After Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, the stocks of some of America’s gun makers took a bit of a dive. Pundits claimed it was because our Second Amendment rights seemed much more secure, but I think it is because Umarex has unveiled an all-around beast of a .22—an air rifle that’s going to take a huge bite out of the rimfire rifle market.
I’m a die-hard defender of the versatility of a solid rimfire rifle. No self-respecting, self-reliant, gun-loving American should live without a .22. But does that .22 really have to be a rimfire? Before the great ammo-scare of 2013, I’d have told you yes—unequivocally.
Supply still hasn’t completely caught up with demand, though. Prices for bulk rimfire rounds are still higher than I’d like. With that in mind, I began looking at other options. And I’ve found it.
The Throttle is a bit mind-blowing. It is a .22 caliber rifle. The speeds generated by the Reaxis gas piston rival those of a traditional rimfire rifle. I dialed it in with 14 grain lead pellets. While the pellets may not have the same long distance performance as a rimfire round (which typically weighs in at 40 grains), these pellets are blazing out of the Throttle (muzzle velocity for this rifle ran above the advertised 800 FPS—closer to 840 FPS).
The benefits are easy to see. The pellets are far less expensive than bulk rimfire rounds. They run clean. Expansion is consistent and predictable, allowing for an even greater energy distribution in rodents and small game. And the piston driven action means the rifle is entirely self-contained.
If there were one drawback, it would be the weight. The Throttle is heavy. That said, the weight is a real asset for shock reduction and even better for steadying the gun before the shot. The Throttle is exceptionally stable. Still, at 9.5 lbs, the Throttle weighs as much as a Garand. It can get heavy if you have to carry it far.
The safety on the Throttle is automatic, which is solid for teaching (and extra insurance for even the most experienced shooter when muscling a break-barreled air gun). The trigger is also adjustable (5 pounds out of the box).
The Umarex scope is a nice touch. With the integral SilenceAir, there’s not much room for irons sights at the muzzle end. The scope is a traditional 3—9 x 32, and offers a clean set of crosshairs that are ideal for the type of plinking that the Throttle is made for.
The rifled barrel (just under 16 inches) delivered consistent results. At 25 yards, I had no difficulty putting three pellets into a half-inch group. At 50 yards, these groups opened up slightly. Wind will have a noticeable effect on lighter pellets.
One of the most impressive things about the Throttle was something that’s missing. The shock. The vibrations are minimal. This is the first gun I’ve worked with equipped with the StopShox vibration reduction system, and it performs as advertised. The action is floating in the stock. While this makes for a wide stock, it feels much smoother than you might expect.
I had no difficulty with keeping the scope zeroed. And the forward push of the piston didn’t appear to transfer vibrations to the barrel, or at least not enough to been seen in the accuracy down range.
Noise reduction is also a big plus. With its 5-chamber “Noise Dampener,” the Throttle has a snap to it, but the crack is on par with what I expect from a suppressed rimfire. It is hearing safe.
The weight and size make it a good teaching tool, as it can stand in for a traditional centerfire rifle for kids making that transition. Yet the noise reduction and lack of recoil will help with some of the fear factor. All-told, it is a very forgiving rifle for an inexperienced shooter.
But don’t think that’s the only niche for the Throttle. I’d put this rifle high up on the list for anyone who wants a solid, all-purpose air gun. The accuracy and velocity make this a great rifle for small game. The break barrel action makes it an inexpensive and ridiculously easy gun for plinking.
For me, the Throttle is an ideal camp gun. A tin of pellets is much easier to carry than a brick of rimfire rounds. And the break action, after a full day of shooting, will have a positive impact on your physique.