Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Umarex Lever Action
Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun.

This report covers:

  • Description
  • The cartridges
  • Will it shoot pellets?
  • Sights
  • Loading the CO2
  • Discussion
  • Summary

The moment I saw the Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun at the SHOT Show this year I knew it was going to be a hit.

This is a lever action repeater that holds 10 realistic cartridges, each holding a single BB that’s loaded into the base. The cartridges load into the rifle from the right side of the receiver and feed through the action exactly like firearm cartridges.

Lever Action Loading
The Umarex Cowboy Lever Action gun is loaded exactly like a lever action firearm.

When the lever is pulled down the bolt slides back, ejecting the now-empty cartridge, and the next cartridge is fed by spring pressure onto the elevator. As the lever is returned, the cartridge is aligned with the breech and fed into the breech. It takes a few moments to describe but far less time to happen — making a lever action almost as fast as a semiautomatic.

Lever Action lever down
When the lever goes down the spent cartridge is ejected and a new loaded cartridge is pushed onto the elevator. As the lever is pulled up the new cartridge is pushed into the breech for firing.

The experience

What’s it like to shoot a lever action? Right away you realize that your hands move faster than your eye can sight, so you need to speed up your reflexes to keep up. When the lever is smooth you can leave the butt of the gun against your shoulder, speeding up the time it takes to acquire your target. Maybe you can’t do it with a Red Ryder-style BB gun, but with this one, it’s easy! In a short time you will start to speed up because the gun helps you do everything but pull the trigger. Lever actions require more movement than semiautomatics, but they are nearly as fast.

Description

Don’t confuse this BB gun with the Walther Lever Action Rifle. That one is rifled and shoots pellets. It doesn’t use cartridges but has an 8-shot circular clip that flips out of the right side of the action for loading and unloading. The two airguns look very similar but the price difference of $260 alerts you that there are differences.

Walther Lever Action Rifle
The Walther Lever Action Rifle looks similar to the Umarex Lever Action BB gun.

The Legends Cowboy BB gun is all metal and wood on the outside. Well, a reader pointed out that it isn’t real wood, but it’s so realistic that I was fooled! That’s pretty good!

The trigger, hammer, lever, saddle ring, both sights and even the cap at the end of the forearm are all cold metal! At 6 pounds, the gun feels about right, though there is a touch of butt-heaviness.

The Umarex BB gun has a smoothbore barrel. It is powered by two 12-gram CO2 cartridges, rather than the single 88-gram CO2 cartridge that’s in the rifle. According to the specifications, it gets velocities up to 600 f.p.s. That should please many shooters, though I must warn you that a BB going that fast will do a lot of damage if it hits you. I was hit by a BB that bounced back from a 10-meter target, and the BB split my lip and drew blood. That, despite traveling 66 feet and rebounding off a hard target. And that BB only left the muzzle at 510 f.p.s., so this gun is one to be careful with!

The cartridges

No doubt someone wants to know if these BB cartridges will interchange with those found in the Colt SAA BB guns that are so popular. I took a cartridge from a Weathered Duke Colt BB Revolver and cycled it through the action several times. It fed perfectly. Also, the headstamp on the base of both cartridges is the same — “UX 4.5 mm and a capital S inside a circle.” Checking it that way isn’t scientific, but I think they do interchange. I also asked Umarex USA, but they didn’t answer me before I scheduled this report for publication.

Will it shoot pellets?

Some readers will be interested in knowing whether this smoothbore gun will also handle pellets. I can find no caution in the manual to not use them, so I will give them a try. But a smoothbore BB gun should not be considered as an accurate pellet gun, even if it does function with them.

Sights

Besides the BB cartridges, the sights are among the most realistic of the features on this gun. The front sight is a post with a gold bead on top — very reminiscent of the type of front sight you might find on a .22 rimfire lever action rifle.

Lever Action front sight
The front sight looks like a .22 rimfire front sight from 1940.

The bead is very bright! I can see it in most lighting situations. Thank you, Umarex, for not burdening us with a fiberoptic sight!

The rear sight is a true semi-buckhorn that can also be seen on vintage .22 rimfires — and even on some centerfire rifles! And it has been designed right! The front bead fits exactly in the lower notch, which it is supposed to. Whoever on the Umarex team designed these sights is a real shooter!

The rear sight adjusts for elevation, only. I can see no provision for windage adjustment.

Lever Action rear sight
Now — THAT — gentlemen, is a rear sight for shooters!

Loading the CO2

The two CO2 cartridges go into the buttstock, fat end to fat end, so they are pierced at either end of the stack. The butt plate comes off the gun with a cap that’s attached by a bayonet fitting. Insert a coin in the slot, press in and turn 90 degrees to the left to open

Lever Action butt cap
A coin goes in the slot. Push in and turn to the left.

Lever Action butt off
A coin in the slot. Push in and turn to the left.

Discussion

We have had good single action revolvers for several years. We have had the Walther lever Action rifle for even longer. Now there is an affordable BB gun lever action. And there are Air Venturi Dust Devil BBs that fragment when they hit metal. Can cowboy action shooting with airguns be far off? Cowboy Star Dad — whaddaya think?

Summary

A lot will depend on accuracy. The realism is superb, so if the gun can hit what it shoots at Umarex will have a mega-hit on their hands!

41 thoughts on “Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun: Part 1

  1. Paragraph below first picture: “As the lever is returned how (now) the cartridge is aligned”

    DESCRIPTION
    In the 3rd paragraph you say “It is powered by two 12-gram CO2 cartridges, rather than the single 88-gram CO2 cartridge that’s in the rifle.” I’m confused by this statement. Which rifle are you referring to?




        • Geo,

          I emailed you a picture and the dimensions of the pin and bushing that I think will fit your Crosman 147. I think the email may have ended up in the spam folder or lost in the clouds. Let me know if you need me to send another email.

          Don


          • Hi Don,

            I received both of your emails and I responded to both also. I attached a couple of pictures that I took of the the pin I removed and of the lever. So, I don’t know why you are not receiving my emails. I replied to the same address as you sent from and I didn’t get any notice of them not being delivered. There may be something blocking my emails from your end.

            Geo


  2. “The Legends Cowboy BB gun is all metal and wood on the outside”.
    I think it’s not wood, unless there is a special version.
    Regarding the BBs bouncing back it would be interesting to see how the Smartshot will perform.
    Good morning everyone
    Bill


  3. B.B.,

    I remember when this came out. The 1894 was my first bb rifle with brass action and barrel band and octagon barrel as I recall.

    I will be looking forwards to see how this one does. While the shells are super cool, I can not see them being very practical. I would have preferred that they had stuck to the original version.

    I have to work real hard not to get this one with each PA order. Hope it shoots well.

    Good Day to you and to all,….. Chris


    • Chris,

      That 1894 wasn’t your first BB rifle. It was your first BB gun! (Perhaps first BB long gun?) :^)

      I have one of those, a Sears Roebuck branded one. No terribly accurate, but it looks cool and feels good in the hand.

      Michael



  4. B.B.,

    The PA site says smooth bore but the close up of the muzzle clearly shows rifling. Faux? Where does the barrel actually end? If it was rifled, it might have a shot of doing pellets well especially since the cartridges will hold pellets.(the pellet version of cartridges)

    Chris


  5. I have always taken air guns seriously and it was my impression for some time airgun users did not like that airguns were seen as pointless toys.

    Well another toy.


    • Mike,

      The issue is that many in the USA want these replicas that look and operate like the real thing. They use the excuse that it is for training purposes, but… This particular one is for those who watched too many westerns growing up and want to be a cowboy in the Ol’ West. There are even a bunch of ’em that get together and dress up and have shooting competitions.

      The airgun industry is hoping to get in on that as these “cowboys” spend a lot of money. With all of the Ol’ West replicas coming out, they would like to see competitions based on these.

      Yes, many think of these as toys, most especially since they are generally lumped in with paint ball and airsoft, which by the way are for those who watched too many war movies and want to play army.

      I myself have fun with my airguns. I greatly enjoy relaxing on the back porch and shooting spinners and killing feral soda cans. I do however treat them as I would firearms and I am constantly emphasizing to my grandson that these are not toys and should not be treated as such.

      I’m starting to ramble on now. I think you get the drift that I agree with you, but we are likely going to hear from those that do not, most especially after my bit of rambling. Oh well. There are proponents on both sides whose minds will not be changed.


  6. Lots of favorable comments on this one on the P/A site and some cool looking customer pics of a worn out finish mod. Looks like the stock color goes all the through the composite material. Should help hide any dings and scratches.
    Sometimes I think a shinny blue black paint finish or something like the blued Colt SAA pistols would look better and this is one of those times. The mat black looks like a modern industrial finish. Not exactly in line for a replica of an old blued rifle but it works for a modern recreation. That top ejection port will prevent any normal scope set up for sure. Especially with shells flying out of it.
    Dennis Adler would probably like to work his realistic aging magic on this one like he did on a 45.
    Bob M


  7. The serial number prefix,

    Looks like a date code.
    18H=August 2018.

    But that would mean this rifle is 8 months old.

    Was it being produced at that time?

    Just an observation.


    • 45Bravo,

      That picture is a stock photo provided to Pyramyd Air by Umarex (I believe). The gun I am testing reads 18L80978.

      It’s common for manufacturers to provide retailers with good photos of their products to populate the web page. If they don’t they run the risk of a less-than-professional photo representing their product.

      B.B.


  8. Off subject but got to show this. Totally surprised me.

    I posted some pictures the other day of the JSB Hades pellets shot out of my Maximus. I was shooting at 50 yards at a 12 oz. aluminum beverage can that I filled with water and froze in the freezer.

    Well yesterday I shot some JSB .177 caliber 10.34 pellets out of my Gauntlet at a frozen can at 50 yards. I had the opening of the can facing me and aimed for the hole that you drink from. I recovered some from the can yesterday after the ice melted but didn’t have time to take pictures.

    But this is one particular pellet I recovered I can say I have never seen this before. First off I found all of them pretty well mushroomed to half of the pellet legnth. And some looked like they was a hollow point and cupped in the middle of the mushroomed dome of the pellet head.

    This particular pellet is mushroomed and has a hole clean through the center of the pellet. To me totally amazing.

    But here’s a picture looking through the top of the pellet. I’ll post a few more pictures looking from the bottom at the skirt end and such. Hope you like it.



      • Here’s another veiw looking at the top of the pellet. You can see the mushrooming and the hole this way.

        But I thought that was pretty interesting how it made the hole in the center.

        My next pellet I want to try is the .25 caliber JSB 33.95’s. out of my Condor SS.I have tryed at 50 yards but I keep blowing through the can. I may need to move the can out to 60 or 70 yards so I can keep them in the can so I can recover them. I’ll post some pictures of them when I get some recovered.



          • Don
            I should of kept the other JSB 10.34 pellets I recovered from that can also but was amazed at how the one with the hole through it looked so I didn’t keep the other ones.

            But why I say is they were mushroomed nice like the one in the picture and they had a deep hole in the center to but not all the way through like the one I posted the picture of. In other words just a little more and those would of had holes through them too I believe.

            The ones I didn’t take a picture of almost looked like those Skenco hollow point pellets. Once you see the Skenco pellets in the link you would think I was shooting them. But seriously the picture I posted is of a JSB 10.34 grn. pellet.
            https://www.pyramydair.com/s/p/Skenco_UltraShock_177_Cal_9_57_Grains_Hollowpoint_150ct/898


    • GF1,
      That’s an excellent shot. I like putting copper pennies against duct putty to make holes in them, but this is cooler.

      I think I’ve given up on my TR5. I brought out my .177 97k yesterday and was cutting dandelion stems in half at will. Then I got out the .22 Aspen and at my 20yd range made a ragged hole, then today the .25 Gauntlet did the same job.

      At this point I’m done fiddling with something that really isn’t working. It took some time with a real shooter(s) to kick me out of the loop.

      Actually I think I’m just going to get a diana .22 56th to reward myself for the time spent polishing turds.


      • Edw
        Thanks. I been recovering some pretty interesting pellets and bullets from the ice filled aluminum cans. To me anyway pretty cool stuff. And I’ll have to try that with a penny and some clay.

        And yep with the TR5. From the factory they just aren’t that accurate. I had to do way to much work then should be needed to get mine to work right.

        And I like all your other guns. And funny you mention shooting at the dandelion stems. I was just doing that with my semi-auto Bullmaster and .177 Gauntlet and my .22 Maximus.

        And I got my .25 Condor SS. But I also like the Diana 56’s. I would like one in .22 also. But have thought about that .25 caliber they got. That should be a smooth shooter and I think might just be a nice gun in .25. I had a .177 and .22 caliber Diana 54 that uses the same slide recoil system the 56 uses. The 54’s we’re nice shooters.


  9. Interesting post, thank-you for the information. I had a thought and I wonder if you could follow up on it. You mentioned that the high velocity of such bb gun could have problems in some situations with bounce back and even damage to some target bb traps. Is it possible to shoot this with only one not two active Co2 cartridges? Since this is a mechanical not a blow-back function action, it should be possible to shoot this at a lower but safer velocity with only one active Co2 cartridge. I would think that the manufacturer could with little effort market this as a safety feature with a special inert Co2 cartridge color coded as a youth feature so that as the child progresses with safety handling they could then use two active Co2 cartridges and the Tim the Tool Man Taylor fans could just go directly to two Co2 cartridges for More Power. Power with only one active Co2 would make for lower velocity and it would be interesting to see just how much velocity is lost using only one Co2.


    • Waldorf1,

      Because of the way CO2 works, one cartridge produces the same or similar velocity as two. In fact, that recently happened to me during a test of some CO2 gun — I think it was the Ruger 10/22. One of the two cartridges failed to pierce and I got similar velocities but a lot fewer shots.

      B.B.



  10. I received the Legends Cowboy Rifle when it first came out. The first thing I did was order more cartridges because I knew I would loose some. I also have the Colt and I appreciate that the two guns use the same cartridge. I also have the Schofield revolver that uses a slightly different cartridge. I have been using Dust Devils in all three and have had no problems whatsoever.
    I shoot CAS and use these 3 guns in .45 Colt for matches. (Although the rifle is a 1873). I wish there was a double shotgun in CO2 that used some sort of shell for realism. I shoot the BB guns in my garage or back yard prior to a match and save a trip to the range for practice.
    I can see CAS matches in the future just for BB guns. This would be just the ticket for youth matches.
    The Legends rifle is a blast to shoot! I love the replicas and have the M1 Carbine on order.


  11. BB
    Do you have any idea what was done to up the power to increase the FPS ?

    Noticed that the rear sight has a single Philips head screw holding it in place. Is it possible to loosen it up and tweak the rear sight left or right to get a little windage adjustment out of it ? Seems to be some play available in that round mount.

    Just found a good pic and it sure looks like it is mounted in a chamfered slot to permit a little swing left and right for windage adjustment. OK perhaps not a true windage adjustment but a sight centering adjustment.
    Bob M




      • B.B.

        My Cowboy Lever Action didn’t need any windage adjustment or point of aim adjustment. However, as I look at the shape of the rear sight, I wonder if the rear sights unique shape has a “built-in” windage adjustment.

        The shape of the rear sight looks like you could possibly line up the front sight with either of the outside edges of the semi-buckhorn. I’ve tried to visualize the effect of aiming with the edges of the semi-buckhorn and am thinking that doing so would create significant shot elevation problems that can’t be corrected using the rear sights elevation adjustment.


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