The rifle that I am reviewing has been in my possession for some time now and rather than rush and write about it I needed some time to really get to grips with it.
When the LGV first came out I did read up on it when it was reviewed in AirGunner and having read a lot of comments both good and bad on various forums I thought it was now time to put my views across and however right or wrong it may be in the readers eyes , it is going to be how I got on with it.
Rather than go into detailed techno stuff as its been done before I will say how it looked to me personally then spend more time writing on how I did in the field with it.
The rifle in question is the Walther LGV Challenger in .22 calibre , most of you who have owned one should agree with me straight away on how well the rifle looks and is put together.
Straight out of the box the rifle looks the part. Its black synthetic stock looked rather nice with its swirls where the chequering would normally sit on a more traditional rifle stock , the rest of the stock was nice and smooth and the care and attention to detail was not missing one bit over it.
The bluing is not as smooth and deep as the higher end Theobens or Air Arms rifles that I have had but it is still well done to a very acceptable level.
The barrel lock underneath the barrel can be a bit fiddly if you have never had a rifle with one but it was pretty easy to engage once I had had a few shots and once closed the lock up on the barrel was nice and tight with no movement what so ever.
The fibre optic foresight was to me a bit chunky and in my opinion could be left off the rifle, I would rather there be no open sights at all and a nice silencer fitted as standard.
The LGV will be coming with a scope and screw on silencer in the package so that would out weigh the need for open sights. With all that in mind I think it would look more of a hunting rifle and give it a more slicker look.
The LGV is certainly a light rifle for its size , it looks a long rifle once the silencer is on but honestly the only things that I felt let it down a little was it felt a bit front heavy ,if I was to own one I would a little more weight at the rear and that would sort that out.
The other gripe that I had and a couple of my friends that shot the LGV was how forward the trigger was. On a few occasions all of us would be trying to pull the back of the trigger guard instead of the trigger but the more we shot it the more used to it we got and in time it soon stopped being a problem.
Now the bit I really liked about the LGV .
When shooting a springer your first reaction is going to be to hold it a little tighter expecting recoil, but to my surprise there was hardly any.
When I shot it I was sickeningly in awe of how it shot. The recoil was nothing like I had felt from a out of the box spring rifle before, the level of kick is something you would expect to get from a highly tuned gas strut rifle, not a springer straight off the production line. The report from the fore end was nothing but a p hut and this is exactly what any hunter is looking for in the field.
I would expect this to be a little harder if it was a carbine but in no way will I take the shine off how it performed as standard.
Now for those few customers that have reported on the forums that this was not the case with their rifles, I would advise you to have a chat with your suppliers as they should all shoot as near to this one I had. I will add mine did still have its tags attached and the box it came in definitely looked unopened so I would say it had not been messed with before I got it for test.
I can not really think of any more of the boring stuff to talk about now so lets see how it performed in the field.
I have taken the Challenger out on numerous occasions since I have had it in my possession . The first hurdle I came across and has been a constant problem in sunlight was the shine I got from the rifle. Even though the synthetic stock is kind of a matte look it still directs the suns rays at any quarry’s eyes you are trying to sneak up on but once I had used a few of the Jack Pyke leaves all over it to break it up it was not such a problem and I did manage to get a lot more shots off.
For this feature I had to use it bare , covering a rifle that you are supposed to see what I am writing about is not an option thanks to the editorial staff so a different approach was needed to get something to show for my efforts.
Rather than waste time walking about and shoot nothing I had decided to sit it out amongst some trees that run opposite a few small warrens . The distance can vary from 25-40 yards so getting the distance spot on is a must as the drop from a .22 pellet to a .177 that I am more used to could result in injuries to rabbits and that is not an option.
I had set myself up behind a trunk of one of the thickest trees, sitting down and resting on my knee would give me a steady platform for a more accurate pellet placement. I had been sitting for a while and the sun had crept high enough to shine over the warrens, you know something has to show its self sooner or later as there are a few rabbits that live here. It was another half hour when three half grown rabbits sat proudly over the holes warming themselves up with the suns rays , its so tempting to shoot one when its a new rifle you have in your possession but I had shot a few before with the LGV so I held out for another ten minutes until momma finally showed herself.
The younger rabbits were happily chasing each other around in circles and mum decided to break from her seat near the hole she emerged from and settled in the short grass to have an early breakfast. I knew the distance was around 28 -30 yards so all I had to do was make sure the cross hair was bang on behind its ear. I like shooting like this as the rabbits have no idea your there and all caution is out of the window once they start eating. I steadied myself and gently held the LGV in my shoulder , I had to give a little clicking noise to get the rabbit to lift its head as it was moving to much while feeding. With the rabbit side on looking what the noise was I squeezed the trigger and watched the pellet arc towards the rabbit. The sun shining on the pellet skirt made it easy to see and before it got two thirds of the way across I knew it was bang on. The rabbit jumped about a foot in the air and landed firmly on its back, a couple of kicks to finish and it was dead.
The three younger ones headed back to the warren looking and wondering where the shot came from , thinking I could get one of these three I cocked the rifle as slow as I could but as I was trying to close it up again they spotted me and headed underground.
Not to be down about a possible pair I sat and waited for my next shot.
It was about half hour after my last shot that I noticed a ball of brown fur some sixty yards further up the hedge line to my right , unfortunately the trees I was in thins out considerably here so trying to creep up on it was not going to be easy . Not to be a defeatist I started my slow walk through what cover I could use to help break up my outline. What seemed like an age I eventually managed to get within thirty five yards . Now with my Rapid this would be a formality but I decided to try and get that little bit closer . The rabbit was feeding with its back to me so I decided to go for it, I was creeping so slow at one point that I must have resembled a chemealean to any eyes that could have been on me. I was now out of my comfort zone , the trees were bare and thin now but I only had a couple of more yards to go . I was only about one more yard away to get a nice rest when the rabbit sat upright , it was looking straight at me, I was like a statue , not even an eye lash was moving. The rabbit eventually started to feed again so I lifted my foot up to start off again, the rabbit again looked straight at me I froze again until it decided it could feed safely again.
Standing with one foot off the ground for at least three minutes was not the best thing to have to endure but I was determined to get this rabbit after all the effort I had put in. I had finally put my foot down for the last time and was ready to raise the rifle into position, the rabbit was looking in my direction knowing something was not right. Either the rabbit was short sighted or thick I don't know but I managed to lift the rifle between the thin branches and get my eye to the scope.
I was looking at a nice plump rabbit , the cross was just lining up behind its ear ready for my next shot when it decided to go for a little hop down the field to my left. I was gutted , all that bloody effort and it waltzes off. I tracked it on its journey down the hedgerow through the scope and it seemed to go on for ages. I pulled my eye from the scope to see exactly where it was and to my surprise it was still in range. It may have run past me but it had stopped about 10 yards to my left and I was still around the 30 yard range. I wasted no time taking the shot this time and he finally lay on its side.
I cant remember the last time I had put so much effort into getting a rabbit, I will say this though , it was one of the most heart stopping stalks I think I have had in years , there was so many emotions going through my body at one time it really made me see why I still love hunting so much. Now all that has put me over my word count now but I will go on to say that I did manage one more rabbit and a lucky pigeon that decided to land in a tree directly above me while I was waiting for another shot. The last rabbit had me walk out into the field behind me and crawl on my stomach to the far end of the trees , it was sitting opposite an open space between the trees and there was no other way to get to it. I managed to crawl up to some nettles and take a relatively easy resting shot to claim my third and final one of the session.
The LGV has performed faultlessly since it has been in my possession and if I was in the market for a springer I might just be tempted. I would probably go for a wooden stock myself and that's just my preference as the black synthetic one is nice it was just the balance that might have put me off it.
I have seen the prices differ on a few sites for these rifles so if you are interested shop around as you might just get the bargain you have been searching for.
Armex will be selling these with a scope and silencer with the new stock so old stock probably wont
feature these additions.
For details of the bundle or stockists ring Armex on 01216434900 or you can message them on their web site here http://armex-airgun.co.uk/