If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the airgun community while working for York Guns it’s just how vast a range of expertise and knowledge is out there. I’ve also learned that no matter what the subject or item in question- airguns, shotguns, rifles- people love to tinker. People “tinkering”- in sheds, factories, shops across this country- has resulted in some of our most interesting inventions and innovations.

With the success of the Umarex Cowboy Rifle we were contacted through our website by one such innovator- Chris Garner, who told us about his efforts re-barrelling smoothbore CO2 pistols with quality rifled barrels to gain increased accuracy with pellets. Here, in his own words and pictures, is his process:

Hi David,

Okay do not know where I am going with this, as I like to ‘tinker’ and if it helps people out there then great and yourself as a Co.

Attached images are of Sat/Sun Tinkering and end results. BB being the first picture obviously or a pretty pointless conversion! Latter image is with pellet and there is a 100 shots in there until the Co2 ran out as you will note the drop off shots below the black outer.

If you are wondering the two at approx. 10 o’clock position these were the first two shots after fitting the barrel and the rest after a bit of ‘tweeking’.

This process is not easy as I say if you are considering doing the same as the outer barrel casing is okay but the inner is misaligned in casting or was on my example! So it needed tender care filing and reaming out to give the required straight bore to house the new one.

Had to turn the whole length of the new barrel after the ‘Twiddly’ bit’s at the receiver end to fit down the casing and fit the existing aluminium receiver end housing.

Interesting! The way I approached this was in such a way to utilise the existing set up and seal as I wanted to be able to return the gun to its original state if I ‘fouled up’!!

I used the 12mm dia x 635mm Weihrauch unchoked barrel, that at 20+ meters provided good results. Rested test shots both BB (pic 1) and Pellet (Pic 2) with RWS field pellets (so not the lightest). I’ve not got around to Chrono test yet but perhaps this weekend maybe but as Easter might not be considered PC!? I think the pictures speak for themselves!

The pictures  below show the distance I use practicing and Peacemakers are way better using 586 barrels at same distance. Rested obviously. Blued example already came with a rifled barrel via Umarex but very light rifling!

Changed as then a known factor as have 4″ 6″ & 8″ 586’s similarly converted my 2.5″ 4″ and both 6″ ASG Dan Wesson’s so all shoot the same. Simples!! I am then the weakest link ie the human factor!

As you can see, with work, diligence and skill, little rifles and pistols such as the Umarex Peacemaker or Cowboy rifle can be turned into practical, accurate little garden guns. I asked Chris about what else he’d converted, and his chosen barrels for the task. I’ve come to appreciate the goldmines of information some people are in this industry, and Chris is one of them.

His conversions have included:

4x Umarex Colt Peacemakers:

Barrels used as a first conversion irrespective if rifled originally or not- I used a known common denominator- the Umarex S&W 536 6” barrel. I I have the S&W “family” of which had proved reasonable accuracy at the 50 – 60ft I shoot. (Tests me, tests the pistol, as they’re not really target pistols etc.)

Umarex Winchester Rifle Legends & Walther Winchester

Weihrauch 635mm length turned down, as shown above, to length which leaves 150mm of barrel left to ‘tinker’ with. Only negative is the amount of twist in the rifling to the shorter length etc. With the Walther Winchester- I must have had a bad one here as it used to fire high and at 1 -2 o’clock irrespective and I have had similar reports elsewhere.

Cheap barrel in my mind and probably Far Eastern (sorry not PC!) again converted and used Weihrauch 635mm- left the same spare cut off to tinker with. Changed the sights here also as it came with cheap plastic rear sights. Why plastic? Expensive at £343.00 originally but I picked up Second Hand at approx.£160.00 mint as original owner had complained after a few weeks- about inaccuracy funnily enough- high and right!

Also, not shown in the pictures:

ASG Dan Wesson Pistols:

Converted 2.5”, 4” &  6” with the same Umarex 586 as all at the time were BB (apart from the 6” but converted anyway) 2.5” & 4” all converted prior to rifled versions being made available (new Style cartridge rear loading). Dan Wesson barrels in my mind have a faint hint of rifling and therefore do not have much impact on the pellet re twist/flight- Now proven!

2x Umarex Schofield Revolvers:

At present on both are an ex BSA Meteor barrel as needed the diameter to achieve and mill a ‘haunch’ for the through pin to act on as a stop. I am looking to redo with a Weihranch barrel and fashion a new bush/ANO method to achieve similar results. Sadly the off cuts mentioned above are not long enough as you need approx. 7”- 7.5” to play with. Bad maths on my part!!

The shame of all of the above is that you can achieve reasonable accuracy/results from a ‘plinker’ if you have a reasonable barrel in there in the first place. The one vital bit in all of this is the quality of the rifled barrel plus the Ammo used. I use RWS Superdome field line 0.54g 8.3gr in everything. I cannot quantify the human factor though!

So there we go. Not your average Saturday afternoon project and certainly not something to be attempted by the faint of heart! Serious gains can be made by someone with the time, patience and skill to attempt a conversion like this. For the rest of us, however, the Umarex Cowboy Rifle certainly does its job well enough. Here’s hoping sometime in the future they release a rifled version!

Image Credits: Chris Garner

Main text and Conversions: Chris Garner