Gamo Compact vs IZH 46 – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Normally, I don’t do comparisons, but this time I will. Here are two fine inexpensive 10-meter target pistols, one of which, the IZH 46, has become difficult to get. I say they are inexpensive, but that’s only compared to a world-class 10-meter pistol. The Gamo Compact is the least expensive of the two, yet it gives up no accuracy to the IZH. However, the Russian-made IZH has more features than the Spanish Gamo. Either pistol can compete in a local- and regional-level matches. This series will examine both guns in great detail.


Gamo Compact is an attractive 10-meter target pistol that resembles a semiautomatic instead of the single-shot that it is.

Starting with the Compact
The Gamo Compact is a single-stroke pneumatic pistol, which means the pump lever only has to be cycled one time for a shot. If you try to cycle it a second time you lose the air that was compressed on the first pump. The effort needed to close the pump lever during compression is 20 lbs. That’s going to be easy for most adults and possible for most teenagers.


Top strap rotates forward to open compression cylinder (the silver cylinder shown in the bottom half of the gun). Closing the top strap charges the gun with compressed air.

The pistol weighs just over 2 pounds, which probably varies a little with the density of the walnut grips. The grips are medium to large and very hand-filling. If this were my personal gun I would remove a lot of wood for a better fit, because my finger can just reach the trigger. The right-hand grips have an adjustable palm shelf on the right and a thumbrest on the left. They appear to be sized to conform to International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) rules, which means a thickness of not more than 50mm. Left-hand grips do not seem to be available at this time.

Trigger
The trigger on my test gun broke at 48-52 oz. There was a pronounced creep in the second stage on the gun I’m testing. The one trigger adjustment screw simply adjusts the length of the first-stage travel. There’s no adjustment to lighten the trigger-pull or for overtravel. The trigger blade can be rotated on its stalk, which gives some front-and-back adjustment.

The one nice thing about the Compact trigger is that it allows access to the mechanism. In the past, I’ve lubricated Compact triggers, reducing the pull significantly. I thought I’d try with this gun. Under the wooden grip panel on the right side is a milky white translucent cover holding the trigger mechanism intact. This cover can be carefully removed by removing three screws, then the sear can be directly accessed.


Translucent cover keeps trigger parts organized. You can cock the pistol and observe the trigger function through this cover.


The trigger is uncocked. The sear and air release are circled. The next photo shows how they engage.


Sear holds air-release hammer until the trigger moves the sear out of the way. Then, the hammer knocks open the air-release valve. The place where the sear contacts the hammer is lubed with moly to reduce trigger-pull.

After trigger lube
After Beeman M-2-M moly grease was applied to the sear and hammer, the pull weight dropped in stages to 36-39 oz. The creep diminished by about 95 percent but can still be felt. I think the moly may continue to reduce the trigger pressure as I shoot the pistol, because the Compact I owned several years ago was identical to this one and eventually got down to 21 oz. I’ll report on the pull, again, after the gun has a few hundred more shots through it.

Balance
The Compact is a light target pistol, with an especially light muzzle. It floats in my hand, but many shooters will like the light weight. That’s the direction the expensive pistols are headed these days – Gamo just got there first.

Build quality
Gamo uses a lot of engineering plastic in this pistol. Steel or other metals are used where they’re needed, but you’ll see a lot of plastic. That said, the Compact has a good record for longevity and reliability. The sear and hammer are hardened, so if you don’t try to lighten the pull through filing or stoning, they should outlast you. Keep the air cylinder lubricated with Pellgunoil. A drop applied to the air-intake hole gets sucked into the chamber violently as the sealed piston passes the hole. Overall, I think the pistol is something to be proud of. The dark action is set off by the figured walnut grips. The gun you’re looking at is one someone returned to Pyramyd Air for some unspecified reason – so it isn’t a cherry-pick.

Next time, I’ll introduce the IZH 46.

53 thoughts on “Gamo Compact vs IZH 46 – Part 1

  1. BB, I’m guessing that the trigger pull could be lightened even more by putting in a different trigger return spring (the shorter one) without compromising the trigger’s operation. Any idea if I’m right about this?

    Also, I’m very curious to see if this thing outshoots a Marksman 2004! This last comment is partly tongue-in cheek, but only partly! I am curious to see how close that excellent-for-the-money bargain basement pistol comes to a cheaper competition gun. I believe the trigger on the 2004 is already nicer…



  2. I’ve owned the Gamo Compact and IZH-46M. The Compact is a wonderful gun. It’s light weight mades it easy to handle. I prefer the underlever cocking on the IZH to the overlever on the Gamo. The trigger on the Compact is it’s weakness. The trigger on the IZH is far and away superior. The IZH has a large amount of weight in it’s nose and requires more from you to hold that up. You will also need to sand the grip down to your hand because it’s very large. The Compact is good, the IZH is better. I sold my Gamo and still have the IZH-48M.


  3. K. Rihanek,

    Thanks for your observations. I agree the trigger on the 46 is superior to the Compact, but the light weight of the Compact is a problem for me. I need a heavier gun to stay steady on target. The 46 may be too heavy, but that’s better than too light for me.

    B.B.


  4. I love my Gamo Compact. I don’t think I could stand the trigger to be any lighter on the pull as to me it is already a hair trigger. It shoots a heckuva lot better than I can shoot it. I found the thumbrest to be a bit too high so have modified it to better fit my hand. The ability to rotate the trigger on its stalk is a plus.

    Rabbitt


  5. I have not owned either pistol, but I would love to get one if only they made them in a .22. The target gun maker in my opinion has forgotten the hunter. We love accurate guns too!

    B.B. What is the largest pest/bird these guns could handle?

    jw


  6. JW,

    The IZH 46 is marginal for small birds of wren size at close range. The Compact is below the margin.

    If you are looking for an accurate air pistol for small pest birds, consider both the Beeman P1/HW45 and the RWS Diana P5 Magnum. Both are very accurate and much more powerful than most target pistols.

    B.B.


  7. B.B.

    Thanks for the input. I also appreciate your input the other day on the tx200 Unfortunetly after reading so many of your blogs I am torn between a tx and a talon ss.

    I have considered the RWS the price tag isnt bad, but the P1 is a little high. Would the RWS handle squirrels or would that be pushing it? I see you have blogged the RWS p5 so I will be reading about it. Thanks

    jw


  8. I just got a Daisy 747 for my bithday. How does this compare with the IZH 46 and the Gamo compact?

    Initially the trigger pull was not smooth and crisp but after about 1000 shots it has become better. How many shots will it take to finally settle down?

    Thanks. Your blog is so helpful.
    Stingray


  9. Vince,
    My first thought was also the 2004/P17.

    JW,
    A low cost pistol for small pests – none better than the 1377C. If you can live with the pump action it is very dead on at under 15-yards and usable out to say 25-yards.

    If you got the money BB’s suggested P1 in 22cal is no doubt the better choice for lots of reasons.

    About your choice of TX200 or Talon SS… for me the Talon SS would win hands down. But that is because springers are so much more difficault to shoot. The springer does offer the advantage of simplicty though. Base your choice on what you value more – easy to shoot or simple to shoot.

    DB


  10. B.B.

    Yay, we’re finally getting into match pistols. I’m interested to hear too how these compare with the Daisy 747. These appear to be the next step up.

    I hope at some point that you talk about sighting systems for match pistols. I’m guessing they go beyond the blade and notch design of the 747. (Match pistol shooting techniques would be great too.)

    Matt61


  11. Hi BB,

    Back to yesterday’s 392. I’ll push a CP through the muzzel to the breech and report back to you and by the way, what pellets does the 392 likes base on the one you tested. Thanks to Mikeu. never crossed my mind to test Gamo and beeman pellets, I’ll try them next.

    Hank



  12. Stingray,

    The 747 trigger seems to continue to break in over several thousand rounds. By 4,000 it should be as far as it’s going to go.

    A 747 is front-heavy like an IUZH 46, only more so. Pumping takes the same effort as A 46, less than a 46 M or a Compact. Velocity is about 350, so it tears holes sometimes.

    B.B.


  13. Matt61,

    I know I’m late on 10-meter target pistols, but I don’t want to turn this series into that one more than necessary. There are so many top guns I want to talk about, that these two will just be the entry level. I won’t talk about the sport, itself, in this report.

    The 747 can be compared to either of these pistols, and I think I did a blog on it sometime in the past.

    B.B.



  14. Let’s say our intrepid shooter is right-handed, but shoots his air rifles left-handed because the vision in his left eye is a lot better.

    I’ve adapted to this little bit of schizophrenia just fine, but still suspect a pistol would feel far more comfortable in my right hand as opposed to my left.

    Would I be smart to get the right-handed pistol and see if I could live with it?


  15. B.B.

    So your saying the RWS in the right hands has potential. Which means I could take out a squirrel at 50 yards consistantly… I wish! Hitting a nickle everytime thats good shootn’ however I think I best stick to a rifle in .22 and say the heck with a pistol. I am good but not quite that good.

    thanks again your always helpful

    jw

    DB thanks for your thoughts as well


  16. Hank…….
    I had an accuracy problem with my 397 that I think I have cured (have not been able to shoot at distance yet). Would not shoot anything better than 3/8 – 1/2 inch in my living room.

    When chambering a pellet it took a fair amount of force to close the bolt. The pellet snapped into the bore.

    I removed the bolt and used a cleaning rod and hard cloth patches imbedded with 800 grit lapping compound th just lap into the bore on the breech end.
    Only took a few minutes. Removed a lot of brass. Cleanup was a pain getting the lapping compound out.

    Now when the bolt shoves in a pellet, it presses it in rather than snapping. Shoots 1 hole groups indoors now. Not a large fuzzy hole….it looks like just one hole.

    twotalon


  17. I wouldn’t mind an IZH-46 someday.

    There seems to be a lot of waiting on things lately.

    Are there problems with supply, demand, customs or trade laws, weaking US dollar etc….?


  18. the trout underground.

    Until I had my eye doc make me a pair of glasses more suited to shooting my pistols using my right eye I shot them right handed and sighted using my left eye. With pistols I think you would find this easier since it is just a matter of moving your arm over a bit to line up with the left eye unlike with rifles where you almost have to shoot left handed. Based on my limited experience I would say you wouldn’t have much problem shooting right handed and left eyed.

    If possible try to borrow a pistol and try it.

    Rabbitt


  19. B.B.

    Thanks for the comparison of the 747 with the featured pistols. Yes, I devoured everything you wrote on the 747 before buying it and am darned glad I did.

    I’m wondering how you’re doing with the PT Taurus 1911. I’ve been continuing to research entry-level 1911s and my conclusion is that the PT Taurus is the way to go in this category. The reviews out there just rave about this pistol although they acknowledge a certain amount of quality control of the kind that you mentioned. The only serious competitor was the STI Spartan. However, this is not sold in California, and it apparently does not disassemble like the original 1911 which I do not like. So, I have three questions about the Taurus.

    1) How is the finish holding up? There are a lot of complaints that the blueing is thin and wears off quickly. I’m wondering if a stainless steel version is better.

    2) Does the Taurus disassemble like the original 1911?

    3) Would Taurus’s lifetime warranty have covered your problems with failures to feed? I don’t think I’m up for reducing magazine tension and deburring extractors like you did.

    Thanks.

    Matt61



  20. I have both of these guns. I got the Gamo first and bought the IZH long ago when Tom wrote about it in the AGL. I like both but have had to do a little work on the Gamo. The grips do need to be sanded down if you have small to med hands (if you are the type who always has a problem buying gloves because they are one size fits all). I used a cratex block to polish the sear surface (NOT the wheels or points that go on your dremel) and I put a small lead weight in the front to shift the balance. The gun shoots very nice and the trigger breaks around 24 oz. I use mine mostly for plinking tin cans at 25 yds. I would defer to BB on shooting 10 meter target as his experience and skill is far greater than mine.





  21. Matt 61,

    I think the PT1911 is a good gun, but not a great one. You’ve seen the gunsmithing I’ve had to do to this point, and there is more to do. Just look at the difference between the groups at 20 feet from the Wilson Combat and the Taurus in the fourth part. Obviously I can shoot and it’s the gun that’s grouping poorly.

    The finish is okay, but I’ve seen those complaints, too. I have shot mine about 850 shots thus far and I’ve had it apart about 50 times and the finish is wearing pretty well, which is to say there is still a lot of it on the gun. But a stainless gun wouldn’t show wear nearly as fast.

    I am actually having fun with my Taurus, because I’m using it to re-learn 1911s. I used to work on them in the 1970s, before the Series 80 Colt models came along.

    The 1911 is a simple gun, but there are nuances that affect the gun greatly. I am having magazine problems for the first time in my life. Back when I used to just shoot GI magazines there were no problems.

    I really feel like a new airgunner who has to learn everything for the first time, and that keeps me sharp and humble when I write about airguns. I know what it’s like to be a newbie again.

    I want to write another installment to the Taurus story, but with the SHOT Show and getting caught back up, plus a nasty Texas winter that kept me off the range more than usual, I haven’t had the time to reload or to shoot.

    However, I am writing an article for Shotgun News about the Taurus, and I’m using this blog as a journal, to remind me of the bumps and blockages. So there will be more articles.

    The PT1911 disassembles just like any Series 80 Colt, which means there are a few more parts that enable the firing pin safety to work. It takes some learning, but once you know how, it isn’t hard.

    Taurus would have covered my problems if I hadn’t done what I did. But I wanted to get a story out of the gun, and that wasn’t the one I wanted.

    Get the Taurus. In its price range, there isn’t anything that is that much better.

    B.B.


  22. Hey B.B.

    Question about keeping a pneumatic pump like the 392 charged or a pcp charged while it is stored. After adding a pump or charging should I also cock it?

    jw


  23. BB,

    Everyone is spot on about the Gamo Compact’s grips being too large. I resized mine pretty substantially last fall and even had to stipple much of them again. Only things about the gun I don’t like are the fairly small width of the rear sight and the low power. The overall width of the rear sight makes it hard for my eye to “bracket” the target bull–for lack of better words. The lower power does indeed sometimes tear the 10 meter target rather than punch an easy to score hole. A thin cardboard backer helps tremendously.

    The light weight and smaller overall length seem to make the gun point beautifully. I recall seeing grips for lefties available directly through Gamo USA.

    Derrick


  24. bb

    i love your blogs and am keen to fully understand your industry words when you speak of triggers, 1st stage, 2nd stage, over travel, creep etc etc. While i can guess some of their meanings this often leads to mistakes.

    cheers
    paul


  25. BB,

    Off topic, I need to replace a .22 cal spring piston rifle or two. I had a TX200 until recently and really enjoyed everything about it. The question is do I want another TX200 or do I want a new ProSport? I prefer the walnut stock detailing on the ProSport and don’t care for the fish scale effect on the TX, but I can live with or refinish it.
    I’ve never shot a ProSport but have read that the cocking linkage is so-so. Don’t know if that’s true. I had a BSA Stutzen and could make that underlever work, so…
    It’ll be scoped and used mainly from 10-50 yards. Occasionally called upon for squirrel or chipmunk removal.

    Are they different enough from each other that I should consider buying both?

    D


  26. I have Hy Score 806 that my dad bought used around 1975. I assume it may have been made by Diana, and may be the same as a Diana mod. 22. Do you know when these were made? I also could use some refurbishing tips.



  27. It’s BB’s fault for talking up the Izh’s. Now they’ve become scarce as gnats eyelashes… I’m still waiting for mine after ordering before the latest price jump. Trying to be patient….. and trying to be patient some more….

    /Dave


  28. Hi BB,

    Thanks for the 10 meter target pistol blog. I wouldn’t mind either if you did some info on technique too. Later in the series if you can fit it in.

    Thanks again,
    /Dave



  29. Trout,

    “Off balance.” That is to say that your muscles will not be relaxed enough for your accuracy to be all it can be. Muscles will be forced to work differently. Strained here and stretched there to achieve this awkward position. Too hard to hold.

    /Dave


  30. Paul,
    First Stage is intentional trigger take up or travel Before it engages the Sear. Second stage is the travel the trigger makes After engaging the sear to the point that the Sear lets the hammer go. Creep is the movement in the trigger as it slides the sear along the sear/hammer engagement. Ideally there should be none. Thats what is meant by a crisp trigger, it engages the sear and any movement past that lets the hammer go. Overtravel is the movement of the trigger After the sear has let the hammer go. Of course on single stage triggers the only stage is like the second stage described above.

    HTH
    Sam


  31. B.B.

    Thanks for your lengthy response about the Taurus. I’ll look forward to future reports, but I’m pretty well sold on it. A stainless PT 1911 it will be with Wilson mags. I can see it now.

    Sam, thanks for your definitions of the trigger terms. I’ve never had them laid out before.

    Matt61


  32. JW,

    You never cock after the pump, but before. Most pneumatics don’t require that they be cocked to pump them. The 392 doesn’t. You just pump it.

    The Sheridan Supergrade valve requires you to cock the gun to take pressure off the valve so it will hold the air when pumped. But one the air is in, the valve seals itself and the gun can be uncocked again.

    Pneumatics that are never cocked, like the Crosman 130 pistol and 140 rifle, should not be stored with a pump of air in them, because that cocks the gun.

    B.B.




  33. D,

    I am not a fan of the Pro Sport. I’ve owned one and found the cocking linkage to be crude compared to the TX200′s. However, it’s no worst than the Stutzen you mentioned, so if you can live with that, you won’t mind the Pro Sport.

    Certainly the Pro Sport has classic lines. It’s styled after a $2,000 handmade Venom Mach II (1990′s price), so it should be.

    Many Pro Sport owners love their guns, and I think you might be one of them. If styling is important, get it.

    B.B.



  34. /Dave,

    I’m going to give you the entire technique for shooting Olympic-class air pistol. It’s one of the few things I know very well.

    It will be a long and glorious report.

    B.B.



  35. B.B.

    Sorry to be a pain and probably sound like a numbskull but with your answer from my previous ques. I have a new prob.

    Ok so to store my 392PA cock it then pump it and I am good to go. Does this also apply to my hb22?

    Also to shoot the guns should I be cocking first? I always pumped then cocked and added a pellet. Am I backwords?

    thanks abunch I obviously have lots to learn on airguns. Where do you learn stuff like this?

    jw


  36. JW,

    No. To store your 392 (what does PA mean?) you DON’T cock it. You just pump it once and that’s it.

    I said SOME guns have to be cocked to accept a pump of air, but the 392 isn’t one of them.

    Just pump the gun one time without cocking, then store it.

    B.B.


  37. B.B.

    Ok so I am good with storing the gun that is what I have been doing. All the posts and blogs got me confused to much reading I reckon.

    Now as for “PA” on the gun NO clue here. It says Model 392PA 5.5mm.

    So on loading a 392 should I cock it first then pump?

    Your info is greatly appreciated and if this post turned up somewhere yesterday and you already answered it I am sorry I tried to post it and today couldnt find it, so I reposted.

    thanks
    jw


  38. JW,

    It’s possible to do either – pump then cock or cock then pump. I always pump then cock my 392. You don’t want to load the gun until the very end, just before you shoot. That’s for safety.

    It’s probably best to ask questions on the most current post, so you remember where to look for the answer. I try to keep up with them so you never have to wait more than a day, but sometimes I fail. So having the questions where you can remember to look is best.

    B.B.


  39. Hi BB

    A Quick question you may be able to help with, If i use Pelligun oil or a silicon gun oil as described on my compact, the Gun wont hold pressure, you can charge it but unless you fire it within 20-30 seconds there is not enoungh power to fire the Pellet.
    This has happened every time i've used silicon based oil, the only way to bring the gun back to par is to add a drop of a light oil like sewing machine or hair clipper oil (both have worked)within a couple of cycles the gun will hold full pressure again. Last itme i did this I left it charged overnight and it was still pretty much 100% charged in the morning. I dont understand why this is happening as it makes no real sense.
    Just to bring you up to date – I bought the gun in Nov 2011 with left handed grips as standard (yeay). Also I think they must have taken on board some of the critisism regarding the adjustable trigger, the adjusting screw on mine is long enough to push the second stage beyond the point where it will latch. Still a 750g pull as standard though.
    I think it is a remarkable pistol for the price though. and grips for a leftie.

    Cheers

    Chris


  40. Well, I can tell you a couple things. The pump piston head in your pistol is not responding the way it should. Otherwise, it would hold air with silicone oil.

    Silicone oil is non-lubricating. It's single purpose is forming a hydraulic seal in the incredibly thin space between the pump head and the walls of the compression chamber. But in your gun that space between the head and walls (actually there is just a single circular wall) is too large for silicone oil to work.

    You mention leaving the gun charged for longer than five minutes. If you have done this before, that could explain why the gun no longer holds air as it should.

    The pump piston head of a single-stroke pneumatic is also the inlet valve seal of the air reservoir. It has to be flexible to work as a pump head, but rigid to also work as a seal. Unfortunately, the boundary between flexible and rigid is razor-thin, which is why it is not recommended to leave these guns charged longer than five minutes.

    As long as the gun still works you're okay. The air pressure a single-stroke can build is not high enough to be dangerous with compressed air.

    B.B.


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