REIGN­ING IN THE PER­SONAL TOUCH Andy Beck­ett’s maiden ven­ture into bullpup ter­ri­tory yields a pleas­ing out­come

Airgun World - - The Umarex Boys Club -

the owner of a couple of Umarex/Walther ‘long’ ri­fles, my in­ter­est was im­me­di­ately aroused when news of the Walther Reign first broke, but I suc­cess­fully re­sisted temp­ta­tion for at least two months be­fore plonk­ing down my cash and walk­ing away with a brand new .177 ex­am­ple, from Braces of Bris­tol. This was in Novem­ber of last year, since which time I’ve prob­a­bly put more than a thou­sand pel­lets through the ri­fle and come to en­joy it more and more.

One fea­ture that at­tracted me to the Reign was the fa­cil­ity to switch the ori­en­ta­tion for left-handed shoot­ing, be­cause de­spite be­ing right-handed, my left eye is dom­i­nant, so I have al­ways shot ri­fles left-handed. As it turned out, given the light weight of the ri­fle, and the pis­tol grip and bullpup con­fig­u­ra­tion, I’ve found that even shoot­ing left-handed, it works bet­ter for me to keep the cock­ing lever on the right, but load the mag­a­zine from the left side. The ri­fle can be held to the shoul­der with the left hand on the pis­tol grip, car­ry­ing the weight of the ri­fle, whilst cock­ing with the right hand – par­tic­u­larly when shoot­ing with a bi­pod or bean­bag, when the aim can be read­ily kept on tar­get with the left hand whilst work­ing the ac­tion.

Ini­tially, I found some trou­ble shoot­ing con­sis­tent group­ings; in part be­cause it takes a lit­tle while to be­come ac­cus­tomed to the light­ness of the Reign and the bullpup con­fig­u­ra­tion, which was new to me, but also be­cause I cou­pled it with a cheap non-AO scope which didn’t do it justice. I got my­self a de­cent Hawke AO and the groups came to­gether.


Cur­rently, I do most of my shoot­ing in my gar­den over ei­ther a 20m or 40m range, and my pel­let of choice is the Air Arms Di­abolo Field 4.52mm, 8.4gr. This works out well with the 11.5 ft.lbs. out­put of the Reign be­cause once ze­roed at 20m, it’s pretty much on tar­get at 40m, too. I’ve checked the out­put of my Reign with and with­out a mod­er­a­tor and it is pretty con­sis­tent be­tween 11.4 and 11.6

“two dif­fer­ent mark­ings to suit both the left­handed and right-handed shooter”

For the sake of the neigh­bours, I al­most al­ways shoot with a mod­er­a­tor. The one I’ve been us­ing to date is a Ho­gan Dec­i­mater, which I also use with my 850 Air Mag­num. The Ho­gan per­forms well even though it makes the ri­fle sig­nif­i­cantly longer by 180mm, and adds 158gm to the weight. I picked up some com­ments about POI shifts from an­other Reign owner, so de­cided to do a bit of test­ing my­self and was sur­prised to find that at 20m there was a POI shift of 40mm up­ward when I re­moved the mod­er­a­tor, and this dou­bled to 80mm on the 40m dis­tance.


I had an­other couple of mod­er­a­tors to hand, so I re­peated the test, and found the same or­der of mag­ni­tude shift with a slightly longer (200mm) mod­er­a­tor of sim­i­lar weight (make uncer­tain, could be a Range Right), and about a 50mm shift with a 120mm-long car­bon-fi­bre pis­tol mod­er­a­tor weigh­ing a mere 50gm. I’ve done the same tests with my RM8, with 10.5 ft.lbs. out­put, and ob­served neg­li­gi­ble POI shift with the mod­er­a­tor re­moved. I’ve dis­missed static bar­rel droop as a pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion be­cause I had a bar­rel-mounted laser fit­ted through­out, which re­mained on zero with the scope re­gard­less of what was hung off the end of the bar­rel. As I’d mea­sured the muz­zle ve­loc­ity both with and with­out the mod­er­a­tor and found it to be con­sis­tent, this has also been dis­counted.


My cur­rent the­ory is that what I’ve been see­ing is a dy­namic phe­nom­e­non (bar­rel whip?), which is ef­fec­tively damped by the weight of a mod­er­a­tor, and al­though the dis­place­ment seems large, I’ve cal­cu­lated that it only amounts to an an­gu­lar dis­place­ment of 0.1 de­gree. The Reign and RM8 bar­rels are both 500mm long, but the lat­ter is of heav­ier con­struc­tion and there­fore stiffer. It is worth not­ing that the ri­fle achieves sat­is­fac­tory group­ings with and with­out the mod­er­a­tor, and there is no im­pact upon ac­cu­racy, as­sum­ing that the ri­fle con­fig­u­ra­tion is not changed mid-shoot.


The Reign as sup­plied comes in a card­board box, so one of the first things I did was to look around for a suit­able stor­age case. The ideal so­lu­tion for me was an HSF shot­gun hard case in ABS plas­tic; eco­nomic, ro­bust, light­weight, pad-lock­able, and com­pact – in keep­ing with the bullpup for­mat, but with room for a few es­sen­tials. It could have been made for the job. Soon af­ter buy­ing the ri­fle I also picked up a spare mag­a­zine, and the ques­tion then was where to keep it when off shoot­ing. The Reign mag’ is a neatly en­gi­neered, spring-driven ro­tary mag­a­zine which func­tions per­fectly, but the idea of pop­ping it in my pocket along with all the usual con­tam­i­na­tion of fluff and other de­tri­tus didn’t ap­peal.


I had taken to keep­ing it in an empty pel­let tin un­til a much bet­ter idea pre­sented it­self in the form of a pur­pose-built, 3D-printed mag’ holder pro­duced by Jackal Pest Con­trol. The mag’ holder is clev­erly de­signed to fit in the space be­tween the scope rail and the main body of the ri­fle, di­rectly above the cock­ing han­dle. It is fit­ted by re­mov­ing the two Allen cap screws that se­cure the scope rail, lift­ing the rail, plac­ing the mag’ holder be­tween the two rail sup­ports, and then re­in­stat­ing the rail. The rail then se­cures the mag’ holder in place. The mag’ holder can be fit­ted to suit ei­ther left- or right-handed shoot­ers. The slot is sized to be a close fit on the mag­a­zine, and this com­bined with the cut-out for the de­tent ball bear­ing keeps the mag’ se­curely in place un­til re­quired. A neat touch is the Reign logo on the op­pos­ing blind face.

Jackal Pest Con­trol has en­gi­neered an­other couple of 3D printed ac­ces­sories for the Reign in the form of a cheek rest riser, and an over­sized cock­ing lever han­dle.


On the home front, I’ve come up with a couple of mi­nor re­fine­ments of my own. The first is sim­ply to mark the ‘mag’ empty’ po­si­tion on the ro­tat­ing mag’, us­ing Tippex fluid, so that it can eas­ily be seen when the last shot has been fired. Note that as the mag’s are re­versible, I’ve opted for two dif­fer­ent mark­ings to suit both the left-handed and right-handed shooter.

The sec­ond in­no­va­tion I’ve made is a fill plug tether – I’m con­scious of ad­vanc­ing years and my abil­ity to lose or mis­place al­most any­thing. The Reign fill plug has a con­ve­nient groove around the head which en­ables a suit­able ‘O’ ring to be slipped over and re­main se­cure. The ‘O’ ring is first at­tached to a spare wrist strap, such as are sup­plied with cheap LED torches, mak­ing use of the small split ring at one end. The wrist strap is then wrapped around the for­ward sight rail sup­port and back through it­self, and the plug is re­tained even if you for­get to re­in­state it af­ter a re­fill. This idea can still be used in con­junc­tion with the spare mag­a­zine holder, as can be seen from the pho­to­graphs.


I’ve seen the Reign de­scribed else­where as a ‘Mar­mite’ ri­fle, you ei­ther love it or loathe it, and af­ter six months of own­er­ship, I would def­i­nitely fall into the for­mer cat­e­gory. As

Andy Beck­ett’s glad he joined ‘the bullpup rev­o­lu­tion’.

40m tar­get.

Take off the sight rail to place the mag­a­zine holder.

The cheek raiser just slips straight on top.

I won’t be los­ing this now.

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