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Education / Training Umarex Embark breakbarrel spring rifle: Part 4

Umarex Embark breakbarrel spring rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Unarex Embark
Umarex Embark air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Hard to scope
  • The test
  • Shooting experience
  • Journey pellets
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets
  • Falcon pellets
  • Evaluation

Today I shoot the Embark air rifle from 25 yardfs. This was supposed to be a test with a scope, but that didn’t happen and I will tell you why.

Hard to scope

For several reasons the Embark is difficult to scope. First, it is a youth-sized rifle, so the pull of the stock is short. You therefore want to mount the scope far enough forward to get good eye relief, but once again, this is a youth rifle. The spring tube is also very short, and if the scope goes too far forward, the breech hits it when you break the barrel to cock the rifle. You need a short scope — a very short scope.

Next, the top of the receiver/spring tube is quite rounded, and, because the tube is so small (youth rifle again), the crown is high. Many 11mm scope mounts won’t work because the tube hits their underside, preventing their clamping jaws from reaching the dovetails.

There are solutions to all of this, but I spent over an hour just discovering all of it, which was too much time lost. So today I will shoot with open sights. Fret not, though. There will be a test with a scope, now that I know all that I have to do to get ready.

The test

I shot the rifle from a sandbag rest at 25 yards with the same pellets that were used in the last accuracy test. The rifle was rested directly on the bag.

I shot at 10-meter pistol targets that have much larger bulls than the rifle targets.

Shooting experience

I was reminded again of the pleasant characteristics of the Embark. It cocks so easily and the automatic safety is quick to disengage. The trigger pull is long, but light enough for good target works. GrandpaDan needs to get one for his family gatherings.

Journey pellets

First up were the Journey target pellets that are required by the SAR rules. We found out last time that this pellet is remarkably accurate, despite fitting the breech rather loosely. I looked at the bull after the first shot, which hit the 8-ring. After that the next 9 shots were taken with no more looking.

In the end, 10 Journey pellets landed in 1.357-inches at 25 yards. The group is pretty well centered on the bull. I am pleased with it, though I believe that a scope could shave off another quarter inch or more.

Unarex Embark Journey group
Ten Journey target pellets landed in 1.357-inches at 25 yards, when the Embark was shot with open sights.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets

Next I tried 10 Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. These did not group quite as well at 10 meters in the last test. In this test, they opened up a lot! Ten pellets made a 3.048-inch  group at 25 yards. As you can see, 7 of the pellets are in a much tighter group, but I don’t think this was an aiming error. The groups shot before and after this one show I was seeing the target and sight picture reasonably well. This pellet also loaded a bit on the hard side.

Unarex Embark Sig Match Alloy group
Ten Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets made this rather large 3.048-inch group at 25 yards.

Falcon pellets

The most accurate pellets in the last test at 10 meters were the Falcon pellets from Air Arms. They did well at 25 yards, too. Ten went into 1.723-inches which doesn’t sound too good until you look at the group. I see evidence of vertical aiming error in the group, and predict that a scope will reduce the group size by a lot.

Unarex Embark Falcon group
Ten Air Arms Falcon pellets made this 1.723-inch group at 25 yards. It’s so vertical that I think there is an aiming error in it.

Falcons were also the Cinderella pellets of the test. They fit the breech just right.


This test turned out pretty much as I expected, though I did think I could shoot groups that were somewhat smaller. But now I have this as a baseline for comparison of the scoped effort.

There is no doubt that the Embark is an accurate spring piston air rifle. At the price it seems like the best deal in town.

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.

49 thoughts on “Umarex Embark breakbarrel spring rifle: Part 4”

  1. Hello B.B. I enjoyed the review.this looks like a good rifle for a new shooter to learn the basics on and develop good shooting habits.Maybe a reddot or other lighted dot would work,small,little magnification and much longer eye relief,if you want it.good morning.Dan

  2. B.B.,

    Considering the lightweight pellet the results are very encouraging. Having a Cinderella pellet that fits just right the breech just right encourages that you will expect excellent results. Hopefully the repeat of this test next time with a scope would prove your predictions right.


  3. LOP is short. 12″ per Part 1. A quick check of my Red Ryder reveals 13 1/2″ and the 499 comes in at 13″,… so yea,.. it is short. I have said it before,.. P.A. should include LOP in the “specifications” section on the product page, for all rifles. It will be interesting to see what the scoped solution turned out to be.

    Good Day to one and all,.. Chris

  4. Speaking of Umarex, saw PA’s Facebook post yesterday on your Gauntlet “team” review video…looks INCREDIBLE for the price. Is this one on your “To Do” list?

  5. Back on topic regarding the Embark, the Leapers UTG 3-9×32 Bug Buster scope I used on the Winchester MP4 blog had some drawbacks but is a good scope within its limitations as a compact with smaller objective. I think that one might work well on this gun.

  6. Good Morning All,

    Quick comment on the BKL mounts…

    There has been a number of times that I have removed scopes and remounted them and found that the POI had not changed or that it was within one click to realign.

    IMHO, a quality product. I really like the way the BKL mounts self-center when they clamp.


    • Received your offer of targets, and I’m still interested if the deal is still on the table. I’ve had more experience since on how targets can effect your performance. The most dramatic one is with knife throwing. I had sort of resigned myself to getting the knives to stick once in a blue moon with sheets of plywood. But, then I got hold of a section of log with great effort; it weighed a ton. Now, it seems like I can hardly miss. I still haven’t figured out exactly why although maybe the plywood is denser and harder to penetrate while at the same time being more springy in the form of sheets. The difference in the targets here has to do with their substance not their appearance, but still.

      You can contact me about the targets at gufgo24@yahoo.com


  7. Update on RWS 34P
    I went out to my range yesterday afternoon to shoot my RWS 34P. I set my targets up at 25 yards and shot (8) 10-shot groups. My groups are still ranging from 1.5″ to 2.0″ so matter what I do to adjust my hold. Using the hold that B.B. demonstrated as best with his off hand touching the trigger guard is very uncomfortable for me. It makes the rifle very muzzle heavy and I have to apply downward pressure with my trigger hand to hold on target. That hold is not very steady for me either. I move my off hand forward a couple of inches to where my index finger touches the cocking notch at the point where is gets slightly wider. I can replicate this hold quite well and it’s much easier to hold a steady aim. My groups are no different with either of these holds. A little more or less pressure against my shoulder seems to make quite a difference too and this is more difficult make the same for each shot. Just wanted everyone to know how I am doing with the RWS 34P to keep you updated. So far, no improvement in my groups 🙁

      • B.B.
        Thanks. I am not one who gives up on things. I will stick with it until I have shot 500 or more pellets through it. If I am not able to achieve 1″ groups at 25 yards by then, realistically I may never be able. At that point I will be giving more consideration to a PCP which can be filled with a hand pump.

            • Hi George, it may sound silly, but try smiling a real smile while you are trying to relax, and in the process of making your shot. It can be difficult when you are frustrated, but a real smile makes a physical difference in a lot of ways we don’t realize.

              Try it on your next phone call, to see what I mean. Sometimes you can actually hear the other person smile back, because they heard it in your voice.

            • George,

              Because I admire your grit and persistence I’d like to offer some more tips and elaboration by a good springer shooter. Respectfully suggest you read this when you have a chance:


              • Kevin
                Thanks for that link. I read the blog as well as all the comments. There is some good information there. I assume “settling in” is the same as “relaxed”? You know, I only want my rifle to shoot where I aim. From everything I am reading about springers and their idiosyncrasies, I am starting to believe that a springer is the wrong tool for pesting. It’s kind of like using a screwdriver when a wood chisel is required.

                • George,

                  Call it settling in or relaxed but what it means to me is that after you’re on target none of your muscles or contact with the gun should be stressed. If they are then the gun will react during and after the shot to throw it off target. Cuddling the gun with your hold to assure that it recoils without significant interference from me but still repeatable is my mental and physical goal.

                  B.B. Showed that you have an accurate gun. Please spend a little more time to get to know the hold it prefers but I’m sensing that you’re heading to the pcp world.

                • George,

                  Before you commit to a PCP and hand pump, you might experiment with an inexpensive substitute – a budget-priced, proven-accurate, multipump pellet rifle. If one of these shoots well for you, then getting a PCP and hand pump makes sense, if not, then perhaps not. Here are the ones available from Pyramyd AIR. The first three are considered revered classics:






                  • Michael
                    Thank you for those links. I looked at each one but I don’t think any of these muti-pumps would be up to the task of shooting 1″ groups at 25 yards. Maybe 10-15 yards they could do it…don’t know.

                    • George,

                      At 25 yards with a Crosman 2100b B.B. shot two 10 shot groups of .809 of an inch and one 10 shot group of .48 of an inch.



                    • Geo,

                      Your task is specific. I would give the multi-pumps some consideration. A .22 Maximus would “vaporize” a sparrow at 25,.. where as a multi-pump might accomplish the task at hand,… in a somewhat less spectacular fashion. I was hoping that someone would weigh in on the 753 being suitable for sparrow at 25. The holdover would be greater, but it may still have enough power to (get the job done) at 25 yards. I am not even sure a 753 can be scoped, but a single pump, 25 yard, accurate gun would be real enticing to me. It would shoot just like a PCP. 753,.. or otherwise.

    • Geo
      Maybe this will boost your moral.

      I have a friend that lives fairly close to me that shoots firearms and air guns. He has commented on the blog in the past so I’m not mentioning his name. He has shot for years at that. And hunted also. And a really good shot too.

      But he can not shoot a spring gun. He did do fairly well with the .177 54 Air King I had. But definitely not with other springers. And we tryed different things. Just no luck. I can’t even get him to pick one up anymore.

      You might just be one of those people too. Not a bad thing. Maybe you got the PCP blood in you ya know.

        • Geo
          There may still be something hiding that’s hindering your spring gun shooting. But I don’t think I know. So many things have been talked about.

          If you was to get a PCP gun it should tell a story for sure about your shooting dilemma. I think it’s definitely the next peice of the puzzle.

          If I had a PCP still I would send it your way to try. But don’t have any anymore.

          Don’t know what else to say.

          • GF1
            Thanks for your comment. You appear to do a lot of airgun trading in your hobby. I thought that you had a Benji Maximus? So now you only have springers and you must have a lot of experience with their peculiarities. With all of the great suggestions from you, B.B., Chris, and others, you would expect my poor groups to have improved…just hasn’t happened…YET. I haven’t given up and will continue my quest. I am determined to do everything I can to give my Diana 34 every opportunity to shoot good groups for me.

            I asked in another post about scope magnification and if it could effect the groups. I have a Hawke Sport HD 3-9x50AO scope mounted in the BKL mount B.B. gave me. I don’t have the best eyes anymore and normally have my scope dialed up to 9X and just leave it there. My target is a 1/2″ dot at 25 yards with a 1/2″ grid pattern. I would be embarrassed to post my groups here.

            • Geo
              Don’t want to deal with all the support equipment with pcp’s anymore. Plus if no electric then it would be hand pumping time. Heck I would be wore out with a day of shooting pcp’s if I had to hand pump. Plus don’t feel like dealing with rebuilding the pumps. And springers and multi pump guns are basically grab and shoot and put away when done. No refilling like pcp’s so they will be ready for the next time.

              But back to your spring gun shooting. Kevin brought up what I was talking about. Remember when I posted those short videos of how I held my TX 200 bench resting. I mentioned get the gun balancing on the bag naturally without holding it and pointing it at the target. Then basically just hold the gun enough to keep it on target. And yes touch the comb of the stock to your cheek to help steady the gun.

              All I can say is definitely alot of info passed on by everyone. Maybe a little overwhelming. Maybe take a break from the air gun and go shoot your firearms a bit. Then come back and try your springer. Maybe it will be easier to shoot after the firearm shooting.

    • Hi George. I own an RWS 34 in .177 caliber with UTG 6-24×44 scope and it can shoot half inch groups at 25 yards with Crosman Premiere Lights (7.9 grain, in the brown box). Maybe my technique can help you. I shoot off a bench using a Caldwell Deadshot Front range bag. I rest the rifle directly on the bag. I position it by using my off hand as a spacer between the front of the trigger guard and the bag. This way I can ensure the rifle is on the bag the same for each shot. I then move my off hand under the butt of the stock and use it to move the scope on target. I lightly grip the stock with my strong hand, keeping my thumb on the outside of the stock. Then I lightly place my cheek on the stock to line up the reticle with the target. I don’t know if I got lucky with a rare, super accurate 34 that likes to be shot off the bag or what but using this technique the gun just plain shoots. When I used to shoot offhand (I’m not steady enough anymore) I would place the forend on my open palm and lightly grip the stock with my strong hand the same way as I do off the bench. Amazingly, even if you move your thumb from the side of the stock to the top it will change the point of impact because it alters the way the rifle recoils. I feel the key to shooting a spring gun is to hold the gun the same way for each shot and to hold it as lightly as possible. Hope this helps you in your quest!

      • Cmz128
        Thank you for your input and comments. I think your next to last sentence says it all. Interesting though about the thumb position. I have tried wrapping my thumb over the wrist and also resting it on top just behind the safety. I will try your thumb position on the right side of the wrist next time I shoot.

        Have you found that scope magnification has any affect on your groups? Someone here on the blog has stated that higher magnification could cause poor groups. I have my Hawke 3-9X50AO set at 9X and do all of shooting with that mag.

        I cannot rest my RWS 34P .22 directly on the Caldwell bag because it changes the POI drastically. It doesn’t do any good to shoot good groups if they cannot be replicated when pesting those sparrows. I always find a way to support my off hand on something when I shoot if I’m not bench shooting.

        It’s always great to hear from someone who actually owns a Diana 34 and their personal experiences shooting it. I haven’t seen your posts before but thank you for jumping in with this one.

        • Yeah, I read the blog everyday but don’t reply much. I find the higher magnification scopes do help reduce my gruop sizes. It’s the old “aim small, miss small” addage. I made a mistake in my original post, I have a 4-16×50 scope on my 34. The 6-24 is on my AR-15 Target Rifle. Since you are ultimately wanting to shoot your 34 offhand, why don’t you practice offhand and ditch the bench alltogether? As far as thumb placement I was shooting my 34 today and placed my thumb over the top of the wrist and that shot went almost an inch away from the rest! All this effort really isn’t worth it to alot of people and to be honest, if I had a place to get a scuba tank I would have a pcp myself!

    • Hi George. I own an RWS 34 in .177 caliber with UTG 6-24×44 scope and it can shoot half inch groups at 25 yards with Crosman Premiere Lights (7.9 grain, in the brown box). Maybe my technique can help you. I shoot off a bench using a Caldwell Deadshot Front range bag. I rest the rifle directly on the bag. I position it by using my off hand as a spacer between the front of the trigger guard and the bag. This way I can ensure the rifle is on the bag the same for each shot. I then move my off hand under the butt of the stock and use it to move the scope on target. I lightly grip the stock with my strong hand, keeping my thumb on the outside of the stock. Then I lightly place my cheek on the stock to line up the reticle with the target. I don’t know if I got lucky with a rare, super accurate 34 that likes to be shot off the bag or what but using this technique the gun just plain shoots. When I used to shoot offhand (I’m not steady enough anymore) I would place the forend on my open palm and lightly grip the stock with my strong hand the same way I described above. I feel the key to shooting a springer is to hold the gun the same way for each shot and as lightly as possible. Hope this helps you!

  8. I had a similar problem scoping my IZH-61. Fortunately, the Leapers BugBuster appeared on the scene right at that time, or maybe I just discovered it. But it has worked perfectly ever since for tens of thousands of rounds.

    The only other response I have to the Embark is that it is single shot. I couldn’t help gloating when I read the most recent post of the Gamo repeating springbarrel. Yes, manufacturers, this is indeed the path to success: a repeating springer with a magazine. Now that the IZH 61 has been taken out of the picture, the niche is waiting for you to fill. I’ve even noticed the value of magazines in a completely different environment. For my David and Goliath sling, I’ve realized that my left hand can serve as a magazine that can hold several stones for quick reloading rather than going back to my hoard for every shot. Maybe David did this himself since the Bible says that he collected several stones for back-up shots. Coincidentally, my slinging has finally improved and I’m getting consistent hits. Actually what comes to mind is not David but a major league baseball pitcher. I was never good enough to play competitive baseball at any age, but with this sling, I can fire off stones with the power of a Nolan Ryan or Bullet Bob Feller. It’s quite a feeling. But the comparison applies to power only and not accuracy. Goliath would get hit by me but would not be in any danger of a kill shot.

    Also, my re-enactment has taken a step forward. After careful study, I’ve finally got hold of a pair of hobnailed jack boots which are hard to find. Actually, the boots themselves are not that important; I was really interested in the hobnails which are an ancient device. A Roman poet speaks of getting his foot stepped on in a crowd by a soldier’s sandals that were fitted with hobnails. With that kind of history, I had to try them. They’re not what I expected. True they have the ring of authority. The boots have heel irons that make me feel like a horse. It gives a new meaning to the phrase “iron-heeled despot.” But the darn things are very slippery, and I can barely stay upright on a polished floor. They also make the most incredible clashing as you walk, almost as if they were designed for tap dancing. All rather weird but illuminating.


    • Matt,
      Careful with the Gamo multi shot (Swarm). Seems like only a small percentage of them shoot well. The multi shot mechanism apparently functions flawlessly by the account of all reviews I’ve read, even mine worked without a single hitch. I think BB got a good one. Best idea might be to wait for a used shooter that an owner may be willing to part with, get it tuned (if that is possible) or try tuning it yourself. I will try the latter. I must say that it is blast to shoot, if it was accurate it could easily become my favorite like it’s predecessor, my trusty Gamo Gamatic.

  9. Geo791

    You may have answered this question in previous posts but I’ll risk asking. Have you shot 1″ group sizes with any firearm at 25 yards? If the answer is no or don’t know, so be it. If the answer is yes consider getting a Daisy Avanti 753s target rifle. They are not that muzzle heavy, are not hold sensitive and they are extremely accurate. They come with a rear diopter peep sight and globe front with inserts. It is a single stroke pneumatic with almost no vibration or recoil. Pellet caliber is .177. This is a youth competition 10 meter rifle but will perform at 25 yards.
    Good luck for you!


    • Decksniper
      I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that question. I have never been a target shooter, nor am I now one. The reason I began shooting paper was caused by the several misses when shooting sparrows. I have never had an issue with hitting what I was aiming at before this spring airgun. When I was younger I shot .22 rimfire rifles and shotguns. Shot my first buck with a 12 gauge shotgun with a slug at 110 yards and open sights. I had a Crosman multi-pump in .177 caliber and I rarely missed a sparrow with that using open sights. So I’ve always been a decent shot. Oh, and the best shot I ever made was with that Remington 870 slug gun with rifle sights. Some friends and I went out to sight in our guns before deer hunting season. One of the guys used his jackknife to fasten a target to a tree. He placed it right in the center of the bullseye. It was about 75 yards and he thought he was pretty safe using his knife to fasten the target to the tree. Well, I took the first shot and his knife was vaporized. I hit the knife dead center and there wasn’t a piece left anywhere. The target looked like it had been shot with birdshot from all the pieces of the knife. Really surprised everyone…including myself.

      • Geo,

        The 753 might be the ticket?, (Decksnipers comment). I do not know if the power would be good enough for light pesting at 25 and the peepers might not be the best for pesting sight picture. It is an all in one package and no hand pump. Your goal is fixed with sparrows and 25 yards. I would at least explore this a bit and ask some questions before going PCP. I am not sure about peepers being good at 25 either. An accurate multi-pump might be a consideration as well, but I would be at a loss at anything to recommend as I have not explored them that much. Best wishes.

      • Geo791

        You Robin Hooded your friend’s jack knife! While that is only one shot maybe something is going on with aging. Familial tremor? Eye problem? Hold sensitive or not, you could probably put your Diana 34 in a Ransom Rest and shoot 1″ groups at 25 yards.
        I would like to see you have a happy ending to this interesting saga.


        • Decksniper
          Yes, my eye sight has degraded with time. I do have an eye appointment on 9/1/17 to check my eyes. Maybe a new prescription with help. I am not having any trouble seeing a clear image of the 1/2″ dot at 25 yards which is my target though. I have some tremor in my left hand but that is the one resting on the Caldwell bag. I have a pretty steady sight picture and only have to control my breathing and heartbeat. My heartbeat causes more movement on target than anything else. Using all the great advice from many of the bloggers here, I should be shooting 0.5″ groups at 25 yards. I cannot use a direct rest for the rifle as it changes the POI too much as compared to the artillery hold. I need to be able to replicate the results when pesting those sparrows. Not giving up yet.

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