Browning’s 800 Mag Air Pistol

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Browning 800 Mag air pistol is big and powerful.

The new Browning 800 Mag air pistol truly fits the definition of “an air rifle you can hold in one hand.” The 800 Mag is a .177 caliber break barrel spring-piston air pistol that generates velocities with standard weight pellets (i.e., not flyweight pellets) that are faster than a Beeman R7 air rifle and faster than 99% of air pistols that I can think of.

The 800 Mag is a large air pistol. It stretches 18 inches from the muzzle to the end of the receiver and weighs 3.9 lbs. The main receiver tube is made of metal. On top of the receiver is an 11mm dovetail for mounting a scope or red dot sight. To the rear of the dovetail is a green fiber optic rear sight that is adjustable for elevation and windage. At the extreme aft end of the receiver is a matte black plastic cap.

Below the receiver tube is matte black plastic assembly that extends the full length of the receiver. This plastic assembly, in turn, mates to the matte black pistol grip through a sliding rail system (we’ll get back to this rail system in just a little while). The pistol grip is ambidextrous, has indents for fingers, and incorporates a plastic trigger guard. Inside the trigger guard you’ll find a black plastic trigger which is adjustable for first stage travel only and a metal Gamo-style automatic safety (push away from the trigger to fire and pull toward the trigger to safe the action.)

Underneath the 800 Mag, just forward of the trigger guard, is a slot for accommodating the cocking linkage when the barrel is broken for cocking and loading. Forward of that is the barrel and at the end of that, a muzzle weight that incorporates a mount for the red fiber optic front sight. That’s all there is to the Browning 800 Mag . . . almost.

Here's the 800 Mag with the 'cocking assist handle' mounted.

To get the 800 Mag ready to shoot you need an additional part – you have to first slide the “cocking assist handle” over the muzzle. The front sight fits in the slot of the cocking assist handle. I estimate the cocking effort for the 800 Mag to be in the low-thirty-pounds range. It is definitely “stout” for an air pistol. The cocking assist handle does two thing for you: (1) it gives you additional leverage for cocking the break barrel action and (2) it lets you avoid stabbing the palm of your hand with the front sight. With the assist handle in place, cocking the 800 Mag is pretty straight forward: pull the muzzle down and toward the pistol grip until it latches. (When you do this, the safety automatically activates.) Insert a .177 pellet into the breech end of the barrel and return the barrel to its original position.

Now, at this point you can remove the cocking assist handle, but you don’t have to. Why? Because the cocking assist handle is hollow, and you can shoot right through it. Take aim at your target and squeeze the trigger. The first stage comes out at about 2.5 lbs. The second stage trips at about 5 pounds (the box says 4 lb trigger pull weight but the sample I tested didn’t deliver that), and the shot goes down range. There is a distinct “thwack” when the shot goes off, and the shooter feels very little recoil because the receiver can slide on the anti-recoil rail system relative to the pistol grip. I suspect the 800 Mag would be a real handful if it didn’t have the anti-recoil system. But it does, so it is surprisingly docile to shoot considering it is a spring-piston air pistol.

It is evident, however, that the Mag 800 transmits a great deal of recoil shock to anything mounted on the upper part of the receiver. During my tests with this pistol, the Mag 800 destroyed an RWS Red Dot sight. After several dozen shots, the brightness control became so loose that it rattled. I had no problems with a Bushnell Trophy red dot, though.

When it comes to accuracy, at 13 yards from a Creedmoor position and using a red dot sight, I put five pellets into a group that measured .57 ctc. I suspect that even better results could be achieved with persistence and practice.

When I chronographed the 800 Mag with CPLs, the very first shot went 730 fps, but subsequent shots settled down to a 658 average with about 30 fps difference between high and low. A couple of minutes later I did a second string, got a high of 651 and a low of 618 (that’s 33 fps variance) with an average of 631. I asked Airguns of Arizona to chronograph a sample they had there in the shop, and they got a high of 494, a low of 463, and an average of 477. I have no idea why there is such variance between samples of the same pistol or why I am seeing such variation in velocity in the sample that I was sent. Neither do I know whether these variations will settle down as the 800 Mag gets several hundred pellets put through it.

One blog reader asked for a head-to-head comparison between the 800 Mag and the RWS LP8. I tried shooting the 800 Mag and the RWS LP8 at a tomato can at 13 yards with the same 8.4 grain pellet, and I found the LP8 pistol will penetrate one side of the can, and the 800 Mag will penetrate both sides of the can. The LP8 launches CPL pellets at an average of 558 fps with less than 10 fps variation from low to high.

The Browning 800 Mag (top) and the RWS LP8 are about the same size, but there is considerable difference between them. Neither comes standard with a red dot sight.

The Browning 800 Mag generates more power, cocks harder, is about a half pound heavier, and has significantly more variation in velocity than the LP8. The LP8 shoots slower, has a nicer trigger and fit and finish, is more consistent in velocity and costs significantly more. The LP8 is smoother and more sophisticated, but the Browning delivers a heck of a punch for not a lot of money.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott


  1. Anonymous says:

    Can you put a scope on the Browning 800 mag and if so what do you recommend?

  2. Jock Elliott says:


    You'll need a scope that can really take a beating. I recommend the Hawke 10X fixed power.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi, thanks for the info on scopes for the Browning 800 but, I looked at some of the Hawke scopes and do not know what to get they all look like they would be for a rifle – any exact model number would be great. Thank's owachee

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi, is their a more exact model number of Hawke or Leaper scope that you can give me? any thing would be a great help – owachee

  5. Jock Elliott says:


    Try the Hawke Sidewinder Tactical 30mm 10X42.

    1. Eugene says:

      Is Hawke Sidewinder Tactical 30mm 10X42 a riflescope? How can you fit 14 inches long scope to the top of 800 mag, which is about 9 inches only?


      1. Jock Elliott says:


        Yes, the Hawke Sidewinder tactical is a rifle scope. The Browning is 18 inches from end to end, not nine inches.

      2. Eugene says:


        Yes, the pistol in 18 inches long, but if you place 14 inches scope on top, how you gonna cock/reload it?!?!? How?

      3. Jock Elliott says:


        You’re right — I totally forgot about the need for clearance for the rotation of the breech block during cocking and loading. My bad.

        I recommended that scope because it works so well on my RWS54, which has a similar recoilless action that transmits a lot of shock to the scope, but I had not actually tried mounting it. Ya got me: you’re right; I’m wrong.

        Now, here’s something that I know will work: what I am using on my Browning 800 is the Bushnell Trophy red dot. It fits just fine and has performed flawlessly. By contrast, I recoil actually destroyed a Walther red dot that I mounted on top of the Browning 800.

  6. fugufish says:

    Can someone recommend me some rings that won't slide?

    I have a Leaper's Golden Image CQB 25mm red/green dot scope and with the stock 3/8" rings it constantly moves back. I know I should get some proper 11mm rings for the 30mm tube. Can anyone suggest some that work well on the Browning?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is there any way to back off the long pull/creep and hefty 5 lb. trigger pull on my Browning? I find this really hurts my accuracy, can see the dot wobble off target when I finally start squeezing the trigger release point. Any adjustment possible?
    Dave in NM

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      As far as I know, there are no user adjustments to the Browning 800 trigger. Try contacting the folks at

      I usually shoot the 800 with a two-handed grip and get decent accuracy that way.

  8. Dave says:

    For pest control, any thoughts between the .22 and the .177?

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      I would give my vote to the .22. I didn’t get the wild variation in velocity with the .22 that I did with the .177 (but that could have been unit to unit variation).

  9. Cox Eddy says:


    After shooting a couple of years with CO2 pistols (and 1 GAMO P800), I was looking out for something different. At first glance the Umarex Desert Eagle was quite interesting, however, at a certain age the accuracy is becoming more important then pure power. I thought that this could be the best of two worlds, something heavy and accurate instead of heavy and a high rythm (of fire). Lucky for me is this not (yet) forbidden in Belgium. Maybe you do have other suggestions for me.



    1. Jock Elliott says:


      I would recommend the Crosman 2300s. You can check it out here:

  10. Patrick says:

    I bought the .22 version of this gun to shoot in silhouette matches. The Browning name and made by Umarex made me think that it would be a quality gun that would hold up over time. I was wrong.
    The accuracy was poor but I thought it needed to be broken in. My first problem was the rear sight, the elevation screw was not long enough to raise the point of impact on a target at 10 yards. It had to replaced with a longer one. Then, after approx. 50 shots, the point of impact would rise by about 2-3 inches at 10 yards. probably because the seal got hotter, causing it to expand resulting in higher pressures. After four months, a screw on the cocking arm to engage the safety fell out of its hole. The threads were so worn that it would not thread back into the hole. Shortly after, the velocity fell off so that groups at 10 yards were around 5 inches and a pointed pellet would not penetrate corrugated plastic.
    On disassembly, I found that the piston was scored from contact with the cylinder walls due to a lack of any lubricant. The owner’s manual advises using two drops of oil in the cylinder at the front of the piston. However, none of that oil reached the piston behind the seal. I polished the piston with fine grit paper, lubricated it and the cylinder and used a light grease on the seal. The gun now has adequate pressure although I haven’t found a pellet that gives decent groups at 10 yards.
    This gun is not well designed, is poorly manufactured and not worth the money. Find something else.

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Sorry to hear of your difficulties with this gun. I suggest you contact UmarexUSA ( It is their obligation to handle warranty issues related to the Browning 800.

      1. Patrick says:

        Umarex offered to repair the pistol provided that I sent a copy of the receipt. They stressed this twice. Unfortunately, I lost the receipt and can’t get a copy of it from the vendor. I am on my own in this matter.

  11. Darryl says:

    How about a review after a year? Does this pistol hold up?

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Unfortunately, I haven’t been continuously shooting this pistol.

      Maybe some other readers could chime in with their long-term experience.

  12. Puddy says:

    Thanks for your very entertaining and informative reviews. I know you get this question a lot, but what is THE best, MOST powerful, MOST accurate 177 pneumatic pellet pistol on the market? I was going to get this Browning 800 but after reading about the power issues (advertised as being up to 700 fps but tested as low as 463 fps), I just don’t know. ‘Any advice?

    Shoot ’em straight!

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Trying to answer your question is a little like answering “What’s the best car?”

      A key question is: “What do you want to do with it?”

      Among spring piston pistols, I can highly recommend any of the HW45 series and the RWS LP8. If you want a pump up pistol, the Crosman 1377 is inexpensive and can be infinitely customized. Among PCP pistols, the FX Ranchero is excellent as is Crosman’s Silhouette PCP target pistol. There are also a bunch of target pistols as well. I suggest using my blog’s search function and search for the key word “pistol” to get some additional background on pistols.

  13. Darryl says:

    ATTN Puddy, One thing I’ve found out in owning the Browning 800 is that the breech seal (on the barrel) sometimes needs to be shimmed. This easy to do and the reports f low fps will disappear. I found that the breech seal on my pistol was almost flush with the breech as I ran my finger across it. It has been recommended to me to try a shim of 0.015 thickness. I have yet to locate such a narrow shim, but I’ve been told gardeners tape works well to make a shim (rather like a gasket) from. Carefully take the breech seal out, put the shim in, then replace the seal. MORE POWER!! I happened to have some Teflon tape, and cut a piece that was about 1/8″wide by 3″ long, then twisted it the entire length. I cut a length that was 1 and 1/4 ” long. This fit the circumference of the breech seat for the seal just about perfectly, and the seal now sits higher by maybe 1/64″. Until I can find a firmer shim this works very well, although it is a compressible material in it’s twisted shape. It gets the job done. The difference is noticeable even without a chronograph. Some pistols will need to be shimmed.

    1. Puddy says:

      Hey Darryl,

      WOW – thanks for the helpful reply. As soon as I know/figure out how to do what you explained I plan on doing the same. Good on you!!!

      Thanks again and take care!

  14. Darryl says:

    BTW the open sights suck badly. I’m looking for a good Red dot or a reasonably priced air-pistol scope. The latter is proving very hard to find.

  15. Mr. Bill says:

    Just got a brand new Browning 800 Mag in .22 cal. Worked great for around 75 shots, then the trigger jammed and I could hear something rattling around inside the gun. I pulled out the 3 screws holding the pistol to the frame and a small screw, a metal pin, and 2 short hollow tubes fell out
    Guess I’ll be returning it to Pyramid for a replacement.

    Hope this isn’t normal……

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Mr. Bill,

      I hope it isn’t normal also!

  16. buffalo bob says:

    I just bought the 800 mag and the bsa red dot sight. the sight needed major adjustment right outa the box (it shot 2 feet low at10 meters) but once it was adjusted i can maintain groups of about 1 inch.The biggest problem I have is the sight creeps back after so many shots and needs to be pushed forward and cranked down again.Any way to keep the thing from moving?

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Buffalo Bob,

      I simply mounted my red dot at the rear of the dovetail in front of the rear sight. It can’t go any further back.

    2. RC1947 says:

      I’ve been shooting my Browning near daily for quite a while. I allowed a red dot sight to move its way to the back of the dovetail, and it stripped the threads of the rear mounting screw. I finally ended up using a UTG 11mm to Weaver/picatinny mount which I had replaced the stock mounting screws with stainless (4mm), and tightened it as much as possible. If ever an airgun screamed out for a scope stop, this is it. All in all, this pistol is accurate and a joy to shoot, the only reservation being the movement of red dots or scopes. I use an inexpensive NCStar 2.5 x 30 scope, and it has held up well.

  17. buffalo bob says:

    The obvious is so difficult to see sometimes !! Thanks!

  18. buffalo bob says:

    O.K. here’s another one. Iput a few drops of oil in to lube the gun up and now the gun has fired 3 times out of 20 when I pull the barrel up into the fire position.My finger has been off the trigger. Any ideas?

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Buffalo Bob,

      I don’t have a clue on this one. Definitely check with because it’s a safety issue.

  19. Rene says:

    Hello, Can anyone tell me where the Browning 800 is made? China, Belgium? USA? Thanks.

  20. Wild Willie says:

    Turkey and Good luck finding parts… turns out a promising spring pistol is a POS after 6 Months – 1 Year of use. I’ll be updating ALL of my reviews.


  21. alan reid says:

    Just got a browning mag 800 .22 so far so good.Mine was heavily over lubed and i must admit the build quality could be better… Shots well out of the box at around 5.7 ft lb. Going to try fitting a bsa edge scope on high clamps…anyone got any comments on that combination?

  22. alan reid says:

    Quite a powerful pistol by Uk standards..after settling down it shoots accurately and with alot of clout. Should think it would easily humanely despatch rats and ferals at under 15m. Definately worth the asking price for an all year round, low running cost pistol.

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for your comments!

  23. Wimpod says:

    I just received my 4 Browning 800s back from Umarex for the recall.
    2 (.22s) and 2 (.177s) I had one .22 set up with a Pistol scope and it was deadly accurate for tree rats out to 30yds. until one day, I cocked the barrel and it wouldn’t stay cocked. That’s when I stumbled upon the recall notice. Turn around time was great at about 10 days total. Function check on all guns was postive but will need to have my friends shoot them a bit to verify. Also I’ve mounted a BSA red dot and never had any issues with the recoil forcing it to move.

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for the update!

  24. Michael Nager says:

    Back when I was looking for an air pistol to buy it was these kind of reviews and comments which decided me with regard to which pistol NOT to buy.

    It seems there is a hefty reliability price to be paid for the raw power of this pistol.

  25. Deni says:

    How to order an air pistol to indonesia?

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Contact the people at

  26. R.L.SNYDER says:


  27. Howard says:

    Who sells a replacement barrel ??

  28. bob kiger says:

    does umarexusa have a detailed drawing of the insides of the browning 800? i,d like to check my seals but not without a drawing to look at

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Try asking the good folks at

  29. Razor says:

    The Browning 800 .22 is the best break barrel on the market. It is not quite as powerful as a 22 cal. pistol, but is quite close velocity wise using 22 polymag 16 gr. ammo. It went though 2 full cans of water at 15 meters and left a hole on the last can the size of a quarter. The only downfall with the 800, you must always adjust the sights quite often. Other than that it is a reliable weapon that cleans easily. I highly recommend it!

  30. dgrubb001 says:

    Guys, you are over enginerring this handgun way too much. It will hold a 1 inch group at 30 feet with the fiber optic sites using RWS superdome pellets at .177 cal..That is what I have and I simply love it. I did have to put a longer screw in the trigger adjustment to get rid of the drag. If you want one hole accuracy at 30 meters, get yourself a nice RWS rifle and put a good 20X scope on it. Why expect a handgun to perform like this? It is not going to happen. It is insane to think so.. Nobody can hold a handgun that steady. Just my opinion of course. Everybody has one.

    A handgun that has the power to clean kill squirrels with headshots at 20 meters for this price is impossible to find and well worth the price. Just enjoy it. I have found nothing better in this price range and probably could not hold it well enough to take adbantage of the extra accuracy and bucks. dlg

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