by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Ballbearing detent
- Picatinny rail
- Scope included
- Open sights
- Where is it made?
- Many good things
Today we begin looking at an air rifle I have been waiting to review since first seeing it at this year’s SHOT Show. Every SHOT Show has dramatic new products that all writers scramble to review. Then there are the quiet new products that don’t seem to attract as much attention. But some things I am always looking for fall into this quiet group, and the Forge from Umarex is one such gun.
The Forge is a different breakbarrel. For starters, although it develops an advertised 1,250 f.p.s. with lead-free pellets, it’s relatively easy to cock! Of course I will measure the effort in Part 2, but I’m estimating something around the specified 30 lbs. For a gas piston, that is remarkable! Easy cocking is one thing I am always looking for.
At present the Forge comes only in .177 caliber.
Ball bearing detent
The breech is held shut by a ball bearing. It’s got a powerful return spring, so you do have to slap the muzzle to open the breech, but it closes smooth and easy.
Pyramyd Air shows the Forge as a 1,050 f.p.s. rifle, while the box states 1,250 with lead-free pellets. I guess I will have to sort that out for you in the velocity test. Really, with this kind of power available, I’m more interested in what it will do with heavier lead pellets.
Then there is the all-wood stock. Yes, at a retail price of $150 the Forge has a wood stock, and it’s not what you typically see on a rifle at this price. Typically a wood stock on a $150 rifle is smooth and has an opaque finish over some nondescript hardwood. The Forge stock is dark beech with some grain showing, and the forearm is a semi-beavertail (flares out). There are panels of sharp checkering on both sides of the forearm and pistol grip. This stock has some shape to it, and it feels nice when shouldered.
The Forge weighs 7.8 lbs., according to the specs. The rifle I am testing weighs 7 lbs. 10 oz., which is close to the advertised weight. The overall length is 44-5/8-inches long. Those dimensions make the Forge a large air rifle, but not a heavy one.
A full-length Picatinny rail that runs along the top of the spring tube. Actually the spring tube sits inside what Umarex calls the Nucleus Rail System. This will make mounting a scope much easier because these days Weaver rings (that fit a Picatinny base) are very common.
The rifle is sold as a combo, so a 4X32 scope is included with the package. It may not be the last word in optical sights, but it comes bundled with the rifle, so you have a head start on scoping your new airgun.
The Forge also comes with adjustable open sights! That’s another thing I look for in an inexpensive air rifle. And these sights appear to adjust very precisely. They do have fiberoptics on both front and rear, but the profile of the front blade is square, so with the right lighting (to kill the glow from the fiberoptics) I think I will be able to do some good work. We will find out in the first accuracy test. Open sights are another thing I want on an inexpensive air rifle.
The 2-stage trigger has an adjustment for the length of the first stage, but nothing for the pull weight. I will test the pull for you in part 2 and report on the trigger in greater detail in the accuracy tests.
The safety is automatic, unfortunately. But it is easy to release by pushing the lever forward, so it’s not a big distraction.
The gas piston in the Forge is something called Turbo Nitrogen Technology, or TNT for short. The name tells me they used nitrogen (instead of plain air) to pressurize the gas-spring piston unit and that’s what reduced the cocking effort.
There is a lot of synthetic material on the outside of the Forge. Besides the scope base rail that encloses the spring tube, the barrel ends in a huge synthetic muzzle brake that’s an easy grip for cocking. I looked inside the brake and I think I can see baffles. The sights are mostly synthetic and the triggerguard is, as well. The trigger blade is metal however.
I think the synthetics on the Forge are well done and suit the rifle very well. But I know there are some who will not tolerate any plastic on an airgun, so I’m telling you what’s there.
The buttpad is the strangest one I’ve ever seen. It is triangular in shape and occupies a significant portion of the rear of the stock. It’s covered with thin rubber that’s very grippy, so it accomplishes everything we want from a buttpad. And I think it looks sharp!
Where is it made?
To come in at this price the Forge has to be made in China. That used to be the kiss of death for an airgun, but in recent times airgun importers have learned that price doesn’t sell guns by itself. They have to work o0r they will tank. I won’t cut the Forge any slack in the test, but on first examination it appears someone who knows the market has had a hand with this development.
Many good things
The Forge has a lot going for it. The price is great; it has adjustable sights; the power is good; cocking is easy and the feel and aesthetics of the rifle are very stylish and nice. It looks and feels like a lot more than the retail price. There is just one more thing this rifle needs.
If it also turns out to be accurate, I think Umarex will have knocked it out of the park! I’m rooting for it!