Gamo Recon – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Those who follow this blog on a regular basis know that I am always on the lookout for an airgun suitable for young shooters. “Kids’ guns” we used to call them. As I’ve reviewed them over the past several years, some basic facts have stuck in my mind. To be a success, a kid’s gun has to be cheap. There is no way around it. People simply will not pay a lot of money for something they think a kid might grow out of. So, cost will always be a major factor with these guns, and the main reason why the Beeman R7, while suited to shooters of smaller stature, can never be considered a kid’s gun.

Kid’s guns have to be light, and easy to cock. They should have safety features that actually work to keep the shooter safe, and while a safety is, by name, such a device, it doesn’t do what the name implies unless there is a solid foundation of gun safety training to go with it. The Recon’s safety is manual, which most gun handlers prefer. The gun should not have a trigger that’s too light, because nervous inattentive fingers can cause a disaster if the trigger releases at the wrong time.

The final feature I want to see on a kid’s gun is a good set of adjustable open sights, because if we don’t train the new shooter how to sight the gun, we have done him or her a gross disservice. Scopes are nothing but aids for greater sighting precision.


Gamo Recon is a dressy kid’s airgun with modern styling.

The Gamo Recon has met most of the requirements listed here, lacking only one. It has no open sights, so a scope or dot sight is mandatory. The price is under $90 for the rifle with scope. That puts it on the high end of the price spectrum. A velocity of 525 f.p.s. pits it against Crosman’s 795 breakbarrel that does have open sights but no scope and gets an advertised 600 f.p.s.

A look at the rifle
The Recon comes in a black synthetic stock that has a tactical profile. The butt has been skeletonized and has a thumbhole cutout, as well. A high rollover cheekpiece makes the rifle 100 percent ambidextrous. Contrary to many synthetic stocks these days, most of the butt feels solid rather than hollow. Only the pistol grip is hollow, and you can actually see up into it from underneath. The forearm is sculpted for an offhand shooter’s hand to grasp, and I found it fit me rather well in the offhand position. The length of pull (distance from the center of the butt to the trigger) is just under 12-3/4″, making the rifle suited to smaller shooters but not uncomfortable to adults of average size. The stock surface is textured but slick to the touch. The buttpad is a thick, black ventilated pad.


Pistol grip is hollow.

The receiver is metal, as are the trigger and safety blades. The barrel is a thin steel liner encased in a synthetic sheath. The outer surface of the barrel is fluted for a very technical look. It also makes the barrel fatter, which provides a better grip when cocking. Cocking effort on the test gun is just 16 lbs. – a full 3 lbs. lower than what’s advertised. Light cocking is important on kids’ guns, and this one is well into the range where younger shooters will be able to handle it. The weight of just over 4.5 lbs. makes it well-suited for kids, but also for adults who want a plinking rifle that won’t weigh them down.


Barrel is a thin steel tube encased in synthetic material.


Muzzle is recessed inside outer plastic sheath.

The trigger is rated to break at 3 lbs., and I’ll test that when I test velocity. It has a fairly smooth second stage, but of course the GRT-III trigger from Charlie da Tuna will fit perfectly and should lower the pull weight substantially.

I’ll also report on the firing behavior when I do the velocity test. However, with just the few shots so far I can say there’s some spring buzz when the rifle fires.

28 thoughts on “Gamo Recon – Part 1

  1. May I suggest the best gun available?
    The Baikal 61. It will never out grow the kids, and if the kids loose interest in shooting, the Dad will have a gem. Just receive MY model 60. My son can keep the 61, the 60 is mine. A great underrated with a smooth trigger, and great accuracy.

    Thanks


  2. Just a suggestion, I know I aint the best person for this. But i think i have a couple suggestions for future blgos: something on slingshots, like accuracy, strength, types, and uses. The crosman 1377 pistol test ( i saw you have a blog about the pistol), other hunting pistols, and/or good quality and accurate rifles for an affordable price. Just a suggestion though i wouldnt be hurt if didnt use any of these (or maybe you alreday made a blog on some that i dont know about?)

    CritterController


  3. B.B.

    I’ll be interested to see if this Gamo shows continued improvement in Gamo products. On the subject of quality control, a friend of mine, responding to my comments about Chinese airguns, tells me that her boyfriend works for a quality control company in China that oversees Boeing airplane products and their purpose in life seems to be cutting corners….

    Is it true that the Dragunov sniper rifle pioneered the skeleton stock? And is it also true that this rifle was only about 2 MOA? I find that hard to believe with the quality of Russian guns.

    Matt61




  4. jw burns:

    Please oh, please tell me where you got a 60. I have been on the hunt for one, and not only I have not found any, now even the 61 seems to be scarce.


  5. Cowboy dad here.
    Off topic. Maybe you can point out something I’m doing wrong.
    As you may recall I have an Avanti 853c and a Slavia 630 (with open sights).
    I’ve narrowed the pellet choice for the Avanti down to RWS Wadcutters…the heavier Meisterklugen. Off of a rest it will tag the ‘x’ on an offical 10 target every time.
    So last week I decided to change ammo in the 630 from RWS Superpoints to SuperDomes. I sighted in and now have a problem (in my mind).
    I consider myself a fair shot with the Avanti…maybe even pretty good. But over the last couple of days I’m finding I’m shooting very nearly as good with the Slavia as with the Avanti.
    Am I mistakedn or shouldn’t there be a real big difference between aperture target sights and plain ole iron sights?
    P.S. I feel sorry for you guys in the U.S….for $150 the Slavia has turned out to be one damn fine rifle…fitting most of your above requirments exactly and still at a fairly reasonable price.
    Ya know…I can’t find a piece of plastic on the thing anywhere.


  6. B.B.

    That’s easy. Just about everything I know is here:

    http://www.snipercentral.com/svd.htm

    The site is by a guy who purports to be a U.S. army sniper who evaluates tactical rifles. A great resource if true and there’s every reason to think it is. That bit about the Dragunov having the first skeleton stock is something I picked up elsewhere but don’t remember where. Like I said, my big interest is that Russians seem to be lagging in sniper rifles of all things where I would expect them to be in the lead.

    Cowboy dad, with a name like that, where do you live if not the U.S?

    Matt61


  7. Cowboy dad,

    At ten meters I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 630 giving the 853 a run for its money. Your 853 is capable of shooting a 0.15″ group at 10 meters, but so is the 630. In fact, a lot of medium-powered European pellet rifles can shoot that well at 10 meters.

    The 853 needs a better trigger and crisper sights to edge past the 630, and it may not go very far past it, either.

    So why don’t “they” make a 630 10-meter rifle for the kids? Well, “they” used to. It was called the Weihrauch HW55, and in 1969 it beat all the FWB recoilless rifles in the world to capture gold.

    But shooters wanted recoilless technology, and then single-stroke pneumatics and then CO2 and finally precharged pneumatics.

    Could an HW 55 win gold today? Probably not. Could a Slavia 630 win a junior air rifle match? Probably so, because the competition (in the form of the 853 and the 887) isn’t that far ahead. When the new Edge from AirForce gets on the scene, however, I think the days of the 853 will finally come to an end.

    Good shooting, by the way. I got my Slavia 631 when they were still available here.

    B.B.


  8. B.B.

    On the subject of hunting handguns, I was amazed when I went to the gun store for my 1911 to see S&W revolvers chambered for the 500 S&W magnum. As the iconic psychopath in the first Dirty Harry film said: “My that’s a big one.”

    One gun writer, though, claims that this is the very gun you need when you are lying under an ATV and the buffalo that tipped it over is trying to get at you.

    Matt61


  9. I’ve got a Hammerli 490 Express that meets all of the criteria for a kid’s rifle. $90 from PA, easy to fire, nickel sized groups at 7 yards with the sights. It doesn’t beat you up like some of some of the more powerful gun (like my G1 Xtreme).

    I missed the forum this past week. BB – Great Blogs, especially the stupidents and the venting. I was in a hotel where the business center computer blocked this site because it involved “weapons”. Didn’t feel like arguing.

    Randy in VA


  10. RWS 350

    If you looking for the lightest Springer with the most power, to the best of my knowledge the BSA Lightning XL is it.

    If have it in .25 cal, but in .22 I believe you can expect 16 ft lbs. It takes a little time for break in to reach the advertised power level.

    The gun weighs 6.6 lbs wo a scope and is 37.5 inches. Looking at energy generated per oz of rifle, I think this one wins. (Not including PCP’s of course)
    The included moderator helps with balance.

    Let me know if you want more insight on it.


  11. Shadow express dude
    BB, I can honestly say the gamo line of air rifles (a few exeptions)are too light to enjoy. Yes, it’s easy to cary around and I find them to have some of the best balance, but when that spring goes, they jump everywhere. I’ve seen and held the recon, it is probably as light as a loaded daisy red rider. My Shadow Express is deadly accurate not to mention powerful, but it is not as enjoyable to shoot as my remington 77 because of the firing behavior.


  12. B.B.,

    Now that the Webley Tomahawk is made in Turkey, do you think it is of a lower quality? Would you still have it in your very short list of 3 favorite springers?
    Thank you.


  13. I agree that lightweight is not always beneficial. A few days ago “RSW 350’ was looking for a light, easy to point Springer to shoot animals up to raccoon size.
    Not too many air rifles will fill that bill. The BSA does.
    When I really want to hit something, I get my HW97 out, but with scope and mounts it is over 11 lbs.
    Between the weight, fixed barrel and rekord trigger – it does not miss.


  14. Hey BB,

    Do you know of a place to get spares for a Slavia 618? I emailed CZ and they replied they no longer make spares for a rifle that was discontinued in 1977!



  15. Vulcanator – what parts do you need? I’ve got a 618 with a beat barrel that otherwise functions… otherwise, sniff around on places like gunbroker.com for complete rifles to use for spare parts.

    BB, it appears that the Recon is a rehash of the Gamo Delta – which does have open sights. It also has a shorter stock, which works better for smaller kids. I’ve got 2 of them, and they both beat the stuffin’ out of the Crosman 795 (which, I suspect, is severly handicapped by a very poor barrel lockup design)




  16. BB,

    Thanks for the referral.

    Vince,

    I’ve noticed some movement in the forward 2″ part of the cylinder just forward of the flutes where there is a small knurled area. When I fire the gun a few shots lubricant oozes from the cylinder. When I move the barrel at the muzzle I detect some play (the jaws are tight).

    Considering I only payed $25 for this gun I do not intend to spend a fortune fixing it.


  17. Vulcanator, it sounds like the knurled part came loose and you need another compression tube. How does it shoot otherwise, as far as accuracy goes?


  18. Vince,

    Unfortunately the accuracy is not very good. When I first got it I could group about 1″ at 20yds, now I struggle to repeat that at 10yds. The velocity has reduced as well, this rifle used to have parity with my Webley Tempest but the leak in the compression tube is affecting velocity as well as accuracy. Yes I need a replacement compression tube, I was thinking of welding it but I’m not sure if that would be feasable.


  19. MIG welding might work – but it’ll take a fair bit of finishing to get it looking half decent. Is there any chance of getting a machine shop to re-knurl it?


  20. Vince,

    I have to look into it. I though of getting it welded, then putting it on a lathe and turning the excess weld away, then some emery paper and a cold blue to tart it up.


  21. Posters comment “Please tell me where you got a Baikal 60″.

    I ordered my first Baikal 60, after BB, posted about this great gun. “my gift to YOU!”.
    Well he was right. Now, I wanted the model, so talked about because of the all steel receiver. I had to hunt for this gun. It is in much demand and not many out there. Check out the yellow forum daily and any other classifieds. I finally found one on Gunbroker.com. I’am now looking again.
    Good luck with your hunt. They are great 10 meter guns. Really fun to shoot.




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