by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Happy Columbus Day! Some of you are off today, but most of you are at work.

I didn’t think there was going to be a third part to this report, but Vince asked if I thought .177 round lead balls might work better in the Gamo V3 than steel BBs because of the rifled steel barrel. The Pyramyd Air website recommends them. I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s worth testing.

Right to the punchline
Indeed, they do seem to work better! They group tighter and they shoot exactly to the point of aim. Instead of a palm-sized group at 15 feet, I got about a 2″ group. That’s about an inch off the former size. The fact that they shoot to the aim point means you can use those combat sights and just put the center dot on the target.

What about the rifling?
Well, in this case, the rifling doesn’t seem to come into play. There were no rifling marks on the lead balls after firing. Since I use a Crosman model 850 BB trap with ballistic curtains, the balls are not deformed on impact. I couldn’t find the hint of a rifling mark on any of them. So, the Gamo bore is larger than 0.177″.

And reliability?
By using larger ammo, you risk getting a ball stuck in the bore, but in the limited testing I did that never happened. I also rolled a ball down the muzzle to see if it would roll through the bore on its own, but it stuck both times. So the fit is close, but not extremely tight.

What about velocity?
Unlike the Drozd, where .177 lead balls fly nearly as fast as steel BBs (not to mention a LOT straighter!), in the V3 the heavier lead balls are a little slower. They ranged between 363 f.p.s. and 384 f.p.s., with one slowpoke going 343 when I forgot and pulled the trigger very slowly.

The trigger is the secret
If this pistol has a secret, it’s the trigger. Pull it slow and velocity drops off. Pull fast and the gun speeds up, but you run the risk of shooting wide (to the left for right-handers). This is one of the few handguns that forces me to shoot with a two-hand hold, just so I can control the muzzle. I used the classic Weaver stance, and it works very well with this gun.

A new lease!
Thanks to Vince for his observation that inspired this test. I don’t know if the results I obtained will change any purchase decisions, but those of you who already own a Gamo V3 should consider trying it with round lead balls and the technique I used. It might give you a new lease on your gun.