In our first article on the Umarex Octane, we discussed all the new features and upgrades. In part 2, we’ll see if all of that actually translates into a better performing airgun.
How does it work?
I hope you old-timers can understand why I go through the “how to” in each article. There are a lot of people, new airgunners, who are not familiar with how break barrels work. I remember when I first started, only having pump pneumatics for a frame of reference, and so I think it’s important to talk about function and especially safety. So I thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
Break barrel airguns, whether they be gas piston or traditional metal spring powered, operate by cocking the barrel to compress the mechanism which is then locked and held into place by the trigger sear. When you squeeze the trigger, it releases the piston which is propelled forward by the power-plant. The images below demonstrate the process:
Step 1 – Pull the barrel down to cock the gun. Do not “smack” the suppressor, rather grab the barrel near where the suppressor joins the barrel. Cocking the rifle will engage the automatic safety
Step 2 – Secure the barrel with your off hand as you load the pellet into the breach
Step 3 – Return the barrel to the closed position
Step 4 – Aim the gun at your intended target, release the safety, and gently squeeze the trigger.
|Important Notes:You’ll notice a pretty good kick when you pull the trigger on the Octane. You’ll also notice that it’s very hold sensitive. When you get it right, it recoils in a perfectly straight line with great accuracy, when it’s off, it can go all over. Practice is the key.|
How does it perform?
Now we are getting to the heart of the question. With all these new features, does the Octane deliver on performance and accuracy? Let’s look at performance first. The Octane boasts speeds “up to” 1450 FPS using lightweight allow pellets. I was not able to get that velocity with the lightest options I had at my disposal. I topped out with 1390 FPS using Crosman’s lead free wadcutters. This is not that surprising as “up to” means just that; “in the most perfect situation the product may, theoretically, reach a certain velocity.” If you’re not new to airguns, you already know how this works. If you are new to airguns, it’s important to realize that most of the velocities you see posted on the box are all “up to” velocities and do not reflect the “actual” velocity you’ll see using heavier pellets and after the product’s properly broken in.
Most lead free pellets, while very fast, are usually wildly inaccurate and not worth using if accuracy is important. So I spent some time looking for some pellets that would deliver energy with accuracy. In the end, I found the JSB Exact 8.4 grain pellets to deliver what I was looking for. They averaged 991 FPS generating 18.32 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s not too shabby.
Does it hit the mark?
The Octane is really built for hunting small game. This means that it needs to be able to keep it’s shots in a 1″ group at a given range to be effective. I tested my Octane out to 20 yards and It certainly did not disappoint. Here are two groups. The first is at 10 yards and comes in at .292″ CTC. The second was shot from 20 yards and measures .446″ CTC.Octane 10 Yard Group – JSB 8.4 Grain, 991 FPS, 18.32 FPE, .292″ CTC Octane 20 Yard Group – JSB 8.4 Grain, 991 FPS, 18.32 FPE, .446″ CTC
Let’s wrap it up..
The Octane is accurate and powerful, but there are few points we need to discuss. While superior to its predecessor the Ruger Air Magnum, there’s no way around the massive recoil this rifle produces. This means that you’ll need to develop and use really good technique to see repeatable accuracy. It also means that you’ll need to keep an eye on your stock screws and scope mounts. Both wanted to loosen up on me during testing. You’ll want to take the time to properly Loctite all your stock screws and scope mounts after you’re through the break in period.
With that said, I believe Umarex has done a great job with the Octane as the rifle hits all the marks for modern airgunners: power, accuracy, decent trigger, weaver rail, decent scope, Reaxis Gas Piston, SilencAir Airgun Suppressor, 3 year warranty, and a great price. The Octane hovers around the $200 price point, and frankly, it’s a lot of airgun for that kind of money. When you compare it to other guns competing in this “ultra magnum” category, it’s basically a n0-brainer.