Umarex Fuel .22 Caliber Product Review
Umarex USA continues to push the boundaries of what’s “acceptable” and “expected” in the world of affordable Airguns. Their Fuel series for example, added a built in bi-pod to a breakbarrel airgun, something that should not work, at least not work well. Now they’ve taken their .177 Fuel and bumped it up a notch, releasing a .22 caliber model. Let’s see if it lives up to the same performance and shootability as the .177!
The Fuel Up Close
The .22 caliber Fuel represents a move by Umarex to create a crossover airgun that shoots like a firearm. That’s actually not that hard to do with a PCP airgun, but the Fuel is not a PCP. It’s a breakbarrel airgun powered by the Reaxis gas piston and therefore should require special technique to see repeatable accuracy. But does it?
The stock on the Fuel is an ambidextrous synthetic thumbhole stock that’s incorporates a bipod. The legs are magnetically held in place when not in use.
The rifle ships with fiber optic open sights as well as an upgraded scope from the original .177 that I tested. The scope is s 3-9×32 with an adjustable objective. The adjustable objective is a necessary feature in any airgun scope. It allows you to use the full magnification range from as close as 7.5 yards, out to infinity.
Another important feature on the Fuel includes the SilencAir integrated suppressor. This, along with the Reaxis gas piston, really keep the shot noise to a minimum.
Lastly there is the adjustable trigger. The adjustment screw allows you to change the position of the 2nd stage pull, but not the weight which breaks at around 5.2 pounds on my sample rifle. It’s a bit gritty in my opinion and requires a good bit of attention during the shooting cycle to remain on target.
Performance, & Accuracy
Let’s get to the meat of the matter and talk performance and accuracy. The .22 caliber fuel is marketed as a 1000 FPS airgun if you are using lightweight alloy pellets. That drops to around 800 FPS for lightweight lead pellets like the 11.9 grain RWS Hobby pellets. I chrony tested the rifle when I first received it and it was shooting around 780 fps with the hobby pellets. Now that the rifle is through the break in process, the average velocity is coming in at 801 FPS with an extreme spread of only 6 FPS and a standard deviation of a mere 2 FPS. That’s extremely consistent and tight for any spring or gas ram airgun. It’s incredible for an airgun at this price point.
The most accurate pellet I’ve tested so far have been the H&N Field Target Trophy pellets. They are heavier at 14.66 grains and are averaging 693 FPS and 15.64 foot pounds of energy. If you want maximum energy, the RWS Superdomes were top of the list with an average velocity of 754 fps and 18.31 foot pounds at the muzzle.
Initially accuracy proved to be elusive with the Fuel. It would deliver an amazing group and then follow up with a terrible group. The more I shot it, the more consistent I became. While the rifle does not require the artillery hold, it is very hold sensitive regardless if you shoot from the built in bi-pod or using the artillery hold.
Here are some 20 yard groups for your review. The first is a typical group from the RWS Superdomes, the next is a typical group from the H&N Field target Trophy pellets. The last group is the best group of the day, shot from the Field Target Trophy pellets. All the groups were shot using the bi-pod at the bench.
Let’s start with what could be better on the Fuel. The trigger, while adjustable was gritty and made shooting the fuel harder than it needed to be. Next is the hold sensitivity which is really a two edged sword. On one hand it can be frustrating because changes in hold will cause significant changes in your point of impact. On the other hand, the sensitivity does require the shooter to concentrate and practice good hold and trigger discipline.
Now let’s move on to all the good things about the .22 caliber Fuel. First, let’s consider the price. At well under $200 you are getting a Reaxis gas piston powerplant, Silencair suppressor, ao scope, thumbhole stock and built in bi-pod. I quick search for anything close to that feature set yields zero results.
Moreover Umarex fully delivered on the performance and produced a .22 cal airgun that’s shooting 800 FPS, not while dieseling and right out of the box, but after 300 to 400 pellets.
So who is the ideal customer for the Fuel? If you’re an airgunner that owns a lot of European airguns and can describe in detail how the rekord trigger is adjusted, this is probably not going to be the rifle for you. On the other hand, it may make the ideal first airgun for someone that wants to do some basic target shooting in the back yard or clear our pests out to 20 to 25 yards. With some time on the bench and the right pellets in hand, the Umarex Fuel brings a lot of enjoyment to the backyard and allows folks to get in some trigger time with very little out of pocket.