John Milewski concludes this MP40 review special
The Umarex Legends series of CO2-powered, replica BB-firing airguns has enjoyed ever-increasing popularity since its introduction. How else can we enjoy the pleasure of shooting a blow-back Luger or Mauser pistol, for example? With the introduction of the MP40, I predict that the brand will go from strength to strength and these new models will sell like hot cakes.
OFF TO A BAD START
You will have seen Paddy Egan’s review of this classic just prior to reading this, and unlike Paddy, who paid more attention to his magazine, I almost ruined my test gun before I had fired a shot. When I picked up the MP40, in my rush to start shooting, I inadvertently tightened up the CO2 piercing screw at the base of the mag’ too far because I couldn’t hear the two capsules being pierced. This completely mangled the washer and resulted in a leaky mag’. The instructions do not warn you of this, so please don’t over-tighten when inserting CO2. Luckily, I could visit Protek Supplies of Bognor Regis, who were able to supply a spare ‘O’ ring of the correct size, and I was back in business. Thanks guys – I owe you!
A replica leather sling can be obtained from Epic Militaria, who trade on Ebay, and it’s pretty essential for looks and practicality. Hook the MP40 around your neck or over the shoulder during mag’ changes because the gun is very front-heavy and the sling provides a ‘third hand’ for support.
HEFTY AND REALISTIC
Originally, the MP40 was available in full auto-blow-back only, but the UK spec’ for the MP40 is semi-auto only due to our legislation. US versions can also fire full-auto and there is a discreet safety/fire selector under the fore end that doesn’t detract from the MP40’s looks because it is nicely out of the way. The gun itself weighs a good 7lbs and is made from steel, with plastic furniture, just like the original. It is a hefty solid package and incredibly realistic.
The stock folds under the fore end when not in use. Pressing the stock lock button at the left rear of the frame releases the stock, which can be moved down and back to
extend. The shoulder butt frame was initially a little stiff, but soon wore in. Once two CO2 capsules have been loaded with their necks pointing one to each end, and up to 50 BBs or copper-coated lead balls inserted into the double-stack mag’, you are good to go. Pull back and release the charging handle, then point and shoot. The MP40 then discharges with a lot of noise and realism. As soon as the mag’ is empty, the bolt locks to prevent you from wasting gas, which is useful.
BETTER OUT THAN IN
I started off on my indoor 6-yard range, just to sight the gun in, and was soon dropping the bars of my ex-fairground plinking box in a hail of fire. It soon became apparent that this is more of an outdoor gun, where volume of fire takes precedence over accuracy. I set up tin cans and skittles outdoors, lined up on them and was soon enjoying the experience of handling the MP40 far more than clinically dropping targets. The rear-sight is a fixed, U-shaped notch, with a further optional folding U-notch for adjustment, just like on the original, where the fixed sight was intended for shooting up to 100 metres, and the folding blade an optimistic 200. Due to the MP40’s compact design, the sight was too close to my aiming eye for me to see it properly, so I simply adjusted my aim by watching where the ball had impacted.
I tested steel BBs, lead ball, and copper-coated lead ball during my tests. The copper-coated lead fed with the least amount of jams, but did stick when I loaded the mag’ anywhere near its capacity. I think this was down to the double-stack nature of the mag’ because sometimes the balls would jam against each other under the pressure of the return spring. It could have been that I had a sticky mag’ because Paddy did not experience any jams with his MP40, but a narrower channel for the ball ammo would prevent this from happening.
DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU MISS
I admit that I missed more targets than I hit, but I found myself not caring as my thoughts turned to fond memories of my heroes in Warlord, a comic which readers of a certain age will no doubt remember. Balloons can be shot at from the hip, but please be mindful of a large suitable backstop, such as a wall, if you intend to shoot this way.
The original MP40 was never intended to provide match accuracy, but volume of firepower from a compact package and appreciating this fact enabled me to enjoy the experience of shooting the gun, rather than hitting the target.
This is a gun you can enjoy shooting for its own sake, and even if you miss it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t detract from the experience. I liked the test gun so much that, just like Paddy, I had to buy it there and then for ahem … some extended testing!
Above: German soldiers were taught to support the MP40 by holding the flared mag’ housing, rather than the mag’ itself.
Above: Shown with stock folded. Extending the stock and using it certainly helps with accuracy downrange.
Below: Shooting from the hip is possible, but you MUST have a suitably large backstop and stick to lead rather than steel ball in case of rebounds.
Above: The rearsight is basic, but true to the original.
Above: The knurled muzzle nut can be removed and was intended to protect the thread for a blank firing adapter on the original.
Above: DO NOT screw down on the CO2 piercing screw any further than this, or you’ll mangle the ‘O’ ring!
Above: Extending the stock. Press the release button and move the stock down and back until it locks.
Above: The discreet safety catch under the fore end. US versions have a third option for full-auto.