threads into the front of the receiver through the stock.

One of the advantages and disadvantages of a CO2 rifle like the 850, that is powered by an 88 gram cylinder, is the sense of commitment to shooting. You get more from an 88 gram CO2, more power, more shots, but like any CO2 cartridge, it is not intended to remain in the gun for extended periods. The 88 gram gets you up to 200 shots with velocities in the low to mid 600 fps range (Umarex states 620 fps with alloy pellets and 530 fps with lead pellets), but 200 shots at 8-shots per rotary magazine equals 25 reloads. For target practice, with more costly .22 caliber pellets, and the price of 88 gr. cartridges, roughly $16 for two from Air Venturi, a few dollars more for other brands, and around $10 for 200 quality .22 caliber pellets like H&N Sport Baracuda Hunter Extreme or Baracuda Match, (or less costly H&N Sport wadcutters at under $6 for 250), it averages about .72 cents per every eight shot magazine fired, or $17 and change for 200 shots with quality pellets and an 88 gram CO2. Compared to rimfire ammo you can get 500 rounds of Federal Champion for less than $20 (about 0.4 cents per shot and times 8, just 3.2 cents compared to .72 cents with the air rifle. You can get 200 rounds of CCI for about $11, so bottom line, shooting an air rifle like the 850 M2 can be a little more expensive than a .22 caliber rimfire rifle. Of course, you’d be hard pressed to go plinking in your backyard with a .22 rifle, unless your back yard has a lot of acreage and not too many neighbors. If you live out in farming and ranching country like I do, you can probably shoot all day. (Rare is the weekend, when I don’t hear someone firing a semi-auto rifle within earshot.) The 850 M2 isn’t the least expensive way to shoot with CO2, but it is actually as much or more fun than a rimfire rifle!

Invented for the 850 Air Magnum as a later option, and still available from Umarex for the 850 M2 is the 2×12 gr. CO2 adapter. This allows convenient use of paired 12 gr. CO2 cartridges in a removable air chamber that replaces the 88 gr. This allows shorter shooting times without sacrificing performance.

This is where the auxiliary dual 12 gr. CO2 adapter come into play. The device was originally developed for the 850 Air Magnum in 2012 (five years after its introduction) as part of a combo accessory kit that included the dual 12 gr. adapter and a Walther 6×42 scope. The 2×12 CO2 adapter was also part of the 850 Air Magnum classic version which came with a hardwood stock. As a separate accessory, the adapter sells for $29.99. The Umarex adapter works with the original, 850 Air Magnum, new 850 M2 as well as the Umarex Air Javelin and other CO2 powered airguns and air rifles made for 88-gram tanks.

The CO2 adapter works just like the dual CO2 chambers in Umarex MP40 and M1A1 CO2 BB magazines and like the internal chamber in models like the Legends Cowboy Lever Action and new Ruger 10/22. The first CO2 gets a drop of RWS chamber lube and goes in nozzle down…
The second CO2 gets a drop of RWS chamber lube and goes in nozzle up. A little chamber lube is also applied to the green O-ring before it is threaded back onto the adapter. The seating key on the cap is used to tighten down the CO2 piercing both cartridges as you go and allowing the CO2 to fill the cylinder. This is about as easy and affordable as loading CO2 gets, and compared to 88 gr. the cost of the adapter easily pays for itself in the long run. It can also be used in other rifles and airguns that use an 88 gr. cylinder.

This makes 12 gram CO2 cartridges, which are far less expensive and easier to find in retail stores, suitable for the 88 gram guns and is especially beneficial for those who want to take fewer shots. And unlike an 88 gram, the 2×12 adapter can be unscrewed from the rifle without losing the remaining CO2 in the cartridges. A box of 12 Umarex 12 gr. CO2 cartridges sells for around $9 and that gives you six CO2 reloads for the 850 M2 at a cost of $1.50 each. It’s really a win-win accessory, and where we begin with evaluating the .22 caliber 850 M2 for average velocity.

Loading CO2 into the 2×12 Adapter

This is just like loading 12 gr. CO2 back-to-back in the Legends Cowboy Lever Action Rifle or the M1A1 Thompson/MP40 magazines. The 12 gr. facing in is pierced by a pin at the front of the air chamber, and when the rear cap is screwed down the piercing pin in the cap punctures the forward facing CO2. The polished air chamber fills with the CO2 from both cartridges and becomes a pre-charged cylinder that can be threaded onto the CO2 collar inside the 850 M2’s receiver, just like an 88 gr. CO2.

Threaded into the receiver there is more than ample grip on the octagonal air adapter to turn it down firmly.

The full-size 88 gr. is standardized (88 gr. and 90 gr.) for air rifles like the Sig Sauer MCX, for example, which load the 88 gr. directly into the rear of the receiver after removing the shoulder stock. The stock then shrouds the CO2 canister. It is quite the opposite with the Umarex 850 M2 (and 850 Air Magnum) which loads the CO2 into the front of the receiver after removing the forward portion of the forend. Same results, though, and honestly, this feels better because you have a much better shoulder stock with the 850 M2 compared to the tactical style of guns like the Sig Sauer. Whether you use the 2×12 gr. adapter or the full 88 gr. the 850 M2 will deliver peak performance, just for fewer shots with the 2×12 gr.

The forend slides over and locks in place the same as if you had loaded an 88 gr. cylinder.

Today, I am going to chronograph three different H&N Sport .22 caliber lead pellets, first 13.73 gr. Sport wadcutters, then 21.14 gr. Baracuda Match domed pellets, and last 18.62 gr. Baracuda Hunter Extreme hollow points used for small game hunting.  The comparisons will also be rated in muzzle energy. And we begin clocking the lighter weight H&N wadcutters powered by the 2×12 gram CO2 adapter. The Sport clocked an average velocity of 555 fps which generates 9 ft. lbs. of energy (13 joules for those in Europe). The highest velocity with the Sport pellets was 566 fps, which increases energy to 10 ft. lbs. and 13 joules. Standard deviation for eight shots was 7 fps.

The 850 M2 has easy, straightforward operation. For today’s velocity tests I will be shooting three different H&N Sport .22 pallets. To begin, after loading the 8-shot rotary magazine, pull the bolt all the way to the rear as in cocking the action, slide the cylinder arbor lock (red arrow) to the rear, and insert the loaded magazine from the left side.

The Baracuda Match clocked an average of 457 fps generating 10 ft. lbs. (13 joules), with a high of 468 fps, 10 ft. lbs. (but 14 joules). The heavy hitting 18.52 gr. Hunter Extreme hollow points averaged 485 fps and 10 ft. lbs. of energy (13 joules). That is sufficient velocity and FPE for small game (from medium to large birds up to squirrel sized game and rabbit sized game, optimally 9 FPE or better).

Once the rotary magazine is in place, push the cylinder arbor lock forward (as shown) and the M2 is ready to go when you close the bolt.
When the bolt is opened it automatically resets the safety and when closed the safety remain on (red arrow) in the rearward position. When you are ready to shoot depress the small lever in the center and push the safety forward (flush to the back of the receiver) and the M2 is ready to fire. The safety resets with every shot but once you get the technique down the very smooth bolt action and easily released safety make follow-up shots pretty quick.

First impressions with the 850 M2 are that like its famous Hammerli predecessor, the M2 shoulders easily, balances well, and the light adjustable trigger (left as sent to me by Umarex) has a very smooth pull that averaged 3 pounds, 4.4 ounces.

In Part 3 it’s into the field for some long range shooting with open sights (weather permitting).

4 thoughts on “Umarex 850 M2 Part 2”

  1. Those 2×12 g CO2 adapters are very good accessories to have. Buy extras in case the seals or the pins become damaged. I use them on my original Hammerli 850, Walther Lever Action, and Beretta CX4. I even have one of the original 2×12 g CO2 adapters marketed for the 850 AirMagnum pictured below.

    Unfortunately, neither of these 2×12 g CO2 adapters will work in the Sig Sauer MCX. I tried both adapters in the MCX and concluded that the adapter stems are not long enough to screw in fully, seal, and open the check valves for CO2 to flow into the MCX. As the adapters are screwed into the MCX stock, the rounded “shoulders” of the adapters are larger in diameter than the stock opening in which the CO2 is inserted preventing the adapters from screwing in far enough.

    • Charles, that’s good to know. I didn’t have the Sig to try it in. The 2×12 is great idea as far as I can see. It has worked well so far in the 850 M2 test. How do you like your original 850 Air Magnum?


      • The original 850 is great, but with my work schedule, household chores, and other recreational activities including other airguns, I don’t get to shoot it much.

        These are some of my results from several years ago.

        Bench Rested 10 meter Shot Grouping Sizes:
        Open Sights Scope
        .22 caliber wadcutter pellets:
        RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle 7/8″ 5/8″
        RWS Hobby 3/4″ 1/2″
        H&N Sport 7/8″ 1/2″
        Beeman H&N Match 1″ 1/2″

        .22 caliber domed pellets:
        Crosman Premier Ultra Magnum 5/8″ 1/2″
        RWS Superdome 3/4″ 1/2″
        H&N Field Target Trophy 3/4″ 1/4″
        H&N Baracuda Match 1″ 1/2″

        .22 caliber pointed pellets:
        RWS Super Point Extra 3/4″ 5/8″
        H&N Spitzkugel 3/4″ 1/2″

        Although the Hammerli 850 has an 11 mm dovetail rail, I bought and installed the 11 mm to Weaver rail accessory. I then mounted a Leapers UTG 4X32 AO rifle scope.

        This new Umarex 850 M2 doesn’t have enough new features to tempt me to buy it, but if the forward portion of the foregrip CO2 cover is compatible with the older 850 and becomes available as an accessory, I might buy the grip cover to get those rails. I don’t have a bipod for the 850 yet, but if I want one, I would have to use one that would clamp to the barrel.

        Speaking of the Sig Sauer MCX (are you reading this Sig?), a 2×12 g CO2 adapter would be a very desirable accessory for the MCX.

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