Walther Rotex RM8 Varmint
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- Last updated: 21/04/2021
Back when I tested the original full-length version of this rifle, I remember during that review saying I felt it would benefit from barrel shortening. This was due to the rifle becoming a tad lengthy when a standard-length moderator was fitted. Well, seems the bods at Walther had already got this covered as hardly before the ink was dry on those scribblings, hey presto, we have the UC (Ultra Carbine) version.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the UC sits in the same stock as its full-length counterpart, that being an ambidextrous all-weather black synthetic jobby. The design features a high and very well defined cheekpiece with a wellcurved and ventilated thick black rubber butt pad. This gives a full shoulder fit as well as a comfortable head position while the elongated thumbhole and slim neck help give full access to the steep drop-down pistol grip. The generous palm swell is nicely rounded and the contoured forwardface of the grip also makes it the ideal platform for rifle hold and precise operation of the trigger.
The forend is equally, if not more distinctive, as it swells out in a quite bulbous fashion, with a relatively chunky thickset overall feel. It also has a well-rounded, gently curving and contoured underside. It’s here you find the fill point and neat button size air gauge set adjacent to each other.
At the very front, there’s a useful Picatinny accessory rail that doubles up as a natural hand stop. Also, the sides of the forend neatly extend part way along the buddy-bottle. The result of which is you can even hold the rifle at the very tip but not feel the cold metal of the bottle itself.
Now, instead of standard chequering or stippling, the stock is also adorned with very decorative patterning that consists of small raised ridges set into panels at key areas; the forend, underside and on either side of the grip. This random, quite eclectic patterning, is designed to give the shooter the same level of grip no matter what angle the hand is in contact with the stock. If you think this just hype or a load of codswallop, then I highly suggest you pop along to your nearest stockists and handle one for yourself. You will soon realise it’s a very valid and significant feature.
Combined with the overall design of the stock, this not only makes for a very secure rifle to hold but also makes it all the more stylish and results in a rifle that has a quite unique cosmetic appeal.
Talking of looks, the bulbended buddy bottle has been bead blasted, adding more individuality. It is as practical as it is stylish, boldly standing out resplendent in a matt black finish.
Charging the fixed 200cc air tank is via the deeply recessed fill point and involves using the special elongated brass fill probe supplied. The company state a recommended 232bar fill, which gives approximately 160 shots in .177 calibre (on test) and nigh on 180 in .22. After much use during my lengthy test period, I’ve no reason to argue or dispute that.
The action is side bolt operated and though practical and easy to operate, there are a few noteworthy nuances. Obviously, to remove the 8-shot alloy magazine, the generously-sized black teardrop-shaped cocking bolt needs to be lifted from its original forward position and pulled back until it locks fully rearward. It is then necessary to slide back the slim, lengthy, oblongshaped release catch, positioned directly behind the housing on the right. It is then possible to lift the magazine out from the left-hand side of the action.
To fill it, you just place a pellet into all the empty chambers with the centre boss facing you, ensuring all pellet skirts fit flush or below the mags rear face. Once filled, slot it back into its housing and then push the cocking bolt forward and return it down to its original position. Yes, you read that correct, as upon returning the bolt to its original position it takes the retaining catch ‘forward’ with it. Incidentally, the magazine now has a number of arrows on its outer edge to further visually instruct the user that this (arrow facing forwards) is the way it needs to be installed into the housing for correct use.
It must be noted that the trigger unit is equipped with an auto-safety, positioned at the rear of the action. This engages (pops-out) every time the action is cocked. Also, it uses what is known as a ‘double safety system’. There is a slim, vertical slide catch positioned on the safety’s outer edge (facing you) and it needs to be pushed down and inwards before you can push the main body of the safety in. A safety within a safety so to speak, and once you get used to the system it doesn’t overly slow the procedure. It rather ensures when primed, unless manually overridden, the rifle is always on safe. To visually display status, when the safety is pushed in fully, a red dot can clearly be seen on top of the tang, indicating it’s now ready to fire. Also, should you decide to hold off on taking a shot, it can be manually re-set at any time by simply pulling it back using your thumb and forefinger.
For the test, I fitted a Richter Optic 3-9x50AE in a pair of high mounts, which suited the rifle’s high cheekpiece perfectly. However, due to the uninterrupted receiver, fitting any size of optic you might prefer shouldn’t pose a problem.
I was soon achieving ragged .177 pellet-size groups at my 30 yard set zero, which only opened out to ½” groups when I pushed out to the 45 yard mark. Incidentally, I used several popular pellet brands and I’m pleased to report, as long as I fed the rifle quality lead, it wasn’t in the least pellet fussy.
The 2-stage adjustable trigger has a nicely curved blade but again we come to a nuance quite rare to hunter PCP’s. The unit is only adjustable for length of travel and not ‘let off/pull weight’, which is factory pre-set. However, it didn’t trouble, effect or hinder my shooting because the trigger tripped the sears crisp and clean.
Now a major difference between the standard rifle and the UC, is that the latter comes with the highly effective Umarex K3 Neo Silencer already spun onto the free-floating tube’s ½” UNF threaded muzzle.
Regular readers will know that I think that the K3 is a little gem of a can, and extremely effective at taming muzzle report. What’s more, it’s compact dimensions and low weight makes it unobtrusive. It doesn’t add any unnecessary forward weighting and therefore doesn’t affect balance or handling. You could say, it suits the UC to a ‘T’ and obviously, it would definitely be a good choice for fitting to a bullpup. In the case of the rifle on test, it certainly makes this fast handling, compact carbine even more appealing, due to it being an inclusive feature.
So, after testing all the Rotex family of rifles, I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that the UC is the one that I’ve found most pleasurable to shoot. It’s a superb rifle for the price, not overly heavy, highly accurate, plus handling and balance are spot on. The stock design is just one of the standout features because the rifle sits naturally in the hold and the generous thumbhole design provides a high level of overall control.
Thanks to T & J. J McAvoy LTD for supplying rifle on test