The Octane air rifle was a well-respected entry into the break-barrel air gun market. It brought solid performance at a price that anyone could afford. Yet some felt like some ergonomic options were sacrificed to get the price down to its $259 price point.
The new version of the Octane is the Octane Elite. Adding Elite to the name would typically jack up the price. Not this time. Instead, Umarex has focused on functional upgrades to the platform, but they’ve left the price at $259.
So what have they changed up? The first thing you’ll feel is the upgraded stock. The forend has a more functional grip texture, and the butt has a nice swell to the cheek piece. It makes getting on target just a bit faster.
The grip has a slight palm swell, too. For those of us with big hands, this is great. A decent palm swell positions your hand appropriately for fast and naturally on-point trigger finger placement. Trigger discipline is something you can neglect when you are shooting Nerf guns, but not when you have a capable rifle.
All of the changes to the stock affect how you get the gun on target. Getting the pellet on target is more complex. And Umarex has added their StopShox system to the Octane to truly optimize the performance of the rifle.
The StopShox is simple. A compressed spring works as an anti-recoil system inside the floating stock. The shock from the piston hits the spring, eating the recoil energy and stabilizing the action. You can feel the difference in your shoulder, where it is subtle, and in reduced hand shock.
An added benefit of the StopShox system is reduced wear on the whole platform. You’ll feel the difference. Your scope will too. And this is a rifle that truly deserves a scope. The StopShox system allows a pellet to leave the barrel before vibrations can hit the barrel, which means you will notice an increase in accuracy.
Beneath the hood, so to speak, is the ReAxis Gas Piston. This is a staple for Umarex, and a system they’ve perfected. It compresses easily and provides consistent power.
At the other end is the SilenceAir noise suppression device. When you’re dealing with the speeds produced by the ReAxis piston, there’s going to be noise, but the SilenceAir takes the bite off the report. No need for hearing protection.
Above the SilencAir is a fiber-optic front sight that is secured by five polymer posts. This set-up is solid, and perfect for a gun that’s meant to be used out in the wild. On the back end, there is a LockDown mount and a Picatinny rail for mounting optics.
For those who don’t already have a favorite scope, the Octane Elite comes with a 3-9x40.
One caveat I’d add about this gun has to do with weight. With the scope, it weighs in at 9 pounds. That weight may feel a bit heavy for a smaller shooter. But the heft keeps the whole platform stable.
So how well does it work? .22 pellets producing a squirrel stopping 21 foot pounds of energy. With a well-placed shot, that’s lethal.
Accuracy was spot on. I was shooting the .22 version and had the best results with domed 18-grain pellets. While physics prevent this gun from 100 yards minute-of-angle accuracy, it will connect at 50 yards. And at ranges between 25 and 50, accuracy is superb.
At 25 yards, I was putting up 10 shot groups that I could cover with a half dollar, and that’s from a standing position. I found my results were best when I kept my support hand close to the center of balance, and the stock loose in my shoulder. A relaxed stance with the Octane really amplifies the StopShox effect.
The best part is how easily the gun performs in the wild. You can put a gun like the Octane Elite on the bench at 25 yards and thread pellets through one ragged hole. That’s all-well-and-good, as they say, but the Octane Elite is a gun that’s most at home in your hands, in the woods.
With lightweight alloy pellets, the Octane line puts out some impressive speeds. That was one of the selling points of the original. 1,400 FPS from the .177 and 1,200 FPS from the .22. The pellets I prefer for hunting aren’t quite that fast, but you trade the hard hitting terminal ballistics of a heavy pellet for the speed.
Everything about this revision of the platform speaks to the commitment Umarex has made to listening to what shooters want. The refined ergonomics mean the gun is faster to the target. The recoil absorption of the StopShox system means it is easier on the shooter, the gun, and the optic up top. And to do all of this at the same price? It’s a winner.
David Higginbotham is a writer and educator who lives in Arkansas. After years of writing and consulting in the firearms industry, he's coming back to his roots with air guns.