Umarex 850 M2 part 6
An honest 25 yard CO2 air rifle
By Dennis Adler
There is a convenience to the Umarex 850 M2 being CO2 powered, versus more expensive pre-charged pneumatics and single shot spring piston and single/multi stroke pellet rifles. The first is price, a quality PCP multi-shot .22 rifle, for example the Air Arms S510 XS Stealth Carbine sells for $1299 and will send a .22 caliber pellet downrange at an average of 950 fps…that’s target accuracy and stopping power (ft. lbs. of energy). Figure another $150 to $200 for a good scope (assuming you already have a compressor or high-quality hand pump to fill the rifle), and you have a high end .22 that will fulfill a bounty of shooting needs. Go with a fine, single shot gas-piston breakbarrel like the Sig Sauer ASP20 and you’ll be sending .22 pellets downrange at an average of 841 fps. The ASP20 will set you back $429 in .22 caliber and once again you will need a scope. The ASP20 is on the forefront of gas-piston breakbarrel designs. You can go very retro and spring (pun intended) for the new Springfield Armory M1A Underlever air rifle in .22 caliber and you can expect an average velocity of 750 fps. This will only set you back $199.99, a full $100 less than the Umarex 850 M2, but this CO2 model gives you a lot in return, especially in .22 caliber where the 8-shot repeater will send pellets downrange at 550 to 650 fps. Not as powerful as any of the aforementioned, but easier to handle, and as Tuesday’s tests showed, accurate with wadcutters out to 25 yards. That’s pretty much the practical limit for the CO2 model, while PCPs and most of the high end spring-piston guns can maintain accuracy out to 50 yards. That, of course, comes at a price. For an affordable dual CO2 power system design (88 gr. or more efficient dual 12 gr.) you won’t find much to compete with the Hammerli-based 850 M2.
While gunning down garden pests (choose your pest, most are cute but can do a lot of damage), is not something I enjoy, the 850 M2 is on the margin for effectiveness with a best possible 10 ft. lbs. energy. That means 1-inch accuracy for a humane kill.
For target shooting and small game hunting with a .22 air rifle, H&N has two rounds I like, the 21.14 gr. Baracuda Match domed pellet and the Baracuda Hunter Extreme, a lighter 18.52 gr. flat nosed, cross-shaped hollow point. With the 850 M2 the Hunter Extreme averaged 485 fps and developed 10 ft. lbs. of energy. That is the first pellet I will be evaluating today at 25 yards.
The lighter weight 13.74 gr. H&N Sport tested on Tuesday required a hold under at 25 yards. Weighing 4.78 grains more than the Sport, my first test will be to determine if I need to use a hold under for the sights as adjusted for the Sport wadcutters.
I found that with the hollow points, my POA was exactly the same. Accuracy at 25 yards shooting at the Timed Slow and Rapid Fire target was 2.0 inches for 8 rounds with five in the X at 1.5 inches shooting from the same benchrest setup as Tuesday.
I finished with the Baracuda match on a new set of 12 gr. CO2 cartridges and it took the first eight shots to get my POA readjusted. The first group shot high but tight and measured 1.625 inches. My second eight had five in the bullseye and three in the 10.
The 850 M2 can deliver adequate groups with open sights whether shooting for bullseyes or getting groups into the kill zone for small game at 25 yards. Next we will see what happened when you add a good scope into the mix.