Umarex Air Javelin airbow: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Umarex Air Javelin
The Air Javelin from Umarex.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Quick review
  • More arrows
  • Setup
  • Sight in
  • At 10 meters
  • At 20 meters
  • Raise the sight
  • Summary

Today I shoot the Umarex Air Javelin at 20 meters with a dot sight that has been sighted in. You finally get to see the sort of accuracy that I saw at the SHOT Show in January. The range there was set up for about 25 yards and it seemed like the arrows all went to nearly the same place! You will see that today.

Quick review

Part 4 was a test with a dot sight too, but I also tested the Umarex CO2 adaptor that allows you to use two 12-gram CO2 cartridges. Unfortunately the Tasco Pro Point dot sight I used for that test could not achieve the elevation that was needed to hit the target at 20 meters. I also shot wide of the target bag when I shot an arrow that had been damaged in the rear from a Robin Hood. I didn’t know it was damaged until I pulled it from the fence and examined its base.

The adaptor only gave me 8 powerful shots. A reader told me that he gets 12 powerful shots. He asked me to check the ends of both cartridges to make sure both had been pierced. I did and both had been pierced for sure. I learned years ago when using multiple CO2 cartridges to back off on the piercing screw to allow the gas to push the bottom cartridge up away from the piercing pin and flow better. 

The same reader also said that the holes in the CO2 cap are to allow the gas to exhaust the end of the run, and indeed that is correct. However, I discovered that the adaptor was stuck in the gun after shooting until I inserted an Allen wrench into one of the holes to break it free — so what I said about using the hole for that purpose also applies.

More arrows

In Part 4 I lost one of the three arrows that came with the AJ and a second one was damaged by another arrow hitting its rear in a Robin Hood shot. So I emailed Umarex and asked for a couple more arrows to continue testing and by the end of the week they had sent me six. Those arrows made today’s test possible. With the one arrow I have that gives me 7 to test.

Setup

For this test I installed a fresh 88-gram CO2 cartridge in the AJ. I didn’t want anything to spoil the test. I also switched from the Tasco Pro Point red dot sight to a UTG Reflex Micro green dot. I knew from experience that this sight has a wide range of adjustments, which the AJ I’m testing needs.

Air Javelin UTG dot
I mounted the UTG Reflex Micro Dot sight forward on the AJ.

Sight in

I learned a valuable lesson last time. Always sight the AJ in at close range after installing an optical sight, or you may miss the target bag altogether. This time I started at 5 meters. The arrow hit high enough but to the left of the bull. I adjusted the sight to the right for the second shot and it  landed inside the bull about an inch away at the same height. That was enough for me, so I took the target bag out to 10 meters and shot again.

At 10 meters

This time the arrow landed at the bottom center of the bull. A second shot hit next to the first one. Neither arrow was damaged, bit I learned that 10 meters is too close to sight in. We don’t mind pellets going into the same holes when we shoot, but with arrows it’s a completely different story.

Maybe the lesson should be expanded to pull each arrow as it’s shot when you are sighting in.  The centers of these two arrows are 1/2-inch apart. But I didn’t pull them out of the bag.

Air Javelin sight 10m
From 10 meters the Air Javelin put two arrows within a half-inch of each other.

At 20 meters

Now I moved the target bag out to 20 meters and fired again. This time the arrow hit about an inch and a half lower and maybe an inch to the right of the two shots at 10 meters. I left all three of these arrows in the bag., I expected the arrow to drop at 20 meters, but the sight should be able to compensate for it.

Raise the sight

I adjusted the UTG Reflex Micro dot sight up by 11 clicks. I didn’t know exactly what that would do at 20 meters, but I do know that the clicks move the point of impact quickly with this sight.

The first shot hit inside the bull and slightly above the centerline. It was almost straight up from the previous arrow that had been fired. Through dumb luck I had adjusted the sight up by the correct amount. I bow hoped to shoot a group of several arrows for you, but then a bad thing happened.

The second shot at 20 meters was a Robin Hood that damaged the back of the arrow shot just before. Okay — even 20 meters is too close to shoot the AJ without pulling the arrows after every shot! I need to move the target bag out to at least 35 yards before I test the Air Javelin again. And, I am writing this reminder to myself for that test. Put three clicks of left adjustment into the sight and then pull each arrow as it is shot at 35-40 yards!

Air Javelin 20m
Here are all the arrows shot at 10 and 20 meters. Even with the sight adjustments and the different distances , the centers of these arrows are just 3-inches apart.

Air Javelin target
This is the target paper with all the arrows removed. The two holes on the left are the 5-meter sight-in. The two holes at the bottom of the bull were the next two that were shot at 10 meters. The bag went out to 20 meters and then I shot the lowest hole on the target. The sight then went up by 11 clicks and I shot shot the two holes at the top right at 20 meters.

Rather than waste arrows I plan to shoot another test at a longer distance. I will probably also pull the arrows as I go. 

Summary

I now have 6 good arrows left — one of the three that came with the AJ and five of the six that Umarex sent me to continue this test. It’s obvious that I have to be very careful because the AJ wants to put all the arrows into the same place. This accuracy is very equivalent to what we saw with the Sub-1 crossbow at close range. But the AJ is well over a thousand dollars cheaper.


Umarex Air Javelin airbow: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Umarex Air JavelinThe Air Javelin from Umarex.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • More to test
  • What are the holes for?
  • Remove the old 88-gram cartridge
  • Lots of gas!
  • Install the adaptor
  • Cock the gun!
  • Don’t do as BB does!
  • Adjust the dot sight up
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today I shoot the Umarex Air Javelin with a dot sight optic. My UTG Reflex Micro  Dot was mounted elsewhere so I mounted a Tasco Pro Point red dot sight. 

Air Javelin dot sight
The Air Javelin accepted the Tasco Pro Point without a problem.

More to test

I didn’t tell you this but I asked Umarex to send me a 12-gram CO2 adapter so I could test the AJ with 12-gram cartridges. Some readers had asked about that possibility and since Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry the adapter, I went straight to Umarex.

Air Javelin 12-gram adapter
Several Umarex airguns including the Air Javelin use this adapter that switches the power source from 88/90-gram CO2 cartridges to 12-gram cartridges.

Let’s look at how it works. One end has an end cap that unscrews to accept the two 12-gram cartridges. The other end is treaded to screw into whatever airgun you install it on.

Air Javelin adapter description
The adapter has an end cap (arrow) that comes off to insert the CO2 cartridges, and threads on the other end to screw into the airgun. The holes are for moving the end cap when pressure holds it tight.

The two cartridges go into the adapter nose to nose. The piercing end of the first cartridge goes in first and the piercing end (small flat end) of the second cartridge is left up at the top, where the pin in the cap can pierce it. There is a spring-loaded winding tab on the cap. The spring holds the tab flat against the cap until you need it.

Air Javelin adapter cap off
The adapter cap has been unscrewed.

No directions for use came with the adaptor but it is pretty easy to figure out. I unscrewed the end cap piercing screw as far as it would go before dropping two cartridges inside. And I dropped in 5 drops of Crosman Pellgunoil before inserting the first cartridge. Then I put more Pellgunoil on the tip of the second cartridge.

Air Javelin cap screw
Here you see the cap screw (bottom) unscrewed as far as it will go.

What are the holes for?

If you ask what the holes in the sides of the end cap are for you haven’t yet encountered a gas gun with so much pressure that it wouldn’t let go of the end cap. This used to be a real problem in the 1950s and ’60s when improper o-ring material would swell from the gas and no let go of the end cap for hours after the gun was empty. With modern materials there is no more problem, unless the gas pressure inside the adapter is still high. This is not a large problem; it’s more of a convenience.

As you can see, I unscrew the piercing screw on the end cap as far as it will go, then screw the end cap down as far as it will go. Now I pick up the spring-loaded tab and start screwing the piercing screw in. That one screw is piercing both cartridges. It pushes the bottom cartridge down on the internal piercing pin inside the adapter as well as screwing in the piercing pin in the end cap. So I run it in as far as it will go. I heard no gas escape when I did this, but just to make certain the piercing pins were out of the way of the gas, I unscrewed the tab about a turn.

Remove the old 88-gram cartridge

Before the adaptor could be installed I first had to remove the previous 88-gram CO2 cartridge that was in the AJ. I didn’t know for sure but I calculated there were around 20 shots on it. We learned in Part 1 that the AJ has up to 30 good shots on one 88-gram cartridge. The last shots will send arrows out at just under 200 f.p.s. while the first shots have them going over 300 f.p.s. I will have more to tell you and show you later in this report, but for now you need to know that I was removing a cartridge that had a good 10 shots remaining inside. I had to do it to get a shot count from the two 12-gram CO2 cartridges in the adapter I’m about to install.

Lots of gas!

I will say this. Once you slowly unscrew the CO2 cartridge it comes to a point when the remaining gas is no longer sealed and starts hissing out. That lasted a long time — several minutes at least. I also dry-fired the AJ about 10 times as it was loosing gas to speed up the process. In the end the last gas hissed out and the old cartridge could be removed. The gun was now ready for the adapter.

Install the adaptor

The adaptor just screws into the gun where the CO2 tank was. Remember I put Pellgunoil inside when the cartridges were pierced, so that gets blown into the AJ to get on all the internal seals. BUT…!

Cock the gun!

Umarex tells you not to cock the gun when installing a new cartridge and I expect they also mean this adaptor. That is obviously a safety issue. But the adaptor holds two 12-gram cartridges that have limited gas. So I screwed the adaptor in, and when the hissing began I cocked the AJ and stopped it instantly.

Air Javelin adapter in
The adaptor fits in the AJ just like an 88-gram CO2 cartridge. This photo was very important later in the test!

Don’t do as BB does!

This is an object lesson. Some of you think I am modest, but the truth is — I am often that bad example your mother warned you not to follow! I set up the target bag in my back yard about 10 meters from the shooting bench. Yes that’s pretty far but I hadn’t shot the AJ in two months and my last recollection was one of great accuracy. It really was accurate last time — what could go wrong? I held the red dot in the center of the target that was taped to the bag and fired the first arrow. But I couldn’t tell where it went. It wasn’t anywhere on the bag! Oh, oh!

I looked in the grass all around and under the bag for signs of the arrow and then in the wooden fence between my property and my neighbors. Nothing. So I dragged the bag back to 5 meters and shot again. This is where I should have placed the bag to begin with.

Adjust the dot sight up

This time the arrow hit the bag, just below the bottom of the target paper. My previous shot had been taken at twice the distance, so the lost arrow is definitely somewhere in my lawn at something less than 10 meters. I searched for another 10 minutes for that first arrow with no luck. Umarex had only sent me three arrows with the AJ, and now I was down to just two. I adjusted the elevation up considerably and shot again.

Shot three hit a half-inch or less from shot two. It was on the bag but still below the target paper. From the looks of it (it was on an angle in the bag), it may well have hit the back of the second arrow— something I would discover in a little bit. Now I knew I was on the target so I cranked in a whole lot more elevation and moved the bag out to 15 meters.

Then I let fly with shot number four. This time the arrow hit the bottom of the 6-ring, almost touching the bullseye at 6 o’clock. Wow! I pulled the arrow out and moved the target bag out to 20 meters.

That shot had looked so good that I fired my second shot (number five on the CO2 adaptor). It hit the target about 3/4-inches below the last one. I needed to watch out or I would Robin Hood my two remaining arrows.

The last test in Part 3 demonstrated that the AJ is very accurate at this distance, so I felt confident it would not be a problem. However — remember that arrow that may have been hit in the back? I knew that I would nail the target in line with the center of the target and with luck I’d be inside the bull. No such luck! This time I heard a sickening sound of the arrow hitting the fence behind the bag. I have never missed the bag before this shot and was surprised I missed it this time. I found the arrow that had gone 4 feet wide to the left and was halfway through the fence.

When I pulled that arrow out of the fence I examined it to see why it had gone so wide. Right away I saw it. The end of the arrow is blown out on one side. I think I did hit the back of this arrow earlier and now I was rewarded with a wild shot. When I enlarged the pictures of all three arrows that was taken before the test started I saw that none were damaged this way. That is what I meant by that earlier picture being so fortuitous.

Air Javelin arrow end
The end of the AJ arrow that went so wide at 20 yards was broken out on one side — causing the arrow to veer to the side as it came off the end of the air tube. This arrow was probably hit in the rear on shot number three.

Air Javelin arrows
I enhanced this earlier photo to show there was no damage to any of the three arrows at the start of this test.

For safety’s sake I moved the target bag back to 15 meters and fired my one remaining arrow three more times — shots 7, 8 and 9. Shot 7 hit the target at the bottom center of the largest ring in the white. I had to pull the arrow to shoot shot 8 and it hit the target about 3/4-inches below and to the right of shot 7. On this shot I noticed a lot of time between the shot and the arrow hitting the bag.

Air Javelin arrows shot 8
Shot 8 at 15 meters hit below and to the right of shot 7. I could hear that this arrow was slower.

I pulled the arrow and fired one more time. This time there was a definite slowing of the arrow and it hit at the bottom of the paper, a little more than an inch below shot 8.

Air Javelin arrows shot 9
Shot 9 hit the target a little more than an inch below shot 8.

Discussion

Based on this test I can say that two 12-gram CO2 cartridges give you about 8 good shots. They are not all the same speed, but I believe they all fall within the velocity spread of the 30 good shots you get from an 88-gram cartridge. Analyzing the costs tells me you get 8 good shots for about $1.00 with two 12-gram cartridges, and 30 good shots for about $8.00 with one 88-gram cartridge. The advantage of the adapter is shots that cost less. The advantage of the 88-gram cartridge is a lot more shots per cartridge. The velocity of the shots is the same because CO2 varies its pressure due to temperature. Volume is not a factor in pressure.There is no easy way to increase or decrease that pressure — certainly not one that’s available to the field.

The second thing I would tell you is to always examine your arrows just before loading them. I didn’t and only through a fortunate photograph was I able to determine that an arrow had been damaged during this test. A damaged arrow flies erratically and is too risky to shoot.

One last comment is that I need to jack up the rear of the dot sight for the next test. I had to apply too much elevation to get the arrows near to the aim point.

Summary

I’m still very impressed by the Air Javelin. Even with the challenges of today’s test, which in retrospect were all mine, the AJ held its own. When it is given half a chance it places its arrows close together at the distances I have been testing.

The CO2 adapter performs as well as many expected. I was surprised by the number of good shots we got in today’s test. And it is very easy to set up and use.

Hopefully we will see the AJ at least once more, and this time with more arrows and no sighting problems.


Sen-X AR-6 Tactical Arrow Repeating Crossbow: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier-

Sen-X AR-6
Sen_X AR-6 Tactical Arrow Repeating Crossbow.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Sights
  • Dot sight
  • Vibration
  • Safety
  • Hunting limb
  • Sight-in
  • Group
  • Damage to one arrow
  • Stopped at this point
  • Observations
  • Fletching
  • Next test
  • Summary

Wow! It has taken me a looooong time to return to the Sen-X AR-6 Tactical Arrow Repeating Crossbow. Most of the reason for the delay was the weather that never quite cooperated, but when I tried to do a test at the end of February the problem became something else altogether.

Sights

In Part 2 I showed you that the sights on the bow are primitive. There is a front post, but in the rear there is nothing to align it with except the silver spring latch on the magazine cover. There is a red laser built into the AR-6, but it cannot be seen in daylight beyond about 10 feet. With just those crude sights I managed to shoot the bow fairly well, but I wondered what better sights would do.

Dot sight

The sight I selected for the AR-6 was the UTG Reflex Micro dot. Pyramyd Air sells the red one but I have a green one that I use because a green dot is easier for me to see. The crossbow has a Picatinny rail on the front where this sight fits easily. I picked this sight for its small size. It seems to be made for this crossbow. I thought to have it sighted in within a few shots.

AR-6-with-dot
The UTG Reflex Micro Dot sight is perfectly sized to fit the AR-6 crossbow.

I sighted-in the dot sight at about 12-15 feet. Once the dot was doing well there I backed up to 10 meters and shot a magazine’s worth of confirmation shots. Then I backed up to what I now know is 18 meters.

At 18 meters the crossbow hit fairly well on the point of aim. Two arrows went together pretty close. But on the third shot I missed the arrow stop/bag altogether — something I had not done in all my previous testing of three crossbows, plus an Air Venturi Wing Shot air shotgun firing Air Venturi Air Bolts. All of that put over 200 shots into that bag! I heard the AR-6 arrow hit the fence behind the bag. It did not stick in the cedar wood of the fence slat, but bounced off and landed on the lawn. When I examined the arrow I could see it had bent from the force of the impact.

AR-6-bent-arrow
The metal shaft of the arrow bent from impact.

How could I have missed a target that had seemed so easy so many times before? Was the dot sight loose? I grabbed it and shook it and it was still mounted solid. But the bow limb wasn’t! It wobbled and slid in its slot, which it’s not supposed to do. If you recall in Part 1 I told you that I had to assemble the AR-6 before I could shoot it . The bow limb (what many would call the bow) had to be secured to the bow deck with a large Allen screw.

AR-6-Allen-screw
A large Allen screw holds the bow limb tight to the bow deck.

This fault came up suddenly and unexpectedly, though I imagine there were signs beforehand, if I had been looking for them. But now the bow limb was moving around like I knew it wasn’t supposed to and I remembered there being some steel shims in front of and behind the limb where the Allen screw contacted. I found the shims on the ground where I was shooting.

Vibration

The AR-6 is a completely mechanical contrivance. Every time it fires the bow limb springs forward as far as the bowstring will permit and then stops suddenly, sending vibration throughout the entire assembly. I did not appreciate that. I know that spring piston airguns vibrate, but crossbows vibrate, too. And they need the same attention to tightening their screws as do springers — especially this large one that holds the bow limb in place.

At first I was concerned that I might not get the limb back into perfect alignment. Then I remembered that I had assembled it only a few weeks before and the process is very straightforward. There are marks and guidelines on the limb and the deck to assist you.

Safety

A bigger concern for me was safety. I had never missed the arrow bag/trap before, in spite of testing numerous crossbows and arrow shooters. Two people I allowed to shoot my Sub-1 crossbow and the Wing Shot had missed the bag, but I found out afterward that neither of them understood how they should be aiming them. It’s funny how they won’t tell you beforehand that they don’t understand what you have told them to do, but after the shot goes bad they open up!

Now, I was the one who wondered whether I knew how to shoot the thing. Sure I got it together again and it seemed tight, but I had also done that before, when I assembled it out of the box the first time. Oh, woe is me! And then the hunting limb arrived from Pyramyd Air!

Hunting limb

The hunting limb increases the power of the AR-6 to about 12 foot-pounds. That doesn’t sound like much until you consider that the target limb I am testing produces a little over 8 foot pounds (8.31 foot-pounds, according to the description on the website). Then you realize the hunting limb boosts the power by almost 50 percent. Here I am languishing in fear of the target bow and there is still a more powerful bow to test. Buck up, BB. Time to get with it!

Well, weather and equipment issues slowed me down again until last Friday. Then I got a perfect day to shoot and took full advantage of it.

Sight-in

I sighted-in the dot sight again, since I had to remount the bow limb. Again I shot from 12-15 feet, then 10 meters and finally from the same 18 meters as before. When I was finished the bow was shooting to the point of aim at 18 meters.

I had used the same arrows for all earlier shooting, as well as sighting-in this time. The fletching on those arrows was pretty much gone.

AR-6-fletching
The same arrows, shot perhaps 15-20 times each, had lost much of their fletching.

So, I decided to use 4 new arrows to shoot at 18 meters. Would they shoot to the same place as the arrows I used for sight-in? Only one way to find out! Watch the video.

Group

Three arrows went into 2.552-inches at 18 meters. The fourth arrow opened the group to 3.827-inches. All of this was shot offhand, as you saw in the video.

Damage to one arrow

The arrows sank deep into the target bag. The first shot went in beyond the beginning of the fletching and peeled back both synthetic “feathers” of either side of the arrow. I think there are now so many holes in the target bag that the smaller AR-6 arrows have an easier time sinking in.

AR-6-fletching damaged
This new arrow sank into the target bag deep enough to peel back the synthetic fletching on the first shot.

Stopped at this point

I ended the test at this point. Though the film shows only the final 4 shots, I shot about 15 other times to get the crossbow sighted in. At this point in this series I have made several observations.

Observations

The new arrows shot to a lower point than the ones with damaged fletching. I need to correct the dot sight to account for that.

The fletching on the arrows is subject to damage from penetrating the target bag too deeply. I now have many straight arrow shafts that are in need of repair. I will also look for ways to mitigate the damage, if possible.

The new arrows hit lower on target than the old arrows with damaged fletching. This is possibly because the full fletching creates higher drag on each arrow. I should shoot this bow again and adjust for the new arrows.

After 19 shots the Allen screw is still tight and the bow limb is still locked in place. I need to continue to check that from now on.

Fletching

The word fletching means feathers, which were used on arrows in times past to create high drag and spin. The synthetic fletchings found on the AR-6 are called vanes and are sold by many places, along with the glue to hold them to the arrow shaft. This is something I need to research so I can repair my damaged arrows. I will tell you about it as I go.

Next test

I plan to shoot the bow again with fresh new arrows and adjust the dot sight to hit with them. I believe I can shoot 5 arrows offhand into a group smaller than three inches from 18 meters. That will be the completion of my sight-in with the dot sight.

After that I plan to switch the bow limb to the hunting limb that also came with a new bowstring. Then I will run the same tests that I have with this bow limb, except I will start with the dot sight mounted.

Summary

I did discover that my AR-6  works fine with 5 arrows or less in the magazine, but if I load a 6th arrow that it is supposed to work with, it malfunctions. That was probably my fault, because I accidentally bent the magazine spring that holds the arrows down and feeds them, when I closed the mag cover with the spring not inside. I could probably fix it but I don’t mind using it as is, and it does work just fine with 5 arrows.

The AR-6 crossbow pistol is a blast to shoot. It is to crossbows what the Diana 27 is the pellet rifles. There are many that are more powerful, but none that are more fun. I don’t think it has to justify itself by being a hunting arm. Can’t something exist just for the fun of shooting?


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!


Umarex Air Javelin airbow: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Umarex Air Javelin
The Air Javelin from Umarex.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • However
  • The “barrel”
  • Not a toy!
  • Sights
  • Front sight
  • Rear sight
  • Adjust the stock
  • Install the cocking handle
  • Charging
  • One fact to bear in mind
  • Summary

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.

However

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!

The “barrel”

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.

Air Javelin barrel
This is the hollow air tube the arrow fits over. The CO2 gas comes up that tube to propel the arrow.

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.

Sights

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.

Front sight

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.

Air Javelin front sight
The front sight attaches with an Allen screw.

Air Javelin front sight bottom
This is the underside of the front sight. On the right you can see the end of the Allen screw that presses against the Picatinny rail.

Air Javelin front rail
This is the front of the Picatinny rail where the front sight slips on the gun.

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!

Air Javelin front sight on
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.

Rear sight

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.

Air Javelin rear sight underside
Here you see the cross screw that is under the rear sight. It draws the movable jaw tight and it also bears against a ridge in the Picatinny rail to keep the sight from moving.

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.

Air Javelin rear sight mounted
The rear sight is mounted with the cross screw passing through the first slot in the rail. This is as far back as the sight will go. The sight is tightened to the rail by that large knurled knob.

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.

Air Javelin peep
The peep hole is sized just right, from what I can tell so far.

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!

Air Javelin front fiber
The orange fiberoptic up front looks as large as the side of a barn! I will have to abandon my target-type sight picture and shoot for the center of mass with this one!

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.

Air Javelin bolt right
On the right side of the AJ receiver you see the bolt with the screw hole for the cocking knob half-hidden by the receiver. It’s on the right side of the long cocking slot.

Air Javelin bolt left
Here is the view of the bolt from the left side of the receiver. Again the screw hole is half-hidden.

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.

Air Javelin bolt top
This top-down view shows what the cocking handle looks like when it’s attached.

Charging

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.

Air Javelin cartridge
Slide the forearm forward and screw the CO2 cartridge into the AJ. I recommend Crosman Pellgunoil on every 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. 

Air Javelin 1077 AS
The Crosman 1077 AirSource had a valve to stop the flow of gas from the 88-gram CO2 cartridge. See how clunky it was!

Summary

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.


Air Venturi Air Bolt: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Venturi Air Bolts
Air Venturi Air Bolts turn a .50 caliber big bore into an air bow.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Power!
  • Broadheads
  • Velocity
  • Accuracy
  • Penetration
  • More to come

Today we take our second look at the Air Bolt from Air Venturi. I may not have written much about it, but I have been demonstrating it to the public and shooting it much more, since the last report. Today’s look will be comprehensive, because I’m writing a feature article for Firearm News. This will be the material gathered from that testing.

Go back and read Part 1 to learn more about the Air Bolt. It’s an air bow system that you can own without buying a separate arrow launcher. If you already own certain .50 caliber big bores like the Sam Yang Dragon Claw 500cc rifle and the Wing Shot air shotgun, all you need are the arrows, or bolts as they are properly called. Instead of spending $900, you spend $120 for 6 bolts and you’re in business. And that’s not all!

Power!

The Air Bolt is powerful! Where a Benjamin Pioneer air bow launches a 375-grain arrow at up to 450 f.p.s., the Air Bolt pushes a 430-grain bolt at 500 f.p.s. Not that you need that much power, because the Pioneer is already much more powerful than any crossbow commonly available. The best crossbows are topping out at around 425 f.p.s. with lighter bolts, so either of these air bows trump them right now. But the Air Bolt is fastest and is even more powerful than the Pioneer, which means flatter shooting over longer distance.

I’m not going to just quote numbers from a website. I have actual data to show. First, let’s look at the weight of the bolt with a standard target tip.

Air Venturi Air Bolt scale target tip
An Air Bolt with a target tip weighs 429.9 grains. That’s pretty close to 430!

Broadheads

But wait, say the archers. These are target tips that aren’t meant for game. Won’t a hunting broadhead add a lot more weight to the bolt?

Actually, no. I bought 4 broadheads to test on the bolts and they weigh 100 grains, nominally. They have mechanical blades that are pointed forward and open as the arrow penetrates the target. That allows them to partially fit in the muzzle of the rifle. They cut a swath 1.5 inches wide as they penetrate, creating huge blood loss. Best of all, they weigh just a couple grains more than the target points.

Air Venturi Air Bolt scale broadhead
An Air Bolt with a broadhead weighs just 3 grains more than a target tip!

I bought Matthews Grim Reaper broadheads, and a pack of 4 was just $30. These are vicious tips that fly with their blades folded forward and open like switchblades when they contact the target. They cut in 3 directions with razor-sharp blades that you had best respect when loading! Remember — the Air Bolt is loaded from the muzzle! I will discuss loading the broadheads later.

Air Venturi Air Bolt broadhead
These broadhead points have 3 razor-sharp blades pointed forward that fold out and back when the arrow penetrates a target. They cut a swath 1.5 inches wide for maximum blood loss.

broadhead open
Ouch! Three razor-sharp blades deploy as the broadhead penetrates the target.

Velocity

Let’s get serious. You know how much the arrows weigh, now let’s look at velocity when fired on high power, which is the Dragon Claw bolt pulled all the way back. This first string is fired with all target tips, from a fill to 3000 psi.

Shot…………………………..Velocity (f.p.s.)
1……………………………………492
2……………………………………465
3……………………………………474
4……………………………………482
5……………………………………467
6……………………………………479
7……………………………………454

I stopped after the seventh shot — not because the velocity was too low but because I wanted to test other things. However, in the field I would limit my shots to 5 per fill, just to be safe. This is still a big bore air rifle and even though it does get a lot of shots per fill there is no reason top abuse that. It affects accuracy, as I will now show.

I refilled the rifle to shoot again and noted that 7 shots had dropped the reservoir pressure from 3,000 psi to about 2,300 psi. That is a rough estimate because the day was so bright that reading the gauge was difficult.

Accuracy

I shot at 35 yards using the red dot sight that is sighted-in. I sighted-in at 25 yards, so I know the arrow will drop about 6 inches in the additional 10 yards. It becomes a simple task to aim over the desired point of impact. Let me show you.

Air Venturi Air Bolt shot 1
First shot from 35 yards using the top of the dartboard (at the number 20) as the aim point.

As you see, the first shot hit close to the center of the target. But what is just as important is where shot number 2 hits. Let’s see.

Air Venturi Air Bolt shot 2
Shot number 2 from 35 yards using the same aim point landed less than an inch from shot one.

Now we see that the first two shots hit pretty close to each other. So I continued shooting.

Air Venturi Air Bolt 5 shots
Shot number 3 was close to the first 2, then the group started opening. Shot number 5 is the one that’s up and to the right. The first 4 would have all struck the heart/lung area of a deer. The first three would have gone almost exactly where they were aimed.

Penetration

Here is something I have heard from a lot of air bow users. The arrows penetrate the targets so deep that they get ruined upon extraction. And when I used an excelsior bale to stop a Stealth arrow launcher, that was true. I have seen those flimsy 12-inch thick arrow bags that are built for sub-300 f.p.s. bows that don’t work, either.

But I bought the baddest arrow stop my local archery store had. It’s a 19-inch cube that’s rated to stop arrows going 400 f.p.s. It was only $71, and because I am going to be testing other air bows in the future, it was a business expense.

My arrow stop stops the Air Bolts with target points in about 13 inches of penetration. Let’s look.

Air Venturi Air Bolt penetration
I grabbed the arrow where it stuck out of the bag and pulled it straight out. What’s in front of my hand is how much arrow was in the bag.

More to come

I’m going to stop her, but there is a lot more to come. I’ll show you the performance of the broadhead in the bag, plus give you its velocity. I’ll talk about some practical issues of owning and using air bows. I’ll also tell you about the benefits and drawbacks of owning a crossbow. And I will try to address any questions you may have in the interim.