There are so many advantages to airguns over traditional firearms when it comes to training new shooters. First, you have greatly increased safety. You never want to take that for granted however, as it’s critical to follow proper safety guidelines at all times. Another advantage is the reduced cost. Ammo today, especially .22LR, is certainly much more expensive than it was just a couple of years ago, not to mention it can be very hard to find sitting on store shelves. Lastly, because there’s less noise and virtually no recoil as compared to a traditional firearm, airguns allow new shooters to learn proper technique without the fear of loud noises and the kick that some new shooters find hard to overcome.Naomi (7 years old) Shooting the APX
Basic Numbers from the APX
The new APX from Umarex is a good option for the young shooter who is just getting started, or the older shooter who has been apprehensive to give the shooting sports a try. Performance wise the APX is a very gentle shooting airgun designed for shooting at close ranges. The rifle can shoot BBs or Pellets. The steel BBs will eventually wear out the rifling in the barrel, so I only really shoot Pellets.
Because the APX uses a multi-pump power plant, you get to decide how much energy you want to send down range. I generally shoot with 5 pumps for close range target practice. 5 pumps with the 7.0 grain RWS hobby pellets produced a velocity of 546 FPS. To put things in perspective, an Olympic 10 meter air rifle generally shoots at around 495 FPS. When you take the APX to 10 pumps with the RWS Hobby pellets, the velocity increases to around 635 FPS.RWS Hobby Pellet in the breach of the APX
Since BBs are so much more inexpensive than pellets and I know that a lot of young shooters are going to be shooting them for that reason, I did go ahead and test the velocities with the Umarex Precision BBs as well. Be sure to ONLY use QUALITY BBS and pellets in your airgun. Using inferior grade ammo can cause unnecessary wear and tear and even lead to premature failures. I prefer the Daisy Zinc Coated BBs and the Umarex precision BBs when it comes to BB ammo choices. Anyway, back to some basic performance numbers. With 5 pumps the Umarex BBs shot around 557 FPS and at 10 pumps that rose to 655 FPS. Personally I would have expected the velocities to have been much higher with the lighter BBs but that just wasn’t the case.
Let’s say you wanted to shoot more accurately but didn’t want your young shooter handling lead pellets? There are some decent lead free alternatives. Some options are the RWS HyperMax and the Predator GTO. Both claim “match grade” accuracy for 10 meters and should deliver on their promises. Unfortunately I did not have those in stock for testing, but I did have the H&N Field Target Trophy Green pellets which only weigh 5.56 grains. These shot at 600 FPS on 5 pumps and 685 FPS on 10 pumps. Having spent a good bit of time with the Predator GTO and the H&N Field Target Green pellets in the past, I can tell you that they rival lead pellets for accuracy in these lower powered airguns. I’ve got to get with Umarex to send me some HyperMax pellets so I can give them a try!
Umarex APX in action!
If you happen to have a new shooter just starting out, the new APX from Umarex USA, could be the ideal choice to get them started. The other day I asked my wife Sue to take some time to work with the new APX, with the intent to be able to work with Naomi, our 7 year old daughter, to get in a little trigger time. Sue is used to shooting her Air Arms and other high-end airguns, but has not really worked with a simple multi-pump like I’m sure many of us grew up with. This was going to be fun to watch.Sue’s getting ready to shoot the APX with Naomi.
At first she found the process a bit laborious with all the cocking, and pumping, etc. But, after a few minutes she began to see the benefit of all the steps between pulling the trigger, especially when working with a young shooter who tends to be a little impatient. Because you have to be very deliberate and work for each trigger pull, it slows things down and helps develop the necessary discipline and concentration required to be a safe, responsible, and accurate marksman.Here’s Sue taking her first shot. She looks pretty serious!
Each of them took turns loading and shooting the APX and by the end of the day Sue was keeping all her shots to about the size of a quarter. Naomi is going to need a bit more practice with open sights and patience, but that’s exactly where the APX comes in.Here’s Naomi taking her turn with the APX.
Let’s wrap it up…
This APX air rifle has been handled by several dozen shooters over the past few months and has been pumped up and fired a ton of times. It’s still going strong and has not had one hiccup. It’s proven decently accurate and a good tool when teaching younger shooters basic shooting discipline and technique. The price point of the APX (at well under $100) puts it in reach for a lot of potential airgunners looking for their first airgun. Umarex has done a really good job with this little airgun.