If you are a connoisseur of military arms, particularly the WWI or WWII era, check out the Umarex Legends M712 modeled after the Mauser M712 Schnellfeuer from that era. This air pistol fires BBs on semiautomatic or full auto for realistic action!
How realistic is this CO2-powered airgun? A bit of history is in order.
The Mauser M712 Schnellfeuer came to be from the C96 in Germany. The M712 was reportedly produced from 1932-1938 in 7.63 caliber, and came with a 10- or 20-round detachable magazine. Research shows that just a bit fewer than 100,000 were produced. The Versailles Treaty, enacted after World War I, placed significant restrictions on the German military in regards to automatic machine guns both light and heavy, but the treaty apparently did not include limits on pistols or submachine guns. The Germans drove a Panzer tank through that loophole, evolve the C96 to the Mauser M712.
Many Mauser M712s were reportedly sold to China, although some were used by the Axis on a limited basis. The full auto selector allowed users to fire at a rate of 900 rounds per minute, which was only useful if using the buttstock—which doubled as a holster too. I cannot imagine shooting what amounted to a .30-caliber pistol without a buttstock!
Legends has gone all out making replicas of historical firearms to include this M712. This gun feels like the rare real C96 I held in my hands years ago. The magazine is heavy, the handle is perfectly reproduced. The look and feel is amazing. You feel like you have an authentic piece of history in your hand when firing this airgun.
- Fires semiauto (N) or full auto (R)
- Fixed front sight and rear adjusts for elevation as did the original
- Manual safety/ hammer type
- Barrel is smooth at 5.5” for .177 BBs
- Powered by a single 12-gram CO2 capsule located in the magazine
- Magazine is metal and holds up to 18 BBs
- Blowback operation
- Gun fires BBs up to 360 fps with a danger distance being listed to 300 yards.
Out of the box this gun feels very authentic. The attention to detail on the all-metal design with the wood grip is amazing. The trigger pull is very smooth and without drag or creep. The sights are authentic and modeled after what was actually on the original. The safety and select fire levers are the original design.
Loading the magazine with the CO2 is easy with the included hex key. Loading BBs requires a fingernail to pull the tab down and drop in up to 18. I used the Hornady Steel Black Coated BBs when testing the gun.
With the gun spitting BBs at 360 fps, I did not put targets out past 15 yards. However, the pattern of BBs hitting the cans, targets and other objects was quite impressive. The can was not missed at all on semi-auto and most BBs rattled through a Coke can at that distance without issue. The blowback action on the gun made you feel like you were shooting something with a lot more oomph than a BB gun with a max speed of 360 fps.
Once I tested a few magazines with the single shot/semi-automatic setting, I moved it over to full auto and … wow. Fun. The cans were rattling, jumping and twitching all over the place. I had to add more CO2 and burned through multiple magazines before other chores called for my attention. I can say that anything within a rock’s throw was fair game with this gun. Later I went out and put up all kinds of old cans, pieces of metal and wood blocks to create a shooting gallery of sorts. (Did I mention it was fun? Because it was fun.)
What I found was that on semiautomatic the CO2 was typically lasting for about 30-35 shots before it dropped off noticeably. I never got more than 40 BBs out of a CO2, but that was perfectly fine. The original gun came with a 10- round or 20-round detachable magazine, so the 18 BBs per magazine was just right. Two full mags and you add a new CO2 to bring stuff back up to full power. On full auto the CO2 powered down a bit quicker, but not much.
I never had any mechanical issues with the gun, nor any jams. When I was just burning through BBs on semi auto after being on full auto, I found that sometimes near the end of the CO2, the gun would at times burp out a few BBs as if it were on full auto. That only occurred at the end of the CO2. In my growing experience with these full-auto CO2-powered airguns, this is not uncommon. It has never been a safety concern—this is a BB gun after all, and of course this happens while the muzzle is pointed downrange—just something to be aware of. I would describe it as a “last gasp” of the CO2 to send a few downrange before it is done.
The gun and magazine are extremely cold from the CO2, and I suspect that may also play into it, as I can fire on semi at a reasonable pace all day long and never experience that.
In summary, the M712 by Legends and available through Umarex is a superb replica BB gun that has the feel of authentic history and the blowback action that puts you back in time. I love the attention to detail and the heft of the gun with a realistic weight. There is no “cheap” feel to these guns. This gun is a conversation starter, a fun piece to shoot and a possible history lesson to a younger person about the WW1 and WWII eras. The machine work on the M712 is fine. The gun is fun to shoot and can be enjoyed by all that use it no matter the age. It retails for just over $100; UmarexUSA.com