by B.B. Pelletier
I'm going to review an airgun I've never seen, held or tested. The only reason I'm able to do this is because it's a Gamo CF-X, which resembles a BSA Superstar in many ways. I will really be talking about the Superstar and relating it to the Gamo, and there are several Gamo CF-X owners who have promised to assist me by posting lengthy and detailed comments to this post. Together, we should be able to get the gun reviewed for you.
Not that big a stretch
Oh, I forgot to mention, Gamo owns BSA and borrows their technology from time to time. The Gamo Stutzen, for instance, is almost a direct copy of the BSA Stutzen - but for $100 less. BSA optics are distributed worldwide by Gamo, and the two companies cooperate on a good many things. That's why this post isn't as much of a stretch as it seemed at first.
Look and feel
The CF-X is big, but not heavy. The stock is synthetic on the basic rifle, which means it's an all-weather gun. It has an underlever that extends out under the front sight, and that adds to the large look. The stock is a dark charcoal gray, and the Gamo bluing, which is always above average, goes very well with the stock. Fiber optic sights front and rear make this a sporting rifle, though most owners will probably mount a scope.
Cocking is light and smooth
Here, I'm relying on my BSA experience. I found the Superstar cocked very easily for the power, and reading the Gamo specs indicates that this rifle does, too. If they copied BSA's linkage faithfully, they got a lever geometry with a lot of mechanical advantage. You might think it always happens, but my experiences with the BSA Stutzen underlever tell me it doesn't!
Shooting SHOULD be smooth
The BSA is VERY smooth, and Gamo also knows how to make a smooth shooter. I suspect that it's not quite as refined as the Superstar - which is glass-smooth out of the box - but it could be. JB, a reader who has owned a CF-X for a year, says his gun vibrated a bit at first but has quieted down over 1,000 shots - exactly what I would expect.
Trigger leaves something to be desired
Triggers are the Achilles heel of all Gamo spring rifles. They have designed one unit, and they make it fit in all their guns. That would be okay if it was a good one, but a Gamo trigger starts out heavy, stiff and VERY creepy. However - it does break-in! I've fired Gamo rifles with over 6,000 shots on them, and the triggers were nearly as good as British or German triggers. JB says his trigger has smoothed out in 1,000 rounds. The thing to remember is this - the trigger does improve with lots of use.
Thanks to JB, I can report velocity figures. He tells us that his rifle shoots 10.5-grain Crosman Premiers at 742 f.p.s., 10.5-grain Beeman Kodiaks (he listed the weight) at 782 f.p.s., 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers at 887 f.p.s. and 7.3-grain Daisy Max Precision Pointed pellets at 938 f.p.s. That is in the ballpark I would have predicted. That means you can get 7-grain RWS Hobbys up to 965 f.p.s. and 5.7-grain Skenco Hyper Velocity lead-free pellets will probably surpass 1,000 f.p.s. I expect some of you new CF-X owners to report how close these numbers are to what you're getting.
JB reports groups at 10 meters ranging from 3/8" to 1/2". I would assume that means center-to-center. He says his rifle likes both weights of Premiers and that the 10.5-grain Premier is possibly the single best pellet.
The rotary breech
The rotary breech is a cylindrical block that rotates to the left to open the breech of the barrel. A smooth steel ramp in the block guides pellets into the bore, though it may take some getting used to. If you just allow the pellet to slide down the ramp on its own, it can flip over on its nose and try to enter the breech tail-first. The trick is to push it down the ramp with a finger on top, so it can't turn around. JB warns us to cock the gun before rotating the breech or you will tear some seals.
New CF-X owners - report!
We want to hear velocities, accuracy, difficulties encountered and your general impressions of the gun. Please make all comments to this posting, so they will be together.
At $200 for the basic gun, the CF-X is a bargain. Don't expect it to outperform the Shadow 1000, but expect it to be heavier, more stable and eventually smoother. Buy the CF-X Royal, which looks VERY much like a BSA Superstar by the way, if you want a wood stock and the CF-X Combo if you want it with fries and a Coke.