El Gamo 68/68-XP – A futuristic airgun from the past: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


El Gamo 68 is a futuristic breakbarrel from the past.

Mac and I couldn’t stay away from the El Gamo 68 once we started looking at it. The first thing we did was adjust the trigger so it would catch positively every time the rifle (carbine?) is cocked. When I got the gun, it failed to catch the sear several times every time the barrel was broken, but all that turned out to be was a trigger adjusted with too little sear contact area.

Trigger adjustments come in two different types. One adjusts the spring tension of the trigger return spring, and adjusting it will give a somewhat lighter trigger-pull. The other adjusts the actual sear contact area and makes the trigger release crisper without affecting the pull weight. That’s the type of adjustment the 68 has. It also has an adjustment for the length of the first-stage pull; and on this gun, I found stage one had been adjusted completely out. So, you started the pull on stage two — effectively giving the rifle a single-stage trigger.

Adjusting the trigger
The following instructions for adjusting the trigger are taken from the El Gamo owner’s manual for the 68 and 68-XP that David Enoch was kind enough to supply. They might also apply to the El Gamo model 300 rifle, which has the XP action in a conventional wood stock. I don’t know that the 300 has the same trigger adjustments, but I assume that it does.

The forward screw (closest to the triggerguard) is a locking screw that should be loosened before any adjustments are made. After all adjustments have been made, tighten the locking screw to lock the adjustments in place.

The larger screw in the center adjusts the length of the first-stage pull. Turn counterclockwise to lengthen the pull and clockwise to shorten it. As I mentioned, it’s possible to eliminate the first stage altogether.

The screw in back adjusts the sear contact area. It does not lighten the trigger-pull, so be careful not to over-adjust it or the rifle will not cock, as mine did not. Turn counterclockwise to increase the sear contact area and clockwise to decrease. Ostensibly, this adjustment would give you a crisper trigger release, but I didn’t see any difference at all. But when the contact area was adjusted too small, the rifle failed to catch when cocked.


Three trigger adjustment screws are located at the back of the triggerguard.

I was able to put back a long first-stage pull that I like; so now when the trigger stops, I know it’s at stage two and ready to break. Stage two was set with much more contact area, and now the rifle catches every time it’s cocked. I can’t detect that the pull has changed in weight or crispness. After it breaks, the trigger blade is at the end of its travel. It feels like there’s a trigger overtravel adjustment, but there isn’t.

The trigger blade is much too thin for the pull weight, which is between 7 lbs., 14 oz. and 8 lbs., 10 oz. This trigger can really benefit from the installation of a trigger shoe. I have a couple of them around somewhere, so I’ll try to find one and see if it benefits the rifle as much as I think it will.

Firing behavior
The 68 fires very quickly and ends with a sudden small jolt. The feeling is strange, because you don’t expect a rifle this small to be so quick. It’s definitely not an R7! On the other hand, there’s virtually zero vibration with each shot. You might expect it to buzz a little because it’s an El Gamo, but you’d be surprised. Clearly, this rifle’s action is made much smoother than the current crop of Gamo spring rifles.

Since I own the rifle, I’m tempted to take the action out of the stock to see what I can do to smooth the firing cycle even more. If I can get the trigger to break reliably at 3 or even 5 lbs. and still be as crisp as it is, this would be one of my better spring-piston rifles.

Balance
The 68 appears to be butt-heavy, but that’s only an illusion. In fact, it’s somewhat muzzle-heavy, which stabilizes the rifle in the offhand position. The lack of a forearm means you have to hold it more like a pistol that has an attached shoulder stock, and both hands are centered around the vertical pistol grip. I don’t care for that hold, which is why a more conventional model 300 would suit me more, if all other parts of the action remain the same.

Velocity
The gun seems to have a leather piston seal; but even if it doesn’t, it might benefit from the application of some silicone chamber oil dropped through the air transfer port behind the breech. I tested it with three pellets, both before and after oiling.

RWS Hobbys
The first pellet I tested was the 7-grain RWS Hobby. This lightweight lead pellet is often very accurate in lower-powered spring guns and gives the highest velocity consistent with accuracy. Before oiling, Hobbys averaged 612 f.p.s., with a range from 604 to 615 f.p.s. They produced an average 5.82 foot-pounds of muzzle energy and the total velocity spread was a tight 9 f.p.s.

After oiling, Hobbys averaged 592 f.p.s. and ranged from 582 to 598 f.p.s. They produced an average of 5.45 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. The spread opened to 16 f.p.s.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
Next came the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier domed pellet. Before oiling, this pellet averaged 570 f.p.s., with a range from 558 to 588 f.p.s. They produced an average of 5.7 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. The total velocity spread was 30 f.p.s.

After oiling, the Premier lite pellets averaged 551 f.p.s., with a spread from 545 to 564 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 5.33 foot-pounds and the spread was 19 f.p.s.

RWS Superdomes
The last pellet I tested was the 8.3-grain RWS Superdome. Before oiling, the velocity averaged 534 f.p.s. with a spread from 522 to 545 f.p.s. That produced an average of 5.26 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

After oiling, the same pellet averaged 524 f.p.s. with a spread from 519 to 527 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produces 5.06 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

What have we learned?
The first thing we learned was the need to properly adjust the trigger for contact surface. It didn’t change the pull weight, but it did correct the gun’s inability to cock positively.

Was it necessary to oil the gun? Probably not; but as the oil wears off, the velocity will increase again. Does the gun shoot any smoother as a result of oiling? I can’t tell any difference, so maybe this gun was working okay as it was.

The trigger could probably benefit from some lubrication and perhaps from more careful adjustment. I’ll have to see it closer to know if there’s anything that I can do to make it better.

15 thoughts on “El Gamo 68/68-XP – A futuristic airgun from the past: Part 2

  1. B.B.

    Something I have been meaning to ask about…
    When I was testing my .22 R9 with a bunch of different pellets…

    Most pellets gave the usual jump and some noticeable rearward recoil. There were two or three that gave mostly a very distinctive forward jump. So much to the point that is just about all I noticed. One or two kinds clearly made the power plant rough, while one kind seemed smooth enough.
    Am I looking at the fine edge of piston slam here?

    twotalon


    • TT,

      Yes, you are. How the gun feels when shot reveals how it reacts to shooting each type of pellet. And I have found that accuracy usually goes hand-in-hand with the pellets that feel best in the powerplant, though not always.

      B.B.


      • Thanks B.B.

        That “not always” part has gotten to look like more of a “should be expected in spite of logic” thing to me.

        twotalon


  2. B.B. ,
    I wanted to ask a couple off-topic questions if that is o.k. ?? First one is directed towards both you and Edith and it has to do with the Pyramyd reviews. I recently ordered a scope and some pellets and was leaving reviews for the items I purchased. I stumbled upon one of my old reviews from ’08 on my RWS Panther and noticed that a customer left a comment under my review asking a question about a part I bought from Umarex. My question is….. Would there be anyway possible to link those comments and have them forwarded to the posters email so they know if one of their reviews has been commented on?? Might help some of your customers with questions if posters of reviews were able to know if someone had questions about a product.
    Next question is about Leapers scopes and a bit of a rant so sorry in advance if it sounds like that. I ordered the 4x32ao for my Nitro Venom because the 3-9X32 Leapers was sold out at the time. It lasted about 40 shots and the reticule separated so pyramydair gave me an RMA# and I asked the sales person on the phone if this scope was springer rated…. He said yes and I must have got a lemon so they sent me another scope. After installing the 2nd one it only lasted about 65-70 shots before breaking the reticule in half again. Called pyramyd and got another RMA# but asked for a refund this time. My rant about the refund system through pyramydair is this…… They received my scope on 5/2/12 but they are telling me my refund won’t be credited back to me until 5/17/12. Why is that they can draw my money out instantly but not credit me back right away?? I have already gone without a scope for over 2 weeks of back and forth shipping and was going to use those funds to purchase another scope. Now because of a defective product, and company delays then I am the one who suffers the most.
    Sorry about all the venting but basically just feels like I got kind of a raw deal.
    Could you please verify if this 4×32 Leapers is springer rated or if it is just an airsoft scope like other websites list it ??


    • David,

      No, the comments to reviews cannot be forwarded to the poster of the original review. It may be something they can do down the pike, but not at this time.

      Regarding the refund of monies for a returned item…please email me at edith@pyramydair.com so we can discuss this offline. I’d like the following info from you in that email: your full name & RMA #.

      Thanks,
      Edith


  3. Hi BB,
    We missed you and Mack at our shoot Saturday. I hope you and Mack enjoyed yours as much as we did ours. Here are some pictures from our shoot:
    http://www.network54.com/Forum/79537/thread/1336399038/North+Texas+Airgun+Militia+Shoot+last+Weekend+-+Write-up+and+Pictures

    If you take the 68 apart you will find the machining to be more like HW quality than what we normally expect from Gamo today. I hope you do a complete tune on it. I look forward to seeing your remaining blogs on the rifle.

    David Enoch


    • David,

      It looks like you guys had more shade than Mac and I. I took no pictures at our shoot, but we had 12 competitors. mac and I shot a few points off the pace, so all we had was a fun time.

      We were shooting .17HM2 rifles against silhouettes at different ranges. The guy who made all the rifles hosted the event.

      I guess I will take the 68 apart, because I’m interested in seeing inside, too. It sure does shoot!

      B.B.


  4. Edith,

    Since you’re not busy……..

    Earlier I was on the orginal PA website looking at the Beeman RX-2 Elite without a scope. PA also offers the RX-2 with a scope/package deal. When I clicked on the REVIEW/LATEST BUZZ/ARTICLE it took me to B.B.’s Part 1 instead of Part 3.

    On the original PA site the Beeman RX-2 package deal links to Part 3. On the new PA site both the RX-2 with and without a scope link to Part 3. Here’s the one that links to Part 1:

    http://wop.pyramydair.com/p/beeman-RX-2-air-rifle.shtml

    Here’s the link to Part 3:

    http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/2011/12/beeman-rx-2-elite-series-combo-air-rifle-part-3/

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      Yeah, I’m just sitting her staring out the window & wondering what I’ll have for my afternoon snack :-)

      I fixed it. Both scoped & unscoped guns are now linked to part 3. The new site does not update immediately, but the old site does.

      Thanks,
      Edith


  5. Seriously “under the gun” here and cannot respond to today’s article as much as I want, but cannot fail to respond to the interesting comments over the weekend about the tarantula dance. Kevin and B.B.’s comments are well-taken, but here is another off-the-wall foreign example. In Ethiopia, my Dad was working in a Peace Corps type environment and part of this involved teaching the Ethiopians the (apochryphal) story about George Washington admitting that he chopped down the cherry tree. We hail this as an example of the integrity of the Father of Our Country. The Ethiopians thought he was a complete fool because it is part of their culture to lie creatively as part of negotiating. So George Washington was dead in the water from their perspective. Maybe that’s why they and Somalia are where they are today.

    Maybe it’s a matter of boundaries. I draw the line at outright falsehood and deception and also endless talking to no purpose like in Chinese bargaining that goes on forever and never gets anywhere. It offends my sense of productive communication.

    But I will say too, that perhaps my viewpoint is influenced by living alone. I’m used to giving the orders because there is no else to account for. However, I just now happen to be involved in a collaborative writing situation where I am having to learn fast about compromise. Argh. So, yeah, it is unavoidable. :-)

    Matt61


  6. It looks like the old “El Gamo” got it right. It would certainly be a fun plinker for the money. Some of the new stuff could take a lesson.

    Mike


  7. The unique look of this,combined with what I am gathering is impressive performance,…..this is the kind of airgun I really like collecting.Definitely quite different than the norm.
    Speaking of interesting airguns…..”The Bluebook” has a couple new videos on Youtube,including a neat one about the Girardoni pistol! Sorry I can’t post links,but it should be easy to find.


  8. B.B., I’m willing to bet this airgun has a leather piston seal. In the latter 70′s I read about only a handful of airguns that has synthetic piston seals. And there is no question that El Gamo used plenty of leather seals in their airguns. This said, I do defer to your extensive experience and knowldege.

    Ken


  9. B.B, I have one of these but mine is branded as a ‘Stuart’. I’ve done a lot of looking for some connection with that name and found zip. But I want you to know that mine is a 22 caliber so there are some. Like yours it is a great shooter, smooth and accurate. I thought this would be one I would put away and play with once a year but I have it out where it is used to scare the squirrels off the bird feeder (the red squirrel, can’t shoot them). It is just so easy to handle. And now I have a new appreciation for the old El Gamo guns and hope everyone else continues to ignore them!

    I really enjoy these posts on the older guns and its amazing how often you’ve provided what little can be found on some.

    Gary


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