Umarex 850 M2 part 7
Zeroing in on accuracy with the Axeon scope
By Dennis Adler
No one since the 1860s has doubted the advantages of a telescopic sight on a rifle for improving accuracy. Telescopic sights were less common among civilian shooters back then, but not hunters or military sharpshooters, and by the 1870s and 1880s scoped rifles were already in general use both for civilians and military. Much of this success is owed to the Malcolm rifle scope manufactured in Syracuse, New York from 1855 on. It was considered among the finest. A rather lengthy affair, a Malcolm scope could be mounted on anything from a Winchester to a Sharps rifle. They were made in various sizes to accommodate barrel lengths. Malcolm rifle scopes influenced telescopic sight designs well into the 20th century, and are still made today by different manufacturers to original 19th century specifications, making them popular with shooters looking for authenticity with 19th century rifles like the Winchester single shot model shown below, mounted with a Malcolm scope sold by Taylor’s & Co.
Modern rifle scopes far surpass anything William Malcolm or his contemporaries in the 19th century could have imagined. Today a scoped hunting rifle is common, and the same applies to air rifles, especially those in larger calibers, which brings us to mounting the Axeon 4-16×44 scope on the 850 M2’s 11mm rails.
Mounting the Axeon
You can’t say that the Axeon 4-16×44 was made for the 850 M2, but it might as well have been. It comes standard with 11mm dovetailed rings, is lightweight at just 1.2 pounds, and is just the right size for the 850 M2’s receiver. Add to that the scope’s quality of design with a 1-inch aircraft quality aluminum tube, filled with nitrogen to eliminate fogging, 4 to 16 power magnification, a large 44mm objective lens, adjustable parallax, hand adjustable turrets, and an impressively low price of $124.95, and you have the perfect scope for this air rifle. The whole package gives you a comparatively low cost .22 caliber, CO2 powered sport shooting pellet rifle at only $425.
Accuracy with wadcutters
First job after easily mounting the Axeon to the 850 M2’s 11mm top rail was setting up the scope for 25 yards. My pellets for this shooting session will be the H&N Sport 13.73 gr. lead wadcutters.
The Axeon has an eye relief of 3.5 inches and I had to make one very slight adjustment to the scope’s position on the rail after setting up on the range. The 4-16×44 has a 22.4 – 5.9 ft. field of view at 100 yards; at 25 yards the target fills the view at 16X magnification. This worked perfectly from the benchrest. The crosshairs covered the bullseye. I had adjusted the parallax to 30 yards so the crosshairs stayed crisp and centered. The Axeon parallax correction (the round knob on the left side of the scope) has settings from 15 yards to infinity, so this is a great scope for a .22 LR rifle and larger calibers, as well. Once you have parallax established for a fixed distance, meaningso you can move your eye around a little looking through the scope and the crosshairs don’t move off the target, you don’t need to adjust it again if you are only going to shoot at 25 yards. It took 16 shots to zero in the scope, the last four of which hit in the X. I had to move elevation up and windage right to get centered on the X. My initial shots hit in the 8 and 9 rings and 8 o’clock and I moved up and right in increments to the 9 and 10 rings at 9 o’clock, and then right until I started hitting in the X ring. The weather was quickly changing so I moved along rather swiftly with the rest of the test.
With a 5 mph crosswind and rain in the prediction for today, I shot only one target, though I would have shot more if I hadn’t been satisfied with my first, an 8-round group at 25 yards measuring 0.875 inches in the X ring with two hitting dead center and one a hair right on the X, the other five in an overlapping group just to the left of center. That group measured 0.875 inches; the three center punches, 0.437 inches. Considering this was my first time shooting the 850 M2 with the Axeon scope, I can see great promise in this combination. These are keepers.