Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle Test Review
June 18, 2020
Supplied by Umarex USA
Fun for the whole family
Did we mention it's loud?
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle is the clear price leader in the expanding air archery market. At a Street Price of $170, it’s close to half the price of the next cheapest model – the Umarex AirSaber. So it’s cheap, but is the AirJavelin good value?
The way that Umarex has been able to hit this ground-breaking price point is by using CO2 as the power source. All the other currently-available air archery guns are PCPs.
This brave departure has produced the most powerful ever CO2-powered airgun. True, the power level is still lower than the competing PCPs. However the cost of the gun is much less and there’s no additional costly accessories such as tanks, pumps or compressors as no High Pressure Air is required.
The flip side of this argument is that the running cost of CO2 is high at around 75 Cents per shot (depending on how many shots you’re happy to accept from one 88/90 Gram CO2 cartridge). But with the average HPA hand pump running at around $200, you can take approximately 265 shots with the Umarex AirJavelin before breaking-even with the cost of that hand pump.
Looked at from a different perspective, the Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle is comparable in price with some low-end crossbows of similar power. However it offers the advantage of compactness and minimal cocking effort, waaay less than that required to cock any crossbow.
The other issue with CO2 power is that it’s not the most friendly power source to use in cold weather – the usual hunting environment for most of us, at least in the northern part of the USA.
However, Umarex USA tells HAM that in their testing: “Hot Hands body warmers will keep the 88g CO2 bottle and expansion chamber at 70F for several hours when the outside temperature is 38F. In our experience, these warmers have not taken the CO2 to a dangerous temperature when applied at any ambient temperature.”
That’s a long answer to the “Is it good value?” question. In summary, the HAM Team considers that – yes – the Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle is great value. It allows anyone to get involved with air archery for the minimum of investment, yet it’s powerful enough for small game hunting and target practice.
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SPEED AND ACCURACY
Let’s deal with accuracy first…
For our HAM testing, we set-up an archery target at 22 yards from the firing point. Although this was closer than the 40 Yards range we used to test the Umarex AirSaber PCP arrow gun, we felt it to be a more realistic range for an air archery product of this power.
HAM Tester Doug Wall undertook a rough sight-in for the AirJavelin using the supplied open sights.
Then Stephen Archer fired it. The target below shows the first three shots he ever fired with the Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle. A 1-Inch Center-To-Center (CTC) group for 3 arrows at 22 Yards!
That clearly demonstrated the potential for accurate small game hunting and definitely impressed us with the ease-of-use of the AirJavelin…
As for speed and power, the test results were also good, although not quite what we had expected!
In summary, the AirJavelin gave us 10 shots with an average of 299 FPS. That equates to an average of 33.8 Ft/Lbs. That level of Muzzle Energy confirms the gun as being suitable for small game hunting. As Umarex explained to HAM: “That’s at least 15 high power shots for hunting anything as big as a coyote. There are at least another 15 shots with sufficient energy to kill foxes, rabbits, squirrels, etc.”
We were shooting at an ambient air temperature of about 82 degrees F in the shade.
Our expectations for this CO2-powered arrow gun were that the first shot would be the fastest, followed by a steady decline in FPS. This is what Umarex test data indicates.
However, we found that the Muzzle Velocity had a tendency to increase over the 10-shot test string, rather than fall!
As the AirJavelin had been “seasoning” in the shade at the 82 degrees ambient temperature for some time before firing, maybe that was the cause of our unusual test result. Perhaps the gun had unintentionally heated-up to a temperature very close to that of valve lock (90+ degrees).
In that case, firing the AirJavelin would – as with any CO2-powered airgun – produce a cooling effect. However, if the gun’s temperature had been critically close to valve lock, that cooling effect would have actually increased the Muzzle Velocity as it cooled on firing. That, at least, could explain the test results we found…
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
The trigger of the Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle is non-adjustable. Average pull weight on test was 10 Lb 1 Oz. That sounds terrible, but for some reason, it actually didn’t feel anywhere so heavy!
Maybe the comfortable shape and good positioning relative to the pistol grip has something to with this perception. When pulling the AirJavelin’s trigger, there’s first a little slack, then a long, steady pull back until a “stop” is clearly felt. Just a touch more pull trips the sear, firing the gun.
So this is definitely not a target rifle trigger. But then this is not a target rifle, it’s a hunting arrow rifle! Overall the HAM Testers found the AirJavelin’s trigger quite acceptable for it’s intended use.
The manual safety has a push-across action that’s extremely positive in operation.
Cocking is achieved using the straight-pull side lever. This can be set for operation to the owner’s choice, either right hand or – as in the photograph below – for left-handed operation.
As the Owner’s Manual warns, the arrow must be slid into place prior to cocking the AirJavelin. De-cocking also can be achieved by carefully following the Manual’s instructions.
The cocking effort was regarded as quite light and definitely less than expected, by the HAM testers. Although the pull weight was beyond the range of our Digital Trigger Pull Gauge, it can’t be much more than that of the trigger: perhaps in the 12 – 15 Lb range…
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The manufacturer claims a maximum Muzzle velocity of 323 FPS for the Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle. The maximum recorded in this HAM test was… 323 FPS!
Umarex also claims that the AirJavelin is easy to use. It’s certainly easy to load and cock. Stephen Archer’s first three shots (above) also prove it’s easy to shoot well!
Shot-to-shot consistency for the 10-arrow string in this HAM test showed an Extreme Spread of 48 FPS. This is about as expected and in line with the data published by Umarex on the retail box.
Trigger pull weight varied between 9 Lbs 8 Oz and 10 Lb 11 Oz on test, with the average being 10 Lb 1 Oz. While not brilliant, this variability was not easily perceptible to the shooter and, again, approximately as anticipated by the HAM Testers.
So far as the HAM Team is aware, there’s no way to add a moderator or other noise-reduction system to an arrow-firing airgun. Also, this a very powerful CO2-powered airgun and that power is purchased by using a lot of CO2 for each shot.
So there’s no way around it: the Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle is LOUD!
This is an unavoidable disappointment in this air archery product which is otherwise so backyard-friendly. If noise levels are an issue, the best answer is probably to invite the neighbors around to enjoy the fun and be part of the AirJavelin experience…
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle is supplied with a fiber optic front and aperture rear sight. This rear sight is adjustable for both elevation and windage, although we would have liked to see a greater range of adjustability to aid with sighting-in.
The ideal solution would undoubtedly be to fit a red dot sight, or preferably a dedicated archery scope. However, although the AirJavelin has a long Picatinny-style top rail for mounting optics, the slot spacing will not work with a fixed-base mount.
Look at the way the slots do not match-up with the locking rods of this Leapers red dot sight in the photograph below. For the AirJavelin, you’ll definitely need to attach any optics using separate rings as this will allow the flexibility to match the rail’s slots.
There’s no doubt that the Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle is easy to shoot – as was already proven above.
It’s light – just 4 Lbs 10 Ozs in shooting trim – and the adjustable stock gives pull lengths all the way from 13.5 to 16.5 Inches. That should cover just about everyone and supports Umarex’s claim that this is an arrow gun for the whole family.
Another shootability/handling benefit is that the AirJavelin has a bolt handle that can be installed from either side of the gun. If you want left-handed cocking, it’s just a matter of screwing the bolt handle into that side.
The bolt handle does become a little loose with use, however. The answer is an occasional twist, or – if you want to keep it located on the same side at all times – a drop of red machinery adhesive (like Loctite) would undoubtedly stop that permanently.
This is the most-easily changed ambidextrous cocking system the HAM Team has ever seen. By far!
Those slots in the side of the “barrel shroud” are actually M-Lok slots. So a suitable bipod or other M-Lok accessories could well find their place on an AirJavelin. We’ll investigate this further in a separate post.
With the light weight and high power, the Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle has a fair kick when fired. It’s not a shoulder-bruiser by any means, but there is a satisfying amount of felt recoil when you fire the piece.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
The Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle is definitely an unusual-looking airgun. It has a futuristic look that could be construed as rather toy-like at first. Then there’s that “wide mouth” look at the front end…
But with more than 30 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy available, this really is NO TOY! With time, the HAM Team has become more used to it’s looks. Let’s say “handsome is as handsome does” best expresses the AirJavelin’s appearance.
Externally, this is an all-synthetic airgun. Mold quality looks good, with good fit and finish. There are prominent seams to be found on the top and bottom surfaces, however we need to remember the price and for that, it’s satisfactory. In fact, the only external metal part appears to be the safety and a few screw heads.
The AR-style collapsible buttstock is familiar. It is finished with a pleasant rubber buttpad.
BUYING AND OWNING
You’ll find the Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle available from the usual online sources such as Airgun Depot. It’s clear from the colored retail packing and extensive use of molded synthetic parts, however, that Umarex has designs on a much wider market for this product.
Given Umarex USA’s distribution strength, HAM wouldn’t be surprised to see it make an appearance at big box sporting goods stores and, maybe, other retail locations in the near future.
Below. The iron sights and bolt handle are supplied separately and must be installed by the owner. That’s not a big job…
The Umarex AirJavelin CO2 Arrow Rifle is shipped with three arrows. These are fitted with field points, although broadheads can be screwed into place if required. Additional packs of 6 AirJavelin arrows are available.
88/90 gram CO2 cartridges are a consumable supply. As this gun is a lot of fun to shoot, you may want to consider buying a bulk supply to reduce the cost per shot.
The AirJavelin is supplied with a well-illustrated manual of typical Umarex corporate style in English, Spanish and French. It is, however, printed in color, another indication of Umarex’s high expectations for this price-leading arrow gun.
The manufacturer’s warranty of 12 months is supported by Umarex in Fort Smith, AR.
Finally, make sure to check out the Airgun Sporting Association map for an indication that it’s legal to hunt with any arrow gun. You can then check with your state’s Conservation or Hunting Agency for more details and confirmation.
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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.