Umarex 850 M2 part 5
An honest 25 yard CO2 air rifle
By Dennis Adler
The new Umarex 850 M2, as we know, is an update of the Hammerli 850 Air Magnum and expectations from this improved version are very high after my initial tests of the .22 caliber model this past May. At that time, I had completed the 10 meter tests and was ready to shoot the 25 yard tests with the gun’s open sights and then with an Axeon 4-16×44 scope. Then the weather stepped in with high winds and brought an abrupt end to my plans. With other guns in the schedule the 850 M2 had to be shelved until there was an opening. The last couple of months have been trying at best and now we are into hot July weather here in Central Pennsylvania, so as we pick up the outdoor long-range testing of the 850 M2, ambient temperatures will be in the high 80s, wind will not be a factor, and higher temperatures will have a positive effect on velocity.
Test pellets will be carried forward from the May indoor range tests and will include H&N Sport .22 caliber lead pellets, the 13.73 gr. Sport wadcutters, 21.14 gr. Baracuda Match domed pellets, and 18.62 gr. Baracuda Hunter Extreme hollow points used for small game hunting. My original comparisons were rated for both velocity and muzzle energy at 72 degrees. Here is the recap: 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 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 of better).
First impressions with the 850 M2 were 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.
25 yard evaluations
Today I will be shooting the H&N Sport 13.74 gr. lead wadcutters, which clocked 555 fps (on the indoor range) and at 10 meters had put eight shots into 0.937 inches, with the best five at 0.625 inches fired from a benchrest. The setup will be from a bench on the outdoor range using a sandbag and the UTG 28ST bipod to stabilize the 850 M2.
I have to say it was a challenge to sight in at 25 yards since the elevation adjustable rear sight had to be pushed all the way forward just to get shots to hit below the top of the 7 ring when aiming at the bottom of the black. It then fell to holding under to find the exact POA for 10 and X ring hits. In total I shot 56 rounds from beginning to end and three targets, the first two spent on sight adjustments, with a slight movement of the front sight to the left to get my windage zeroed. There was no crosswind and the temperature during the shooting session held at a mostly overcast 90 degrees. I didn’t chronograph the H&N Sport in the heat but every round was slapping into the backstop with enough force to rattle the heavy cardboard baffles inside. At 90 degrees, I would wager the .22 caliber H&N Sport were generating every ounce of the 9 ft. lbs. of energy calculated during the May chronograph tests.
The initial sighting in target took eight rounds to reach max elevation on the rear sight, and then another eight to find a consistent hold under for POA, which I established as placing the top edge of the front sight hood just under the black center circle of the 9, 10 and X rings. That target ended up with 16 shots inside the black and four X bulls.
The CO2 was still sending the 13.74 grain .22 wadcutters downrange with backstop slapping force when I shot the third and final target of the day with eight consecutive shots (one magazine) inside the 10 and X with five in the X and three in the 10 ring. The X bull spread measured 1.56 inches. Diameter of the 10 and X rings on the 25 Yard Timed and Rapid Fire target is 3.25 inches and the red X ring has a diameter of 1.625 inches; this is a little more than half an inch greater than the kill zone on most small game with a .22 caliber air rifle of this power. With a 25 yard group just over 1.5 inches the 850 M2 with open sights could be a decent small game gun if shot from a stable position.
Thursday we will see how well it can do with small game ammo from the same benchrest setup. In Saturday’s conclusion will discover how well the 850 M2 can do with the Axeon 4-16×44 scope at 25 yards.