Finally, since about a week it is in, an almost brand new, pristine condition standard beech stocked LGU with the standard trigger in the .177 / 4.5 mm caliber and 12 FPE or 16 Joules version.
I. The overall first impression is very positive, so much so that it could be cordially welcomed, directly into the mansion's "state room"!
Beautiful coloured and nicely grained beech which has a satin coating, with an elegant shape that typically exhibits some German features: Schnabel tip at the fore-end and a high arched, pretty broad "comb" which is good to lay one's face to rest on. The height of the cheek piece is just above the top line of the stock and seems to fit very well for many types of scopes.
Good right-left (ambi) stock with full and deep, vertical pistol grip that has nice chequering for a good grip. The fore end flows long to the forward and is not too narrow, with at the sides useful, very subtly executed finger grooves for the supporting hand. The shoulder padd is a "ventilated" soft rubber item.
Nowhere did I find any disturbing sharp edges on the wood, not even in the cocking slot at the fore end nor at the inletting of the trigger guard. That also goes for the metal work. The latching end of the cocking lever is very well designed and shaped for easy lock-up.
Unfortunately, there is no adjustable butt plate nor a thumb groove on the neck behind the safety to accomodate the "thumb up" shooter.
The weight is considerable and the balance is very forward biassed (muzzle heavy).
Finishing is certainly at a high level, especially considering the price. Metal to wood fit is very nice and I found no lateral play in the cocking handle which was exactly in the vertical, hardly any sideways play in the trigger but some on the safety. Mounting the scope after adjusting the reticle halfways (mechanical center), both for windage and elevation, I was almost on target without additional adjustment to speak of. Excellent alignment of barrel and dove tails, it seems.
It's almost impossible not to make a comparison on some points with the HW 97 K and AA TX 200, which is why these competitors are mentioned at several occasions in the description below ....
The design of the action and barrel junction is between that of the Air Arms TX 200 (especially the old Mk 1 and 2 versions without the barrel shroud) and the HW 97 (K). It looks like a clone of both, with an English-German merger of the transition from barrel to action tube. The barrel is centrally located in the action as in the TX, but has flared cut-outs at the sides that are very strongly reminiscent of the 97. I've just put the two together in the spring sunlight and it was clearly visible that the polishing and blueing of the Walther is a lot better, almost at the level of the TX, where, however, the blueing surely looks deeper and thicker (fatter). Especially the moderator is smooth and blue and although it is made of aluminium, as well as the trigger housing, there is nearly no colour difference between these extreme ends and the steel mid section of barrel and action! The moderator has a nice feature found on neither the 97 K nor the TX: a knurled screw-out front cap giving access to the moderator body, in order to fit additional baffles or other damping materials, or to use its thread for a screw-on silencer.
I personally find the two large anti-bump rubber rings on the cocking lever (which by the way do not really touch the barrel with the lever closed) hardly disturbing.
In short, the overall aesthetics of this LGU are quite attractive.
II. Technology wise, I have hardly anything new to report: We all know the detailed pictures and even videos about the "Sound of Silence" technology published by the manufacturer. This goes a step beyond the inner technology of the TX and as we know, much further than that of the HW.
Yes HW, the gantlet is now really thrown in your smug face and we hope for an adequate and rapid reply to this challenge, even though this would entail a different price level! Finally, here we now have a factory spring piston rifle incorporating all of the state of the art internals, previously only found at full custom or customized guns ! But we still have to find out if this full production gun is made with components that have tolerances comparable to real custom guns.....
It of course remains to be seen how the parts, components and materials will pass the test of time and will withstand the inevitable wear and run-in tolerances.
I noticed that in the compression tube front hole (where the transfer port is) there is no sealing ring where this meets the breech, but that such ring is placed on the breech or barrel extension itself, in a slightly too wide groove that makes it more or less "self-adjusting" or self-centering when closing the cocking lever. At the same time, this wide groove allows the fitting of an oversized i.e. thicker, O-ring, should wear make that necessary over time.
The compression tube outer wall at the front carries an O-ring bearing, just like as the AA Prosport.
The cocking link is a sandwich job of two thin steel bars that seem not to be machined. The trigger housing is made of aluminium, opposed to the steel end caps on the 97 and 200, which are inherently stronger.
Sometimes criticism from the technical community mentions that this rifle is very much "choked" and in the 12 Fpe / 16 Joules version should have a slightly larger diameter for the transfer port in order to allow the mainspring a longer useful life time at full power. From using this gun up to now I really cannot judge that.
III. Ergonomically, a comparison with the TX also not far fetched. If only because of its length which is practically identical to that of the TX 200 full length rifle and the nearly identical "anti-bear trap" piston safety at the load port.
The scope mounting dove tails should stretch slightly longer forward to where the LGU logo is (why not use that open space ?), but do not seem to me too short, really.
In the first place I'm happy to see that all screws are of the Allen type. The oddly curved trigger guard (looking like, but not being bent sheet metal !) has two holes at the bottom to give access to adjust the trigger via two set screws. Inside the guard, there is just about enough room for a gloved trigger finger.
Without having measured all dimensions, the load port is almost the same, only slightly longer than the TX but just not long enough, unfortunately.
That gap could have been even a bit wider to allow easier loading while reaching under the longer type of rifle scopes.
The inconvenience of loading with an Elite 4200 scope mounted makes itself felt in the same way as with the TX and the fact that the breech does not have a tapered point of entry, does not help either. Fortunately it is not very difficult to get used to for the TX owner, but it is certainly not much improved. Releasing the cocking lever from its latch is not really very easy, but at the same time it gives confidence in the soundness of the suspension system. The piston safety works better than with the TX (it pivots somewhat easier and sits closer to the port) and the cocking stroke itself does not need to be repeated in order to engage the trigger. With the TX this is unfortunately often the case. The silent cocking method with the piston safety depressed is much easier with the Walther.
The trigger distance to the butt plate (LOP is 37.3 cm for the standard trigger) and pistol grip are nice and long, better for me than the HW97 KTS (thumb hole stock) with an LOP of 35.7 cm. The position of the trigger blade is excellent and much better than the TX which is too much raked backwards and more fit for sporty elegance; it sits also too close to the grip for me. The pistol grip fills my hand better than both the HW and the TX and is, moreover, placed more upright.
The LGU grip fits me better even without a pronounced palm swell, which I surely missed a bit, but rather the grip is made comfortable through a deeper scalloping to the rear of the grip, which works well for positioning the "ham" of the thumb, but the wood is thus cut thinner and therefore somewhat vulnerable to breaking. The elegant finger grooves in the fore end flanks are indeed very helpful to get a good grip with the forward hand. The cocking stroke is not difficult and does not require much force.
The auto-engaging sliding safety catch is exactly in the right place and is light but not too light and also quiet in operation: it can be re-set at the safe postion without releasing the shot or without de-cocking the gun. Re-set in the safe position it also re-sets the trigger to first stage each time reliably.
Remarkably, the instruction booklet quite frankly describes how to de-cock the gun without making the shot, something that Air Arms does not do. And which in the 97K is impossible due to the built-in anti bear trap, hidden under the stock.
Unfortunately, and this is the toughest criticism I can come up with, the trigger is not adjustable in terms of pull weight in the first stage and does not offer enough adjustment in first stage travel. This according to the instruction booklet also applies to the metal “tuning” trigger, but is this correct at all? This “match” trigger blade has two set screws of which one probably serves to regulate the weight of the first stage. My standard plastic trigger is equipped with a nicely wide and smooth trigger blade without serrations, and so it does provide an additional opportunity to set the second stage heavier without biting into the finger. This helps, since I found that second stage pull weight should be set rather heavy in order to get rid of creep.
The trigger mechanism itself will unfortunately require a lot of tweaking before you get a nice creep free break. I hope to find a nice, short and clear breaking point of the second stage, because it took me more than three hours with the TX!
When receiving the gun the first stage was not only very long but also adjusted very light, so much that it hardly came back to the starting point when released before touching second stage.
My predecessor had exchanged the original front hex set screw for a longer one in order to allow more control of the first stage travel and he covered the socket screw with a plastic cap, which I can not get to for the moment. The second stage was too heavy for me and now I have it turned out, the first stage is become much longer.
So here is still quite some work to.
In fact, I wonder if it would pay to replace the OEM trigger for a Walther metal "tuning" trigger, but I have a feeling that it will never reach the level of the HW Rekord!
According to fellow shooters mounting the custom Rowan trigger would solve the problem once and for all, but the price is really steep and the looks of such a match-like contraption carrying that separate adjustable shoe does not complement the gun's overall looks ...
Perhaps the 97K by nature is more appropriate for hunting or HFT because of a slightly narrower and shorter fore end, apart from the shorter overall length. In terms of overall handling the heavy but compact 97 K, even with the heavy laminated stock, feels "faster" and more easy to handle. This to me is really a "first grab rifle" in practice, with a nice weight / balance ratio that you can load without looking or fumbling pellets. The TX for me is more of a luxury horse which demands time and again some getting used to.
Wishes for the LGU stock? Yes, surely: the thumb shelves left and right, and a wider bottom of the fore end, where the finger grooves run, broadened by 1 cm for improved hand hold and stable shooting from a rest. A short panel of chequering in that place would also not hurt. Also, for safety reasons, some more scalloping of the stock around the trigger guard to make it easier to hold your trigger finger parallel to the guard and a bit lower, but without risking the finger to slip into the guard. Purely from an aesthetics point of view, I'm actually not so enamoured by the Schnabel tip, nor by that fashionable upwards curving belly leading to the fore end tip, which does nothing to improve handling for me.
The shot cycle is truly exemplary, as well as the precision of the first 26 shots of JSB Exact 4.52 that I unloaded so far. At 25 meters all shots went into the same hole and at 50 meters indoors I was just not getting 5 shots completely together.
A group of 10 shots did however show seven touching each other. Trigger problems are the main cause, I believe. But then, I've been promised better for this rifle, in the sense that it should produce one-holers for five shots at 50 meters. The previous owner showed me such target that was even shot outdoors !
I have the impression that the absence of noises at cocking and shooting stands out more than while shooting the TX, not to mention a comparison with the HW. No spring twang, no creaking or squeaking or any other noise whatsoever, no smells, fumes or dieseling, no sideways twisting and no appreciable recoil. A short, a fairly dry "Chokkh" is just about all you hear. Barrel flip is barely noticeable and the damping of the shot noise is just very good. At least better than the TX 200 HC, which also makes sense given the shorter barrel.
Compare that to the Feldwebel barking of the 97 K ! The fully Laza Glided HW 77 with 25 mm piston behaves very similar to the LGU; it has a somewhat deeper note from the moderator but some of that is due to the HWs longer barrel. In short, the LGUs cocking and closing strokes give the same comfortable feeling as the TX 200, namely a design immediately inspiring confidence with its solid built.
Until now that trigger is my only directly relevant gripe.
You got to love such all up weight of the gun, which I do, but that and the actual front heavy balance will not make this rifle everyone's friend.
However, this rifle, despite its many similarities with the 97 and the TX 200 in itself carries enough characteristics to make it desirable for shooters who also own (any of) these other weapons. This apart from the internal refinements of the action, which really set it apart from both of its opponents.
It is almost completely ambidextrous, apart from a broader 180 ° loading port and a double (!) anti bear trap safety (one on each side of the action), of which one can be switched off ...... Is that an (unfortunately expensive ) idea, maybe?
IV. Summing up:
Even for the current version of the LGU I would almost use a term made up from another English-German contraction as a pun typification for the gun:
Underlever becomes: "Wunderlever" , provided a real top trigger comes standard with this Walther. Go one cut above that and you will need a complete semi-custom-made springer rifle. For which I actually have been waiting since 2007.
By the way, where's that V-Mach Mach III underlever anyway, that I once signed up for, dear Mr. Steve Pope?
Meanwhile, maybe we can dream of an LGU in caliber .20 / 5 mm, a carbine version of just below 39 inches and other stock types, perhaps. I hope that sales will allow Walther to bring them on, one day! But, time to wake up now and rush back to fiddling that trigger....
Last edited by hendrickotto; 16-05-2016 at 04:22 PM.
I wish I was in the land of cotton.
What a fabulous detailed review!
Great reading, enhances my interest in these rifles.
Laminate stock HW100KT .177, HW100KT .22, HW95K luxus .22, BSA Meteor Mk3 .22, SMK Mod 12 .177, MAS 0.07 .177 BB CO2, Gamo P-23 CO2
2685 words of great review, well done mate an excellent read.
IF I WALKED ON WATER PEOPLE WOULD SAY I COULD NOT SWIM !
Fantastic review of a great rifle mate, i have one and a lgv master pro incredible value for money !
Thanks for an excellent review. However I think you are far too kind in your description of the stock which certainly to me and every other shooter in the UK who has tried this gun is-being polite-inadequate.
It is a shame that the original UK launch of the LGV was marred by the rifle being far too expensive especially given the poor stocks. Learning by their mistakes the LGU was a more competitive item but again the stock isn't good enough to make it a serious contender. In addition the specialist stock makers haven't yet got around to making something decent for what is a superb action as there are not enough of them around to make it worth while. Also could someone tell me why the O rings at the end of the LGU cocking lever are just SO large???
The original LGV Competition Ultra at a whisker under £500 was SO overpriced that I think it has affected the market in these rifles to this day. That variant was the top of the range and yet the stock was made in beech with no adjustable butt pad. Crazy marketing.
Moving on to the performance I agree that both the LGV and LGU actions are really good. I own an LGV in .177 with the cheapest 'Challenger' stock which is a synthetic 'ambi' and is fine for a knockabout gun. With a decent stock I even think it could become my favourite spring rifle. The performance is really good provided you have the metal trigger which I understand is standard for UK rifles but an optional extra for those sold in Europe. Where is the sense in that? Another marketing mistake in my view. The trigger is a vital component and should be the best available.
My summary of this is that the action is great but the overall rifle is spoiled by having such a poor stock. If you disagree with this view I ask you to bear in mind the both AA and HW-which I suggest are still the main competitors at the top end of the spring rifle market-have plenty of choice for after-market stocks. Walther for the moment offers the discerning shooter absolutely nothing other than the standard beech or synthetic stocks they put on at the factory.
My message to anyone involved with Walther is-get your act together! You have made a good rifle but the competition still leaves you standing
'It may be that your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others'.
I for one, am NEVER quite happy with any OEM stocks and always find that as to AA and HW, the pistol grips (also the HW97K TH grip) are too thin and the fore ends too narrow, also on the LGU. That HW did not capitalize on the plastic stock of the 97KTS to fit an adjustable cheek piece and butt pad is also not very good marketing, even allowing for an increased price. The same story for the new LGU Varmint synthetic stock, without adjustable cheek piece/butt pad ! And the weight loss of the new synth Varmint version claimed in specs vs the beech is not borne out by customer reviews, even ! It's just as heavy.
But we don't decide on their marketing "strategies" but only try to influence them, which will take a lot of time no doubt !
Last edited by hendrickotto; 06-05-2016 at 03:03 PM.
Funnily enough I don't recall doing a LGU review as I've never owned one. Do you have a link to it? However I have shot one extensively and found it very smooth. My main experience is with the LGV.
To answer your question my criticism of Walther stocks could be applied to most of the OEM offerings from all the German makers like HW, Diana and Walther. However the difference is that all of the well known after market stock makers make for the HW range and that is very important. Even after the demise of GINB there are still plenty around from which to choose. My personal favourite is the Custom Stock CS800 but the main point for me is that the stocks should be available in WALNUT. I cannot stand beech especially beech stained to make it look like walnut.
For the Walther LGV/LGU just making the Competition Ultra stock in walnut and giving it an adjustable butt pad would be a great start. Other than that the standard sporter -like my 'Challenger' synthetic with an adjustable butt pad made in walnut would do for most shooters.
'It may be that your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others'.
Here is the thread:
I think someone musta "drilled" his name ! LOL !
BUT: it started with an "R".
Sorry; from memory long dwindled I intended to refer to and confounded you with: Rockdrill.
I wanted to add this phrase after exercising shouldering this gun with the trigger finger free:
Wishes for the LGU stock? Yes, surely........[....] .... Also, for safety reasons, some more scalloping of the stock around the trigger guard to make it easier to hold your trigger finger parallel to the guard and a bit lower, but without risking the finger to slip into the guard.
make me want it even more