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Awesome Art
Rifle Magazine
March - April 2003
Volume 35, Number 2
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 206
On the cover...
Savage offers an extensive lineup of bolt action rifles in short and long actions, including the package model (10/110GXP3) with scope, 16BSS with laminated stock and the 12FV with synthetic stock, blue barreled action and the revolutionary AccuTrigger.
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Product Tests

Pellet- and BB-firing look-alikes of world-renowned firearms have been around for decades. In recent years, however, this trend has accelerated dramatically, with an almost constant parade of superbly realistic firearm look-alikes available to shooters here and abroad. Earlier this year one of the best look-alikes I have ever seen became available in the U.S. Produced in Germany by Umarex - a company with a long and distinguished record of CO2-powered centerfire handgun look-alikes - the new model is that manufacturer’s first CO2 rifle and is distributed in the U.S. through the Crosman Corporation.

As can be readily observed, the Walther lever-action rifle is truly a “spittin’ image” of the legendary .30-30 caliber Winchester Model 1894, indeed one of the world’s most famous centerfire sporting rifles. The Umarex-made Walther lever action, though, handles .17-caliber pellets only and derives its shooting power from two standard, disposable 12-gram CO2 cylinders. The latter fit in a carrier that slides in and out of the hollow hardwood buttstock. The moulded synthetic buttplate, which is part of the aforementioned carrier, incorporates a pivoting catch that allows the entire unit to be easily removed.

Looks and overall dimensions of the Walther lever action are almost impossible to tell apart from a real 1894 Winchester. Measuring 38 inches overall and weighing a hefty 9 pounds, this look-alike comes extremely close to the real McCoy. Its rifled steel barrel, hammer, trigger and lever, along with the alloy receiver, all sport a rich blued finish that imitates very nicely the finish of the real Winchester levergun. The hardwood forend and buttstock sport an oil finish that makes these areas contrast nicely with the blued surfaces.

There are two versions of the Walther lever action available: the standard, or Long, and the Short. The latter is 34 inches overall and sports a 15-inch barrel, while the Long version incorporates a 19-inch barrel. Both versions have a genuine saddle ring on the left side of the receiver, just like the Winchester. One minor difference between the two versions of the Walther rifle is that the Short does not have a front sight hood. For this report we tested the Long version of this decidedly exciting pellet rifle.

Pellets are loaded by first depressing the loading port cover, causing the holder for the rotary pellet magazine to pop out. The eight-shot pellet magazine can then be removed, loaded and placed back in the holder. The latter is then closed. This pellet loading method is both clever and practical. Incidentally, the magazine holder has a red tab that shows whenever there is a magazine in place. This is a well-thought-out safety warning. There is also a manual cross-bolt safety button like the one found on contemporary Winchester 94s.

The Walther lever-action rifle comes with simple but practical open sights made of a moulded synthetic. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation only via a stepped ramp. The ramped front blade has the aforementioned removable hood and can be adjusted for windage by sliding it in its dovetailed seat. Special bases for mounting red-dot as well as telescopic sights should be available by the time you read this.

The initial impressions of all who saw and handled this superb CO2 rifle were highly favorable. The extreme realism in looks and handling characteristics is unique among firearm look-alike pellet rifles. The slick lever action was truly impressive, duplicating almost exactly the range of throw and effort required with a real 94 Winchester.

Tests promptly revealed that the Walther lever action is also a slick performer. Firing from a range of 10 yards at a sedate, deliberate rhythm, most shots clustered into a 3/4-inch circle, showing that this rifle is impressively accurate and can certainly compete favorably with the vast majority of sporting-class air rifles on the market at this time. The test rifle produced an average muzzle velocity hovering around 613 fps with a wide selection of .177-inch pellets. Incidentally, this rifle is a real miser as far as CO2 consumption is concerned. Approximately 75 to 80 shots could be squeezed from each pair of CO2 cartridges during tests.

Although clearly not in the magnum class, that level of power, combined with its creditable accuracy, makes this an outstanding general-purpose sporter that can even dispatch rodents and other small pests at reasonable distances with a well-placed pellet. Beyond that, the Walther lever action is certain to find a following among cowboy action shooting aficionados. These folks, I am sure, would welcome the opportunity to have a realistic pellet-firing version of their hardy “thutty-thutty” levergun for fun-filled plinking at home. - Jess Galan

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