Gamo PR-776 vs. Umarex S&W 586

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 was introduced in 2016 and is a very close relative (in design and manufacturing) to the Umarex S&W licensed 327 TRR8 BB cartridge-loading CO2 model. The main difference, aside from the absence of accessory rails, is that the Gamo uses a swing out cylinder that loads an 8-shot rotary magazine, and thus it looks more like an actual centerfire revolver than the Umarex S&W 586.

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.

There is a very large price differential (about $175) between the Umarex S&W 586 and the Gamo PR-776. Part of that is in where the guns are manufactured and the other is in how they are marketed. The S&W comes in an excellent foam-lined hard plastic Smith & Wesson blue and factory marked carry case, while the Gamo comes in a try-not-to-completely-destroy when opening blister pack made to be displayed on a rack in a big box retail store.

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.

Sizing up these two CO2 pellet firing pistols, there is a lot to be said for the Smith & Wesson name on the barrel, the true to centerfire-design adjustable sights, and S&W logo on the frame, but the nearly 20-year old design falls short of what the lower-priced Gamo PR-776 delivers with its fully opening and operating S&W-style swing out cylinder and drop-in 8-shot rotary pellet magazine.

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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.

Like the S&W the 4.5mm rifled steel barrel on the PR-776 is recessed from the .357 magnum-sized muzzle. The contours of the barrel are almost identical to the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 BB cartridge model only without the accessory rails. The frame and grip design is identical, and the same sight platform is used, although the 327 TRR8 has fiber optic sights.

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.

A technical advantage of the much newer Gamo design, compared to the S&W is the use of a fully functioning swing out cylinder and drop-in 8-shot rotary pellet magazines. When empty they are pushed out using the hand ejector just as one would with empty shells or full moon clips. Reloads are as fast as a speed loader. The S&W works on a similar design but only the front quarter of the cylinder operates and the 10-shot rotary pellet magazines insert on the crane spindle. It is effective but not as efficient or as authentic in operation as the Gamo design.

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.

From the back, the size and handling of the PR-776 is identical to the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 CO2 model right down to the hammer, trigger, cylinder latch and grips. Only the inset S&W in the grips has been changed to Gamo’s logo.
One way in which the Gamo outguns the S&W 586 is with an excellent white dot in the front sight, compared to the interchangeable flat black blade on the S&W.

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.
The 8-shot rotary magazines allow the ratchet (star) on the ejector to pass through as though loading a full moon clip. The ejector pushes the entire rotary magazine out for reloading.

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 PR-776 has fully adjustable rear sights. The large WARNING text is the only distracting feature on both the Gamo and Umarex models. We even see a form of this today (Read safety manual) stamped on centerfire and rimfire handguns from many manufacturers, so it is not so much an oddity on airguns as it is a statement about handgun safety in general. It could be a tad more discrete, like the warnings on cartridge-firing handguns.

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.

A better finish than the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8, the Gamo PR-776 looks more like grey Cerakote. The Gamo uses the same S&W 327 TRR8 hammer and trigger and same cylinder latch thumb release that also cleverly doubles as a manual safety by pushing it to the rear, rather than forward to open the cylinder.

2 thoughts on “Gamo PR-776 vs. Umarex S&W 586”

  1. Gamo went for the lower price point with the blister pack and moon clip type loading disc . That is the downside. I have the PR776, and it is very accurate, and relatively powerful , with 7-7.4 gr pellets in the 370 fps range. The discs are flat and reload easily , but since it would have been relatively easy to do, I would have preferred a cartridge loading system. Speaking of cartridge loading revolvers , any word on the fate of the excellentNagant 177 revolver? Gletcher seems to be done, but hopefully another company like Gamo will pick up the line.

  2. I too have the PR776 and like it very much. If you would Dennis, please take a closer look at the underside of the barrel. There are two small grooves on opposite sides as if Gamo had built in a dovetail rail. The width seems smaller than a standard dovetail. I’m not sure that it is a dovetail rail, but it does look somewhat like a dovetail under the barrel.

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