The editor is taken aback by this stunning M4 airgun from Umarex
The editor has doubts, but changes his opinion when he reviews a Colt M4 from Umarex
Umarex has a fantastic reputation for making airguns that are also replicas of some of the most iconic firearms the world has ever known. It seems that they have the credibility and market presence to persuade manufacturers to issue them with licences, which is no easy feat. Because of this, the detail and accuracy of the replicas is quite exemplary, so when I heard that they were going to offer a Colt M4, I was excited, but when I saw a photo and was told it was a break-barrel, I’ll confess that I had my doubts. I wondered if I’d been sent the wrong photo. When they said it would make over 11ft.lbs., I was really sure I’d been sent the wrong photo. How could they fit a spring-powered, break-barrel action in the same space as a fully automatic 5.56 assault rifle? It just didn’t seem possible.
The rifle in question sits beside me on my desk as I type, and it’s time for me to eat my words. It is indeed a break-barrel springer and the highest praise must go to the designers and engineers at Umarex, because any sign that it’s an airgun is almost completely hidden. Only the articulated cocking linkage that can be seen in the gap under the fore end really shows, and there’s a short cut- out in the top Weaver rail where the breech swings up. From the side, the replica is utterly convincing. Another welcome part of the licence is that Umarex were able to apply Colt trademarks to the action, alongside all the other makings the firearm would carry, even to the extent it reads ‘5.56 NATO’ on the barrel telling us the cartridge used.
To see if the claim of full power would also prove to be true, I chronographed the M4 with my standard test pellet, the ever- reliable Air Arms Field Diablo, which weighs 8.44 grains in .177. Average velocity was 793fps for a calculated muzzle energy of 11.79ft.lbs. Well, it’s time for me to eat my words again! That’s as powerful an airgun as you can own without the need to possess a firearm certificate. Unsurprisingly, the rifle is a little lively in the hands and really quite loud, but for those looking for a firearm-like experience, both of those qualities will be most welcome.
Umarex copied the battle sights with a post-style front sight and a flip-up peep sight at the rear. The rear one has a simple thumb-screw adjuster for windage whilst the front is more unusual. To adjust elevation you engage a small tool supplied to wind it up or down, which is
“as powerful an airgun as you can own without the need to possess a firearm certificate”
neat. Because the rear sight folds down it gives access for you to use whichever add- on sights you might like. The long section of Weaver rail will easily accept red- dots and holographic sights, as well as more conventional scopes. However, please remember that it you do fit a full-size scope, it will need to clear the breech as the barrel is cocked, so don’t choose anything too long. The front sight is fixed, so you will see its shadow through optical sights.
Many will buy this rifle to enjoy the features that a combat rifle offers, and the M4 has stacks; some practical, some just for fun. On the ‘ fun’ list is the dummy magazine that is released and refitted, just as in the real thing. The magazine even has a spring-loaded follower that compresses as it would if you were loading cartridges. I’m sure inventive minds will find ways to use this to store accessories and cleaning kit. On the more practical list, we find acres of Weaver rails that will allow you to load the rifle with lasers, flashlights, thermal imagers and any other accessory you can think of. On the sides of the fore end, the Weaver rail is covered with hand guards that protect your fingers from the sharp edges and the RIS ( Rail Interface System) allows them to be unlocked and slid off in moments when you want to add accessories.
Perhaps the most useful accessory of all is the instantly adjustable-length stock. This copies the combat firearm perfectly, offering six pull lengths, from 10 to 13” at the press of a large lever. Metal sling swivels are also standard, making longer carries more comfortable and allowing for military-style, aim support techniques to be adopted.
Adding to the pleasure of ownership, the Umarex M4 has a good heft in the hands and feels chunky and solidly built, despite the amount of plastic used in the construction, but you say just the same about the original firearm. It looks great, is an honest, full-power air rifle and drips with military coolness.
It has a good heft in the hands yet is very lively on firing
It really is a break- barrel, although from the side you’d never know
The dummy mag’ is released just like the real thing
Because this is a licensed gun it wears the full Colt trademarkings
The stock can be collapsed at the press of a lever