Airgunners are savvy enough to know that there’s really nothing new at all about shooting with air. Compressed air (or CO2) goes in, and a projectile comes out. It’s a simple concept, dating back to the dawn of time or close proximity thereabouts. When Alley Oop was looking for a better way to snag breakfast, he discovered that blowing really hard through a hollowed-out cane pole could move a dart with enough energy to dispatch a smaller cave-critter so he and Ooola would not go hungry.
Not much has changed to the basic arrangement of the devices other than refinements and esthetics. At the end of the day, a little air or a lot of it is being used to launch a projectile to accurately hit a target. We airgunners are also quick to point out the Girardoni big bore air rifle that was carried on the Lewis & Clark Expedition some 217 years ago. That rifle is a glorious feat of engineering and was instrumental in the success of that mission. To say the least, the Lewis & Clark Expedition helped make the United States what it is today.
At some point, though, airguns just became the stuff of children-- Peashooters that were good for knocking over tin cans and not much else. Even today, if you were to mention airguns to the average person, they would be astonished to learn that Lewis & Clark toted a severe duty air rifle that they used to harvest game and, presumably, to defend themselves. Even the average gun enthusiast, outdoors guru, or hunter still to this day knows virtually nothing about the real capabilities of air, even though people like Dennis Quackenbush have been building modern marvels of high-pressure air for decades and even though the manufacturing of such airguns has moved to mainstream mass production, very little is known about the real capabilities of air by the masses.
Big bore, high-pressure airgunning is a thing. It is a thing that the team over at Umarex USA have been taking very seriously for the past few years. When they introduced the Hammer .50 caliber PCP air rifle, it certainly got some attention. It was regulated for excellent shot-to-shot performance, it delivered gobs of power, and it was easy to carry and use. Also during the past few years more states have given the official “Okay” for legal big game hunting with big bore PCP air rifles. If you are still wondering what the next big thing is, it’s just an old thing that Umarex and other companies are making new again.
The Year of the Airgun Hunter
Really the new thing is that now is the time for airgun hunters to stand up. It’s time for big bore airgun shooters to educate those hunters, outdoorsmen and women, and firearm enthusiasts that big power from big bore airguns is here to stay. 2022 is officially the Year of the Airgun Hunter. Umarex is looking to broaden their offerings to this end for 2022. Just last week Umarex USA broke through the glass ceiling by being the first airgun manufacturer to exhibit and sell airguns from the Safari Club show floor. It was in the days preceding the SCI show appearance that we announced the twin-barrel AirSaber Elite X2 and it’s little brother, the AirJavelin Pro air archery rifles. At the NSSF Industry Day at the Range, these two products were introduced along with the big bore Primal 20 20 gauge slug gun. Needless to say the Umarex lanes at IDatR were massively busy, even from media outlets that don’t normally stop by an airgun booth. But the big bore and arrow gun aren’t the only hunting-related products we released.
Also new for 2022 is the .25 caliber Origin PCP rifle. The Origin is an incredibly attractive platform for the small game hunter due to its hard-hitting accuracy and smartly balanced ergonomics. While .30 caliber is not quite big-bore territory, it hardly seems right to classify the new Gauntlet .30 Caliber as a mere pellet rifle. But, yes, you’ve asked for it, and the team at Umarex has delivered– the Gauntlet is stepping into the .30 caliber chambering delivering 99 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle with a 45-grain pellet. For those of you looking to maximize the range and energy level from the Gauntlet platform, this is it!
The Year of the Airgun Hunter is going to be all about improving on existing products and even some completely new platforms for all sorts of hunting endeavors. But even if you do not hunt, Umarex’s new offerings will not leave you disappointed. As with most any gun, these new products will not be one-trick ponies. Hunting, target, and recreational shooting will be equally suited to these new products as well. As I type this, a large projectile from one of those new products is sitting beside my keyboard. While I’m not the most active hunter, I am excited about going out in search of some feral hogs with the new Primal 20 power puncher in tow.
Umarex has been working at establishing its own manufacturing capabilities and networking with parts suppliers and machine shops to broaden their catalog of truly hunting-grade air guns. But as stated earlier, you don’t have to use these new guns for hunting only. In fact, it’s hard to show off the power of air from your tree stand. You’ll want to show these new air guns off at the range, as well. Nothing speaks to the power quite like settling down behind a rifle and squeezing the trigger. Are you ready to take part in the Year of the Airgun Hunter along with the folks at Umarex? If so, please stay tuned for those new product announcements Umarex USA will be making in the near future! In the meantime, look into investing in a source of high-pressure air. You are certainly going to need it!