Umarex 850 M2 .177 Caliber Air Rifle Review
Supplied by Umarex USA
Accurate with a wide range of pellets
Comfortable to shoot
No built-in sound moderation
88/90 Gram CO2 cartridge cost
Same price as an entry level PCP
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Umarex 850 M2 is definitely a niche product in the current airgun market. That means it’s likely to be bypassed by many buyers shopping solely on price and specifications. But – if you value what the 850 offers – it can be a great buy for the right person.
At a Street Price of $300, it faces major competition from a slew of value-priced PCPs for the same money, led by the company’s own Gauntlet! These guns offer higher power and lower noise levels than the 850 – and that’s what most people want – at least in the US today.
So what does the Umarex 850 M2 offer? It offers traditional, proven German design and manufacture. That gives a quality feel and look to the product.
By using a CO2 power plant, it steers a path between heavy-kicking breakbarrels and the complexities – perceived or actual – of the High Pressure Air power used in PCPs. It’s ideal for informal target practice, plinking and light pesting.
The 8-shot rotary magazine is among the simplest and easiest to load that’s out there. And there’s even iron sights – a steadily-vanishing component on air rifles – although they could be better as there’s no windage capability.
If you’re an airgun traditionalist, the 850 could well be just what you’ve been looking for!
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Umarex 850 M2 CO2 Air Rifle
SPEED AND ACCURACY
HAM tester Doug Wall shot the Umarex 850 M2 in an ambient temperature of 68 degrees F. Here’s the Muzzle Velocities he recorded with the standard range of HAM test pellets.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain||790 FPS||6.52 Ft/Lbs||Very good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||759 FPS||7.11 Ft/Lbs||Very good.|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain||717 FPS||7.99 Ft/Lbs||Very good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain||695 FPS||8.48 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Exact Diabolo 8.44 Grain||703 FPS||9.49 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||699 FPS||9.38 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain||651 FPS||10.02 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best tested.|
As we’ve mentioned before, Muzzle Velocity is a more complicated question for CO2-powered airguns – of any type – than is the case for spring/piston, gas ram or PCPs.
As temperature increases, so does the CO2 pressure. So does the Muzzle Velocity of the pellets fired. This increase in Muzzle Velocity due to temperature is about 2 FPS per degree F.
This increase in muzzle velocity doesn’t continue indefinitely, however. At around 95 degrees F the increasing pressure causes “valve lock” in the gun and muzzle velocity falls rapidly. So somewhere around 90 degrees F is usually a maximum shooting temperature for CO2-powered airguns.
This means that the maximum Muzzle Velocity for the Umarex 850 M2 tested by HAM would be around 834 FPS with the ultra-light Gamo Platinum alloys. With the mid-weight, 8.44 Grain JSBs, it would be about 747 FPS.
Accuracy with the Umarex 850 tested by HAM was very good. Groups were well controlled with all the standard HAM test pellets with best accuracy achieved by the H&N Baracuda Match pellets. This was an outstanding almost “one hole” group at 10 Yards and still very respectable at 25 Yards, as we can see from this target…
Probably more important than this, however, is that the 850 M2 tested was definitely not pellet picky and showed good accuracy with the whole range of HAM standard pellets.
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
Trigger pull weight for the Umarex 850 M2 tested by HAM averaged 2 Lbs 9 Oz. Trigger pull was very smooth and consistent, although the second stage had quite a long travel and release was not “glass break” sharp.
However, it’s actually a pretty good trigger for an air rifle at this price level. Adjustment for travel is possible using an externally-accessible setscrew. However, pull weight cannot be changed by such means.
The 850 uses a cock-on-opening bolt action. Unlike many break barrel, spring (or gas ram) air rifles, this means that it can be shot all day without strain and is easy for younger, or less strong shooters to manage.
The bolt action also means that this airgun operates just like a firearm, for the most part, and that’s a big attraction for many shooters – particularly those moving to airguns from a firearms background.
With this type of cock on opening action, you’d expect the forward travel of the bolt to be smooth as butter. But the 850’s bolt is a little rough on the closing stroke. Maybe this would smooth out with use, maybe a little more lubrication would help.
There’s nothing actually “wrong” with this action, it’s just that we expected it to be smoother. Regular users probably get used to it and don’t think twice…
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Umarex USA claims that the 850 M2 achieves a maximum Muzzle Velocity of 750 FPS with 7.0 Grain pellets. The sample tested by HAM came close to that that even at just 68 degrees F with 717 FPS. That equates to 751 FPS at 90 degrees F – as explained above, matching the claimed specification.
The company also claims the Umarex 850 M2 to be a “tack driver”. HAM testing substantiates this at 10 and 25 Yard ranges.
Another claim is for 200 shots from one 88/90 Gram CO2 cartridge. Again, HAM testers have fired over 200 shots using one cartridge and the gun is still shooting happily…
Above. We fitted a Leapers UTG PRO TBNR bipod to the 850. The combination worked well!
As mentioned above, the Umarex 850 M2 is one of a minority of air rifles that shot consistently well with all of the standard HAM test pellets.
Standard Deviation – the measure of shot-to-shot consistency in a string – was well controlled for a CO2-powered airgun at an average of 8.30 FPS.
Then there’s the trigger pull weight. HAM testing found pull weights between 2 Lb 6 Oz and 2 Lb 12 Ounces, with an average of 2 Lb 9 Oz. This is strong performance and means that the trigger will effectively feel the same for every shot.
The Umarex 850 is a fairly high-powered CO2 air rifle with no sound suppression system. Of course, the noise level is not high compared to even a .22 LR firearm. Also, pellets fired from the 850 will never exceed the speed of sound, even in .177 caliber, so sonic boom is not an issue either.
Nevertheless, shooters who have quietness as a top priority will probably find the 850 a little too noisy for them. Given the widespread availability of shrouds and other sound moderation systems on similarly-priced PCPs – and even on some springers, like the Umarex Synergis – the lack of sound suppression is a surprising omission for the 850.
HAM Tester Doug Wall commented in his test notes: “Moderate noise appropriate to its power level. A moderator is expected nowadays.”
It’s true that the muzzle is threaded 1/2-Inch x 20 – and protected by a collar in normal use – so it is possible to attach an aftermarket silencer, compensator or muzzle brake to the Umarex 850 where and if legal. However that will certainly make the gun considerably longer, as well as adding cost.
Doug Wall also noted that the firing sound is a typical CO2 “thwap”, rather than the sharper and louder “crack” of an un-moderated PCP (think Benjamin Maximus, for one example).
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The Umarex 850 ships with fiber optic open sights. This means it can be shot straight from the box. And there are some shooters who genuinely prefer shooting with iron sights – although the HAM Team is not among them!
However, the 850’s open sights are not click adjustable . Furthermore, the rear sight has no windage adjustment, as you would expect.
In fact, the rear sight has adjustment for elevation by loosening a screw, sliding the sight along a ramp then re-tightening the screw. Adjustment for windage is made by “drifting” across the front sight and guessing the effect.
This is a “trial and error” method of sight adjustment and the Umarex 850 deserves better.
Fortunately the open sights are simply removed. We fitted our trusty Leapers UTG 3-9x40AO scope for the HAM tests. Mounted with medium rings, the eyeline was pleasantly low, while the bell of the scope just cleared the barrel.
One benefit the 850’s action is that it has an unbroken scope rail in the top of the breech. This gives unimpeded choice of position for the scope rings in a way that’s not possible with most magazine-fed PCPs. There’s also no need to worry about potential contact between the magazine and the bottom of the scope.
Depending on your choice of scope and personal eyesight, this could be a very big positive for the Umarex 850. With no recoil to speak of, there’s no need for the currently-fashionable Picatinny-style scope rails seen on so many air rifles today.
Like most CO2-powered airguns, the Umarex 850 is very easy to shoot. There’s no heavy cocking, no recoil and no need to learn – and perfect – a special hold to achieve best accuracy.
The great trigger (for the price) and bolt action clip feed also make for easy shooting. Doug Wall found the balance good and that the 850 is quick and easy to point on target.
Overall weight for the 850 M2 tested by HAM, with full CO2 tank, Leapers scope and loaded magazine was 8 Lbs 6 Oz. So this is not a particularly light weight air rifle. It feels solid, reliable and functional – which it is!
As always, HAM testers don’t like the automatic safety, but that’s the way it is. The automatic safety is disengaged by pushing the small serrated vertical section of the safety. Just thumbing forward the wide, stippled area without depressing that serrated section doesn’t do it.
Loading the clip is easy and intuitive. But we suggest you take the time to push every pellet right down into its hole so that the narrow waist of the pellet is seated correctly by the O ring that runs around the clip. We experienced no jams or misfeeds during the HAM testing.
One potential improvement – as Doug Wall points out – would be to have some sort of counter on the clip – as is done with the Umarex Gauntlet magazine, among others. With the 850, it’s too easy to forget how many shots you’ve taken and then find you’re shooting blanks.
Another shootability benefit is that the Umarex 850 is supplied with a clip-on cheekpiece. When installed, this adds a critical amount of additional height to the comb.
The result is a better cheek weld – particularly when using a scope. That leads to more consistent practical accuracy in the field.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
HAM testers like the look of the Umarex 850. It’s perhaps not a classic beauty, however it is distinctively-styled and has it’s own appeal.
The CO2 cylinder is well concealed inside the removable forearm of the stock. That forearm is substantial enough to provide a mounting-point for three short Picatinny rails.
Overall, the level of fit and finish are high: as you would expect from a product that’s made in Germany. Metal parts are well finished and plastic parts such as the black ambidextrous synthetic stock are well molded.
BUYING AND OWNING
You’re unlikely to walk in to a sporting goods store and find the Umarex 850 M2 on the shelf. The overwhelming majority of these air rifles are being sold by online Internet stores like Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot.
Packaging is beautiful, with a huge white foam box to protect the gun in shipping before it gets to you. The written instructions supplied are good, with plenty of illustrations to help explain functionality.
Given our expectations for the German quality of this air rifle, it’s disappointing to find that the 850 does not share the three years warranty that’s provided with many other Umarex air rifles such as the Gauntlet and Origin. The warranty is just 12 months.
Unfortunately the cost of CO2 is a major downside to the 850 M2. 88/90 gram cylinders are about the most expensive way possible to buy CO2 for airgun use – around $20 for two – and these cannot be refilled.
It is possible to obtain adapters that allow 2 x 12 Gram CO2 cartridges to be used instead. This will be an attractive option for some, as CO2 is cheaper that way and the FPS will remain the same. However the number of shots per fill will obviously decrease compared to a single 88/90 Gram cartridge. Umarex has such an adapter available on the company’s website.
However, this is a price that may be worth paying for those who want an accurate, recoil-free, reasonably powerful air rifle but who don’t want to go for a PCP, for some reason.
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Umarex 850 M2 CO2 Air Rifle
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