Umarex Forge Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber
August 29, 2017
3 year warranty.
Accuracy could be better.
Poor bundled scope.
VALUE FOR MONEY
At a Street Price of about $150, the Umarex Forge air rifle is positioned among a number of airguns from major names including Gamo, Crosman, Beeman and more. For this price it offers good looks, a strong specification and long warranty coverage.
HAM Tester Eric Brewer noted “I would buy this airgun for my kid to learn to shoot with.”
In fact, the Umarex Forge air rifle is a gun of contradictions. It combined light and easy cocking with a very heavy trigger. The perceived recoil is low, yet the stock screws shake loose when it’s fired. And it develops the highest Muzzle Energy with the heaviest pellets, when all other gas ram guns HAM has ever tested give the most power with the lightest pellets.
So this is not your average break barrel air rifle. That in itself makes it an interesting gun to shoot. The light cocking effort
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SPEED AND ACCURACY
The Umarex Forge air rifle tested by HAM achieved a peak Muzzle Velocity of 1,080 FPS with Gamo Raptor Platinum alloy pellets. This is no surprise, of course, as these are the lightest pellets in the regular HAM test suite.
The highest Muzzle Velocity achieved with lead pellets was 926 FPS. This WAS a surprise, however, as it was achieved with 7.9 Grain Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets. The 7.0 Grain RWS Hobby pellets – the lightest and inevitably the fastest-shooting lead pellets – came in at just 916 FPS in the Forge.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain||1080.67 FPS||12.19 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||1033.24 FPS||13.92 Ft/Lbs||Good|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain||916.31 FPS||13.05 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain||926.04 FPS||15.05 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain||860.37 FPS||13.88 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||855.46 FPS||14.04 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain||857.28||17.38 Ft/Lbs||Very Good|
Accuracy was “Plinker OK” grade. Ten shot groups shot at 10 Yards generally grouped in around 0.5-inches Center-to-Center with a few flyers here and there.
The Umarex Forge air rifle tested by HAM achieved its best accuracy with the heaviest pellets, the H&N Baracuda Match. As you can see from the following test target, a 10-shot group fired at 25 Yards opened-up to about 1 Inch CTC.
Another performance surprise delivered by the Umarex Forge air rifle tested by HAM related to Muzzle Energy (knock down power). Typically, spring/piston and gas ram powered air rifles like the Forge achieve their highest Muzzle Energy with the lightest pellets.
Here, however, the reverse proved to be the case. The Umarex Forge air rifle produced by far the highest Muzzle Energy with the heaviest pellets – the H&N Baracudas. In fact, the 17.26 Ft/Lbs Muzzle Energy produced with the Baracudas exceeded that produced with the lightest pellets – the Gamo Platinums – by no less than 42%!
This is the sort of performance characteristic normally associated with a PCP air rifle. No HAM test of a break barrel air rifle has ever given such results before…
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TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
This section of the review was a mixed bag for the Umarex Forge air rifle tested by HAM.
At an average of 28 Lbs, the cocking effort was very low for an air rifle of this power level. This is excellent. The synthetic silencer assembly at the front end of the barrel is comfortable and convenient to grasp, making cocking feel even easier. This low cocking effort would make the Umarex Forge air rifle ideal for plinking, or for a person with lesser upper body strength. It could well suit as a first youth air rifle.
However, out of the box the trigger pull weight was over 8 Lbs. This is awful!
HAM Tester Eric Brewer took the unusual step of adjusting the trigger setscrew to the minimum pull weight he felt comfortable with. This gave a trigger pull weight averaging 6 Lbs. This is still waaaay too heavy and is unlikely to have aided good accuracy.
The HAM Team considered the trigger of the Umarex Forge air rifle we tested to be “soggy”. We couldn’t consistently predict the break point and this – together with the heavy pull weight – almost certainly impaired accuracy.
The trigger blade feels comfortable and is well shaped. It’s a metal trigger and we’re pleased to see that on an airgun in this price range. It’s adjustable for pull weight using the Phillips screw you can see in the photo above. There are no other adjustments available.
The Umarex Forge air rifle is fitted with an automatic safety. This is conveniently-placed just ahead of the trigger. The safety itself worked well on the Forge air rifle tested by HAM. It’s covered with a plastic sheath which makes it comfortable to use and is a nice touch.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The manufacturer makes many claims for the Umarex Forge air rifle. Most of them are printed right on the box!
First, of course, is the claim for Muzzle Velocity. The maximum FPS claim for alloy pellets is 1250 FPS. The maximum achieved by the Umarex Forge air rifle HAM tested was 1080 FPS. That’s about 15% less than the claim.
Maximum FPS with lead pellets is claimed as 1050 FPS. The best achieved in HAM testing was 926 FPS. That’s about 12% less than the claim.
The trigger pull weight claimed for the Umarex Forge air rifle by the manufacturer is 5.6 Lbs. On the gun tested by HAM, Eric Brewer recorded trigger pull weights of over 8 Lbs out of the box! He turned-out the trigger adjustment screw 3 turns – the maximum he felt comfortable with. Even then the trigger pull weight averaged 6 Lbs 0.5 Oz over the test.
Umarex also claims that the TNT gas ram system reduces cocking effort. The claim is for a cocking effort of just 30 Lbs, which is low for a break barrel air rifle of this power level. The Umarex Forge air rifle tested by HAM required an average cocking effort of just 28 Lbs. That certainly justifies the claim for reduced cocking effort that’s made for this air rifle.
The weight of the gun was 7 Lbs 11Oz without the scope. This is dead-on the manufacturer’s claim.
The group sizes obtained with the Umarex Forge air rifle were reasonably consistent in size. This means that the gun is not pellet-picky. Even if none of the groups actually showed stellar accuracy, none were really terrible either – at least at 10 Yards range.
Muzzle Energy, too, was reasonably consistent at around 12 – 15 Ft/Lbs. Except, that is, for the heavy H&N Baracuda Match pellets that suddenly produced nearly 17.5 Ft/Lbs!
But trigger pull weight was very inconsistent in the Umarex Forge air rifle tested by HAM. It varied by up to plus 1 Lb and minus 9 Oz around the average of 6 Lbs 0 Oz. This is pretty significant and matches the HAM Team’s experience that it was difficult to consistently predict the sear’s break point.
As you can see from several of our test targets, the Umarex Forge air rifle tested by HAM tended to throw a small number of shots outside the main group. This is most apparent on the 25-Yard target above. This inconsistency could be connected to the fact that the forend stock screws loosened during the course of shooting this test review.
It’s true that the hang tag and instruction manual supplied with the Umarex Forge air rifle include exhortations to tighten the stock screws before and even during shooting. But the screws themselves are secured in place by blue machinery adhesive. This – combined with the low felt recoil – make it surprising that the stock screws should loosen so rapidly.
The noise level of the Umarex Forge air rifle tested by HAM was about as expected. It was reasonably quiet and backyard-friendly, but louder than the best silenced PCP air rifles.
If the Umarex Forge air rifle met its claimed 1250 FPS with alloy pellets, that would be a very loud combination!
The (fortunately) limited maximum Muzzle Velocity achieved in the HAM tests means that this gun did not shoot light pellets at supersonic speeds. This avoids the very loud, firearms-like noise produced by airgun pellets when they travel faster than 1100 FPS, or so.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The Umarex Forge air rifle is equipped as standard with a set of fiber optic open sights. The rear sight is click-adjustable for elevation and windage, as is expected.
The Umarex-branded 4 x 32 scope bundled with the Forge is of limited optical quality. There’s a simple Duplex reticle, rather than the Mil Dot version that offers so many benefits for airgunners. And there’s no This is normal. How can a scope bundled with any air rifle selling for $150 really be expected to have high quality optics?
Scope quality is probably OK for plinking and may suit an undiscriminating user. However upgrading to an improved scope will be the first step most knowledgeable airgunners take to improve the performance of their Umarex Forge air rifle.
The provision of the Nucleus Rail system and it’s Weaver/Picatinny mounts is a big benefit over the airgun rails used by most air rifles in this price range. There’s no need for a separate scope stop and rearward scope ring creep is effectively eliminated. That’s good.
The Umarex Forge air rifle has some good features that promote shootability. The low cocking effort is good and the wide stock forend makes shooting with an open hand “Artillery Hold” feel natural. The use of Weaver/Picatinny rails prevents the scope creep that can be encountered with some break barrel guns of this price and power.
HAM Tester Eric Brewer wrote in his testing notes: “Feels good. Shot cycle is not hard for a gun at this price point”.
Umarex claims that the TNT gas ram minimizes vibration. They also claim that the Nucleus integrated rail platform absorbs vibration. The relatively soft perceived recoil felt by HAM testers indicates that these technologies could be playing a part here.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
The Umarex Forge air rifle is an attractive gun!
The stock has attractive wood with some figuring and the overall design was pleasing to the HAM Team. In particular the unusual recoil pad/rear stock design looks unusual and good, showing off the crisp Umarex logo to good effect.
The molding and finish of the synthetic parts seemed to be of good quality with subdued seam lines. The wood was stained dark and finished with a pleasant semi-matt varnish. The large areas of checkering on the wrist and forend of the stock was sharply done and provides a practical “grippiness” for handling in wet or humid conditions.
The few metal parts visible from outside – barrel, part of the compression cylinder and trigger, for example – seemed well finished and blued.
The HAM Team feels that appearance and finish of the Umarex Forge air rifle is very good for an air rifle of this price level. It stands out against the serried ranks of black synthetic stocks and boring, bland, light wood seen on many other lower-priced airguns.
BUYING AND OWNING
Buying the Umarex Forge air rifle is pretty easy. It’s available from all the usual online dealers. Also Umarex USA’s strong distribution network means you’re likely to find it in many physical “big box” sporting goods stores and some gunshops too.
The Umarex Forge air rifle scores by having a 3-year warranty. This, of course, is 3 x greater than that provided with most air rifles in this price range. It gives a sense of security to the owner and confidence that he/she has made a good long-term decision. The HAM Team feels that this is a good move by Umarex USA.
The instruction manual accompanying the Forge is well-produced and covers the necessary information in English, French and Spanish. As is normal with Umarex manuals, it’s well-illustrated with simple diagrams that are easy to follow.
HAM Tester Eric Brewer was particularly impressed with the “Break Barrel Quick Tips” tag that was attached to the barrel. This is a five point quick start guide that includes such sensible advice as reminding the shooter to clean the barrel before use and tighten the stock screws before and during use. The HAM Team agrees with Eric. This is a very good idea that we have not seen before.
But judging from the HAM tests, it would be advisable to take that “tightening the stock screws” to heart quite frequently when shooting the Umarex Forge air rifle if you want to maintain accuracy.
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