by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- The “barrel”
- Not a toy!
- Front sight
- Rear sight
- Adjust the stock
- Install the cocking handle
- One fact to bear in mind
At least one of you readers is really interested in the Umarex Air Javelin, just as I am, so today is Part 2. However, because this is an arrow launcher, this Part 2 will be a little different. I normally test velocity in Part 2, but the Air Javelin is better tested outdoors for that and today the temperature here in sunny Texas is 36 degrees, F. Yes, we have bright sunshine and the temp is supposed to rise to 62 late this afternoon, but my testing and photography work gets done in the morning, so the cold is hampering me.
That doesn’t mean I can’t shoot the Air Javelin (hereafter called the AJ) indoors. In fact, by shooting it indoors I will get a really good idea of how loud the report is. Remember that I could not hear it when I shot it at Industry Day at the Range in January. I’m making this report up as we go, so let’s get going!
Several readers were inventing new universes for the AJ to inhabit. Like, what if a pellet could also be loaded into the hollow air tube the arrow fits over? Let’s look at that now.
The gas tube/barrel is permanently attached at its base to the source of CO2 gas. Of course it is not really permanent, but it cannot conveniently be removed to insert a pellet — even if it was the right size inside. While such a feature is possible and even has been done by other manufacturers — nobody on the planet right now other than Umarex is offering an arrow shooter like the AJ for only $169.99.
Not a toy!
The AJ comes with a hang tag on the triggerguard that tells you it is not a toy. Believe it! I just hope that new airgunners won’t look at the arrow velocities that are displayed on the box at just over 300 f.p.s. and think, no big deal. Because a 170-grain arrow traveling at that velocity can do serious damage to tissue, and can kill! I said in Part 1 that you could take a deer with the AJ if you keep the distance reasonable, and the under 60-yard distance that I stated is about where most bow hunters take deer. There are powerful crossbows that can reach out farther and I’m sure a skilled longbow shooter can also do it, but hunters should always try to take their shot as close as possible — and that goes for airgun and firearm hunters as well. Let’s give the AJ the respect it deserves.
The AJ comes with what firearms shooters call back-up iron sights, or BUIS for short. They are not really metallic; that’s just a name they are given. You readers know that BB likes shooting with non-optical sights, so I will test them first. Before testing with them, they must first be mounted.
The front sight attaches via an Allen screw that’s screwed down onto the Picatinny rail. First you slide the front sight onto the rail, which is easy, because the fixed sight dovetail is larger than the dovetail on the Picatinny rail.
When the locking screw makes contact with the rail it pushes the dovetails on the bottom of the sight up to jam against the rail. It’s straightforward except for one detail. The screw has to make contact with the rail to do its job. Remember that a Picatinny rail has deep 5mm-wide slots spaced at regular intervals to hold accessories. The end of the Allen screw needs to press against one of the risers between the slots and not fall into a slot!
Here you see the front sight on the airgun. The Allen screw that is in the rear of the sight is aligned with and pressing against the first riser on the Picatinny rail. Note that the rear of the sight is slightly elevated. Positioning it like this aligns the front of the sight with the front of the rail.
The rear sight attaches to the Picatinny rail and not to the long flat spot at the rear of the rail. The screw that tightens the movable jaw at the bottom of the rear sight base is also the crossbar that interlocks with a slot in the Picatinny rail.
The sight will not attach to the long flat spot at the rear of the rail because that cross screw gets in the way. But it will attach to the first slot in the rail, and since this is a peep sight we want it as close to our sighting eye as possible. So the last slot is where it goes.
Adjust the stock
Once the rear sight is mounted you can adjust the stock. I told you in Part 1 that there are 5 stops in the stock, but this time I pulled the rear part of the stock off and saw there are actually 6 holes for locking it. The last hole for adjusting the stock as long as possible is very hard to feel when the pin clicks in.
I found that I needed the stock set in the first click back to see through the rear peep sight correctly. The length of pull is set at 14 inches on the nose. My sighting eye only sees a faint outline of the peep hole this way.
Looking through the peep, the front sight looks huge! I can see that my traditional target-type sight picture will be no good. This sight screams center of mass. It’s like a non-optical dot sight — and a big one, at that!
Install the cocking handle
The AJ is ambidextrous. The cocking handle will go on either side of the rifle. For this feature Umarex gets the Golden BB award for innovation! Remember — this is a $170 arrow launcher! How easy it would have been for the designers to figure they had already given buyers enough, just by the low price. Many companies would do that, but Umarex saw a way to add functionality cheaply and they did! Go back to my, “What makes an airgun ‘good’?” report, because this is a shining example! This is how it is done.
I held the AJ to my shoulder and pantomimed operating it to decide that I wanted the cocking handle on the right side. It’s slightly easier for me to cock that way and, since I have to take the gun down from my shoulder to load an arrow anyway, it isn’t an inconvenience. If this was a pellet rifle, I might have chosen the other side.
I used a ballpoint pen in the hole on the left side of the receiver to pull the bolt back so I could attach the handle on the right side. The spring tension is light and this is easy to do. Then screw the cocking handle all the way in. It has a shoulder that prevents the large handle from contacting the side of the cocking hole.
I spent a lot of time today showing you the setup. The manual covers all the same areas, but the instructions fall short of the things I have shown and discussed. Now it’s time to charge the airgun with an 88-gram CO2 cartridge (which you all know can also be a 90-gram cartridge).
Start with an uncocked gun. The forearm is unlocked by a square pushbutton on the right side of the receiver. Then slide the forearm forward for clearance. I would put 5 drops of Crosman Pellgunoil into the place where the cartridge screws in every time I install a new cartridge.
One fact to bear in mind
Once the CO2 cartridge is installed and pierced there is no way to remove it without exhausting all the gas. The manual says to not store the gun with a cartridge installed. I don’t think they mean overnight, but if you are putting the gun away for a time, remove the cartridge.
The manual also says there may be some hissing and loss of gas as the cartridge is being screwed in. I experienced that. Once the cartridge stops turning freely, get set to screw it in as far as you can with a single turn of the hand. Even then you might have to get a second grasp to complete the motion. The gas will stop abruptly when the cartridge is sealed.
Would a shutoff valve at this location be desirable? Certainly. How would they do it? Given the way the AJ is designed at present, it wouldn’t be easy. Bear in mind that the design of the gun is for slimness and convenient handling., I think I will take that over saving some of the gas. Remember, there will not be that many shots, even from this giant cartridge.
I spent my morning setting up the AJ to shoot. She’s now got sights, a cocking handle and is charged with CO2. It’s 12:30 p.m. and it’s still just 54 degrees outside. Next week, cold or not, I will shoot it for you. Time for me upload, edit and schedule this report.
This report will go differently than others have, because of what I’m testing. But we will still get to know the Air Javelin as well as we possibly can.