This will be a 2 part review, the first part will be the actual review of the gun and the second part will cover some grey areas of what people think this rifle is capable of. I apologize in advance for this review being so long.
This rifle is nicely weighted and feels comfortable to hold in your hands. First impressions are good quality and very good looking. The trigger is nice for a break barrel airgun, especially because it is adjustable. At first this gun is somewhat loud, but after you put a few hundred rounds through it, it quiets down a bit. The scope included isn't the best, however I managed to make it work for a month or two. The only main problem with it is that it resisted to hold it’s zero. After about 50 shots it would need some fine tuning, so I was constantly sighting it in.
Eventually I tried mounting different scopes with different mounts, and I was consistently encountering a severe scope creep problem. The scope would slide through the rings, I would tighten the rings down and then the scope was damaged. I went through this about 5 times (that’s right, 5 different scopes) until I finally found a perfect setup:
The scope is a centerpoint 3-9x40mm Hunting scope with illuminated reticle ($69 at Walmart)-and when I installed the scope I did not put lock-tight or anything in the ring screws, I simply snugged them down, just tight enough to hold it down…
The mount is a BKL one piece mount ($50-$60 on amazon)
Pellets are 7.8gr gamo tomahawk (about $8 for 750 pellets at Walmart)
This scope does not have parallax adjustment, but for this gun I don’t think that’s necessary. With this setup I was able to achieve ¾”-1” groups at 25 yards, and, although I have not yet tested it, it would be about 1”-1 ½” at 50 yards. To me this is satisfactory, about what I was expecting from this gun.
I mainly use this gun for pest control (chitmunks/13 striped ground squirrel) and it works like a charm. I have used it for squirrel hunting in the past, and in one winter I took 10 squirrels. However, most required a follow-up shot and were not one hit humane kills. With this in mind, I would probably not recommend this for small game hunting. Just target shooting and small pest control, such as ground squirrels, sparrows, starlings, pigeons, mice, etc.
Using a ballistics calculator application, I was able to come up with some figures for energy and ballistic coefficients. The energy produced by this gun is anywhere from 13-16 foot pounds of energy depending on what type of pellets you use. This energy level is perfect for small pests and maybe some small game. The MINIMUM amount of energy required to kill a squirrel is 12-15fpe. So yes, it is capable of taking down squirrels, but usually not very humanely. It is better to use a gun that has above 25fpe for those instant, humane kills. So maybe if small-medium game is what you want to go for, consider looking into the .22 caliber version of this gun, as it is the same price, and easily tops 25fpe making it ideal for small game.
I have had this gun for over a year, and have had no significant problems with it whatsoever. The only slight problem I've had is with a little bolt like object which is right at the pivot point of the barrel from which it breaks. This little bolt keeps riding itself out of position and when I break the barrel, since this thing is sticking out, it scrapes against the stock. I get a hammer and nail set and tap it back in, and it keeps coming back out. Nothing significant, but it gets somewhat annoying. I will have a picture of the problem posted so you can see what I mean.
Overall this is a great gun for beginners and experienced airgun shooters alike, and if you have realistic expectations of it this gun is sure to please you.
Now I will address some false statements or perhaps exaggeration about what this gun is capable of doing and what it is intended for. Some have said they can take 100 yard shots with this gun, and still kill something at that range, possibly even coyote or equal sized game, in one shot. *cough cough* Allow me to start off by saying that the max effective range of this gun, depending on what type of pellets you use, will probably be around 60-70 yards tops. I think 50 yards is a generous range for this gun to shoot at, and I personally don’t even try anything past 40 or 50 yards with this gun. And if you think your making 1/2" groups at 70 yards or something like that, get a range finder and really see how far you are actually shooting. You can expect around 2-5 inch groups at 70 yards. Out to 100 yards, the small .177 pellets would be so easily persuaded by the wind, you probably wouldn't be able to hit much of anything at that range. I own a more expensive gun, a Benjamin discovery, which is in .22 and shoots at 30fpe, and I can say that gun's max effective range is likely 70-80 yards MAX. And with that gun I don’t really try anything past 50-60yds. With all this in mind, I don’t see why you would expect a less expensive, smaller caliber gun to carry that much range.
Now for the coyote part. This really makes me shake my head. Even if this gun were to reach out to 100 yards semi-accurately, it would not even have CLOSE to a FRACTION of the needed energy to humanely take down a coyote. Using the ballistics calculator, I have found out this gun would have about 2fpe by the time the pellet gets to 100 yards. You need 60-100fpe to humanely kill a coyote. Now, I am not doubting the possibility of this gun taking down coyotes within a closer range, but why would you even try in the first place? The chances of an inhumane/unclean kill are greater than that of a humane kill. It’s simply bad etiquette. Remember, your goal as a hunter is to always make humane, one hit instant death shots. And as far as taking other small game with this gun, yes it is capable of taking smaller animals like squirrel and rabbit, but as I stated in part one, it will not always give a one shot kill. In fact it hardly ever does. If you think I’m a bad shot and I don’t know where to aim, I have shot for years and you aim in-between the eye and ear when shooting a squirrel. This gun simply doesn’t have the precision accuracy and power to guarantee a clean kill shot every time.
The .22 version of this rifle will be much more generous on the other hand. Even If you don’t hit that instant kill area on the squirrel, the .22 has more energy so it will be more forgiving and still have a better chance of taking the squirrel cleanly. Now I know that Gamo advertises the .177 as a squirrel shooter, but really they should only advertise the .22 version as a “squirrel shooter” as it is more capable of quick, humane kill shots.
So now with all this in mind, hopefully you will be able to make an educated decision on which caliber of this gun you would choose if you were to buy this. Both calibers are good, they both have the same platform and everything, I’m sure they both will produce the same accuracy, it’s just what’s right for you. I would recommend the .22 because it simply has less limitations than the .177. More energy, same accuracy, same gun. Just a larger piece of lead you would be slinging out of the barrel. That’ll rap this up, I apologize for the gigantic length of this review, but I just couldn’t help but get this out, it had to be said.
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