Gamo PR-776 vs. Umarex S&W 586
By Dennis Adler
There are some surprises with these two CO2 pellet revolvers and not the ones you may be expecting! Right off the top there was a big difference in average velocity with the Umarex S&W Model 586 averaging 415 fps with 7.0 grain Meisterkugeln Professional Line lead wadcutters. With a fresh CO2 cartridge the highest velocity the S&W clocked was 429 fps. A second run through the ProChrono chronograph averaged 411 fps and standard deviation for 10 rounds was 13 fps. I expected the Gamo PR-776 to fall fairly close to the S&W but it averaged 430 fps with a high of 446 fps and a standard deviation of 10 fps. So for velocity with the 7.0 grain lead wadcutters the Gamo outperformed the Umarex by a small but consistent margin. But velocity does not in and of itself make one CO2 air pistol more accurate than the other.
Loading and handling
The Gamo’s 8-round, drop-in pellet magazines are faster to handle than the 10-shot rotary magazines that fit on the S&W’s cylinder crane spindle. It’s not a great deal faster, just easier and more intuitive to handle. As for grip and sighting, the handhold on the S&W’s hard rubber grips is excellent but you get a more comfortable and slightly more controlled grasp with the Hogue-style finger groove hard plastic grips on the Gamo, which are identical to those on the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8. The finger grooves on the PR-776 have a rubber-like feel and the pebble grain texturing on the side panels have a good feel in the palm of the hand. The S&W’s hard rubber grips feel a little oversized and thus not as solid in the hand when aiming.
The sights are the next step and those on the S&W are very close to the adjustable sights on centerfire S&W models less the white outline of the rear and red insert on the front. The Gamo’s squared elevation and windage adjustable rear sight provides a large rear notch that aligns with the integrally ramped white dot front sight. The S&W leaves you with black on black but a choice of three different front blade sight widths. There is a narrower blade and wider blade (the medium width blade is on the gun), and I found the wide blade the easiest to center on the target.
Using the same Avery labels as I have in the past, I cut three narrow white strips and formed a white outline around the rear sight and added a red rectangle to the back of the widest front blade sight. This gave me a fairly clear sight outline for the Model 586 similar to what S&W uses on the centerfire models. It’s just gummed backed paper and isn’t a permanent change. It’s also fairly delicate; the gummed backing will dry out and stay pretty well, but eventually fall off. As a temporary alteration for target shooting it’s a short do-it-yourself project that pays off in easier sighting.
Lead shots downrange
Since I am shooting the test using my altered sights on the Model 586 my results might be a little better than with the all black sights, but this does help even out the Gamo’s white dot front sight advantage.
Starting with the Model 586, at 10 meters my best 10-shot group (one rotary magazine) measured 0.687 inches with a best five shots in one ragged hole at 0.5 inches. A second target delivered a spread of 1.18 inches thanks to a flyer in the bullseye. I did not make any sight adjustments; this was as is, using my modified rear white outline and red front blade sights. As such, the gun shot a little low overall but with consistent accuracy. The tightest group on the second target (with the dime) measured 0.56 inches for five rounds.
All shots were fired offhand double action with a two-handed hold. The double action trigger works very well for target shooting, so if you want to keep the rounds going downrange without manually cocking the hammer for each shot, it is not going to make much difference. Same for the Gamo PR-776, in fact, much like the S&W TRR8 version, the gun actually shoots a little better fired double action because the hammer stages perfectly every time. With the PR-776 my best 8 shots (one rotary magazine) measured 1.1 inches with a best five rounds at 0.625 inches. The second target had a little wider spread, but again a consistent shooter. I made one sight adjustment for the PR-776 to lower POA by 1-inch.
For the money
The Umarex S&W Model 586 is the more accurate of the two guns, again making the point that greater velocity does not always equal greater accuracy. On the other hand, the Gamo runs a fairly close second for less than half the price. If you have the BB cartridge firing Umarex 327 TRR8 then the Gamo PR-776 is the ideal companion pellet gun, even though it uses a rotary magazine. But, for the money, if you want ultimate accuracy and a great trigger that keeps the gun on target fired single or double action, that has the heft and balance of a centerfire Smith & Wesson then the Model 586 is the overall winner.