Umarex Gauntlet: Part 4
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Other items I’m testing
- Mounting the P.O.I. rings
- Precision is challenging
- P.O.I. rings are precision-bored
- Bug Busters are difficult to position
- Perfect scope for the Gauntlet
- Shim under the scope
- Second sight-in
- Magazine problem!
- Found it!
What a report this is going to be! So many landmark issues resolved and explained!
Other items I’m testing
Although today is about the Umarex Gauntlet, I’m also going to cover the UTG P.O.I. rings for airguns, the new Bug Buster sidewheel and the new UTG 3-12X32 Bug Buster scope. This won’t be just another test day, either, because I had to solve numerous problems to get this far. In fact, although I will show you a target today, this isn’t accuracy day. That comes next time. Today we have issues to resolve. Let’s get started.
Mounting the P.O.I. rings
UTG makes the most precise scope rings I have seen. Although I have seen other scope rings that retail for $500, I have never seen a set that are any more precise as these. I wanted to use them for the remainder of the Gauntlet test, which is going to be a long one.
Precision is challenging
The first problem I encountered was the P.O.I. rings would not fit the Gauntlet’s rail! They are made to fit a wide range of dovetail widths, from 9.5mm to about 13mm, but they were ever-so-slightly too large for the Gauntlet rail when they were tightened all the way. Watch that when you mount a scope to this airgun, because apparently its rail is on the small side.
I fussed and fretted for an hour before arriving at the solution. On each ring I slid a thin shim in between the ring base and the dovetail jaw that moves, so they would clamp onto the rail. The difference I needed to make up is less than a hundredth of an inch, so no precision that you get with the P.O.I. rings is lost, and now the rings are clamped securely. However, the challenges were just starting!
P.O.I. rings are precision-bored
When you install a scope in these rings you are going to learn the meaning of the word precise. There is no fabric inside the rings and the hole that’s bored through them is exactly the same size as the Bug Buster scope tube. The scope didn’t just drop into the rings the way scopes normally do. I had to press down the scope using the ring caps, and then screw the cap screws (4 per ring) down before the scope actually fit into the rings. There was no forcing required — everything just fit exactly as it should!
I normally shim the rear ring when mounting a scope, to eliminate the possibility of a barrel that droops. Yes, PCP barrels droop, too. But the fit of these rings is so precise that I just installed the scope and let it go at that.
Bug Busters are difficult to position
One of the best features of any Bug Buster scope is its short length. But that’s also one of its drawbacks. The tubes that the rings attach to are very short on this family of scopes, and they limit the amount of back and forth adjustment you have when the scope is mounted. You get that by adjusting the position of the rings on the receiver — not by sliding the scope within the rings. When mounted, the Bug Buster appears to be too far back on the receiver, but it’s not. It’s just a short scope!
The solution to fitting the P.O.I. rings to the Gauntlet was a thin shim (arrow) under the movable jaw on the ring’s base. The base appears slanted in this picture, but that’s just the lighting. The jaws are still square to the receiver!
Notice in the first picture, how both rings are mounted to the receiver behind the magazine? The short Bug Buster scope makes that necessary.
Perfect scope for the Gauntlet
I’m just pointing out everything there is to mounting a Bug Buster scope, so you will know how. Once it was on the rifle I found it perfect, and that was enhanced by that adjustable Gauntlet cheekpiece. I cranked it up several turns so my eye aligns with the scope the moment the rifle hits my shoulder. I don’t get to do that very often, but I’m going to test the heck out of this combination and I want this one adjusted as good as it can be. This was time well spent.
Then I went into the garage to sight in the rifle. I shot JSB Exact Heavy pellets, because I thought they would feed through the magazine well. You may remember in Part 3 I mentioned a feeding problem I encountered.
The first shot missed the trap altogether from 12 feet. But I had a Bug Buster scope, so I moved up to 8 feet and fired again. Shot number two hit the trap but missed the cardboard target backer. Oh, oh! Where is the pellet going?
A new shooter might fret about this, but I know there is a 98 percent chance that the rifle is a drooper. So I cranked in several turns of elevation (a turn is one complete rotation of the elevation knob — I don’t bother counting the clicks when I’m this close to the target) and shot again. This pellet landed on the backer board 4 inches below the aim point. This Gauntlet is a world-class drooper! That doesn’t means yours will be, but let’s learn how to deal with it whenever it happens.
I took the scope caps off the rings to remove the scope, and they came off easily. The caps were now fitted to the scope tube and everything fits well.
Shim under the scope
I still wanted to use the P.O.I. rings very much, but they had to be shimmed. Is that even possible?
One piece of credit card plastic was placed beneath the scope tube on the rear ring saddle and the scope was remounted. The caps were then screwed back down, and this time they went quite easily. I didn’t tighten the cap screws that much, so the shim wouldn’t dent the scope tube. The scope is tight in the rings, but not as tight as it could be. Remember, the scope is now tipped forward, so the front ring doesn’t fit perfectly, either. Whine all you want — this is how it’s done — especially with a Bug Buster that is too short to fit in any of the one-piece adjustable scope mounts.
This time the pellet hit the target much higher and I was able to back up to 10 meters. At that distance the pellets’ impact rose to just below the bull. I shot two shots at this distance, then adjusted the reticle a little and backed up to 25 yards.
At 25 yards I shot three shots that landed high and to the left. An adjustment moved the next round too far to the right. Another adjustment was followed by 5 more shots to confirm the zero. These were all inside the bull. They were not shot off a rest, but with the rifle rested on the footboard of my bed (I shoot from the bedroom through the living room into the garage to get 25 yards. The pellets hit in the center of the target, but the group isn’t very good. It will be better when the rifle is rested correctly, I hope.
This is the sight-in target the two holes below the bull were from 10 meters, once the scope was shimmed. The three at the upper left were the first three at 25 yards. Then, after an adjustment, the shot outside the bull at the right was next, followed by an adjustment and five shots in the center of the bull.
Don’t obsess over this target! Today was not an accuracy test. I was just sighting the rifle in so I can test accuracy next time.
What I’m about to describe happened when I was sighting-in the first time, but I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of what I was writing, so I saved it until now. The second shot in the magazine would not feed! I had this same problem in Part 3, but I thought using JSB pellets was the fix.
I tried forcing the jammed pellet a little, but I had this same problem with Crosman Premier pellets back in Part 3. In fact, let’s read what I said.
“I had in excess of 10 pellets jam in the magazine during this test. One was a double feed that I shot out of the rifle. That probably just means the Premier Light is not right for the Gauntlet mag! Let’s try something else.”
I thought the problem was the Premier pellets, but after seeing Geo791’s problems with his Gamo Urban magazine, I checked the alignment of the second pellet in the Gauntlet mag and found it to be off. George published a similar picture of the other side of the magazine, showing the same misalignment.
Sure enough, the second pellet in the Gauntlet’s magazine is misaligned with the breech! This was troubling because I didn’t know what to do. Then it dawned on me. Just don’t load pellet number two! This rotary magazine is spring-loaded, so if there is no pellet in the number two hole, it will move past to pellet number three that is aligned. Problem solved!
Other mags may be misaligned on other holes, though I doubt it. The tooling to make these mags is expensive and I’ll bet they are all alike in this respect. At any rate, if jamming is a problem with your rifle, give this a try.
Let’s review all that happened with the Gauntlet this day. First, I mounted the P.O.I. scope rings. We discovered that the Gauntlet dovetail is on the small side, but thin shims under the movable mount jaws fixed it.
Next I learned that the rifle I’m testing has a serious droop. I fixed it by shimming the rear ring under the scope tube. I also found that once the scope had been in the P.O.I. rings they fit perfectly. I was surprised that I could shim the P.O.I. rings because they fit so tight at first, but after taking the scope out and reinstalling it they worked well and also solved the droop problem.
I already knew that Bug Buster scopes require more care and thought to mount because of their short length, but I walked you through the process today and now you know what to do. By seeing how far to the rear of the gun the scope needs to be I hope you can understand why a Bug Buster won’t work well on some spring rifles that have scope stops positioned too far forward.
Finally, I found a workaround for the magazine misalignment problem that seems to be a common issue with these price-point PCPs. Sure the shot count is reduced by one, but the jamming problems go away. That’s worth it, as far as I’m concerned.
So far this Gauntlet is performing admirably. I have the trigger adjusted perfectly, which makes the rifle a joy to shoot. Now we will see how accurate it can be!