Umarex 850 M2 part 8

Umarex 850 M2 part 8

Into the field – paper, tin cans and varmints beware

By Dennis Adler

Today it is time to begin wrapping up my series on the Umarex 850 M2 with a test of different pellets at maximumeffective range. With the .22 caliber model you have the option to send some pretty heavy lead pellets downrange and fitted with the Axeon 4-16×44 scope keep your shots sufficiently accurate to take small game and certainly kick tin cans and print tight groups on paper.

I have found the Umarex 850 M2 can be a little difficult sometimes. The forestock is hard to remove (at least for me) whenever you need to load CO2, and there is an occasional loss of CO2 pressure from the 2×12 gr. adapter while shooting, but it doesn’t happen with any regularity. It could be the adapter but it also happened once with an 88 gr. CO2 cartridge, velocity just drops off like you are out of CO2, which, in fact, you are. The seating of the CO2 in the receiver is very precise; there is even a special warning sheet with the gun pertaining to this. In general though, when everything works, the 850 M2 is a surprisingly well balanced, fast handling, and accurate .22 caliber CO2 bolt action rifle suitable for both target shooting and small game hunting. For this latest series of tests I am shooting five different types of pellets from two different manufacturers looking for the perfect combination of accuracy and performance.

Recap from previous tests

Shop Benjamin Rifles

My earlier tests used H&N Sport .22 caliber lead pellets; the 13.73 gr. Sport wadcutters, 21.14 gr. Baracuda Match round nose pellets, and 18.62 gr. Baracuda Hunter Extreme hollow points recommended 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 (optimally 9 FPE or better from medium to large birds up to squirrel and rabbit-sized game).

Today I am adding two Sig Sauer .22 pellets to the mix, Zero Pb hollow points with a weight of 16.6 grains and Crux Pb precision domed pellets with a weight of 14.66 grains. The Zero Pb hollow points averaged 476 fps with 8 FPE, which for a lighter weight pellet at this velocity puts it on the borderline for small game. The even lighter 14.66 gr. Crux Pb clocked an average of 485 fps which is still 8 FPE.

Temperature for this test was around 72 degrees with a light wind. For targets I am going to use the same 25 Yard Timed and Rapid Fire Pistol Target because it gives me a nice red bullseye measuring 1.5 inches, i.e. everything has to be in the bullseye to have any chance for these pellets to effectively deliver a humane kill on small game, given their average 8 to 10 (10 to 13 joules) foot pounds of energy. The heavier pellets will have the most knock down power even if they have a lower velocity, so the choice for today’s test at 25 yards with the scoped rifle will come from the earlier open sight review, the H&N Sport 18.62 gr. Baracuda Match, which clocked an average of 457 fps generating 10 FPE, and the heavy hitting 18.52 gr. Hunter Extreme hollow points, which clocked 485 fps, also delivering 10 FPE.

With the Axeon scope the 850 M2 has proven to be an excellent target and small game air rifle. My best performance thus far at a range of 25 yards has given me a sub 1-inch group of eight shots with H&N Sport Baracuda Hunter Extreme hollow points. Designed for hunting small game this 18.52 gr. lead pellet delivers 10 FPE at an average velocity of 485 fps from the 850 M2.

25 yards downrange

It took four rounds to adjust the scope for 25 yards with the Hunter Extreme hollow points and one target to punch all eight H&N Sport rounds into a spread of 0.875 inches with multiple overlapping hits in the red X bull. I shot the test from a rested position on a table top (no sandbag just resting on my elbow). The Extreme Hunter accuracy is well within the 1-inch needed for small game (just so long as you can get off a shot from a rested position, even kneeling). It is interesting, because at that range from the target with the pellet traveling 485 fps, you can watch its flight and trajectory through the scope right to the point of impact. I could watch my bullseye hits and verify my exact POA shot to shot.

I was not so fortunate with the Baracuda Match round nose pellets, which took eight rounds to sight in, and even with a couple of click adjustments as I shot, my best 8-round group only measured 1.75 inches, with five rounds in the red (one pair overlapping for a spread of 0.937 inches), the remaining three hits scattered around the 10 ring. Good overall but not as good or as consistent as the Hunter Extreme.

At that point the wind was kicking up and I decided that had I been in the field shooting small game at 75 feet with the 850 M2, I would have had clean hits with 10 FPE using the Extreme Hunter hollow points. At the end of the day, this would be my round of choice from the H&N Sport pellets choices.

Much to my surprise the heavier 21.4 gr. H&N Sport Baracuda Match, traveling downrange at 468 fps, were not as accurate as the 18.52 gr. Hunter Extreme, and my 8-round spread was well over an inch. At 25 yards with a CO2 powered air rifle, this isn’t anything to be ashamed of, but having done so much better just a few minuets earlier with the Hunter Extreme, it was a little disappointing. That said, in the field any one of those five X bull hits would have knocked down a tin can or small game with a solid 10 FPE.

In Part 9 it is back into the field with the 16.6 gr. Sig Sauer Zero Pb hollow points, and in addition to paper targets I am upping the downrange bounty to tin cans that are smaller than a squirrel.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Due to a minor household disaster (broken water pipe in the basement where my office is!) Part 9 will be published on Friday.

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