Gamo Swarm Maxim: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gamo Swarm Maxim
Gamo Swarm Maxim repeating breakbarrel air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Feeding is the problem
  • Issues
  • Scope
  • Trigger!
  • Silenced
  • The rifle
  • The magazine
  • Summary

Before we begin I want to draw your attention to the fact that Pyramyd Air has made it possible to post pictures to the blog. The Choose Image box is right there with the comments. This is something you have long asked for. I hope you will enjoy this new feature.

Today I start looking at the Gamo Swarm Maxim multi-shot rifle. This is a repeating breakbarrel springer — a type of air rifle that has never been very successful in the past. The problem is getting soft lead pellets to feed reliably without distorting.

Feeding is the problem

Gamo made several breakbarrel repeaters under the El Gamo name years ago and they were all quite fussy about the length and shape of the pellets they would feed. If you owned one you had to stock up on the pellets it liked because almost anything else would jam. These rifles were called by their titles with -matic tacked on the end. There were names like the Expomatic and the Gamatic as so on. They fed from linear magazines that caused the feeding issues. Anyone who has owned a Crosman 600 pistol knows what I’m talking about.

The Swarm Maxim solves that problem by using a rotary magazine, similar to the type many precharged rifles use, though not a copy of any of them. I will watch the performance of this magazine closely.

Issues

You know I’m going to test the Swarm with different pellet types, so we can lay that aside for now. But what about the sights? As you can see in the pictures, the repeating mechanism sticks up so high that open sights are not possible. Also, it would appear that at least the lower half of the scope is blocked. What affect does this have on sighting? I will report on that for you, but I shot the Swarm at the SHOT Show this year and can already tell you the target is in no way obscured by the feed mechanism. Undoubtedly some light from the target is blocked, but I don’t recall seeing anything in my way as I sighted.

The next issue that someone raised is how possible it is to dry-fire this rifle. Because it uses a rotary magazine, will it stop firing when the pellets run out, or can you keep on cocking it — and possibly shoot a shot without a pellet?

I remember a Gamo sales campaign from the late ‘90s that said you could dry-fire their spring piston rifles 10.000 times without damage. They no longer say that, plus I think most airgunners would not want to do it, but, since the Swarm is a repeater, this needs to be evaluated.

Gamo Swarm pellet feed
Does the pellet feed mechanism block the image of the target in the scope? I think not, but I will report in a future part.

The owner’s manual tells me it’s possible to double-feed a pellet (by cocking the barrel more than once), so you do need to pay attention. The manual does give a procedure for checking to see whether a pellet has already been fed without the risk of double-feeding. I will look at that for you.

Scope

The Swarm comes with a 3-9X40 scope. The fixed parallax is set at 25 yards. A one-piece scope mount comes already attached to the scope, and this is mounted by you to the special scope base on the Swarm. I will have more to say about mounting and using this scope in Part 3.

Trigger!

I get to test a couple things on the Swarm that, to my recollection, I have not evaluated before. The first is the Custom Action Trigger (CAT). This is a 2-stage trigger with adjustments for both the length of the first stage travel and the length of stage two. I guess stage two has some travel in it. The owner’s manual has excellent instructions for this, so I will adjust the trigger in part 2 of this report and let you know how it goes.

The trigger blade is very straight, which feels wonderful. The blade is also pierced with three holes for a racy look.

The safety is manual, according to the owner’s manual! That puts the shooter in complete control, which is how experienced shooters like to operate.

Silenced

The Swarm also has Whisper Maxim Sound Suppression Technology. In other words, a silencer. Not sure I ever tested one of those by that name. Silencers on spring guns don’t do much because most of the sound comes from the powerplant, not the pellet leaving the barrel. And when your cheek rests against the stock the powerplant sound is transmitted through your cheekbones into your head, so the gun sounds louder to the shooter than anyone else. Still, I will test it.

The rifle

The first impression you get when picking the Swarm up is how light it is! According to the specs it weighs just 5.64 lbs. I weighed it on my postal scale, where it registered 5 lbs. 8 ozs. on the nose for the rifle and empty magazine. Of course the scope will add more weight, so once I mount that I will weigh it again. But the bottom line is — this springer is light!

The rifle is all black, like most Gamo airguns these days. It is powered by a Gamo IGT gas spring, and the cocking effort feels very reasonable. I’ll test that for you in part 2. Velocity is supposed to be 1300 f.p.s. with Gamo’s PBA Platinum pellets. That means with a heavy lead pellet I can probably get the velocity down into the high 900s, or so.

The pull measures exactly 14 inches and the rubber buttpad is both soft and thick. The rifle can stand in a corner without slipping. There is also a colored spacer between the pad and the stock. The color corresponds to Gamo’s recommended use for the rifle Red, like the Swarm has, is for pest control; green is for hunting and blue is for targets and competition. To their credit, Gamo lists the animals to be hunted as rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and crows — not a word about feral hogs.

The barrel has a fat black plastic jacket that’s deeply fluted. It provides a comfortable handle for cocking.

The magazine

A lot of the feeding reliability resides in the unique 10-shot rotary magazine. You get one with the rifle, and you can also buy an extra magazine or two. The price is quite reasonable. The magazine has numbers that tell you how many pellets remain. There is also an international warning sign (an exclamation point in a triangle) when the last pellet has been loaded. That would be how you know the gun is empty, though it’s up to you to remember whether the rifle is still loaded and cocked when you see that symbol, because the mag will show empty then, too.

Gamo Swarm magazine
The magazine has clear indications of how many shots are left (top window).

Summary

There is a lot to test and evaluate with the Swarm. It’s as different as a breakbarrel rifle can be. I have said it about other $200 springers and I’ll say it about the Swarm — if this rifle is accurate it could well be a world beater! We just saw a prolonged test of an accurate air rifle, so you should all know where the bar is set.

107 thoughts on “Gamo Swarm Maxim: Part 1

  1. BB,

    I’m looking forward to this series. The Swarm looks to be an interesting rifle.

    I watched a YouTube video of a Swarm being shot accurately rested directly off a bag rest. I hope that you will try it directly off a rest to see how it performs for you.

    Jim


  2. B.B. please test how much time we are saving between shots by having that abomination on top of the rifle.

    I think we can call this accurate if it hits 1″ groups at 25 yards. Holding it to the .7″ standard of the $80 more without scope Diana would be cruel. We certainly didn’t hold the Diana to the standard of the TX200, of which B.B. wrote “Ten pellets went into 0.714 inches, which is horrible for a TX200.”


  3. Plastic, plastic, plastic, the future according to “The Graduate”.
    I hope it feeds and shoots, interesting idea…
    Anxious about the trigger, will have to wait for Part 2.

    -Y


  4. BB,

    Can you show how the pellet feeder works? it looks like an iteresting piece of enginering. Nice to have one of these on the table. It is a diversion to a gun which I would normally not consider.

    Regards,

    August


  5. Very interesting. I did not know about the color coding system. First time I have heard that, that I recall.

    This is going to fun to watch. First, it is at the top end of fps range, harshness?, firing cycle?, hold sensitivity?

    Second is the magazine concept in a break barrel. It looks horrid, but then I prefer good looks and fine lines in my airguns. Looks aside, I DO like to see innovation. Where would we be without it?

    Hat’s off to it being light. That is nice for off hand. Real nice. Not so sure it will bode well for a powerful springer/gas piston.

    In my opinion, when a person starts to consider rifles in the 200-250 range, they should take a real long pause and hard look and consider their other options carefully. Paying a little more, (may) just get you a whole lot more.

    Good day to all,… Chris


  6. B.B.,

    I suppose the real benefit of this air rifle is the potential to get a second shot off as a quick coup de gras to a wounded, writhing rabbit.

    Therefore, I second Sean’s interest in how little time it takes to cock and shoot. Would it be reasonable to request your briefly trying just timing how long it takes to lower it from your shoulder, cock it, and raise it again to your shoulder? The “One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi” method would be scientific enough for me. If there is such a thing as Kentucky windage, maybe you can use a Mississippi stopwatch. :^)

    Michael


  7. B.B.,

    I almost forgot to mention that Gamo sales copy says the holes in the trigger blade are designed to provide increased air circulation to reduce trigger finger perspiration. ;^) I’ve heard of an itchy trigger finger, but a sweaty one?

    Michael


  8. B.B.,

    I just read that the Swarm has some sort of recoil absorbing technology. I don’t know if it’s FWB 300-like or a StopShox type component or something altogether different, but please share your impressions of that as well.

    Man, anyone who years ago thought springers had “gone about as fer as they could go” were as wrong about that as Will Parker was about Kansas City.

    Michael


  9. BB,

    I myself have been very interested in this air rifle in .22. I have gone back and forth for some time as to whether to get one. I have seen several video reviews about this rifle, including one by Rick Eustler and all of them have had nice things to say about the feed system. Yes you can double feed and yes you can dry fire, but it should not be too difficult to maintain a certain level of situational awareness with this air rifle, except maybe when fending off a case of feral soda cans.

    I will be very interested in your opinion of the trigger. From what little I can glean it is better than the SAT, but I still do not have a good idea on how it compares to other nice sproinger triggers.

    As near as I can determine, this air rifle is identical to the Hornet Maxim IGT with the addition of the magazine assembly. I am curious as to how difficult it would be to remove the assembly in the field should something happen to it so as to allow you to keep hunting.


  10. BB
    It will be ineresting to see how this rifle preforms as Gamo is often the first air gun a new shooter buys. I say that because they seem to be in all the retail stores that sell air guns.


    • Gopher,

      The first air rifle I bought was a Gamo CFX. I bought mine used at the Roanoke airgun show. It is quite tempting to come back round full circle with this Swarm. We’ll see how far Gamo has come with this one.


  11. Not my type of rifle but I am glad to be able to read about it. Looking forward to the next part!

    Will be interesting to see if the added complexity of the repeating function is practical. It would be convenient not to have to handle (juggle) pellets between shots – especially in the winter.

    Wonder how long it takes to load the magazine. The simple magazines on my HW100’s load real quick – the FX magazine is a bit of a juggling act by comparison so a lot of times I will single-load the Royale.

    I have never had any issues with manual loading a single-shot rifle and can keep up a pretty high rate of fire when being ambushed by a gang of feral soda cans. “One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi”… will have to try that 🙂

    …Will have to see about drilling holes in my triggers to ventilate them 😉

    Monday number 3… back at it. Have a great day eh!

    Hank

    P.S. Pyramyd Air – Thanks for adding picture posting capabilities to the blog – this will save thousands of words!



  12. well guys, since no one has yet posted a picture. It’s not an airgun but it’s something I’ve wanted for years, ever since seeing Quigley Down Under. It’s a Pedersoli copy of the sharps rifle from the movie. chambered in 45-70 instead of the original 45-110 so it’s safe to shoot smokeless powder in it. 34″ barrel, double set triggers and a tang mounted long range sight. Photo was taken by me in our kitchen.



      • BB
        Can’t you set it up on your end to notify you there’s a picture when someone posts a reply. Kind of like how you see the paper clip symbol if there is a attachment in a email?



          • BB
            Well then your never going to be able to keep up.

            I just went back to a blog 3 days ago and that option to post a picture is available too. So at anytime on any previous blog, pictures can be posted.

            You will have to watch every post from now on. Sounds to me like they needed to work on the system more before it was implemented.


            • GF1,

              That’s the problem. One of our clever readers already tested me on this by posting a long list of emogies. He hit return for each one, so the list was as long as your screen. That will lock up smart phones.

              I have to watch this very carefully because anything can be posted. I can block posters, which I’m prepared to do, but I hope I don’t miss anything.

              B.B.


              • BB
                You know thinking about this, it just might not be a good thing.

                If we want there are other ways to post pictures if we want too.

                Without starting world war 3 here. I say get rid of the picture posting option.

                To me it more hassle for you than what it’s worth. Or they need the take it off and redesign the system and try it again at a later time.

                Like I said just my opinion. So be it however it ends up.


              • B.B.
                I agree with GF1. Maybe this option is not a good thing. I think it’s a distraction and doesn’t add any value to the blog in most cases. I see some nice pictures of airguns but that’s not the reason I read the blog.

                Is there any possibility that you could control the option to post a picture on the blog on a selective basis? If a poster really needed to post a picture they could make a request of you to enable it temporarily, then disable it again. It’s probably not possible, and if not, I would say get rid of it for sake of keeping the blog simpler and easier for you to administrate. The pictures are nice but really not necessary and I can already see the option is going to be abused and over used. That’s my thoughts on the matter.
                Geo


            • Gunfun1,

              Not only three days ago but for the entire blog archive. It’s been implemented down to the DNA of the blog. Even BB’s first blog post has the reply with picture option. The only way to stop it would be to archive the previous blog entries and that way force the would be responders into placing their reply to the most recent blog. Maybe they can freeze/archive it by month?

              Siraniko



                • GF1
                  I agree with you 100%. Get rid of it because it going to make it almost impossible to administrate for B.B. And, I can already see that it will become abused and over used.
                  Geo


                  • Geo
                    Yep I do believe so.

                    Like I mentioned there are other ways for a person to post a picture or a video if they want to.

                    For instance like those two short video’s I uploaded to You Tube of how I held my TX bench resting.

                    BB already has his work cut out for him just making the reports happen everyday. And I’m sure he don’t get compensated for the extra work he will have to do to keep the blog clean. And that is a important thing. Both of my teenage daughters read the blog from time to time. I know us normal blog readers aren’t going to contribute bad pictures but you know will be people that will try to out there.


  13. I have a Swarm in .22. I have not fininshed with accuracy testing yet but so far it is going well. I replaced the factory scope with a 6x Bugbuster. I’ll post a pic of how it is mounted shortly.




    • B.B.

      While I love the idea of being able to add pictues; you don’t have time to be the picture police and keep up the great quality of this blog. P.A. needs to take on that task under your supervision.

      Hope I am wrong. Maybe a blog on what to do when postig a pictue will help?

      Don


      • Don,

        That has already come up. The very first “picture” was posted as a joke. The poster didn’t realize or appreciate what I have to do to keep this blog clean. I wrote to him directly after putting his “picture” in the trash.

        If this gets to be too much, I’ll ask Pyramyd Air to take it down. But so many people want it for the right reasons that I want it to succeed.

        I won’t write guidelines because the folks who would read and abide by them already know what they are. It’s the others who cause the problems.

        B.B.



  14. I think that this will make a good hunting rifle with the light weight and quick follow up shot. If I was still a hunter, this would seem like a Must Have depending on the accuracy and the trigger. Otherwise, I’m with Chris, save up a little more and get a German air rifle like an Hw. You will not be sorry you did.

    Brent



  15. If it’s accurate and reliable it may just be worth it.

    And I will have to try out our picture option we have later. I guess if I do a short video on my phone it should post I’m guessing.

    Don’t have time to try now. Will try later.


  16. It’s very nice to have the option to post pictures in the blog, but let’s not get crazy with doing that. Occasionally, it’s great to have the capability to explain some detail that’s difficult to do without a picture. Let’s just not overdo posting needless pictures just because we can now. Like B.B. said, you do need to crop and adjust your contrast to make the picture clear as well. My suggestion would be to not use this option unless it is really necessary.


  17. A brief interruption to our normal programming for a not so important message from the curmudgeon………

    I have no interest in a repeating mechanism being installed on a break barrel pellet gun. For my tastes it undermines the zen of shooting a break barrel.

    For the same reason I don’t have plans to put a motor on my bicycle.

    Carry on……………..


    • As an aspiring curmudgeon, I totally agree with you Kevin.

      When shooting a springer or a pump gun, the the break between shots necessitated to cock and load (and pump msps) allows time for me to reflect on my last shot and painfully grimace, as the case may be, or to smugly smirk at my shooting partner daring them to match me. It also allows time to sip a beer, but I digress.

      If I want to shoot more rapidly, I will pull out the Crosman 1077w, or the Marauder if more precision is necessary.

      I do however applaud Gamo, a much misaligned manufacturer, for putting forth the effort to engineer something that by most reports is the most reliable multi-feed mechanism ever conceived for break barrels.

      I don’t want or need it, but I like that it is out there.

      It is always a pleasure to see your posts here on the PA blog. You are an indispensable part of the airgun community.




      • Slinging Lead,

        Always good to hear from you.

        You make great points as usual. The time/pace to shoot a single shot gun allows reflection and seems to enhance precision. More importantly for me it provides the CALM that I enjoy in shooting. Not sure the full auto or semi auto guys next to me at the range can fathom this concept.

        I’m thrilled that my self centered post brought a wonderful dinosaur like you out of the jungle.

        ps-indispensable is laughable but appreciated nonetheless.



  18. Feinwerk,

    Only if you are going to use that particular pellet and shoot them (the pests) at one to two feet from the muzzle, good luck with that!

    Bugbuster


  19. Well just tryed posting some video’s and even pictures with the new system.

    It won’t accept video’s and if the picture is to big it won’t load. So I’ll just be making short video pictures like I have been doing and up load them on you tube. Then copy and paste the link.

    But all in all the restrictions with the new system will probably help reduce BB’s watch dog sessions.

    I don’t know but maybe it ain’t good or maybe they ain’t got the bugs worked out yet. I know I ain’t going through extra work and time to post a picture with the new system as it is.

    If someone has suggestions to make it easier I’m all ears.




      • Chris U
        It was talked about on that video I posted the other day about the Canadian 2.2 mile sniper shot. It was on their chart they was using. Along barometric pressure and so on.

        But just figured it was something different for the moment to see if normal links still worked.



  20. “RRR” system huh? That!,.. I would like to see explained in full detail. If I recall, not too many scope,.. or,.. gun related re-coiling compensating concepts have worked out favorably.

    It seems that high end/proven function is attempting to be combined with budget friendly products. Always,.. an interesting thing to watch unfold. 😉

    Just some observations,.. nothing else.


  21. Here is a sexy pic I DO hope is OK to post.I love this blog(for 10 yrs now) and I have never posted a pic anywhere on the web before……so here goes nothing!
    This is one of 10 .25cal DAQ Knaves I know exist.Shoots as good as it looks. Frank



    • Color me jealous……real easy on the eyes too.:) I shouldn’t complain….47yds from back door to corner of yard
      and 70 max without disturbing neighbors.Glad you figured out the cropping.


      • Frank
        Very thankful I have what I have. Took me long enough to get here and all that other hard work stuff that goes with it.

        And I thought it could be done from a phone. Just didn’t know what I was looking for. You know what I mean.

        And yes sounds like you got a good shooting spot too. Just got to count ourselves lucky we have what we have.

        I have to say if I didn’t have the place to shoot I would for sure figure out one way or another a way to shoot.

        And again. You got a picture of that gun in there. What I want to know is what the rest of the gun looks like.



        • Well phooey! My Walther DSTT doesn’t have much flame….just some mineral striping.I think I got
          short changed.LOL
          Kev,I hope all is well w/ you. Frank

          p.s.did you freshen the checkering?? looks amazing.


          • Frank B,

            Good to see you posting.

            Still remember that FWB 124 Himalayan JM stock I tried to pry from your hands.

            No “freshening” of the checkering on that LG 55 DST.

            The mineral striping in your Walther DST reminds me of the mineral striping in my Walther Speziale tyro


            • Yeah…..don’t remind me about the FWB 124 stock.It was…..if you remember,my very first DIY
              stock finish from raw blank.She lives on in Hawaii now.I do really miss her.


    • Oh and just so people know. This is a old picture from when the farmer was clearing the tree line and opening up the irrigation ditch.

      There is a bulldozer behind the crest of the hill on the right. He was up talking to me when the picture was taken.

      Anyway just thought I would mention.


  22. Maybe tomorrow I’ll take pics of them together……I had the stock separated to do some finish work for that pic.
    So…….stay tuned.LOL
    Here is a carbine stock on a DAQ .25 pistol……also set up for 50+ ftlbs…….giggity



      • My knees start knockin’ when I look at the old 35s with the round grip….such an elegant detail.

        I have a really nice later stock to show you…..maybe tomorrow.It’s on a HW54el Barakuda .22.
        That is assuming we will still be able to post such RACY pics!


  23. BB,
    Sort of disappointed that your rifle is 177. I was hoping to compare what yours did with my 22 .
    It would nice if Gamo would design their new bread barrels to be able to retro fit the auto loaded as an option.
    I have an old Gamo Gamatic and the feeder works very well. The rifle is accurate too. You do have to choose the right pellet but isn’t that the case for all air guns? Lol. The trick I have found out is do not load damaged pellets first, and do not slam shut the spring follower (I think that is the name) as this will bind the head into the skirts (no sleeze ment) and cause a miss feed. I am so pleased with my Gamatic I just had to have the Swarm. I have shot only about 50 rounds thru the Swarm so far with only one pellet and accuracy is not there. But I think it is still breaking in so I will not be too premature in my judgement. My bundled scope was DOA though but I do not like duplex scopes anyway, so it would not have had a future on that gun. Must mention too that mine has significant droop which was substantially corrected with a droop block


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