by B.B. Pelletier

Yesterday, I took the 850 AirMagnum to the range and tested it at 50 yards. The temperature was 90 degrees – warm enough that a CO2 rifle should be performing well. There was no wind to disturb the pellet’s flight, so I was able to test the rifle in the best of all possible conditions. The Bushnell 6-18x Trophy scope was up to the task, and I was sighted-in in under 15 minutes.

JSB Exacts were first
I expected the JSB Exacts to out-perform all others, and I wasn’t disappointed. I shot the heavy version, which weighs between 10.0 and 10.2 grains. It averaged 656 f.p.s. for a muzzle energy of 9.65 foot-pounds (based on a weight of 10.1 grains). At 50 yards, it delivered 5-shot groups that ranged from 0.89″ to a high of 1.325″. The average was just under one inch. Because this pellet shot so well, I shot many more groups with it.

Beeman Kodiaks were next
The 10.6-grain Beeman Kodiak (10.4 to 10.7 grains) averaged 641 f.p.s. but had the largest velocity spread of all the pellets I tested (26 f.p.s.). The energy was the highest, at 9.67 foot-pounds. I thought it might challenge the JSB, but a best group of 1.328″ and an average of 1.399″ knocked it out of the running.

Premier lights were fast but not accurate
The 7.9-grain Crosman Premier (7.7 to 7.9 grains) was fastest, with an average of 708 f.p.s. and a muzzle energy of 8.8 foot-pounds. Downrange it was a disappointment, though, with a 5-shot group size that averaged 1.895″ Clearly, this is not a pellet for the 850 AirMagnum.

Premier heavies were better
Premier heavies weigh 10.5 grains (10.2 to 10.7 grains) and are sometimes the most accurate pellet of all in a gas or pneumatic rifle. They averaged 624 f.p.s. for a muzzle energy of 9.08 foot-pounds. The average group was 1.409″, placing them behind the Beeman Kodiak.

At 30 yards
I moved the target to 30 yards and the group size with JSBs shrank to 0.73″. This is a more realistic distance for the power and the accuracy the 850 AirMagnum offers.

This is a conventional bolt-action rifle. The sliding button below the bolt holds the magazine pin in place. Open the bolt and slide the pin to the rear to remove the 8-shot magazine.

The bolt is back, and the automatic safety button has popped out of the rear of the receiver.

Loading and feeding
The 8-shot magazine loads easily with every pellet. A large O-ring around the circumference of the magazine intrudes into each pellet chamber to hold the pellets securely in place. To remove the magazine, cock the bolt and leave it back, then slide the magazine retaining pin back as well. The magazine slips easily out of the receiver on the left side. When reinstalling it, I sometimes found the bolt a bit difficult to push forward. When reloading for the next shot, the bolt likes to be worked briskly. I had just one jam the whole time at the range, and that was the result of being tentative with the bolt.

This is a different kind of rifle for Umarex to make. It’s useful as a sporter and in .22 caliber as a hunting rifle, too. It offers PCP features, such as repeating action, for less than half the price.