Mat Manning gets to grips with the Umarex RP5 – an exciting new pump-action CO2 pistol that boasts awesome fast-fire performance.
To say that the arrival of the Umarex RP5 has been eagerly anticipated is a huge understatement. I first clapped eyes on this pump-action CO2-powered pistol about a year ago at the British Shooting Show, and I couldn’t wait to get hold of it for a proper range session.
But wait I did, until this very special airgun finally arrived on our shores around the turn of the year.
Was it worth all those months of eager anticipation? I certainly think so. Umarex has a reputation for doing great things when it comes to pushing the limits of CO2 airgun design, and this offering from the German giant is definitely no exception.
The RP5’s real standout feature has to be the pump action that drives its sliding five-shot magazine, but there’s a lot more to this airgun than that.
It also boasts a remarkable degree of versatility in the shape of a raft of purpose-made accessories, including accessory rails, a shoulder stock and interchangeable barrel shrouds. The basic platform also comes in two main variations, including a 9ft-lb carbine model.
The subject of this test is the pistol version, which retails for £259.95 – that’s a significant outlay, which carries an expectation of good quality and performance.
Maker: Umarex, Germany
Supplied by: John Rothery Wholesale (www.bisley-uk.com)
Price: £259.95 for pistol version (tested)
Type: Pump-action, multi-shot CO2 pistol
Ammo type: Pellets
Calibre: .177 (tested) and .22
Sights: Post and notch, adjustable
Safety: Ambidextrous manual
Overall length: 42cm
Barrel length: 30cm
Powerplant: 2x 12g CO2 capsules
The initial thing to strike me about the RP5 was what a long pistol it is. It measures quite a lengthy 42cm and weighs in at 1.2kg without any accessories fitted. Weight bias does lean slightly towards the front end, but it comes on to aim very nicely and the extended forend makes for a stable hold and a very pointable pistol.
Constructed from black anodised metal and a tough polymer, the ambidextrous RP5 looks neat and feels good in the hand. Although they’re fairly basic, the grips are comfortable and feature grids of textured grooves on both sides for an improved purchase, as does the forend.
This pistol fires lead pellets and has a smooth barrel which is choked to improve accuracy. It floats inside a neat vented shroud that’s also threaded for the attachment of a silencer. The RP5’s muzzle report does have a fair snap to it, so you may well want to fit one of these to prevent your backyard plinking sessions from getting on your neighbours’ nerves.
If you do, you’ll need to make sure that it doesn’t get in the way of the front sight element, which sits atop the barrel shroud. The rear element, meanwhile, is adjustable for windage and elevation by means of a screwdriver.
Available accessories include an underside accessory rail and a Picatinny-type scope rail, though dovetail rails do come fitted as standard. That means you can easily kit out the RP5 with a telescopic sight, and I do think it’s sufficiently accurate to justify the additional outlay.
That said, I did most of my testing with the standard open sights and no add-ons, as I wanted to get a feel for what can be expected from the basic package.
The supplied instructions are vague to say the least. Fortunately, operating the RP5 is pretty straightforward and loading up with 12g CO2 capsules is very easy. Simply slacken off the front piercing cap, then screw the whole cap section off the front of the cylinder.
Tip out the spent capsules (if any) then insert fresh ones. They need to go in the right way around, so make sure the first goes in neck-end first and the second goes in neck-end last – so that the thick ends of both are touching in the centre. Screw the front cap back on, tighten down the piercing cap and both capsules exhaust into the cylinder.
Fluctuations in power levels and shot capacity are a niggle you have to live with when using CO2-powered airguns. By and large, you can expect an increase in both in hotter conditions.
I conducted my power testing indoors in quite a warm atmosphere, and the highest muzzle energy I recorded was just nudging 5ft-lb – comfortably below the 6ft-lb legal limit for air pistols. In terms of shot capacity, I was getting about 100 from the two capsules.
You can tell when the power starts to dip as there’s a distinct change in the sound of the muzzle report.
Innovative features are something of an expectation on Umarex pistols, and the RP5’s pump-action and neat five-shot magazine (it comes supplied with two) don’t disappoint.
Push in the side switch and slide back the forend, and the magazine can be pulled out for reloading. Pellets are then slotted in from the rear while using your thumb to push the tray across to the left to tension the spring and expose another port after each one goes in.
When the magazine is fully loaded, you simply snap it back into its seating – it has a lug to ensure that it’s correctly aligned for this – and push the forend grip forwards to probe home the first pellet. The gun is now loaded and cocked, ready for you to enjoy the fast-fire fun offered by its pump-action mechanism.
The RP5’s trigger exceeds my usual expectation for a CO2 pistol: it actually feels very good. The wide, gently curved blade transfers plenty of feel and is very positive in operation. I couldn’t see any obvious means of adjustment, but first-stage weight and travel felt just right, and it came to a clear stop before breaking very predictably. There’s a safety catch positioned just above the pistol grip.
It slides on and off very positively and can be operated from either side. It’s safe in the forward position and you push it back when you’re ready to fire. The pump action won’t slide when the safety is engaged, and the gun won’t fire when the forend grip is in the rearward ‘open’ position.
Performance and accuracy
The pump-action cocking and loading system enables you to rattle through a full five shots in just a few seconds. There’s a button on the right-hand side which has to be depressed for the forend to slide. You need to carry out the whole forward-and-back process with a firm grip because it is quite stiff – though I’d much prefer that than a slack-feeling mechanism, and I assume it’ll get smoother with more use.
You’ll also need to be careful if you decide to fit a front accessory rail and attach a bipod, as your knuckles are going to get precariously close to the legs on the forward stroke. All in all, though, it’s a great system and works admirably in what I’d regard
as normal use.
In terms of accuracy, I was just about able to achieve 25mm groups when shooting the .177 calibre test gun rested at 10m. That was with open sights, and I reckon I could have improved on it if the notch in the rear element was a little narrower. After fitting a telescopic sight I was able to shave down my rested 10m groups to under 20mm.
That’s not exactly competition standard, but this gun’s real strength is the fun factor of its quick-fire potential, and it’s more than accurate enough for blatting tins out to 15m and beyond.
They say the best things come to those who wait, and the Umarex RP5’s performance and features do indeed live up to the months of anticipation. This German-made recoilless CO2 pistol boasts an extremely clever cocking and loading system that promises to deliver hours of entertainment.
I think it’s best described as a high-end plinking pistol, and if you’re looking for a quality tin-toppler that can tear it up on the garden range, this could be just the gun for you.
The Airgun Shooter Verdict
Look & feel: 9
Build quality: 8
Overall Score: 81