Walther’s new LGV Challenger breakbarrel spring air rifle: Part 4
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Wow! That’s my assessment from today’s test. Please read the explanation of how I arrived at that result.
Today, I shot the .22-caliber Walther LGV Challenger air rifle at 25 yards with open sights. You’ll remember that it has fiberoptics front and rear, but they can be defeated by lighting the target brightly and sitting in a dark place to shoot. Fiberoptics are not good sights for precision shooting, but they’re good for a fast snap shot when hunting. These can be used both ways, so they’re wonderful.
I always become concerned when I shoot indoors at 25 yards — especially when using open sights. I have only a few inches of clearance through the garage door; and if a pellet goes astray, it could plow into the woodwork around the door. I needn’t have worries with the LGV, however, because the only place those pellets went was to the target.
JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies
Reader Kevin asked me to try the rifle with 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets, so I did. I was concerned that a 12 foot-pound rifle wouldn’t be able to handle a pellet so heavy, but that wasn’t a problem. In fact, this pellet gave me the best 10-shot group of the test, measuring 0.78 inches between centers. That’s just a hair over 3/4 of an inch!
Ten JSB Exact 18.1-grain heavies made the best group at 25 yards. It measures 0.78 inches between centers. This is great for 10 shots at 25 yards with open sights.
The first group was low on the target, so the rear sight was adjusted up for the next pellet, which was the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier. As you can see, I lucked into the perfect sight adjustment for this pellet and tore out the center of the bullseye. I realize this makes a lot of people feel better about the group, but I hope you readers realize that it’s simply a matter of sight adjustment that determines where the pellets land. If the gun will shoot a tight group, then you can move that group anywhere you want. This one certainly does shoot very tight.
Ten Premiers landed in a group that measures 1.147 inches between centers. It’s not as tight as the previous group, but we expect that to happen with different pellets. The irony is that because this group is centered on the bull, it’ll look better to those who think the object is to the strike the center of the target regardless of anything else.
Ten Crosman Premiers made a 1.147-inch group. It happens to be centered on the bull but isn’t as tight as the previous pellet.
Predator Big Boy
I did try a group of 10 Predator Big Boy pellets in the LGV; but at 26.2 grains they’re clearly too heavy for this powerplant. They opened to 1.657 inches at 25 yards, which told me this isn’t the right pellet for this rifle. I could also hear a very long lag between firing and the pellet hitting the trap, so the velocity must be in the high 300s or low 400s.
Ten Predator Big Boys made an open 1.657-inch group. This is obviously not the pellet for the LGV.
JSB Exact Jumbo Express
I finished the test with 10 JSB Exact Jumbo Express pellets that weigh 14.3 grains. I tried it because, in the 10-meter test, 13.4-grain JSB Exact RS domes didn’t do as well as the others. But at 25 yards, this pellet certainly did very well. Ten pellets grouped in 0.786 inches, just a whisker larger than the group of 18.1-grain heavies…and really too close to call.
Ten JSB Exact Jumbo Express pellets made3 a 0.786-inch group at 25 yards. This is too close to the group made by the Jumbo heavies to call the difference.
The bottom line
So far, the LGV is living up to its name and even going beyond. I say beyond because this new LGV delivers 12 foot-pounds, where the target rifle by the same name was less than half that powerful.
This rifle is smooth, it holds well, the weight is distributed very well and the trigger is light enough for good work. When you cock the rifle, it’s smoother than any breakbarrel I’ve ever tested…other than a few that were tuned to perfection. I had the chance to shoot another LGV while I was at Umarex last week, and it felt identical to the rifle I’m testing. Rick Eutsler, who usually tests airguns costing $200 and under, fired the rifle before he was ready on the first shot. He, too, was blown away by the feel of the gun.
I know these rifles are going to cost a lot, and I know that not everyone will be able to purchase one, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that this is the best new breakbarrel to come along in the past half-century. I may not live in a mansion, but that doesn’t prevent me from appreciating one when I see it.