El Gamo 68/68-XP – A futuristic airgun from the past: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


El Gamo 68 is a futuristic breakbarrel from the past.

As I said in Part 2, Mac and I simply couldn’t resist shooting the El Gamo 68 that I got from reader David Enoch at the Arkansas airgun show this year. And from the numerous reader responses, I see that we’re not alone in our admiration of this futuristic-looking breakbarrel from the past. Many owners have .22-caliber guns, which really surprises me, because I thought most European manufacturers, and especially El Gamo, produced mainly .177 airguns in the 1960s and ’70s, when this was new.

Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to locate a trigger shoe for the rifle. I probably got rid of one when I sold or traded a Webley Tempest years ago, though now I wish I still had it. If anyone sees an old Beeman trigger shoe for sale anywhere, please let me know, because this rifle really needs one.

The “test”
It really didn’t begin as a test of this rifle. Mac was helping me test some new models you’ll be reading about later this month and asked if he could shoot the 68 when he finished with them. The test range was 10 meters indoors, and he produced a nice 5-shot group that can almost be covered by a dime in the center of the bullseye. It was so enticing that I decided to have a turn — which of course means a contest. Mac is a better rifle shot than I am, and we both know it. So when my 5-shot group came up noticeably smaller than his, he thought we should never speak of it again. And, Mac, after today…I probably won’t! I’ll add here that the next day he beat me by one point in a silhouette match at a friend’s place. That sounds close until you learn that my rifle was scoped and he was using peep sights!


Mac put 5 Hobbys into this 0.576-inch group at 10 meters.


I put 5 Hobbys into this 0.381-inch group at the same 10 meters. Yes, I know it looks like only three pellets hit. Mac already pointed that out.

But I digress. The fact is that we were shooting the 68 with the classic RWS Hobby pellet, and I have no idea how accurate the rifle really is. I just know that it shoots Hobbys well.

25 yards
Well, Mac finally had to return home, leaving me with the 68 and much more to “test.” Much, much more, I hope!

Yesterday, I shot the rifle at 25 yards indoors and, once again, with Hobby pellets. Yes, I shot off a rest and used the artillery hold; but with this model, it’s a little more difficult to let the rifle float in your hands. The trigger has a stiff 8-lb. release, and the pistol grip forces the shooter to grip hard to squeeze that hard trigger blade. Other than that, the artillery hold was the usual one, but I mention the difference so you’ll know what went on.

The first shot went high and well-centered with the bull, so I settled in and fired 9 more just like it. The resulting group isn’t a thing of beauty, but it is what it is.


Ten Hobbys made this 1.617-inch group at 25 yards.

But wait!
Last week I “discovered” that seating pellets with the new Air Venturi PellSet seemed to improve the accuracy of the Air Venturi Bronco I was testing. I took a lot of heat for mentioning that, because the test did not have the controls you usually see in this blog, but what the heck! I have a tough old hide, so go ahead and flog me!

I thought, why not try the PellSet with the 68 and really get the crowd in an uproar? I listened to several of you who advised me to start by seating the pellets as shallow as possible, so I adjusted the PellSet to do just that. Then, I shot a second 10-shot group at 25 yards and, lo and behold, it was smaller. I’ll probably never hear the end of this!


Ten Hobbys just barely seated into the breech made this 1.436-inch group at 25 yards. Eight of those shots made the much smaller 0.665-inch group!

Now, to me, it looks like the intentionally seated pellets really do want to group better in this particular rifle. But what do I know? This was not a real test of seating pellets because there weren’t enough groups fired, plus there’s a lot more I want to test than just the single depth.

In fact, this wasn’t much of an accuracy test for the 68. Think of it as more of a “getting to know the rifle” session, because I plan to mount a scope and return with a genuine accuracy test in the next report.

But it sure was nice just to play with this little rifle once more! As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to find reasons to do more of this.

50 thoughts on “El Gamo 68/68-XP – A futuristic airgun from the past: Part 3

  1. Once again, I wish to apologize for going off subject.

    Caveman,
    Upon much reflection, I can think of several reasons you do not see many Edges in competitions.
    Firstly, the NRA/CMP is not giving them away to start up groups. They are giving away Daisys.
    Secondly, most groups are on shoestring budgets so they usually buy the Daisys.
    Thirdly, the Challengers have been around for quite a while and have established themselves and look more traditional.
    Fourthly, the Edge has a tank which means it has to be checked periodically.
    Fifthly, and probably the biggest reason, the Edge has a “black rifle” pedigree which it has to overcome.

    As for the El Gamo, if I was a collector I would love to have one. It does look so cool. As far as “rifles” go, my collection is down to my FWB 601 and a rather bedraggled looking Red Ryder I picked up this weekend at a yard sale. I just sold my CFX. If I do not shoot it, it does not hang around long.


    • Ridgerunner,
      To add to your list…
      Sixthly, I’ve never seen or heard of one shooting in a final much less making it onto the podium. It’s kind of like “What came first the chicken or the egg?”.


    • RR,

      Correction on the Edge tank needing to be checked periodically. No pressure vessel smaller than two inches outside diameter has a DOT requirement to be checked.

      B.B.




          • RR,

            Yes. It’s also why there are so many Korean PCPs with dual reservoirs. Their laws are different and regulate smaller-diameter tubes.

            This has gone on since the first Daystate Huntsmen were built in the 1980s.

            B.B.


          • Yes, but…

            All International style competition PCP tanks have a manufacturing date stamp on them, and may not be used in competition after 10 years since the stamp. In principle, this cannot be extended. And it is regardless of when the cylinder was first placed in service. It’s one reason why “new old stock” on a cylinder may not be a bargain.

            Of course, many competitions don’t check the date during equipment control, but the big ones do.


  2. BB,

    W/R/T three or five pellets hitting the target, I’ll have to try that trick next time I’m shooting competition :)

    Fred DPRoNJ


    • Fred,

      If I was that quick (and that good a shot) I probably would have done exactly what Mac said. But if I attempted something like that on purpose, the results would be embarrassingly obvious.

      B.B.


      • I understand completely – you do not want to put another hole in the couch even if it was done to pull the wool, so to speak, over Mac’s eyes.

        Fred DPRoNJ


      • General Patton competed in the Olympics as a young man in the decathlon. In the shooting competition, the judges counted 19 shots out of twenty in the target. It cost him the medal. Patton argued that one of his shots went through the same hole as one of his previous shots. He was a gifted marksman, so his claim carries credibility. With today’s technology this would not have happened.




      • That link is to Tyler Manufacturing’s trigger shoes. They also make the t grip. Very nice work several years ago. They had an internal shake up….family members fought for control of the company?? and shut down production. Supposedly Tyler is back up and running but different players now. Proceed with caution.

        kevin


        • Kevin,

          Thanks for the head’s up! I will go slow anyway, since I think an ld Beeman shoe will do exactly what I want.

          B.B.


  3. Well, I need some advice.
    After about 25000 rounds the trigger of my Gamo Compact pooched over the weekend.
    I’ve sent it off for repairs, but since it is long past warranty and has been used nearly daily for 5 years I feel it may be time to retire the old girl…especially if the estimate is more than $50-75.
    So…I’ve narrowed its replacement down to two possiblities…the IZH 46M or the FAS 604 Match (both SSP). I don’t do used…strictly because the nearest airgun gunsmith is 2500 miles away…any time I’ve needed even minor repairs it usually takes 8-12 weeks to get it done.
    So, what are peoples preferences concerning the two guns mentioned.
    Thanks.


    • cowboystar dad,
      Difficult to be of much help since I only know the IZH-46M. I can only say I really like it. I had to make a left handed grip for it since none existed when I bought mine. So keep in mind it is not an ambidextrous pistol. It cocks easy and the trigger is crisp. It has a nice dry-fire feature. It likes RWS R-10 pellets, surprisingly it does not like JSB Exact RS. It is considerably cheaper than the FAS 604 but, hey, when it comes to hobbies and sports money is not a deciding factor anyway.
      -Chuck


      • Chuck, actually since this is my year to renew my mortgage and get rid of some bills, I’m hoping the consensus is that the less expensive IZH is the winner ;-)


        • CBSD,
          A few more things: The IZH-64M comes with an adjustable trigger and a trigger shoe, and the pellet loading area is only an inch long so the Air Venturi Pelset won’t work because it is so long, unless that seating head comes off the tube. Even a Bic pen is too long. The pistol does not have a bolt loader so the pellet gets seated with thumb only. [Anyone know of a way to pellet seat a 64M?]

          I blew out the seal a couple times also until I learned the breach had to be closed and locked with a solid click – I was treating her like a ballerina when she really wanted to be treated like a Ninja.

          The grip that comes with the pistol is a bit blocky and is for a large hand, but is designed to be tailored. A dremmel with a sanding drum and some regular sand paper works well. All you do is sand away the parts that don’t look like your hand. :-)

          Pete, I’m in awe of your 10s at 10m, but I did do one 10 out of 10 shots today. It was even an x. I use the Gamo metal pellet trap targets that have a 2.5″ black bull with a 1″ white center and I’m happy to be in the black.

          -Chuck


          • CBSD,
            And another thing: take the grips off the pistol before you do any sanding. The pistol has a lot of openings where dust will enter. They’re easy to remove, only two screws.
            -Chuck


          • I don’t usually shoot tens; I can (a few times an evening) do the trick. But the Izzy will shoot a ten every time the trigger is pulled when the gun is aimed right and the sights not jerked off the target.


            • Pete,
              I just saw on another site where an IZH-64M was locked into a solid, recoil absorbing mount for 6 shot group testing at 10m. The pistol shot a 1mm group with JSB 8.4gr Diabolo Exact, a 3mm group with JSB 7.0gr Diabolo Basic, and a 6mm group with RWS 5.2gr Hyper Velocity. I guess the heavier the better.
              -Chuck


              • Pete,
                Sorry, that was not a JSB 7.0gr Diabolo Basic that gave the 3mm group, it was an RWS 7.0gr Diabolo Basic.
                -Chuck



      • I like my IZH-46m very much. You’ll have to modify the grip to suit or buy a grip from a grip maker, but the gun has a lovely trigger, is easy to cock, and if you hold it solidly it is deadly accurate, by which I mean tens at ten meters.

        OK, I like my Steyr better, but not $1500 much better. The IZH is easily the equal of an FWB C-20 in accuracy even if the IZH also feels like it was made in a tractor factory. It’s cheaper than the FAS too. The only thing that’s temperamental is the breech seal. If you don’t make sure the gun’s breech is completely closed and clicks into place, you’ll blow one and maybe two O-ring seals. The instructions warn you. I’ve done it twice and found the seal on the floor and reused it both times.

        Mine also likes RWS R-10s too; equally happy with heavy and light.

        pete


    • csd,

      I’m not a pistol guy but have shot marshall’s IZH 46M. Very accurate gun with a great trigger. He has small hands so the grips don’t fit me. Don’t know anything about the fas 604.

      Don’t know if this will influence your decision but a drop in multi stroke conversion kit will be available for the IZH 46M in a few days. This drop in kit allows up to 8 strokes on the izzy and doubles the power. Takes this wonderful pistol from just being relegated to short range target shooting and opens the door for multiple uses.

      kevin


    • CSD,

      I can’t give a preference either, having only my 46m, but I can say I like it and I don’t regret having bought it! :-)

      /Dave


  4. How wide does the “groove” in the trigger shoe need to be? I might have one that will fit. The price would be very very good! (FREE)

    Mike


  5. Thanks guys…I’ll be going with the IZH (no surprise really).
    I’d read one positive review of the FAS…but it seems that I can’t find anyone who’s actually shot one.
    So that, plus the $200 extra cost has put it in the ‘no-go’ category.


    • I’ve shot one! I own a used one and it’s very nice, accurate, easy to cock and very well built but also very expensive. I think for the money the IZH would also be my choice but at the price I got it for it was a non-issue.
      To tell you the truth I think you are paying for the Italian design, it can probably match the IZH accuracy but it looks a lot better doing it.

      Where the IZH looks kinda like a space gun the FAS looks and feels like a race car in your hand.

      J-F


  6. 2 anybody with good skills of welding things together

    Right now I am counting the stock for my project to reduce weight as much as possible. And it seems that if I’m correct in my calculations, 7075 alloy square pipes welded together (think of AI AW) with wooden grips will weigh at least 1.5 times less than all-wooden stock.

    So there are 2 questions:
    Did anybody make such stuff?
    Does anybody know how will seams behave under loads specific to springer? (I can choose between arc, plasma torch welding, both in argon atmosphere and, maybe, laser).

    Receiver saga continiues, one shop failed to make it – their equipment vibrates too much on long pieces so they cannot hold within tolerances. Swithed order to another and now I keep my fingers crossed and pray to Mighty Fanuc, Mitsubishi, Makino and st. Nakamura the Cutter.

    duskwight


  7. That gun looks like a good basement gun for taking snakes, rats, mice.
    Crosman made a special scope for the Benjamin Marauder .25.
    It is a Christmas tree reticle map for up to 70 yards http://www.crosman.com/croswords/?p=2557
    Do you think you could do a test when it goes on sale?
    And if it would work with other caliber marauders.
    Only If/when you get the time.




        • I have to wonder what their “standard” trajectory was based upon… Since any load that differs much from it would need a custom distance scale noted somewhere (like that scale for the .25 Marauder).

          It seems to me that more and more scopes are adding things to reticles to be used in offsetting for distance, but which require one to know the ballistic table to correlate the proper marker to use. Bit of a change from the /old/ Leatherwood Sporter where one first preset a dial for the load, and only needed to know the size of the target — one adjusted the zoom setting until the target size matched a reticle ruler/grid (marked in inches and I think metric). The act of zooming cammed the rear of the scope upwards to adjust for the distance (the preset was to position the snail-shell spiral cam to the proper rate-of-change for the load). {The newer Leatherwood scopes went to mil-dots too, rather than actual rulers}.


        • Edith,

          Well, that’s hardly a Marauder trajectory they have set up. That’s a centerfire scope, I think. I need to learn more about it.

          B.B.


          • The earlier link is to a downloadable/printable scale meant to be glued into the lens-cap correlating the scope lines to the pellet equivalent ranges.





    • Vince,

      It was just sumpin’ I wus doin’.

      No plan. It wasn’t the full-up accuracy test — just foolin’ around.

      B.B.


  8. I got a trigger shoe that fits my 68 from Amazon. It’s listed to fit Crosman pistols, and fit my El Gamo just fine. Helps alot. Mine’s a .22 and killed a big chicken snake in the hen house today

    Skillet


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