Gun test: Umarex RP5

Simply rack the fore end slide back and forth to load and cock the action.

Simply rack the fore end slide back and forth to load and cock the action. - Credit: Archant

Phill Price finds himself intrigued by the new Umarex RP5 CO2 pistol

Tandem 12-gramme CO2 capsules provide plenty of performance.

Tandem 12-gramme CO2 capsules provide plenty of performance. - Credit: Archant

It’s always good to see innovation in design and Umarex has never been afraid to experiment with new technologies. Take the new RP5 you see here on test, which is a pump action. Not a pump-up, but a pump cocking and loading mechanism. Now, that really is something different! It’s also highly customisable, in that a shoulder stock, silencer and sight rail can be fitted as optional extras, so that you can create the exact gun you want, rather than having to settle for the catalogue item.

It’s a big pistol that wears a 30cm long barrel under which is an extended CO2 tube much longer than usual for this type of pistol because it accepts two, 12-gramme CO2 capsules, which naturally gives many more shots per fill. The loading cap is also innovative and I think very well thought out. It’s in two parts. The main body screws into the cylinder that holds the capsules. The second part, a ribbed cap, is the part that drives the capsules onto the dual piercing probes that allow the CO2 to flow out into the action. By separating the roles, Umarex designed a system that’s easy to use, and also safe. By loosening the end cap when you’ve finished shooting, you can bleed any remaining pressure from the cylinder in a controlled manner before removing the main cap from the cylinder. You should never store a CO2 gun with the capsules in, and this clever design makes removing them easy.

Two, five-shot magazines are provided...

Two, five-shot magazines are provided... - Credit: Archant

Quick and convenient

Another innovation is the magazine system employed. Of course, you can easily single-load pellets because the breech is well exposed, and I found loading this way very easy as long as you keep the muzzle pointed down. If you don’t, the pellets will fall back out for reasons that will become clear later.

There are two 5-shot magazines supplied that simply press into the breech once loaded. They’re nice and simple which is always a good thing. These, along with the pump action, make rapid fire as easy as can be, but I don’t know how you’d pump quickly and aim precisely, so I’m not sure that rapid fire is what the RP5 is about.

... and they're simplicity itself to use.

... and they're simplicity itself to use. - Credit: Archant

I found that the cocking system was simply a very easy process. With the safety disengaged, grab the fore end, press in the long button and then rack the slide to the rear. With a loaded magazine installed, you shove the slide forward again and, hey presto, the pistol is cocked and loaded. Even when single loading, I found the cocking system quick and convenient. It was rather sticky and stiff to begin, but loosened up as the test progressed.

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The long barrel also delivers a very long sight base, i.e. the distance between the front and rear sight. This makes accurate aiming easier, but I found the rear sight notch much too wide for precise aiming. I expect that anybody who cares about accuracy will fit an optical sight to the 11mm scope rail on the top of the action, to maximise precision aiming. I note that Umarex offers a raised, Weaver standard bolt-on rail that’s sure to appeal to all the tactical types, which is all part of the customisation plan.

I found the rearsight notch a little too wide for me, but I'd be fitting a scope, anyway.

I found the rearsight notch a little too wide for me, but I'd be fitting a scope, anyway. - Credit: Archant

Unusual feature

With the two CO2 capsules fitted, I took the RP5 to my chronograph and because it was a very cold day, I kept the cylinders in the warmth of my house until the very last moment. Chilling CO2 capsules will lower the gun’s muzzle velocity, so keeping them warm ensured a more average result. I chose the Bisley Practice pellet which loaded and cycled through the magazines without a hitch. Velocity ran from 400 to 525fps with the 8.1 grain, .177 pellets which calculates to just below 5 ft.lbs. at the highest velocity, and after 30 shots, the muzzle energy was still hitting those figures.

As is the norm today, the RP5 is ambidextrous, so the grips are quite simple with a shallow grid texture to add purchase. Above these is a slide-type manual safety and interestingly, when it’s engaged the action cannot be cocked. Perhaps the most unusual feature of the RP5 is that it uses a smoothbore barrel, i.e. it has no rifling which explains why the pellets fall out of the breech. However, it does feature a TG choke, which stands for Target Grouping. Umarex claims that the choke makes the smoothbore just as accurate as a rifled barrel. I feel that I’d need to fit an optical sight before I could comment any further about accuracy because my poor eyesight prevents me from shooting accurately with open sights at longer distances. That said, the base of drinks cans at 20 yards was no problem for the test rifle, and I’d expect even better from a fully fitted out version.

Initial verdict

The RP5 is certainly an interesting new model and one that Umarex is very excited about. They proudly point out that it’s made in Germany, with the inherent quality of engineering and construction that this suggests. Being made in Europe partially explains the high price, but it’s a fact of life that quality costs and the quality of this pistol is there for all to see.

I’m sure we’ll see lots of these customised and tuned to suit people’s tastes, which is a key feature of the design and one I’m hoping to test as soon as it can be delivered to me. For now, I’ll content myself with a brief test of the standard gun and declare myself excited and intrigued about what its future might bring.


Manufacturer: Umarex

Importer: John Rothery Wholesale


Model: RP5

Type: C02 (two-gramme capsules)

Action: Pump action

Trigger: Two-stage

Calibres: .177, .22

Safety: Manual

Length: 435mm

Weight: 1140g

Magazine capacity: 5-shots

Shot capacity: 35-50 according to ambient temp

RRP: £259.95 (two magazines supplied)


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