How do Gamo air rifles compare to Beeman air rifles?

by B.B. Pelletier

We got this comment last week, and I promised an answer as a complete posting because this one will take some time. Butzback asks, “How does the Gamo compare to a Beeman? The Beeman is so much more expensive [that] it makes me wonder about quality, performance etc.” Let’s get to it!

First we do Gamo
Gamo is a company that dates back to 1889, when they were founded to produce high-quality lead.In 1950, the company decided to start production of lead pellets to satisfy the growing demand in Europe. In 1961, Gamo introduced their first airguns to the Spanish market. Today, they are the largest airgun maker in Europe.

Gamo guns have been coming into this country since the early 1960s. Their models have always been different and innovative. The Expomatic was a repeating diabolo pellet rifle, made at a time when pellet repeaters were not well-known. Gamo guns today range from youth models to the extremely powerful Hunter 1250 Hurricane. Most of their rifles have been springers, which is what I will concentrate on in this posting. However, they’re also a leader in CO2, and they’ve built a few single-stroke pneumatics. The big rumor on the street is that they’ll soon offer a precharged rifle. Because they own BSA, who already knows precharged technology, they have access to those designs. They’re also supposed to be working on a new type of hand pump, which should hit the market when and if a PCP comes out.

Gamo springers
All Gamo spring rifle models are different, but they do share some common characteristics. The dry-fire capability we discussed last week is one of those, as is the Gamo trigger. The trigger starts out as a very stiff and creepy unit with an ambiguous release point. However, the more you shoot the gun, the better this trigger gets. There have been other airguns with this same characteristic – notably the BSF spring guns from Erlangen, Germany, and many of the Webley rifles of the 1980s and ’90s. I’ve shot a Gamo Hunter 440 with 6,000 shots on the trigger, and it was as smooth and predictable as most spring gun triggers – certainly as good as an RWS trigger.

Moving on to Beeman
Unlike Gamo, Beeman doesn’t make airguns. They are an importer that puts their name on models they decide to sell. When Robert Beeman headed the company, he carefully built a reputation of quality and performance that American shooters had never dreamed possible. Since selling the company in 1994, there have been major changes to the quality of the guns that carry the Beeman name. In the beginning, this was limited to the trimming of certain low-sales guns like the HW 55, but as time passed, the Beeman company grew more “corporate” and lost some touch with its roots. They stopped publishing the full-color catalogs Robert Beeman used to build the company’s reputation. They are closely associated with Marksman, an American maker of inexpensive, mass-marketed airguns and have had ties for a long time to large retail outlets such as Wal-Mart. Both companies are owned by SR Industries.

A marketing move to extend sales for Beeman was to take Spanish airguns made by Norika and put the Beeman name on them. When Robert Beeman owned the company, they carried a few Norika guns, but Beeman never put his name on them – just as he never put his name on the Yewha shotgun, the S&W pistols or the Sheridan Blue Streak. But, now, it’s possible to see Beeman air rifles in Wal-Mart. This has diluted the Beeman name somewhat. It no longer conveys quite the panache that it did when the founder was at the helm.

The bottom line
Because of this situation, you see how difficult it is to write about the quality of a Beeman airgun. They’re all over the place! The R-series rifles are made by Weihrauch and are as good as they ever were, but there are increasingly cheaper guns carrying the Beeman name today. So, there is no such thing as “Beeman quality” any longer. To talk about Beeman air rifles, you must pick a model and get specific.

The answer. I hope!
Now, butzback, I’m going to assume that you were referring to the R-series rifles when you asked your question. How do THEY rate against Gamo air rifles? They are better in the following areas. They have a much better and more adjustable trigger. They have a better (well-rifled and uniform) barrel, as a rule, and they can out-group the Gamo rifles. HOWEVER, all companies have good and bad days. On a bad day for Weihrauch, their barrel is not going to be as good as a good Gamo barrel. In other words, there are exceptions to what I say about barrels. The Beeman (not Weihrauch, but Beeman R-series) stocks are better shaped and generally nicer in form and feel. The Beeman R-series powerplants CAN be better, but this is an area in which Gamo is rapidly closing the gap, in my opinion. And, Weihrauch is slipping just a little at the same time.

Everything I said in the paragraph above IS JUST MY OPINION. I can’t back up any of it without sitting down face-to-face with someone and comparing two rifles side by side. That would involve shooting as well as a physical examination. So, this opinion is worth about what it costs. Take what I say and evaluate the guns for yourself.

27 thoughts on “How do Gamo air rifles compare to Beeman air rifles?

  1. B.B.

    One thing that you didn’t mention that your readers may be interested in is that some models advertised as “Beeman” are made in China. I say “advertised” as Beemans because they don’t show up on the Beeman website, but can be found at retailer’s web sites. This is the case with the SS/SH1000 and 650 models advertised on Pyramyd.com. From what I was able to determine from the web it appears that that, in general, the “R” series are made by Weirhauch in Germany, the “Gold Series” in Spain, and the Beeman Silver Bear and the ones mentioned above in China. My own conclusion, based partly on Robert Beeman’s website, your blog and other websites, is that the Beemans made in Germany/England are superior, those made in Spain about the same as the Gamo, and those made in China inferior.

    jw



  2. My first El Gamo puchase was in the early 70′s. It was and Expo model and cost $39. It worked for years, was easy to cock and had good accuracy. I later purchased an R77 which is a lot of fun to shoot. I have a Beeman R7 and a P3 at present.
    Gamo represents a good, attractive product at reasonable costs. They don’t pretend to be anything they are not. They have been an inexpensive entryway into the world of air arms.
    The Beeman products are excellent in every way and provide me with a benchmark with which to judge other products. I was unaware of the quality differences between these new lines and the posssible loss of intergrity that his name had become. In short, I like both products, and dont expect German craftsmanship at Spanish prices.



  3. I am thinking about purchasing the diana rws34 or the gamo hunter 440 both in .22 caliber. Which rifle would you recommend? I want to hunt small game such as rabbits, squirrels, and birds. I am looking for accuracy and high-power. I am leaning more towards the hunter 440 just because I bought an airgun from them and I like it. But then again I was thinking the rws34 is a better buy because it’s probably more powerful.



  4. i have a hunter 440 in .22 and a diana 48 in .22 diana is more robust as gamo somethimes has failure in spring and diesiling

    david


  5. BB,

    Your posts are an invaluable source of information for both beginners and experts alike. I have recently been doing a LOT of research online regarding every aspect of airgunning from the obvious, to the most technical.

    I am 22 years old, and have a relativley high level of experience/knowledge for never owning my own gun. I thought that it was about time that I got my own rifle instead of sharing or borrowing my best friends .177 Shadow 1000 or his .177 Hunter 1250(WOW) ALL THE TIME! Thats where the research comes in. I knew I wanted a .22 which would be more suitable for hunting use than a .177. Surprisingly, there is only a handful (if that) of decent .22 cal springer/scope combos for under $250. I found that the majority of information/reviews available are for rifles that are either mainstream, or priced too high for the people who need this information the most. There are a lot of people like me who may only have one or two air rifles in their lifetime, and dont want what everybody else but still want to make an educated decision.

    The Beeman GH950 .22 definately caught my eye, and was exactly what I was looking for. However there is virtually no knowledgeable first hand information or reveiws available anywhere online. Just the quick comment or stats here and there. The GH950 comes with an 3-9x32AO scope, 2 stage adjustable trigger, 15.8 ft-lbs muzzle energy, and looks better than most high dollar rifles. I beleive that a lot more people would consider the GH950 or GS950(open sights) if there was some form of reveiw of them (anywhere).

    So I did many strenuous hours/days/nights of research (which most people looking in that price range arent willing to do)…And bought one for $229. It looks even better in person. I have just about finished breaking it in (1200 shots) and it is everything I hoped for. Out of the box, the rifle was clean and rust free. The power is great but predictably not as flat shooting as a .177. I compared it to my friends Hunter1250 .177(29 ftlbs) in some informal ballistics tests.(Both guns used kodiak pellets) The GH950 .22(15.8 ftlbs) made an almost identical entrance hole and penetrated 1 inch deeper than the Hunter at 30-40y despite the Hunter having almost twice the amount of energy. (The Shadow 1000′s terminal ballistics didnt come close)
    The plastic trigger is not the best but it is manageable with the factory settigs, and it was not difficult to adjust it to my liking.
    The AO scope is a nice addition, I havent had any signs of trouble or creep. As with any new air gun, make sure you properly tighten all the external screws and scope mounts. The only thing that a serious hunter might desire is a mil dot or a Side wheel adjustable turret (SWAT)scope which I myself might have to add to add someday.

    However, it is fairly sensitive to hold like the GS1050, R1 and R9′s are said to be, but learning to perfect the “artillery hold” is half the sport right. If you are looking for a gun than is “effortless” to shoot, you would probably be better off with a PCP. For this reason, it probably isnt the “best” springer for beginners, but it does leave a lot of room for improvement on the shooters part for those who want to improve their skills.

    The groups were not too good at first, most likely because of shooter error, but they are definately shrinking the more I shoot the rifle. Even in choppy 10-15mph wind, it is possible to make 10 shot groups in a 2.5 inch circle at 50 yards if you use the right pellet. I have found silver sting, Crosman Premier, and kodiak pellets to be the most consistent so far, but I have some JSB Jumbos coming in the mail. (This gun does not seem to like the crow magnums as they have a really tight fit into the breech) Unfortunatly, there is always at least 5-10 mph wind where I am shooting. I think someone more experienced like yourself could really show the rest of us everything this rifle has to offer.
    BB, If you have any experience with this gun, or have any tips such as holding techniques, unusual maintenence requirements, or basically any opinions or personal knowledge of the GH950 at all, please let me know!

    (I know its a long comment but hopefully this helps someone seeking the same answers that I was)


  6. Rob,

    I don’t have any experience with the GH950, but from your comments I now know something about it.

    You are willing to learn, which is 90 percent of the battle. All breakbarrels are sensitive to hold, and your sounds normal to me. Read today’s post to see what a REALLY sensitive rifle looks like.

    Sorry I can’t add anything, except my good wishes as you continue to shoot your rifle.

    B.B.


  7. For those of you considering a medium power .22 spring rifle, here is my opinion…

    B.B. – THIS PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
    http://www.pyramydair.com/cgi-bin/model.pl?model_id=539
    The GS950 or GH950 is a Beeman gold series (Norica made in spain) with an advertized energy of 15.8 ft lbs.(750 fps) which I explained above.
    http://www.pyramydair.com/cgi-bin/model.pl?model_id=872
    There is also the slightly more powerful GS1050 which I am not too familiar with. (actually priced cheaper than the GH950, probably because of the synthetic stock) Since both the Beeman rifles are made in spain, I HEARD that the craftsman ship is more similar to the gamo’s than the Bemman R series.

    http://www.pyramydair.com/cgi-bin/model.pl?model_id=241
    The Gamo Hunter 440 is only available in the .177 from pyramyd air, has 13-14 ftlbs, and an advertised velocity of 750 fps (I didnt know they made gold raptor pellets in .22) and we all know how gamo stretches the numbers. This rifle also recieved more mixed reveiws from some of the reveiw sites than the other rifles mentioned here. And isnt Gamo slowly phasing out the production of .22 rifles because of the much more walmart-ish demand for .177 ?

    http://www.pyramydair.com/cgi-bin/model.pl?model_id=402
    The RWS Diana 34 has 13-15 ftlbs
    (according to strait shooters velocity tests)

    In regard to price, all without scopes…
    GS1050 $179
    Gamo440 $184 (.177 only on this site)
    GS950 $195
    RWS34 $215
    GH950 $229 (with 3-9x32AOscope)

    The RWS 34 has closer power to the Beeman GS950, or the slightly more powerful GS1050 and im assuming the Gamo 440 apparently has the least power of the rifles I mentioned, more on the level of the Shadow 1000. The Shadow (which I am very familiar with, in .177 is a great beginner rifle and is the initial cause for my love of the sport. But I really do LOVE to shoot my Beeman GH950.

    Keep in mind this comment was comparing .22 caliber rifles, which are slim to none in Gamo’s line up, if I was comparing .177 the Gamo’s would have a much better rap sheet.


  8. BB,

    One more thing. This link below is one that anyone who owns or is looking to better understand their rifles ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO SEE, including you! if you havent seen it already, most of the sections are animated and interactive. This could answer so many people’s repetitive questions.

    Seriously you have to check it out!

    http://www.arld1.com/



  9. This might be a little late but though i still wandet to ask this by email but here it is.As im still figuring out to buy wich gun for FT practicing to start and start compitition

    When comparing gamo CF-X to HW97 by weihrauch/beeman in the national forum in my country this will explode to an ungoing discussion to be weirauch being best. offcourse as they seem to be developing for quality. and gamo for resenable pricing.

    But in an compitition in FT shooting wich needs an atleast 1,5 inch accuracy at 55 yard . will the weihrauch win the game ore will the same person win with a CF-x still win the same game.

    I am trying to find a rifle ( for the last 2 years ) to start with and seriously start with FT compatitions in a 2 year practicing.

    JD


  10. JD,

    I have to say the HW97 will beat the Gamo CF-X for field target. I used to compete and used a TX 200 for several years.

    The CF-X is a nice rifle for shooting out to 35 yards, but beyond that distance, the Weihrauch barrel will do better. Also, the Rekord trigger is MUCH more adjustable and easier to get used to.

    Use JSB Exact domed pellets in your rifle.

    B.B.


  11. Thanks Alot,

    Now im out of the dream of “gamo Might get close to weihrauch”,
    Although maybe a JB paste polish might help alot. it just wont come near to it.

    Great help thanks,

    Greetz,
    JD



  12. An0nymous, if you head over to the most recent blog (http://www.pyramydair.com/blog) you can post pretty much any question and input from more shooters.

    Anyway, the Silver Sting looks to be yet ANOTHER variation on the old AR1000 made by the Shanghai Airgun Company. It is a pretty faithful copy of the Spanish-made Norica Marvic air rifle, although generally the QC has been a bit iffy. But just a bit.

    I'll give you a quick history. The AR1000 was Shanghai's attempt to break into magnum guns with some credibility, and they cloned the Spanish original so thoroughly that I believe all the parts are interchangeable. The AR1000 has been rebadged a number of times, and has appeared on the market as the AR1000, Hammerli Titan, Walther Force 1000, TF89, and Beeman SS1000 (to name a few). One caution, though – Shanghai does (or did) make a variant with a BAD direc-sear trigger, I've seen it sold by Beeman as the – SS1000! But a different sub-model than the OTHER SS1000, if you know what I mean. If any full-power Chinese Beeman (Silver Sting, SS1000, RS1, RS2, etc) is advertised as having an adjustable trigger – that's a good one. If the trigger is non-adjustable, STAY AWAY!

    Compared to a Gamo, the AR1000 variants (assuming you get a good one, which is probable) the gun will tend to be significantly heavier, more powerful (10-20% more ME), smoother shooting, harder cocking and with a better trigger. Accuracy-wise, I'm gonna call it a draw.

    The Gamo isn't really in the same class, as an all-day recreational shooter it wins hands down. As a hunter the chinese gun has the advantage that will always go with the more powerful gun. The trigger on the Beeman is a nice, REAL two-stage affair – and if you're willing to partially disassemble it and smooth out some surfaces it gets even nicer.

    QC on the Gamo is probably more consistent (but not perfect), in any event I don't know if the difference is enough to throw the deal one way or the other. I'd be more concerned about the other qualities of the guns.

    As for long-term operability, well that's a split decision as well. There's a lot on internal parts that Gamo will not sell you (like, all of them) – but others will sell you parts that work. The guts of the AR1000 series are well supported AT THE MOMENT. 10-20 years from now… will you be able to get parts for a chinese Beeman? I have no idea. For the Gamo? Probably – even if (worst comes to worst) you have to send it back to Gamo for repair.

    But in any event we are not talking about $800 air rifles. Again, I'd let the shooting characteristics decide for you – light, handy, easy to shoulder on one hand, heavier, more powerful and more serious (in a sense) on the other.

    BTW – I have 2 AR1000 variants (one in each caliber) and a slew of Gamo's.

    Hope this helps.


  13. Silver Sting,

    I may review the Silver Sting, but don't wait for that. Get the gun. It is a winner. It's powerful, accurate and smooth-shooting. The trigger is a real joy for an inexpensive rifle. The fit and finish of the rifle are amazing, considering where it is made.

    B.B.


  14. I own a Webley Vulcan.22 break barrel.
    Its over 10 years old.Recently i replaced new seals and also a new ox spring.Its actualy a lovely gun
    with a 2×20 scope and shoots quite well but not THAT accurate.There seems to be some play on the up and down on the barrel.What is the better barrel i wonder a break or straight barrel??


  15. The problem with the Webley Vulcan and some other air rifles is there is no way to tighten the barrel in the action fork. The barrel pivots on a pin, rather than a bolt that can be tightened.

    Read Monday's blog and I will propose a fix to the guys. We really need to do something about this problem. The current blog is always located at this address:

    http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/

    B.B.


  16. I'm in the process of restoring a EL Gamo Mod: EXPO, can anyone advise where I may purchase new spring & bucket to fit ?




  17. BB, I was refering to the PISTON SEAL in my comment May 02 2011 6:22 AM, the SEAL in this gun was LEATHER.


  18. Hello Vince, I do have the old spring with the following specs: OD 19.5 mm, Wire Diameter 3mm, # Ciols 31.



  19. GR, as I suspected that spring is very close in spec to a modern Gamo spring, with the exception that they now tend to have a couple more coils. Getting it to fit shouldn't be a big deal.

    But you might wanna give jgairguns.biz a call, he might have a direct replacement.


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