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Competition Umarex Embark breakbarrel spring rifle: Part 1

Umarex Embark breakbarrel spring rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Unarex Embark
Umarex Embark.

This report covers:

  • Student Air Rifle Program
  • Umarex Embark
  • Description
  • Trigger
  • Safety
  • Where is it made?
  • What’s it like to shoot?
  • Accuracy
  • Summary

Student Air Rifle Program

This report is about more than an air rifle. It’s about an entire shooting program called the Student Air Rifle Program, or SAR. SAR was developed in 2013 by the Missouri Youth Sport Shooting Alliance (MYSSA) as a standardized way to facilitate an introduction to school-aged youths, the lifetime sport of target shooting. Think of this as similar to the NRA Marksmanship program that reaches over one million kids each year, except SAR has trimmed the cost and operates under less formal rules. SAR sees itself as a feeder to the more formal program, which culminates in the Olympics.

The most radical aspect of SAR is it is held in both public and private schools. It has a curriculum, standardized equipment, safety protocols and range commands! The shooting programs that once existed in this country under the auspices of the NRA and JR ROTC have been brought back into schools. This is a success whose impact is potentially enormous!

SAR was developed along the lines of the highly successful National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) that started in 2002 and now is found in over 14,000 schools in 47 states and 4 countries, involving 2.2 million students each year! SAR dovetails with NASP as a next logical step.

Umarex Embark

I will try to weave the SAR into the remainder of this discussion, but this report is focused on the rifle they use — the Umarex Embark. This rifle is now available from Pyramyd AIR. Umarex was initially only selling them directly to keep the price as low as possible, to support the SAR program at a family-affordable rate, but Pyramyd AIR now sells the rifle directly.


The Embark is a breakbarrel single shot spring piston rifle with a muzzle velocity of (an advertised) 510 f.p.s. It weighs just over 5 lbs. and is 40 inches long. It is designed for children in grades 4 through 12 grades and the cocking effort of just 17 lbs. means it can be manipulated by all of them without outside assistance.

The low velocity means schools can use a ballistic curtain for a backstop instead of more costly pellet traps. SAR uses only lead-free pellets, so there is no concern for lead dust or particles. That eliminates the need for costly air filtering and lead handling concerns. At the low velocity of the Embark those things are not an issue anyway, but public knowledge of lead and pellets is so misdirected that the use of lead-free pellets was a wise choice. Cleanup is done with brooms and dustpans!

This is a youth rifle. In fact, it bears a striking resemblance to the Ruger Explorer on which it is based. But there are important differences. In 2015 the program used the Explorer to test the viability of the equipment for SAR and many recommendations were received for improvements — particularly the sights. The students wanted the fiberoptic front sight to be replaced because it wasn’t precise enough. They also wanted a better rear sight that was easier and more precise to adjust.

Unarex Embark front sight
The front sight is a plain black post that’s suitable for target use. The hood reduces reflections and protects hands when cocking.

The Embark has a hooded front post that is plain and squared at the top. The rear sight is also upgraded from the Explorer’s rear sight. The sight is adjustable in both directions with click detents that can be felt and, in the case of the windage knob, heard.

Unarex Embark rear sight
The Embark rear sight is upgraded from the Explorer sight. It has click detents and is clearly marked — things the Explorer sight lacks.

The shape of the stock appears to be the farthest thing from a target rifle stock, but when shouldered it starts making sense. The pull is bang-on 12 inches and the stock line is straight. It doesn’t drop as it goes back to the shoulder. That supports an offhand hold the best of all.

The pistol grip is vertical, as a target grip should be. The comb doesn’t adjust, but the straight stock puts it up where most shooters will want it. The offhand shooting position is one where the head is very erect, and it is no strain to place the cheek on this comb.

The butt pad is curved rubber. It’s soft enough to grip the shoulder but there is no adjustment, again to keep the costs down.

You will note the section of the forearm that drops down. On the Embark that provides the perfect place for your off hand, with the elbow supported on the hip or chest. It brings the sight line of the rifle up in line with the eyes.

The color of the stock was chosen so the Embark would stand out from other air rifles. In pictures of SAR competitions, every shooter has the same type of rifle. This was done to make the program affordable, to level the playing field and to keep it from becoming an equipment race.


The trigger is two stage. Stage two is long and creepy and there is no adjustment, as might be expected in a rifle that retails for under one hundred dollars.


The Embark has an automatic safety that protrudes from the rear of the end cap every time the rifle is cocked. It can also be applied manually at any time.

Unarex Embark safety
The safety comes on automatically every time the Embark is cocked.

Fully 16 percent of the kids who participated in the SAR pilot program had never shot anything before. The last thing this program needs is unsafe equipment in the hands of children unfamiliar with gun safety, so an anti-beartrap mechanism is also incorporated into the action — making it impossible for a barrel to slam shut on small fingers during loading. I think that is wonderful, but I hope the children are also taught to never let go of the barrel while they load.

Where is it made?

The Embark is made in China, similar to the Ruger Explorer. It is very advanced for a Chinese airgun — even for a higher-end Chinese sporting rifle. The finish is plain and matte, which is what you want to see on a target gun

What’s it like to shoot?

There is so much I want to tell you about this air rifle, but I’m holding back until we get to the proper section. For example, I report both the cocking effort and the trigger pull in Part 2, when velocity is tested. But I will tell you this is a youth spring rifle and that means it’s easy to cock and the recoil is low. The powerplant is generally quiet, but I think some things remain to be done. There is a trace of buzziness that could be eliminated entirely with Tune in an Tube, and I plan to not only do that, but to chronograph its affect on velocity, if any.


This is a target rifle for offhand shooting at 10 meters. The course is 30 shots, so a score of 300 is possible. I plan to test the rifle at 10 meters and see what kind of accuracy can be expected, but in a first match a top score of 268 was achieved. Shooting offhand with lead-free pellets, that’s very credible.


As you know, I like youth air rifles a lot. So I’m excited to conduct this test for you. I can’t wait to get going.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

80 thoughts on “Umarex Embark breakbarrel spring rifle: Part 1”

  1. B.B.

    If you don’t stop wel will have the game show, “Can you shoot better than a 6th grader.”! LOL

    Sure hope that thing is as accurate as the Daisy 953-853? FWIW-I started with .22lr in an NRA program.


  2. B.B.,

    I like it. At first glance, I thought that the Aliens had landed. 😉 I do like it though. It will be interesting to see how it does. I am surprised that the rear sight is not a peeper. The front sight I get, to keep cost down, but would think that one with inserts would have been a plus, like the 499. I am sure that would have added cost though.

    Depending on how this does on accuracy, I may have to move my 24′ 499 range back and measure off 10 meters for comparisons sake.

    1 question:

    1) To clarify, this will (not) be available to the general public through (any) retailer?


      • B.B.,

        The sights look a bit rough finish-wise, but they also look rugged, durable, and like they mean business, which is all that really matters.



          • Gunfun1,

            Oops, I need to read more carefully. My arms are pretty long, so unless this is crazy accurate and dirt cheap, it wouldn’t be for me. I feel most comfortable with a LOP of 13 – 14.5 inches. It took me a while to adjust to the short LOP on my target air rifles.


            • Michael
              I got boxer arms if you know what I mean. What I mean is I got a long reach of hit. Yes long arms.

              But I can still shoot a gun with a short LOP.

              Now a gun with a long LOP. That’s another story. For me a gun with a long LOP is harder to hold and shoot than a gun with a short LOP.

              Think about how kids feel when the LOP is long. Ain’t that why kids guns have a shorter LOP?

  3. BB,

    I am so glad you are covering this program and doing a review of this rifle. The added exposure may help spread this program across the country.

    Perhaps you should add a link to the program to this review and include it in the other parts. Even though this is primarily about the rifle, the program goes hand in hand with it.


  4. The trigger is a direct sear type, the factory does have an example of the rifle with the TO5 type trigger (not in production). The action the rifle is based on is very accurate with lead pellets so with lead free and some testing should be capable of target groups at ten meters.

    • Mike,

      Thanks for that info about the T05 trigger.

      I only have a few lead-free pellets to try it with, but I will work on getting some of the same ones they use in the program. Like the rifle, I believe they sell at a very low cost.


  5. BB
    What lead free pellets do they use? Do they have one brand and type? Or do they have a choice of lead free pellets that are legal to use?

    Oh and by the way. Very glad to see this shooting program come about.

    • GF1,

      The SAR website is under construction and thus far it have little substantial information. It’s mostly full of promotional stuff — no rules or equipment infor.

      Umarex USA is more helpful. I will ask them about the pellets. I did read somewhere that they are a specific brand and I believe the cost is low. I’ll see if Umarex will send me a tin for testing.


      • BB
        Ok good. Interested in what pellets they use.

        One of the classes I pylon raced my RC planes in had to have the same engines and planes. We was given the choice of 3 different proppelars they specified. And the planes got weighed to for a minimum allowable weight. That way nobody could try to make the plane lighter to gain that little bit of a edge in speed.

        And I hope they only allow one specific pellet. That helps add to keeping things equal. My daughter’s both did bow and arrow in school. They loved it and still have their own compound bows and arrows they shoot from time to time.

        And I’m so glad that they are introducing a gun shooting sport in schools. Especially with all the negativity about guns and such. That is very good ways for kids and parents to get aquainted to guns the right way. These kind of programs should of always been available in schools. And always should remain available. Great for them is all I can say for starting the program.

  6. As there is no safe level of lead, I believe the public has a fine understanding of the topic.


    You may be an expert on airguns, but you may wish to learn more about lead and its effects at even very low exposure rates in children. Even at levels below the rate at which medical treatment is administered lead is not safe for children.

    As young children tend to be lax in hand washing handling lead pellets is a serious risk. Is a school setting with so many children per adult the risk is much higher.

    I realize many of you are thinking”I turned out fine”, anecdotes are not data nor can we after the fact know how much impact lead had on you as a child. With the cost of lead free pellets being so low this is not a risk we should be telling parents to ignore. We should instead celebrate that this will ensure more generations of healthy American shooters.

    • StevenG,

      I know a lot about lead. I’ve been around it for over a half-century and have been handling it and casting bullets from it all that time, yet my blood lead levels are lower than average.

      Lead IS NOT a poison, as states like California would have people believe. Yes, it can be toxic in some forms, but with reasonable care lead is very safe to handle.

      But people don’t take the time to learn these things. So the media touts lead as a poison and the public follows along like lemmings.

      You are correct about my anecdotes not being datas. But neither are the lies that are touted as medical fact.

      I grew up during the time when children were being poisoned by crewing on the lead-based paint on windowsills. That was a certain form of lead oxide that was a serious problem and has been dealt with.

      But lead, itself, is an element that is commonly found in the earth’s surface. And it is not a poison!

      Your first statement “There is no safe level of lead” is misleading unless qualified by another statement, such as “… in human blood.” So who is misleading whom?


      • I linked to the CDC, to clarify that statement. I have no intention to mislead, you are willfully reading something that is not there. There is no safe blood level of lead in children.

        Lead is a poison. There is no room for debate here. That is called a fact. Lead poisoning exists because lead is poisonous. That is quite literally how it is toxic to humans. Elemental Lead is a poison. Yes it is less bioavailable than lead oxides, but that only changes the level of risk not the risk itself.. That it is hard to ingest does not change that fact. Children handling lead pellets when they invariably fail to wash their hands will ingest some.

        Please consult some doctors. Claiming that lead is not poisonous is as anti-science as those who deny vaccines.

        • That their are safe ways to handle a poison does not make it not a poison.

          There are safe ways to handle cyanide, there are safe ways to handle most any poison. That does not change that they are poisonous.

            • That you think basic scientific facts are up for discussion, has greatly diminished my respect for you I am saddened to say. Please reconsider. Perhaps we really never should meet our heros.

          • Steven, you are aware that FDA (GOV) requires a poison warning on every tube of fluoride toothpaste? You do know fluoride is a poison, right? That doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. A child using lead pellets done right is not harmful.


            • Yes, this is because Fluoride is a poison. Fluoride is bad for you, since it is poison that accumulates. That is why toothpaste has clear instructions on it. Swallowing too much could cause a great many problems. Fluoride is not benign. However the risks are lower than the rewards of keeping your teeth.

              Obviously a well supervised child using proper handling methods is not in danger. However we are talking about having one or two adults supervise a dozen or two dozen children in the middle of school day. Things will not be done right. Kids will not wash their hands properly. Pellets will be tossed into the normal waste can. You cannot count on proper handling in that environment.

              To even consider counting on proper handling would be a massive human factors failure.

              • So, parents watch their children brush their teeth? Hmm, so fluoride is a poison, yet children’s toothpaste is flavored like bubble gun or candy? Kind of strange huh. I’m not claiming lead to be “good” for you. That said, if you can’t teach a child how to handle lead, how in the heck can you teach them to hold a gun that can cause serious problems?

                • As a father of a young child, yes this is very common. I watch him everyday. Children’s toothpaste is flavored to get them to use it. Nothing strange there. Fluoride is a poison that has the tradeoff of protecting your teeth. This is a very simple risk reward analysis.

                  A child will understand and be conscious of the dangers of a gun. The dangers of lead are much less direct and as such easily ignored. This is a very simple human factors analysis.

                  The same way most people would not shoot themselves in the head, but cigarettes are still popular. One is direct and easy to understand, the other far off and less direct.

                  • StevenG

                    You won’t win with undebatable facts in this crowd! I do, however, applaud both your obvious knowledge and your substantial effort to educate the seemingly uneducable.

      • Way to go B.B. arsenic is also a poison that exists in our soils and and is readily absorbed by the plants we eat. yet I don’t hear crusaders running around shouting; ” Repent! Repent! Arsenic is coming”

          • StevenG,

            When I grew up, my grandma always rinsed the rice twice, before cooking it with cold water and again with boiling hot water after cooking it. She said her mother taught her to do that, that it made it “less starchy” and vaguely commented that unrinsed rice “is bad for you.” My dad taught with a Japanese-American who always soaked raw rice over night and rinsed it again before cooking it. Again, that was how his folks did it.


            • Those would be very good methods to reduce the arsenic levels.

              The big concern right now is how baby cereal is produced. They use the cheapest rice, which is often grown on what used to be cotton fields. Those cotton plants are killed with many things and at one time that stuff contained arsenic. Then this rice is cooked in a way to preserve as much of the starch as possible and thus does not reduce the arsenic levels. For adults this would still not really be a problem, but for infants it is a real concern.

      • B.B.,

        I’ll not weigh in on the lead debate.

        However, there are thousands of commonly found, naturally occurring substances in the earth’s surface which are indeed hazardous to humans.


      • “(L)lead, itself, is an element that is commonly found in the earth’s surface. And it is not a poison!”

        Just because something is naturally occurring does not make it benign. Uranium is also an element that is commonly found in the earth’s surface. Care for a plate?

        From the time they are manufactured, the surface of every pellet is exposed to O2, which, with Pb, forms Lead Oxide, which is HIGHLY BIO-AVAILABLE. Handle pellets — hand to mouth/eat – BIO-ACCUMULATION. Very, VERY hazardous to developing brains. Like the ones in kids. The 02 in the PbO2 is not the poison – guess what is?

        “We will never agree on this, so I will not discuss it further.” ???????????? No matter haw many facts? Really? StevenG couldn’t possibly come over to your view, because then BOTH of you would be wrong. You know, it’s ok to say “Hey, I was wrong”. People do respect that.

        P.S –
        Sky– Blue!
        Earth — Round!
        Climate — Being altered by human release of millions of years of sequestered CO2 ALL AT ONCE!

        Yer welcome! : )

  7. Guess that the toxicity of lead is in the most part determined by the rate of absorption…

    The grackles and starlings attacking the song birds and raiding feeder have been finding out that lead, administered in small but high-speed doses is indeed immediately fatal 🙂

    Our foxes have developed a taste for fowl and come running when they hear a pellet rifle fire. LOL!

    Almost Friday – have a good one eh!


  8. Hi B. B.,

    Based on your review of the Crosman 2100B, I am very impressed with it’s accuracy. I also read the guest blogger report on the Crosman Legacy 1000. It seems that the 1000 has improved internal parts, but now has a plastic receiver. Can you comment whether or not this is an overall improvement, or would you still recommend the 2100B? I know this seems to be a little bit critical at the $50-60 price point…

    A second, somewhat related question… I am considering a step up to the Benjamin 397 for a quality airgun – hopefully still made of all brass and wood… Could you please verify: from what I have heard, it shoots more accurately at 25 –
    30 yards than at 10 meters. Would it be better to get the Crosman 2100B / Legacy 1000 for backyard target shooting? Thanks for your time.
    – Jeff

  9. Being a former shooter who handeled thousants of lead pellets, i strongly advise new shooters to pay attention when handling toxic items such as lead ammunition and always wash their hands after handling.
    I don’t know if this is going to help any further to the discussion about lead but i found this on internet search:
    Definition of Toxic and Poisonous
    Toxic ‘“ refers to the condition of a substance and the degree to which it can cause damage to you or any other organism or system. In colloquial usage, toxic can refer to biological organisms and non-biological substances, the latter in a more allegorical context.
    Poisonous ‘“ describes substances that will disturb organisms, usually in a harmful way. Poison implies a high level of toxicity, though any substance is technically poisonous if taken in a large enough dose. Poison always refers to biological organisms.

  10. That’s a well thought out gun, non threatening appearance, simple, and novice user friendly. As a lefty I appreciate the safety location. Do you anticipate this gun to be hold sensitive? What an awesome program for youth today we should all get out and promote this locally.

  11. “The shooting programs that once existed in this country under the auspices of the NRA and JR ROTC have been brought back into schools.”

    B.B., this is great news! I’m looking forward to the rest of your report on this rifle. =)

  12. What first match? B.B. are you shooting in offhand competitions? Maybe I can simulate by shooting at 10 meter targets and dividing the score by two. This rifle makes a lot more sense as an introduction to shooting than my $700 Anschutz rifle in 1983 dollars that I was not ready for. On the other hand, I did get the exposure to elite shooting equipment that I knew to buy later. And the early failures fueled a curiosity and a desire to test myself again in later life. As Walt Disney said, “Getting kicked in the face is sometimes the best thing that can happen to you.

    halfstep, that is an amazing story that has all my respect for what you had to endure. I also realize again why I’m glad I didn’t pursue a medical career. The medical staff must have had hearts of stone. I don’t see why they couldn’t have administered a pain injection while you were waiting just like medics administer morphine to the wounded. But those hospital procedures can be ironclad (maybe as a way for the hospital personnel to cope with suffering). My Dad had a similar experience where he was in severe pain in the ER, but they refused to give him pain medication. Apparently, they needed a doctor’s authorization for some higher level of medication and the doctor was not around. When he got out, he wrote a letter of complaint that was ignored. He requested a legal opinion but the message was that “no harm, no foul.” Without a verifiable injury, there was nothing to be done.

    Gunfun1 and ChrisUSA, thanks for the encouragement. You don’t know how many times I’ve looked forward to fixing my Garand in the last 10 years only to have my hopes cruelly dashed! This could be another instance of Lucy and the football, or maybe even insanity. But for some reason, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. I now have control of the gas system and new things to try, and from the previous years and the correspondence with the gunsmith I can rule out some possibilities. So, I believe there is overall forward motion.

    Here is another puzzle that I came across. A friend of mine was telling me about some public shooting spot with mounds of used brass that could be collected for reloading. I asked how you could know how many times the case was already reloaded and whether it was safe to use. The friend replied that there is a color coding system in brass whereby a ring of red will form around the primer after one firing and a blue one after the second firing and that you wouldn’t want to reload more than two times. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this? I can’t even imagine how this would work. You would need some kind of colored compound buried in the brass that would reliably indicate the number of firings. This friend claims to have built guns of various kinds and offered to sell me one, but I don’t think I’ll take him up on it.


    • There are very few methods to tell how many times a piece of brass has been loaded.
      1. Bought as new brass and then loaded.
      2. Newly boxed brass from a known manufacturer still sealed that one has personally fired or watched being fired.
      3. Military brass with the primer crimp still intact.
      4: Commercial ammunition that has a sealing compound on the primers. There are a couple that do this.

      Other than that used brass is generally considered “fired at least once.” And treated as such.
      All used brass needs to be fully inspected for use. I personally crush any brass that I deem unsafe to reload as I would not want an unsuspecting individual to reload it.

      Silver Eagle

    • Matt61
      It does seem like you always get close at getting your gun right and something pops up. How close do you think you are now to what you want t from the gun?

      And did you check into the FX Revolution and how it’s air recirculation fires the gun semi-auto like I asked the other day. Since we was talking about your gas adjustment on your gun. Figured I would throw some air gun talk in there since the FX Revolution is adjustable and it affects the cycling of the action. Kind of cool how it works.

      And that brings me to something I thought about in the past. I wonder what would happen if there was a air bleed in the breech that you could open to vent air from the barrel after the shot was fired. Not controlling the transfer port restriction. But bleeding air to the barrel after the shots fired. Say like 90 degrees to the transfer poet hole. And I’m talking right now with a PCP gun. Say like the Marauder. That way the tune would stay the same so you wouldn’t have to touch the other Marauder adjustments but you could bleed air off so it would not push the pellet as hard. In other words kind of like how the degasser is on the Wildfire. But to the what air makes it to push the pellet. And I could be done with springers even.

      I’m probably not saying it as clear as I want on how I explained. But I think it could be done very easy. And then BB is going to go oh but that has been done before. Here look at this link and see. 🙂

      • Gunfun1,

        The closer to the breech the more power will be robbed from propelling the pellet. The tap (port?) would have to be placed near the muzzle to allow the pellet to get best velocity and still allow enough to operate the mechanism


        • Siraniko
          First off haven’t seen you post in a while.

          And not true. It all depends on how the relief of the pressure is controlled. It could be anywhere inbetween before the pellets loaded to anywhere before it exits the barrel.

          It’s all about how well the relief of air is controlled. The more control with a fine adjustment will give the best results.

          • Gunfun1,

            Thinking about it some more, I agree that bleeding some pressure off the breech area is possible. It would require a better knowledge of valve timing from the tinkerer though.

            All I can say is life got in the way of my commenting. It has not stopped me though from reading the blog or the comments though.


            • Siraniko
              Hope everything is well.

              And the more I think about it. The more I believe that would be a good way to control power.

              I could probably drill a hole. Thread the hole down a ways inside. Then put a ball bearing in and let it seat on the drill angle. Then drill a hole smaller than the ball bearing into the barrel area. Put a set screw in to hold the ball bearing in place then a nut to lock it after the adjustment is set.

              I should try it on a 1377 conversion with a steel breech and Discovery barrel and 1399 stock. Just pump the same amount of pumps and then try different adjustments with the ball and set screw.

    • Matt61,

      In recent retrospect, I have concluded that I am happiest when I am trying to invent or improve something. It could be anything. The need to prove an idea/theory. Shooting targets is one thing. On the other hand, if I have data to collect from a new scope, gun or recent “tune”,… then my enthusiasm is much higher. Pellet testing would be another example. A “mission” so to speak. A quest. The need to know, something.

      Happy to hear that you are moving forward with your ideas and testing. Best of wishes on success.

      You seem to be on constant mission with regards to many subjects. I admire that. Mine tend to be more narrowed, sporadic and 200% effort in quick/short (sometimes long) burst. Perhaps a wee tad bit of moderation and diversity is in order, on my part? 🙂 (note to self: good luck with that!)


      • Chris U
        See. Now you see why I tryed all them different air guns. I like to exsperiance things so I know the facts about how it’s working and how they act.

        I’m very grateful I had all those opportunities with the air guns I got. Really I think about that often.

      • Okay, sportsfans, my reckoning with the M1 has been completed. In numerical terms, I fired 60 rounds with various loads and got a jam on number 59!? But I think I know what is going on. The gas system consists of a set screw that moves back and forth .270 inches to change the volume of the gas tube. To see if that was causing the jams, I adjusted it. It was completely recessed at its smallest volume. Looking at the tests from my original gunsmith, I reproduced his adjustments which turned out to be about 3 turns outward of a possible 5 or about midway in the range. This adjustment was for a high-pressure load just short of maximum. In view of my signs of pressure, I didn’t want to use that load right away, so I created one in the midrange. The allowable loads for my powder and bullet go from 48 grains to 53 grains. So, I loaded a set with 50 grains and also tried my 48 grain reloads to see if the gas adjustment alone would fix the problems it had.

        Both loads worked great. Proper depressions on used primers never looked so beautiful, and the gun did not have the slight shuddering I noticed before and seemed happier. The 50 grain load actually grouped well which confirms the performance of the original high pressure load. The jam came with the surplus load, but while disappointing at the moment, it actually confirms that the relation between the gas system and the load is the source of the latest jams.

        In the end, every one of all the various conflicting opinions turned out to be right. The first gunsmith who designed the system was correct in that it does affect performance. The second gunsmith was correct that the first set of jams were due in part to an incorrectly installed spring. He was wrong that the problem was unrelated to the gas system and his belief that the gas system does not even work. But he was right on another point that the set screw doesn’t have any means to maintain its position. At the range, I found that the set screw had walked out a distance of .020 inches. Clearly, the gas system was not adjusted to my reloads. Exactly what this means in terms of more or less pressure is not clear. The relation between pressure as formally defined and the amount of gas available in a given volume is complex. Strictly speaking, pressure and volume are inversely related, but we have a complex system here bounded by a moveable gas piston with a time factor and pressure manifested on the case which could be due to all sorts of other things. The terminology in use by my sources was not adequate to the situation. Suffice it to say that a larger volume in the gas tube was necessary for the particular powder I was using. As an additional factor, the set screw moves in response to the discharges, not a lot, but it does move. And my guess is that it moves faster when things are not adjusted. So, it is possible that the system was adjusted correctly by accident by the latest gunsmith but moved over time to increase my jam rate.

        The mystery of conflicting theories seems to be a case of the six blind men and the elephant fable. Or, alternatively, it is like this dialogue from Fiddler on the Roof.

        Reb Tevye: A and B are both right.
        Man: But A and B said opposite things. They can’t both be right .
        Reb Tevye: You’re right too!

        All of this comes under the shadow of the M1 Garand as one of the most reliable firearms of all time which made this problem particularly vexing. However, the reliability referred to the general robustness of the firearm. I believe it was recognized that for a variety of reasons, including its long slender op rod, it was sensitive to different powder charges. This was hidden during the M1’s era with U.S. manufacturing at its height which could turn out billions of cartridges to exacting specifications. Somehow, the AK47, which is partly modeled on the M1 and uses its long stroke piston, doesn’t have this vulnerability and seems to work with just about any ammo. Perhaps that is because its op rod seems to be more robust or maybe it has something to do with the reasons why the gun cannot be tuned for accuracy beyond a certain point.

        Since the gas adjustment system was intended to change the movement of the op rod, it makes sense that this could affect the timing of the bolt. Modifying this feature of the M1 was both a way to improve its function but also exposed its weakness. It also makes sense that in a system that is so sensitive to loads that there wouldn’t be one setting for both the surplus load and a specific target load with a different powder. It looks like this gun will either need continual monitoring of the gas plug or perhaps a bit of loctite.

        Gunfun1, I haven’t gotten to the FX Revolution yet, but I can think of two airgun connections already with this M1 experience. One is that it reproduces the discovery of the artillery hold which made my whole experience with spring guns. The artillery hold was invented by trying what seemed nonsensical, a loose hold, when the logical choice of a tight hold did not work. Similarly, when low gas volume seemed to produce excess pressure, I went with a high volume, and it worked. The other connection is that airguns are much lower maintenance and hassle than firearms. No wonder 99% of my shooting is with airguns! Thanks for all the blog support throughout this ordeal!


  13. Without air rifle programs such as SAR there would be NO shooting programs in schools today. My son’s school started an air rifle team this past winter as a varsity sport. They have never had a shooting program before. The main reason is cost . Enough .22 RF ammo to run through a season would cost about $5000 . Match quality pellets cost about $500, and any space can be used , and the backstop is easy to set up and maintain. One more thing, the kids are very aware of safety and they wash thier hands after shooting. Steven G. you are misguided, and your understanding of lead hazards plays to the anti -gun crowd which spins all things shooting as evil. BTW, my son was their best shooter and went to sectionals, and is the captain and best shooter on the team. We are very proud of him and the rest of his teamates.

      • BB; the SAR program like is mentioned in the blog has not been implemented yet in my son’s school. I ‘ve talked about this and similar ideas with the other parents, as there was a tremendous interest in the new air rifle program that was started this past season. The idea is to get something started for the middle school kids, specifically the 12-14 year olds, now that we’ve got our foot in the door. The curent air rifle program is a section VI sport, and in NY state they are phasing out all .22RF ammunition and guns and going to air rifles. Without air rifles there would be no future for shooting sports in this state. This summer there will be a “Open Range” program so the kids on the team and those who want to learn can learn to shoot. This is a very positive thing and you can bet I will forward the information on SAR and the review of the gun to the coach and school.

  14. B.B.,

    7 1/2 years ago when you tested the Ruger Explorer, that rifle’s barrel was attached with a bolt and nut. Is that the case with the Embark, or does it use a pin?


      • Sal and Gunfun1,

        With the exception of the safety location, they look like close siblings for sure.

        Crosman has at times put their brand on and distributed Umarex products, although much of that was before Umarex decided to make their name more of an end-user brand, with the C225 and such. I have an early Walther Lever Action with “Crosman” in small print in a few places, but if memory serves, “Umarex” is nowhere to be found.


        • Michael
          That is right. And I do believe BB said this gun was made in China. It seems alot of the China based springers branded by different company’s do look all the same. About the only thing that seems different is the stock and safety like you mentioned.

          I bet we will hear more about the gun after the program gets going. All it will take is the parent of one of the students that is into air guns to get their hands on one. Plus at some point time there will​ be maintenance and possibly rebuilds needing done to the guns. Or they will possibly get sold of to the general public to be replaced with a new one for the school.

          So right now it’s just the beginning. But I bet later on they just might be available to the general public in one way or another.

          • Gunfun1,

            I wonder how many guys like me have looked at one or more of these and thought, “Hmmm. That plastic skeleton stock could be cleanly sawed off, the barrel slightly shortened (the Explorer’s is already an inch or two shorter), and it would make a cool buntline springer pistol.” 8^D


            • Michael
              Yep that would look cool.

              What always goes through my mind when I see that type of stock is how strong it is back there. It looks awful weak to me. But on the other hand I never held one. So they could be much stronger than they appear.

  15. B.B.,

    Might you have a report on the Beeman QB Chief on your long list?

    B.B., I know that you know, but for anyone here who does not, there will soon be a PCP air rifle, the Beeman QB Chief, that is essentially a Crosman 160/167 with a 2000 psi Maximus-style HPA setup. If it is accurate and has a faithful copy of the legendary 160 trigger, it will blow the Maximus and Discovery out of the water. That second-variation 160/167 trigger is a two stage that can be adjusted to crisp delightfulness.

    Roughly ten years ago I had a Crosman 160 variant 2 that was my introduction to the crisp, two-stage trigger. For me it was a revelation.


    • Michael
      You forget the magic word about the Chief. That’s if it’s (as) accurate as the Maximus or Discovery.

      You know me. Acurracy is what wins in my book. Right now I would by a hundred .22 caliber Maximus if I had the money based on how well mine shoots. But then again did I get lucky with mine or are the Maximus all as accurate. So far people that have Maximus say theirs are indeed accurate.

      But I mentioned this somewhere else on the blog. If the trigger is nice on the Chief it has the one up on the Maximus. But only if it’s (as) accurate. Or better yet. More accurate. We will have to see but like I said on my other post about the Chief. I like what I see so far.

  16. Gunfun1,

    My third sentence begins with, “If it is accurate.” :^)

    Accuracy is first. Trigger is second. For me “third” depends on my mood at the moment.


    • Michael
      Right. But I said if it is (as) accurate.

      If it’s just as accurate as a Maximus. I will choose the Maximus.

      You said if it’s accurate. Well it can be accurate still but not as accurate as the Maximus. Now do you see what I mean by adding the word (as) in my sentence. That one word makes a difference. I thought you are a school teacher. Thought you would catch that. 😉

      • Gunfun1,

        If parsing words matters, then I’ll write, “If the Chief is at least as accurate as is the Maximus, it will be a better air rifle than the Maximus.” The “if” is a big one, I’ll admit.

        My point is that if their accuracy is identical, then the Chief is superior overall. Why? The Chief costs $50 less, has a much better safety placement, has a wood stock, and has an adjustable trigger based on one of the all-time best sporter triggers in air rifle history.


        • Michael
          Ok I can go with that.

          And you know what. The way the air resivoir tube looks with the cap that covers the fill connection looks a awful lot like the Discovery or Maximus air tube. And if you look close at the bottom of the Chiefs wood stock. I believe it has the fill pressure Gage in the same spot.

          Makes me wonder if Beeman didn’t contract out parts from Crosman for the Chief. Heck the barrel and breech looks 2260 to me.

        • Michael
          Well maybe the breech is different. The barrel band looks close to the same also. But not exact. But the air tube really makes me think it came from Crosman.

  17. Gunfun1,

    I just noticed the resemblance to the 2260 breech, too.

    The U.S. Army was so impressed with the second variant Crosman 160 that they ordered a bunch of them with peep sights for training purposes.

    Archer has been selling Chinese made “QB” style CO2 rifles for years with what I assume are happy customers. New stocks, accessories, and CO2 tank sizes are available every time I check out their site (maybe once every 4 or so months), so they must be selling quite a few of them, including some sales to repeat customers.


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