El Gamo 68/68-XP – A futuristic airgun from the past: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


El Gamo 68 is a futuristic breakbarrel from the past.

Today, I’ll take the El Gamo 68 to the next level of accuracy testing. I mounted a scope and went back to 25 yards to see what this gun can do.

Blog reader Mike sent me a trigger shoe he wasn’t using, and I installed it on the rifle’s thin blade. It made all the difference in the world. I don’t think I could have endured the 80+ shots that went into today’s test without it! Thanks, Mike!


The trigger shoe made the heavy pull pleasant.

Scope
I mentioned mounting a scope on the rifle before I checked it out. The 11mm scope dovetails are cut into the top of the spring tube and are very short by today’s standards. I was able to mount only a Leapers Bug Buster scope using 2-piece BKL mounts. The Bug Buster is a very compact scope, whose size compliments the 68 — and the eye relief worked out fine, so this was a happy coincidence.


A Leapers Bug Buster scope fit the small 68 very well.

The test
I used this test not only to see how accurate the 68 is at 25 yards, but also to see if there’s a difference between seating pellets flush and seating them deep with an Air Venturi Pellet Pen’s PellSet. Each pellet shot one 10-shot group seated each way. Let’s see how it went.

H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets
I first shot a 10-shot group of H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets seated flush with the breech. The group measured 0.963 inches between centers.

Then, I shot another 10-shot group with the same pellets seated deep. It measured 1.232 inches between centers. Clearly, the flush-seated pellets were best.


Flush pellets on the left, deep-seated on the right. The flush pellets are more accurate.

Air Arms Falcon
Next, I tried the Air Arms Falcon dome. Ten pellets seated flush gave a group measuring 1.163 inches between centers. Ten seated deep printed into 1.28 inches. This is too close to call.


Flush pellets on the left, deep-seated on the right. Too close to call.

RWS Hobby
The last pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby pellet. And here we had a reversal of the first test with the H&N target pellets –because the deep-seated pellets out-grouped the flush-seated ones. Flush-seated pellets grouped in 1.311 inches at 25 yards. Deep-seated pellets grouped in 0.888 inches, which was the best group of the test, though the initial sight-in group of Hobbys did group even better. But all the controls of the test weren’t in place when I shot that first group, so I can’t count it.


Flush pellets on the left, deep-seated on the right. This time, the deep-seated pellets performed best.

Bottom line
The results didn’t turn out as good as I expected. The 68 is accurate, but it’s not a 10-meter rifle in disguise. Having the trigger shoe makes the heavy trigger-pull comfortable, but a lighter pull would be much better.

As for the seating exercise, it seems to work with some pellets but not with others. And, of course, I haven’t yet experimented with different seating depths.

The next step with the 68 will be to disassemble the rifle and see what I can do to slick it up a bit.

42 Responses to “El Gamo 68/68-XP – A futuristic airgun from the past: Part 4”

  • Slinging Lead Says:

    Trigger shoes are like tiny miracles.

    My prized Crosman American Classic 1377c was torturous to shoot for long periods due to its heavy pull and thin trigger blade. I polished up the trigger and sear at the mating points, which helped, but not enough. I also changed out the trigger spring, but the effort was still considerable.

    After installing a trigger shoe purchased on the yellow, it was like night and day. The carefully machined unit has two set screws and cost only $15. That is great value. The wide, smooth surface is now like a massage for my trigger finger. I can’t recommend them enough.

    • cowboystar dad Says:

      Two improvements I added to my Avanti 853 were a Gehmann target sight ($180.00) and a trigger shoe ($19.00). At 1/10 the price I’d say the trigger shoe had as much impact on accuracy as the sight.

    • Matt61 Says:

      What exactly is a trigger shoe? In the pictures, it looks like a series of blades.

      Matt61

      • Chuck Says:

        matt,
        A trigger shoe is a flat piece that is wider than the trigger and it can either slip over the existing trigger or replace it entirely. It is a piece that is wider than a blade trigger and gives better leverage and comfort. The “blades” you refer to in the pic are not really blades but something to enhance it to prevent slippage, I suppose. Kinda more like grooves for better grip. If you look at the original trigger in the opening picture it is a blade, then look at the trigger shoe pic and you can see it is a flat piece with grooves.
        -Chuck

      • B.B. Pelletier Says:

        Matt,

        The shoe is one wide piece of steel with deep ridges to grab the trigger finger. In the photo you can see one side of the original trigger blade and tell how narrow it is.

        B.B.

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    You just don’t want to put the little thing down, do you? :D

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      RR,

      No, I really don’t! Now that the trigger is more tolerable I want to make the firing behavior smoother. I really enjoy this little rifle.

      It makes me want an El Gamo 300 all the more.

      B.B.

  • twotalon Says:

    Seasonal targets are up….

    Small crab apples ….found quite a few under a tree that were about paintball sized. Some a little larger, some a little smaller. Fun shooting off the tree too. They blow up with a good hit.

    Poke weed….Takes more than one shot to bring them down. They keep getting bigger.

    twotalon

    • Robert from Arcade Says:

      Since it’s finally warmed up here, we’ve been into the CO2 guns lately was mini-sniping those steel casings that the cheap Russian ammo is loaded into. With a .308 case , only upper body shots count .

  • Alan in MI Says:

    BB,

    Assuming that you used the same relative point of aim, the groups with the seated pellets sure appear to be much lower on all but the last group of Hobbies. It sure looks like the velocity could be lower with the seated pellets, leading to additional drop. Did you do any velocity tests with the seated pellets? I know that when I tested it on my springers, it always resulted in a drop in velocity.

    Alan in MI

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Alan,

      OMG! Another test I can do!

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! :D

      B.B.

      • Robert from Arcade Says:

        BB: I have an off-topic question. I’ve been messing with an old Crosman 101 (post war model) that I recently aquired ( it’s the first one I’ve ever owned). It is rough but I managed to reseal it, but what is your or perhaps some of the readers who have those guns opinion, on how much pump headspace should the gun should have? Another words what amount should it be overtoogled? I have it adjusted now so when I close the pump arm , at the last 3/4′-1/2″ it just snaps into place. Before it just sort of slopped closed and the power was down even with a new pump cup . I don’t want to over stress the linkage on the old gun. The best thing about this gun was the fact that the pivots and rivets in the linkage are like new. I’m getting 660fps with Hobbies and about 600fps with JSB jumbos now. Before I fooled with the linkage I was down about 100fps with both pellets. Thanks in advance for any help.

        • /Dave Says:

          Robert,

          In my limited experience, pump guns should snap shut over-center just as you describe. It shouldn’t take a huge effort to do it, but you’ll definitely feel the effort.

          /Dave

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Robert,

          I agree with /Dave. The forearm snapping into place sounds just right. Also, the velocity you give sounds right on for that model. It’s a wonderful old gun.

          B.B.

        • Chuck Says:

          Overtoogled? Is this a gunsmith term?
          -Chuck

      • TC Says:

        Let’s say we crafted the perfect rifle mount with a remote trigger engagement, eliminating all user generated hold and movement related issues. Yes BB, the perfect artillery hold. How accurate would this springer group at 25 yards? I’m starting to think that when the spring is released, it does not produce consistent reactions (recoil, twist and other variables) shot to shot. Call these uncontrollable variables. These cannot be resolved by using the perfect pellet, or perfect seating, or the perfect hold. Unless we find a way to measure the impact of these uncontrollable variables, I think it makes it more difficult to interpret the results. Let’s say we knew for each shot fired, that it could vary randomly in any direction .25″ at 25 yards due to uncontrollable variables, would we interpret the results differently? Couldn’t this allow for a great group one day, and an OK group the next?

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          TC,

          Yes, a springer’s vibrations are what make it such a difficult gun to shoot accurately. A spring rifle with a good barrel has the potential of grouping just as tightly as a precharged pneumatic. What prevents it from doing that is how the vibrations at firing are handled. And the artillery hold is the only practical way I know of countering them.

          B.B.

          • TC Says:

            BB,
            If I understand your response correctly, a springer is hold sensitive, much more so than say a PCP, but with proper hold it can be as accurate as a PCP. The point I was trying to make is that many springers also include uncontrollable movement that is random in nature and cannot be corrected. I was thinking there is an innate movement issue above and beyond what proper hold can address. So what springers do you recommend that are not hold sensitive? If my goal was consist ant 1″ 10 shot groups at 50 yards, that didn’t care how it was held, what would you recommend?

            PS: This is becoming an addictive hobby for me. I can tell others here have a more serious bug than me. :-)

            • B.B. Pelletier Says:

              TC,

              All my regular readers will know what I’m about to recommend.

              A TX 200 can do what you want — but the conditions have to be perfect (no wind) and you have to be an excellent shot!

              Or you can do the same and better with a Benjamin Marauder or a Talon SS while holding either rifle like you’re in a shooting galley.

              B.B.

              • B.B. Pelletier Says:

                TC,

                By the way, there are very few springers that don’t care how they are held.

                So let’s not say that there are. Even the great TX needs to be held properly.

                B.B.

                • TC Says:

                  BB,
                  Great response. Sounds like you have been down this path before. When I had an older Sheridan Blue Streak, I could hit the same spot time after time with open sights. If I missed, it was either a bad pellet or me. I love the simplicity and power of a springer, and accuracy is acceptable, but not optimal. I’m thinking a marauder is a better match, hitting bulls-eyes at 50 yards, even with my eyes closed.

            • Matt61 Says:

              TC, note well, that truly random movement in springers is not correctable, but if it’s that bad, you might want to try a different gun. The beauty of the artillery hold is that you don’t need to compensate. You just let the rifle do its thing, and with a relaxed hold, it should return to the starting point.

              Matt61

              • TC Says:

                Matt61,
                I decided to experiment. New stock spring length is 10.25″. I have a few extra springs, and decided to cut off 1″, taking overall new length down to 9.25″. I could remove another .5″ and it would still provide tension when installed, but that modification can wait for another day. With a stock spring,velocity averages 810 fps using 10.3 grain. I estimate the new fps will drop to low 700s. My premise is that taking off one inch should reduce spring sourced movement and my overall accuracy should increase. I’m not sure if this premise is correct, and if so, how much it will reduce unwanted movement. A few shots indicate that the spring fire action is smoother, it is not as loud, and the scope aim does not bounce as much off target. I’ll need to find some time to measure the new average fps and accuracy. I guess I’m detuning to tune. Has anyone done this before?

                • BG_Farmer Says:

                  I detuned a QB36-2 by replacing the spring with a lighter, shorter Maccari spring that fit. I don’t have a chrony, but it did what I wanted in terms of trajectory and improved accuracy/firing behavior. I did have to space it up some to get it where I wanted, but that was part of the plan. One thing you need to be aware of is that spring power is over-rated in terms of how much impact it has on power output — the swept volume of the piston is much more critical. That is to say, you may not lose as much velocity as you think. Due to market demands, “they” put as much spring into the rifle as they can fit to eke out every little fps, but the returns diminish quickly near the maximum, and backing off just a little can make the behavior much better without losing much of anything significant in terms of energy. Good luck and have fun — you’ll learn more than you lose even if it is a complete failure (which I doubt it will be) :) !

  • /Dave Says:

    I hate to say it, but that old Gamo 68 looks like it out shoots my new Slavia 634 .22. Even after the work I put in it. Got a couple more things to try on it before I give up and sell it. Which would be a shame since I really like the way it fits me…

    /Dave

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      /Dave,

      Oh, don’t give up on your 634. I have heard so many good things about that model that I think it’s got to be better than what you’re seeing.

      CowboyStarDad, can you please help?

      B/B/

  • kevin Says:

    B.B.,

    Your passion for this gamo 68 is palpable. Jim in pgh has been around the block and he described shouldering his gamo 68 as, “they come up, settle in, and point almost instinctively.”

    Since I’ve never seen on of these in person it’s unlikely that I would be able to shoulder one before buying so here’s my question. Based on the short eye relief of the bugbusters I’ve owned and the long length of pull on the gamo 68 it appears that your cheek weld would have to be very far forward on the stock with your lips almost touching the metal on the compression tube. That seems awkward. What am I missing? Does your bugbuster have a long eye relief?

    kevin

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Kevin,

      I guess I didn’t say it strongly enough. The eye relief on this setup is perfect for me! That is what I meant by a “happy accident.” Now please remember that I am very accommodating when it comes to fit and you may not find the same thing as I did, but — WOW! I really like the way this rifle fits me.

      However, I will go back to open sights, just out of personal preference.

      B.B.

  • kenholmz Says:

    B.B., thanks for another round of informative tests.
    I haven’t been doing as well as I hoped, but hope springs eternal. You and others know well what I mean.
    It has only been three months since the surgery.

    Best to all of you,
    Ken

    • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

      Ken,

      I’m beginning to think that this blog is contagious in other than airguns. Seems i will be joining the ranks of you and Pete and others in the next month with surgery and then if this growth is malignant, radiation. Don’t give up the good fight and BB, I’m still planning on buying that Air Force rifle from Mac in October.

      Fred DPRoNJ

  • Matt61 Says:

    Not to sure about the accuracy here. But a fun shooting experience is reason enough for me.

    Desertdweller, yeah it must have been pretty bad for the Irishman who goofed. One reason I’m not crazy about participating in team sports.

    Matt61

  • Matt61 Says:

    For another take on how to organize society around punishment, have a look at this.

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/look-inside-world-nicest-prison-180524054.html

    Maybe this is where the Norwegian mass murderer will go.

    Matt61

  • Bill Bailey Says:

    Robert Law introduced the El Gamo to the United States market when they were being manufactured in Spain. Production then moved to Brazil and the quality, such as it was, suffered. One of my tests for accuracy in a spring loaded air gun was breech movement with the action closed. the El Gamo 68 had lateral movement and just a hint of looseness in the breech. We at ARH checked all incoming guns and hand-selected the ones with the least movement for premium sales and sold the others at reduced cost. All in all, for money, not a bad little gun, and it looked good too.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Bill,

      That’s great to know. The breech on this particular Spanish-made 68 seems tight.

      B.B.

  • Skillet Says:

    Where can I get the trigger shoe for a 68?

    Mine is a .22 example. 515 fps with Hobbies and groups well off a rest, but trigger pull is detrimental

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