When I think of Walther, I think of spring piston airguns. Over the last several months I’ve been shooting the LGV break barrel which is one of the nicest shooting springers out of the box that I’ve seen. And though I haven’t used it, I’ve hear very good things about the LGU under-barrel lever cocking model. But what I haven’t thought about when considering all things Walther, were PCP rifles. But based on the new Walther ROTEX rifle, this could change. Before using the rifle I reckoned that at the very least, Walther dipping their toe into the PCP waters had to be a good thing!
Starting with the obvious, the ROTEX is a bottle forward design. Walther has done an excellent design job on this gun, with the an almost seamless transition between the forestock and the airbottle as the stock seems to organically grow around the bottle. I live in Minnesota, and even though its spring right now it is cold, a week short of April and I’m watching the snow come down as I write this. So I can tell you I appreciated not gripping an ice cold bottle as I was shooting on the range this morning! The seam between the bottle and the stock is bridged by a synthetic guard. This is one good looking bottle gun; the dimensions are compact with an overall length of 41″ and a 19.6″ Lothar Walther barrel. It is not shrouded and moderately loud, though the threaded muzzle allows the use of a moderator. While the gun is compact, it is on the heavier side weighing in at a bit over 8lb, which based on how small the gun looks surprised me, though it is still comfortable to carry and it does lock right in when shooting offhand. If this would be your field gun, you would either want to have a sling mounted or use a backpack with a built in scabbard to move around as this gun would otherwise become a handful quickly. On my gun I am using a Erblestock gunslinger daypack with a built in scabbard and it works great. I like the stock, the wood is a plain but nice bit of stained beech that has sharply cut checkering on the pistol grip and forestock. I mentioned the front end, and how well it houses the bottle, but the cut away stock looks great and helps lighten the gun a bit. A ventilated rubber buttpad completes the picture.
The gun is cycled by cocking the bolt action… Sorry south paws the stock is ambidextrous but the bolt is right handed only. I found the bolt a little rough at first, but after a couple tins of pellets it cycles smoothly.
The adjustable two stage trigger comes out of the box pretty light, there is some creep but it breaks fairly crisply and is fairly predictable. It is not a match grade trigger, but better than most guns in its price range and I found it facilitated accurate shooting.
The air bottle fills to 232 BAR, and is coupled to the tanks for charging using a proprietary fill probe. As I say every time I use a gun with this filling arrangement, I wish all companies would standardize on a quick connect Foster type filling, but disclaimer aside this one works fine.
I mentioned that even though compact, this gun has some heft to it, weighing in at close to 8 lb. When shooting offhand I found that the distribution of weight made the gun balance very well, still heavy and might be a bit much for a small shooter, but for me I found it just tucked right in and made for accurate shooting. Off bags the gun seemed almost fused to the bench, and this further enhanced the shootability of the gun.
To load the gun the bolt is retracted, and once pulled all the way back there is a small latch that is slipped back allowing the magazine to drop out on the left side of the gun. Once aluminium magazine is loaded, this process is reversed. In the center of the rotary magazine is a small drive gear and when the bolt is cycled the magazine is indexed (as the bolt is pushed forward). Unlike a lot of my guns that use this style of magazine, the Rotex magazine has a wide flat rubber retention band rather than a simple O ring to hold the pellets snuggly in place.
I had two rifles; the first was the pre-release gun which was the first in the country, and the second was the production gun I ordered. The safety is at the rear of the receiver (a good place for a safety in my opinion) which pulls straight back into the “on” position and pushed forward to release. There is a small slide lever on the safety that is pushed up as the safety is pushed forward for a bit of extra security. The safety on the pre-release gun did not auto deploy, but on the production gun it auto deployed. This is not my preference, but you see it more often than I’d like these days, so it seems I’ an old dog that needs to learn new tricks.
Once I found the sweet spot on my test gun, the 10 shot strings with most pellets demonstrated consistent velocities. I would get about a 20 shot string with a less than 12 fpe spread and then get a 25 fps spread over the next 20 shots. Shooting at a spinner at 40 yards I hit a 1″ spinner 38 times out of 40 missing one early and one later when I pulled the shot.
As mentioned, I found the stock ergonomic and that it fit well allowing me to shoot offhand, kneeling, prone any of the traditional shooting positions, as well as off sticks, rested. The trigger is good, not great though like the bolt action it is settling down and smoothing out the more I exercise it. The length of pull is 14″, which is fine for me.
The gun is a bit on the loud side, but the barrel is threaded so there are options to quiet it down a bit
The ROTEX was fairly pellet agnostic and shot the JSB Exacts, H&N Sniper and Sniper Lights, The Predator International Polymag Shorts, and the PDG dome well, though did have a pelletrs pellets (PDG HP, HN Pile Drivers, and H&N HP) that gave it indigestion.
The Polymag regular did not fit into the magazines, though the shorts did. These pellets were fairly accurate, but I did have the occasional hang up cycling these pellets. This would not bother me if I was shooting squirrel or rabbits, I’d run the risk of the transient rough spot, however since I was going to use the gun on a turkey hunt did not want to take any chances.
The only real issue I had was how to mount a sling swivel up front, that nicely shaped forestock that wrapped around the air bottle did not have much material for mounting a swivel up front. My work around was to use my Erblestock Gunslinger pack with an integrated scabbard to carry the gun. It is heavy enough that you want some way to carry it other than grabbing it and going!
The Walther Rotex was one of two rifles I brought with me on a recent turkey hunt in California. On the second hunt of the opening day, I shot this bird at 25 yards with a body shot that penetrated and broke the wing on the offside. The bird ran 15 yards and piled up dead
The gun was easy to maneuver inside the tight confines of a blind with two guys trying to position themselves around guns and cameras without spooking everything in the vicinity.
We filmed this hunt and it will air on the American Airgunner next season. I’ll be using this gun on several hunts in the future, it is one of those rare guns where, in my opinion, you get a lot more gun than you pay for. Unlike other guns in the price range, this gun has the styling and build quality of a much more expensive product!