Umarex Octane – Hits hard, shoots quieter

Monday, November 11, 2013
The Umarex Octane looks a bit unusual but feels great in the hand.

The Umarex Octane looks a bit unusual but feels great in the hand.

Over a decade ago, when I was just starting to write about adult precision airguns, a guru in the field told me a thing: “If you want a really sweet shooting springer, you want to get as close as you can to one pound of gun weight (including scope) for each foot-pound of energy that the gun generates at the muzzle.”

He was offering this as an explanation for why the humble Weihrauch HW30 is so enjoyable to shoot and why it is such a tackdriver for its power. And, over the years, his statement has pretty much proven to be true. Hold that thought, we’ll get back to it in a little while.

Recently, I had the opportunity to shoot the Umarex Octane in .22 caliber.  It stretches just a half inch over four feet long, and tips the scales at 10 pounds, four ounces with the 3-9 x 40 adjustable-objective scope that comes with it mounted. The Octane incorporates both a gas piston – the ReAxis Reverse-Axis Gas Piston – and the SilencAir noise dampener.

The matte black polymer stock is ambidextrous.

The matte black polymer stock is ambidextrous.

At the extreme aft end of the Octane is a soft rubber butt pad. The entire stock, including trigger guard, is molded from a matte black polymer. The ambidextrous all-weather stock is a thumbhole design, but there is also a semi-circular notch at the top of the pistol grip where the shooter can rest his or her thumb if desired. The pistol grip has some molded indentations for improved grip, and forward of that, you’ll find the trigger guard surrounds a black metal trigger that is adjustable for first-stage travel and a lever-type safety.

The SilencAir system reduces the report and provides a mount for the front sight.

The SilencAir system reduces the report and provides a mount for the front sight.

Forward of that, there is molded-in checkering on either side of the forestock and a slot underneath the forestock to accommodate the cocking linkage. Beyond the end of the forestock is the 19.5-inch barrel, at the end of which can be found the SilencAir, a five-chamber noise dampener which also serves as a mount for the red fiber optic front sight. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find a micro-adjustable green fiber optic rear sight mounted on top of breech block.

The Octane comes with a 3-9 x 40 adjustable-objective scope.

The Octane comes with a 3-9 x 40 adjustable-objective scope.

Moving back again, a custom metal Pictatinny mounting rail is fitted to the top of the receiver, where it provides a secure mount for the scope that comes with the Octane.

To ready the Octane for shooting, grab the SilencAir at the end of the barrel and pull it down and back until it latches. This requires about 42 pounds of effort and is very smooth and noiseless, as is typical of gas-piston systems. Slide a pellet into the breech end of the barrel and return the barrel to its original position.

Now here is where things get interesting. As you take aim and flick off the safety, you immediately notice that the lever-type automatic safety works exactly the opposite way of the lever-type safety in many other airguns. To turn the safety off and ready the Octane for firing, you pull the safety lever toward the trigger. It took me a minute or two to become accustomed to this, but it works fine, and after a while I took no notice of it. Squeeze the trigger, and a 1 lb. 13.3 oz., the first stage comes out of the trigger. On the sample that I tested at six pounds even, the second stage trips, and the shot goes downrange. This is heavier than the factory-specified 3.5 lbs., but I did not find it annoying.

Umarex .22 Octane 006

Even more interesting, the Octane is a hammer. It launched 14.3 grain Crosman Premier pellets at an average velocity of 838 fps for a very healthy 22.3 foot-pounds of energy.  This is due in large part to the ReAxis gas piston. Its design reverses the conventional gas-piston design so that more weight is driving the piston down the compression tube. The result is more power.

In addition, because of the SilencAir, the downrange report is reduced. This is a powerful gun, so it is not dead quiet by any means, but it is quieter than it would be otherwise.

And now we get back to that business about one pound of gun weight per foot pound of energy. The Octane obviously violates that rule with more than two foot-pounds of energy for every pound of gun weight. In addition, I am admittedly not the world’s greatest spring-piston air rifle shooter. I found that I could occasionally achieve dime-sized groups with the Octane at 20 yards with Crosman .22 Premiers but it was far more typical for my groups to spread out to the diameter of a quarter at 20 yards. Perhaps a more gifted springer shooter could do better, but I couldn’t.

The Octane is not the gun that I would pick for doing head shots on squirrels at 50 yards, but for an air rifle to deal with the woodchuck in the garden at 50 feet or the raccoon that has been molesting the garbage cans, it would be among my top choices. (And with the gas piston, you can leave cocked all day without fear of damaging the spring, because there isn’t any!)

I genuinely enjoyed shooting the Octane, and I think any airgunner who wants to hunt or control pests at short to medium range will enjoy it too.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

36 Comments

  1. RidgeRunner says:

    The very things that give a sproinger more velocity and power are the very things that ruin their accuracy. Your friend’s comment should have been that for an accurate sproinger you need one pound of weight for each ft-lb of energy.

    1. yinyout says:

      Would you ever purchase a 20 ft-lb springer. If so, what would it be?

      1. Jock Elliott says:

        Yinyout,

        I generally like to shoot springers that are closer to 1 lb weight for 1 foot-pound of energy, and I generally shoot .177 for pleasure. However, if I needed to dispatch pests at short to medium range, the Octane would be high on my list.

  2. Miguel says:

    Excellent review.

    I enjoyed reading about a reasonably quiet, hard-hitting springer that I can actually afford. However, in retrospect, I think Ruger Talon would better suit my needs.

    In any case, two more great reviews in the affordable airgun category.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Miguel,

      Thanks for the kind words.

  3. Choctaw1 says:

    Jock:
    I picked up an Octane last week in .177. Low noise and fps are my top priorities, and was thinking of a Benjamin XL 1500 until I saw the Octane.

    Mine was giving 3/4″ groups at 20yds w/Crosman Destroyer pellets. (at 200 rounds break in). I’ve no chronometer, but that puppy hits hard!!! It’s also tolerably quiet after a few rounds and the pellets stop breaking the sound barrier outside the barrel.

    I was VERY impressed w/the overall quality except for:
    1. A 10 pound air rifle w/out a sling is too much to carry very long. The gun is also barrel heavy with the tiny synthetic stock. I tested it from a sand bag bench rest.

    2. That little stock surely was designed for a 10 year old kid! It’s short, way to low for shooting w/a scope comfortably. Also the gun kicks the hardest of any break-barrel I’ve fired. Normally not a problem except the butt is so narrow, that after 80-100 rounds of continual shooting it actually hurt my skinny shoulder.
    3. The Pictatinny scope mount is actually an adapter and mounts w/4 screws to a dovetail receiver…no final stop. The same number of screws in a conventional dovetail mounted scope…tightened well and w/Loctite, it slipped after 200 rounds, again, this gun kicks HARD. Some guys on YouTube are saying the same things.

    Also, three times, my finger came off the safety release, onto the trigger, and fired the gun before I was on target. Maybe I just had a hard pull safety release, but it’s stubby and uses the same finger stroke as the trigger.

    I returned it mostly because of the stock’s size. I could live w/the other things, and gladly would for such a quiet, accurate, hard hitter.

    In your professional opinion, would you say the Benjamin Trail NP XL 1500fps is as quiet as the Octane? Surely Umarex will release another Octane w/a bigger stock, so many complaints, but I feel naked w/out an air gun on the place, and am thinking about an XL 1500.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Choctaw1,

      Thanks for your comments.

      1. You could probably improvise a sling with paracord or a strap. Not ideal, but doable.

      2. I didn’t find the stock size annoying, but everyone has to find what fits them. The Octane does dick hard, as implied by the power-to-weight ratio.

      3. I had no problems with the Pictatinny adaptor. If you had the problem, and others are too, it is obviously something to keep an eye on.

      4. I think if you finger came off the safety release and fired the gun, based on my measurement of the trigger weight, I would say you pulled too hard on the safety.

      5. I haven’t shot the Trail NP XL 1500 fps, so I can’t comment on the relative loudness.

      Thanks again for your input.

  4. Butch Cavey says:

    Can you drill the stock and put a regular sling on the gun?

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Butch,

      Short answer: I don’t know. There is a long slot for the cocking under the forestock which would tend to force any sling mount back toward the trigger guard.

      1. Scircleville says:

        A barrel band sling mount would work well.

    2. Anthony Cirullo says:

      They make slings for guns without swivels

  5. Michael says:

    Need Help!!! What pellets should i buy for my Octane??? I am looking for more accurate pellets than ones that pack a punch. Thanks.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Michael,

      You will have to shoot groups and test to see which pellet delivers the most accuracy for your Octane. I suggest you contact the folks where you bought your Octane for a recommendation.

  6. lynxster says:

    I had the .177 octane its pretty heavy and my rear sights had to be moved so far left it was about to slide off even after 400 shots with various pellets I deemed it a dud or maybe someone had it before I got it also the trigger was not very good the stock is tough and tremendous power but I returned mine because the scope would not line up or adjust that far to the point of impact just like the rear sights I may have to order from umarex I had bought mine at an Academy returned after just 1 week I do agree that a sling would be nice as well as a hodded front sight because brush can wreak havoc on fiber optics

  7. matchbx says:

    Jock,

    I haven’t owned an air rifle since the early 80’s and getting ready to purchase one for “doing head shots on squirrels at 50 yards”.

    Which gun would be your gun of choice? Would you use a .177 or .22?

    Right now I’m looking at the Octane and it’s at the very top end of my price range.

    thanks,
    matchbx

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      matchbx,

      Doing headshots on squirrels at 50 yards is a tricky business. You’re talking about hitting a one-inch target reliably at 150 feet. That’s really a job for a precharged pneumatic rifle. Please see the links below for more information about getting the most accuracy out of a springer. If, however, I were going to attempt it with a springer, I would use .177 because you have the most choices of pellets, and you need to choose the pellets that give you the best accuracy. In addition, I would shoot groups, starting at short range and then extending the range, until I found the maximum range at which I could shoot one inch groups reliably. Then I would work on my stalking skills until I found I could get within that range before I started shooting the squirrels.

      check this: http://www.airgunsofarizona-temp.com/blog/2013/09/getting-the-most-accuracy-out-of-your-springer-part-i.html

      and this

      http://www.airgunsofarizona-temp.com/blog/2013/09/getting-the-most-accuracy-out-of-your-springer-part-ii.html

      You might also consider going with a multi-stroke pneumatic rifle. They are easier to shoot well than springers, but not as convenient, because they require multiple strokes to get them ready for shooting.

      I hope this helps.

  8. Kobi1 says:

    can the front baffle be removed, since its plastic and the piece you would grab when cocking the gun i would think it is to fragile to last very long. Also would removing it change the shooting characteristics , not to concerned about the increased volume. Thanks

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Kobi,

      The front muzzle brake did not seem fragile to me. Removing it would probably change the shooting characteristics. I really don’t see the need to do that.

  9. Trent says:

    I read that you would no pick the octane .22 for head shots at 50 yards. What gun would you pick in the same price range? If one exists!!

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Trent,

      Assuming you are trying to hit a one-inch target at 50 yards on a consistent basis, that’s hard to do (not impossible; field target shooters do hit one-inch targets at 50 yards) with any springer, let alone an inexpensive springer. It’s a lot easier to do with a precharged pneumatic. A multi-stroke pneumatic like the Benjamin 392 will often shoot groups around 1.5 inches at 50 yards, but they are generally difficult to scope.

      I’d like to offer an alternative suggestion: purchased a springer that you can afford and feel comfortable with (the good folks at http://www.airgunsofarizona.com can help with suggestions, and I suggest reading a lot of the reviews in this blog to see what appeals to you), figure out what pellet it “likes,” then figure out at what range you can consistently shoot one-inch groups. Next, work on your stalking skills so you can get close enough to your target so that you are shooting at the range at which you can normally hit a one-inch target.

  10. Gary says:

    Just got one of these guns. Shooting lead and consistently breaking the sound barrier. I need it to slow down or quiet down. Any suggestions?

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Gary,

      You didn’t specify what weight lead pellets you are shooting. Get some heavier pellets; that should slow it down.

  11. Christophe says:

    Actually, the barrel is much shorter than that stated in the review, so research skipped this important piece of information. Actually, the barrel on both calibers is just over 15 inches (I believe it is 15,25 inches, to be exact), which greatly reduces lag time of the longer barrels, without being so short as to reduce power, as many carbines barrels do.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Christophe,

      The umarexusa website says the barrel length is 19.5 inches. Here’s the link to the specs page: http://www.umarexusa.com/Umarex-Octane-177-Cal.html#.U_jZmhZ0r1A

  12. shogun says:

    I like what the .22 umarex octane gives but cant decide between the. 22 stoeger atac and the umarex octane. 22 as far as noise control, power, accuracy and quality. Please help

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      shogun,

      I don’t have any experience with the Stoeger airguns.

  13. shogun says:

    How loud in decibels is the .22 umarex octane.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      shogun,

      I haven’t measured the report with a decibel meter. It is very difficult to make such measurements with consistent accuracy, something that is best left to an acoustics expert.

  14. elias says:

    Do you know what sze the fiber optics are (the ones in the front). And also do you know where I can get some stock screws for it.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Elias,

      Sorry, I don’t know the answer to either question.

  15. ragu says:

    Jack
    I have an umerex octane in 22cal and wanting to know about how many rounds does it take till the gun finds itself. Thanks

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Ragu,

      Unfortunately, I don’t know. I do however suggest shooting groups from a rest with a variety of different pellets to find which one works best.

  16. Gus says:

    Well, i initially bought the nitro Benjamin prowler and didn’t much care for the lack of accuracy. Took it back to Bass Pro and purchased the Umarex Fuel which I noticed of better quality. It shot a better group despite the horrible trigger pull. I couldn’t find too much info on the fuel as the octane greatly over shadowed the fuel. I decided to go back to Bass Pro Shop one more time and purchased the much advertised octane. I had the scope mounted for free and off I went home to get it bore sighted. The scope was way much better then then the fuel and the trigger pull is perfect. Accuracy is good one inch at 14 yards with gamo rocket weighing in at 9.7 grains. I want to try out the rws heaver round nose to determine better accuracy. I chronograph the rockets at 1027 fps as an average. For the money I love this gun which is very quiet with heaver pellets and a bit noisy with lighter ones. I actually fired the first few runs in the garage into a 2×4 to get the dieseling out which causes to sound very loud as I previously experienced with the fuel. Two of the Benjamin 7.9 hollow point pellets went through the 2×4 at point blank range which i was so impressed. So far I love this rifle.

  17. Jerry Hertzberg says:

    What is the best way to clean the barrel without damaging the silencAIR system ?

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Use a pull-through. You may have to use a soda straw as a guide to get the pull through from the muzzle into the barrel.

  18. Fred Crawley says:

    Make sure you use the pull thru in the same direction as the pellet. Comes out the barrel end.

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