Umarex Air Javelin airbow: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier


The Air Javelin from Umarex.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Before we begin — the inside diameter of the gas tube
  • The test
  • Setup
  • First shot
  • Aiming
  • Loading
  • Shot away!
  • Move target to 11 meters
  • Shot two
  • Shot three from 10 meters
  • Back up to 17 meters
  • Adjusted the rear sight one last time
  • Shots 5 and 6
  • End of the test
  • Shots 7 and 8
  • Summary

Today I shoot the Umarex Air Javelin airbow for accuracy. I know that a lot of readers have been waiting for this! This will be an accuracy test, but as I said before, the AJ is such an important shooter that this report is going to proceed along different lines.

Before we begin — the inside diameter of the gas tube

Oh my, have some readers obsessed over this! They are busy redesigning the AJ the way it should have been, if only Umarex engineers were smart enough to have recognized it! I hear from AirForce all the time that they wish they were as clever as the people who redesign their airguns. But they know they aren’t, so they just let it ride.

The outside diameter of the gas tube measures 0.278-inches. The wall thickness of the tube measures 0.022-inches. That would make the inside diameter 0.234-inches. But when I measured the ID with my calibers I get readings between 0.135 and 0.155-inches. I know that my calipers are not the proper way to measure the ID of this tube, so I will hold up a 0.20/5mm pellet next to the tube and let you take a guess.

Air Javelin gas tube
That is a Sheridan .20 caliber pellet in the jaws of my Mitutoyo 8-inch dial caliper. The band at the base of the pellet measures exactly 0.2000-inches. The nose of the pellet that is next to the gas tube measures 0.1945-inches.

The test

I will shoot from a sandbag rest — the same as I did when I first shot the AJ at the SHOT Show. There I was 25 yards from the target. But Umarex had sighted the AJ in with a red dot sight and all I had to do that day was shoot it. Today I was on my own.

Setup

I started with the target bag 15 feet from the AJ. Yes I am using the back-up iron sights (BUIS), but since they detach from the AJ and I had to install them, I want to be certain of my shot! I taped a 10-meter pistol target to the center of the target bag to give me a more definite aiming point.

Air Javelin first shot
For the first shot I placed the target bag 15 feet from the AJ.

First shot

I have so many things to tell you about shot number one. First, the AJ is extremely easy to cock! Nobody will have a problem doing it. When the arrow is seated you cock the gun.

I was wearing my new hearing aids, so my description of the discharge sound will now be more precise.

The trigger is two stage with a looooooong first stage pull! The trigger then breaks heavily but cleanly.

Aiming

I’m using the BUIS and you will remember that I told you that front fiberoptic is large. I decided to use a center-of-mass hold, which means holding the front orange dot in the center of the bull. That turned out to be a mistake, but I didn’t know it yet.

I will say this — the orange fiberoptic front sight gathers light extremely well. The thing glowed like it was battery-powered!

Loading

Load the arrow with the gun uncocked and on safe. It slides down the gas tube easily until it contacts the o-rings in the rear. Then it needs an extra push.

The arrow has two red “feathers” and one white one. On all bows the orientation of the odd-colored feather is important, but the manual makes no mention of it anywhere I can see. So I made it a point to load each arrow with the white feather pointing up.

Air Javelin loaded
The arrow is loaded.

Shot away!

The first shot went off with a loud report and a small cloud of CO2 gas. The arrow hit the target below the bull but in line with its center. Remember, I am holding the fiberoptic dot as close to the center of the bull as I can.

Air Javelin shot 1
The first shot hit the target about 3-inches below the aim point.

Move target to 11 meters

I moved the target bag out to what I thought was 10 meters. When I measured it from the tip of the arrow it was 11 meters. I adjusted the rear sight up and shot the second shot.

Air Javelin 11 meters
The target was moved out to 11 meters.

Shot two

Shot two hit the target about one inch below shot one and a little farther from the centerline of the bull. I had not known how much to adjust the rear sight up, so I didn’t go more than a full turn of the screw. I started hearing the clicks of the detent as I did this.

Air Javelin shot 2
Shot two hit below shot one and farther from the centerline of the bull.
It hit the back of the first shot, cocking it to the right.

Shot three from 10 meters

I adjusted the rear sight up a little and fired the next shot. It struck the target to the left of the first two. At 10 meters the fiberoptic front dot is almost as large as the bullseye.

Air Javelin shot 3
The third shot went to the left a bit. I’m still at 10 meters here, and the front dot is almost as large as the 2.5-inch black bullseye. I measured these three shots after withdrawing the arrows and the measure 1.617-inches apart, center-to-crenter.

Back up to 17 meters

I now moved back to 17 meters, which is almost as far as I can go in my little backyard. At 17 meters the front dot is larger than the bull! It is still smaller than the 8-inch kill zone of a whitetail deer, but I have lost a lot of precision with the target I’m using today.  That was what I meant at the beginning of this report when I said I probably picked the wrong sights for today’s test, but now I’m not so sure I did. Because of what I did buyers will have a good idea of how useful the BUIS are and can plan accordingly. I will guess that the BUIS will work to 25 yards on a deer. Beyond that a dot sight will be preferred, but in a hunting scenario you might want the dot for better visibility, anyway.

The first shot went “whump” — a decidedly different sound than the others had made. I could not see the arrow from where I sat so I walked up to the bag. The arrow was way low on the bag. That was why it sounded so different. Apparently the arrow dropped a by three inches when I moved back the 7 meters, so I had some more sight adjustments to make.

Air Javelin shot 4
From 17 meters with the same sight setting the arrow dropped another three inches.

Adjusted the rear sight one last time

I cranked the rear sight up as far as it would go and still allow me to hear the clicks. Let’s see.

Air Javelin sight up
The AJ rear sight is up pretty much as far as it should go.

Shots 5 and 6

The next two shots are from 17 meters with the rear sight cranked up pretty far. The first shot climbed on the target. 

Air Javelin shot 5
After the rear sight was adjusted up the next shot climbed back the three inches it has lost from the move.

Air Javelin shot 6
Shot 6 was higher and off to the left. I will tell you why in the report.

End of the test

At this point I realized that it was futile to continue. I had exceeded the fiberoptic sight’s range for accuracy. I was guessing where I was aiming and was off by several inches on every shot. I am almost certain that with a dot sight I can shoot near Robin Hood shots  (one arrow inside another) at this close distance, so it is pointless to continue.

Discharge sound

The AJ is loud. I call it a 4 on the Pyramyd Air sound scale. The sound does diminish as the gas bleeds down, but it still cracked on the 8th shot.

Shots 7 and 8

I went back outside when the sun was high in the sky and fired two more shots offhand from 20 meters. This time I was at the limit of my back yard, without shooting on an angle. Offhand I put two more shots into the target bag 1.5 inches apart and one inch below the aim point. This time there was no paper bullseye, so I aimed at the target bag itself, which was much easier. Perhaps we can stretch the range for the BUIS to 20 meters if you aren’t aiming at a small target. A grapefruit would be ideal!

Summary

I like the AJ a lot! It is just as much fun to shoot as I’m making it sound. And I think that once I get a red dot sight mounted we are going to see some real accuracy!

75 thoughts on “Umarex Air Javelin airbow: Part 3

  1. B.B,

    The sights seem to have been made to ensure that this is not shot to far from its effective range. Someone will probably shave the front sight down to raise the Point of Impact. That also gets rid of the bright orange thingy in front. I think I can have something like this built locally. The only problem will be the arrows/bolts but something a little research should be able to find a good source for. The only big question would be what am I going to use it for? Can’t hunt around here in the city. If I can attach a fishing line to the arrow and still shoot accurately it could possibly be used for fishing maybe.

    Siraniko


  2. B.B.

    “I hear from AirForce all the time that they wish they were as clever as the people who redesign their airguns. But they know they aren’t, so they just let it ride.”

    Do you mean that AirForce is disappointed in Umarex’s engineer’s ability?

    I alway thought that they were second rate.

    -Y


  3. BB,

    What???? People (here) armchair re-engineering something? 😉 Well,… as you have said in the past,…. a lot of what does get discussed here does actually show up in production guns in the future.

    In your reply to Siraniko,…. are you saying that this air-bow does not have enough fpe to be an effective hunting tool? Or maybe it does,… but only at a range that is too close to really be practical for hunting? Can you clarify your statement?

    Also,… on your target bail,…. are they made in such a way (density) to be somewhat representative of penetration on an actual animal,… like a deer?

    Chris


    • Chris,

      I think the AJ can be used to take deer, but only close in. Before I said under 60 yards. I will refine that to under 40 yards, but that is where a large majority of bow hunters take their deer.

      My target bale is tougher than deer flesh, but more forgiving than deer bone. I bought the toughest one I could find because these airbows and the crossbows that I test are the most powerful on the market.

      B.B.


  4. BB,

    Interesting little “toy”. I do not think I could suggest this for hunting deer. I just do not think it has enough power to be “humane”. Of course, that is just my opinion. I am not one to shoot deer behind the shoulder anyway. Years back I bought a very nice compound bow and became quite proficient with it, but could never bring myself to go hunting with it.

    My looking at the front sight on this makes me think it is a disaster waiting to happen. It is good that you demonstrated to potential customers just how bad those sights are. I will admit that on something like this a proper glowy thingy or a good dot sight would work well, but these are not it.

    Is not Umarex coming out with a more serious arrow launcher than this? It seems that just about everybody else is.

    I wear glasses because I like to see. I wear hearing aids because I like to hear.


  5. I was shocked at how high I had to adjust the rear sight to be on target as well. I went up as far as I could feel the clicks too. I would still like you to test Umarex’s 12 gram adapter, as I feel like it really makes the air bow much more economical to shoot once you have used it a few times. Very frustrating to not be able to find extra arrows in stock anywhere, I have 2 sets on backorder, but early June is the best guess on availability. I have no illusions about being able to hunt with this in NY any time soon, our DEC took forever to allow regular crossbows. That’s why I bought this one instead of the Airsabre.
    I think the Airsabre would go right through my crossbow target.
    Definitely putting a red dot on this one, as 20 yards is the limit with the fixed sights without holdover. Did you see what I was talking about with co2 storage in the buttstock?
    Thanks for doing a good test on this one. Lots of fun for backyard shooting.


  6. So… it looks like they have successfully combined apples and oranges. I mean arrows and guns and created an entertaining novelty that could be somewhat deadly. I think they should upgrade it to a PCP Spear Chucker for serious hunting 😉
    Bob M


    • Bob M,

      Crosman and Air Venturi have been doing it for some time now. As it has been starting to catch on in popularity, more companies have decided to “jump in the pool”.

      As for the idea of the “Spear Chucker”, many would find the recoil daunting but I would like it. 🙂


      • RR
        A pneumatic shoulder mounted PVC bazooka utilizing a sabot. A large PVC pipe for the barrel and a slightly smaller one for an air reservoir connected with a 9 volt lawn sprinkler valve at the rear section area. Flatten a small section of the smaller pipe for a pistol grip with a small button for the valve. Epoxy it on as well as a picatinny rail for optic mount.
        Screw on end cap with a 3/4″ PVC pipe epoxied on inside to push sabot beyond air transfer port. Stencil on all required safety instructions of course, not for children!
        100psi fill, one shot, one kill ! Can also be used with 1/2″ thick steel bolt that will penetrate 3/4″ plywood.



          • Chris
            I got one over 20yrs ago complete at a gun show, It was advertised in magazines for a while too. I’ll try to find some info on it on line. Can’t remember what it was called?


            • Bob,

              Thank you very much! 20 years eh? I am sure there is some “new and improved” super, hyper, magnum version out by now,….. 😉 No rush my man. Just curious and something like that might make a fun project with current down time.

              I don’t know about you,… but if I get to looking at the You Tube stuff,… on “homemade” stuff,… I have a hard time stopping! 😉

              Chris


              • Chris
                I could not find anything about the particular one I had just yet but if you look up spudgunner.com and find Electronic Solenoid Valve Cannon you can get the basic idea. Mine was not sold as a spud gun but air bolt gun and the solenoid attachment was moved forward for rear sabot entry. It was a time when spud guns and PVC launchers and air guns were popular.

                Look up PVC airguns , launchers, spud guns etc. and there is lots of home made versions and plans out there. Performance depends on tubing size and design. Massive rapid low pressure (less than 100psi) air transfer is the key. No cheep stuff used for safety. As a matter of fact I think spud guns may be banned? in some places ? They were too powerful. Especially the mortar types and big bores that lit off lighter fluid instead of using air.

                The sound it made was like nothing you ever heard … Ba-wooom!


                • Bob M,

                  We powered them with a cheap hairspray can especially the ones with butane as the propellent. You are absolutely correct about big air dump being the key. We used a reservoir twice the ID of the barrel and ran it at the PVC schedule 40 maximum working pressure of 220 – 20PSI for higher temperature than standard. It did make a sound more like a Mortar going off.

                  We had ours taken by the Sheriff because he could!

                  shootski


  7. Once you get a dot sight installed unless you have a good supply of arrows I would loose the paper target and just shoot once each at the aiming points on your Morrell target. Otherwise one group might be all you get without tearing up your ammo. I’m with RR about using this for deer. It would be like using a 177 to take a pig. Sure it CAN be done but only in a very specific situation. Now rabbits are a whole other ballgame. Maybe even squirrels on the ground.





        • Rk
          Have you seen those arrows used for hunting flying birds. The arrow has like 3 or so wires probably 8 inches long positioned around the tip area of the arrow. The wires are bent at a 90° angle with about 2 inches facing forward. The wires are pointed on the tip.

          The arrow kind of catches the bird in flight.

          And maybe they tie a string to the arrow like they do when they bow and arrow fish.

          I seen it several years ago on a hunting channel. They was just shooting the arrows at the birds. Arrows only. They didn’t have anything attached to the arrows to stop/reteive the arrows or birds. Was actually pretty cool to watch.


          • Yeah been an archer for over 45 years.If you want to limit the distance your arrow flies on shots at birds on the wing you use a flu-flu.The feather is wound around the shaft instead of down the shaft. Really shortens the distance they fly. Instead of 100 yds. or more, it may only go 40 yds. The first 20-25 yds .they are very effective. Usually pretty easy to find because they always land straight up and down in tall grass. The biggest problem with a flu-flu is that they are a lot noisier.


            • Rk
              I’m not at all a archer. Firearms, shot guns and air guns is me.

              I wonder if the flu-flu your talking about could be put on the Javelin bolt. And if it would fit in the gun.

              And I guess another question. Are them screw on tips that I mentioned for the wing shooting arrows or are they special made arrows.

              I guess I should search more about it. Maybe I would like to try it. But I’m thinking it would be more like a pesting deal. Dont think the Javelin is legal for bird hunting or deer hunting from where I live. I guess I should check into that too.


              • The flu-flus should fit from the looks of the size of the outer shroud. But the screw-in tips you’re talking about would add a lot of weight to the arrow. The ones I’ve seen weigh almost twice what a regular field tip weighs. There is a tip from G5 I think that is called Small Game Head which work very well on small game and even turkey. Almost impossible to loose in tall grass or even short as far as that goes As for broadheads I’d try a Rage brand made for a crossbow.The blades are designed not to deploy until they hit something. We have used the regular Rage broadheads for years and they make impressive wounds and short blood trails.


                • Rk
                  Ok thanks.

                  And I have heard of the broadheads that open when they hit.

                  I thought they was for bow and arrow shooting. I imagine they could be used for both bow and arrow and crossbows though.





    • RidgeRunner,

      These are a different breed.

      Build your own bullets or pay to buy the customs!

      It, the ammo, gets expensive and especially for the glass on top.

      shootski


      • Shootski,

        I was being facetious. There was nothing off the shelf about those rifles.

        My dad and I used to work up our loads for our rifles. That helps, but first you need something worth putting them in.


        • RidgeRunner,

          Obviously!
          Not going to find a record breaking shooter in any gun at a big box store’s gun counter.
          But there are manufacturers that are turning out rifles that will outshoot 95% or more of the purchasers. Maybe that isn’t saying much…

          shootski


  8. B.B.
    If I were a bow maker, should I be losing sleep over the fact that there are now three price points
    for this type of device? A bag of o rings, some silicone grease, and a floor pump for the PCP version
    seems a pretty reliable way to harvest game in the field. This particular entry level model designed to lure younger buyers, and pass on learning a compound or recurve? More like velcro than a shoe lace. I dont have a clue how reliable compound bows are,but they do look sort of tactical with all the cables and cams and stuff on them. So, is this the begining of the end for traditional string bow shooting? I think the mini bow you showed a while back falls in the recreational side of the spectrum, but would also be neato powered by c02. More fun than lawn darts, and a much better chance of getting small game.
    I didn’t get my check yet, so I’m just browsing.
    Rob


    • Rob,
      The last long bow I bought was from Martin Archery; it was in the $400 range, which I thought was pretty economical for such a work of art. I had a compound bow, but I like traditional archery tackle…just for fun, and the joy of shooting it. This AJ is a completely different animal, something which also has its place.
      But traditional bows have been around for thousands of years, and (depending on the timing of the Second Coming of Jesus…something totally beyond my purview, LOL =>) I believe they will be around for thousands of years more…just my opinion. =>
      Take care, stay safe, and happy shooting to you,
      dave



  9. “Oh my, have some readers obsessed over this! They are busy redesigning the AJ the way it should have been, if only Umarex engineers were smart enough to have recognized it!”
    B.B.,
    Duly noted! As one of the “obsessors,” I can enjoy a good laugh at myself over this; and I really liked the picture you posted with the Sheridan pellet; thank you! =>
    Take care, stay safe, and keep up the good work,
    dave


  10. BB
    Probably the reason your getting a funny reading when you measure the wall thickness and inside diameter of the tube. The face has a burr rolled over on the inside that your picking up on.

    Just a guess but I think that’s why. They probably didn’t take the time to deburr it since nothing is suppose to go on the inside.


  11. This is interesting.
    I haven’t shot a bow in years, the last one I owned was a Highcountry American Storm, and used it for hunting and 3D tournaments in the late 80’s early 90’s.

    Now due to injuries, I can no longer pull a standard or compound bow, nor throw a baseball overhand, without excruciating pain.

    I agree this has the potential to possibly be a great fishing option, if they allowed it.

    One of my friends is an avid gar and carp fisher with a bow, as to wether he would use something like this, I doubt he would, but it would be entertaining for me, as when we go fishing, he shoots a bow from the front deck, and I sit in the back of the boat casting for whatever I can catch.

    A bad day of fishing, is better than a good day at work.

    Ian



  12. B.B.
    When can we see the velocity and the groups of the .20 cal pellets though the smooth bore center barrel? Also I think they should have made it .22 cal due to .20 cal pellets being higher priced and not as many to choose from. Oh and couldn’t they have rifled it? 😉 Just having fun.

    Doc


  13. B.B.
    “But when I measured the ID with my calibers I get readings between 0.0135 and 0.0155-inches.” This cannot be right. The ID is definitely larger than the wall thickness. 😉 As an experienced QC inspector, this jumped out like a sore thumb to me. Think you better measure that again.
    The caption under the photo for shots 5 & 6: “After the rear sight was adjusted up the next show (shot) climbed back the three inches it has lost from the move.”
    Geo (the knit picker)


  14. I wonder if you could cover the center section of the front sight to minimize area exposed to ambient light, so it wouldn’t be like sighting it with a lit flare up front? Piece of black tape maybe?


  15. B.B.,

    I read this report early today and thought something is wrong, while the report is fine and I think this looks like a fairly good arrow shooter I noticed in the image of the first shot captioned “The first shot hit the target about 3-inches below the aim point.” that was fine. But when I saw the second shot captioned “Shot two hit above shot one and closer to the centerline of the bull.” I thought shot 2 was below and to the right.

    I looked at it again and I do believe shots 1 and 2 are reversed.

    I may be losing my mind or just wrong but was surprised no one else mentioned it.

    Mike


    • Mike in Atl,

      “I may be losing my mind or just wrong but was surprised no one else mentioned it.” The groups said it all…the BUIS need to cost more than the gun to get anything thar works the way it should!
      B.B.’s tests need an I.V.&V. Firm to help him. Doing all the work hisself makes stuff like that NOT happening more often surprising!
      The numbers written on the targets are incorrect also, so you are not suffering brain disfunction.

      shootski




      • BB

        I’m afraid Mike is right. In your first target photo, that you captioned as Shot 1, the only arrow in the photo is clearly in the 4 ring. The next target photo, which you labeled Shot 2, now shows a second arrow in the 1 ring, which is lower and further right of center than Shot 1. That’s the opposite of how you described it in the caption. In the next target photo Shot 3 is in the 2 ring. The next target shows Shot 4 with the other three arrows removed. At this point it looks as if you transposed Shot 1 and Shot 2 in your handwritten labeling on the paper target. That seems to indicate that Shot 2 actually hit below Shot 1 in spite of your raising the rear sight for the added distance to the target and it does confuse things a little bit. If you have the ability to edit at this point I thought you might want to do so.

        Half



          • BB,

            You’re welcome, and thank you for explaining why the first 2 arrows entered the target at different angles. I felt like you would have been keeping the target face square to your shooting position and had assumed it must have been some kind of squirrely arrow shaft. I guess Arrow 1 could even be the reason Arrow 2 went low and outside. You may have had a near Robin Hood!

            Half



  16. Tried a 100 grain broadhead, huge loss of power, this will need ultra light broadhead to be of any use for small game. Definitely not for deer.
    With the 12 gram adapter, be careful to unscrew piercing screw before tightening cap lol
    Also, I found you want to wait until the adapter is screwed in all the way before piercing the co2 or it doesn’t want to screw into the air bow all the way and gets wobbly when pressure drops. I think this may result in some gas leakage as well. At 40 degrees I got 10 shots from 2 12 gram cartridges. If it ever warms up I hope this increases.


    • Thanks for giving us updates and trying new things. What grain was the field tip? Do they make broad heads as light or near as light?

      10 shots from two 12g carts is pretty good I would say for what you are asking this to do.

      Chris


      • I weighed the umarex field points on my Dillon powder scale and got 50 grains. They are tiny.
        Another note: I wasn’t screwing the piercing screw far enough to pierce both co2 cartridges. After retrieving the 2 unpierced ones from the trash, I used more force ( more than I would like to) and got 15 shots instead of 9 or 10.
        This makes me think you could use the old QB78 trick of using one new cartridge and one old one if you only wanted to take a few shots. The depth the arrows go into the target is the same with 1 or 2 pierced. (No crony)
        At this point I’m leaving the adapter right on the airbow.
        I think one reason for the tabs on the front of the barrel is to help guide the arrow over the end without damaging the carbon fibre arrow material. They are angled slightly outward.
        So to me, I bought exactly what I thought I wanted: a range toy that lets me shoot arrows for well under $200, doesn’t require me to pump it 50 or 60 times for a few shots, and something to introduce new shooters in a fun non threatening way.
        Was it worth it? To me yes, but if you can hunt with an air bow in your state I would recommend that you look at something different.



    • Edarling,

      Where did you get that adapter? I think I would like one of these if I could just use the same 12 gram carts that all my BB/pellet pistols use. I think the 90 grams are too expensive and this would be the only thing that I had that shot them. Plus you can’t remove them until they’re empty.

      Half


  17. As far as optics, I’m leaning toward one of the centerpoint crossbow scopes that I have on my real crossbow, rather than a red dot. The reticle has aiming points for multiple distances and both red and green illumination. A red dot wouldn’t solve the holdover issue that the open sights have as it would need to be zeroed for just one distance.
    I may leave it as is for now, as I like peep sights, and the effective range is probably 30 yards or so anyway, at least until it gets warm enough here for co2 to work right (40 degrees)


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