When Umarex began work on the Gauntlet, they set out to change the way air gun shooters think about pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) rifles. The goal was to produce a gun that provided uncompromising performance without the sky-high price that most stand-out PCPs command. The .177 and .22 versions were both a success, and now they’re debuting a .25.
If you haven’t shot these guns yet, you owe it to yourself to do so.
The .22 and .177 versions both operated from 10 shot rotary magazines. The .25 has an 8 shot mag and the larger pellets are easier to load. My first date with the new Gauntlet was on a windswept range outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was freezing, literally, and I had neglected to pack hand warmers. I couldn’t have loaded the small .177 mags with gloves on. It isn’t easy to load the .22 with gloves, but it was possible.
And even in the ridiculous cold of that December morning, I had no difficulty with any of the Gauntlet’s controls. It is easy to load. The safety is large enough to find and shift with gloved hands, and the trigger remains one of the cleanest factory air gun triggers I’ve come across.
Inside the rifle is a built-in regulator that keeps shots consistent. My testing on the range bore this out. The regulator is set to 1,900 PSI and even in the cold, the shot string was impressively flat.
The Gauntlet’s tank holds 13 cubic inches of air. That, through the regulator, will run 27 shots. These flat shot strings allow for repeat accuracy. This was something that the .177 and .22 both delivered, and the .25 is no different. There’s an easy to read dial on the outside of the stock. If the arrow is pointing to green, you’re good-to-go.
The tank is easy to load from an air-tank like we had on the range. The Foster quick connect couldn’t be any easier. For those who don’t have portable tanks, the Gauntlet can be charged with an air pump or a compressor. Empty tanks can be swapped out, too, so you can carry a spare for when you are in the field if you want more portability.
For those of you who already know the Gauntlet, this will be old hat. The real difference comes in what you can do with the new caliber. The larger pellets are ideal for small game. They’re equally suited for some mid-sized critters, too, and the reliable accuracy will give you that extra confidence needed to hunt humanely.
As with both of the other calibers, the .25 has a short-throw bolt. I can work it easily, without taking my eye from the scope. The bolt’s travel primes the gun, and the return seats the pellet.
With the winds and the cold, I didn’t go the extra mile to set up my chronograph. There will be time for that soon enough. Umarex is advertising an impressive 895 FPS with 25-grain pellets. This generates 45-foot pounds of energy.
All of this means the new .25 is even better for hunting than the .22. The extra size of the pellet provides better terminal ballistics. The wider pellets transfer energy quite effectively into soft targets.
As with both of the previous versions, this is a rifle with an extended range. It doesn’t have any built-in iron sights, but there is an 11mm rail for mounting optics.
The one I shot had the new Axeon Optics 4-16X44 Gauntlet scope up top. Unlike most review guns I shoot, I didn’t sight this one in myself. It was hitting consistently, though, and I had no complaints.
Ideally, I’d go for something in the 3-9 range. Stronger magnification wouldn’t hurt, and a wider field of view might be preferable for follow-up shots when hunting, but either way… top it with a capable scope.
You’ll understand the potential as soon as you fire the first shot. The gun is solid. The Gauntlet weighs in at 8.5 pounds, so it isn’t light, yet that weight helps to stabilize the gun during the almost imperceptible recoil.
The shots on the turkey target above are a good illustration of what I mean. I was standing, shivering, wearing bulky gloves, shooting a gun I’d never fired before with a scope I hadn’t zeroed myself….
I don’t know how many shots I put through that ragged patch near the turkey’s neck. At one point, I was simply testing out how quickly I could get off follow-up shots without taking my eye off the bird.
When I slowed down and really focused on my technique, the group tightened up. I knew it would. That’s the promise of the Gauntlet, and what has made this a popular gun. For those who want consistent accuracy, this is it.
Each mag holds 8 shots. The clear plastic cover rotates, which compresses an internal spring. These .25 caliber pellets are easy to load. The mag slips in place in front of the bolt and seats positively, which makes reloading easy.
One of the benefits of the whole Gauntlet series is how they adjust to fit. The cheek piece is easily adjusted, which makes getting on target faster and more consistent.
Though it hardly mattered to my gloved trigger finger, the trigger is adjustable. The break is clean, and light. I’d estimate this one to be just over two pounds. If you have the skills as a shooter, the Gauntlet can match your abilities.
The last feature of the Gauntlet is also a big selling point for me. The gun is as quiet as it is powerful. The rifled barrel rides inside of a protective sleeve that takes the bite out of each shot. This allows you to hear the impact of each pellet. Even shooting the turkey target, the shots hit with a pleasing thwack.
The new .25 Gauntlet is a hard-hitting air gun, but it isn’t going to hit your wallet nearly so hard. It will sell for under $300. If you want a gun that is easy to use on the range, and lethal in the woods, check it out.
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.