Gamo Extreme Hunter – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


Gamo’s Hunter Extreme is a big air rifle.

It’s big and it’s “EXTREME” – that over-used adjective that seems to have replaced “radical” as the flavor of the day. But is it any good? And how about Gamo’s claim that the rifle shoots lightweight pellets made of a compound they call performance ballistic alloy (PBA) to velocities of 1,600 f.p.s.? Is that true, and do we airgunners even want it?

Lots of questions, so a big blog series. We begin with the gun.

The .177 caliber Gamo Hunter Extreme I am testing is a big breakbarrel air rifle in all ways. I went to the Gamo USA website to look at the specifications, but they lacked even the most fundamental specs like overall length and weight. The site is incomplete and appears to have been that way for several months. They also say the barrel is a bull barrel, which I would not agree with. It is a new barrel profile that looks like a long muzzle brake, reaching back almost to the base block, then tapering down to a smaller profile. The outer barrel jacket seems to be aluminum and the inner barrel is steel.

The metal finish of the long muzzle brake sleeve is highly polished and contrasts beautifully with the synthetic tapering part at the rear. The actual barrel is shorter than the muzzle brake and the true muzzle is recessed about 0.5 inches. That makes the true barrel length about 18.25 inches. The rest of the major external metal parts of the rifle have a satin finish covered with an even black oxide.

The wood stock is overly large in all dimensions and has a very blocky forearm. It will be easy to use the artillery hold because the bottom of the forearm is absolutely flat. There is impressed checkering on both sides of the forearm and pistol grip, but the diamonds are flat and give no purchase when grasped. The wood is medium brown with a semi-gloss finish that looks like genuine oil. The cheek rest is not well formed and has the “melted” look that’s been characteristic of Gamo rifles for many years. The butt is shaped like a western-style stock, rather than a European style and there is a Monte Carlo profile.

This big rifle weighs a whisker over 10 pounds, with a whisker being two ounces or less. The weight of the wood on a rifle this large will probably make the weight vary by four ounces, heaviest to lightest. It stands just a whisker taller than 45.5 inches. A whisker is, well, not very much.

Articulated cocking linkage
Back in the 1970s when all spring guns vibrated a lot, some manufactures went to a cocking link that was two parts, articulated by a joint near the breech or forward end. This allowed the cocking slot in the stock to be shorter, which helped dampen vibration. But it also adds friction that a single-piece link does not have. When the link runs under the necessary bridge welded to the underside of the spring tube, it pops up against the bridge and scrapes the top of the link. There used to be a whole series of things one could to to reduce this friction, back in the days when the HW 35 was still being made, but most guns don’t use articulated linkages today, so we have forgotten how to deal with them.


That’s what an articulated cocking link looks like. Two link sections are joined by a flexible joint.

But Gamo has designed this rifle to need no bridge! The geometry of the linkage keeps the long rear link snug against the spring cylinder, so most of the extra friction isn’t there. Gamo advertises a cocking effort of 58 pounds, but the test rifle is cocking at 52 lbs., after about 25 flexes. I don’t think it will become any lighter with time, but 52 isn’t that bad. However, this is not a plinking air rifle. It’s for hunting, only.

Gamo scores!
This rifle comes out of the box with a nice 3-9X50 scope already mounted! Bully for Gamo! They are one of the first manufacturers of adult air rifles to recognize the importance of this feature. Crosman and Daisy have been doing it for years, but most other makers just don’t seem to have figured it out yet. Unfortunately the scope on my sample rifle was not mounted with the crosshairs level, but I took care of that in less than ten minutes. The scope has the Gamo name and logo and it’s not a model I am familiar with.


A Gamo scope.

The scope seems to be of good quality, and it has one feature I can’t wait to try. The dot in the center of the reticle is all that lights up when the illumination is turned on. I think that’s a high-quality feature because it preserves the hunter’s night vision. And that dot is rather unique. I’ll have to use it a little to see how I like it.

On the negative side, the scope has fixed parallax that seems to be set at about 35 yards on the sample I am testing. That will work fine, because I can always reduce the power if I want to shoot closer and want to image to appear to be in focus, but it seems a shame for a nice scope like this not to have adjustable parallax.

The scope mount is one-piece and the correct size for the scope. It has a steel vertical pin at the rear which is mated with a receiver hole in the right location, so all that has been thought out well. Good thing, too, because open sights are not an option with the Hunter Extreme. Unfortunately, neither is .22 caliber, yet. I hope that changes soon because this rifle has far more potential for the larger calibers. Even .25 caliber would be a nice option for an air rifle this husky.

One final comment before I go. This rifle is made in England, so it is actually made by BSA – not Gamo. Gamo owns BSA and BSA Optics, and the association helps both companies in many different ways.

That’s it for today. Next time we’ll look a little deeper.

51 thoughts on “Gamo Extreme Hunter – Part 1

  1. B.B.,

    If what the Hunter Extreme has isn’t a bull barrel, but an extended muzzle break, then what exactly would be considered a bull barrel?

    John


  2. i pray they see the need to offer this in larger calibers. who really “hunts” with .177 caliber? sure you can take small game, but a .22 makes it a definite kill.


  3. A bull barrel is named for Freeman R. Bull, of the Springfield Armory. He is credited for many improvements in rifle marksmanship, including the extra-heavy barrel of no taper designed for target rifles.

    A bull barrel is a single solid piece with no taper from breech to muzzle.

    B.B.


  4. B.B.—Scott298–When these manafactures are making claims=i.e.-gamo hunter extrene shooting 1600fps, rws 460 mag shooting over 1300fps along with a host of others, doesn’t this qualify as false advertising-and arn’t there laws against it. I’m glad to see how air gunning has grown and how much more the “seasoned shooter” knows what’s hype and what’s not. But what about the poor s.o.b. that’s worked extra hours, mowed extra lawns and sacrificed to scrounge up the cash to buy one of these guns due to the glitz of the advertising, only to find out his corvette is really a corvair. There should be a law that all new air gun buyers spend x number of hours on the web going over the reports before forking over the cash. Some of these claims that are being adcertised are in my opinion criminal. Thanks to blogs like this, we who know it’s out there can make edeucated purchases to the new guy it’s a very big learning curve that’s taking untold thousands of dollars-it’s not right-it’s not ethical and at this point I’ll stop ranting.–Scott


  5. Scott298,

    Yeah, it makes me mad, too. But that’s one of the reasons Pyramyd Air wanted this blog. It’s not just to sell their products. They want us to look at all airguns with a view towards explaining them to people before they make purchase decisions.

    B.B.


  6. B.B. Is there a valid reason that the “Extreme” is marketed solely as a .177? It doesn’t seem to make sense to me. Thanks.



  7. Hi B.B.:

    Sorry, this is off-topic. I’m from South America. Airgun equipment is SCARCE here. I found a local shop that sells these pellets: “Diana High Power” in .22 cal. They seem to be a very good quality, heavy domed pellet, similar to a Beeman Kodiak (HN Barracuda) in shape and weight.

    What’s your opinion about them? I’m aware that other Diana pellets enjoyed an excellent reputation (the “Magnum” pellet in .25 cal, now discontinued in the USA).

    Just wanted to know if this one is as good as a Beeman Kodiak, or has it any drawbacks?

    Thank you!

    Rod.



  8. B.B.:

    No, these Diana “High Power” are not the same as RWS Superdomes. They are 20-grainers in .22 cal, here’s a link to the Diana website:

    http://www.diana-airguns.de/index.php?id=124&L=1&width=1024&height=768

    I had a close look at one of these, and they really look similar to Kodiaks, just a little bit longer (yes, longer!) and with a slightly thinner skirt, but anyways it is a very thick skirt.

    I wanted to know: the fact that they are not popular in the USA, is it because they are bad pellets, or simply because they are unavailable there?

    Thanks.

    Rod.



  9. B.B.

    You should make a report about the “LaserLyte Laser Bore Sighter (.177 to .22 caliber)” If you have one or if you know how effective it is.



  10. bb,
    my yard is infested with squirrels year-round and i would like to find a good break barrel, for year-round extermination. i would like to keep it under $200 with scope but im a little lenient. i was thinking about a .22… any ideas?
    thanks for the blog, its my go-to for info.
    Evan




  11. B.B.,

    Thank you for doing this. You would have to be blind to buy an “extreme” after you finish.

    I have one of those laser lytes. They work well to say the least!

    Everyone,

    i am going back to scotts comment on the working class man who spent his $ on a false hope.

    At first i was mad at gamo, more than before. then i saw that its his mistake for not doing his home work before spending his money. He doesent know any better.

    I could have made that mistake but it would not affect my life style if i lost $500. I would be mad because its funding terrorisme to buy an extreme but i guess i would not know that if i did.


  12. BB,

    Pyramydair says it shoot 1600 fps. After your test will they change that? If it shoots less than 1600. I think you will get 1400 or so.

    -sumo



  13. Sumo,

    Well, I published 1425 f.p.s. for the Hunter Extreme from the rifle of an acquaintenance several months ago, so I’d say you are in the right ballpark.

    It will be interesting to see what Pyramyd Air does, because, even though I will make my report, Gamo may insist that number remain at 1600. Companies do put pressure like that on their dealers, you know.

    We shall see.

    B.B.


  14. Scott298–I did not buy the gamo-I was trying to make a point, I own the rws 350 in .177 and if I had the money I would the air arms tx200


  15. BB,

    I am fully aware that some of your vendors exert pressure on you.
    PA has great buying power due to their size, but that also causes complications when it comes to trying to correct false information published by said vendors.
    It would be nice if PA were able to get more truthfulness out of the manufacturers.
    In fact, most of them seem to fudge on the high side with their published MV on their airguns, usually attributing 1,000fps to rifles that realistically never get much over 900fps under perfect conditions with the lightest lead pellets available.
    We all know full well that pellet stability begins to go down the drain at or around the 1050fps range, and that they know that screaming high speeds sell airguns, but why can’t they simply publish more realistic numbers instead of hurting their credibility with outlandish claims.
    It is not as if this were still the days when Doctor Oehler’s chronographs cost four figures, thus allowing centerfire ammo makers and airgun manufactures alike to get away with impunity in fudging their numbers upward.
    My nice little Chrony cost me $65 in 1989, and it still works, and it tells me that the best I can do with my brand new Gamo CFX is 917fps using the rare Beeman coated hollowpoints.
    I am perfectly happy with that, as those pellets all drop into less than 1″ at 25 yards.
    However, I am rather upset with Gamo for inflating their figures, and most especially with their thoroughly irresponsible video of someone taking down a wild boar with one of their .177 air rifles.
    I realize that they are trying to halt the progress of their Korean Career and Dragon competitors, but this encourages reckless use of an airgun for something that is stretching the envelope for the sake of a stunt.
    Surely, public pressure could be applied to Gamo in particular for grossly exaggerating their numbers and for all but advocating misuse of their rifles.

    /end rant

    -Scott


  16. B.B.

    I asked a couple days ago about a leapers scope on a 300 remington ultra magnum. You said they could handle the massive recoil. Would I have any eye relief problems? As in, would they come back and hit me around the eye? I have two different scopes. One is an older one. It’s a 6-24×50. It has the adjustable objective on the front, not on the side like the newer model. The other one is an 8-32×56. It’s newer, and has the AO on the side. I think the 8-32 has a longer eye relief. Do you know if either of those would be safe?

    I’ve heard this thing kicks extremely hard. I’ve read 40fpe into your shoulder. I really don’t want to spend my day in the hospital getting stitches after shooting it once.

    Thanks again.


  17. BB -
    I noticed when shooting my 48 that sometimes it seems to torque, or has a clockwise spin, when taking the shot shooting off a sandbag. Am I holding the rifle too loose or is this a normal force vector?

    Ozark


  18. Hope that was clear – I mean a clockwise torque looking along the z-axis from the shooting position looking down to the end of the barrel.
    Ozark


  19. .300 Rem Mag.

    Well, the eye relief is pretty much the same for most scopes unless they advertise different. The eye relioef for the 8-032 is 3.5″ to 3″, for example.

    I checked Leupold and their 6.5-20 VX-L is 3.7 to 4.4 inches.

    What I cannot tell you – nor can anyone else who is honest – is how the recoil of this rifle will affect YOU! How you hold the rifle in great part determines the black eye or cut skin – not so much the recoil. I have seen people get a crescent scar from a Beeman R1! And I have fired a full-house .458 Winchester Magnum without a hitch. But I KNEW how to hold the rifle so the scope wouldn’t be a problem.

    Check on the Leapers website for the eye relief of the scopes you intend buying. But as for what a recoil of 40 foot-pounds will do to you, you will have to discover for yourself.

    A good analog is a 12-gauge shotgun with 3″ shells. A 7.5 lb. gun has about 54 foot-pounds of recoil energy.

    http://www.chuckhawks.com/shotgun_recoil_table.htm

    B.B.


  20. Ozark,

    What you feel, and it is very prevalent in the RWS Diana sidelevers because of that lever sticking out to the side, is the torque from the mainspring decompressing.

    You are not holding the gun too loose. Too loose is when the gun ends up on the ground.

    B.B.


  21. b.b.–Scott298–boy after part 1 I can’t wait for parts 2,3, or even four–when was the last time you had the opportunity to sit down and have a quiet dinner with your wife-she must have a heart made of gold, God bless both of ya -keep them coming and shoot straight–Scott



  22. B.B.

    Thanks for your help. I just have one more quick question. How exactly would I hold the rifle to prevent injury? Tight to the shoulder I’m guessing? I’d assume that I shouldn’t hold it with the artillary hold like I do my breakbarrel.

    Thanks again for your time.

    .300 Rem Mag.


  23. Off topic somewhat – I just took delivery of an old Predom Lucznik pistol, pretty much exactly like the one you tested.

    Trigger’s rough, but it seems to shoot quite well. Which is unfortunate, because I was hoping to get something that was hold sensitive and would force me to work on my technique!

    Anyway, my finger rather routinely gets pinched between the trigger and the trigger guard/cocking link. I can probably improve it with some judicious filing/rounding off of some edges – but I’m a little reluctant to do so. If the pistol ever gets any sort of collector’s value, that’ll hurt it. By the same token, there’s a zillion of these things around and they seem to be quite robust – I wonder if they’ll ever be scarce enough to really appreciate.

    Do you see any reason I shouldn’t mess with it?


  24. .300 Remington Ultra Magnum,

    With this potent caliber, it would probably be best to use a firm grip, pulling the rifle butt right into the pocket of your shoulder.
    Also, the position you choose will have a huge influence on felt recoil.
    The most punishing position will be prone, next would be shooting from a bench, then sitting, and the least felt would be offhand.
    Another thing I can strongly recommend is one of these handy wearable recoil shields, which come in particularly handy during lengthy shooting sessions.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/esearch.exe/search?category_selector=all_products&search_keywords=past+recoil&Click+to+Begin+Search.x=0&Click+to+Begin+Search.y=0&Click+to+Begin+Search=Search_Button

    I can shoot all day from the bench or even prone with a maximum loaded .30-06 with no black and blue shoulder, and even my 12 year old girl can handle this rifle using the magnum pad.
    Don’t let your Remington intimidate you, and it probably would be a good idea to work up to maximum in stages so you can get acclimated without developing the dreaded flinch.

    -Scott


  25. Since this review is about gamo,I thought I would ask a gamo related question.

    The gamo viper (not the express) is a gun I am considering. I am looking for a good rifle that I can use for plinking and target shooting mostly. I expect it to be very accurate, but I’m still not expecting a 1 inch group at 50 yards. I really liked how there is a one piece mount on it. It looks like it can stand up to some recoil. I am currently using a 22 lb. cocking force airgun, so 8 more pounds doesn’t seem to be much of a leap. I also was lloking at the gamo shadow sport. I’m really looking for a “sniper” rifle that is a break barrel. Thanks!


  26. Severe recoil…

    When I was a kid, my dad would take me to the local rock quarry. I’d shoot my Winchester M61 .22 and he’d use his Winchester 30-30 lever action. One day he offered to let me fire his rifle, warning me to lean into the recoil so it didn’t knock me over. I decided to go one better by leaning my firing shoulder against a tree. Big mistake in felt recoil! Talk about a rock and a hard place. It took many months to get up my courage to fire it again.

    Sometimes the whole purpose of one’s life is to serve as a warning to others….


  27. .300 Rem Mag.,

    The artillery hold is out! Hold the rifle firmly into your shoulder and pay particular attention to how and where you place your head.

    The trick is to get your head moving at the same velocity as the rest of your body, so DO NOT stand square to the target. Turn almost sideways to the target, so your off shoulder is nearly pointing downrange. That way your whole body will move with the recoil instead of you getting sucker-punched by standing square.

    Also, your feet will form a much stronger platform when one is almost behind the other, instead of side-by-side. That will keep you from moving backwards.

    Your new rifle will feel like a .30-06 on steroids. There’s not that much difference.

    B.B.




  28. Gamo Viper,

    I haven’t tested one, but I do believe the Gamo Viper must be a very nice breakbarrel. I liked how the Viper Express cocked and held, and the Viper would be the same. It holds like a fine shotgun.

    Please tell us how you like it!

    B.B.


  29. B.B. & Gamo Viper,

    I purchased a Viper about two months ago and have been very pleased with it. It was much less “twangy” out of the box than my Shadow 1000. Also, really like the scope (which has the illumuinated center dot on the reticle) as well as liking the stock on this rifle a great deal. B.B. is correct that the cocking action is quite good as well. All of the talk about velocity has me buying a Chrono this week, so I’ll soon know if the fps claims are true.

    Hope this helps.

    LS


  30. bb,

    as regards to the .300 rem mag cartridge-is there a huge difference in felt recoil between it and the .300 rem ultra mag…i really want to get a gun in that caliber…its the only cartridge i could find that has more than 2000 ft/lbs at 500+ yrds.

    Dave



  31. everyone,

    I made my own targets yesterday and want to tell you what i did so you can do it. Its not elaborite or clever but its fun. What you Need is paper, spray paint and querters and dimes. Put the money on the paper and spray over it and you have querter size targets. You can used color paper or any color paint. Black paint on orange paper is good.

    I fing the art paper for drawing very good because the pellet leaves a hole punch hole in it. I used white art paper, green spray paint (all i had), and a orange marker to put a small orange dot in the center of the white where the querter was.

    USE ART PAPER FOR THE HOLE PUNCH LIKE HOLES!
    WHITH PRINTER PAPER IT LOOKS LIKE IT WOULD IF YOU JAMED YOUR FINGER IN THE PAPER.

    If you dont want to hear about the daystate airwolf then dont read the rest of this comment…

    LOADING THE MAG…
    The daystae airwolf is easier to load with longer pellets. That may just me because i have big hands. There is a peice of metal in a plastic casing. The pellets are held in the metal so i have to push them past the plastic. Kodiaks are great. The jsb’s are hard to load BUT IF YOU HAVE NORMAL HANDS YOUR FINE.

    I GIVE THIS GUN 9.99999999999999999/10 that may change to a 10/10 over time. The mag loads the pellets into the gun perfectly. Its big hands loading pellets into the mag thats difficult. Manigable with the pinkey but still.

    -sumo


  32. Dave,

    Quote: haha, i think they were talking about the ultra magnum cartridge…there is no .300 rem mag..is there?

    *chuckle*
    No, indeed.
    There are several calibers labeled .300 magnum, but the most popular still is the .300 Winchester magnum.
    The .300 Weatherby magnum has a bit more punch, something on the order of 200-300fps more MV at the muzzle for comparable bullet weights.
    Also, the Weatherby has a longer neck that better lends itself to heavier bullets than the “neckless wonder” Winchester.


  33. Oh no, you guys are wrong. There is a .300 remington ultra magnum. It’s a very rare caliber. I’m going to have to order all the ammo online, I can’t find it in any local stores.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/ebrowse.exe/browse?TabID=3&Categoryid=8956&categorystring=653***690***

    It is more powerful than the weatherby. This cartrige is massive. I should get my gun begginning of next week.

    Only 30 caliber with more punch than the 300 remington ultra mag is the 30-378 Weatherby Mag. After that you start getting into higher calibers.

    But there is definately a remington ultra mag. :P


  34. anonymous,

    yea, i know there is an ultra magnum cartridge, but i was asking about a .300 rem mag. scott, thanks for clearing that up…the guy who made that short sentence comment was me also, haha, i kinda caught myself after i made a mistake. one more question to everyone about this sort of stuff, and then that wil be all about firearms, since this is an airgun blog-how do short mags and short ultra mags compare to regular ones…im guessing it goes like this-if you are using the same weight bullet, then it would go short magnum, magnum, short ultra magnum, ultra magnum…am i correct? someone care to explain any of this to me?

    thanks for the help,

    Dave


  35. Dave,

    FWIW, the term “magnum,” as applied to centerfire rifle cartridges is little more than a marketing gimmick, not at all unlike (*cough* Gamo) some of the airgun makers and their advertising tricks.
    A “true” magnum rifle caliber will have the characteristic belt just forward of the rim.
    This belt is completely unnecessary on a bottlenecked case, as it was originally used on the likes of the straight case .458 Winchester Magnum to prevent case head separations due to the straight case slipping just forward of the rim from the dramatically higher pressure loadings used in it.
    The rim in a bottleneck is little more than advertising cosmetics.
    As for the short magnums, those are simply cases that use shorter and fatter cases to increase case capacity instead of using longer cases, to do the same thing.
    The .300 Winchester Magnum is a .30-06 length case, while the .375 H&H, the .300 H&H, and the .460 Weatherby are extended cases, longer than the .30-06.
    The idea behind the Short Magnum family of cartridges is to allow a shorter and thus lighter action, while theoretically improving interior ballistics with the shorter powder charge column.
    That second theory is why the 6mm PPC has long dominated benchrest shooting.
    The visible difference between standard magnum and short magnum is .30-06 Springfield to .308 Winchester in terms of case length.


  36. Sorry to bring the discussion back on topic. Just today (8/13) I actually handled a Gamo Extreme Hunter in a gun shop. BB, you just had a description of the gun in your commentary, but no real evaluation. This gun is really pretty! I really liked the feel when holding it. It is on the heavy side, but it seems to me it would be a real good shooter, just by holding still as you shoot it. Unfortunaely, they didn’t have a range and it would have run me a little over $500 to test it ;-( So it is still there.

    Michael in Georgia


  37. Michael in Georgia,

    I seldom comment on subjective appearances unless they are stellar, which the Hunter Extreme’s are not. If you liked the feel, good. Perhaps it’sw is made for you.

    But when I shot it in parts 2 and 3, it performed as I described. Accuracy was adequate but nothing worthy shouting about. Pellets going through the target sideways are hardly reason for me to praise an air rifle – not to mention the lie about velocity.

    The trigger is far too heavy and probably caused some of the inaccuracy – which is strange for me to say since I can get along with almost any trigger on the market.

    B.B.


  38. BB,
    Well, I’m a tad behind and haven’t yet read the other parts. Oh, and perhaps I haven’t gotten my hands on enough air rifles to really make a judgment. Anyway at $500+ it is *way* more than I want to plunk down. Now if it were a *pistol*! Hmm.

    Michael in Georgia


  39. Shortly after i purchased the Gamo Extreme, i ran a little ballistic pendulum experiment for my high school physics class. at 5m distance i calculated 432.769058 m/s.
    10m at 374.3931512 m/s, and 15m at 241.9486441 m/s. So at 16.4 feet my extreme was firing at 1419.84 f/s. this was with PBA ammo. i think its reasonable to assume that the muzzle velocity is around 1600 (1650 is labeled on the barrel). Food for thought.


  40. Food,

    No, it is NOT reasonable to think the velocity is 1600 f.p.s., when it’s been tested by accurate chronographs repeatedly and proven to be in the low to mid 1400s. Ballistic pendulums are known to have significant errors resulting from friction and the inability to read the swing accurately. An Oehler chronograph with a 4 million cycle crystal clock and skyscreen placement less than 1/8″ off is accurate to less than 1 percent error.

    Yes the gun will go that fast, but only with an explosive detonation.

    B.B.


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