by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Okay, there was a lot of interest in this Makarov air pistol in the comments on Part 1, so I’m going to expand the report a little. Today, I’ll examine velocity, and I will also shoot the Baikal Makarov that’s no longer legal to import into the U.S.

Charging the gun
A CO2 cartridge is inserted into the grip, and the screw is tightened to pierce the cartridge. Remember to use Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of each new cartridge, and the gun will stay sealed for many years. Also, stop tightening the screw when the hissing stops. Beyond that, you’re just mashing the seal, which will cause early failure.

The Makarov fires in both the single-action and double-action modes, so naturally I tested it both ways. Usually, a CO2 gun fires stronger in one mode than the other, and the double-action mode is most often the strongest in my experience.

I paused at least 30 seconds between shots and sometimes several minutes passed. That allows the gun to warm up after the cooling effect of the shot. The office temp was 70 deg. F when I tested.

Double-action is the mode where the trigger both cocks and fires the gun. Since this pistol doesn’t have blowback, every shot will be double-action unless you manually cock the hammer.

I shot the gun with Daisy Premium-Grade BBs, which averaged 361 f.p.s. in double-action. The velocity ranged from a low of 353 f.p.s. to a high of 381 f.p.s. The trigger-pull is smooth and “stacks” at the end for better control. That means it increases in weight just before releasing, which is a classic double-action pull. It’s like having a second stage in a double-action pull.

Single-action is the mode where the hammer is cocked separately before the trigger is pulled. With this pistol, the hammer pulls back, then rides forward a bit before being caught by the sear. Velocity with the same BBs averaged 362 f.p.s., which is too close to double-action to say which mode is faster. They are remarkably similar. In single-action, the velocity ranged from 356 f.p.s. to 373 f.p.s., so the total spread is 11 f.p.s.

The single-action trigger-pull is two-stage with a long first stage and some creep in stage two. It is, however, a sweet pull when compared to other BB guns. And, considering the price, there’s nothing made of metal that’s close.

How many shots per cartridge?
How many shots per cartridge is an important number for air pistol enthusiasts. The velocity gives some clue. If it’s below 400 f.p.s. and the gun doesn’t have blowback, you’re going to get more than the standard 50 shots. Shots 51-60 averaged 359 f.p.s. and ranged from 356 to 364. I only paused 10 seconds between shots and one minute after shot five. Shots 61-70 averaged 356 with a low of 351 and a high of 362. Same rest interval was observed. Shots 71-80 averaged 364 with a low of 356 and a high of 373. Yes–you read that right. These shots in the 71st to 80th spot were the fastest recorded thus far. Shots 81-90 averaged 352 with a low of 340 and a high of 363. The power fell off sharply at shot 86, so I didn’t try to shoot more than 90 shots. But that’s a good number for a BB gun that holds its power to the very end.

Comparison to the Baikal Makarov BB pistol
Then, I loaded my Baikal Makarov BB pistol for a velocity comparison test. This pistol cannot be imported into the U.S. anymore because it can be transformed back into a firearm, according to the BATF&E. But several blog readers asked for this comparison anyway, so I’m including it.

The Baikal Mak averaged 396 f.p.s. in double-action and 396 in single-action. It was just as consistent as the Umarex and 35 feet per second faster. The spread in double-action was from 371 to 410 and in single-action from 372 to 414. So, the Russian pistol is not quite as well-regulated as the Umarex version. Also, it will run out of gas faster because of the higher average velocity.

The last Baikal BB pistol I saw listed a few weeks ago was at $350, which I would normally say is way out of profile, but in this day of gun shortages maybe not. A Russian Mak firearm in excellent condition certainly goes for more than that, and the BB gun is in very limited supply. So, this Umarex Mak is a real bargain! And it’s an order of magnitude more attractive than the Baikal Mak.

Next time, we’ll look at accuracy and yes, I will include the Baikal.