Gamo PR-776 vs. Umarex S&W 586

Gamo PR-776 vs. Umarex S&W 586

The You Asked For It Gun Test Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

By Dennis Adler

Umarex and Smith & Wesson teamed up to build a very accurate pellet pistol with the Model 586. In the absence of an L Frame Model, I am showing the CO2 model with an N-Frame S&W Model 57 .41 Magnum. Overlooking the full length L Frame lug on the 586, notice how well the airgun duplicates the hammer, rear sights, cylinder thumb release, and triggerguard contours. But what is that little lever sticking out behind the trigger on the 586?

With a price differential of $175 you could purchase a pair of Gamo PR-776 pistols for what one Umarex S&W Model 586 costs, so why make this comparison? The answer is simply that the Gamo is a heck of a lot of air pistol for the money, especially when you stack it up against the much more expensive S&W branded wheelgun.

Facts on the ground

Thus far we know that the Gamo is made the same way (and very likely in the same factory) as the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8. That happens when you have airguns built in Taiwan, an international manufacturing hub for brand name air pistols and air rifles. Taiwan is followed by Japan and Germany for the majority of CO2 airgun manufacturing. Germany is where most top-of-the-line Umarex pellet firing CO2 airguns are manufactured, like the Beretta 92FS, Walther CP99 and S&W 586. Umarex also has guns produced in Japan and Taiwan, but when an air pistol wears Made in Germany on its frame, the price is more often going to be higher. And commensurately you expect better fit, finish, and quality for the money. The S&W Model 586 does not disappoint.

This is one of the quirky features of the Umarex S&W model, it uses the trigger to rotate the cylinder and cock the hammer, but it is the lever projecting from the back of the triggerguard that, when struck by the back of the trigger actually drops the hammer! Is this innovative? I think not. The idea was developed in 1855 by New York armsmaker Ebenezer T. Starr and the Starr Arms Co. for America’s first double action revolver!

Let’s begin with the trigger design and trigger pull. The trigger is pretty wild and vintage arms collectors will pick up on this almost immediately. This is not a normal S&W trigger, yes it is the about the right shape but it is not the actual trigger! This Umarex model is utilizing a double action trigger and hammer design that dates back to 1855 and the Starr double action percussion revolver developed by New York armsmaker Ebenezer T. Starr. The Starr .36 and .44 caliber percussion double action revolvers were used throughout the Civil War and well into the 1870s. Why Umarex chose this 19th century method of operation for their S&W 586 CO2 model is a question I’ll have to get an answer for sometime later, but here’s how it works. Similar to the Starr double action, the trigger is actually a lifter that rotates the cylinder and cocks the hammer, but does not actually fire the gun. That job is carried out by the small lever projecting at the back of the triggerguard just behind the trigger. When the trigger presses this lever inward, it releases the sear allowing the hammer to fall. Unlike the Starr design, however, the S&W CO2 model allows you to also manually cock the hammer. The Starr was designed differently and manually cocking the hammer tended to jam the gun; it was meant to be fired double action only, and this is one reason it became unpopular with Union soldiers during the Civil War who were accustomed to single action revolvers and cocking the hammer to fire the gun.

History does repeat itself, at least with the Umarex S&W Model 586. Notice the same hammer release mechanism on this 19th century Starr double action cap-and-ball revolver. The Umarex uses a variation of this 1855 design. It’s an old idea but it still works.

For whatever reason Umarex chose to use this unusual trigger design, it works like a charm on the Model 586 allowing the gun to have a very smooth trigger press that delivers all of its effort to the hammer release with an average of 8 pounds, 15 ounces. This is light for a double action trigger. The DA pull on the S&W Model 57 .41 Magnum revolver pictured, averages over 12 pounds.

The Starr-style design on the CO2 model also allows you to easily and consistently stage the hammer for aimed shots (which was one of the great advantages of the Starr as well). You can, of course, also stage the hammer on S&W revolvers, one of their many great features, but not as easily as with the CO2 pistol. On single action, the trigger only requires 5 pounds, 5 ounces of pressure to trip the hammer release. This is about equivalent to the single action pull on the Model 57 S&W revolver. The trigger on the Umarex Model 586 is unique for an S&W CO2 revolver.

Comparing the CO2 model to a centerfire S&W it’s easy to see how well Umarex reproduced the rear sights, general hammer contour (it sits back a little further) and cylinder thumb release. It is a shame that Umarex didn’t follow through with the white outline for the rear sight.

Gamo’s game

The Gamo PR-776 has the same light DA\SA trigger design as the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 with an average double action pull of 7 pounds, 8 ounces and single action trigger press of 5 pounds, 10 ounces, making it very easy to keep on target whether fired singe or double action. It is also easy to stage the hammer when fired double action.

Loading these two pellet firing models is the same but different, in that the newer Gamo PR-776 drops a rotary pellet magazine into the back of the cylinder like a speed loader, and thus the gun has a fully operating and authentically styled cylinder, compared to the S&W 586 air pistol with its molded in cylinder and front loading rotary pellet magazine that fits on the back of the ejector when the crane is opened using the cylinder thumb release. Somewhere between these two guns and the Umarex S&W TRR8 would be one incredible CO2 pellet revolver. (Or you could cut to the chase and simply by an ASG Dan Wesson).

Coincidentally, the DA/SA trigger pull on the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 is 7 pounds, 5.5 ounces and 5 pounds 7.5 ounces, very close. (And this begs the obvious question; if the TRR8 and PR-776 are this close and share so many parts, for example, like the BB cartridge smoothbore Peacemakers and rifled barrel pellet cartridge Peacemakers share everything but barrel liners and cartridges, why isn’t there a rifled barrel TRR8 that can fire pellet-loading cartridges? It’s just a different barrel liner. Of course, if I knew the answer to that, I’d probably be working at Umarex.

So here are the two contenders for next Tuesday’s final shootout comparing ease of loading, target acquisition, trigger pull and accuracy. Place your bets.

Next week we will conclude with the back-to-back shooting results and how to trick out the sights on the Umarex S&W Model 586.

One thought on “Gamo PR-776 vs. Umarex S&W 586

  1. Very interesting comparison of the two pistols. I have the TRR8 which unfortunately is
    a wall hanger due to it becoming a C02 leaker. Until that happened, it was my most accurate BB revolver, Great realistic feel to it. Probably the Umarex will be a bit more accurate because the Germans usually make good rifled barrels.
    Best wishes
    Harvey


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