Umarex Air Javelin airbow: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Umarex Air Javelin
The Air Javelin from Umarex.

This report covers:

  • Get ready
  • Not an airgun?
  • Low cost
  • Industry Day at the Range 2020
  • Noise?
  • Description
  • Action is ambidextrous
  • Performance
  • Will it accept air?
  • Size and sights
  • What’s the purpose?
  • Summary

Well, lookie, lookie, who’s got the cookie! I write about airgun manufacturers putting peep sights on their guns yesterday and today’s star — the Umarex Air Javelin — has them! Not only that, the Air Javelin (AJ) is a thousand-dollar airgun selling for $170! Or at least it will be when they come in.

Get ready

I’ve been sitting on this report for over a month for a couple reasons. The main one is the AJ that isn’t quite on the market yet. I don’t like to write about airguns you can’t get, but I expect this one to be available soon.

Not an airgun?

Is the AJ really an airgun? We can get into a long discussion about that, and I expect we will, but here is my opinion. The AJ shoots arrows, so it’s definitely not a BB or pellet gun. And it runs on CO2, so we can have that discussion, as well.

On the other hand, BB Pelletier has been writing about crossbows, air-powered crossbows and big bore airguns shooting air bolts for several years, and this one fits right into all of that. I’m saying that even though the Air Javelin doesn’t fit into a neat definition of a pellet or BB gun, it does seem closely associated. Every time I write about one of the other airbows and even the conventional crossbows you guys get excited, so I think many of you are as interested in this subject as I am.

Low cost

One other thing drives me to write about the AJ more than any other and that is the price. Umarex is offering this airbow for a small fraction of what any other airbow sells for. I have been in this game long enough to remember when the  Airrow Stealth from Swivel Machine Corp. sold for $1,700. It was powered by CO2 like the AJ, and, on a 38-degree day, I buried arrows so deep in an arrow backstop (a bale of excelsior) 40 yards away that they could not be extracted.

Yes, I said it sold for $1,700 (well, $1,600 and change — I can’t remember exactly how much). At the time it was considered inexpensive, compared to their $2,500 repeating .25-caliber pellet rifle that produced over 60 foot-pounds! That was in the late 1990s, so the technology has definitely advanced.

Airrow Stealth
The Airrow Stealth from Swivel Machine Corp. was ahead of its time.

Industry Day at the Range 2020

I reported on the AJ in this year’s SHOT Show report. I saw it and shot it at Industry Day at the Range. I shot it outdoors on a 50-degree F day (10 C), and it performed very well. After seeing it just a short time on the range I certainly let Umarex reps know that I was interested in it — which I am!

Umarex Air Javelin Shoot
At Industry Day at the Range I shot the Umarex Air Javelin at 20 yards. It was accurate and fun! I was impressed.

Noise?

There were hundreds of shots being fired every second on those ranges and I had on electronic noise-cancelling earmuffs, so I can’t tell you how loud it is, but I got the impression that it’s rather quiet. I will expand on that when I start shooting this one. Pyramyd Air says it rates a 3 on the noise scale. 

Description

The Air Javelin is a rifle-looking single-shot CO2-powered bow that shoots a 170-grain arrow at a nominal 300 f.p.s. Umarex calls it an “air rifle” but I can see no rifling anywhere on the gun or inside the arrow. I believe they are using the slang term for a long gun that is conversationally called a rifle — like Daisy calls the Red Ryder an air rifle. The construction of the AJ is largely synthetic on the outside.

Action is ambidextrous

The cocking bolt handle is shipped separately and can be put on either side of the gun by the owner. That means the AJ is 100 percent ambidextrous. The trigger is not adjustable. The safety is a large cross-bolt that clicks solidly in position.

Performance

On the box Umarex publishes a list of 30 shots with the velocities obtained from a single 88-gram CO2 cartridge. That is impressive. I don’t know of another manufacturer who does it! What it shows is a starting velocity of 323 f.p.s. on the first shot and a slow steady decline over 30 shots to 195 f.p.s. on shot number 30. If you don’t own a chronograph that is handy information, though I reckon your own accuracy findings will supplant it at some point.

Air Javelin Box
Umarex put this velocity test on the AJ box!

The arrow is a hollow carbon fiber tube that slips over a tube inside the forearm. I weighed one and found it came to 171.2 grains, so the advertised weight of 170 grains is pretty close. In the first photo the AJ is shown loaded, so that’s how much of the 14-7/8-inch arrow stocks out the end. That design is probably also a major contributor to a lower sound at firing. The arrows in the box came with field tips that are ideal for target shooting.

Three arrows come with the AJ, but there are no 88-gram CO2 cartridges in the box. Order some of them when you order the AJ. Now, please don’t get anal on me. When I say an 88-gram cylinder, there are cylinders that hold 90 grams of CO2, as well. There are also probably other weights in this range. The exterior dimensions are all supposed to be the same, though this has been an issue with some other airguns. For now I would stick with what Umarex recommends until you know different.

Will it accept air?

I know you guys. You are already asking yourselves whether the AJ will accept the 13 cubic-inch regulated air tank that Air Venturi sells — the one that substitutes, one-for-one, with an 88-gram cartridge. No, it won’t. I took a picture to show why. There isn’t enough clearance. Could an adaptor be built to angle the air tank downward or offset it for the clearance? I’m quite sure it could be. Given the cost of those large CO2 cartridges I am almost surprised the Umarex did not mention one, though we may not have heard the last word from them.

Air Javelin CO2
As you can see, the forearm slides forward to permit installation and removal of the 88-gram cartridge.

Air Javelin Air
And there is the proof. The fill nipple, burst disc and manometer on the 13-cubic-inch Air Venturi air cylinder will not clear the frame of the AJ. Obviously an angled or offset adaptor could be made.

Size and sights

The AJ is 34 inches long with the stock fully collapsed and weighs 3 lbs. 8 oz. An 88-gram cylinder ads exactly one pound, give or take. The buttstock adjusts out for length of pull. It ranges from 13.5-inches to 16.5 inches and there seem to be 5 definite click stops.

It comes with an adjustable rear peep sight and a fiberoptic orange dot front sight. The rear sight doesn’t seem to adjust very far, side to side, and I think most shooters will probably mount a dot sight on the AJ, but at the low price point I think Umarex was wise to include the non-optical sights. I plan to test both types of sights on the AJ.

The top of the gun is a long Picatinney rail to which both sights attach. There are M-LOK-compatible slots on both side of the frame. This means that an almost unlimited number of shooting accessories can be attached.

What’s the purpose?

Is the AJ meant for hunting? It certainly can be used in that capacity, though it’s on the lower end of the desirable range of power for deer-sized game, so the shots should be close — maybe not exceeding 60 yards or so. What else is it meant for, then?

It seems to me that the AJ is an airbow for those shooters who want one without spending a bundle of money. I see it in the same vein as a big bore air rifle that can be used for hunting but is bought by a lot more owners who just want to own and shoot a big bore air rifle. It’s mainly about fun. At least that is my impression.

Summary

I like the AJ, for the reasons I have just mentioned. I would sure like to hear your feelings, so I know how best to test it.

64 thoughts on “Umarex Air Javelin airbow: Part 1

  1. B.B.,

    I honestly know how best to rest it, but it sure is interesting. I was seriously into field archery, shooting a four wheel compound. I still like archery, but I can’t handle the load well. I could drop the poundage, but I don’t want that. The crossbows and air/bows beckon.
    Well, there is no question the .177 AA Field Heavy with its 4.52 head is the best.

    ~ken


  2. BB,
    I think they should have made the soda straw barrel for the arrow rifled and 177 caliber. They could have included a screw on barrel sleeve for the Airgun. You would have two options for the price of one and that would be hard to beat. I think Crosman would have sold a lot more their airbows if they would’ve done that. It’s a lot easier to justify $700 if it has a dual purpose.
    Brent


  3. B.B.,

    Due to its low cost and light weight I would guess this thing is made up mostly of plastic, probably ABS type. Due to this construction I believe this will not lend itself easily to being converted to become a PCP using pressure greater than 1200 psi, possibly the materials it is constructed from limits it to about 800 psi. Although it appears underpowered it has sufficient punch for use in the backyard. I also guess that this was also developed for the German market so that it can be sold there.

    Siraniko


  4. BB,

    The price point is nothing short of amazing! (If) it is capable of an ethical 60 yard shot, that again is amazing. A hunter in a tree stand would not likely be shooting that far anyways,… maybe sub-30 yard.

    Brent’s idea of a pellet barrel w/shroud to stiffen sounds like a great idea and add on. If a field tip version weighs in at 177 grains, then a .22 or .25 pellet should do quite well.

    What would a broad-head do? A hunter would be using those. What would that do to the fps?

    Power level comaprision to other air-bows,… where does this one sit? (PCP’s included)

    All in all,… quite amazing. At that price point,…. that is right in Wally World terratory as well. That may be part of the sales strategy? If this can shoot broad heads at 30 yards well,… and do as well as bow,…. I think this is a slam dunk! The fact that they made it use the common 88 gram CO2 is a huge plus as well.

    Chris

    I see the edit feature is back to 5 minutes. It was just recently 30 minutes, was it not?


    • Chris,

      I think broadheads might slow the arrow quite a bit, but I expect they will develop them at some point.

      This airbow is at the lower end of the power scale. Some, however, are too fast (over 500 f.p.s.) and that is of not much value, either.

      B.B.


      • BB,

        I don’t shoot bows, but I’ve always assumed that the field tipped practice arrows would have removable tips that could be replaced by broadhead tips of the same weight. I guess I thought that if it were otherwise, there would be no point in practicing since the arrow you ultimately used to take game would not shoot to the same place as your practice arrows. I also assumed that if you practice with broadheads the blades would break or shred your practice medium or over penetrate it and get buried. If all that is incorrect, could you briefly explain how practice IS done effectively?

        I do know that at least some arrows have removable tips, for whatever reason, and are fairly standardized among manufacturers, so are you saying that special broadhead arrows will need to be made in the future for this airgun?

        Half



  5. BB,

    I was so fascinated with the Airrow Stealth. It was an absolutely awesome air rifle and I meant to say rifle. You could unscrew the arrow barrel and screw on a 9mm rifled barrel. I am not exactly sure how it loaded. Most likely a sliding port similar to the type Gary Barnes and some of the large bore Korean air rifles use.

    There was also a less expensive version of the Airrow. There were various accessories available that fit both. They had a fishing setup, a line thrower and a bean bag launcher for less than lethal use to name a few.

    Unfortunately, they did not survive. As you said, they were way ahead of their time. Fred Liady had one. Robert Beeman probably owns it now.

    Will it accept air?
    Given the cost of those large CO2 cartridges I am almost surprised the (that) Umarex did not mention one…

    Pookie! That was the only one I could find again quickly. Siraniko is really slipping up. He must be real excited about this one.

    P.S. Speaking of air, I am sure that before the end of the week there will be a prototype adapter waiting for one to ship.




      • B.B.,

        As you tell it.
        Yes, no one should want to own an Airrow Stealth, as built, unless a collector of Exotica.
        But as early adopters of the Modern PCP some of us learned about the secrets of the Dark Side from the AS’s failings. With a quick shutoff valve, regulator and/or a plenum the pneumatic trigger WEIGHT could be overcome as well as the excessive gas exhaust since we, the wise, turned it into a metered gun. The eight shot (in .25 cal) manual revolver cylinder could be reworked to rotate as smooth as silk as long as you used a torque wrench to fasten the two halves. It also could be used with He, N, hpa, and CO2. with a .25 cal. 50 gn. Pelletman custom bullet it was capable of 80+FPS and as Jess Galen said, “…shoot dime size groups at 100.”
        It was ahead of the time and the machine work is still not to be found in ANY airgun! With the proper modifications it is still amazing to shoot.
        Best I can tell only 300 of the A8SRB were ever built.

        shootski


      • B.B.,

        That may have been an Owner induced problem. Catalina air cylinders were available in, 7.5, 13, and 22 cubic inch rated for 3,000psi even back then from Swivel.

        shootski




        • RR,

          “I am one of those people that have a champagne taste and a six pack wallet.”

          Somewhere down the lineage,… we are related!!!! 😉 LOL! 🙂

          Chris


        • RidgeRunner,

          It was expensive! I have your champagne taste problem too! I kept my wallet shut for six packs for a long time as well as a complete halt to buying more weapons and weapon accessories other than PCP fill specific and mods to the Stealth for a few years to swing “blowing” that kind of coin! I just had this gut feeling that PCP was the Back to the Future of airguns. I placed my bet and it payed off! I learned the Dark Side and now it appears it is finally the Bright City on the Hill! After a bit of Contract work $$$$ I jumped into Big Bore with Quackenbush and never looked back.

          SIMPLE Roll of the dice!

          shootski


  6. B.B.

    I will be interested to see how this does in the accuracy phase.
    Also, how can something be ” exactly one pound, give or take.”

    My 50 yard groups are 1 inch, give or take…lol…

    -Y


  7. BB,
    I have an off topic question. When will the Air Venturi Butterfly on-board pump PCP be available? When you wrote about it at the Shot Show, it was the item I was most intrigued about.

    David Enoch



      • Hi Gents,
        Sorry I forgot to reply sooner; I did call Air Venturi about when the Butterfly would become available; and I got a call back from Cory (a really nice guy) the next day. We also talked about the ease of pumping, and he said it was very significant, like a 30 to 40 percent reduction. As to availability, he said the manufacturer said Summer or Fall; so Cory said to expect Fall. I am really looking forward to this rifle. I’m sure B.B. will be looking to test one as soon as they are available, and THAT is something I really wish to see. =>
        Take care & stay safe,
        dave



  8. “…at the low price point I think Umarex was wise to include the non-optical sights.”
    B.B., I concur; that’s very cool…so much better than slapping on a low-quality scope! =>



  9. B.B.

    I doubt that Umarex will modify the Air Javelin or provide an adapter to use the Air Venturi 13 cubic-inch regulated air tank. Umarex already has the PCP Air Saber coming out this year as well. Allowing the Air Javelin to use an air tank instead of CO2 might lead to reduced sales of the Air Saber.


  10. This Javelin seems to be aimed (pardon the pun) more for target shooting. The Umarex AirSaber would be the choice for hunting, albeit a PCP version. The main draw (JMO) is cost of the JavIelin. Tyler Patner did a nice review of the AirSaber last month.


  11. This is a game changer for archery seasons ,IF it could be included in the tackle allowed for X-box regulation. I hunt with traditional tackle and have used a crossbow. I have killed two deer in the past three seasons, with the crossbow at ranges of 13 and 20 yards respectively ,which is typical for the heavy cover we have in the northeast. I use the same fixed broadheads that I use with my longbow. They are the Magnus Stingers. I use 2016 and 2018 aluminum arrow shafts as well. There was complete penatration on both bucks that I shot, and the energy this gun supposedly produces is similar.


  12. Curious if there is a “line tosser” accessory that will fit the Javelin. Reason I ask is that I’m starting to get interested in HAM radio and one “need” is the ability to install a dipole antenna at an elevated range from tree to tree (say 30′ or 10 meters up).

    Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now happily in sunny and DRY (for today, anyway) GA – KO4AWW



    • Fred DRPoNJ,

      You could buy one for that reason ;^)
      But…if you want that antenna up sooner you could use a two or three step to raise your wire. First use a monofilament with a sinker to get it up with a toss (sling shot) over the limb(s). Attach a a heavier line to the bitter end and pull that into position. Multiple itterations and you can haul a fuel hose up there too!

      But ifyou NEED the airbow then ignore this FREE advice.
      CQ, CQ, CQ.

      shootski


      • You mean -·-· –·-· ? Didn’t think about the sling shot. It’s just that this would be a so much more elegant solution. Perfect use for that Popeil Pocket Fisherman product from Ron Popeil (but wait, there’s more!). I guess an inexpensive spinning reel, taped to the rifle with the monofilament line attached to the arrow or bolt, would work.

        73


      • You mean -·-· – – · – ? Couldn’t figure out how to make the code in bold. Also, didn’t think about the sling shot. It’s just that this would be a so much more elegant solution. Perfect use for that Popeil Pocket Fisherman product from Ron Popeil (but wait, there’s more!). I guess an inexpensive spinning reel, taped to the rifle with the monofilament line attached to the arrow or bolt, would work. (

        73


        • Fred,

          I only got my Radio Telephone Operators Licence because the FAA required it. I never got over the hump and got my HAM gear. Only so many things even a shootski can do! I am teaching Morse Code to my Grandsons just as i did for my kids. It qualifies as a foreign language these days! My son comlains that im teaching them International and not ‘Merican Railroad Morse ;^)

          Have great fun with your Airbow! Sounds like you got it covered!

          shootski



  13. Gunfun1,

    SPELLCHECKERS!

    I went to my library to get my copy to Fact Check myself:
    In the Airgun Digest 3d Edition, by J.I. Galan (correct spelling) on p. 161 Galan says, “The accuracy obtained with a 25-caliber rifled-barrel Airrow is also reported to be quite impressive, producing dime-size groups at 50 yards.”
    My bad!
    Swivel Machine used Lothar Walther barrel(s) and it will group -MOA at 100 yards shooting quality bullets like the Pelletman customs.

    shootski


    • Shootski
      That would be the only way I would be interested in the arrow shooter BB is reporting on. If it would shoot a bullet. Not interested in shooting arrows. Well really not even bullets out of a air gun. I like pellet shooting air guns.


      • Gunfun1,
        Lothar Walther is fully capable as you well know to change the twist rate on a barrel. So as you also know with barrel change, a plenum size change and/or a Regulator output pressure change you can make a bullet shooter into a pellet shooter and back all you want.
        One of the marvelous features of the Dark Side that is all but virtually impossible to do with the other airgun power plants!

        More gun fun for everyone!

        shootski


        • Shootski
          Well of course you can do that.

          But does the Javelin do it?

          At least the Wingshot and other Seneca guns can.

          I’m no way interested in a arrow only shooting air gun.


          • Gunfun1,

            We need B.B. to tell us how the arrow “barrel” is attached to the receiver and IF it is removable (easily) and multiple times (plastic) for swapping out the various barrels. Swivel Macine built their’s to have easy flexibility way back in the Dark Ages of modern PCP! Why shouldn’t UX? IF they are smart they will!

            shootski



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