Stoeger’s deadly XMI air rifle is not just for mere plinking
Although air rifles have been around for a long time, recent technological advancements mean we are we are no longer confined to single-shot models. These days, we can hunt or shoot with repeaters designed to fire dozens of pellets without having to recharge the air supply. Stoeger introduced its first pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) bolt-action repeater with a rotary magazine in 2020. The XMI may have been late to the PCP game, but it garnered Stoeger a coveted Red Dot Design Award.
For a PCP, the XMI is a sleek, lightweight, ergonomically designed rifle with considerable adjustability, starting with its interchangeable cheek pieces (low for open sights or high for enhanced eye-to-scope alignment). The standard blue pistol grip can also be interchanged for a slightly larger black grip, while the recoil pad includes blue and yellow spacers for adjusting the length of pull. Finally, there are 12mm of potential trigger travel along the blade above the trigger.
The XMI also comes with a Picatinny rail with a magnetic extension rack for storing three additional rotary magazines. It can be added to the left side of the rifle, while a second, shorter Picatinny rail can be attached on the right. Both are affixed with two recessed hex-head screws. They also offer the option of adding a bipod.
Great for hunting grouse and rabbitsYou can use the XM1 as either a single-shot rifle with a single-pellet loader or as a repeater with a rotary magazine, both held in place by small magnets. For a sure grip, both the pistol grip and the bottom of the forend are distinctively checkered with what Stoeger refers to as Pro Adaptive checkering, while the ergonomic bolt lever has Thridion checkering (why the difference in techno-jargon, I’m not sure, as it all looked the same to me).
My test model included a 4x32mm scope, so I replaced the standard cheek piece with the high version. I also swapped out the blue grip for the back grip, and added both Picatinny rails. With those adjustments in place, I charged the air cylinder with a hand pump—purchased separately—to 200 bar (read the instructions very carefully if it’s your first time using a hand pump).
I also found loading the rotary magazines to be a bit tricky; while the instructions were not particularly helpful, I did find a YouTube video that better explained it. With the single pellet loader, I noticed the pellets tended to flip front to back, so be sure they are positioned correctly when closing the bolt. For my test, Stoeger suppled three pellet styles; I also included all four offerings from the Benjamin Discovery Ultimate Hunting Pellet Assortment.
With the scope, the XMI weighed in at six pounds 12 ounces, while the trigger weight was an impressive two pounds six ounces. For my test, I examined the accuracy at 30 yards on a breezy day, accuracy at 20 yards on a calm day, the velocity at the muzzle, penetration and velocity.
Most rifles have their likes and dislikes, and the XM1 was no different. It absolutely loved Benjamin Super Point and Stoeger X-Hunt pellets, with outstanding 20-yard groups of 0.07 and 0.13 inches, respectively. The 30-yard groups, while not the one-hole variety, were still very respectable at 0.58 and 0.458 inches. On the flipside, the rifle did not like the Stoeger X-Magnum or Benjamin Discovery Pointed Expanding pellets. As for velocity, all of the pellets averaged out at 765 fps—a bit lower than advertised.
To determine lethality, I shot the most accurate pellet, the 14.3-grain Benjamin Super Point, and the heaviest, the 21.13-grain Stoeger X-Power, into Clear Ballistic Gel at the muzzle. Both performed better than expected, with the heavier Stoeger pellet penetrating 7.25 inches and the Benjamin pellet going 6.5 inches deep. Both would make excellent choices for small game such as grouse or rabbits. And at reasonable ranges, the Stoeger offering would be ideal for even larger small game and small predators. Conclusion? The XM1 is a true small-game rifle.