Umarex Boys Club

The UBC’s Kevin Cud­more gives us his take on the Walther Cen­tury Varmint

Airgun World - - Contents -

UBC mem­ber, Kevin Cud­more gets to grips with the Walther Cen­tury Varmint

Re­cently, I had the un­ex­pected plea­sure of get­ting to grips with the Walther Cen­tury Varmint, a ri­fle based on a tried and tested for­mat from Walther, the LGV break-bar­rel that boasts a very ef­fec­tive, in­te­gral vi­bra­tion re­duc­tion sys­tem, among other things. This ri­fle in­cor­po­rates a slightly less re­fined, but nonethe­less ef­fec­tive ver­sion of that tech­nol­ogy, giv­ing a very smooth cock­ing ac­tion and a short, sharp, but sub­dued fir­ing cy­cle.

First im­pres­sions show a cos­met­i­cally ap­peal­ing and stylish-look­ing, sleek black ri­fle, whilst closer in­spec­tion re­veals just how well-engi­neered the ac­tion is, and the flaw­less blu­ing of the bar­rel. The solid breech block is beau­ti­fully milled, with no sharp edges or cor­ners, and bears the cal­i­bre and se­rial num­ber of the ri­fle – and some­thing else that I will cover in due course.

Let’s start with what the .22 cal­i­bre ac­tion sits in. The er­gonomic and prac­ti­cal, no-frills syn­thetic stock sports a fully am­bidex­trous and quite slim, low-level comb, which as a cheek­piece is nicely placed – for me, at least – and the stock is of the ‘thumb­hole’ va­ri­ety. The pis­tol grip has a gen­er­ous palm swell for a solid and com­fort­able grip that fills the hand nicely and the slim fore end is nicely curved with stip­pled side pan­els, which are not only stylish, but also ef­fec­tive at aid­ing grip, and the stock over­all has an in­her­ent ‘non-slip’ feel. The pull length is just 13¾”, and al­though a tad short, still feels com­fort­able for my orang­utan arms. There is also a vented rub­ber butt pad that nes­tles nicely into the shoul­der.

CIVILISED EX­PE­RI­ENCE

There are no sights ‘out of the box’, so a scope is a must, and the re­ceiver is milled with a stan­dard 11mm dove­tail for that, al­though you can buy the Varmint as a pack­age with a scope in­cluded at some re­tail­ers. The naked ri­fle weighs in at around 9.5lbs and mea­sures 44” long, but it is very well bal­anced, so once scoped up and in the shoul­der, it feels lighter than the scales tell you.

Like its LGV brethren, the bar­rel is held se­cure at the breech, due to an un­der­slung bar­rel re­lease lever. Only when this fail-safe mech­a­nism is man­u­ally dis­en­gaged, by push­ing it up to­ward the bar­rel, can the breech be opened to cock and load the ri­fle. This makes for very easy cock­ing, and al­though it isn’t a fea­ture many shoot­ers will be fa­mil­iar with, you do quickly get the knack of us­ing it. You slide your hand for­ward to grip the stylishly ma­chined muz­zle break, and pull the bar­rel down to cock in the usual man­ner. This mech­a­nism also locks the breech firmly closed, so there is no move­ment at all dur­ing the fir­ing cy­cle. Not only does the muz­zle brake make a handy cock­ing aid, but it also pro­tects a ½-inch UNF thread for fit­ting a sup­pres­sor up front. This lever func­tion re­ally does make a lot of dif­fer­ence when cock­ing the ri­fle be­cause there is no ‘slap’ nec­es­sary to start the break, and the rest of the cock­ing stroke is as smooth as but­ter and very quiet, with no scrap­ing or graunch­ing – a very civilised ex­pe­ri­ence.

SAFETY AND GRIP

So, once I had it scoped up, I set about my usual 20-me­tre zero. My back-gar­den range length, and this is where I did find a neg­a­tive. The thumb safety is a lit­tle awk­ward be­cause it is in the ‘shot­gun’ po­si­tion on the rear of the re­ceiver, per­fect for the more tra­di­tional, wooden-stocked Cen­tury, but you have to shift your grip to dis­en­gage it from the thumb­hole stock. The two-stage, ad­justable XM trig­ger unit was very smooth with a nice crisp let-off, but it is only ad­justable for the first-stage length, al­though you can swap this trig­ger unit out for Walther’s fully tune­able unit if that bet­ter suits your needs.

“civilised shoot­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, and dif­fer­ent to any of my other break-bar­rel ri­fles”

IN­CON­SIS­TENT GROUPS

None of the pel­lets that I tried wanted to group in any con­sis­tent man­ner. Some­times, I would get inch-di­am­e­ter groups, some­times more, which I think you will agree isn’t what we want at only 20 me­tres. I was fairly sure that it wasn’t all on me, so I checked my scope, a Hawke Van­tage 3-9 x 40, and that was all se­cure and straight. Over sev­eral days, I tried and re­tried dif­fer­ent pel­lets and holds with­out suc­cess, but when giv­ing the ri­fle a rub-down after a par­tic­u­larly shock­ing shoot, I saw the light – day­light, that is, be­tween the fore end of the stock and the cylin­der, on the right-hand side, so I fetched the re­quired Allen keys and tight­ened all of the stock screws. Yes, that’s right! Ev­ery one of them was loose, and the right side screw was al­most all the way out. The les­son here is sim­ple; never for­get the ba­sics!

THAT’S BET­TER!

Once the screws were all tight­ened up, I went back to ze­ro­ing and after a lit­tle while, I man­aged to get much bet­ter re­sults and I am sure that with more use, or with a bet­ter shooter, th­ese groups could be im­proved upon still more. I was also pleased to note that the Cen­tury Varmint showed lit­tle re­coil, due to the clever in­ter­nal wiz­ardry em­ployed by Walther. This ri­fle is quick and smooth and has a sur­pris­ingly ‘muted’ level of muz­zle re­port, which is just as well for my back­gar­den test­ing. Over­all, it proved to be a most civilised shoot­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, and dif­fer­ent to any of my other break-bar­rel ri­fles.

IN CON­CLU­SION

The Walther Cen­tury Varmint proves that Walther is able to man­u­fac­ture a very solid and ef­fec­tive air ri­fle and can ri­val many other brands of es­tab­lished springers that cost more. I feel that the Walther Cen­tury Varmint is a very well built and the met­al­work is su­perbly fin­ished. It is ac­cu­rate and has a very solid feel, so it should cer­tainly stand the test of time, and be more than rugged enough for the hunter out in all weath­ers, giv­ing great per­for­mance cou­pled with a good price point – bit of a win, win on all counts. I

Fits nicely into the shoul­der.

Walther Cen­tury Varmint – all scoped up and ready to go.

Bar­rel re­lease lever is easy to use.

Walther Varmint 50 rounds at 20m, post-tight­en­ing!

Thumb­hole stock with a gen­er­ous grip.

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