Umarex Legends MP40 Part 3

Umarex Legends MP40 Part 3 Part 2  Part 1

Loading, Handling, and Accuracy

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By Dennis Adler

The MP40 set the stage for decades of full-auto (and select fire) submachine guns built from the 1940s through the late 20th century, including the MP5 and Uzi. The Umarex MP40 is a nearly identical copy of the WWII subgun.

To wrap up the MP40 we need to review all of its operating features, which are very close to those of the original guns. First off, loading the magazine is accomplished by holding the follower down, inverting the magazine (cast alloy top pointing down) and loading the BBs into the port. This is a large, beveled port so feeding BBs is pretty easy, easier still with an Umarex speed loader. Load the magazine into the receiver with a firm push; set the safety to SAFE, pull the bolt to the rear and the gun is charged and ready to fire.

If you can’t resist the temptation to use the magazine as a forward grip (a lot of soldiers did) this is a good hold. It could cause the 9x19mm subgun to create a feeding jam, but not the airgun.

Nicht die Magazine fassen!

Drilled into the training of soldiers armed with the MP40 the words roughly translate to “Do not grasp the magazine!” This was an important rule for handling the MP40. Hugo Schmeisser’s design for the MP18.1 receiver (which was the basis for the MP38 and MP40 receivers) left room for a firm grasp above the magazine. If the magazine itself was used as a forward grip, it could cause the magazine to move out of position and jam the gun, especially since it was always firing on full auto. This has little bearing on the MP40 CO2 model, but still, if you want to shoot the gun properly, Nicht die Magazine fassen!

The folding stock developed for the MP38 was used on the MP40 design two years later. To open the stock, which tucks up underneath the foregrip, depress the release button with your thumb…
…the stock will begin to drop. Rotate it down and back into the locked position. The shoulder rest (already rotated to its vertical position) is folded horizontally when the stock is not used.

The large checkered magazine release button on the left side of the receiver is pushed in firmly to release the drop free CO2 BB magazine for a reload (extra magazines will be available shortly). The bolt on the left side needs to be pulled back to charge the gun for the first shot, after which the blowback action keeps the MP40 cycling until the magazine is empty. The bolt’s reciprocating action imparts a slight sense of recoil, but has zero effect on shooting accuracy. While I did not find it mentioned in the instruction book, it is important to remember that the magazine must be loaded in order for the gun to function. If you pull the trigger on an empty magazine, all you get is a click, the action will not operate.

Easier to load than many magazines (so long as you have strong fingernails) the follower is held down (it does not lock), the magazine angled downward and BBs poured into the large beveled loading port. An Umarex speed loader makes the job a lot easier. I loaded 10 to 15 rounds for each portion of the test, but the magazine will hold a maximum of 52 steel BBs. That’s about all the paired CO2 cartridges can shoot at a decent velocity. After about 30 to 40 rounds, velocity begins to drop off because of the CO2’s use to additionally cycle the MP40’s heavy bolt action.
With about 20 rounds in the magazine the author demonstrates loading the magazine into the MP40’s receiver. The flared well makes it easier and also serves as a partial forward grip.
The magazine has to be firmly inserted until you hear a click confirming it has locked into place. It is important to note that the paired CO2 cartridges in the magazine will not fire the gun unless there are also BBs loaded. An empty magazine leaves you with a click when the trigger is pulled and no air is released.
Once the magazine is loaded into the receiver the bolt has to be cycled to cock the firing system. It is important to have the MP40 set to SAFE when loading. Like the 9x19mm models it is easy to fire this gun once loaded. Soldiers were trained to lock the bolt back into the rear notch as a safety. Since the airgun does not use that design, the safety under the foregrip is an important feature. It has a large lip making it easy to push or pull into the desired position.

The large rear leaf sights and hooded front sight are easy to pick up and get on target at 25 feet, which with the 9-inch barrel will keep rounds pretty tightly grouped on target. Trigger pull on the test gun averaged a modest 7 pounds, 5.2 ounces with 0.25 inches of travel, light stacking toward the end and a clean break. It takes a full let off to reset on semi-auto. On full auto, pull the trigger and keep the gun on target. With its overall weight, very light recoil, and barrel length, you can maintain a remarkably tight pattern with burst firing. In fact, the MP40 can keep a very tight group at a distance of up to 25 feet on full auto. At 25 feet on semi auto, the MP40 will punch groups of 10 rounds at about 1.25 inches firing from the shoulder. My best 10-shot semi-auto group measured 1.18 inches with multiple overlapping hits.

The rear sights are easy to align with the hooded front sight. The gun has sufficient weight that once on target it stays put so long as you have a solid hold. Note that the author’s support hand is around the magazine’s receiver and not grasping the magazine. This was important when firing the 9x19mm models, but has no effect on the CO2 model. It’s just a matter of proper hold. This is also harder to do when the shoulder stock is folded since the shoulder rest tucks into part of the space behind the receiver where the support hand thumb needs to be.
Best 10-round group fired from 25 feet in semi-auto mode had several overlapping hits and a spread of 1.18 inches.
 With an average factory rated velocity of 465 fps, the gun chronographed at 455 fps with a high of 460 fps, a low of 440 fps and a standard deviation for six shots of 7 fps. I managed a complete test of the MP40 on its two CO2 cartridges with all groups well under 2-inches at 25 feet, and full auto bursts measuring from 1.50 to 1.75 inches for 10 rounds. I stepped back to 25 feet on full auto and dumped 20 rounds into an IPSC silhouette target (about 2-seconds worth of ammo) and the group stayed tight with a total spread of 1.50 inches and multiple overlapping hits. (After that you need to take a breath and make sure you’re not grinning like an idiot.)
Full auto fire from 15 feet put 10 shots at 1.75 inches with several overlapping hits.

While the Umarex MP40 is strictly a military airgun enthusiast’s weapon, it is also a great CO2 airgun to shoot because of its selective fire feature, and of course, the fact that it is very costly to own a real WWII era MP40 since it is a Class III automatic weapon. (There is a new 9mm closed-bolt semi-automatic version made today, but not for the price of this excellent .177 caliber Umarex CO2 model).

Final thoughts

The MP40 has a military history as one of the most commonly used weapons by German soldiers, but they were really specialized for use by paratroopers, assault units, and other elite divisions, not necessary for the mainstream use by all German soldiers. The MP40 was not a great success in WWII that films have made of it, but rather a much greater success for decades after in military use around the world. Its design was the inspiration for many of the more modern submachine guns that have replaced it. One cannot forget that almost everything modern in the world of firearms is usually based on something older that established the standard. Hugo Schmeisser invented a gun that has been modified and improved upon for nearly 100 years.

At 25 feet I put 20 shots into an IPSC target with a spread of 1.75 inches again with several overlapping hits. This airgun is a lot of fun to shoot on full auto. Not quite as dramatic as the Umarex M712 Broomhandle, but a very close second and a lot more accurate.

The MP40 was a stepping stone, one that came along at a very troubled time in world history. But as with all weapons, the gun has no agenda or conscience, it is the implement of its user’s intent for good or bad. The MP40 has existed long enough to have played its part on both sides of that line. As a CO2 model, it is more of a tribute to technology and firearms evolution. The Umarex MP40, like any great and enduring firearms design that has been recreated as a CO2 model today, is a part of history that we can hold in our hands.

A word about safety

Many air rifles provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and the new Umarex MP40 certainly qualifies. Air rifles in general look like cartridge-firing rifles, models like the MP40 even more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an air rifle from a cartridge model, especially one as accurate in appearance as the MP40. Never brandish any air rifle in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat them as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.

6 thoughts on “Umarex Legends MP40 Part 3”

  1. Nice accuracy and velocity. Very realistic rendidition . That being said , not putting in the instructions that mag needs co2 and bbs to function is a big oops . Got mine last week and sent it back for that reason . Virtually every semiauto and select fire I own fires withco2 only . I always fire it first dry with co2 only to test for function, as well as to familiarize with the recoil before live firing .Having nothing in the instructions telling one to also load bbs is a big omission and a flaw in design. Pyramid should include a sticker on the box and mag advising owners of this , especially since Umarex failed to mention it in the instructions .

    • This was a surprise to me as well, since I follow the same procedure of dry firing with CO2 loaded to test for operation before loading the gun with BBs or pellets. But, this is a new model and now that the word is out, an operating feature that will not be overlooked.

  2. One other item for all of you who were expecting this article to be available at 8AM on Saturday, it was delayed by some technical issues, and I got it posted as soon as possible. Since Saturday’s articles are out for three days instead of two, hopefully no one was too off put by the lateness of today’s conclusion of the MP40, which, by the way, was absolutely worth the wait. Not for the article but for the gun; a must have for military arms collectors!

    • As I have mentioned before, I am a relatively new air gun shooter, collector. Although this would be a nice addition to any military air gun collection, I really do not have room to display weapons like this, Do you have a collection that you can show folks easy ? The nature of this gun would be as more of a view able collection piece, rather then a shooter. I thyaink the constant reloading would get old after awhile unless you had several extra magazines. We did not get a hint about what your next article will be about.
      Thank you for the enjoyable read and history lesson.

      • Harvey, when you test airguns for a living, your “collection” is a revolving door and a FedEx number, but I do have a few keepers. Displaying airguns, especially large ones like the MP40, takes a dedicated space that most folks do not have. That’s why it is so important for quality airguns to come in a box not a blister pack. You can also get gun rugs (zippered cases) and store them in those, or if you have four or five favorite pistols you might look back at Airgun Experience No. 52 on the CaseCruzer Universal Shooting Range 4 Pack Handgun Case. As for constant reloading that is the nature of the beast whether shooting centerfire arms or CO2 airguns. Extra magazines are a must, especially for the MP40. When they are available shortly, they will sell faster than the guns! As for a hint at Tuesday’s Airgun Experience, you have almost stepped right into the middle of it! Be sure to reload your Airgun Experience column tomorrow.

  3. Now having spent some range time with the MP 40, I will sum up the experience. Realistic, accurate , in semi and full auto, , and FUN.Surprising number of shots in full auto. Hits hard ,around 445-450 fps Once spare mags are available ,this and the UZI go to the top of the replica list. Looking at the basic action, I could see it adaptable to an M3 grease gun and SW43/44 Sturmgewehr. Get one before the Grinches limit us to semiauto only!

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