Legends M712 full-auto CO2 BB pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol
Legends M712 full-auto BB pistol.

This report covers:

• Accuracy
• Watch that selector switch!
• Range setup
• Loose barrel? — NOT!
• Rock ‘n’ roll
• Final impression

Accuracy
Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Legends M712 full-auto CO2 BB pistol. I’ll tell you right now that very few machine pistols have ever been accurate in the full-auto mode, and I don’t expect this one to be, either. In fact, given the poor ergonomics of the grip, this may be the worst machine pistol ever made. I won’t hold that against it, though, because it’s fun to shoot that way. Just don’t expect to hit anything.

Watch that selector switch!
After installing a fresh CO2 cartridge, I was going to take a single shot to get the gas flowing, but I forgot about the selector switch. One shot turned into 7-10 as the gun burst out as fast as it could fire. I can control an M60 machine gun to shoot 2-3 shots, and an M3 grease gun is a snap to shoot single shots, but I doubt anyone can fire just one shot with the M712!

Range setup
I shot from 5 meters using a rested hold on a prototype UTG monopod that I’ll be writing about in the future. The pistol was easy to control this way. I loaded only 10 Umarex Precision Steel BBs into the magazine each time, because I wanted to keep track of my shots. When a pistol shoots as easily as the M712, it doesn’t take much to get trigger-happy and shoot more than you intend.

Loose barrel? — NOT!
There was a LOT of discussion about loose barrels and how difficult this pistol is to get on target, but the test pistol worked just fine. I ran the rear sight elevator all the way down and used a fine sight picture (read this report for an explanation). I found that at 5 meters, the BBs hit the target about 1.5 inches above the front sight and in line with it. And bear in mind that Paul Capello tested this same gun for his video before I got to test it. So, it’s been shot a lot.

The trigger is so smooth and light that it was easy to shoot shot after shot from the rested position. The first target gave me a group that measures 1.525 inches between the centers of the 10 shots. This was the best group of the session, and it wasn’t the only one that was this good.

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol group 1
Ten shots went into 1.525 inches at 5 meters. It may look smaller than that, but one BB went to the left of the main group — hitting the 5-ring at 10 o’clock (lower left in this photo).

I thought the second group might be smaller, now that I was accustomed to the pistol, but it wasn’t. It is an identical 1.525 inches for 10 shots! That is just a coincidence that may never happen again, plus there’s probably a lot of measurement error since I am measuring BB holes; but that’s as close as I can measure it.

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol group 2
The second group was 10 shots in the same 1.525 inches at 5 meters. This may not happen again (2 groups the same size).

Rock ‘n’ roll
I didn’t want to shoot this pistol on full-auto at a target because I have shot hundreds of full-auto firearms in my life, and I know how they behave. I expected this one to open up and also climb with the recoil — and, of course, it did! Knowing it was going to scatter, I got to within 10 feet of the target and squeezed the trigger. Like every other machine pistol, the first few shots went to the point of aim and the rest went high and right. Because I was so close to the BB trap I managed to keep all 10 BBs in the trap and on the paper — but it was close!

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol group 3
Spray and pray! Shooting full-auto, the first 3 BBs hit the bull and the other 7 went wide to the right and high.

Of course, paper targets aren’t what you shoot using guns like the M712. This is a gun for rolling soda cans around the yard on a warm day. People will enjoy the experience and will not expect it to be a tackdriver — that isn’t even the purpose of the pistol. This is a fun gun — pure and simple. And if you’re the host of the shooting party, you better own stock in a CO2 factory, because this gun goes through some gas!

Final impression
I like the M712! Umarex doesn’t need me to endorse it — it stands on its own merits. All you have to do is fire one burst and you’ll understand what makes this gun one of the finest of the Legends series. If you have a hankering for a full-auto machine pistol, this one is the real deal. Get it and don’t look back.


Legends M712 full-auto CO2 BB pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol
Legends M712 full-auto BB pistol.

This report covers:

• Velocity
• Shot count
• Summary of this test
• Full-auto test
• Pay attention to the magazine follower
• Cock the gun with the bolt
• Trigger-pull
• Evaluation so far
• I’m at the Pyramyd Air Cup

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Legends M712 full-auto CO2 BB pistol. This pistol is powered by CO2, which means the gun cools down as you fire. As CO2 cools the gun, the pressure drops, so the velocity drops as well. Nothing new there, except this is a full-auto gun that has no limits to the number of BBs that can be fired in a single burst. You can empty the magazine of all 18 if you desire, so one of the things I’ll be checking is what full-auto firing does to velocity.

Velocity
I loaded the magazine with 18 Umarex Precision Steel BBs , then I installed a fresh CO2 cartridge and shot a string of 10. The first shot went 364 f.p.s., and the final shot went 344 f.p.s. The average velocity for this first string was 352 f.p.s. I was waiting 10 seconds between shots to conserve gas.

Shot count
The second string average dropped to 335, with a low of 329 and a high of 344 f.p.s. A third string did almost exactly the same. Then, I waited 2 minutes and fired a shot at 332 f.p.s. That was followed by 4 fast shots that were not recorded, then a fifth shot at 309 f.p.s. So, shooting in rapid succession does cause the velocity to drop significantly.

I waited another 2-3 minutes, during which I topped off the BB magazine again. Shot 36 on the first CO2 cartridge went 332 f.p.s. Shot 40 went 330 f.p.s. At shot 43 the velocity was 322 f.p.s., so I waited another minute before shooting shot 44, which went 331 f.p.s.

At shot 46 the velocity began dropping fast, and I could tell the liquid CO2 was gone. As long as there’s some liquid, the gas pressure remains the same and is affected only by the ambient temperature. Shot 49 went 309 f.p.s.

I continued to shoot, waiting a minimum of 10 seconds between shots and watched the velocity drop to 253 f.p.s. on shot 58. By this time, the blowback was getting very weak, making it very obvious the gun was running out of gas. Shot 59 went 245 f.p.s. and was the last shot I was able to get from the first cartridge.

Summary of this test
I babied the gun during this test to get the absolute maximum number of shots from one cartridge. No one is going to shoot this pistol so conservatively — especially not when there’s a full-auto option! I don’t think the M712 is a pistol you shoot targets with anyway. It’s a gun you use to tear aluminum soda cans apart as they dance around the yard. Let’s take a look at how the gun does when it’s handled that way.

Full-auto test
A new CO2 cartridge was installed, and the initial velocity was 359 f.p.s. I shot several rounds to make sure things were working, then I topped off the BB magazine again. I waited a minute and shot one shot at 350 f.p.s. After that, I shot a short burst on full-auto. Don’t ask me how many shots it was, because it’s impossible to count when the gun shoots this fast. But the shot immediately after the burst went through the chronograph at 324 f.p.s. I shot another short burst and then another single shot, which went 314 f.p.s.

This illustrates what the full-auto function does to velocity. It drops rapidly, plus shooting the gun this way uses more CO2, because more liquid flashes to gas on each shot when the pressure drops. I say that because, after this test, I got one more burst before the pistol ran out of gas. If I had to guess I would say there were 30-35 shots in the gun when fired this way.

Pay attention to the magazine follower
When you load the BB magazine, the first thing you do is push down the spring-loaded follower until it catches. Then you can load the BBs without fighting the magazine spring. But after loading, you have to release the follower manually, or the BBs won’t feed. You’ll get 1 or 2 shots, and then the gun starts shooting blanks. Remember to release that follower! I forgot several times, which is why I’m telling you.

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol magazine
The magazine follower is pulled all the way down, where it locks in position on a shelf in the magazine body. Now the BBs can be loaded. But after the magazine is full, you have to press the top of the follower in so it slips off the shelf and can push the BBs up as they’re shot.

Cock the gun with the bolt
Another caution is you must cock the gun with the bolt. If you don’t, you’ll shoot blanks, or maybe you won’t shoot at all. Both things happened to me. Remember to not just pull the hammer back with your thumb like you might with a 1911 or a revolver, but do so by manually pulling the bolt all the way back.

Trigger-pull
The 2-stage trigger on the M712 is delightful. There’s a very long first stage that very positively stops at stage 2. Stage 1 takes up almost 2 lbs. of effort. Stage 2 breaks at 3 lbs., 7 oz. It’s a very nice trigger.

Evaluation so far
Umarex had me at the selector switch; so, unless this pistol does something horrible in the accuracy test, I’m prepared to like it a lot. You have to think of this one differently, because it really isn’t a conventional air pistol. Even as a firearm, there’s nothing conventional about a pistol that shoots full-auto at the flip of a switch.

I’m at the Pyramyd Air Cup
I’m flying out today to Ohio to attend the Pyramyd Air Cup. It’s a 3-day event of field target and silhouette matches, fun shoots and more. I’ll have limited time to attend to the blog and hope our regular blog readers who aren’t attending this event will help answer reader questions.


Legends M712 full-auto CO2 BB pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol
Legends M712 full-auto BB pistol

This report covers:

• Here we go!
• The BIG deal!!!
• A full-size replica
• Important note
• Disassembly — don’t do it!
• What I want to see next
Pyramyd Air Cup
• Airguns excluded from new legislation in California

Here we go!
Many readers have asked me to review this Legends M712 full-auto CO2 BB pistol, and I’m starting today. Because this pistol is so different, there will be full parts 1, 2 and 3.

The pistol I’m testing is the one Paul Capello used for his Airgun Reporter video review. When he sent the pistol to me he left the selector switch on rock ‘n’ roll, so my first squeeze of the trigger sent half the magazine of BBs downrange, and got a request from Edith for a warning before I shot, again.

Let’s back up. When I pulled the pistol out of the box, I immediately noticed it feels as heavy as a firearm. The specs say 3.1 lbs., and on my scale it comes in at 3 lbs., 3 oz. with a CO2 cartridge installed. The outside is all metal except for the grips that look like wood but are actually synthetic. The pistol handles just like a Broomhandle firearm, which means very nose-heavy and ungainly. I owned 2 Broomhandles many years ago, and it’s a feeling you never forget.

The BIG deal!!!
While a beater Broomhandle Mauser C96 firearm in shootable condition costs around $800-1,200, most of us probably don’t have enough disposable cash to buy an M712 firearm. Because it has a selector switch, the firearm is classified as a machine gun under U.S. law, and you’ll pay $200 and wait a long time just to get permission from the government to make a purchase. But that isn’t the problem. Full-auto guns that can be legally transferred in the U.S. have gone off the charts in recent years! You’re likely to pay $12,000-$15,000 or more for one of these M712s today.

And, to be honest, they aren’t practical at all. You certainly wouldn’t want to shoot one full-auto without a shoulder stock if you hoped to hit anything. The Germans called this the Schnellfeuer (fast-fire) pistol, because it shoots so fast you almost can’t hear the individual shots. Watch Paul’s video to see what I mean.

But practicality is not what this is about. Umarex has a killer idea of selling very realistic airguns that mimic the hard-to-find firearms many people desire but will never be able to own. The M712 is one of them — perhaps even the poster-child for the Legends lineup.

A full-size replica
The Legends M712 is a full-sized replica of the Mauser pistol. It measures 12 inches overall, and the barrel takes up 5.50 inches of that. It always looked odd because the magazine is located in front of the triggerguard instead of inside the grip, but remember — this pistol is derived from the C96 Mauser that was one of the first semi-automatic handguns ever made! It was standardized in 1896!

It has a rear sight leaf that adjusts out to 1,000 meters! While there’s no way anyone could expect to hit anything at that distance with this pistol (speaking of the firearm), this sight was designed at a time when modern smokeless powder and jacketed bullets were just beginning to catch on. Like anything new, they were being oversold by their designers, and rifles were typically sighted to 2,000 meters. Handguns like this one were often sighted out to 800 meters and beyond. I’m sure the real shooters of the day knew better, but the fad was so popular that everyone was buying into it.

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol rear sight
The rear sight leaf adjusts to 1,000 meters (for the firearm — this is just a copy, and those numbers don’t relate to BB-gun distances). You can also see the selector switch that is set to semiauto here.

While the sights adjust up and down, there’s no provision for windage. In the custom of the times, the guns were thought to be “regulated” by the factory and never need sideways adjustment. We know better today; but in keeping with the historical accuracy of the gun, no windage adjustment is provided.

The M712 has a selector switch on the left side that selects semiautomatic or full-automatic fire. On semi, the pistol fires one time with each trigger-pull. On full-auto, the gun keeps on firing as long as the trigger is depressed. Even after the BBs are gone, the gun continues to fire in the full-auto mode. There’s no bolt hold-open device, so you have to pay attention to when it’s time to reload.

This is a single-action-only gun. The exposed hammer must be cocked in order for the gun to fire. Do that by grasping the ears of the bolt and pulling straight back until it stops — exactly like the firearm but much easier. When the gun fires, the bolt comes back and recocks the hammer until the gas pressure drops too low.

Important note
Unlike other single-action semiautomatics, you cannot just cock the hammer manually and fire the gun. When the bolt is pulled back it brings a small connecting rod with it that the hammer has to hit to fire the gun. Just cocking the hammer without retracting the bolt fails to engage this connecting rod.

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol action rod out
When the bolt is pulled back, it brings this connecting rod out. The hammer needs to hit this to fire the pistol.

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol action rod not out
If the hammer is cocked by thumbing it back and not by the bolt, the connecting rod doesn’t come out and the pistol will not fire.

These pistols were also cut with a slot in the grip frame for a shoulder stock, which often served double duty as a wooden holster. The Broomhandle holster certainly did. Like the sights, the shoulder stocks were impractical, but most countries wanted them — at least in the beginning. The M712 actually uses its shoulder stock to help control the gun from climbing in recoil in the full-auto mode, so there’s a practical use for it. Of course, these pistols are made from diecast metal, and attaching a shoulder stock would soon wear out the slot. Even the steel firearms are always loose at this location.

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol stock slot
The slot at the base of the grip frame is for a detachable stock that’s also a wooden holster. Because this pistol is made from soft metal, a stock isn’t practical.

When it came to sidearms, Mauser always played second fiddle to the firm of Lugwig Loewe, which later became much better-known as Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfrabriken, or DWM — the Luger people. DWM got all the military contracts, but that left Mauser to sweep up a lot of commercial sales, plus sales to countries that weren’t first in line for the Lugers. After war broke out in 1914, everyone was scrambling for firearms to arm the troops, and Broomhandles did sell to the military, along with the P08s that were in short supply.

This is a CO2 pistol whose cartridge and 18 BBs fit in the removable magazine located in front of the triggerguard. Pressing a release button on the right side of the frame allows the magazine to drop free.

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol mag release
The magazine release is a button on the right side of the frame, ahead of the triggerguard. Pressing in allows the magazine to drop fee from the pistol.

The BBs are loaded one at a time into the spring-loaded stack at the front of the magazine. The follower is pulled down and locked while the BBs are loaded through the front of the magazine. There’s a square hole on top of the magazine. On some airsoft guns, you might load ammo through a hole like that, but on this pistol it’s not for BBs. Leave it alone!

Legends M712 Full Auto CO2 BB pistol mag hole
Load BBs through the front of the magazine — not through the square hole on top! As each BB is pressed in, it forces the BB before it to drop down.

Disassembly — don’t do it!
Yes, you can disassemble this pistol. And yes, there are small parts that can fall out, so I don’t recommend it. There’s no practical reason to do it, and I am not showing a video of how it’s done. Many who try it will not be able to assemble their guns again. There’s a small part that wants to drop free and with it comes a tiny hairspring that actuates it. These are loose parts that are held together only by their confinement inside the lower frame. Once out of the frame, they’re free to fall away.

The Mauser firearm design was made like a Chinese puzzle, with no screws holding the parts together. They interconnect in intricate ways, and the disassembly tab at the top rear of the grip is flipped up to separate the upper receiver and barrel from the lower receiver. Once the upper receiver and barrel are out of the lower receiver of this airgun, though, there are many tiny screws, springs and parts that are not found on the firearm. This is a gun to stay out of!

Power-wise, the M712 is supposed to spit them out at 360 f.p.s. That’s fast for a BB gun, but not overly so. And the gun needs some gas to operate the blowback function. Of course, I will test the velocity for you, but I watched the video Paul Capelo made and he got pretty close to those results, with some slowdown from the cooling of the gun as it fires.

What I want to see next
Umarex, you’ve awakened a sleeping dragon with these realistic air pistols. Here’s my wish list. How about a SIG P210 pistol? I can’t afford the firearm, so give me the next best thing. And don’t forget the M40 Lahti pistol made by Husqvarna, which was the mainstay of Denmark, Sweden and Finland for so many decades. And for gosh sakes, do I even need to say it again? Give us a realistic Single Action Army revolver! So many people have asked for that one over the years. I know the 12-gram CO2 cartridge doesn’t fit inside the standard SAA grip, but I’m pretty sure it will fit inside the grip frame of the 1860 Army frame that’s about a half-inch longer than the SAA grip.

Umarex got its start with blank guns — selling them in countries where firearms were not legal. They’ve now taken the next step with realistic guns that also shoot projectiles. I doubt there’s any end in sight!

Pyramyd Air Cup

Pyramyd Air Cup
In 2 weeks, I’ll be in Ohio to participate in the first annual Pyramyd Air Cup. If you plan to go but haven’t registered or reserved a room, then it’s time to get on the stick and do it! In fact, the last day to sign up is this Sunday, October 12.

Those who attend will experience 3 great days of shooting, trying out guns at the sight-in range, competitions, good food and lots of camaraderie. Meet other airgunners (some from this blog!), Pyramyd Air staff, airgun hunter and writer Jim Chapman, Airgun Reporter Paul Capello and me. All the info is on the special Pyramyd Air Cup website.

Airguns excluded from new legislation in California
Even if you don’t live in California, you’re probably aware of the numerous attempts by state representatives to pass legislation that requires all airsoft, BB and pellet guns to be brightly colored and to enforce greater restrictions on the purchase of these guns.

A 2014 effort had gained significant steam that looked like it might pass. However, due to the efforts of Pyramyd Air, Crosman, Remington and Umarex, California Senate Bill 199 excludes BB and pellet guns from being brightly colored. The bill was recently signed into law by the Governor and doesn’t require airsoft guns to be brightly colored but it does require them to have fluorescent strips on certain parts of the gun. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2016. Click here to read additional details in the official Pyramyd Air press release.