Umarex Gauntlet PCP Test Review .22 Caliber
Testers: Stephen Archer, Pete Shooter
Model Number: 2252604
Test Date: Nov 24, 2017
Serial Numbers: 051708008856
Source of Supply: Supplied by Umarex USA
Accurate with multiple pellets.
Regulated, consistent FPS.
We Don't Like
Not much else…
- Value for Money 100%
- Speed and Accuracy 90%
- Trigger and Cocking Effort 70%
- Comparison to Makers Claims:80%
- Consistency 100%
- Noise Level 80%
- Sights 90%
- Shootability 90%
- Appearance and Finish 70%
- Buying and Owning 90%
HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS
The Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle is an accurate, consistent, quiet, magazine-fed, regulated PCP for the masses at less than $300. It’s a stand-out HAM Gold Award winner!
In particular, the regulated HPA supply provides a large number of consistent shots, removing the need to worry about the “shot curve” inherent in most unregulated PCP air rifles. This is a huge step forward at this price.
In “out of the box” condition, the trigger was poor on the gun tested by HAM. But this is adjustable and can probably be improved.
With this level of price/performance, it’s likely that the Umarex Gauntlet will become one of those “platform guns” that becomes well-supplied with aftermarket parts and upgrades in future. This could become the new “Ruger 10/22 of the airgun world”.
VALUE FOR MONEY
In the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle, we have a magazine-fed, regulated PCP air rifle with great performance at a remarkably low price of less than $300.00. OK, the Street Price is just a few cents less than $300, but this air rifle offers a price/performance ratio that’s unmatched by any other air rifle at the time of writing.
At this price point, and with Umarex’s strong distribution network, it’s very likely that the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle will appeal to a whole new audience. Make that a very large new audience.
This is one of the airguns that is likely to make a “sea change” in PCP adoption. It will undoubtedly appeal to both existing break barrel users and those moving away from firearms to airguns.
Umarex claims that the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle offers the performance to match that of $1,000+ air rifles for less than $300. From the perspective of accuracy, shots per fill and consistent, regulated FPS, that’s a fair claim. Try to think of another PCP air rifle that’s regulated and costs less than $1,000 or thereabouts. It’s not easy…
HAM Tester Pete Shooter commented “It’s clever engineering that works. There’s nothing here that I don’t like”
So how could the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle score anything less than 100% in the value for money section of this review?
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Umarex Gauntlet Regulated PCP Air Rifle
SPEED AND ACCURACY
The Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle tested by HAM delivered a maximum Muzzle velocity of 931.86 FPS with the lightest Gamo Platinum PBA alloy pellets. The maximum with lead pellets – the RWS Hobbies was 864.63 FPS.
Average Muzzle Energy was 19.62 Ft/Lbs, which makes the Gauntlet suitable for hunting small game.
Unusually for a PCP, the maximum Muzzle Energy – 22.20 Ft/Lbs – was not achieved with the heaviest pellets, but with the 14.66 Grain H&N Field Target Trophy pellets.
Accuracy surpassed the HAM Team’s expectations. None of the standard HAM test pellets shot badly and the heavier, domed, lead pellets shot with excellent accuracy.
Pretty-well identical “one hole” groups were produced by the JSB Exact, H&N Field Target Trophy and H&N Baracuda Match pellets. It was difficult to say which really gave the best group, but we judged the Baracudas best – just. (Note that the test target for the Baracudas tore high and left, making the target look less good than it actually was).
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 9.7 Grain||931.86 FPS||18.71 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 10.03 Grain||911.89 FPS||18.52 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||864.63 FPS||18.76 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||788.16 FPS||19.73 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain||806.91 FPS||20.75 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||787.71 FPS||22.20 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||631.44 FPS||18.72 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tetsed.|
At 25 Yards, the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle gave a very good 10-shot group. Just one shot strayed a little high and left to mar perfection, as you can see below.
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
In the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle tested by HAM, the trigger pull weight was extremely consistent. It pulled at an average of 3 Lbs 2 Oz. This pull weight is certainly OK.
But otherwise the trigger – as it was received from the factory – was certainly the weakest part of the Gauntlet. It’s a single-stage unit, which is not necessarily an issue. And the trigger blade itself is metal, which most people like. But, the travel was incredibly long and “spongy”.
Eventually – it seemed – the sear release break point was reached and – once it was – it was released easily and predictably. But getting to that point was a trial. As received, the trigger of the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle is probably OK for hunting. But it’s certainly not target-grade.
However, unlike several other low-priced PCPs, the trigger itself is adjustable. Pull weight, sear engagement and overtravel, can all be varied using setscrews. The user’s manual describes how to adjust the trigger and HAM will be doing that in a future post to see how much improvement is possible.
Pete Shooter, however, shot the Gauntlet as if it had a “battle rifle” trigger , pulling through fast, and was not unhappy with the results.
There’s a manual safety located in the front of the trigger guard. This can be rotated to set the gun to safe. In this case, the safety lever projects in front of the trigger, making for a convenient indication that the gun is, indeed, safe.
Bolt action is adequate. The bolt operates quite easily, although a little roughly. In this respect it resembles the feel of the Benjamin Marauder. But – unlike the Marauder – the bolt is completely contained within the breech and so is easier to operate without removing the gun from the shoulder. It’s a cock-on opening action, as with most other magazine-fed PCP air rifles, and so is harder to pull back than to push forward.
There’s a rear bolt lock slot in the breech of the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle. This holds the bolt open for loading a freshly-charged magazine and – at the same time – acts as a second safety. No matter how much you pull on the trigger, the gun will not fire when the bolt handle is locked back and down. This is a definite safety advantage compared to most other bolt action PCPs.
Once a magazine is loaded, regular cycling of the bolt is achieved by just sliding it back and forth. The bolt handle does not need to be dropped down into the rear notch every time it operated. However, it can be done at any time the shooter wants – instantly making the gun safe.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Umarex USA makes two major claims for the Gauntlet. Number of consistent shots per fill and – of course – Muzzle Velocity.
The Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle tested by HAM certainly over-delivered on the consistent shot per fill. Umarex claims 60 shots in .22 caliber, this gun achieved 73 shots from a 3,000 PSI fill with a commendable 26 FPS Extreme Spread. You can see that as 69 consistent shots per fill with just 20 FPS Extreme Spread, if you wish. Either way, the Gauntlet exceeds the manufacturer’s most important claim.
For Muzzle velocity, Umarex USA claims up to 900 FPS with lead pellets.
The maximum Muzzle Velocity achieved in HAM testing was 864.63 FPS with 11.3 Grain RWS Hobby pellets. So here the Gauntlet falls short, by about 35 FPS. That’s 4%. So, close, but not quite there.
Firstly, it has to be said that, in the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle tested by HAM, the trigger pull weight was extremely consistent. In fact, amazingly consistent for an air rifle at this price. The average trigger pull weight for the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle was 3 Lbs 2 Oz, and it varied by on more than one ounce during our tests.
But, of course, the excitement about the Gauntlet is not caused by its trigger performance. It’s the fact that this is a regulated design, promising great consistency of Muzzle Velocity.
As you can see from the chart below, these expectations were fulfilled. The Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle tested by HAM delivered no less than 69 shots at an average Muzzle Velocity of 828 FPS, with no more than a 20 FPS Extreme Spread. That’s good performance for any regulated PCP air rifle and outstanding for one at this price.
In fact, if you are prepared to accept an Extreme Spread of 26 FPS, there’s 73 consistent shots available before the regulator reaches its operating pressure and the FPS declines rapidly.
While we’re talking consistency, also take a look at the test targets below. There you’ll see that the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle tested by HAM delivered impressive accuracy with a wide range of pellets – including alloys. “It’s very forgiving with pellets” was HAM Tester Pete Shooter’s comment.
This again is a very consistent performance that is not easily matched by many other air rifles. It means that the Gauntlet is likely to work well with most types of pellets and will not require one specific pellet to deliver good everyday accuracy.
Muzzle Energy was also more consistent than with most PCP air rifles, which show a significant increase with increasing pellet weight. The Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle tested by HAM gave pretty consistent Muzzle Energy values of between about 18 .5 Ft/Lbs and 22.2 Ft/Lbs.
The Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle is fitted with a shrouded barrel. This reduces the report to backyard-friendly levels.
Overall noise level is somewhat higher than that of the Benjamin Marauder – HAM’s Gold Standard – in our subjective testing. But it’s still clearly much reduced from the levels that would be heard from an un-shrouded barrel.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
Fortunately, Umarex has decided to not bundle a scope with the Gauntlet.
Of course, you have to budget more for the scope, but at least you are able to select the one you want. And, of course, the vast majority of bundled scopes have poor optical quality, so this way you’ll end-up with a better scope and a better overall shooting experience.
The Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle has long scope rails machined into its breech. These are standard airgun rails, this means that Weaver/Picatinny rings will not fit – of course.
For HAM testing, we mounted a Leapers 4 – 16 x 40 AO scope. This complemented the overall balance and weight of the air rifle, proving effective in use.
The Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle is long at 46 1/4 Inches overall. This makes it about 3 Inches longer than a Marauder, for example. It also weighs-in at 10 Lbs 3 Oz as tested by HAM with the Leapers UTG 4 – 16 x 40 AO scope, sling swivels and sling.
However, the lightweight, alloy, HPA tank is relatively short and light. This means that the Gauntlet – although long – does not feel unduly muzzle-heavy compared to many other PCP air rifles with a similar air capacity (13 cubic Inches).
The sling swivels allow the shooter to wrap a sling around his/her forearm for stability in the field. However, the gun can only be carried muzzle down when slung over the shoulder.
The adjustable comb of the buttstock allows a good cheek weld to be achieved with Gauntlet for most people. This is another very useful feature that is a significant contributor to improved practical accuracy in the field.
Of course, it’s the regulated air supply that gives the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle it’s greatest shootability benefit. Unlike most unregulated PCPs, the shooter does not have to worry about his “PCP shot curve” and the changes of vertical impact this makes to his shots.
Just filling to 3,000 PSI and not needing to worry about more air for 70 consistent shots is a liberating feeling! Of course, this is true of any regulated PCP air rifle, but Gauntlet brings that practical liberation to a whole new price level.
The magazines operate in the same way as those of the Benjamin Marauder and so are easy-to-load and familiar to many. The inclusion of a dedicated single shot tray shows that the company sees the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle as an airgun with “serious” capabilities. It will be welcomed by those who prefer to single load pellets, such as Field Target shooters. (It’s likely that the Gauntlet will prove to be a popular choice among FT newbies in .177 caliber).
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
As we always say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But even so, it’s not clear to the HAM Team that the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle will win many prizes for appearance. However the HAM Team suspects that the Gauntlet’s looks could easily be transformed with some creative camo-dipping. The multiple separate parts of the stock mean that there’s a lot of potential in this direction.
Fortunately “handome is as handsome does” and from this perspective, the Gauntlet is a beauty!
The HPA tank cover makes the forend somewhat bulbous, to our eyes, but that’s partly a function of the action, which has the interchangeable tank at the front.
Less understandable are the protruding sling swivel studs. Having the facility to attach a sling to the Gauntlet is commendable, however, these really do stick out proud from the stock! Adding swivels and a sling takes care of this issue, however.
The black synthetic stock is well-molded, with the seam lines disguised and/or finished to make them less obvious. The stock material itself looks tough and durable, although it does tend to show the effects of minor handling marks, like finger nail marks.
Metal parts are finished in matt black.
Overall, the quality of fit and finish are quite acceptable and will meet most owner’s expectations for an air rifle of this price.
Note that the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle tested by HAM had a “generic” pressure gauge for the HPA tank. This measures the fill – i.e. unregulated – tank pressure, not the regulated pressure. But the gauge does not have a red/green faceplate for easy understanding, as is shown in the Instruction Manual.
Umarex USA tells us that this will be changed as production is ramped-up. At any event, the small gauges used on most PCPs are not particularly accurate or easy to read. HPA fill pressure should always read using a larger gauge on the pump or HPA tank, as with any other PCP air rifle.
BUYING AND OWNING
As a new model, the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle is just starting to become available from the usual online sources such as Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot. However, Umarex USA has a strong distribution network and we can expect that it will also be available from a number of the larger “bricks and mortar” stores such as Cabelas.
So, the gun will be easy to buy. Its performance with the Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets is a strong suit, because these are available everywhere airguns are sold. They are also a staple pellet choice for the many Walmart shoppers who find them in their local store.
The Gauntlet is supplied with a 3-year limited warranty, provided by Umarex USA. This is much better than the 12 month warranties offered by most of the competition and shows that Umarex has confidence in this new product. It will be interesting to see if Umarex USA chooses to make repair parts for the Gauntlet available in such an easy and transparent manner as Crosman does, however.
The instruction manual is comprehensive, well-illustrated and includes English, French and Spanish sections. It covers trigger adjustment and instructions for removing and replacing the regulated HPA tank.
Yes, the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle has a regulated tank that is removable and which can be replaced by another. It’s important to know that the tank itself contains the regulator. This means that it must NOT be replaced with another tank with an output – regulated or otherwise – of more than 1,250PSI, as Umarex makes clear.
As an additional safety feature, the Gauntlet is supplied with a “degassing key” (above). This enables all the pressure to be removed from the gun and tank – if required – for maintenance, or to make the gun a Zillion percent safe for jam clearance or when traveling, for example. This works by camming open the valve, allowing all the air to exhaust through the breech (or muzzle if the bolt is closed).
Because of the regulated design and extremely low, 1,150 PSI regulator pressure, the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle offers remarkable flexibility for filling with HPA. This means that the tank does not have to be filled to the full 3,000 PSI in order to achieve full performance.
Filling is undertaken using a standard 1/8-Inch NPT standard quick disconnect. This is the simple, sensible and practical way to fill PCPs.
So, if you’re filling from a hand pump, you can have full power even if you fill to just 2,000 PSI, for example. The only difference is that you will get less consistent shots per fill. This is because fewer shots will be required to take the air in the tank down to the 1,150 PSI regulator pressure. So, if you find it tough to fill to 3,000 PSI with a hand pump – and many of us do – just fill Gauntlet to the pressure you can easily manage.
This is another major user benefit of the regulated design.
Another good design feature of the Umarex Gauntlet PCP air rifle is that the pressure gauge is located on the side of the gun. This avoids the somewhat frightening need to “look down the barrel of the gun” to check the pressure which is required by PCPs having front-mounted pressure gauges.
The magazines are compatible with those of the Benjamin Marauder and are well-priced at $12.95. Replacement single shot trays are $9.95.
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Umarex Gauntlet Regulated PCP Air Rifle
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