by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Umarex MORPH 3X rifle
The Umarex MORPH 3X is many airguns in one!

Today, I’ll finish the introduction to the Umarex MORPH 3X pistol and rifle. We started looking at this strange BB gun two days ago, and there simply was not time enough to adequately cover all of its aspects, so this is a continuation of that first look at the gun.

The barrel “extension”?
The thing that confused me about the MORPH, and I think it confuses a lot of people, is the extra barrel that’s used when the gun is configured in its Buntline pistol and carbine modes. Is this a replacement barrel that you exchange with the pistol barrel or is this a barrel extension that somehow adds length to the pistol barrel? Nowhere in the description of the gun nor in the owner’s manual will you find the answer. So, I’ll tell you today.

The extra barrel is actually an extension to the pistol barrel. The pistol barrel stays in place, and this long extension screws into the pistol’s muzzle to join with the pistol barrel almost seamlessly. Since we’re talking about a smoothbore barrel, there is no rifling to be concerned with. The extension barrel must line up with the stationary barrel so the BB is not interrupted as it travels forward; and as long as that happens, the extra length of the extension should offer increased velocity. Of course, there will be some loss of gas pressure at the joint where the two barrels meet; but the designers put an o-ring at the end of the threads on the extension, so they must feel it is required. I’ll test the gun with both barrel lengths and on both power levels (remember, we learned yesterday this gun has two power levels), so we’re going to find out.

Umarex MORPF 3X Rifle barrel extension with pistol
The barrel extension is shown above the pistol. It screws into the pistol without removing the pistol barrel.

The extension simply screws into the muzzle of the pistol. Once it’s tight, you’re done — though you’re supposed to put a sleeve around the barrel extension to complete the look of the gun. Do that and you’ve built the Buntline pistol. The gun now has the longest barrel it can have, so the velocity does not increase when the buttstock is added to turn the gun into a carbine.

Umarex MORPH 3X Rifle barrel extension thread detail
The presence of the o-ring tells us that the designers expect to seal the barrels to a certain extent.

So, it’s the pistol, alone, or the pistol with the barrel extension. Those are the two barrel-length options of the MORPH 3X. But there are two different configurations that both use the barrel extension. The first is the Buntline pistol. To make it, first remove the pistol’s front sight by sliding it forward. The sleeve you attach next has a front sight of its own.

Attaching the sleeve takes a bit of fiddling on the first try until you realize how the plastic sides of the sleeve must give a little to allow the two parts to fit together. No excessive force is required, but you do have to pay attention that the pistol enters the sleeve low enough for the keyway on the sleeve to align with the sight rail on the bottom of the pistol frame. Once you see how it goes together, all subsequent assemblies will go faster.

Once the sleeve is in place, the barrel extension is screwed in place, and the conversion is done. It takes less than a minute to do everything once you’re familiar with how it goes together. The Buntline pistol weighs very little, being made of plastic and mostly hollow. You can easily hold the pistol in one hand to fire.

Umarex MORPH 3X Rifle in Buntline configuration

The Buntline version of the MORPH is just a pistol with a long barrel.

I want you to know that I’m calling this long-barreled configuration of the MORPH 3X a Buntline pistol only because I can think of no other name for it. Umarex does not refer to it by that title. But long-barreled handguns are more popular today than they’ve ever been. I’ve been reading what customers say about this gun, and a couple things jump out — with accuracy being one of them. While a longer barrel does nothing to increase accuracy, it does cause the front and rear sights to have a greater separation, and that does have a positive effect. So, I guess I need to test the MORPH 3X in both the pistol and long-barreled modes to determine how much accuracy is affected.

Creating the carbine from the Buntline is even easier than creating the Buntline. All you do is pull the backstrap off the pistol grip and replace it with the carbine backstrap. I’ll mention again that removing the backstrap is difficult, but since you have to do it to swap CO2 cartridges anyway, you’d better get used to it.

Umarex MORPH 3X Rifle in carbine configuration

In the carbine configuration, the MORPH 3X is light and handy. But the rear sight fails by being too close to the eye.

As light as the MORPH is, the carbine butt is strong enough to do the job. Let’s be honest, there’s no bayonet attachment point on the gun and you’re extremely unlikely to give anyone a vertical butt stroke with it. Or if you do, you’d better be a great runner or have a firearm in your pocket!

The butt turns the MORPH into a fine little carbine…but for one item. The rear dot sights are now too close to your eye for aiming, and you must use an optional optical sight or just guess where your shots are going. I think owners are going to attach dot sights and that’s what I plan to do with the test gun.

Velocity testing will be next; and as you can tell, it’ll be somewhat involved.