Walther Falcon Hunter .22 Cal w/ Air Venturi Gas Ram
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It seems today everyone is looking for power, power, power, which is achieved often times at the expense of accuracy. In this article however, we are going to talk about a rifle that delivers both. The Walther Falcon Hunter is a break barrel rifle that comes in .22 or .25 caliber. Talking about power for a moment, the .22 version we are testing, sends pellets down range at speeds similar to .177 rifles that use much lighter pellets. For example, the Falcon Hunter sends 21.1 gr. Beeman Extra Heavy pellets to the target at 690 FPS. This translates into 22.31 foot pounds at the muzzle. Even more impressive are the Gamo Hunters at 15.3 gn. Which scream down range at 860 FPS generating an amazing 25.13 foot pounds. But before we get too ahead of ourselves let’s take a look at the rifle in detail.
Our test rifle from PyramydAir.com, complete with the AirVenturi Gas Ram.
On paper the Falcon Hunter weighs a shade under 8 pounds. My guess is more like 9 pounds with the scope as it feels pretty heavy to me. It comes in a unique Mossy Oak Break-Up composite stock, includes front and rear (fully adjustable) fiber optic sights and even ships with a decent 3-9×44 scope equipped with an adjustable objective and illuminated mil-dot reticule. Our test model came direct from PyramydAir.com with the AirVenturi Gas Ram upgrade installed. The gas ram replaces the stock spring and provides a smoother, more enjoyable and consistent shooting experience. It also allows you to leave the rifle cocked without the fear of wearing out the spring prematurely.
Front Fiber Optic Sight
Fully adjustable rear fiber optic sight
Walther’s 3-9×44 AO, IR, MD Scope
Walther’s 3-9×44 AO, IR, MD Scope
Walther makes a pretty big deal about the grooved dovetail stating that the groves allow accessories to “lock” into place like on a Weaver style mount. Unfortunately, Walther did not utilize them with the included scope rings, but rather relied on a fixed scope stop to prevent scope slippage. This sets the scope too far forward for me to shoot comfortably. If I could find some rings that would allow me to move the scope back to the last groove, it would be just about perfect.
The stock, as mentioned before, is made from a composite material and comes in Mossy Oak Break-Up. I was not thrilled with this stock because it feels hollow and not very sturdy. I’ve heard grumblings that the recoil from the factory spring causes breaks in the stock along with other issues such as screws coming loose. I’m pleased to report that I’ve not had any issues with the gas ram version. The stock just feels a bit weak to me. Other features include forearm and grip checkering along with a raised cheek piece for all the right-handed shooters out there. Lefties will have to live without the raised cheek piece. One last feature is that the stock comes with inserts to lengthen the stock for those that want to adjust the length of the pull.
Raised cheek piece for right handed shooters. Notice the checkering on the grip.
Right side of the stock.
Checkering on the forearm
Shooting the Walther Falcon Hunter takes a great deal of strength and patience. The cocking force of the rifle is at or close to 60 pounds from my estimation and the trigger pull is not far behind. Of course I’m exaggerating about the trigger, but not by much. If there is a real weak point in this rifle, it is with the trigger. The trigger is made of a similar composite material and does not seem to have any real adjustment to speak of. While shooting the rifle you will have to pay very close attention to your trigger pull so that it does not turn into trigger yank. There is an automatic safety that will please some and annoy others. I’ve grown accustom to rifles that set the safety automatically so it did not bother me.
Walther’s trigger.. back to the drawing board… this thing is terribly hard to pull.
Walther’s automatic safety. You can reset it even after you’ve pulled it out to shoot.
As mentioned above this rifle came equipped with the AirVenturi Gas Ram and as you can see below, it completely replaces the factory spring. I’m not sure what is involved in the upgrade, but I know it should only be done by those experienced in working with high powered spring guns. You need special equipment to safely perform the upgrade. For this reason, PyramydAir.com offers the upgrade as an option direct from their warehouse. It adds a little more than $90 to the overall cost of the rifle, and as I’ve mentioned in my other articles, it is money well spent. The gas spring delivers smoother cocking, reduced recoil, and often times more powerful and more consistent velocity.
The sliver tube is the gas ram. Notice the absence of any spring.
The Falcon Hunter performed very well right out of the box and the shooting characteristics are similar to other break barrel rifles. It is somewhat hold sensitive and requires good shooting technique if you want predictable results. The cards below show typical results while shooting from 20 yards. I found that resting the rifle on the palm of my hand with my thumb and fore finger at the stock screw in front of the trigger guard yielded the most consistent results. All of these groups are between .5” and .8” CTC. At only 20 yards I’d like to see tighter groups than .5” but I’m not going to get them with this trigger so I’ll settle for what I can get. With a lighter trigger I know the groups will improve.
Predator “Poly-Mag” Polymer Tipped Hunting Pellets, Average Velocity, 838 FPS, 16 gr., 24.96 foot pounds.
Gamo Hunter Pellets (best group at just under .5” CTC), Average Velocity 860 FPS, 15.3 gr., 25.13 foot pounds
Beeman Field Target Specials, Average Velocity 880 FPS, 14.6 gr., 25.11 foot pounds.
Beeman Kodiak Extra Heavy Pellets, Average Velocity 690 FPS, 21.1 gr., 22.31 foot pounds.
What is interesting about the above cards is that the size of the groups varied very little between pellets. The point ofimpact varied significantly however, especially with the Beeman Kodiaks. This rifle shoots many different pellets well and allows you can pick the best pellet for your application, zero your scope to that pellet, and feel confident that you will hit the mark.
The Falcon Hunter does pose a bit of a quandary. The above shot cards don’t really show what this rifle is capable of. For example, when you are looking at .5” groups at 20 yards, you can expect that to open up greatly at 30 and 40 yards. This is just not the case as I get fairly similar groups out to 35 yards. The rifle itself is quite accurate. Holding the proper sight picture throughout the trigger pull, recoil, and follow through is where the patience and practice comes into play.
To prove this point, I decided to give the Falcon Hunter one last chance to shine. This time, taking in all I had learned from yesterday’s session. I settled in at the bench and began running pellets through the rifle. Amazingly enough, things started to tighten up and I ended the day with the following group. Turns out that you need to really take your time and really control your body during the trigger pull AND the follow through after the shot. If Walther could just lighten up that trigger, this would be an unbeatable combo. The following group was shot with the Crosman Pointed pellets.
Crosman Pointed Hunting Pellets. Average Velocity 880 FPS, 14.3 gr., 24.6 foot pounds.
All in all, the Walther Falcon Hunter has proven to be an accurate and powerful addition to my airgun arsenal. Two areas of improvement that I would suggest to Walther would be to drastically improve the trigger and strengthen the stock. With those to two changes, this would be an almost unbeatable combination of power and accuracy. I want to give a special thanks to PyramydAir.com for providing this rifle and all the supplies. This version, with the gas ram, retails for $358.99.