Umarex Colt Single Action Army revolver

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It has been a long wait for a replica of the iconic Colt Single Action Army revolver which not only looks right but is also a capable shooter. No surprise then that when Umarex launched a replica of the Colt SAA in 2015 there was a great deal of interest from both replica collectors and shooters. Was it worth the wait? Pistol Place contributor Adrian gives us the lowdown…

Real Steel Background

A detailed description of the history and development of the Colt Single Action Army revolver has been written by Steve and may be found in the Classic Guns section (a link to which is provided at the end of this review).

Arguably one of the most famous pistols of all time, the Colt Single Action Army — also known as the “Peacemaker” or simply “Colt .45” — was first adopted by the United States Army in 1873. Along with the Smith & Wesson Model 3 “Schofield” it was to replace another pistol made by Samuel Colt, the Model 1860 percussion revolver.

Various models were produced in what would become known as the “First Generation” of these pistols (1873 – 1941) including the “Cavalry” model with a 7 ½ inch barrel, the “Bisley” with a 5 ½ inch barrel and the “Civilian” or “Gunfighter” with a 4 ½ inch barrel. The CO2 replica presented here is the 1873 “Artillery” model, also with a 5 ½ inch barrel, but distinguished from the Bisley in that the latter featured a wider trigger and hammer spur and different shape grips.

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The Umarex Artillery Model

An interesting point is that whilst all true “Single Action Army” or “SAA” revolvers were chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge, a “Colt Frontier” model was also produced chambered in .44-40 Winchester making it compatible with another famous gun introduced in 1873, the Winchester lever-action rifle (source: Wikipedia and World Guns).

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Packaging and Presentation 3.5/5

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The pistol is presented in a sturdy and rather attractive cardboard box, printed to look like wood, along with the Colt logo, a picture of the gun and basic technical information. On the underside of the box are more detailed specifications given in a tabular format.

The gun is prevented from moving inside the box by a sheet of bubble wrap, comes with six “cartridges” and a detailed manual in English, French, Italian, Polish, German, Spanish, Russian and Turkish. The manual covers safe usage, technical data, operation and basic maintenance. Instructions on how to disassemble the pistol and an exploded diagram are not given.

I opted for the “blued” version and the finish is superb. Both “Nickel” and “Antique” versions are also available, each with different colour grips.

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Nickel and Blued — a pair of exceptionally fine pistols! Photo courtesy of John Beattie

Visual Accuracy 9/10

Visual accuracy is excellent, the only real differences being the hammer sits slightly proud when in the rest position, the front post is slightly less prominent and there is a smaller head on the screw below the hammer.

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Image above courtesy of Colt.com

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The Umarex replica, CO2

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Image courtesy of icollector.com – please note the lack of a screw to the rear of the base pin on this model and the metallic brown of case-hardened steel

There are also an additional pair of small screws diagonally opposite each other either side of the cylinder and a couple of extra pins, one of which is to hold the dummy firing pin in place. This last item is in fact the same as on the original except that the pin or rivet would not be visible.

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Detailed, accurately placed markings are included, although these appear in a more prominent white than would usually be found

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The only other real difference on the right-hand side is there is only one pin instead of two between the cylinder and the trigger. A Colt logo, as this is a licensed version, has been included. The calibre is noted along with a pentagon “F” (for the German market) followed by the serial number. This would normally have been located on the underside, just forward of the trigger guard, often with two identical numbers being stamped: one for the grip frame and one for the cylinder frame.

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Image courtesy of icollector.com

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Whilst having done my best to do justice to the beautiful finish, you really have to see the pistol for yourself in order to appreciate the various shades of blues, purples and browns which the gun exhibits in the correct light

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Similarly, the backstrap exhibits a soft metallic brown colour. The grips, although plastic, have a lacquered walnut appearance and in my opinion look very good indeed

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Basking in evening sunshine! Neither the safety switch nor the piercing screw are at all obtrusive; the text on the butt reads “Licensed Trademark of Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC”

Operational and Functional Accuracy 14.5/15

The weight and feel of the gun complement its visual appearance perfectly. With the shells removed there are no extraneous rattles nor movement from any loose parts; it feels solid and realistic in the hand. This is what is known as a “solid-frame” revolver (source: World Guns), as against to the “top-break” mechanism of, for example, the Webleys and “hinged-frame” of Smith & Wesson.

CO2 is loaded by gently easing-off the left-hand side plastic grip panel. The grip is held in place by a metal clip and a small plastic tab, molded as part of the grip at the top, which fits into the frame. At first I thought Umarex had been a bit mean by not including an Allen (Hex) key in order to tighten the CO2, but then noticed the tool for the job very cleverly hidden inside the grip panel. An excellent idea! This key is not only convenient, it is easy to use and you are less likely to overtighten the CO2 capsule which on insertion seals perfectly.

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No Allen keys required! The CO2 capsule seats and seals perfectly; the tightening screw is recessed within the grip and not visible when shooting

The technique for loading a “cartridge” is one I have not seen before in that each is loaded by pressing a 4.5mm BB into the base as against to the front of the shell. The shells are made of metal which may well be brass; they certainly look the part!

Identical to the original, the hammer is then moved to half-cock, the loading gate opened and each shell dropped into the cylinder. As with the Nagant M1895 and Webley Service revolvers, the cylinder rotates in a clockwise direction as viewed by the shooter. I usually like to shoot five shells at a time and the proper way to do this is to skip loading the second shell which results in the hammer resting on an empty chamber when it is again lowered after inserting the fifth shell. This was how they were originally advised to be carried as there was no drop-safety fitted in the late nineteenth century.

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Photo left – the gate open and the hammer at its first-cock position allowing a cartridge to be inserted; right – full-cock with the locking lug again engaged with the cylinder

In his article “Classic Handguns – The Colt Single Action Army Revolver” Steve notes four “clicks” when operating the hammer. With this replica there are three distinct stages; the first where the indexing lug drops into the frame allowing shells to be inserted, the second where the lug reappears but does not yet quite engage the cylinder and the third where the revolver is now at full-cock with the cylinder having completed its movement and the indexing lug again fully engaged. All in all very realistic indeed!

As mentioned above, the hammer at rest stands slightly proud when compared to the original, and although it is fitted with a “firing pin”, this is in fact purely for show as CO2 is released by the base of the hammer striking a valve which is hidden from view inside the frame. A working ejector rod is provided in the tube running along the right-hand side of the barrel, although this is not actually required on the replica.

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Photo left – the ejector rod is fully functioning; right – there is a safety switch fitted to the underside of the frame

Shooting 34/40

My gun has a muzzle energy reduced to below 2 joules for markets within South East Asia including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand, whereas others (e.g. for Europe and the United States) have up to 3 joules as specified on the box. Whilst mine shoots at a reasonably consistent 325 +/- 5 fps, this is not representative of the muzzle velocity as designed and so I asked Marc, a fellow member of the Umarex Boys Club (UBC), if he would be so kind as to share his observations shot using both Nickel and “Antique” revolvers purchased in the UK and a selection of appropriate 4.5mm BBs.

Barrel length is 5 ½ inches on the Artillery Model, although you could argue that the “effective” barrel length here is in fact 7 inches as the BBs are loaded into the base of the shell.

Marc’s results were as follows:

Antique SAA

Umarex Steel BB’s: (5.4grain)             404.6 fps – 400.6 fps – 398.1 fps

H&N Copper Coated Lead BBs: (7.4grain)         348.7 fps – 347.6 fps – 342.4 fps

Gamo Lead Balls: (8.18grain)             330.1 fps – 326.6 fps – 325.1 fps

Nickel SAA

Umarex Steel BB’s: (5.4grain)             394.1 fps – 391.6 fps – 385.7 fps

H&N Copper Coated Lead BBs: (7.4grain)         344.3 fps – 340.6 fps – 334.6 fps

Gamo Lead Balls: (8.18grain)             318.9 fps – 315.6 fps – 313.1 fps

It was then time for Marc to shoot a few targets, each with the gun semi-rested on a sandbag. Six targets of six shots each were fired from both guns using Umarex Steel and H&N Copper Coated Lead BBs; he chose to discontinue using the Gamo Lead Balls as, although grouping reasonably well, they proved to be the least accurate, shot low and tended to make the barrel dirty. The targets presented below are the best of those shot.

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Marc’s Nickel revolver

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Then the “Antique

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Marc reports that fliers were evident from the Antique version, but not the Nickel; until he swapped the shells and they disappeared altogether!

I have also shot a few targets, this time off-hand, obtaining results similar to those of Marc including the occasional flier. Although I feel Marc’s are more representative of what a good shot should be able to achieve with the full-powered version, I have still included a couple of mine as illustrated below; with one very lucky one indeed, even more so as I did not check to see where the shots were falling – just had to show it!

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The “Man in a Fedora” was shot one-handed: five red (most out of character!) followed by the blue (more like it for me, although still very pleased)

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My latest to date – a slightly wider spread, shot off-hand using a two-handed stance and Daisy BBs; targets were shot left to right, red then blue, top then bottom with an overall mean of 35/50 for five shots

In the preceding photo, the cartridge which appeared to give the odd flier was put aside after sequence #4 and then used, loading individually each time, for the lowest target (sequences #7 and #8 scoring 41 and 36 respectively). A couple of days previously I had shot a total of six UBC six-yard competition targets each with five shots one-handed and five two-handed, obtaining a mean score of 65/100. POI is about one and half inches above POA.

Based on all these results, I think it is fair to say that one to one and a half inch grouping can be expected — but perhaps not every time — at a range of six yards (5.5m), admittedly with the occasional flier which both Marc and I agree may well be down to the experience of the shooter, not the gun!

Similarly, Marc has reported that more practice has resulted in similar groups to those he shot before, from both guns, but with fewer fliers. He also notes that the sights take a while to get used to, especially the ones on the “antique” version which can be a little more difficult to see in low lighting. He has had up to 90 good shots per capsule of CO2; I have experienced slightly less at around 75 to 80. The pistol is relatively quiet; more so, for example, than my Webley Service Revolver, 6mm CO2.

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Marc’s “Antique” Colt .45

I should just like to add that this is an extremely comfortable pistol when shot using one hand as the wide heel of the grip tends to pivot itself into the palm of your hand. Certainly, what cannot be stressed enough is the realism (and fun!) of listening to those three clicks as you draw back on the hammer.

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Nickel version fitted snugly within a “Johnny Ringo” holster made by John Beattie; a link to John’s exceptional work is given at the end

Quality and Reliability 14 / 15

First impressions are extremely good and I have every reason to believe this pistol will prove to be durable and reliable, hopefully on a par with my Umarex S&W 586 in the UK which is now over ten years old. The quality and overall finish is remarkable, even though some sort of high quality alloy will have been used instead of the steel of the original. Some wear is noticeable, particularly where the pistol interfaces with the holster, but this only tends to give the gun an even more authentic appearance.

Neither an exploded diagram nor field-stripping instructions are provided, but based on its smooth operation and reassuring heft I think it is fair to say this is a very well made pistol indeed.

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Time for a hand of cards… PIPAS perhaps? Information as to PIPAS and other various unique and exciting UBC competitions may be found by following the UBC link below

Overall Impression 15 / 15

As a show piece alone it is quite beautiful, but together with the realistic operation and accuracy it is without doubt a worthy addition to any gun collection. Umarex have certainly done justice to the original in the form of this exceptionally fine replica of a quintessentially American revolver… the legendary “Peacemaker” or “Colt .45”.

Total 90 / 100

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At home in its holster, this one made by “The Horse Shoe” leather shop in Northern Thailand

Review by Adrian. Adrian is also a moderator for the Umarex Boys Club Forums.

Related pages:

Classic Handguns: The Colt Single Action Army

Links

Pistol Leather website

ASG CZ 75

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I generally don’t like surprises. Because, let’s face it, they’re usually unpleasant. I was surprised when I managed to shoot a hole through a very expensive double glazing unit with my Tanfoglio Witness. I was very surprised to discover that I hadn’t secured the seat properly on one of the motorcycles I had re-built and found myself standing at a set of traffic lights with just a seat clutched between my thighs as the bike accelerated briskly up the road. You get the picture. Happily, I’m rarely surprised by replicas. I have owned a fair number from different producers and I generally have a good idea of what to expect before I even pick a new pistol up. But, just occasionally, I find something unexpected in a new replica and that happened recently when I was provided with an ASG CZ 75 for review.

I have owned several ASG replicas, and they’re generally pretty good. In terms of blowback, semi-auto BB shooters, I have owned an STI Duty One and a CZ P-07 Duty. Both were very nicely made and finished, powerful, reliable and reasonably accurate, but I didn’t especially care for the trigger action on either – like many replicas they both use the first part of the single action trigger pull to queue up the next BB for shooting and neither could be field stripped. Not show-stopping issues to be sure, but I do like functional accuracy and a true single action trigger. I had assumed (always a dangerous thing to do) that the ASG CZ 75 would be similar and had never owned or shot one. How wrong I was…

Real steel background

State-owned arms manufacturer Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod (CZUB) was established in 1936 in the small town of Uherský Brod in what was then Czechoslovakia and is now the Czech Republic. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, the company was privatized in 1992 as Česká zbrojovka a.s. PLC. CZ currently employs more than 2000 people, making it one of the largest firearms manufacturers in the world.

Back in the early 1970s, military orders were starting to drop-off and the Ministry of Foreign Trade requested CZ to begin work on the design of a military and law enforcement pistol which might have export potential to Western countries. The design brief was for a pistol chambered for the 9x19mm round, with a high-capacity magazine and capable of being carried “cocked and locked” (i.e. with the hammer cocked and a manual safety applied). Chief designer František Koucký (with some help from his brother Josef) produced a design where the slide of the pistol ran inside rails on the frame, rather than the conventional approach where the slide is outside of the frame. This was claimed to give smoother and more controlled slide movement, though it did mean that the slide serrations are a little small. Czech architect and designer František Crhák was also asked to provide ideas on the visual design of the pistol, and the result was a simple, distinctive and instantly recognisable design.

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Early model CZ 75

Functionally, the all steel CZ 75 is a relatively simple design using a modified Browning short recoil operated, locked breech action. Early prototypes were single action only but the final version featured both double and single action with a half-cock position for the hammer in order to make manual de-cocking safer (because it can be carried cocked but with the safety engaged, the manual safety does not incorporate a de-cocking function). Mass production began in 1977 and the CZ 75 quickly gained a reputation for power, accuracy and reliability. It also has superb ergonomics, combining the slim pointability of a 1911 with the advantages of a double-stack magazine.

During the early 1980s, the CZ 75 became one of a small group of pistols referred to as the “Wonder Nines“. Police in the US were still largely armed with revolvers at this time, and a number of influential gun writers including Jeff Cooper and Robert Shimek urged the adoption of 9mm handguns with large capacity magazines which could be carried ready to fire, but with a manual safety. The CZ 75 was one of the pistols identified as a Wonder Nine and it was eventually adopted by some US Police Departments as well as by police users in the Czech Republic and Turkey. The CZ 75 and its derivatives have also become very popular as target shooting and self-defence weapons around the world.

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CZ 75B

The earliest versions of the CZ 75 featured a rounded trigger-guard and a spur hammer though these were quickly replaced on the CZ75B with a combat style trigger-guard and a rounded hammer. Subsequent versions have included the select fire CZ 75 Automatic and the aluminium framed compact P-01. More recent pistols from CZ such as the polymer framed P09 Duty continue to use the internal slide and other operational features from the original CZ 75. The CZ 75 has also been used as the basis for several other handguns including the IWI Jericho 941 series, the Tanfoglio TZ-75, the Chinese Norinco NZ-75 and the Springfield P9.

The ASG CZ 75

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Danish group Action Sport Games A/S (ASG) produce a range of CO2 powered 4.5mm semi-auto and revolver replicas. ASG have a licensing agreement with CZ and a number of their replicas are based on CZ designs. The ASG CZ 75 is an all-metal licensed replica of an early CZ 75 featuring blowback, a full-size drop-out magazine and full CZ markings. Up to 17 steel BBs and the CO2 are stored in the magazine and all controls from the original are replicated visually and operationally.

Spec;

Calibre: 4.5mm

Magazine capacity: 17 steel BBs

Propellant: CO2

Barrel length: 4.3″ (110mm), smoothbore

Weight: 2.1lbs (950g)

Overall length: 8.27″ (210mm)

Sights: Front: Post, fixed. Rear: Notch, fixed.

Action: SA/DA

Claimed power: 312fps (95m/s)

Packaging and presentation 2.5/5

7514The ASG CZ 75 comes in a card box with a polystyrene insert shaped to fit the pistol and extras. It is supplied with a hex tool for removal of the magazine base plug, a small box of steel BBs and a very short user manual. The manual doesn’t mention the full and half-cock hammer positions or tell you how to field strip the replica.

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754Dimensionally, this is a very good replica indeed.  The lines of the original and the shape and location of sights, controls and grips are precisely the same. Even the distinctive tiny, silver hammer pin retaining peg is in place. The magazine on the ASG CZ 75 does have a larger base than the standard CZ 75 magazine. However, CZ provide an extended magazine for the CZ 75 which increases capacity to 18 rounds, and the magazine on the ASG version is based on this, so it’s a reasonable solution to the need to fit a 12g CO2 cartridge inside the mag.

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Later model CZ 75 SP-01 fitted with high-capacity magazine

The finish on the replica is a semi-matt black compared to a fairly glossy black finish on the original, but it looks reasonable and it’s close to the finish on later models of the CZ 75. The trigger is chromed and outer barrel is finished in polished alloy on the replica, which look good and replicate the finish on the original. Markings are fair. The “Model 75 Cal. 9 Para” on the left of the slide is correct though the “Made in Czechoslovakia” text which appeared on the left side of the frame of early versions of the original is missing and the CZ logos on the slide and grips are modern style rather than the 70s version. There is also additional white ASG text on the right of the frame, but at least it’s small and fairly discreet.

Functional accuracy 14/15

The ASG CZ 75 features blowback operation and the slide moves through a full range of movement. The slide lock/release works as it should and the slide locks back when the last round is fired. Like the original, the hammer has a half-cock and full-cock position. On the cartridge version this is used to safely de-cock a loaded pistol – the hammer is de-cocked only from full-cock to half-cock. This is probably not something you’ll be doing often on a replica, but it’s nice to see such attention to functional detail. With the hammer in the full-cock position, the pistol can be fired in single action. With the hammer in the half-cock position, the pistol can only be fired in double action. The manual safety can be applied only with the hammer in the full-cock or half-cock position. With the hammer fully down, the pistol can be fired in double action, though on mine this is notably stiff (but it does seem to be improving with use).

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Hammer at half-cock (top) and full-cock (bottom)

The ASG CZ 75 can be field stripped in the same way as the original (though this isn’t explained in the manual). To remove the slide, the magazine must be removed and two marks on the left rear of the slide must be aligned. The slide release can then be pushed out from the right and removed from the left, and the slide can then be moved forward off the frame. It’s very similar to the takedown procedure on any 1911 style pistol.

759Slide alignment marks (arrowed, left), slide stop removal (right)

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Overall, this is a very good functional replica of the CZ 75. It accurately replicates trigger action, slide movement and locking and takedown and it’s very close to weight of the original. This would probably make a good training aid for anyone who also owns the cartridge version.

Shooting 34/40

To load the magazine with CO2, the plastic cover on the base must first be removed. There is a small plastic button in the centre of the base which is pressed, then the plastic cover can be slid off to the front. This exposes the tightening plug which can be removed using the supplied hex key (though it also has a large slot so a coin or screwdriver can also be used). The plug must be completely removed so that the CO2 can be inserted from the bottom of the mag. Once it’s in place, the plug is replaced and tightened until the cartridge pierces, which it generally does cleanly and without any major loss of gas.

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Up to 17 steel BBs are then loaded into the magazine. The follower doesn’t lock down, so it must be held in place whilst you are loading.

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The magazine is then replaced and you’re good to go. The slide must be racked to prepare for the first shot and, due to the design of the slide, the area of serrations is fairly small. This, combined with a strong return spring, means that you do have to grasp the slide strongly to get a good grip. Racking the slide also cocks the hammer, so most of your shooting will be done in single action. Fortunately, the ASG CZ 75 has a very nice, light, true single action trigger. There is some free-play, but the pull is short, light and consistent. Blowback is strong and snappy and this replica shoots with a reasonably loud bang. Sights are simple and basic (no white dots here), but clear and perfectly adequate.

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The CZ 75 can be fired in double action if the hammer is fully down or in the half-cock position. With the hammer at half-cock, the double action trigger is moderately heavy, though smooth and consistent. With the hammer down, the first part of the double action pull is much heavier, though this does seem to be improving with use.

The CZ 75 shoots well, with groupings on average of around 2″ at six yards, though this does seem to vary. One magazine of BBs might group at 1½”, while the next might be 2½” or even 3″. On the target below, the group was around 2½”, but if you watch the video review, you’ll see a grouping that’s close to 1½”. This seems to happen in a number of steel BB shooting replicas I have owned, and I have no idea why. In general, the first magazine I shot in a particular session with this pistol seemed to be less tightly grouped than subsequent efforts. The CZ 75 is roughly comparable to something like the Cybergun Tanfoglio Witness in that it isn’t going to compete for accuracy with your pellet shooting replicas, but it is accurate enough for satisfactory target shooting and plinking. It feels adequately powerful and I have no reason to doubt the claimed 300+ fps. In temperatures of around 26 – 28°C I was getting between 50 and 60 shots per CO2. Power doesn’t seem to drop off, and accuracy and power are maintained until virtually the last shot. The slide locks back reliably when the last shot is fired.

Good recoil effect and a loud report make this a satisfying replica to shoot. It also inherits great ergonomics from the original, the single action trigger pull is wonderfully light and short and the sights give a clear picture. Overall, it’s a very nice shooter indeed.

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Ten shots, six yards, semi-rested

Target downloaded from: http://umarexboysclubforum.myfineforum.org/index.php

The sights are non-adjustable and my CZ 75 shot around 1½” low and to the left at six yards. Or at least it did until I adjusted the hop-up. Hang on a minute, I hear you say, this is a 4.5mm replica, so it can’t have hop-up. And I’d agree, except that it appears that it does. There is an adjustment screw on the outside of the inner barrel housing which seems to press on an internal O ring – which is precisely how the hop-up works on 6mm replicas. And when I gave this screw and experimental turn, it did seem that the groupings changed until they were pretty close to centred for elevation on the point of aim (though still a little to the left). I know that sounds unlikely, but that’s just how it happened.

It’s possible I suppose that the inclusion of hop-up is a left-over from a 6mm version, but generally the hop-up mechanism isn’t included on 4.5mm replicas. And the conventional wisdom is that, even if it were included, it wouldn’t make any difference because the steel BBs are too heavy. The manual certainly doesn’t mention hop-up adjustment, but then it doesn’t say much about anything. It’s possible that the improvement in groupings is simply a coincidence and nothing to do with adjusting the screw – it could be part of the gun wearing in. Or I may just have had too much wine with my lunch. So, I don’t claim that the ASG CZ 75 has hop-up adjustment. But it does have something that looks an awful lot like it.

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Mysterious screw. Hop-up adjustment?

Quality and reliability 13/15

I haven’t had any functional issues with my CZ 75. It loads and holds gas without leaks and everything works reliably. When shooting the first few magazines, there was an occasional double loading of BBs which resulted in a notably less powerful shot. However, this hasn’t recurred and I assume it’s just part of the process of wearing in. Like most ASG replicas, this feels well made – the slide fits tightly and with almost no play, all the controls works crisply and positively and the grips seem robust and don’t flex or creak when the pistol is gripped.

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The finish is good, but not perfect. There a couple of areas on the frame and magazine where there are minor flaws in the paint. You have to look very closely to see them, but they appear to be slightly thicker areas of paint which have dried to leave a slight discoloration. Now, I have noticed that the finish on the previous ASG semi-auto replicas I have owned seemed to last better than the average. On most modern replicas, the finish is applied electrostatically, which gives an even, but very, very thin coating of paint. On some replicas this produces a finish so fragile that it wears if you look at them hard enough. I don’t know whether these slight defects in the paint on the CZ 75 imply that ASG use some other process to apply a thicker and more hard-wearing finish?

A very minor issue is that there is a tiny area of wear to the finish on the very back of the long beavertail. I’d guess that the equally long hammer is clipping the edge of this as the slide retracts under blowback. There is also a little wear inside the slide where the outer barrel is rubbing against the inside of the slide. It’s not major, and because the outer barrel is polished alloy, there is no finish to be worn off and this wear isn’t apparent unless you remove the slide and look inside. Otherwise, the finish on my ASG CZ 75 is holding up very well indeed.

Overall Impression 14/15

I hadn’t realised how much I have got used to replicas of polymer framed pistols until I picked up the hefty, all metal CZ 75. It’s notably heavier than, for example, the polymer framed ASG CZ P-09 Duty, and it feels good. OK, if I had to carry a pistol round all day, I’d probably appreciate the light weight of more modern guns. But as an occasional target shooter and replica collector, I really enjoy a weighty pistol.

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Like most ASG replicas, it seems to be well made too. The finish looks good and (if my past experience of ASG replicas is a guide) should be durable too. I also appreciate the attention to detail in things like the half-cock position for the hammer, the light single-action trigger and the ability to field strip. Like the original, it isn’t a complicated design and the sights and controls are simple and basic but easy to use. Niggles? Very few really – the slide serrations are rather small and it can be difficult to get a good grip on the slide, the double action trigger pull seems sticky in the first stage (though this seems to be improving with use), I don’t especially care for the extended base to the magazine and accuracy seems to be variable, though within reasonable limits. Otherwise, this is very good indeed.

Conclusion

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OK, this is pretty easy: Bored with 1911s, Beretta 92s and plastic framed pistols? Want a replica of something a little different? Then you need one of these. For collectors, it’s a very nice replica of a transitional design which comes somewhere between the 1911, the Hi-Power and more modern pistols like the Sig P226 and the Glock 17. For shooters it’s a powerful, weighty, reasonably accurate BB pistol with strong blowback, a true single-action trigger and great ergonomics. It’s also fairly frugal with CO2, it’s relatively inexpensive, it looks good and it feels great in the hand compared to most polymer framed replicas. For me, the only puzzling thing is that it has taken me so long to discover the ASG CZ 75. Surprised? You bet! But in a good way…

Total score: 86.5/100

Many thanks to ASG for supplying the CZ 75 for review.

Video review

Related pages:

ASG CZ P-09 Duty review

ASG Dan Wesson revolvers

Cybergun Tanfoglio Witness review

Links:

CZ 75 on the ASG website

Cybergun SIG Sauer P226 X-Five

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The Cybergun X-Five was the first replica I ever bought, so I have to admit having a particular fondness for this pistol. However, it’s also a pretty good visual and functional replica with good weight and heft and a fair shooter and I believe that it would appeal both to anyone interested in replica handguns.

Real steel background

Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) is a Swiss company which designs and manufactures a range of semi-auto pistols. However, Swiss laws on the export of firearms are very restrictive. In order to facilitate export sales of their products, SIG entered a contractual agreement with German firearms manufacturer J. P. Sauer und Sohn GmbH. This joint venture became identified by the trade-name SIG Sauer and handguns bearing this name are manufactured either at the Sauer manufacturing plant in Eckernförde, Germany or at the SIG Sauer Inc. facility in New Hampshire, USA.

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SIG Sauer P226

The SIG Sauer P226 is a locked breech, short-recoil operated semi-automatic pistol which is available chambered for 9mm, .40 S&W or .357 SIG cartridges. It is a development of the SIG 220 and was designed and introduced to enter the US Army XM9 Joint Service Pistol Trials in 1984. The XM9 trial was intended to find a replacement for the venerable Colt M1911A1 as a US service sidearm. The Beretta 92F was eventually selected, but only by a narrow margin over the P226. Despite losing out to the Beretta, the P226 went on to achieve a great deal of commercial success, being adopted by police, military and special service forces around the world. A licensed copy of the P226 is manufactured in China as the Norinco NP226. Unlicensed copies are also manufactured in Myanmar (as the MA-6) and Iran (as the ZOAF) and used by the armed forces of those countries.

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SIG Sauer P226 X-Five

The P226 X-Five is a competition variant of the P226 with a longer 5 inch barrel, extended beavertail and an adjustable rear target sight. The X-Five is generally provided in polished metal finish, often with wood grips and is a replacement for the SIG210, one of the most highly regarded target shooting semi-auto pistols ever made. The X-Five is available chambered for 9mm or .40 S&W cartridges and each pistol is hand fitted and finished before being factory tested to confirm that it is capable of a sub-2″ grouping at 25 yards. The X-Five Tactical is a variant available only in 9mm and featuring a black Ilaflon finish, black plastic grips and fixed rear sights.

The Cybergun SIG Sauer P226 X-Five

x56Introduced in 2009, the Cybergun SIG Sauer P226 X- Five is a CO2 powered, all metal (other than grips and internal parts), blowback replica of the X-Five Tactical. It is 4.5mm calibre and comes with a full-size, drop-out, 18 round magazine and a smoothbore 4.4″ brass inner barrel. No adjustable rear sights are provided, but it does come with a standard size accessory rail below the barrel. It’s sold by French distributor Cybergun and I suspect is probably produced on their behalf by Taiwanese manufacturing company KWC.

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Cybergun P226 X-Five Open

In some markets the X-Five Open (also known as the “Sight-rail” or “Combo“) is available. This is a kit comprising the standard Cybergun X-Five, a (non-functional) compensator, an “X-Mount” sight rail (which allows a red-dot sight to be fitted) and fully adjustable rear sights. The removable compensator does not hide an extended barrel, so this is mechanically identical to the standard X-Five, though the grip and magazine base look to be slightly different.

Spec;

Calibre: 4.5mm

Magazine capacity: 18

Propellant: CO2

Barrel length: 4.4″

Weight: 2.55 lbs

Overall length: 8.85″

Sights: Fixed front and rear

Action: SA/DA

Packaging and presentation 3/5

x55The Cybergun SIG Sauer P226 X-Five comes in a sturdy cardboard box with a an expanded polystyrene insert with cut-outs to fit the pistol and accessories. The pistol comes with a magazine, a ¼” allen key for tightening/piercing the CO2, a spare CO2 retaining plug and a small box of Cybergun steel BBs.

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Oddly, the 4.5mm X-Five box and manual both mention an “adjustable shooting system” and “BAXS“, the proprietary version of hop-up seen on a number of Cybergun replicas. However, the 4.5mm version does not have BAXS or any trajectory adjustment – it isn’t possible to impart the required spin to the heavier metal 4.5mm BBs.

Visual accuracy 7/10

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SIG Sauer P226 X-Five above, Cybergun P226 X-Five below

The Cybergun X-Five is a very good visual replica indeed. Other than markings, it’s actually difficult to tell the replica from the original. All controls are correctly replicated and every contour and detail on the frame, slide and grips is identical.

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Markings on the left side are reasonable, comprising white painted “SIG Sauer“, “X-Five” and “Germany” on the slide and “SIG Sauer” on the grips. On the right side of the frame, things are spoiled slightly by a large, ugly block of white safety text.

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Finish is semi-matt black painted, and looks fairly good. However, the paint doesn’t appear to be particularly thick, is prone to scuffing on high points (the paint on the ambidextrous safety on my X-Five for example, wore off very quickly indeed) and is easy to scratch.

Functional accuracy 14/15

The Cybergun X-Five shoots in single and double action. The magazine release, slide release and takedown lever all look and function as they do on the original. Applying the safety catch locks the hammer and no de-cocker is provided – as on the original, de-cocking is done by carefully lowering the hammer.

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The Cybergun X-Five can be field stripped for cleaning and lubrication in the same way as the original. The magazine must first be removed and the slide racked back and locked. The takedown lever on the left of the frame is then rotated through approx 100° and can then be released and slid forward off the frame.

Overall, this is a very good functional replica indeed and would make a good training weapon for the original.

Shooting 33/40

When you first pick up the Cybergun X-Five, you’ll realise that this is a very heavy replica. At 2.55 pounds, it’s very close to the weight of the original. However, it isn’t a particularly large pistol and unlike (for example) the Cybergun GSG92, I find the X-Five fits my hands very well.

Preparing the X-Five for shooting is simple. The plug in the base of the base of the magazine is removed using the allen key provided and the CO2 cartridge is installed. The plug is then replaced and tightened until the cartridge pierces. This usually happens without drama or undue leaking. When tightened, the plug fits flush to the base of the magazine, which looks good. Up to 18 steel BBs can be loaded into the magazine though there is no retaining catch, so you have to hold down the follower while loading. Some people have noted that loading all 18 BBs can cause misfeeds and jams, and recommend loading only a maximum of 15 BBs, though I can’t say I had any issues using a full magazine. The magazine is then inserted until it locks and the slide is racked and released to move the first BB to the chamber ready for shooting. Racking the slide also cocks the hammer.

x516The sights are fixed but well sized – it’s easy to centre the foresight (which has a white dot) in the relatively narrow notch in the rear sight. The trigger operates in both single and double action, but as this is a blowback pistol, in practice you’ll be using it almost exclusively in single action. In this mode it’s light, smooth and has a clearly defined and consistent break point. On pulling the trigger you’ll immediately notice the sound and recoil. The X-Five fires with a satisfying bang and the recoil is strong and pronounced, causing the gun to jerk upwards after each shot. This means that you’ll have to re-acquire the target after each shot, but this realistically replicates the use of a real semi-auto pistol. The slide locks back when the last shot is fired.

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Six shots, six yards, free-standing, Blaster steel BBs. Inner (black) circle is 1″ diameter.

Cybergun claim 300fps, but I generally found that using Blaster steel BBs and a fresh CO2 gave around 310 – 320 fps. Not especially powerful, but BBs do hit the target with an authoritative “thwap” from six yards. Cooldown is an issue though – rapid fire will see the fps dropping dramatically. Accuracy was good on my X-Five – grouping at around 1¼” at six yards, with BBs hitting the target about 1″ above the point of aim at that range. CO2 usage is reasonable for a blowback pistol – I got around 45-55 full power shots from a single CO2.

Unlike the Cybergun GSG92, the X-Five is semi-auto only. No great loss considering that the GSG92 gobbles CO2 and is wholly inaccurate in full auto mode.

Quality and reliability 11/15

The finish on the Cybergun X-Five doesn’t seem to be especially durable. It rubs off easily on high spots and can be very easily scratched. Some users also report misfeed/jamming issues if you try to fill the magazine to capacity. However, other than for these issues, I’m not aware of any major problems with this replica.

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After less than 200 careful shots, the inner barrel and guide rod on one of my X-Fives had started to shed paint. High-spots were also wearing thin.

Overall Impression 13/15

I really can’t recommend this one highly enough. It’s reasonably well made but fairly inexpensive. It’s hefty enough to feel realistic but not so chunky that it’s unwieldy. The blow back is strong, it doesn’t seem to have any major technical or mechanical issues and it shoots well enough to be challenging and fun. If you can put up with the thin paint which will wear quickly, there’s a lot to like here.

Conclusion

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This is still one of my favourite replicas. Partly, that’s because it was also the first replica I ever bought, and I can still remember being stunned at how close it was to the real thing. Naively, I assumed that all replicas were this good. However, even allowing for my rose-tinted view of the X-Five, I still believe it’s a great replica. It’s chunky and hefty while still being a good fit for my medium sized-hands. It looks and functions just like the real firearm and it’s a powerful shooter with a satisfying bang, strong blowback and fair accuracy. OK, it’s a pity Cybergun didn’t include the adjustable rear sight on the standard version and the finish is pretty thin but then it’s relatively cheap and doesn’t seem to have major reliability issues.

Overall, if you’re interested in replica pistols, I can’t see any reason that you wouldn’t enjoy the Cybergun X-Five.

Total score: 81/100

Buy:

You can buy this replica at Pyramid Air here.

Related pages:

Cybergun Tanfoglio Witness review

Cybergun GSG92 review

Links

Cybergun web page