by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Tightened shroud
- The test
- Magazine tested
- Sight in
- Magazine again
- Adjusted the scope
- JSB Exact Heavy
- Magazine acting up
- Premier Heavy single shot
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.
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!
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.
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.
I tested the rifle with the magazine as well as shooting single shot. Maybe the mag had healed after lying dormant all this time?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.