There’s an aggressive marketing push that has caused a lot of consumers, specifically new airgunners just getting into the sport, to just focus on gas ram or nitro piston airguns, and to consider traditional metal spring powered airguns as somehow sub-standard. What’s interesting regarding this train of thought, is that the majority of the most highly regarded airguns in the world are all still powered by metal springs.
Now I’ve covered this topic in detail in my series on “Spring Fatigue Fact or Fiction: Part 1 / Part 2,” so I won’t go back into those specific mechanics. Rather, for this review, I’m going to look at a spring gun that’s frankly amazing in every sense of the word, and demonstrates just how good a spring gun can be.
The LGV “Spring by Choice”
If you take the time to search for information on the Walther LGV series of airguns, you’ll eventually land at Umarex.de. From there you can find a PDF under Catalogs & Flyers that discusses the specifics about the LGV series of airguns. What’s interesting is their entire section on their deliberate choice to utilize a traditional metal spring over the gas ram technologies currently on the market. There’s a great line that sums up what I’ve been trying to say for years:
“There has been much debate about the best way to power an air rifle. Extensive investigations have shown that the power source is not what determines the quality of an air rifle; the whole package must be right. In addition to the choice of materials and the workmanship, this includes the manufacturers innovation and know-how.”
If I were to distill that down for us common folks, it would sound more like this: “You can put lipstick on a pig, but in the end it’s still a pig.” In many ways that’s what some manufacturers have done with their gas ram conversions of their spring guns. If you add a gas ram to a mediocre gun, it may “feel” better when you pull the trigger, but that does not mean it’s going to shoot better. I know this may not be a popular perspective these days, but it just is what it is, despite all the marketing to the contrary.
Has anyone actually tested this?
The short answer is yes, they have. Continuing with quotes from Walther’s PDF we have some interesting bullet points:
Compelling test results:
The LGV has a good feel when it is cocked. There is no friction resistance.
The LGV fires just as fast as a gas-piston rifle (piston impact after approx. 8 milliseconds).
The vibration of the spring in the LGV is minimized because there is no coaxial hooking or unhooking of the piston, which can impair firing accuracy.
The LGV has no spring fatigue if it stays cocked for a long time.
The recoil of a gas piston is sharper and harder on material than the recoil of the LGV
To be fair, these are all marketing bullet points as well, but with a pretty significant difference. I’ve experienced them to be true, and it’s interesting to see how closely these mirror some of my findings that I’ve observed over the years. It’s not just the power plant that makes the airgun. Don’t get me wrong, what powers your airgun plays a big part, but to have a good airgun it has to be about the entire package.
The Walther LGV – The total package
Here’s where the LGV’s engineering really comes into play. There’s so much going on with this gun to make it one of the best shooting guns on the market. If you’ve found the PDF, you can read all the engineering improvements that make the LGV what it is. But, all the engineering in the world does not matter if the gun does not shoot straight. You also have to ask yourself is all the engineering worth the high price tag? Well, that’s exactly what we are going to be looking at as we continue this series. So stick around for Part 2 of this review of the Walther LGV Master in .177 caliber.