Beeman Mach 12.5 Air Rifle
Test Review .177 Cal.
Testers: Paul Manktelow
Model Number: 12517
Test Date: September 8, 2014
Serial Numbers: 90700158
Source of Supply: Purchased anonymously at retail.
Condition: As new, but with camo dipped stock.
So much power!
Great for hunting small game and varmints.
We Don't Like
So much power makes it hard to shoot!
Very hard to cock.
- Value for Money 90%
- Speed and Accuracy 90%
- Trigger and Cocking Effort 40%
- Comparison to Makers Claims:100%
- Consistency 70%
- Noise Level 50%
- Sights 70%
- Shootability 30%
- Appearance and Finish 70%
- Buying and Owning 60%
HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS
The Beeman Mach 12.5 is a monster!
This is an out-and-out hunting air rifle. It offers significant power, very high muzzle velocity and great accuracy. That’s what you need for humane “one shot kill” air rifle hunting of pests, small game and varmints.
But let’s be clear. This is NOT an airgun for casual plinking, fun shooting or teaching “little Johnny” how to shoot his first air rifle.
The Mach 12.5 is unashamedly big and heavy, with a harsh recoil. You need to be big, tough and experienced to shoot it well.
With a Street Price of $240 the Mach 12.5 is hard to beat as a traditional spring/piston hunting air rifle.
For its combination of quality, usability, value and performance, the Beeman Mach 12.5 air rifle receives a HAM Silver Award.
|HAM Test Rating||73%|
|Value For Money||Lots of power, lots of gun for the price.|
|Best For||Hunting pests, small game and varmints.|
|Best Pellet Tested||H&N Baracuda|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$240|
|RateAGun Score|| |
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VALUE FOR MONEY
At a Street Price of $240 – at the time of testing – the Beeman Mach 12.5 air rifle offers – literally – a huge bang for the buck. The muzzle velocity is as high – or higher – than any competitor in this price range, the bundled scope is good and has AO (Adjustable Objective). The accuracy as tested by HAM was excellent and the gun not pellet sensitive.
This is a great hunting airgun for the money, so long as you have the strength and ability to shoot it.
SPEED AND ACCURACY
There’s no question about it. The Beeman Mach 12.5 is the most powerful .177 caliber break barrel air rifle that has been reviewed by HAM to date. It achieves over 20 Ft/Lbs of muzzle energy with all but one of the HAM standard test pellets and actually shoots the H&N Baracuda heavies at over 1,000 FPS, peaking at just about 26 Ft/Lbs of muzzle energy. That’s a lot of power!
Maximum muzzle velocity achieved by the Beeman Mach 12.5 air rifle in HAM’s standardized test review procedure was 1,367 FPS with Gamo Platinum PBA 4.7 Grain pellets.
Accuracy was good to excellent with all the pellets tested. This is NOT a pellet-picky air rifle. The Beeman Mach 12.5 air rifle tested by HAM shot ultra-light weight alloy pellets, flat-fronted lead wadcutters and heavy domed lead pellets with almost equal accuracy in our tests. This is a great practical advantage for many airgunners.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain||1367.69 FPS||19.51 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||1300.76 FPS||20.88Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain||1167.30FPS||21.17 Ft/Lbs||Excellent (except one flyer).|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain||1126.45 FPS||22.25 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain||1063.67 FPS||21.19 Ft/Lbs||Best tested.Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||1047.35 FPS||21.04 Ft/Lbs||Excellent|
|H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain||1048.50 FPS||25.99 Ft/Lbs||Best Tested.|
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TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
The Mach 12.5 is fitted with Beeman’s RS3 2-stage trigger, signifying the best trigger in the Beeman Sportsman Series range. It’s probably necessary to cope with the very high sear pressures associated a spring/piston air rifle of this power.
We anticipated a heavy trigger pull and we weren’t disappointed! When tested by HAM, trigger pull weight averaged 6 lbs 2oz. The RS3 trigger is adjustable by the user but, as usual, the operator’s instructions don’t describe how to do this. HAM tests all airguns with the trigger set “out of the box” by the factory, just as most users do.
Above. The RS3 trigger and safety of the Mach 12.5.
HAM tester Paul Manktelow commented that the “trigger is a little long but breaks clean. This is OK for a hunting air rifle”. The RS3 does provide a very defined second stage, which is useful for the hunter waiting for just the right split-second to squeeze off the shot.
The safety is automatic and is located directly in front of the trigger blade. As always, the HAM reviewers prefer a manual safety…
Cocking effort is also – predictably – very high. There’s no way to achieve such high muzzle velocities without the shooter putting-in a lot of effort to compress the very strong spring.
HAM recorded a cocking effort of 52 Lbs.
What does 52 Lbs cocking effort mean? Paul Manktelow explains: “I had to place the butt on the floor between my feet and use both hands to cock this air rifle”. Yes, it’s that hard to cock. The spring feels as if it’s being compressed to its absolute limit when the sear finally latches at the end of cocking – in a way most guns don’t – in order to extract maximum power.
Such a high cocking effort is clearly worthwhile for a hunter to obtain the high power the Beeman Mach 12.5 air rifle generates. But don’t choose this gun unless you’re strong, fit and (probably) physically large. Don’t choose it for plinking and all day shooting unless you see this as an alternative to a workout at the Gym!
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Relatively few marketing claims are made for Beeman air rifles. But one is very remarkable!
Unlike most airguns, the Beeman Mach 12.5 air rifle has a manufacturer’s specification for accuracy. Yes, really! Most manufacturers shy away from such a bold claim due to the massive number of variables involved in shooting any air rifle and the potential for customer complaints if they risk publishing a specification for accuracy. This is really “sticking your chin out” by Beeman!
The accuracy specification for the Beeman Mach 12.5 is given as “c-t-c .20-in. at 10 meters”. Although the number of shots for this group is not given, HAM staff do know that this accuracy specification is given in relation to a 5 shot group. (This is important because more shots always give larger groups).
The most accurate group produced in HAM testing was 1/4-in. x 3/8-in. (.375-in. x .25-in) for 10 shots at 10 yards with H&N Baracuda pellets, with most other groups not that far behind (1 Meter = 1.09 Yards). So it’s clear that the Mach 12.5 does meet this most remarkable claim, given the expected group enlargement between 5- and 10-shot strings. Take a look at the test targets…
The other claim is implicit in the name of the gun – Mach 12.5. This claim is that the muzzle velocity is 1,250 FPS. The claim is not made specific to pellet material (alloy or lead) which is unfortunate. The Beeman Mach 12.5 tested by HAM achieved a maximum muzzle velocity of 1367.69 FPS with Gamo Platinum PBA pellets, exceeding the 1,250 FPS claim by over 9%.
Even with light lead pellets – 7.0 Grain RWS Hobbys – the Mach 12.5 is still less than 7% slower than the 1,250 FPS claim at 1,167.30 FPS – and that would be good enough for many muzzle velocity claims made by other manufacturers.
The Mach 12.5 tested by HAM meets its manufacturer’s performance claims.
As we’ve already remarked – and you can see from the test targets – the Beeman Mach 12.5 is very consistent in its treatment of pellets. It shoots all of the standard HAM test pellets with good accuracy or better.
Leaving out the Gamo Platinum pellets (these always show a very high Standard Deviation), muzzle velocity consistence is good, averaging less than 7 FPS. The lowest Standard Deviation recorded in the HAM tests was 4.0 FPS with the JSB Exacts. This is a good level of consistency for any spring/piston air rifle.
Trigger pull weight is less consistent. The HAM tests recorded a minimum trigger pull weight of 5lb 7 oz and a maximum of 6lb 12 oz. That’s a fairly wide swing around the average of 6lb 2oz. But this lack of consistency didn’t seem to upset HAM tester Paul Manktelow’s accurate shooting…
Although the Beeman Mach 12.5 is not fitted with a silencer, it didn’t seem unduly loud to the HAM testers. We’d say it is average for an air rifle of this power level.
There’s no “twang” from the spring when the Mach 12.5 fires, just a solid “thunk”.
Of course, any pellets traveling faster than the speed of sound (approximately 1,100 FPS) can themselves be very loud. This is a definite possibility with the Mach 12.5, given it’s capability for such high muzzle velocities. But shooting a medium or heavy weight lead pellet will still give you 1,000+ FPS, lots of muzzle energy – knock down power – and keep the noise level down to a reasonable level in this .177 caliber gun.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The Beeman Mach 12.5 is not fitted with iron sights. This may be a disappointment for some, but it reflects the reality that almost all airgun users – particularly hunters – will use a scope, especially if one is bundled with the gun.
The scope bundled with the Mach 12.5 is a Beeman-branded 3-9x40AO scope. Although not a high end optic (how could it ever be at this price?), this scope is as good as any bundled with other air rifles in this price range. Indeed, it’s better than many as it is fitted with Adjustable Objective (AO) that allows for focusing down to 10 yards.
The reticle is a standard Duplex type. As always, the HAM team considers a mil dot reticle to be superior for air rifle shooting, but the simple reticle fitted to this scope may be satisfactory for many airgun hunters. An illuminated reticle is not provided. This can be useful for some low light hunting situations, but this is an extra cost that is tolerated in only one bundled scope that the HAM team can recall – the 4 x 32 illuminated scope fitted to the Stoeger Suppressor air rifle. So its omission on the Mach 12.5’s scope can be excused.
This scope is supplied unmounted, so the user has to mount and sight-in the scope himself – a task that is more or less difficult depending on the shooter’s experience. It would be better pre-mounted, but would cost more, and purchase price is always important…
The Mach 12.5’s scope is mounted with a solid pair of rings. These are restrained from movement by a simple but robust external scope stop.
Overall, this scope will be just fine for most users and relatively few will see the need to upgrade this Beeman scope with something more expensive.
Here we have an air rifle that’s longer and heavier than the chunky World War 2 GI’s M1 Garand battle rifle. Yes, really!
The Mach 12.5 ‘s undoubted power is bought at the expense of shootability. Cocking is heavy, the trigger is heavy. The gun is big, long and difficult to hold correctly for accurate shooting. The recoil is quite harsh, as you’d expect: there’s a price to pay for all that power.
You need to be big, strong and experienced with air rifles to shoot the Beeman Mach 12.5 to its potential. That’s why it has the very high (difficult to shoot) RateAGun score of 10.4
This is not an airgun for fun shooting. But if you’re making a small number of shots during a hunt and need the power to make a humane, one shot kill, shootability is always going to be low with a break barrel air rifle.
And by the time you’ve spent a morning lugging the Mach 12.5 around the countryside, you’d wish it was fitted with sling swivels and a sling too…
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
The Mach 12.5 has a traditional look with a wooden stock to compliment the blued metal parts.
Design of the ambidextrous stock is conventional, with the comb swelled on both sides to make a good cheek weld for both left- and right-handed shooters. This stock is made of European hardwood and has some pressed checkering around the stock’s wrist and a ventilated rubber buttpad to absorb some of the recoil.
Please note that HAM’s test gun has been treated with a “camo dipped” pattern, this is not a normal finish for this air rifle.
Some minor machining marks are visible on the compression tube, for example, and the Beeman Mach 12.5 lacks the really deep bluing that’s often a hallmark of more expensive air rifles. But this is meant to be a hunting air rifle, not a work of art! Overall quality of finish and metal bluing is about average for the price and class of the Mach 12.5.
BUYING AND OWNING
The Mach 12.5 is not easy to find in “bricks and mortar” retail locations. But it’s readily available online from the usual suppliers.
Warranty is the traditional 12 months from date of purchase. If there’s a problem with the gun, you’ll need to send it to the US importers in California. There’s no pre-payment required for return shipping, this is good.
Parts availability is not widely advertised, but the US distributor* does have parts available if you telephone them.
One critical ownership step with the Beeman Mach 12.5 – as it is with any other high power break barrel air rifle – is that you should check the tightness of the stock screws and scope mounting screws frequently. The high recoil generated by these high power guns has a habit of shaking these screws loose. And loose screws are a common cause of inaccuracy that “just happened” with no apparent cause.
* Note that the Beeman brand is used – and has been for several years – for two distinctly different ranges of airguns. Each range is manufactured in different countries and has different US importers. Beeman Sportsman Series air rifles, such as the Mach 12.5 tested here, are manufactured in China and distributed in the USA by S/R Industries of Santa Fe Springs, CA. Higher end Beeman airguns are manufactured in Germany and distributed in the USA by Pyramyd Air of Solon, OH. It’s important to understand this in the unlikely event that warranty support is required for your Beeman airgun.
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This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.