It’s been kept under wraps for most of the year, but since being announced as ‘imminent’, everyone’s been keen to see just how well Walther’s first bolt-action PCP will stack up – especially as its asking price of just £420 makes it one of the most affordable PCP airguns on the market!
Of course, an all-new rifle like this needs plenty of evaluation time in the field and on the ranges before we feel comfortable enough to publish any results. In the meantime, however, we’ve cast our eyes – and camera – over one of the first rifles to land on UK shores to give you our initial views on what could well be a game-changing PCP.
The Rotex RM8 runs an eight-shot, rotary magazine made of CNC-machined aluminium. It’s driven by a side-bolt that automatically cocks and loads a pellet directly into the choked, 500mm Lothar Walther barrel.
Cocking the strike hammer occurs on the bolt’s pull stroke, while its return indexes the magazine. Although there’s no anti-double-load mechanism, the action is very slick – and the magazine is released from the left-hand side of the breech once a serrated locking catch has been operated.
Although it’s not supplied with open sights, there’s a generous, full-length dovetail (11mm) atop the breech, and while a scope adds to its 3.85kg, balance remains good in the shoulder.
Made by Italian stockmaker Minelli, the RM8’s beech stock is ambidextrous with laser-cut chequer panels on the grip and all the way around the chunky, stylishly shaped forestock. With an angular cheekpiece profiled on both sides to give a good scope/eye alignment, the butt features a reverse-cut belly that’s very akin to the livery of BSA’s 10-shot flagship R10.
Indeed, the RM8 also sports a buddy-bottle air supply courtesy of a short and stubby, 200cc tank up front, which is filled to 232BAR (refilled at around 70BAR) via a plug-in probe that locates in the forestock, adjacent to the integral manometer.
We’ll be putting the maker’s claim of ‘up to 180 shots per fill’ – and assessing its power curve – to the test and will comment more fully in our in-depth report in an upcoming issue.
At the business end, there appears to be a silencer but, in fact, it’s actually a well-executed, black-anodised muzzle weight (550 grams) which is grubscrewed to the barrel.
The latter is 1/2in UNF threaded, however, so a silencer can be fitted once the collar has been unscrewed. Our initial thoughts are that the report is such that the rifle can be comfortably shot without noise suppression.
The trigger, though plastic (like the guard) offers let-off adjustment and is wide enough to provide good feel. Our example slipped away the shot quite cleanly and the blade falls nicely to your finger courtesy of a well-raked pistol grip.
The safety catch it’s backed up by is a manual affair. Located at the back of the cylinder and looking similar to Umarex’s 850 AirMagnum, its plastic construction features a centre lock that must be disengaged before being pushed ‘off’. It’s also resettable.
Removing the stock and looking inside, the Rotex RM8 looks a simple but well-engineered mix of alloys and brass, and we rather like the ‘fillet’ above the buddy bottle. Similar again to the BSA R10, this serves to marry wood and metal in a very neat manner.
Our overall impression is that of a very well thought-out rifle which is pleasing to the eye by way of familiar design elements. What little time we’ve had with the gun suggests it should perform as good as it looks – and if that turns out to be the case, Walther could be on to an absolute winner at this price!