Beretta Px4 Storm Air Pistol Review

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by: JB

It seems with rising ammo costs that air pistols have become the shooting enthusiasts new friend because the cost is only a couple of pennies per shot. There has also been a report of law enforcement agencies using replica airguns for target practice for the same reason. So, let’s take a look at one of the replica Umarex air pistols, the Beretta Px4 Storm. At first glance the Px4 Storm air pistol looks like its Beretta firearm counterpart, but there are some differences, the most notable being in the frame and slide’s ejection port.

Starting at the bottom of the frame’s grip, the Px4 CO2 pistol has a rotating CO2 charging knob that’s positioned to the rear of the grip as opposed to the firearm’s magazine that is positioned toward the front. As you travel up the grip, there are some serrations on the backstrap that don’t exist on the firearm. The backstrap on the air pistol is actually the CO2 compartment cover and the serrations provide a gripping point for ease of removal. Although the actual firearm’s pins don’t exist on the air pistol at the top-rear of the grip, circles have been molded in to represent their size and shape. There’s a third pin, a split design, that holds the valve assembly and frame together, which is not on the firearm.

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 At first, the slide catch seems the same as the firearm version of the pistol, but it does not function—it is molded into the frame. Continuing up the frame the magazine release button is slightly different. I was hopeful that it could be reversed for left-hand thumb release, but when I did so, the magazine would not click into place, because the notches that catch on the release when the magazine is inserted are not duplicated for left-hand release. A crafty shooter could indeed handle this slight modification to the magazine and have an ambidextrous Px4 Storm air pistol, although you may want to have a couple of extra Px4 Storm CO2 gun magazines on-hand for practice. The last two noticeable differences on the frame is the lack of a disassembly latch, which instead has a couple of pins inside the indention where it is normally located and an additional lever at the top-right side of the frame, which is the safety mechanism.

The serrations on the slide are exact by naked eye, 15 at front, 7 at rear on either side. The lever that would be the safety on the slide of the Px4 sidearm is present, but molded in and non-functioning. The red dot, which indicates the pistol is “On Fire”, is not located by this molded-in lever, but has been appropriately placed by the air pistol’s actual safety lever. The sights look the same—3-dot sight system, but are not adjustable or coated with Superluminova®. There is a screw centered on top of the slide just in front of the rear sight as opposed to an offset “nipple”. I don’t recommend removing this screw as the Px4 Storm airgun manual states that disassembly will void your warranty. The biggest difference in the slide of the Px4 airgun and the Px4 firearm is in the area of the ejection port. While the shape and opening start out the same, the air pistol’s slide does not have the extractor area molded into the frame.

The frame is plastic, as is the magazine. The slide, trigger, hammer, and internal working parts are made of metal. Unloaded and without airgun ammunition in its magazine or a 12 gram CO2 cylinder installed, the Beretta Px4 Storm air pistol weighs 25.4 ounces while an unloaded Px4 Storm firearm with an empty magazine weighs 27.7 ounces. Add an un-punctured 12g CO2 cylinder and the Px4 Storm airgun comes in at 26.81 ounces, hardly a noticeable difference in weight.

From appearances, the Beretta Px4 Storm air pistol isn’t exact, but at first glance it’s so close that you’ll hardly know the difference.

The Px4 Storm Airgun Replica—In Action

The function of the Px4 Storm airgun is different as is the sound it generates, but the most exciting feature is its blow back action or “recoil”. It is the kick that gives this pistol that added touch of realism and a higher level of attraction for Px4 firearm owners that want to target practice economically.

Before charging the pistol with CO2, the first thing you’ll notice (after making sure your pistol is on safe) is that when you drop the magazine free of the grip it has a rotary magazine at either end. Each mag holds 8 projectiles so the magazine will hold a total of 16. Only a pellet is engraved on the magazine’s side, but worthy of a knowing is that the Px4 Storm will also hold and fire 4.5 mm steel BBs. Be careful when pushing the magazine release button—the mag “springs” out, so you’ll want to hold your free hand below the grip to catch it so that it doesn’t hit the ground and break or collect debris. Just remember to always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

The CO2 capsule is inserted in the rear of the grip.

The Px4 Storm Tactical version (drop down menu on right of link) sports several tactical accessories.

A feature I like about this pistol’s safety is that it is so easy to push on safe, but a bit more difficult to put on Fire. It’s made in such a way that to move the lever to the Fire position, you have to pull back on the serrated tensioner. This and its location make putting the Px4 Storm air pistol on Fire an intentional movement. To put it back on Safe you simply have to push the lever down all the way so that the red dot is completely covered. There’s no need to pull back on the safety tensioner. Plus, when you put the pistol on safe, it blocks the trigger movement and if the hammer is cocked, it automatically de-cocks it.

The CO2 capsule is inserted in the rear of the grip.

The CO2 capsule is inserted in the rear of the grip.

The backstrap comes off easily and the piercing knob at the bottom of the grip is clearly marked so you know which way to turn for “open” before inserting the CO2 capsule. There’s a platform screw inside that you can lower by turning clockwise. The CO2 cylinder sits on this platform and lowering it will allow more clearance thus making it easier to insert the capsule. Because CO2 guns use a valve and o-rings, it’s recommended that you put a drop of airgun lube, like RWS Chamber Lube, on the tip of the CO2 capsule before inserting it tip up into the Px4. If you turn the gun upside down (with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction of course—not at yourself or anything else you don’t want to get shot) you can easily snug the platform screw against the capsule. Now snap your backstrap back on and turn the piercing knob toward “power” until it stops. You should hear a faint hiss when the knob pierces the capsule. Make sure to turn the knob until it stops hissing.

Before loading the magazine, I like to make sure the CO2 valve system is working properly and there’s a good seat against the o-ring by pulling the trigger 3 or 4 times with the pistol pointed in a safe direction. Be mindful though, it’s easy to get excited and pull the trigger a few more times after you feel that realistic kick! It’s fun, but save the CO2 for propelling pellets or BBs at your target.

Take a close look at the magazine, there are arrows pointing in the direction that pellets should be loaded. Inserting in the direction of the arrow with the head of the pellet going in first is the correct direction. The skirt of the pellet should be to the rear of the arrow. Whether loading pellets or BBs, make certain that they’re pushed below the surface of the projectile’s chamber in the rear and not sticking out past the surface of the chamber a the front. Any part of the projectile breaking the surface of the magazine can cause the pistol and/or the magazine to jam. Once the magazine is loaded, insert it into the grip frame with the arrows on the sides pointing toward the muzzle of the pistol.

I got a little excited when making sure the CO2 capsule was punctured, so my first shot through the chrono was already lacking the pressure it would have had with a full capsule and it achieved 360.7 fps with an average of five shots at 354.8 using 7.0 grain RWS Hobby pellets. I then immediately followed it with five RWS Premium Gold BBs. The average of five shots with BBs was 343.3 fps. Out of curiosity I wanted to try RWS’s new Hyper Max pellet. Claims are it’s faster than lead pellets when shot out of air rifles. I put a new CO2 capsule in and the HyperMax pellet flew out of the barrel at 392.7 fps while a 7.0 grain Hobby achieved 372.2 fps. The Px4 Storm air pistol package states 380 fps.

Video of the Px4 Storm in Action:

The Px4 Storm Tactical version sports several tactical accessories.

The Px4 Storm Recon tactical version sports several tactical accessories.

A popular configuration of the Px4 Storm is the tactical version of the gun. The difference between the regular and tactical versions is the addition of a Walther Shot Dot Point Sight, a Tactical Bridge Mount, a Tactical Flashlight w/Grip Switch, and a Removable Compensator. These additions give the tactical look that many crave. It also provides some functionality that the regular version does not have.

As for the number of shots you can get out of a 12 gram CO2 capsule, a Walther CO2 capsule in particular, I was able to get 5-1/2 magazines worth of shots firing at a rate of one round per second, although the last 16 rounds were down around the 215 to 225 fps mark and the slide recoil was noticeably slower. If you consider UmarexUSA.com’s retail cost of a Walther 12g cylinder, which is a litter pricier than some (but cleaner and better for your airgun) and add that to the cost of an RWS Hobby pellet, we’re still only talking about 2.4 cents per shot fired based on 5-1/2 magazines or 88 shots compared to about 21 cents a round and up depending on the type, brand, and amount of ammo bought at one time. Definitely a bargain!

For more information and specs on these guns click Beretta Px4 Storm Standard or Px4 Storm Recon Tactical.

How to Change the Pull Rod on RWS Rifles

This article is specific to the RWS 48, 52, and 54.

RWS Diagram

RWS Diagram

The pull rod (27) on a side cocking air rifle is designed to be the weaker link in the cocking system. This is by design as the pull rod is easier to replace than other cocking components and is also less expensive. The pull rod should never break if the gun is operated as designed. However, if a person unfamiliar with the proper function does cock the rifle and then fails to depress the release button on the top left of gun when attempting to close the cocking handle, then the pull rod will be either bent or broken.

Here is how you change pull rod:

  1. Remove the e-clip (64) from the bottom of the pull rod pin (63) and then remove pull rod pin.
  2. Unscrew the pull rod (27) from the front hinge assembly (29-31).
  3. Remove the plastic sleeve (28) from the broken pull rod. If you try to pull it off, it sometimes tightens down and stubbornly resists being removed. The trick is to clamp the stub of the pull rod in a vise. Then, using pliers get between the plastic sleeve and the vise jaws and PUSH the sleeve off of the rod.
  4. Thread the new pull rod (27) fully into the front hinge assembly (29-31) until it bottoms out.
  5. Slide the plastic sleeve (28) over the new pull rod.
  6. Thread on the jam nut (26) and run it up to the end of the plastic sleeve.
  7. Thread on the rear hinge block (25).
  8. Place the rifle on a padded surface in a normal horizontal position.
  9. Position the Cocking Arm (59) so that the grip (58) end of Cocking Arm is in a partially opened position about 3” out from the stock of the rifle.
  10. Screw the rear hinge block (25) on or off of the pull rod until the holes of hinge block line up with the pin holes on the cocking arm (59).
  11. Drop the pin (63) in place. Now the pull rod assembly is just a little over-long. As you push the cocking arm closed it should snap lightly into place alongside of the stock. The rear hinge block (25) is the adjustment point to either increase or decrease the tension on closing the cocking arm. You can adjust the tension by making ½ turn adjustments on the hinge block.
  12. Replace the e-clip (64) and tighten the jam nut (26) up against the hinge block (25).

Don’t Bend Your Break Barrel Rifle

Break barrel rifle barrels can become noticeably bent if proper care is not taken.

Break barrel rifle barrels can become noticeably bent if proper care is not taken.

The Umarex USA Service Department typically receives one or two break barrel rifles per week that have upward bent barrels. At first, this might seem like a strange phenomenon. After all, to cock a break barrel rifle, one typically has to pull down on the barrel of the gun, not up. Why, then, would we see so many upward bent barrels?

This upward bending of the barrel occurs when a person has the gun in an open cocked position, safety OFF, and then pulls the trigger. The result of this situation is that the barrel slams shut with extreme force and bends the barrel upwards. After this occurs, the gun may or may not cock depending on what sort of internal damage has occurred. When this situation happens, we suggest not firing the gun again until it has been evaluated by our qualified gunsmiths to see how the problem might be fixed.

The rifle most likely will not be able to be sighted in due to the barrel pointing in a slightly upwards direction. Many times the trigger tongue will be broken and the stock may be cracked at the pistol grip area when the rifle has been discharged in this way. In most situations, our gunsmith can disassemble the rifle and adjust the barrel back to its original position with the use of our barrel press. The barrel press is an extremely large, heavy press that exerts a tremendous amount of force on the barrel to straighten it out. The press itself is a fundamental tool to any quality gunsmith.

The barrel of the rifle is straightened by a gun tech on a barrel press.

The barrel of the rifle is straightened by a gun tech on a barrel press.

The rifle is reassembled and test fired after the barrel is straightened.

After the barrel is adjusted to once again be straight, the rifle is reassembled by our gun techs, and then it goes directly to our shooting range to fire several pellets in order to ensure it will properly sight in. We do initial testing on the gun range and sight the rifle in to be accurate. After the rifle’s quality has been ensured, we take care to properly clean and service the other aspects of the rifle before returning the gun to its rightful owner.

To prevent this situation from ever occurring to you, please always practice safe gun handling, making certain that the gun is on Safe and your finger is not within the trigger guard area until a safe target has been acquired. Only after a target has been sighted should the gun’s safety be moved to the fire position and your trigger finger placed inside the trigger guard area. Following these steps will ensure that your gun is never damaged and no one is injured in the process.

The rifle is reassembled and test fired after the barrel is straightened.

The rifle is reassembled and test fired after the barrel is straightened.

We can be reached between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM CDT. Please feel free to call us any time at (479) 646-4210 option 7 if you have a question about one of our products or send us an email via our contact us page.

Click The Gunsmith’s Bench for more articles or click the category on the right column.

Introduction to the Gunsmith’s Bench

by: Glenn

Editor’s Note: This articles comes directly from gunsmiths who work at Umarex USA.

Have you ever shipped a gun to a manufacturer for service?

It’s easy to overlook basic common sense and gun handling rules when you’re anxious to get your gun back in working order. Many of you will appreciate the “alarm” among our service team when last month we received a package containing a rimfire rifle with a live round in the chamber. Yes, it actually happened. Calls were made immediately, apologies were given, but what was done was done. Thankfully, no one was injured as the gun passed many hands during its travel. Can you imagine how many people were put in harm’s way or who may have been injured if the gun had accidentally discharged?

That aside, here’s a quick glimpse of our service department:

When you first call Umarex USA for service you’ll reach one of our gun techs who will provide you with technical assistance as needed. They are well trained professionals who pride themselves in making certain that you receive prompt, courteous and knowledgeable service. They have gun schematics digitally available at the click of a mouse for quick reference and utilize a state-of-the-art phone system that allows us to monitor and measure phone traffic and response. We know that you want a live person when you call, so we monitor our statistics—in fact, we achieved a 96.4% live answer rate during the month of August which we feel is quite exceptional.

If you have to ship a gun to us, a gun tech will provide you with a return authorization number and it will be opened in our new gun repair facility led by our Master Gunsmith, Danny. He’s approaching 40 years of gunsmithing experience and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge over a lifetime of honing his skills. Our entire team of gunsmiths are steadily expanding their own knowledge encouraged by Danny’s true passion for gunsmithing and his encyclopedia-like knowledge base on guns.

Expert and efficient assistance and repairs are top priority for us. Our entire service team takes great pride in performing quality work. Our turnaround time for a gun repair is 72 hours with most being completed within 48 hours of receipt. We receive many positive comments about our turn time and appreciate each one as we learn that they anticipated a wait of six to eight weeks which is typical for most gun repair facilities.

We can be reached between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM CDT. Please feel free to call us any time at (479) 646-4210 option 7 if you have a question about one of our products or send us an email via our contact us page.

And remember, if you ship a gun to us, make sure there is no ammunition anywhere in the gun or in the package and it’s a good idea to remove any sighting devices as well.

Click The Gunsmith’s Bench for more articles or click the category on the right column.

The Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle

Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle

Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle

Umarex USA continues to bring economical air guns to the American consumer that perform well beyond the expectations of the average shooter. A great example of what is available to the small game hunter and pest shooter is the new Ruger® Blackhawk® Air Rifle.

Available in two variations, the gun I received was the more powerful of the two. There is a version that features extremely easy cocking, and only shoots around 490 fps with the average .177 caliber pellet. However, as a hunter, I almost always opt for the more powerful versions as long as the shooting behavior is manageable and the cocking effort within the realm of reason.

If the Blackhawk Air Rifle looks familiar, it should. It is based upon the venerable Diana Model 34, an air gun that is a classic. This Blackhawk Air Rifle features a synthetic, ambidextrous stock that is comfortable for both right and left-handed shooters. The fiber optic open sights make target acquisition easy and quick, handy for when your shooting opportunity on a nervous squirrel or rabbit calls for a fast shot. Or, if you are like me and prefer a scope for finer shot placement, the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle comes with a 4×32 scope and mounts included.

Starling

Starling

My first opportunity to use the new rifle was on a pest control situation. If ever there was a pest, it would be the European starling. They rob my bird feeders, kill my bluebirds, and generally take over the best nesting sites that our native birds need in order to survive. So at every opportunity, I take them out!

I had finished sighting in the open sights on this air rifle and had it leaning against the kitchen door to do duty as my bird feeder gun. Some serious snow had fallen within the last evening, and birds were flocking to my feeders for an easy meal during the bad weather. Sure enough, the starlings started showing up to ruin the party, acting like the avian party crashers they are. I eased outside to do something about the situation, and with a single shot, the starling party was over. And one of them didn’t go home!

Squirrel

Squirrel

Having successfully proved the use of this air gun for pest control, I moved on up to small game hunting. Squirrel season is still open here in Kentucky, and I had a new camouflage chair I wanted to try out. Setting up in a likely spot, I chose the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle as my armament for the day. It didn’t take long for a large fox squirrel to climb up to a dining perch in a tree and begin working on a nut it had found under the snow. With a properly placed shot, the squirrel came tumbling down. The Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle and RWS Superdome pellets made a lethal combination for this tree rodent!

Blackhawkpossum2Most air gun shooters like to keep an air gun around that is capable of handling larger pests. The possum and raccoon come to mind in this category, and though I would hesitate to take on a large raccoon with the smaller .177 caliber air rifle, a possum provided no challenge to the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle. I have issues every year in regards to what animals are going to move into my old barn, and this possum had to go. Coming out in the open at the wrong time of day earned this pest a shot to the head, ending the issue of where it would live for good. The power provided by the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle proved more than it could handle, and the accuracy provided by the rifle put the pellet exactly where I needed it to go.

If I had any suggestions for Umarex USA in regards to this rifle, I would opt for a slightly longer scope rail to allow the use of the longer-based 1-piece mounts that are so popular among air gun shooters. These style mounts provide some serious clamping surface on the dovetails, a greatly desired feature for spring-piston air guns. The current rails only allow the shorter-style 1-piece mounts.

I can recommend the Ruger Blackhawk Air Rifle for most game and pests that range in size from the possum on down. The air gun has the accuracy needed, is pleasant to shoot and practice with, and will provide many hours of shooting fun and enjoyment for its owner. Give one a try and see if you don’t agree!