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Definitive Guide to Black Bunker BM8

The concept of a survival airgun is not new, but the Black Bunker BM8 takes it to a new level. This gas-ram powered model is designed for practicality. It offers enough power and accuracy to put food on the table with just some elbow grease and pellets. In today's Definitive Guide, we'll explore why the BM8 could be the ultimate survival airgun.
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Detailed Review

The BM8 air rifle is not just another gas-ram powered break barrel airgun. Its standout feature is the unique folding system. When stowed, the BM8 forms a triangle and holds an accessory case right in the center. This innovative design is perfect for storing pellets, cleaning supplies, tools, and anything else you might need for your airgun survival kit.

The rifle's composite stock feels very rugged and is heavier than expected at 7.5 pounds. Ruggedness is very important for a survival airgun; you want to have confidence that it's going to hold up to use. The skeleton buttstock is shorter than we expected, making the length of pull somewhat challenging. It should work well for younger, smaller shooters and, while not ideal, was not totally uncomfortable or unusable.

The thumbhole grip certainly gives off some AK vibes. It's comfortable and provides good stability when shouldered. The foregrip continues towards the front of the compression chamber, incorporating Picatinny rails on either side. Perfect for mounting accessories like a tactical light or laser. On top of the receiver, you'll find a synthetic Picatinny / weaver scope rail that's held in place by four Allen screws. You will need to keep an eye on them as they tended to loosen up during our testing. We'd recommend proactively using Loctite on them, letting it fully cure before mounting an optic. If they loosen up in the field, you'll have a hard time maintaining accuracy.

Moving forward along the rifle, you'll find the fully adjustable rear sight. The rear sight uses a deep V shape, which we found challenging for precision shooting. It's fine for quick target acquisition and "combat grouping," but we could not recommend it for precision target shooting. At 10 yards our best group came in around one inch. That would be suitable for pesting and small game at close range but not ideal for longer-range shots. The front sight is a simple ramp. Additionally, we found that we ran out of vertical adjustment trying to lower our point of impact, which required our reliance on pure Kentucky windage. As a survival airgun, open sights are a must, but don't expect much from these other than for use as a backup to another option. As we get to the front of the rifle, we are pleased to find a 1/2 UNF threaded muzzle, making it easy to mount accessories.

Setup & Operation

Now, let's get into the mechanics of how the BM8 pellet gun unfolds and gets set up for use. As mentioned above, the rifle folds to form a triangle with a storage case stowed in the middle. There's a release in the skeleton buttstock that allows it to separate from the barrel assembly and fold down, locking it into place. The lockup is very secure and seems like it should last over the course of time and use.

The barrel assembly can now be folded down to form the "unfolded" BM8 rifle. The barrel joint lockup is pretty firm, which we like to see. The cocking lever is held in place along the barrel assembly by magnets. Once freed, you'll need to let it drop into place back into the receiver. There is a switch on the side that locks it into place. The BM8 is now ready to cock, load. and shoot. The whole process takes about 15 seconds or less once you get the hang of it.

To fold the rifle back up, you'll basically reverse the process, starting by hitting the release button on the side and rotating the cocking lever switch to the unlocked position. Remove the cocking lever and rest it against the barrel, letting the magnets hold it in place. Next, release the rear stock using the release button on top of the buttstock at the back of the receiver. Place the accessory kit on the buttom of the receiver and fold the buttstock up against it. While holding the accessory grip and the rear stock, fold the barrel up towards the buttstock and lock it into place. Remember that the barrel lockup is pretty tight, so you'll want to have good leverage on the kit and buttstock when you break that barrel joint and fold the BM8 back to the stowed position.

Now that you've mastered the mechanics of the BM8 gas piston rifle, let's talk about basic operation. Once unfolded and ready to go, the rifle operates like any other break barrel airgun. We found the cocking stroke to be shorter and lighter than expected, which was a pleasant surprise. It doesn't take much to get this gun ready to shoot, and we would expect that youngsters and folks with less upper body strength would be able to use it pretty easily.

Once you've cocked the gun, which also engages the automatic safety, you'll need to load your pellet of choice into the breech and close the barrel back to the locked position. Once you are dialed in on your target, release the safety and gently squeeze the trigger.

The entire shooting experience was more enjoyable than we expected. Cocking is smooth, and the shooting cycle is gentle. The trigger, however, is interesting. We suspect that you will either love it or hate it. It's a non-adjustable single-stage trigger that has no discernible breaking point. The pull weight is about 2.5 pounds and very smooth. It reminds us of the old T05 RWS triggers from back in the day. We did not have any issues, but for those who want very distinct first and second stages you may need some extra time getting used to it.

Performance & Accuracy

As mentioned earlier, we found the open sights less than ideal, so we mounted a traditional 4-16x50 optic for our accuracy testing. During the process, we found the scope mount simply not rigid enough to support a larger, heavier scope, so we'd recommend looking for something compact and lightweight, like the Hawke Vantage 1-4x20 or a similar product.

Before we talk about accuracy, let's talk about performance. The Black Bunker BM8 air rifle is marketed as a 1000 FPS airgun in .22 caliber, probably with lightweight alloy pellets. Here are the pellets we tested and their respective velocities and energy:

  • JSB Hades - 15.89 grains - 673 FPS - 15.89 FPE
  • Crosman Premier Hollow Points - 14.3 grains - 14.56 FPE
  • JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies - 18.13 grains - 14.79 FPE
  • H&N Baracuda 15s - 15.89 grains - 619 FPS - 13.52 FPE
  • Predator Polymags - 16 grains - 656 FPS - 15.29 FPE
  • H&N Baracuda Hunter Extremes - 19.09 grains - 651 FPS - 17.97 FPE

Now, we are shooting at 4500 feet, which will impact our maximum velocity. Can the BM8 hit 1000 FPS with the right pellet? We find that a bit of a stretch. Does it deliver usable energy and accuracy on target? Absolutely.

We shot at 20 yards in good conditions. The best pellets were the H&N Baracuda Hunter Extremes and JSB Hades. After a full day of shooting, we confirmed our Hades results with a second group, and we got even better results. The BM8 produces consistent results, which is necessary for a survival airgun.

5 shot groups from all 6 pellets were shot using a rest at 20 yards. Baracuda Hunter Extremes - 5-shot group at 20 yards.

JSB Hades 1st 5-shot group early in the day at 20 yards. JSB Hades 2nd 5-shot group at 20 yards after a full day of testing.

Summing Up

So, let's go ahead and wrap up our guide on the Black Bunker BM8 pellet rifle. Is it a "survival" airgun? It certainly has some appealing features. The unique ability to fold up and be stored in a compact location, complete with ammo, tools, and accessories, is an awesome feature. It works well, and it's not just a gimmick. One aspect that we hope is also addressed is reparability. Hopefully, spare parts and rebuild kits will be made available over time, as that's really the only missing component.