Walther Reign M2
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- Last updated: 21/01/2023
Whilst I have to admit I didn’t get around to testing the original Walther Reign PCP, I did encounter the new M2 version (on test) earlier in the year at the British Shooting Show. To say it was proving something of a crowd-pleaser on the Umarex stand is an understatement, so I made a mental note that I should test one.
Well here it is, and a slick-looking little number it is too. Obviously, it’s a bullpup PCP, which means the action is to the rear of the stock, dramatically altering the weight distribution and therefore handling. Looks are deceiving here, and whilst the majority of the barrel is hidden, it’s a full 19.6”. There’s a 2-stage trigger, manometer, accessory rail, manual safety catch, synthetic sporter stock, multi-shot magazine system and even a QD flush cup for a sling swivel.
So, how does the M2 differ from the original? Firstly, it dispenses with the shrouded barrel and knurled muzzle cap arrangement, and instead, the chemically blued barrel comes with a screwfit brake as standard. Secondly, there’s now a Picatinny rail instead of the dovetail grooves on the original. I believe the buddy bottle has been beefed up a little, so weight has edged up a tad too. Otherwise, all the same features, including a regulated action, are here, and for many enthusiasts, that’s definitely a good thing.
The action incorporates a super smooth side-lever and this is designed to be easily transferable to the left side if required. A magazine is also supplied and this is another nice piece of design work. My test gun came in .22 with a 10-shot cassette (.177/11-shot & .25/9-shot).
Now, for those unfamiliar with this model’s layout, you may be wondering just where the air supply is lurking. A key detail of the Reign is the way the synthetic thumbhole stock actually wraps around the buddy bottle, keeping it totally concealed. Charging of the bottle is all done in situ, and this is a simple process using a probe-style filling adaptor (supplied). With the probe connected and sealed to the airline in the usual way, filling can commence. Interestingly, the instructions suggest that if the user is filling the Reign via a hand pump, then the gun should be filled to a maximum of 120bar, and then refilled once residual pressure drops to 70bar. As someone who uses a pump, that top pressure is probably a little conservative, but the sentiment makes sense. Buddy bottles do often take more effort to fill manually.
Pumps aside, the standard fill pressure is 232bar and the inlet valve can be found just to the side of the manometer. Just pull out the nylon keeper plug, insert the probe and fill as necessary. Bleed the line, remove the probe and remember to replace the dirt plug. Job done.
At this juncture, it is worth congratulating Umarex for the perfect placement of that manometer, given that a raft of PCPs on the market still require us to almost look down the barrel whilst checking the blinking residual air pressure. Never a good thing, but the Reign shows the way.
As mentioned, this Reign M2 comes factory supplied with a Picatinny mounting rail, configured as an intermount as necessitated by the bullpup action. Remember, this style of rifle requires the shooter to effectively sight up and over the action, and as a result, needs to offer more height to the sightline when compared to a conventional setup. Umarex also offers a choice of rails as optional extras, so this is something to bear in mind for those that want to keep things more streamlined and practical. On test, once I’d sourced a Picatinny mount for the job, positioning the scope for correct eye/scope alignment was a cinch, given the way the mount reaches forward considerably.
The magazine incorporates a spring-loaded central rotary drum and filling it is as easy as it looks. Just drop a pellet head-first into the one exposed chamber, then gently twist the drum anticlockwise to reveal the next chamber, insert a pellet, twist and repeat. No pre-tensioning required here, and the simplicity extends to the way that the magazine can be snapped into the action from either side, giving the Reign M2 full-on ambidextrous credentials. So, pull back the side-lever, snap the mag into place, close the lever, and then the first shot is indexed and ready.
We have, of course, seen a few manufacturers release amazingly lazy versions of the bullpup format, where an action from an existing model in the range has just been plonked into a different stock, with the result that the bolt or side-lever ends up sitting right at the back. Try cocking such guns in the aim and it’s often physically impossible, given the laws of physics and the angles involved. No such shortcomings here, as the Reign’s mid-positioned side-lever falls perfectly to the waiting hand.
Right, time to air the negatives, and then we can get back to the plus points, of which there are many. Firstly, the Reign M2’s incredibly compact configuration, whilst a big plus point for many, could well be its undoing, if care isn’t taken. We are talking about a matter of safety here. With the factory brake in place, the muzzle extends just 1.75” forward of the forend. Grip the gun up front in a normal fashion and that lead hand is worrying near the line of fire. With the brake removed, the barrel actually ends behind the forend!
OK, the brake looks neat and stylish but I would strongly advise fitting some form of silencer. With a standard 1/2” UNF thread, that task couldn’t be easier, with a raft of after-market options that will screw straight on. The benefit will be two-fold, believe me, as the Reign does emit a fair old crack. Kill the harsh notes, right down to a whisper, and guarantee your digits stay safe as well. You know it makes sense!
My second mini-moan concerns trigger adjustment, but let me just say that the test rifle came with a very pleasant trigger, which whilst a little bit creepy, I could totally live with. However, if you do decide that the trigger needs adjustment, be prepared for an arduous task, for this operation requires the whole side of the synthetic stock (which unusually is formed from two halves) to be unscrewed and removed. This is not easy, as 16 small screws need to be removed with the star-headed key supplied, and then the side-lever drop-down end piece also needs to be unscrewed, which will then allow the stock to be pulled clear. Bloody hell! Thereafter, the internals are on show - the buddy bottle and the remote trigger set-up.
Ho hum. Not a deal breaker, as let’s face it, the trigger will no doubt be set and then left alone for some time, but it’s still hard to believe such a clumsy design came from the same team that produced the rest of this otherwise super-slick sporter. Right, rant officially over.
In the aim, the contoured forend just feels spot on and here’s where the radical design pays dividends, with the lead hand cosseted rather than having to grip an ice-cold steel bottle. Likewise, the thinned-out thumbhole grip, complete with flared base, feels both reassuring and supremely comfortable.
As for performance figures, from 232bar, over the chronograph, with BSA Goldstar pellets, I recorded 135 shots all within 30fps, which is fairly good and evidence that the regulated action was ticking over nicely. More shots are available, but the velocity will tail off somewhat.
Shooting from the prone position, I achieved 1/2” c-t-c groups at 40 yards. As for balance and handling overall, personal preference and a liking for one configuration over another will always play a part. I find the rear weight of the bullpup feels easy to aim and kneeling shots often benefit. Yet, switch to standing shots and I miss the front weight. Playing with different sizes of silencer would be of great benefit here, of course.
Horses for courses as they say, and as it stands, the Walther Reign M2 has to be seen as a triumph. The German build quality and finish combine with some radical design work, styling and overall operation. If you favour the bullpup configuration, this has to be one of the best to date. Either way, it’s a slick little hunting machine that ticks all the right boxes.
Thanks to Range & Country Shooting Supplies in Sleaford, Lincs., for the kind loan of this rifle.