Umarex Gauntlet 2 Review .22 Caliber
July 20, 2021
Supplied by Umarex USA
Long and heavy
Poor pressure gauge
Heavy bolt action
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Umarex Gauntlet 2 continues in the tradition of the original Gauntlet. It redefines the PCP air rifle market in terms of price/performance – again!
The original Gauntlet set the PCP world alight because of its combination of features, including a consistent, regulated shot count at an unmatched price point. The Gauntlet 2 builds on this by combining a huge power increase – it’s no less than 62% in like-to-like HAM testing – with a more stylish, updated stock design and a range of other worthwhile improvements.
At the current $399.99 Street Price, nothing comes close to the Gauntlet 2 for power, accuracy and raw value…
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Umarex Gauntlet 2 PCP Air Rifle 0.22
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Umarex Gauntlet 2
SPEED AND ACCURACY
The Umarex Gauntlet 2 air rifle tested by HAM delivered some of the best groups we’ve ever produced! Moreover, this outstanding accuracy was combined with a remarkable tolerance for different pellet types. It produced great groups with almost all the standard HAM test pellets from the lightest alloys to heavy JSB Jumbo Monsters.
So it’s definitely not pellet-picky.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 10.03 Grain||1,160.90 FPS||30.49 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|Predator GTO 11.75 Grain||1,125.51 FPS||33.06 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||1119.70 FPS||33.14 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||1066.76 FPS||36.14 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Jumbo Express 14.35 Grain||1067.94 FPS||36.35 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||1064.72 FPS||36.91 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||955.76 FPS||42.89 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Jumbo Monster 25.39 Grain||897.58 FPS||45.43 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested|
As is expected from any PCP, the power level increased with pellet weight. Starting at the 30 Ft/Lbs level with 10.03 Grain H&N Field Target Trophy Green alloys, it rises to over 45 Ft/Lbs with the 25.39 Grain Jumbo Monsters.
This is in .22 caliber, remember. So the Gauntlet 2’s 45 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy matches that of the original Gauntlet in .25 caliber. That’s a significant increase in power!
Muzzle Velocity exceed the “magic” 1,000 FPS point for all the pellets weighing 14.66 Grains, or less, as you can see from our test data, above.
This level of performance matches or exceeds that of even some of the high-end PCPs HAM has tested. Our 25-Yard test target shown here gives further confirmation. (Don’t forget that HAM test targets always are 10-shot groups. Ten-shot groups will ALWAYS be larger than the 5-shot groups you’ll see in testing elsewhere).
The 25-Yard, 10-shot target shown here reinforces that level of performance. It’s on-par with the results we’ve achieved with HAM tests of .22 cal and .25 caliber Gauntlets in previous reviews.
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
Here we have somewhat of a mixed bag. The trigger is unchanged from the original Gauntlet. For the price, it’s a decent trigger, offering adjustability for pull weight, sear engagement and overtravel.
The average trigger pull weight of the Gauntlet 2 tested by HAM was 2 Lbs 6 Oz. This is slightly below that of the original Gauntlets we have tested ( 3 Lbs 2 Oz and 2 Lb 10 Oz). It’s not the lightest PCP trigger on offer, but it provides a clear two-stage action with a pretty consistent sear release.
Yes, this trigger is a little gritty and unrefined-feeling. It’s also somewhat “creepy”. However it works well and is comparable with (or better than) anything HAM has tested in PCPs at a price lower than that of the Benjamin Marauder. (Remember, the Marauder’s Street Price is $100 more than that of the Gauntlet 2).
There’s the same “swing round” manual safety that projects into the trigger guard to indicate safe. (Above). This has always worked reliably and consistently in HAM testing.
Now we come to the bolt action. The Gauntlet has always had an oversized bolt handle and a heavy, rather rough, cocking pull. These characteristics continue with the Gauntlet 2.
Now we have an even more oversized bolt handle. It’s steel and knurled to provide good grip for operation. Actually, it works very well.
But even with this larger bolt handle, the cocking effort for the Gauntlet 2 is very high. All Gauntlet models have the heaviest bolt action the HAM Team has ever tested.
Why so tough to cock? Well, undoubtedly the design of the Umarex Gauntlet needs a heavy hammer spring to achieve its power levels. That hammer spring need to be cocked before firing and you supply the effort to tension that spring when pulling back on the bolt handle.
To be sure, it’s far from impossible to cock. And it’s something that the owner will become used to. It’s also slightly easier than the original version. Most will likely find it a very acceptable part trade-off for the significantly increased power of the second generation Gauntlet.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Umarex is making a number of claims for the Gauntlet 2. Let’s check them out now, specific to the .22 cal version…
One claim is that the Gauntlet 2 will shoot lighter lead pellets in the 1,100 FPS range. HAM testing shows that this is true. The gun tested by HAM even fired light RWS Hobby lead pellets at above 1,100 FPS.
A second claim is that Muzzle Energy will be around 33 Ft/Lbs with “popular standard weight pellets”. HAM regards pellets between 14.3 and 14.7 Grains as being “popular standard weight pellets”. Our testing showed that such pellets gave in excess of 36 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy. That’s obviously well above the manufacturer’s claim.
Umarex claims improved baffling in the shroud of the Gauntlet 2 compared to the previous version. The result – they say – is a reduction of noise level by 8dB. HAM makes sound level assessments subjectively. But it’s clear that the Gauntlet 2 is definitely backyard-friendly and quieter that the previous version – so long as heavy enough pellets are used.
A further claim for the Gauntlet 2 is that it provides an increased number of consistent shots compared to the first version. Unfortunately HAM testing shows that – while the shot count is still very good – it is less than that for the original Gauntlet.
A further claim that has appeared on the Internet is that the cocking effort has decreased by 15% compared to the first version. Unfortunately HAM does not have measurement equipment to confirm or disprove this. However – again subjectively – the cocking effort is somewhat reduced. But it’s still high…
The Gauntlet 2 tested by HAM impressed with consistency in a number of respects.
Firstly it proved consistently accurate with a wide range of pellets. Secondly the Standard Deviation (the mathematical expression of FPS consistency in a string) is low at an overall average of just 6.65 FPS. This is clear from the following chart.
That would be excellent consistency from any regulated PCP air rifle, let alone one at the “value” end of the price spectrum!
The gun tested by HAM delivered 62 very consistent shots until the pressure dropped below the regulator set point. This compares to the 74 shots we recorded with the original Gauntlet. However, the Gauntlet 2’s shot curve is much more consistent and – obviously – the power much greater.
In addition, the trigger pull weight was very consistent. It varied between 2 Lb 5 Oz and 2 Lb 7 Oz in HAM testing.
It’s clear that this level of consistency is consistent – Groan! – with the other Gauntlet models HAM has tested before. So this is not unexpected. But it is still gratifying to find and record.
The Umarex Gauntlet 2 has a fully-shrouded barrel. This makes it a quiet gun to shoot – at least so long as using pellets that travel slower than the speed of sound.
In HAM testing on an outdoor 25 Yard range, the thump of those heavy JSBs hitting the earth backstop actually sounded louder to the shooter than the gun firing!
However, as with any air rifle, if the pellets travel at faster than 1,125 FPS or so, they will break the Sound Barrier and cause a loud sonic boom. This means that any pellet lighter than about 14 Grains will cause a sharp crack. Even those weighing up to 14.66 Grains are getting close to supersonic speed, based on HAM testing.
The takeaway? If you want your Gauntlet 2 to be backyard-friendly, it can be. Just stick to heavy lead pellets – preferably those over about 20 Grains.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The Umarex Gauntlet 2 is supplied without iron sights or a bundled scope. This is like the original version.
However there is an improvement. The second generation Gauntlet has a Picatinny scope rail, in line with current market trends.
As with the original Gauntlet, the long breech gives a very wide range of positions available for scope mounting.
In fact, the breech IS the same as the original Gauntlet with the Picatinny rails mounted on top as separate parts. However the Picatinny rails are so designed to allow traditional airgun/.22 rings to be fitted. Indeed this is the fitting method we used to mount the scope for this HAM test review.
For this HAM review, we installed a Leapers UTG 8-32 x 56 scope. This is a large, high magnification, high value scope that seemed to match well with the design philosophy of the Umarex Gauntlet 2.
All-up weight of the scoped gun was 11 Lbs exactly. As you can see, the adjustable cheek piece of the stock was raised a little to give a good cheek weld when shooting. The result balanced better than expected for such a large rig.
As we know, the Umarex Gauntlet 2 is a large air rifle. Overall length is 47 Inches, which is longer than most PCPs. The all-up weight of the rig tested by HAM was 11 Lbs 0 Oz, including the scope. This – in itself – is not exceptional. However the long front-mounted HPA tank brings the center of gravity well forward.
It’s manageable, but could be a tough proposition for smaller shooters to hold steady.
Obtaining a good cheek weld – so important for practical accuracy – is facilitated by the adjustable cheek piece. This uses a conventional “screw locking” system, unlike the unduly-complex “wheel adjustment” of the original Gauntlet.
That’s important because the Picatinny scope mount adds close to half an inch of additional height compared to the first model Gauntlet’s dovetail scope rails. The resulting higher-mounted scope thus tends to require a higher cheek piece.
The new and improved stock design of the Umarex Gauntlet 2 does, however, allow for a bipod to be fitted. M-Lok slots are incorporated in the upper sides and base of the forend.
For HAM testing, we mounted a Leapers UTG “TBNR” bipod to a Picatinny rail adapter installed in the M-Lok slots. The result was solid and sturdy. This is another improvement compared to the original Gauntlet, which did not have provision for mounting a bipod.
Shooting from a bipod was found to be comfortable and stable. If you can, this is the best way to shoot the Gauntlet.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
As always, appearance is in the eye of the beholder. However the HAM Team considers that the Gauntlet 2 is a considerably more attractive design than the first version. We like the simpler, more slab-sided design and the Flat Dark Earth color of the stock.
Umarex is clearly proud of the new Gauntlet and there’s prominent branding on the right of both stock and breech, as we can see below.
Overall finish is about average for the price. However the moldings of the synthetic stock do have more prominent joins than we would like to see.
Both metal and plastic parts have a primarily matt-finish surface. Except – that is – for the regulated HPA tank which has a gloss black finish.
BUYING AND OWNING
Given the strong distribution channels for Umarex products, you’re likely to find the Gauntlet 2 widely available both online and in physical stores.
There’s a 3-year warranty and the gun is bundled with a good, multi-lingual owner’s manual. Also included are a 10-shot magazine, single shot tray and de-gassing tool.
The Umarex Gauntlet 2 uses a detachable regulated HPA bottle. This design approach has many benefits.
For example, it allows filling using a standard 1/8 NPT paintball quick disconnect, which is widely preferred to a probe fill. It also allows the pressure gauge to be located on the side of the gun, so that it’s not necessary to look “down the barrel” to see the HPA pressure onboard.
Unfortunately the gauge itself is extremely small and difficult to read. It can be used to provide a general indication of fill pressure, but no more. It’s disappointing that Umarex has not been able to have a more legible gauge fitted to the Gauntlet 2. (Even though such an improved gauge is shown in the owner’s manual…)
For this reason, HAM recommends that the Gauntlet 2 (and other Umarex PCPs using the same gauge) should be filled only using the larger (and therefore easier-to-read) gauge on an HPA tank or compressor as a pressure reference.
Now that the Gauntlet 2 has a high HPA fill pressure of 4,500 PSI, there’s an immediate question. Can it still be filled from a hand pump?
The answer is yes. Because the regulator is set for a relatively low 1,900 PSI, you could use a hand pump to charge the gun with High Pressure Air. Say you fill to 3,000 PSI, you’ll still achieve full power shots – just less of them than filling to the full 4,500 PSI from a tank, booster pump or compressor.
Although the regulator pressure has climbed on successive Gauntlet models, it’s still relatively low. Hand pumping thus is still a viable possibility for many owners.
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.