Umarex Octane Air Rifle
Test Review .22 Cal
November 10, 2014
Supplied by Umarex USA.
Good accuracy with lead pellets.
Balances nicely for shooting.
Poor accuracy with alloy pellets.
If only the scope had mil dots!
Counter-intuitive automatic safety.
|HAM Test Rating||73%|
|Value For Money||Great value for money in a magnum hunting air rifle.|
|Best Pellet Tested||Crosman Premier HP|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$205|
|RateAGun Score|| |
VALUE FOR MONEY
At a Street Price in the $205.00 range, the Umarex Octane air rifle is a very strong contender in the value for money race.
It has all the latest “must haves” of a gas ram piston, silencer, high muzzle velocity, Picatinny/Weaver rail scope mounting and the “black look”. These are combined with traditional values of decent finish and good accuracy with lead pellets.
Best of all is the quality of the bundled scope. which is rarely matched in other airgun/scope bundles at this price and means that you don’t need to allow extra money to buy a better quality scope.
UmarexUSA is adding cream to this particular cake with an outstanding 3-year warranty coverage.
BUY FROM AMAZON
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
SPEED AND ACCURACY
The Umarex Octane air rifle tested by HAM showed an ENORMOUS benefit in accuracy testing! HAM tests showed that this air rifle shot best with Crosman Premier HP pellets. And, these pellets also gave a very strong muzzle energy of 24.64 Ft/Lbs.
Why is this so important?
Well, in reality, most airgunners choose their pellets by walking into Walmart – or another big box sporting goods retailer – and buying whatever pellets they find there. And Crosman Premier Hollow point pellets are available everywhere. So, the combination of best performing pellets and these pellets being most readily found by “the average Joe” is a very important benefit for the Umarex Octane .22 cal air rifle.
As you can see from the following table, the Umarex Octane air rifle achieved a maximum muzzle velocity of almost exactly 1100 FPS with the lightest pellets tested, 9.7 Grain Gamo Platinum PBA pellets. Highest muzzle velocity with lead pellets was achieved by the 11.9 Grain RWS Hobby pellets at 959 FPS.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 9.7 Grain||1099.62 FPS||26.03 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 14.66 Grain||1057.18 FPS||24.88 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||959.52 FPS||24.32Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||881.10 FPS||24.64 Ft/Lbs||Very Good. Best Tested.|
|JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain||821.21 FPS||21.48 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||830.26 FPS||22.43 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||709.41 FPS||23.61 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
If you’re hunting – as you probably will be with this air rifle – it’s muzzle energy (knock down power) that really counts, rather than actual muzzle velocity. The Gamo Platinum PBA pellets delivered the highest muzzle energy but with less accuracy than would be required for humane “one shot ” kills in most circumstances. Again, the Crosman Premier HP pellets give an excellent muzzle energy of 24.64 Ft/Lbs, combined with the accuracy you need for hunting.
BUY FROM AMAZON
Crosman LPH .22 Caliber Hollow Point Pellets, 500-Pack
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets, .22 caliber
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
We all know that nothing is for free in this world. And that’s reflected in the trigger pull for the Umarex Octane.
The average trigger pull weight recorded in HAM testing for the Umarex octane was 7lb 3oz. And this varied by as much as 13 ounces between the highest and lowest pull weights recorded.
This 7+ lbs trigger pull weight is higher than many other air rifles of this power. But it’s not unpleasant to the finger and may even be appropriate for a hunting air rifle where few shots are fired.
The trigger is claimed to be a 2-stage model, but as HAM tester Paul Manktelow commented in his testing notes “I can’t find a first stage on this trigger”. The other HAM testers also couldn’t find the missing first stage – the trigger certainly felt like a single stage trigger to us.
The automatic safety is unusual in that you pull it BACK toward the trigger blade to disengage it. Although this is counter-intuitive, it does become second nature after a period of shooting the Umarex Octane, so long as you don’t also shoot other air rifles that have the more normal “push away to disengage” type of safety.
HAM measured the cocking effort at 43 lbs. Yes, this is heavy, but it’s less than is required for some other high power break barrel air rifles. And for a hunting air rifle, this is not such a big issue as most hunters will be firing relatively few shots in a day. But it would get old very quickly if you were to use the Umarex Octane as an all day plinker!
HAM tester Paul Maktelow felt that the cocking cycle was smooth, but wasn’t too happy about the scraping noise generated by the test gun when the barrel was closed.
Lock up – the way the barrel snaps back into place after cocking – seemed a little soft, but no issues arose from this during the HAM test sessions.
COMPARISON TO MAKER’S CLAIMS
Let’s start with muzzle velocity, as this is what everyone wants to know!
The Umarex Octane tested by HAM was a strong airgun, but it didn’t meet the manufacturer’s claims for muzzle velocity.
UmarexUSA claims a maximum of 1,250 FPS with alloy pellets – yes, even in .22 caliber – but the best recorded in HAM testing was an average of 1,099.62 FPS with the lightest Gamo Platinum PBA pellets. That’s 12% slower than the claim.
For lead pellets, the manufacturer’s claim for the Umarex Octane is 1,050 FPS. The best achieved in HAM testing was 959.52 FPS with RWS Hobby wadcutters (the lightest lead pellets, of course). That’s 8.5% below the claim.
Umarex claims that the Octane is fitted with a 2-stage trigger. As a technical statement HAM is not disputing this, but our testers were unanimous that this FELT exactly like a single stage trigger. In use, there was no second stage to be found.
The Reaxis gas piston powerplant of the Umarex Octane is claimed to give “less vibration, higher accuracy, smoother and quieter recoil and higher, more consistent velocity”. That’s quite a list! To each of these claims, HAM asks “compared to what?” These are all relative claims without a point of comparison and so it’s not possible for HAM to say definitively if these claims are met or not.
But HAM testers did agree that vibration and recoil were less than we expected. We felt the gun to be fairly quiet. Accuracy in the HAM test targets was good with lead pellets, as you can see for yourself below and the muzzle velocity is high (although less than claimed) and can be consistent with many pellets.
So are the manufacturer’s RELATIVE claims for the Reaxis gas piston fitted to the Umarex Octane met in use? HAM feels that they probably are. But don’t push us too hard on this….
The thumbhole design of the stock makes for an easy, natural hold and this – combined with the good cheek weld for scope use – encourages consistent positioning of the gun, an important contribution to consistent shooting.
Standard Deviation (the measure of shot-to-shot variability) was somewhat variable. It was held down to an excellent 3.16 FPS with both JSB Exact Express and H&N Baracuda Match pellets and also attained a very creditable Standard Deviation of 11.22 FPS with the Gamo Platinum alloy pellets that usually record much higher figures.
But here’s a conundrum! Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets, the ones that gave the best accuracy, showed a really poor Standard Deviation of 25.57 FPS. If that figure had been paired with a poor group, we wouldn’t have been surprised. But obviously the poor Standard Deviation recorded with these pellets made no difference to the great consistency on target!
Another strong consistency benefit of the Umarex Octane tested by HAM was that it shot accurately with all the lead pellets in the standard HAM test suite.
Trigger pull was heavy – as recorded above – at an average of 7lbs 3oz, and it varied quite a lot around this figure with a minimum recorded pull weight of 6lb 6oz and a maximum of 7lb 11oz, although this variation was not very evident to the shooter.
Overall, HAM testers considered the Umarex Octane to be fairly quiet.
There’s a nice solid thunk when the gun is fired. And – due to the .22 caliber of the model tested – there’s no chance of lead pellets exceeding the speed of sound when fired, so that sharp crack due to 1,100+ FPS muzzle velocity will not be encountered.
The Silencair sound suppressor fitted to the barrel obviously also gives some benefit in sound moderation, too.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The Umarex Octane air rifle is fitted with the expected fiber optic “iron sights”, although few shooters are likely to use them given the bundled scope.
The rear sight is adjustable for elevation and windage. The front sight is set high on top of the silencer and is very exposed to possible damage, having no protection for the red fiber optic element. This front sight is almost certain to be damaged in the rough and tumble of everyday use!
Fortunately, most shooters will use the scope that’s bundled with the Umarex Octane. And it’s a good one…
This 3-9 x 40AO scope is actually very good for a bundled scope in this price range. It has close focusing down to 10 yards, the most useful magnification range for most users and it’s fitted to the gun by means of a pair of solid Weaver/Picatinny rings that are attached to the rail mounted on the compression tube of the air rifle.
This Umarex-branded scope has good sharpness and contrast for the price and – if it just had a mil dot reticle – would be a perfect combination with the Umarex Octane. Even with a standard Duplex reticle, it’s still waaaay ahead of many other scopes bundled with mas market air rifles, but just the addition of mil dots would have made it ideal.
The Octane includes a set of strong Weaver rings. These clamp to a substantial Weaver rail assembly that itself clamps to standard airgun dovetails machined in the compression tube of the airgun.
We didn’t expect the Weaver rings to move in their mounts but the HAM testers did wonder if the Weaver rail assembly itself would move under recoil when shooting. It didn’t!
The scope remained unmoved throughout the HAM testing and the point of aim didn’t move. The Umarex Octanne has a successful and strong scope mount system that’s not going to let you down in use.
Yes, at 48-inches overall length and 9 lb 13 oz weight (with scope) the Umarex Octane air rifle is big and heavy. It’s clearly in the magnum hunting airgun class for both size and power.
Recoil is less pronounced than we had been expecting and certainly felt less than for some other magnum hunting air rifles HAM has tested. Overall, the shooting experience is quite smooth for an airgun of this power.
HAM tester Paul Manktelow noted “I really like this air rifle. It cocks smoothly and balances nicely for shooting”.
Pellets lead easily into the breech end of the barrel. Yes, you might think this would obviously be the case, but it’s not always so. Some air rifles will cause a hole in your thumb from pressing the pellets into place over an extended shooting session! The Umarex Octane is not one of them: it’s easy to load with all the pellets HAM tested.
All the above, together with the relatively low cocking effort – for a break barrel airgun of this power – makes the Octane a relatively comfortable gun to shoot. But be aware, this is not an air rifle for a beginner and it does demand skill, strength and knowledge to shoot accurately, as is indicated by its high RateAGun score of 9.7.
As the Umarex Octane is fitted with a Reaxis gas piston powerplant, it can remain cocked for an extended period (obviously with the safety engaged!) if required before taking a shot. This, of course, is a very useful attribute for a hunting air rifle.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
The black, synthetic stock is nicely molded, with smooth, clean seams, while metal parts show good finish with no tooling marks and uniform, deep bluing.
“Handsome is as handsome does” is our opinion of the Octane’s design. None of us found the looks of this gun to be especially attractive, due primarily to the stock design. The forend of the stock is wide and bulky, while the butt end is thin and narrow. It looks as if two different people designed the stock, starting from opposite ends and meeting just aft of the trigger!
But this is purely personal opinion. The stock feels good in use and is obviously practical for its intended purpose. And you may have a completely different opinion of the Octane’s looks…
BUYING AND OWNING
The Umarex Octane is widely available in both physical and online stores, so finding one is unlikely to be a problem.
Packaging is adequate, with the usual amount of white foam at this price point to protect the gun in shipping before it gets to you.
The written instructions supplied with the Octane are adequate and include information on trigger adjustment and long term maintenance.
The 36 month warranty – for the original owner – is outstanding for an air rifle. UmarexUSA deserve credit for showing their confidence in the Octane.
Note that you are required to register your new Octane with Umarex USA within 30 days of purchase in order to qualify for this warranty coverage. And be sure to keep your original sales receipt as this must be included with the air rifle in the event of warranty work being required.
Also, Umarex USA does have spare parts available via their Service Department in Fort Smith AR and knowledgeable airgunners will be pleased to know this for the long term servicability of their Octane.
One omission that will make itself felt (literally) for the hunter is the lack of sling swivels. This means that the Umarex Octane cannot be carried using a sling over the shoulder. This could be very tiring over the course of a long day in the field hunting, also the risk of dropping the gun is higher than if it is carried on a sling.
And back to that very exposed front iron sight. As it’s almost certain to be damaged in rough use over time, you need to accept that there’s no possibility of a replacement. The front sight is an integral part of the silencer molding and the silencer cannot be removed from the barrel. So, if you were really concerned over the appearance of a damaged front sight, it would be necessary to replace the entire barrel assembly and that would be very costly. You’ll just have to live with it…
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BUY FROM PYRAMYD
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.