What's going on with Gamo?
Is the 1600 f.p.s. air rifle real?
by B.B. Pelletier
Need for speed
Speed sells - no doubt about it. Beeman was first to recognize it, then RWS Diana and finally Gamo learned that lesson a few years back. Which is why they built their Hunter 1250, a breakbarrel air rifle that really does shoot lightweight pellets to 1250 f.p.s. It was big news for a few years, but was eclipsed by the AirForce Condor, which does 1250 f.p.s. with 14.3-grain .22-caliber Crosman Premier pellets. So what would come next?
Raptor fell short
Well, Gamo's Performance Ballistic Alloy pellet, the Raptor, came next, of course. They were supposed to increase the velocity of any spring airgun, and my testing with the Gamo CF-X proved that they did. However, they did not live up to the other claims for penetration or power. They had reduced penetration, the same as any lightweight pellet would, and the power was lower, too.
But, the one thing I took for granted during all of this was that the Hunter 1250, now renamed the Hunter Extreme, was a real 1600 f.p.s. air rifle. Why did I believe it? Because Jim Scoutten shot one through a chronograph on his television show, Shooting USA, and got a little more than 1600 f.p.s. on an Oehler 35P chronograph on camera! However, now I'm not so sure.
If a Gamo Hunter Extreme will shoot a Raptor pellet to 1600 f.p.s., I reasoned that an AirForce Condor would go even faster, since I've already tested them with synthetic pellets up to 1450 f.p.s. in .177 caliber. But when I recently tested a .177 Condor with a Raptor, it topped out at 1486 f.p.s., well below the magic 1600 f.p.s. Gamo advertises. I know the Condor is far more powerful than the Hunter Extreme, so these results didn't seem right.
Call in the vigilantes!
An airgunner friend of mine was also surprised to hear that the Condor was testing slower than the Gamo, so he did some testing of his own. With a new .177 Gamo Hunter Extreme, the maximum velocity he could get with Raptors was 1420 f.p.s., well off the 1600 f.p.s. pace it's supposed to give and also behind the Condor. What gives?
Gamo deserves the benefit of the doubt
Now, I know ways of boosting velocity in almost any spring air rifle, but was that what had happened, or was my friend's Hunter Extreme just slow? I would like to believe that Gamo would not advertise their rifle at one velocity but actually ship it knowing that it develops 180 f.p.s. LESS! So I need some help from you readers to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Let's find out
I am asking any Gamo Hunter Extreme owners who own chronographs to report their velocities with Raptor pellets. The one rifle that has been tested thus far may have had something wrong with it, so let's see what a larger sample of guns can do. Is the Hunter Extreme a real 1600 f.p.s. air rifle?
I don't care whether the rifle gets 1600 f.p.s. or not, because no airgunner would ever shoot one that fast and expect any sort of accuracy. They would use heavier pellets to slow down the speed below 1,000 f.p.s. and even below 900 f.p.s., if possible, because that's where the accuracy is. But, if a company advertises 1600 f.p.s., then their rifles ought to be able to deliver! On the eve of the RWS Diana 460 launch, I want to be sure the playing field is level for all competitors.