Umarex Legends Lever Action Rifle Part 4

Umarex Legends Lever Action Rifle

The Classic Winchester Model 1894 on air Part 4

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action Rifle is a perfect long gun for either the BB cartridge firing 5-1/2 inch Peacemakers or the 7-1/2 inch rifled barrel pellet cartridge firing models. The lever action can load and fire either cartridge and does surprisingly well firing alloy or lead wadcutters down its 19-1/2 inch smoothbore barrel.

What is a 19-1/2 inch smoothbore barrel capable of in terms of accuracy? Considering that before the use of rifling in the 1700s, (for longrifles; rifling of barrels for cannons goes much further back), the vast majority of long guns had smoothbore barrels and frontiersmen managed to do quite well with them. The use of smoothbore and rifled barrels in air pistols and air rifles alike is almost as old; Lewis & Clark carried a version of the Girandoni air rifle, manufactured for Meriweather Lewis by Philadelphia gunsmith Isiah Lukens, during their Corps of Discovery expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific Coast from 1803 to 1806. The rifled barrel, .46 caliber Girandoni air rifle was also carried by the Austrian Army from 1780 until the early 1800s, so air rifles of both smoothbore and rifled barrel designs were not uncommon over 200 years ago. Of course, by the time of the Winchester Model 1892 and 1894 lever actions, smoothbore rifles were the exception (though they were manufactured, including an 1892 smoothbore for Annie Oakley, who used shot shells in the Winchester repeater during part of her act in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show). Winchester has also made smoothbore models of the 1873 and other lever action models on special order, so the smoothbore Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action Rifle is not altogether inaccurate! And there is something to be said for a CO2 powered lever action rifle with a smoothbore barrel. At CO2 powered air rifle distances it is accurate with BBs and even better when loaded with wadcutter pellets.

The silver pellet cartridges for the Peacemakers are sold separately in packages of six and four packages will give you enough rounds in your cartridge belt to feed the lever action twice with four spares. Since you can mix them with the revolver (same cartridges) a full gunbelt will service both your rifle and revolver. It’s a page right out of the American West.

To avoid the issue of leading in the smoothbore barrel (leading occurs in rifled barrel models as well) and to get the most velocity out of the Legends Cowboy Lever Action, the Peacemaker pellet cartridges are loaded with H&N Sport Match Green 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters. A .177 caliber steel BB averages 5.1 gr. so at 5.25 gr. the alloy wadcutter should give up little if anything in average velocity. But what does it gain in performance for the long smoothbore barrel?

My first test with pellet loading cartridges was with H&N Match Green 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters. At 10 meters the lever action rifle punched 10 rounds into 1.5 inches with eight out of the 10 shots at 0.75 inches and a best five at 0.625 inches.

For my first accuracy test with 10 rounds of H&N Sport at 10 meters, I made one adjustment to the rear sight raising it one notch which brought the gun to POA at 10 meters. Out of 10 rounds, I placed 8 shot in an overlapping spread measuring 0.75 inches with 5 rounds at 0.625 inches. With two shots pulled to the right my total 10-shots measured 1.5 inches. Average velocity for the 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutter was 445 fps. Not too far off the 452 fps average with steel BBs. I ran 10 rounds of Meisterkugeln through the Legends Cowboy with an average velocity of 423 fps for the 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters.

Even though I tend to do well with the H&N alloy wadcutters, my favorite pellet is still RWS Meisterkugeln 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters for the Colt rifled barrel Peacemaker. I just had to run them through the Cowboy Lever Action, and to my surprise they not only clocked an average velocity of 423 fps but a best 10 shots from 10 meters measuring 1.25 inches in the bullseye, with 6 rounds in one large group measuring 0.5 inches edge to edge.

Far be it from me to ever shoot a perfect target but I came close with the Meisterkugeln and Legends Cowboy Lever Action at 10 meters. I placed 10 rounds into 1.25 inches all within the red bullseye, with a tight group of 6 rounds in one large hole measuring 0.5 inches edge to edge, (the dime at left is 0.687 inches), two rounds split above and below to the right, and another pair to the far right. Overall the best total 10-shot group of the 10-meter test session.

BB rounds at 10 meters tend to open up but the Legends Cowboy Lever Action managed to put 10 Umarex .177 caliber steel BBs into the red at 1.0 inches. They came in a little high as I had previously adjusted the rear buckhorn sight for the pellet loads by raising it one step. This was POA at 10 meters, for a 6 o’clock hold with alloy pellets.

I finished off with 10 rounds of Umarex .177 steel BBs at 10 meters and shot a surprising 1-inch group, a little high but with multiple overlapping hits with three rounds, a single and a flyer clipping the edge of the red bullseye at 2 o’clock. My best 5-shot group, which ran diagonally through the middle of the bullseye, had 3-rounds in two holes with a tear between, and a pair almost overlapping, measuring 0.75 inches. Not quite as good as I did the day before when I had 5 shots at 0.5 inches. But for a smoothbore BB rifle aiming with ancient buckhorn sights and shooting steel BBs at 10 meters, 1 inch for 10 shots is still not a bad group.

Beyond 10 meters

Bad weather put a damper on my planned 45 foot outdoor range test but I did manage to shoot indoors at 40 feet and at that distance with H&N Sport Match Green alloy wadcutters I found the sweet spot with the Legends Cowboy Lever Action and punched 10 shots inside the bullseye at 1.125 inches with two overlapping groups. The closest five shots measure 0.562 inches, so, even at 40 feet with pellets the smoothbore can still pack them in tight. Would a rifled barrel model be any more accurate? It would probably knock another 8th of an inch off the tightest groups, but since you can shoot the pellet cartridges from the Peacemakers in the lever action, a rifled barrel doesn’t strike me as being more important than perhaps a weathered finish. As for a wood stock and forend, it would increase the price significantly. Walther has always been big on wood stocks and wood grips for their pellet models, and if you look at the price for a pair of wood grips for a Walther CP88, you can begin to imagine the up charge for making a wood stock like the Walther Lever Action for the Legends Cowboy model. If the wood grained molded stock on the Umarex didn’t look as good as it does, it might be worthwhile, but in the end, it is how well the gun performs over how finely stocked it is.

Surprisingly, my 10-meter rear sight setting did not change all the way out to 40 feet for my last target shot with H&N Sport Match Green 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters, which printed an impressive (remember this is a smoothbore) group of 10 rounds at 1.125 inches with multiple overlapping hits and the best five shots at 0.562 inches. Slip the Legends Lever Action into your rifle scabbard and ride off into the sunset!

Even with a wood grained molded stock and forend and a smoothbore barrel, this lever action model is not only a great shooter, but more accurate in its design and handling than anything before. The Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action should quickly earn its place alongside the Peacemakers as one of the best western CO2 models you can own.

16 thoughts on “Umarex Legends Lever Action Rifle Part 4

  1. Well erase my skepticism. This rifle is ready to ride the range. Still accurate out to rifled barrel range for a co2 rifle. As stated , I would like higher velocity, but is adequate as is as evidenced by the accuracy out to 40 feet. Would be interesting to see how far out it will still shoot tight groups. Tight groups on paper are nice but 2-3 inch groups on reactive targets are what is required on reactive plates for action shooting. Looks like this rifle can do that

  2. I wonder if Umarex will realize what they have begun and expand like well Sig. I see no reason why the cartridge firing system could not be adapted to a Legends bolt action military rifle series. Lee Enfield, Springfield 03, 98 Mauser. More western rifles, lever and single shot like Remington Rolling Block,Sharps. A lot of possibilities for action shooting airgun replicas.

  3. Dennis,

    In the second paragraph, “A 1.77 caliber steel BB”, shouldn’t that be “A 0.177 caliber steel BB”?

    This Cowboy Lever Action is going to become a part of my collection, right next to my Walther Lever Action pellet rifle.

  4. This is like a second childhood. At age nine my most precious possession was a Colt with individual bullets you loaded with caps together with a Lone Star rifle where you pulled down the lever to insert a roll of caps!! Now at 71 with the Umarex Colts and Levers the shame is that I have not got the balls to wear the Cowboy outfit which was then my outfit of choice as we watched Lone Ranger and the Cisco Kid on our flickery black and white Tele.. Happy days

    • Derek

      Once you get the lever action you may well find your inner child. Mine comes out every six weeks when I do Guns of the Old West. Just get a hat and start with that. You are only a year older than me, we grew up on the same shows with the same cap pistols, I had a Fanner 50 and a Wanted Dead or Alive Mare’s Laig. Still have fond memories of those days even though I dress up in cowboy garb and shoot the real guns for a living. Guess I never grew up. Enjoy the Legends Cowboy Lever Action when you get it. It really is a page out of the past!

        • I was told shipments were scheduled to start arriving this week. Not sure what has delayed them. New product launches are always tough, especially with this one and the G17. All I can say for certain, having tested both, is that they are worth the wait. We’ll have a lot to share with experiences shooting these new models in the New Year, which is only a few weeks away. Hang in there guys, this is one time pent up anticipation will be well rewarded.

          • I sure hope so, I haven’t waited nearly as long as others but I can understand the frustration. The only thing that worries me is that when they do arrive there are quality control issues because of last minute rushing to get a product out that has already missed several ship dates…I pray the set backs are to ensure the first batch of these bad boys lives up to the hype

    • That’s an oldie but a real goodie. What year was yours manufactured? At one time Crosman really had a handle on Old West gun designs. Not like todays but in the 1960s, it was pretty cool stuff! A Model 99 paired with a Model SA 6 Colt Single Action style revolver. Back to the future.

  5. Jack, Dennis shot up a storm with his sample. The rifle has been out for awhile in Europe and has been well received. Cowboy airgun matches have proven the worth of the rifle

    • Jack:

      One of the reasons the deliveries are late is making sure these guns hit the market without any issues. This is a long awaited advance in CO2 air rifles, so Umarex is being certain they have a winner right from the start. And yes, why isn’t there a rifled barrel model, I know, but at this point I don’t think it would shoot that much better than the BB model does with pellet shells. This is an exciting air rifle to shoot. I shot it a lot and it is non stop fun (so long as you know where the spent shells are landing!)

      • Reading this article definitely makes it look even better than I was hoping for! (Excellent work by the way) pretty excited to get my hand on it and do some plinking myself!

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