September 03, 2022
By Alfredo Rico
The easiest and most accurate airguns to shoot are pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles. They have many advantages versus other airgun power plants such as higher kinetic energy, number of consecutive shots available, and the range of calibers. Many airgun rifles have built-in noise mitigation, giving them an advantage where quietness is key. If you've been on the fence about joining the PCP airgun community, consider the Umarex Origin, which is available in either .22 or .25 caliber. The fun it provides will have you inventing shooting games to challenge your skills.
In January 2022, Umarex launched a .25-caliber version of the popular Origin .22 air rifle. Umarex designed the Origin as an entry-level PCP rifle. The name implies that this will be the "origin" of a shooter's passion for PCP air guns — and rightly so. Considering the price and features, it will be an easy first choice for anyone looking to experience the power and benefits. Hunters looking for that extra 10 foot-pounds (ft.-lbs.) of energy for taking small game will greatly appreciate the jump from .22 to .25 caliber.
The Origin weighs 6 pounds and has a one-piece composite stock. It is 43 inches long and has a two-stage adjustable trigger. A sidelever charging handle is used to cock the trigger and seat a pellet from the rotary magazine. Like many air rifles, the barrel is shrouded and uses dampeners to quiet the report of the shot. The aluminum receiver includes a Picatinny rail and an 11 mm dovetail for different sighting arrangements. The action is designed for a rotary magazine.
To fill or degas the rifle, a rubber flap is located on the bottom of the stock near the triggerguard. There, you will also find an overpressure release disc that serves as a safety measure should you accidentally overfill the reservoir. The air reservoir is fixed and not user serviceable. The three components that make the Origin a must-have are price, the Ever-Pressure Tank System and adjustable hammer spring.
Umarex understands the hesitations a first-time buyer may have in choosing a PCP airgun over a variable pump, break barrel, or CO2-powered airgun. Generally, PCP airguns are more expensive and require specialized equipment to fill the high-pressure tanks. But, with an MSRP of $330, Umarex priced the Origin as one of the most affordable PCP repeater air rifles on the market.
Ever-Pressure Tank System
The problem with using a handpump to fill an air reservoir this size to its max pressure of 3,625 pound-force per square inch (psi) is that it requires more 130 strokes. (That's a lot of pumping!) Umarex made the task much easier with the intro-duction of the Ever-Pressure Tank System. The Ever-Pressure system utilizes a simple piston inside the air reservoir. The piston is a cylinder with 0-rings; there are no other parts to it, and it allows the Origin to fire full-power shots even as reservoir pressure decreases. It also makes charging the reservoir easier, too. For example, building to 2,000 psi is a relative breeze, and you can get at least eight full-power shots at that pressure. That is handy when you only need a few shots but need them to be full strength. Additional charging requires a bit more effort, especially above 3,000 psi where you have to put your weight into each stroke. But in total, it takes about 108 strokes to go to from 0 to 3,625 psi, which is about 30-percent less than competitive models require. You'll really appreciate this reduction as you climb above 3,000 psi with a hand pump.
Adjustable Hammer Spring
Another great feature is the adjustable hammer spring, which allows you to increase the number of pellets the Origin can shoot with a single fill.
With a PCP airgun, when the trigger is pressed, the hammer is released to strike the reservoir's valve, which causes it to open and release a burst of air. The tension on the hammer spring determines the force of the hammer strike. As you would assume, a higher hammer-spring tension causes a harder strike on the valve, but the curious thing about an unregulated air rifle is that the length of time that the valve stays open also depends on the pressure inside the reservoir. At 3,625 psi, the higher air reservoir pressure holds the valve more firmly in place than at 2,800 psi, therefore the valve will open longer at the lower pressure with the same hammer-spring tension. Longer open times mean more air is being released to power the pellet and the result is an increase in velocity. Since the gun is using more air, it will also deplete the tank a little faster. This is where tuning the hammer spring becomes an asset; it allows you to back off the spring tension to use less air when needed and extend the quantity of shots you can get out of a single fill.
The stock layout of the Origin is a mix of the classic Monte Carlo-style hunting stock and a competition stock with a pistol grip and toe. The hunting influence is seen in the buttstock's raised comb for scope alignment and the thin, rounded forend. It's a profile that allows a shooter to get their eyed centered on the scope, yet still have ample cheek weld. The added height is welcome given the rifle's high bore axis. The competition influence is found in the vertical grip and hooked buttstock. The grip features molded finger grooves, which will be a hit or miss for some depending on the spacing and hand size. There are no sling studs, but judging by the thick internal structure of the stock, it should easily accept aftermarket attachments.
Filling the Origin
There are several ways to fill the air reservoir, and all require high-pressure equipment. Handpumps are the least expensive way to go, which will work well with the Origin thanks to its Ever-Pressure Tank System. Moisture traps are necessary with hand-pumps because pumping will produce moisture and you don't want that to get into the innards of the reservoir; moisture will cause corrosion.
High-pressure compressors designed for PCP airguns are a great option, albeit more expensive. In my opinion, the benefits make it worth the cost. In a few minutes, you'll fill up the airgun without breaking a sweat. There two general types of compressors: portable and full-size. Portable compressors, like Umarex's ReadyAir, are designed to fill the on-board rifle reservoirs and cost about 30-percent less than a full-size compressor. Aside from price, the advantage is that they weigh around 20 pounds and are fan cooled. Some can be powered from a 12-volt car battery. These are great for quick fills, small spaces or taking on the road.
Full-size compressors will fill airgun reservoirs and high-volume PCP tanks. They are much bigger, often weigh more than 50-pounds and are water cooled. They are bulky, but make a quick job out of filling air reservoirs and tanks.
One of the most convenient air filling set-ups is using a PCP tank in conjunction with a full-size PCP compressor. These portable air storage tanks vary in volume from 100 cubic inches to 98 cubic feet (cu.-ft.). The tanks are filled using a full-size PCP compressor and, if you buy one made of carbon fiber, they are light weight. The tanks are used to fill the on-board air reservoirs and can provide a day of shooting without with the need for electricity. Once you get hooked on PCP airguns, you'll realize that a carbon-fiber tank and full-size compressor are the way to go.
At the Range
For an air supply, I relied on an Air Venturi 74 cu.-ft. carbon fiber tank to fill the Origin reservoir. The carbon fiber tank was filled to 4,500 psi using an Air Venturi 4500-psi Electric Air Compressor. At the end of this test, 208 pellets were shot. The Air Venturi tank had 3,800 psi of pressure remaining. Several types and weight of pellets were used to cover hunting and sport shooting. To start each pellet type, the air reservoir was filled to maximum and ran continuously until the 25-shots were on paper.
Out of the box, the stock's slim profile was comfortable to hold and shoulder. The contours of the stock make it very ergonomic for off-hand shooting, and I especially liked the low belly near the triggerguard. In particular, the textured surfaces on the grip and forend kept my hands firmly in place, and the construction of the stock was sturdy. The finger grooves weren't annoying, but the grip's texture was more than enough to keep my hand planted.
One of the unique aspects about PCP air rifles is that the power curve is not a downhill line, instead it's a parabolic curve. (See "Velocity Arc" graph.) Using the J&M Match Diablo King, and a starting pressure of 3,625 psi, the pellet is moving at 852 fps, which slowly climbed to 909 fps by shot 15. As mentioned, this is due to the valve opening a little longer with the hard hammer strike. It plateaued for the next 14 shots and then started to dip aggressively. What's impressive was that the velocity remained above 800 fps until the second to the last shot! The total number of useable shots out of the tank was an impressive 33. The final shot landed a mere .30 inch below the group. This gave the Origin a range of 41 to 47 ft.-lbs. of kinetic energy. The 34th shot whimpered out of the barrel and was unusable, but it did deplete the tank to 0 psi. The piston worked well in maintaining pressure.
Like firearms ammunition, a barrel will shoot some ammo better than others. The Origin performed significantly better with the J&M Match Diablo King. At 25 yards, the average group size for five, five-shot groups was .39 inch. The Benjamin Premier pellets shot well, but they often had one flyer that opened up the group to a .91 average. The J&M Match Diabolo Knock Outs and Seneca groups were consistently an open pattern averaging 1.13 and 1.26 inches.
Since the J&M Match Diablo King performed so well at 25-yards, I set a target at 50 yards for a five- and 10-shot group. The five-shot group was .9 inch, and the 10-shot group was 1.3 inches. Out of curiosity, I followed this with a 10-shot group using other pellets. The Benjamin Premier and J&M Match Diabolo Knock, the groups were rather tight except for a couple of flyers; both measured 2.8 inches. The Seneca pellets looked like a shotgun pattern of 3.2 inches. For fun, a last volley of 33 pel-lets was shot. All but one pellet stayed within a 21/2-inch group and a third of the pellets formed a 1-inch hole.
During the test, the side handle ran smoothly, and all pellets fed easily from the rotary magazine — except for the Seneca Hunting Pellets. When loading Seneca's pellets into the chamber, it was a tight and rough fit due to the ridges.
The trigger was consistent, too, averaging 2 pounds, 12 ounces. For a precision rifleshooter who is used to light triggers, the trigger felt right. Sound suppression was also excellent. Shooting the Origin in a backyard was like hearing a loud hand clap.
When connecting the fill probe, there was no mistaking when it was engaged in the port, which gave me confidence that the probe wouldn't come flying when filling. The only annoyance was the rubber flap over the fill port. It lays so tight against the body that it can be tough to open. It's an insignificant complaint that shouldn't detract anyone from this air rifle.
The only thing better than an expensive rifle that shoots well is an inexpensive rifle that shoots well. The Origin is that rifle. If your budget allows only for a PCP air rifle and a handpump, then this is the one to start with. It has many good things going for it: excellent accuracy, a wide range powerband, reliable shooting and, of course, price. Plus, it's one of the easiest PCP air rifles to fill by hand and to get maximum velocity quickly. The new .25-caliber Origin should belong in every shooter's collection, whether you own a PCP airgun or not.
Umarex Origin Specifications:
- Type: PCP Airgun, side-lever
- Caliber: .22, .25 (tested)
- Capacity: 8
- Barrel: 23 in.
- Overall Length: 43.1 in.
- Weight: 6 lbs., 8 oz.
- Sights: None; Picatinny rail and 11mm dovetail
- Safety: Two-position lever
- Finish: Black
- Trigger: Two state, adjustable from 2 lbs. to 4 lbs.
- MSRP: $330
- Importer: Umarex USA, 479-646-4210, umarexairguns.com
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