Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Umarex Lever Action
Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Pellet cartridges?
  • The test
  • H&N Finale Match Light pellets
  • Qiang Yuan Taining pellets
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Shells
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we will look at the accuracy of the new Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun with pellets. You will recall that this is the most accurate BB repeater I have ever tested, so I’m looking forward to today.

Pellet cartridges?

Someone may have asked but if not I’m sure we all wonder how the gun does when pellet cartridges are used. The gun (it’s a smoothbore, so I can’t cal, it a rifle) comes with 10 BB cartridges that Pyramyd Air says are the same as Colt Peacemaker BB revolver shells. But there were no cartridges designated for pellets, so I used 5 of the pellet cartridges from the 1875 Remington BB and pellet revolver. They cycled through the action without a hitch, so I thought they might work. I will get to them in a moment, but first I wanted to establish a baseline of performance with the BB cartridges than came with this gun.

The test

I shot the Cowboy Lever Action off a sandbag rest at 10 meters. I shot 5-shot groups, but if a pellet seemed especially good I would shoot a 10-shot group. Obviously the open sights that came on the rifle were used because there are no options to mount an optical sight. This rifle ejects the shells straight up, so there may never be a scope option.

H&N Finale Match Light pellets

First up were H&N Finale Match Light pellets. I tested the first 5 using the BB cartridges and a second 5 with the pellet cartridges. Five from the BB cartridges went into a 0.651-inch group at 10 meters. That’s not too bad for a smoothbore.

Umarex Lever Action BB cartridge Finale
The Cowboy Lever Action put 5 H&N Finale Match Light pellets into a 0.651-inch group at 10 meters.

Now it was time to try the pellet cartridges. I used the same Finale Match Light pellet because we now had a baseline of performance with which to compare. This time 5 pellets went into 1.766-inches at 10 meters — not what I expected! Now, nothing says that a different pellet might not do much better, or even if I used a different pellet cartridge — like one from a Colt revolver — but there is enough of a difference between these two targets that I will stick to the BB cartridges that came with the gun for the rest of this test.

Umarex Lever Action pellet cartridge Finale
Using the pellet cartridges, the Cowboy Lever Action put a second 5 Finale Match Light pellets into 1.766-inches at 10 meters. I will use the BB cartridges for the remainder of the test.

Qiang Yuan Training pellets

Next up were Qiang Yuan Training pellets. Five of them went into 0.643-inches at 10 meters. Another decent 5-shot group.

Umarex Lever Action BB cartridge Chinese Training
Five Qiang Yuan Training pellets went into 0.643-inches at 10 meters.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets

Next to be tested were 5 Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. These are sometimes the most accurate pellet I test in a gun, but not this time. Five went into 0.925-inches at 10 meters.

Umarex Lever Action BB cartridge Sig Match
Five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 0.925-inches at 10 meters.

Now it was time to try some domed pellets. Given the BB gun’s low power level, I stuck with the lighter ones.

JSB Exact RS

The first dome I tried was the JSB Exact RS pellet. They did pretty good, with 5 going into a 0.756-inch group at 10 meters.

Umarex Lever Action BB cartridge JSB RS
Five JSB Exact RS domes went into 0.756-inches at 10 meters.

Air Arms Falcon

The final pellet I tested was another dome — the Air Arms Falcon. These often do remarkably well. But not in the Cowboy Lever Action. Five went into 1.316-inches at 10 meters — the second biggest 5-shot group of the test.

Umarex Lever Action BB cartridge Falcon
Five Air Arms Falcon pellets went into 1.316-inches at 10 meters.

Shells

I will say that the shells ejecting are a small problem. They want to go everywhere! I put a cloth pad on the bench and was very careful about working the lever, and still dropped about 4 out of every 10 cartridges to the floor.

Discussion

Well, the Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun is okay with many pellets, but not great with any of them. At least not in my testing. But it’s a can-killer for sure. And don’t forget — I tested it at 33 feet today.

On the other hand, this gun is the most accurate BB repeater I have ever tested! It borders on the accuracy of the Daisy 499. Even the Hammerli trainer for the Swiss K31 rifle is not as accurate!

The shells are a bother, I will admit. But they are also a large part of the realism. Just know that they need to be managed.

Summary

We have taken a good look at this new BB gun and it’s a winner for sure. The look, weight and accuracy are all where we want them. With a nice long gun like this can airgun Cowboy Action Shooting be far off?

38 thoughts on “Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun: Part 4

  1. B.B.,

    Thank you for the pellet test. At least shooting pellets (will) work. I suppose a head to head with the 499 is mute point as you have data from both rifles already published.

    I would have to give it up to the 499 though as it has the great peeps that are very nice to use. I feel 100% confident with peeps as opposed to using opens. A 499 type peep option on this would be a sweet upgrade.

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


    • I just ordered one and will try to work out installing a peep sight. I have peeps on my 1892 reproduction and Marlin model 39. Drill and tap most likely will be required using a tang or receiver mounted peep but I plan to do it.


  2. BB,

    That in all reality is not bad, most especially for a “fun” gun. This would certainly be ideal for Buffalo Bob to defend the homestead from the fierce pack of feral soda cans.


  3. B.B.,

    Your comment about the excellent accuracy of the Cowboy Lever Action got me wondering about the Diana Model 30 gallery BB gun, the most accurate BB gun in the world. Any word on those?

    Michael



      • B.B.,

        If you ever have the chance, check out the Season 2, Episode 5, “Copenhagen,” of “Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown.” In the middle of the episode Bourdain and the owner/chef of Noma (often hailed as the world’s greatest restaurant, but too esoteric for me) blow off steam at a small carnival, shooting some Diana Model 30s in a gallery. It’s fun to see the Model 30 in action in its intended environment. Ol’ Anthony acquits himself quite well, as I recall.

        I really miss Anthony Bourdain, an amazingly talented writer with one of the all-time best voices on television.

        Michael



          • Chris,

            I don’t believe I saw that one.

            And I don’t know Anthony Bourdain’s views on guns, but he sure didn’t have a problem with hunting. In one episode, on-camera with nothing cut or panned away from, he slits the throat of a bucking hog from ear to ear with a huge knife and practically decapitates it! No hesitation at all, not even a split second. Then that night he cooked up part of it in the show.

            He was a fascinating and complicated man, one of only a few famous people I wish I had known personally.

            Michael


            • Michael,

              I do not recall the exact words,…. but he made some comment on banning guns,…… with the exception for Ted and I,……. I can hear his voice saying that,… so I am pretty sure.

              He was clearly enjoying himself and as I recall,… I think that Ted pulled out a few “stops” to make sure that Anthony had a good time. Some full auto,… as I recall. Maybe some big caliber? It is probably on line somewhere.

              His,… “Snarky humor”,……….. I think is what I enjoyed the most. A bit like that myself,…. without the dark side of whatever he was dealing with.

              Chris


              • Chris,

                I grew up hearing a lot of stories about Ted Nugent in the mid-1970s, some of them complimentary, some not so complimentary, but all of them funny. These were stories from people who knew him personally, as while I went to school a couple years after his sister Sarah, they were in their early 20s with him in garage bands and such.

                Hey, here’s a Ted story I can tell. Recall that former skeet and trap club that’s for sale that I mentioned a few days ago? About 15 or so years ago, heck, 20 years maybe, they hosted an archery clinic by Nugent. A couple we knew back then took their 14 year old son there as it was open to the paying public, not just members. Of course he brought his bright blue Olympic-level recurve with him, with all of its trimmings probably a $4000 or $5000 bow.

                So Ted Nugent sees the kid in the front grasping a bright blue bow, snickers, and says for all to hear, something like, “Listen son, someday when you’re bigger, you should have your mom and dad buy you a real bow.” Everybody laughs until the boy, and I remember he was quite precocious, said, also loudly, “If you can beat me, then my mom and dad will buy you whatever bow you think you’re good enough to handle” (or something to that effect). The kid knew even then how to sucker someone into a trap.

                The 14 year old boy absolutely DESTROYED Nugent. Devastated him. Ted was not in such a talkative mood after that, but he was polite and congratulated the boy and shook his hand. Now that I am recalling it, everybody was a lot more subdued from that point on.

                The best part? Neither the boy nor his parents let Nugent or anyone else there know that he was a junior national champion working with a former Olympian as his coach. I knew what was coming as soon as Nugent made fun of the boy, but I didn’t say a thing until we laughed and replayed it all verbally at McDonald’s afterwards. I do feel a little badly for Nugent leaving that day trying to figure out how a 14-year-old totally owned him.

                If I were to buy that place (and no, I’m not planning to), I think I would have a sign carved for the entrance that reads, “Camp ______ (the boy’s name), Where a Boy Made a Boy out of Ted Nugent.” ;^)

                Michael


                • Michael,

                  Real good story and also a good reminder to talk all you want (or better,… don’t) but be ready and (well practiced) to back it up!

                  No doubt,.. Ted will always remember that one and probably changed his demeaner going forwards.

                  Chris


                  • Chris,

                    In all fairness to Ted Nugent, he wouldn’t have been able to beat that particular 15-year-old evenm if he practiced 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for 6 years. That kid simply had a bullseye at the point of every arrow he shot. He was an absolute natural PLUS he practiced 3-4 hours a day, probably.

                    I believe Tom Gaylord’s grandmother was also an archery natural.

                    Michael


  4. B.B.

    Seems that in spite of the added complexity of “realistic ejectable cartridges” the Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun set the bar for accuracy in a “non-target” gun.

    Wonder if there is any chance they would take what they learned (accuracy wise) and apply it to a peep-sighted target gun that would challenge the Daisy 499.

    Hank


    • Hank,

      While that might sound like a good thing with all the kids competing in the International BB gun Championships, Daisy has that contest sewed up. As in, use their gun or don’t compete. It’s like FX and benchrest shooting. FX very nearly had long range benchrest to themselves, not because of the lack of competition but because the rules were structured in their favor. That seems to be changing, but I don’t think the BB gun championships could be cracked open. At least not easily.

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        I understand what you are saying. It is unfortunate that rules are structured to benefit a company rather that allow fair and open competition in both the products and sport.

        Think that sometimes there are too many rules. As kids, when we had our competitions we all shared the same pellet rifle and used pellets from the same tin… no special clothing, optical aids, nothing. The guy who won was the most consistent/accurate shooter – nobody could argue the results as everybody used the same stuff.

        Hank



  5. As you all know I am not too fond of steel BBs so I find the very decent results with pellets quite satisfying, After all this is a fun gun replica of a 19th century icon and it did equal if not better than a certain specialized “Target” rifle (see TR5). I like what I see in the accuracy and nostalgia departments but . . . The flying cartridges. I admit that they are realistic but picking them up could turn into a pain.

    I can’t help but wonder if a similar gun based on the Marlin action and a rifled barrel wouldn’t be a better deal. It could be kept with iron sights for the looks or, enabled by the side eject mechanism, scoped for those who prefer an optical sight or have to use them because of poor eyesight. Additionally, the side eject would also help in keeping the spent cartridges within reach. Perhaps they could even be collected in a basket with proper attention to position and careful levering. The rifled barrel could be a plus, although from what we see in this gun not absolutely necessary.

    OK, I know that with all the investment that went into making this gun my suggestion is not going to be well received, but I can dream, can’t I?

    Henry


  6. I think I will just stick with my Daisy Model 99. I can load it and shoot hundreds of times before needing to reload, has decent peep sights, does not need CO2 and is pretty accurate. Feral soda cans and carpenter bees live in fear of this lever action.


    • RR,

      When a horde of feral cans attack, my Red Ryder is still my choice. I don’t have to reload until the cans are dispatched. When I grew up wasting ammunition was not allowed. BBs were ok so I don’t feel guilty shooting them. A quick shake and I have a good idea of how many shots are left before reloading.

      Don


      • Don,

        When growing up I was not allowed to have a bb gun, likely because my Dad had one. 😉

        When I was 3 my Dad bought an old Iver Johnson Mark X .22. At 6 my Grandfather and Dad started teaching me to shoot with it. I did not discover the world of airguns until 2005 when I went to the airgun show in Roanoke. I was hooked.


        • RR,

          You have come a long way since 2005. I shot my Mom’s .22 before I got my pellet gun at around 8 years, didn’t get a bb gun till a few years later. At this point I don’t know if I have shot more pellets or .22s. I know I have not shot as many BBs as either of those.

          I remember ordering Herter’s 500 pellet tins for around $1, I am pretty sure they were made by Benjamin. I shot my pellet gun almost every day till I was about 16. I even had a dog named Spot that loved hunting. Those were the days.

          Don


          • Don,

            Since I have started into airguns, I have not looked back. I do miss the 500 yard shots of my younger years, but with the modern air rifles coming out that range is more and more approachable.


  7. BB
    Is this the correct email address to email you off the blog. http://www.pyramydairblogger.com

    I don’t want to post it on the blog because of what site it’s on. But maybe so or maybe not you might be interested in this gun.

    Let me know if that’s the right email and I’ll send you the link. In reality it’s not a bad price. And I don’t want it. So let me know.

    Well I just clicked on it after I posted this reply and it didn’t work. So I guess it’s not right.



  8. Pellets smellets

    Is there a 3 gun or any other kind of air gun competition on that type of shooting happening yet. Fast action shooting I’m talking.

    Here’s a couple interesting links. Firearm related. But still more info.

    https://www.rangerpointstore.com/blog/tips-for-how-to-hold-aim-and-shoot-a-leveraction-rifle/

    https://www.rifleshootermag.com/editorial/cowboy-action-shooting-secrets/83950

    And there’s a very cool Henry add/video that for some reason I can’t find now. He pulls all shots in the loading chamber off in like 3 seconds.

    Probably will end up with one in the future. But it’s going to be rimfire. Not a centerfire or pellet or bb gun.


  9. BB, Really good four part series on this airgun. But how about one (or maybe two) more article(s) on his topic.

    One might be a direct side by side comparison with the Walther Lever Action. Testing pellet vs. pellet and pellet vs.BB. Smooth bore vs. rifled bore. Might be interesting to see the results at shorter and longer distances. Then maybe a BB only comparison against the Daisy 1894. But this might be tricky as I found that from the 10 versions of the Daisy 1894 I own, and the accuracy on them varies greatly from gun to gun.

    I use the Colt Peacemaker pellet shells, from my Legends Ace Revolver for pellets in my Cowboy Lever Action. They seem to work well, and are equally as accurate as using BB’s in the BB shells. Got the idea from other reviews. I have not tried the Remington 1875 pellet shells (which are the same shells as in the Crosman SNR357 revolver) in this airgun.

    Finally, I don’t get everyone’s complaint about the “spent” shells. The shell ejecting feature is what sets this airgun apart from the rest of the field, making unique, and makes this gun the companion to the Colt CO2 Peacemaker. People have been “saving brass” for a long time. Various items are sold to help pick up the ‘brass” in your shooting area. Hopefully the grass isn’t too long. How many shells are people really losing? Isn’t it a small price to pay for the realism that you get from the shell fling up in air, without having to go to a range or into the country? Isn’t that the whole idea of these shell loading airgun?

    Yes, if you are trying to recreate your youth, when you loaded up 650 BB’s in your Red Ryder and went shooting for the day, this might be an issue. But boys don’t roam urban areas with BB guns in hand like they did in the past either.


  10. BB
    I bought one of those Cowboy Legends lever actions back in January and I too was amazed at the BB accuracy, in case anyone doubts your reporting on it. I was using the same Umarex BBs you used. Its frequently compared to the Daisy 499 so to me it would be a compliment to Umaex to see so many people use the 499 in the same sentence with the Umarex when discussing accuracy. Also, the astonishing thing about this is the BB from the 499 is traveling at only 240 fps, while the BB shot from the Umarex is blasting out of the muzzle at over 600 fps. I used to think that Daisy engineered the 499 to shoot at that speed for purposes of accuracy-any faster and BBs would become less accurate. I have 2 other BB guns that exceed 600 fps: an old Benji 3030, and a Umarex Morph 3X. I didnt buy these guns for serious target work. Just “fun” guns. If I can hit a beer can with either at 50 ft, I consider that a “good hit”. Up until I bought the Legends lever action, I always thought that 600 fps was way too fast to expect decent accuracy from BBs.
    One thing I particularly dont like about the Legends is there are no provisions for alternate sights. I never really cared for those buckhorn rear sights found on frontier-style lever actions.
    I dont mind too much about the ejection system with the cartridges-I just cover the top of the receiver with my left hand and eject with my right, catching the cartridges before they go to the ground.
    I have found also that those H&N Match Green 5.25 gr. pellets work great in the Legends. They seem to shoot even faster than BBs and have excellent accuracy. I dont know what they’re made of but its HARD!! I recovered one from the duxseal after it passed through a Campbells soup can, and it still looked almost good enough to suggest it could be used again. (but I didnt).


  11. Umarex should do two things with this excellent Old West rifle. First offer a rifled barrel pellet rifle. Second come out with low cost plastic shells for the rifle


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