Umarex Gauntlet: Part 9

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gauntlet
Umarex Gauntlet.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

This report covers:

  • Tightened shroud
  • The test
  • Pellets
  • Magazine tested
  • Sight in
  • Magazine again
  • Adjusted the scope
  • Quiet!
  • Trigger
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Magazine acting up
  • Premier Heavy single shot
  • Summary

Today I test the Umarex Gauntlet PCP rifle at 50 yards, to see whether tightening the barrel shroud makes a difference to accuracy. I had planned to finish the report with Part 8, which was already more testing than I normally give a modern air rifle, but this is the rifle that defined the price point PCPs and it deserved a close look.

Tightened shroud

Reader GunFun1 asked me to check to see whether the barrel shroud was tight after my last test. It wasn’t, so I agreed to this additional test. I tightened the barrel shroud before the test began, and it stayed tight for the whole test. I wasn’t going to get it wrong this time!

The test

I shot the rifle off a rest at 50 yards. Instead of going to my regular rifle range I went over to AirForce Airguns, which is much closer. They have several outdoor ranges set up on their property and the one I used is sheltered from the wind by a 12-foot berm on one side and a mature stand of trees on the other. So the air on the range was calm, in spite of a breezy day.

Pellets

I knew this rifle likes the Crosman Premier Heavy pellet the best, so that was the primary pellet in the test. Just to be sure, since I had shot with a loose shroud last time, I also tested the very popular JSB Exact Heavy dome.

Magazine tested

I tested the rifle with the magazine as well as shooting single shot. Maybe the mag had healed after lying dormant all this time?

Sight in

The rifle was sighted for 50 yards at the end of the last test, but when I started shooting this time the pellets weren’t even hitting the backer board the target was taped to. So I went forward to 20 yards and assumed a sitting position to see where the pellets were going. They were hitting very high and to the right of the aim point. At 50 yards they were sailing over the backer board altogether. I guess that comes from tightening the barrel shroud.

I adjusted the scope down and to the left to begun the test. First up were Crosman Premier heavys shot from the magazine. They didn’t do as good as I had hoped. At 50 yards the Gauntlet put 10 Premier heavys in 3.747-inches. The group landed about two inches to the right of the target and a little low.

Gauntlet Premier group
The Umarex Gauntlet put 10 Crosman Premier heavy pellets in 3.747-inches at 50 yards. The aim point is the bull that’s off this photo to the upper left.

Magazine again

The magazine worked well for the first string. All pellets fed and all came out without a fuss.

Adjusted the scope

After this group I adjust the sight to the left and up. Then I shot several shots to see where it was hitting. It looked okay, so I proceeded to the next test which was 10 JSB Exact Heavys.

Quiet!

Before we move on I must comment on how quiet the Gauntlet is. I had forgotten that in the months between Part 8 and now, but this rifle really is backyard friendly.

Trigger

I will also comment on the trigger, which I adjusted for you in Part 2. As you may recall, this trigger is based on the Crosman 160 trigger that is both inexpensive and yet very adjustable. I adjusted it to have a long first stage, followed by a crisp stage 2. After it breaks the overtravel adjustment is set to stop all movement of the trigger blade. I have it adjusted just the way I like it and I praise Umarex for installing this trigger on the Gauntlet. It gives the shooter ultimate control over the trigger, which is the way it should be. Now let’s see how the rifle does with JSB Exact Heavys shot from the magazine.

JSB Exact Heavy

Once again the shots went all over the place. The group measures 2.956-inches between centers at 50 yards. It was disconcerting to see those pellets flying out of control downrange. I felt like a major league pitcher throwing knuckleballs.

Gauntlet JSB mag group
The Gauntlet put 10 JSB Exact Heavy pellets in 2.956-inches at 50 yards. The aim point is the bull on the upper left.

Magazine acting up

This time the magazine acted up and I had to reload it twice to get 10 shots. The pellets were failing to feed and after I removed the mag they failed to load. I spent a lot of time getting this 10-shot group, but all 10 shots were made with pellets that did load perfectly.

Magazine failed

After this target I went to reload the magazine with 10 more Premier pellets and the mag failed completely. The pellets went in but I could not get the magazine to advance and feed acceptably in the rifle. Since I wanted to try the rifle single shot anyway, I laid the mag aside and switched to that mode.

Premier Heavy single shot

These were the most accurate pellets of today’s test. And at least some of them stayed on the bull I was aiming at, though the shots are spread out enough that there are several outside it.

This time 10 Crosman Premier Heavys went into 2.278-inches at 50 yards. I wish I could tell you why even this group is so large but after all the testing that’s been done I have to believe that the test rifle just isn’t accurate. Sometimes that happens, and it looks like this is such a time.

Gauntlet Premier single group
Shooting single shot Crosman Premier Heavys were more accurate, though at 2.278-inches between centers, they weren’t good.

Summary

That’s a 9-part look at the rifle that defined the price point PCP. We have certainly given this one every opportunity to shine.

The Umarex Gauntlet is a feature-laden precharged pneumatic air rifle. On the plus side this test has revealed:

A wonderful, adjustable trigger
Very quiet operation
An impressive number of shots per 3000 psi fill
A single-shot tray is provided with the rifle

On the negative side we have seen:

Magazine failure
Inaccuracy
A regulator that doesn’t control velocity as closely as imagined

Here is something to consider. While I have tested one Gauntlet and discovered some problems, a great many owners are saying very nice things about their rifles. I’m almost certain that their experiences are the norm and I have been testing a rifle that isn’t representative. The Gauntlet defined the price point PCP, and it still offers features that are not equaled by many other air rifles.

45 thoughts on “Umarex Gauntlet: Part 9

  1. “I felt like a major league pitcher throwing knuckleballs.”

    This Australian is guessing that major league pitchers can’t throw knuckleballs where they want them?????


  2. B.B.

    Wow! You are certainly unlucky at getting good PPP airguns to review. The Urban had accuracy issues due to flashing on the baffles in the moderator. The Gauntlet has poor accuracy for some unknown reason. The Fortitude leaked air and had to be sent back. Don’t remember now what the issues were with the Stormrider but as I recall it had problems too. It’s not looking good for these price point PCPs, and the chances of getting a good one don’t appear too good either. Well, as they say, it is what it is. Too bad the Gauntlet you received was not good. Based on your findings, I would not take a chance on one. I would add that my Urban has been excellent so far.

    Geo


  3. BB
    Bummer was hoping the loose shroud was it.

    And since you mentioned that the poi was different this time after tightening the shroud I will say I have seen that too. But also now that means the pellets could of clipped the shroud when the barrel was loose. That could be why you have been having erratic groups all along.

    The only thing I can say right now is a word of caution. Before a person ever fires a PCP and it has a shroud. Make sure it is tight first.


  4. B.B.,

    Thanks for the extra testing. To me, another plus is the adj. cheek riser. A negative for me would the short scope rail ahead of the loading port.

    Good Day to one and all,….. Chris


    • Chris
      The scope rail is long. You don’t need to even use the rail in front of the mag. Remember the loading port is more forward then what a Marauder’s loading port is.

      Here is a picture of my Gauntlet with a full size Hawke sidewinder scope without the big side wheel.



  5. BB,

    This particular air rifle is just not my cup of tea, but as this series has shown, when you deal with the PPP you may get a good one or not. I am certain that with the PPP everything is done to keep costs down, therefore you can expect that quality control will not be as good as with the higher end air rifles and pistols.

    I have experienced this myself with my Webley Tomahawk that was made by Hatsan. Because Webley had contracted with Hatsan to build one of their sproingers and relabel it and had likely negotiated a very low price, the quality control was not as stringent as it should have been. If I had purchased this at the price PA was selling them for, I would have been VERY upset with what I received. As it was I had purchased it from another well known airgun company at an inventory clearance price with an Hawke scope which worked out that the Tomahawk was almost free. With just a little work I now have a nice sproinger I can experiment with and not be concerned about cost.

    This is how I look at the PPP. I will likely end up with a Fortitude and I am certain it will not remain stock. I have seen much done with the Discovery and know many have done much with the Maximus. I think with just a little TLC that little air rifle will be quite a shooter.


  6. I am very interested in the PPPs and was thinking about the Gauntlet’s accuracy.

    In .177, 50 yards seems to be beyond it’s effective range. Still, it was shooting very acceptable 1/2 to 3/4 inch groups at 25 yards. Considering a 1 inch KZ on a rabbit or squirrel as a reference, I would expect that with a good rest the Gauntlet would be accurate enough out to 30-35 yards. Nothing wrong with that – most people don’t shoot much beyond 20-25 yards anyway. Think the accuracy will improve once the regulator has settled in.

    The magazine problem is an issue that needs to be addressed. I don’t care for this type of magazine but the ones for my FX have worked perfectly (knock on wood!!) for hundreds of shots. Can only guess that this particular magazine was not made well or it has some dirt in it. Maybe a disassembly/deburr/clean and lubrication would fix it.

    I like the Gauntlet, it has a good feature set and the adjustable cheek-piece is a smart thing. It’s weight is reasonable for most uses, for my particular application (as a carry around rifle) I give up some to the stability
    the weight gives and go for something lighter.

    Thanks for the report B.B.!

    Hank


    • Hank
      But remember most feild target matches are shot out to 50 yards. So if a person wanted to get into feild target cheap. The Gauntlet would be it. From my exsperiance anyway. And remember they have the 20 fpe limit on feild target energy to save the targets.


      • Gunfun1,

        Yes, agree that if you were interested in FT shooting that the equipment has to be capable of putting the pellet on the money at 50 yards.

        Most of the guys I know “target shoot” (plink cans) with .22 rimfires do so at less than 30 yards – probably closer to 20 yards. They still think I am crazy to set up empty 12 gauge shells as targets at 50 yards – but they don’t bet against me any more 🙁

        Think that 1/2 to 3/4 inch, 25 yard groups that the Gauntlet shoots would make a lot of people very happy.

        Just saying.

        Hank


  7. B.B.,

    I guess the era of PPPCPs came a few years too early.

    I’ve written this here before, but a Gauntlet + hand pump runs between $400 and $500. How much will that kind of money get when it comes to springers? A Weihrauch HW77 (still made and imported) would fall in that price range and it even has open sights.. Would a Gauntlet outshoot an HW77 at 50 yards?

    Would the Gauntlet be an heirloom air rifle like the HW77?

    Michael


  8. Michael ,

    Valid point . These PPPCP’s are no different than a 10-22 or Marlin 60 is in the firearms world ! Just a tool . I just hope the Quality spring gun makers survive. With the price points so low it is VERY difficult to sell a quality gun. Thank God for those people that understand ” You get what You pay for ” . A HW rifle will last a lifetime ! A good springer has a soul , just like a S&W revolver or a nice shotgun.


    • Gene,

      I’m with you regarding heirloom things in general, not just air guns. Someone here recently commented how surprised people are that his 1920s or 1930s Diana is just as accurate (if not more so) than most of today’s air rifles.

      I decided to get an old Webley Senior simply because I wanted an iconic design in its purest, all-steel form. It is fun to shoot, but it is also simply a joy to look at and to hold.

      I have noticed that early “pioneer-made” PCPs like air rifles made by John Bowkett are beginning to slowly become a bit collectible. Bowketts are, I’ve read, incredibly well-made, although I’ve never sen or handled one personally. Of course Dennis Quakenbush air guns command a premium price and have for many years.

      Michael


  9. I still have to wonder iff BB screwed up a baffle shooting his Gauntlet with the shroud loose.

    Maybe if that would of been payed attention to before a pellet went down the barrel that he would indeed had a accurate Gauntlet like others are reporting.

    Remember that song about springers and air guns. You got to tighten your screws. Well you got to tighten your shrouds too.


  10. Oh and forgot.

    Sounds like the spring in the mag came out of it’s hole it goes in. Had that happen with Marauder mags too. Basically the same mags. Matter of fact I use 2 of my .177 Marauder magazines in my Gauntlet along with the magazine that came with the Gauntlet. No issues yet on these 3 mags yet.

    BB check and see if that center screw that holds the front cover on th mag has cam loose. That’s another screw that should be checked from time to time.

    Don’t know about you all. But I check my screws on even pcp’s from time to time. It just needs done. And yes even magazines.


    • GF1,

      Since the M-rod mags work, they must be the same. 0% issues with my 3 M-rod .25 mags. I think that something is funky with this one. Like you said,.. easy to tweak and work on. Though,…. I have never had reason to open one of mine up,…. as hard as that is to believe given my predisposition to tweaking and tuning stuff. 😉 “This is GREAT! Now I am going to make it AWESOME!”,….. famous last words. 🙂

      Chris


  11. Darn I keep forgetting everything this morning.

    If you look on the back of the Marauder or Gauntlet magazines you will see 3 small holes. That’s where the tab goes in.

    And yes you can wind the spring fling r different color tensions to index the pellet.

    The FX Monsoon and Revolution use similar magazines. Winding the spring tension and how tight you tighten the front cover is part of tuning how well they cycle their shots. Remember they are semi-auto guns and that does make a difference. Well on the 2 Monsoons I had anyway.


    • This should say. “And yes you can wind the spring fling r different color tensions to index the pellet.”

      And yes you can wind the spring for different tensions to index the pellet.


  12. Well, too bad about the the Gauntlet, its still allot of rifle for the money. Those pesky baffles perhaps?
    Could there be a Shroud/ no shroud test? The shroud introduce their own issues sometimes. Its nice the mags are cross platform, tho.



      • GF1,

        I do not know how the baffle system is designed in the Gauntlet. If a pellet clipped a baffle when the shroud was loose why would the clipping not be corrected when the shroud was tightened up correctly? Something is seriously wrong with this Gauntlet’s barrel or shroud and I for one would really like to know what the actual problem is. I think we would all like to know, rather than conceding that it is a lemon.

        Maybe the fact that pellets are not loading from the magazine properly is an indication that something is out of alignment?

        Geo


  13. My Marauder FT rifle is very accurate. It has a Lothar Walther barrel, custom stock, and has had some other tuning, and groups much better than it did as a stock rifle. I shoot 10.34 grain JSB pellets at just under 20 ft-lb as currently set up. One characteristic that has not been corrected is a tendency to open the groups you go past 45 yds. Out to that range, it groups as well as a much more expensive FT rig. Seems to me, the pellet is losing stability at that distance.

    And one other comment – I succumbed to an urge to buy a very inexpensive Gamo Urban. It has proven to be accurate, although it had the issue with the baffles, showing up in unexpected manner. Have not removed the entire moderator to deal with it. I believe it is sort of self healing in that regard, just keep shooting. All things considered, I still like the Urban, it is probably a 2 MOA gun and handles very well. It represents a good value. I wish Gamo would produce a .177 version with a better baffle setup, call it the Suburban. 😉


    • Jerry
      And the urban is not offered in .177 caliber as you mentioned.

      So that throws it out of feild target worthiness in my book. Fpe and diameter of the projectile.

      And I do have to say my .177 Gauntlet is a very capable feild target gun. Matter of fact if I shot my Gauntlet at a feild target match I bet there would be some surprised eyes.


    • JerryC,

      I also have a Gamo Urban which I purchased this past March for $220. Mine did not have any issues with the moderator baffles, or any other issues. It is very accurate, light & compact, and a joy to carry around. I don’t think you could buy a better PCP at the price point level. If one always shoots from a bench, then there are some other attractive options. But I use my Urban as a tool to dispatch harassing sparrows from my bluebird nesting boxes. It’s more than adequate for pesting.

      I’m sure you read B.B.’s review of the Urban earlier this year where he found the pellets were clipping the baffles. He showed how to easily correct the problem by just removing the baffle feature and removing the flash from one of the baffles. Actually, the Urban’s baffle setup is well designed, and having flash on a baffle is an abnormality.

      Geo


  14. I hate it that the Gauntlet you received was a “lemon”. But, even though your Gauntlet is not measuring up to the quality of Gauntlets many of us have received, I believe that your review was as impartial and as fair as any review could have been on a poorly performing airgun. I feel that you gave the gun every chance to perform, it just was not capable of doing better.

    I have 10 Gauntlet magazines, five P-rod mags and six .25 caliper Marauder mags and have never had a problem with any of them over many thousand shots. Your magazine was just no good. And as far as your accuracy goes, I don’t think I could shoot such poor groups as you experienced if I tried to shoot that bad with my Gauntlet. There was definitely something wrong with the gun.

    Should you get the chance to shoot another Gauntlet, I think you may find that the gun is capable of performing better than the sample you received. “Lemons” do show up every once in a while. Thanks for giving your gun a fair test and trying to get it to perform.


    • Jonah

      Agree with everything you said. Except that I don’t really know if BB’s Gauntlet mag was bad.

      He really never said how it failed to perform. I offered some pointers from what I have seen with Marauder and FX Monsoon mags I have had.

      We need more mag details first before we can say he has a bad mag. Bet it comes down to maintenance neglect more than failure. Or should I say what to check when you get a new gun.

      All guns need to be gone over before you fire them. Even my HW30s needed some help with screw tightening and securing and oiling before it was ready for action. Even my firearms I have got throughout time.


  15. B.B.,
    I won’t “name names,” but there are many blogs on the internet where every gun is “great” and “accurate” (with the word “accurate” used, but no hard data, more like, “I shot some cans at 50 yards, and it seemed to hold its own”).
    Hence, I find it refreshing to see a blog where the reports “tell it like it is”…very cool; please keep up the good work.
    take care & God bless,
    dave


  16. “I find it refreshing to see a blog where the reports “tell it like it is”…”

    I agree, but this Gauntlet has a defect and does not represent the airgun one would normally receive. I am very curious to know what the defect is…and if it could be easily fixed.

    Have a great day Dave!


  17. I am, like some of you here, a bit ‘particular’ when it comes to new guns, either powder burners or air powered. I always inspect them from end to end before the first pellet/cartridge gets even close to it. I remove factory greases and oils, usually heavy for protection and not the best for lubrication, tighten screws if needed, check sights, safeties and trigger, and above all, make sure the bore is completely free of obstructions. I would agree that it is overkill with an airgun, but I opt for making no distinction, to me these are safety rules.

    That being said, I believe that I am not in the majority. In my experience, most people just take the gun out of the box, slap a scope on it (if appropriate) and go the range. In view of that, I must say that I agree with BBs approach to this. The fact is that his Gauntlet did not perform according to expectations and he went above and beyond what most users would go, by adjusting the trigger and shroud, testing different pellets, etc.. The reality is that this is the end of the line for most people. I believe there is consensus that this particular rifle could be an unusual lemon, but we should accept that the odds of getting one of these increases at the lower end of the price scale. It is what it is.

    Now, if this was my rifle, it is another story. I would be tearing the thing apart to find and repair or replace the culprit, and I know that I could count in some of you for encouragement and expert guidance. This is a great group!

    Henry


  18. I did have a Gauntlet in .177. In my view it was quite accurate although I don’t shoot farther than 40 yards. No problems with it for 500+ pellets and then it quit holding air. Rather than taking it apart I have sent it in under warranty. I will give an update when I know more.
    Gerald


    • Gerald
      Did you have to pay to ship it to them or did they give you a shipping label. Just curious. And would like to hear the outcome with your gun. How they handle it and what they found wrong. Yours is the first I recall hearing about that has gone back for work. Do give a update if you will.


      • GF1,
        It is written in the warranty page that they do not cover the cost to send it in. So it was on my dime, (more like fifty bucks) to get it there. They should receive it today so with fingers crossed it will be a fast turn around.
        Gerald


        • Gerald
          Ouch 55 dollars. I hope you get a good fast turnaround.

          One of the FX Monsoons I had was a lemon in my book. I had to send it in a couple time for repair for rapid dumping the air out of the barrel.

          One of the times it took me a whole month to get it back. Talk about ouch. A $1700 gun gone for a month. Not my idea of fun there.

          And to top it off they never got it fixed. Had it about 3 days and it did it again. Needless to say they got it back and I got something different. So guess what now. I’m skeptical about buying expensive air guns. Just don’t not want to take that gamble again.


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