Gamo PR-776 vs. Umarex S&W 586
The You Asked For It Gun Test Part 2 Part 1
By Dennis Adler
The Gamo PR-776 is a relatively new entry into the pellet-firing revolver market, introduced in 2016 it is a variation of the Umarex S&W licensed Model 327 TRR8 (introduced in 2012), without the accessory rails and, ironically, with a correct 8-shot cylinder. The Umarex TRR8 is a 6-shot BB cartridge loading CO2 model, but the similarity of design and general operating features, right down to the double action, single action trigger and S&W Performance Center-inspired barrel contours, is straight out of the TRR8 mold. The best aspect of the Gamo then is that it offers a rifled steel barrel and is designed for 4.5mm pellets, rather than steel BBs. Out of the box, the PR-776 is a better air pistol than the TRR8, despite not using individual cartridges. And I have to add that, “right out of the box” is the big letdown because as nice as the PR-776 appears, it does not come in a box, but rather an un-reusable blister pack.
For those of you who hate blister packs (do you actually know anyone who doesn’t outside of retailers who like hanging them on display racks?), I recommend one of the Pyramyd Air Plano hard plastic Pistol Protector cases (essentially what you get with the Umarex S&W Model 586 only not in S&W blue) for storing this otherwise sharp looking revolver.
Delivering the goods
Gamo Precision Airguns has been in the air pistol and air rifle business for a long time, established over 60 years ago in Barcelona, Spain, (the original company from which Gamo emerged was founded in the 1880s), Gamo is one of Europe’s largest airgun manufacturers. They also have had a solid foothold in the U.S. for decades offering quality airguns at very affordable prices. And many of those Gamo models look remarkably similar to big brand guns like Walther, Smith & Wesson, Colt, Beretta and Sig Sauer, among others.
So what’s in a name? In the world of CO2 pistols Gamo casts a long shadow. The PR-776 is one of the latest examples and Gamo managed to do what Umarex did not accomplish with the S&W 586, design a fully functional cylinder that loads a rotary pellet magazine. In operation it is like having very thin speed loaders that simply drop into the cylinder, loader and all. The empty rotary mags eject like a full moon clip without the empty shell cases. I like loading individual BB and pellet shells into a revolver, but the Gamo is compromising less than it is giving by using the 8-shot rotary cylinder magazines.
The barrel design, frame, sight platform, hammer and DA/SA trigger are identical to the TRR8, as is the means of loading the CO2 in the grip frame. The fit and finish are actually a little tighter and a lot more visually appealing with a shiny gunmetal grey that falls somewhere between hard chrome and grey Cerakote in appearance.
The retail price point on the PR-776 ($120) is also very close to the TRR8’s, which puts it well below the MSRP for the Umarex S&W 586 by $175. And that makes this comparison all the more compelling!
One on One
For size and weight the Gamo and S&W are not too close, the PR-776 tips the scale at 36 ounces, the S&W 586 at almost 10 ounces more, just about the same as the centerfire model. Consider though that the .357 magnum S&W Performance Center 327 TRR8 only weighs 35.2 ounces because it uses a Scandium alloy frame; the entire Gamo PR-776 is alloy with the exception of some minor internal parts and the 4.5mm 6-inch rifled barrel, so its weight is also almost identical to its centerfire counterpart.
For overall length the two 6-inch barreled air pistols measure 11.5 inches for the S&W and 11.75 inches (muzzle to bottom of pistol grip) for the Gamo. To say that one feels more substantial in the hand would fail to account for their actual relationship to the centerfire guns, which have commensurate weights (although the .357 magnum TRR8 only has a 5-inch barrel).
The Gamo has a slightly more innovative pellet loading system, but the greatest difference between the S&W 586 and PR-776 is in the overall construction of the German-made Umarex vs. the Gamo, which is actually manufactured for Gamo in Taiwan. And this explains the greatest part of the vast price differential, that and the fact that licensing agreements for brand names don’t come cheap. An S&W (or Colt) pistol reproduced and marketed as a CO2 version carries a certain panache. The Gamo may look the part but it can’t wear the name. The real question is can it shoot as well as the S&W? If so, then indeed, what’s in a name? We’ll find out Saturday when the S&W 586 and Gamo PR-776 go for the bullseye at 10 meters.