by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Umarex NXG APX multi-pump air rifle.
This report covers:
• Accuracy, starting with Premier lite pellets
• On to RWS Superdome pellets
• What to do?
• Anything else?
It’s been a long time since I looked at the Umrarex NXG APX air rifle kit. The last part was published on October 3, and it was an accuracy test at 10 meters with open sights. The next test was supposed to be shot at 25 yards with the scoped rifle, and that is what I’ll do today, but there was a problem.
Try though I did, I couldn’t find a scope mount that fit the top rail of the rifle! Without that, there’s no way of mounting a scope, and there goes the test.
A couple days ago, a reader mentioned this fact (the undersized scope rail) in a comment, and that prompted me to read Part 3, again. When I did, my eye fell on the product title of this rifle, it’s a kit — as in, it comes with a scope! Maybe the manufacturer put in a scope and a mount that has a smaller clamp? You have to hope!
When I opened the box I found the scope with the mounts attached. Lo and behold — they did fit. Although, the scope is only 4x and has no parallax adjustment, and the scope tube is only .75 inches. I mounted it on the rifle and proceeded with today’s test. If the scope didn’t align with the target, I didn’t know what I was going to do because I don’t have any backup optics this size.
But I didn’t need them. The scope aligned fine with the target. The test was back on! However, I first had to adjust the scope’s eyepiece to get the reticle sharp. Some shooters think the eyepiece is there to focus the target, and I will admit to having done that a time or two, but the focus is really there to make the reticle lines sharp. When you do that, of course, the scope is out of focus at all distances except for the one the fixed parallax is set for. Well, that and everything beyond to infinity.
Since this scope is only 4x, the focus at 25 yards does not matter because the target is too small to see any detail. So, I got away with sharpening the reticle lines.
I sighted-in the scope and discovered that there are no click detents in the adjustments. The adjustments do work well without them, but it feels strange not to hear and feel them when the wheels are turned.
That settled, I moved back to 25 yards and started the test. Each pellet tested was shot 10 times from a rested position. I decided on pumping 5 strokes per shot, so discounting the sight-in sessions that took 6 shots, there were a total of 50 pump strokes per pellet tested, and I tested 4 pellets. That’s 200 pump strokes, which makes me an expert on the ease of pumping this rifle.
The rifle has to be held at the pistol grip when it’s pumped because the scope gets in the way of holding it higher up on the receiver. But this rifle is so easy to pump that it’s not a problem! I could have shot it all day this way. So, the scope does not detract from the fun of shooting the NXG APX, and that’s something that cannot be said of all multi-pumps that get scoped.
Accuracy, starting with Premier lite pellets
The first pellet tested was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome — the pellet we call the Premier lite. This was a good pellet at 10 meters. How would it do at 25 yards? I could see some of the pellets impacting the target through the scope, and they didn’t look that good. Ten went into 1.439 inches at 25 yards. That’s not so good!
Ten Premier lites in 1.439 inches at 25 yards is not a good start.
On to RWS Superdome pellets
Next in line were RWS Superdomes that had also done okay at 10 meters. They were even worse than the Premiers at 25 yards, though, because 10 made a 1.683-inch group. This was getting disheartening!
Ten RWS Superdomes went into 1.683 inches at 25 yards. Something was wrong, and I needed to find out what.
What to do?
At this point, I was getting a bit down. Sure, the scope isn’t the best, and the trigger is stiff and heavy, but I know I can shoot better than this! There had to be something else at work. My thought was perhaps a pellet with a larger head might help. Since I had no other ideas, it seemed like it was worth a try, so the next pellet I tried was the Air Arms Falcon that has a 4.52mm head. If you’ve been reading this blog for a couple months, you know that the Falcons have saved the day several times so far.
Ten Falcons made a group that measures 1.116 inches between centers. While that’s nothing to write home about, it’s significantly smaller than the first 2 groups. Perhaps, the larger head size made a difference after all?
Ten Air Arms Falcon pellets went into this 1.116-inch group at 25 yards. This is better, but still not as good as I’d hoped this rifle could do.
Now that I had an indication that pellet head size might make a difference, I had one more trick in my bag. I thought about using a heavy pellet, because all the pellets so far have either been light or medium weight. And, as luck would have it, Pyramyd Air had just shipped me a couple tins of H&N Baracuda Match pellets with large head sizes. They had asked me over a month ago what head sizes I had; and when I checked, all I could find in the .177 Baracuda Match was a 4.50mm head. I have several tins of them, but nothing larger. So, PA shipped me this pellet with 4.52mm and 4.53mm heads, because they want me to test them for you. I selected the 4.53mm pellet for this test test.
And that solved the problem! Ten pellets went into 0.769 inches at 25 yards! That’s an extremely significant result, and it demonstrates the value of having pellets with the right size head. It probably also validates my thoughts on trying heavier pellets in a pneumatic to improve accuracy, although I can see more testing is needed in this area.
Now we’re talking! Ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 4.53mm heads went into 0.769 inches at 25 yards.