March - April 2003 Volume 35, Number
2 ISSN: 0162-3583 Number 206
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.
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 manufacturers 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 worlds 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
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