The Umarex Komplete NCR Airgun is Built to Hunt!

by Vern Evans

The airgun world has a cult following. I occasionally dabble in that world when I meet up with manufacturers at events like Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous or test one for an article, but I will admit I am still a noob. Umarex recently sent me an air rifle that they were getting ready to release for me to review. It is unlike anything anyone has done before. It has a new type of gas canister, and for people like me, this could be a real game changer.

Umarex Komplete NCR

Airguns have several traditional methods of propulsion. First, there is the single pump, aka, the spring piston. Think about your Daisy Red Ryder or your more powerful break barrels. Although some of these are pretty powerful, they tend to take quite a bit of effort and be slow to cock/load. There is also a Nitro Piston gun that works the exact same way as a spring piston, but is different internally because it uses permanently filled, compressed gas instead of a compressed spring to fire the projectile. Next, there is the variable pump.

I keep a Crossman 760 by the back door to quietly deter birds from using my backyard pool as their personal bathroom, a common problem here in Arizona. It is really slow to pump up, and reloads with pellets are the ultimate test of fine motor skills. Next come the very popular guns powered with little disposable CO2 cartridges (although some of the CO2 guns use a hose hooked up to a larger canister). Many of the full-auto guns and replica guns use this technology. They tend to decrease velocity with each shot, which can be troublesome for accuracy, and freezing cold CO2 gas is hard on the rubber O rings that act as seals.

Lastly, there are Pre-charged Pneumatic (PCP) rifles. They use regular old air but require a small air compressor or a very tedious hand pump to fill a large compressor to 2,000-3,000 psi. These can be extremely powerful, but you have to stay near a vehicle or someplace with electricity to air them back up with the compressor.

Built to Hunt

Umarex looked at these systems and asked: “How can we do better?” They wanted to build a hunting rifle. The most powerful hunting rifles tend to be the PCP ones, but no one wants to have to run back to their truck every 30 minutes to refill with air. Plus, those compressors are loud enough to spook away nearby game. The fastest and quietest to shoot and reload tend to be the CO2 rifles. But they lack power or consistency. So what about a CO2 cartridge that is simply much larger, has a much greater volume, and has a greater pressure? That is good, but there are still problems with CO2.

First, it comes out super cold. That doesn’t bother the shooter, but the constant freezing and thawing wears out rubber O rings inside the gun at record speeds. In short, they leak a lot. They also don’t work well in the cold. Some reports show performance begins to drop off when the temps dip below a measly 65° Fahrenheit. Get closer to freezing and the guns stop working altogether. So Umarex decided to replace CO2 with nitrogen gas. Viola, problems solved. Thus the NitroAir PCP Power Cartridge was born, boasting 3,600 PSI and 4 fluid ounces of volume.

Next they needed the first rifle to take advantage of this new technology. The first one made is the Komplete NCR in .177 and .22 caliber. I received the Umarex Komplete NCR in .22 to test. It was an early test model, so it came with a variable-power Axeon 4-16x44mm scope instead of the normal 4×32 scope and rings that will normally accompany the package. It also came with two, 10-round rotary magazines, and they included a few extra NitroAir canisters for me to try out.

The side-lever for actuating the Komplete NCR.

A Blind Squirrel …

The loaner gun came with no directions, but I make it a point never to read the directions anyway. If I can’t look at it and intuitively figure out how to load, unload and shoot the gun, then it is too complicated and needs work. First, I worked the straight-pull side lever to cock the rifle. Couldn’t be easier. The safety is a cross bolt style that is built into the top of the trigger. The trigger has a small allen head bolt in front of it to adjust overtravel. The trigger has a smooth take up and mine averaged a super tight 1 pound, 3 ounces out of 10 pulls on the Lyman electronic trigger gauge.

The rotary magazine says ”.22” but did not show which way the pellets went in. One side has a recessed groove to slide into the breech. Once I saw how to seat it, it was easy to tell which way to load it. It simply slides into place and when the side lever goes forward, the metal loading bar goes forward, pushing the pellet forward and the rod sits through the loading gate of the magazine. As long as it is forward, the magazine is locked in place.

Finally, I had to figure out how to load the NitroAir. The fore-end has tabs on either side, you push them in slightly and the whole fore-end simply slides off. Then you just screw the canister into place. I have often screwed up on CO2 cartridges and had them leak out and I wondered if I would do the same with this one. Nope, it was deep enough threaded before the canister was punctured that nothing leaked out. It couldn’t be easier. I slid the fore-end back on and it snapped back into place. 

Muzzle on the Umarex Komplete system.

Optic-Ready Platform

When I went to mount the scope I realized the only 1-inch scope rings I had on hand were slightly too short. I could still put the scope on the Komplete, but it was too low for the magazine to fit. I fed each pellet in by hand, which took a little longer, but wasn’t a big deal for accuracy testing. The Komplete comes with a SilencAir muzzle device already attached. I’m not sure what it looks like inside, but it did make the gun ridiculously quiet. This in turn, made running my LabRadar for velocities a little trickier, but I hooked up the external microphone and hung it right by the muzzle and then it worked fine. Velocities were consistent for over 50 shots. I actually noticed the accuracy dropped off suddenly at about the same time as the velocity started to wane. 

So what niche does the Komplete fit? It is an airgun for hunting small game that doesn’t require an air compressor. It is far more powerful than CO2 guns, and it avoids some of the problems that come with CO2. The Komplete has an MSRP of $199, and two packs of NitroAir costing $24.99, which gets you about 100 quality shots. That should be more than enough for an afternoon of plinking and a little hunting. While the gun isn’t semi-auto, it reloads ridiculously fast and easy. Now I am curious to see how long it takes for other air gun manufacturers to jump on the new bandwagon.

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Accuracy results with the Umarex Komplete NCR airgun.

Umarex Komplete NCR Specs

  • Caliber: .22
  • Length: 41.5 inches
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Muzzle Device: SilencAir integral moderator
  • Handguard: Removeable with M-Lok fastening points
  • Charging Handle: Straight Pull
  • Trigger Weight: 1 pound, 3 ounces (average of 10 pulls on Lyman electronic trigger gauge)
  • Magazine Capacity: 10
  • Buttstock: Gray Polymer 
  • Action: Side Lever
  • MSRP: $199.99

Umarex Komplete NCR Accuracy Results

Load Velocity Average Accuracy Average Accuracy Best
Umarex Brimstone 18.67-grain 772 fps .95-inch .67-inch
Gamo Red Fire 15.4-grain 816 fps 1.04 inches .74-inch
Ruger Superpoint 17-grain 793 fps 1.06 inches .85-inch
Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in feet per second 15 feet from the muzzle by a Doppler radar, and accuracy in inches for three, five-shot groups at 25 yards.

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