Walther CP88 Competition Part 2
Aiming downrange with the classic Walther semi-auto
By Dennis Adler
In design and operation, the Umarex Walther CP88 shares an internal kinship to the 4.5mm Walther CP99, also introduced by Walther some 16 years ago. Both use 8-shot cast alloy rotary magazines which are loaded at the breech after using the slide release lever to open the action. Depressing the release allows the forward portion of the slide, containing the barrel, to move forward exposing the chamber. Once loaded, pushing the slide back to the closed position makes the gun ready to shoot. Internally, the CP88 models, like the CP99 pellet pistols, are revolvers with the rotary magazine cycling around the barrel bore like the chambers on a revolver.
This allows all of the CO2 to be used to send the 4.5mm lead pellets downrange at an average velocity of 400 to 425 fps. With the Competition length 6-inch rifled barrel, (which is a full length, one piece barrel, not an extension), the pistol’s accuracy at 21 feet and 10 meters is impressive, even fired off hand with the standard sights.
The CP88 models have a couple of interesting features worth noting, one is the trigger design, which, unlike the single action trigger on the 9mm Champion model is a double action trigger pull, thus longer and harder. The CP88 is equivalent to firing a DA/SA or DAO revolver with the trigger pull cocking the hammer. Unfortunately, since this is not a blowback action air pistol, every shot is with the DA trigger pull. You can also manually cock the hammer, which puts the trigger into single action and reduces the average trigger pull from 8 pounds, 15 ounces, to 7 pounds, 10.5 ounces.
The trigger requires a full inch of take up with consistent stacking to a clean break; most of the take up is used to rotate the internal magazine and lock the hammer back to a staged position, just like a double action revolver. A straight, clean pull through of the trigger is no harder than manually cocking the hammer for each shot, since the final 0.315 inches of resistance is still north of seven pounds. Once you get a rhythm for handling the long, heavy trigger pull on the CP88, it is a very predictable gun to shoot.
To conduct the test I used Meisterkugeln 7.0 grain wadcutter lead pistol pellets, which cleared the ProChrono chronograph’s traps at 428 fps average on a fresh CO2 cartridge. Fired offhand at 21 feet the best 8-shot group (one full magazine) measured 1.50 inches with five of eight in the X of a Birchwood Casey Big Burst orange target. My best average groups with eight 4.5mm pellets was 1.25 inches but none put five of eight in the X, so I’m going with that target as my best overall average since the five shots measured 0.74 inches and took out most of the X.
The weather was too cold for CO2, so the tests were shot indoors at 21 feet. I have tested this model outdoors at 10 meters and my average groups have been 1.25 to 1.50 inches, so there really isn’t much difference at the longer range, the CP88 Competition’s 6-inch rifled barrel makes it easy to shoot sub 1.5 inch groups consistently. Of course, in real 10 meter competition, that’s a big spread, but then again, this is an 8-shot, 12 gram CO2 powered airgun, not a 10 meter Olympic target pistol.
For training indoors or out at 10 meters, the CP88 Competition is a very affordable entry level pistol with a legacy of its own, having been among the very first of Walther’s 4.5mm, CO2-powered semi-auto air pistols. It is a gun done right, right from the start.