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Education / Training Gamo Compact vs IZH 46 – Part 2

Gamo Compact vs IZH 46 – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Today, we’ll look at the IZH 46. Before I do that, Derrick told us that Gamo U.S.A. sells grips to convert a Compact to left-hand operation. Indeed they do. Look on their website under ACCESSORIES.

The IZH 46, or Izzy, as some call it, is another single-stroke pneumatic target pistol. I don’t know how long it’s been in production, but I first saw them in the mid-1990s, when several dealers sold them in the U.S. at $600. That was a poor launch strategy because top-grade, name-brand, 10-meter pistols were selling for less than a thousand dollars at the same time, and the Russian gun had never been seen in this country.

When those dealers dropped out, the price fell rapidly through $300, coming to a stop at around $225. Then, it began to sell, and the word started spreading about its quality. I saw and shot my first one at the Little Rock Airgun Expo around 1996 and bought one in March of ’97. I still own that pistol, and it still works well. Those who say the seals are weak are mistreating their guns. This gun requires Crosman Pellgunoil often to remain operational. There’s also a trick to storage that I’ll show you that keeps the most fragile seal fresh.

Two different models
There’s an IZH 46 and a later version known as the 46M. EAA told everyone the M stands for magnum, which sounds reasonable because it develops greater power. A standard 46 should develop a muzzle velocity of 410-430 f.p.s. when shooting 7.5-grain wadcutters. The 46M develops 460-500 f.p.s. with the same pellet. The M has a longer pump tube that produces more swept volume (longer piston stroke), so more air is compressed. I’ve tested both guns extensively, because the 10-meter pistol club I used to belong to had several of each model.

The IZH 46 is no longer imported into the U.S.


The IZH 46M has a longer pump tube than the IZH 46.

The standard 46 is still made, but no longer imported into the U.S. That makes sense, because almost everyone would want the M for its greater velocity.

Maintenance first
A ton of rumors have been written about how the seals in the 46 are somehow weak. Nothing could be further from the truth, but when kitchen-table hobby airgunsmiths open one up, they find a level of complexity they weren’t anticipating. You don’t change the seal to get a 46 shooting. You simply pump it – the right way!

Getting them working again
I have taken non-working guns and, through simple lubrication with Crosman Pellgunoil, gotten them shooting at or above the rated velocity in about 30 minutes. After watching me pump and shoot their guns repeatedly until they worked, the members of my club stopped having problems with their pistols. All you have to do is lubricate and exercise the seals until they’re flexible once more. I have to do the same thing with my own pistol every time I start shooting it again, because it sits around for 12 months at a time without being shot.

What kind of oil did I use? Crosman Pellgunoil! Will the synthetic oil your brother-in-law’s company uses to lubricate swimming pool heater pumps work as a substitute? Who the heck knows. But, Pellgunoil works every time.

Storing the gun
Never store the pistol with the breech closed. Always leave tension off the breech seal, which is the most sensitive seal on the gun. My own gun is 11 years old, has fired thousands of shots and still works well, because I never stored it with the breech closed.


Only close the breech like this when you wish to fire the pistol. Never store it with the breech closed or you’ll ruin the breech seal.


This is how the breech should look when the gun is stored.

Pump mechanism makes easy work
The pump lever operates with an articulated linkage whose fulcrum changes location as the force increases. The fulcrum also rides on two clever roller bearings that also serve as spacers. The result is an easy pump effort. The model 46 needs about 12-15 lbs. of force to close the lever; the 46M needs 20-22 lbs.

General specifications
This is a large target pistol, and one of the heaviest of its class at 40.5 oz. That’s what my 46 weighs. A 46M is slightly heavier. The balance is slightly toward the front, which most target shooters prefer. The geometry of a properly adjusted grip keeps this from becoming overwhelming. The length is 16.5″ overall. That seems large to those not used to 10-meter pistols, but it’s in the same range as many others such as the FWB 103 single-stroke.

Here’s where the IZH 46 clearly surpasses the Gamo Compact. The 46 trigger is adjustable for location fore and aft (adjusts to the length of your trigger finger), adjusts for the length of the first-stage takeup, for the weight of the second-stage pull and for overtravel. In fact, the only adjustments you won’t find on this trigger are a side-to-side rotation of the trigger blade and the ability to load much of the total trigger-pull into the first stage The Izzy first stage is just a slack pull.

The 46 trigger also has a dry-fire capability that the Compact doesn’t have. You can manually raise the breech block until the trigger cocks, then close the breech and the trigger-pull is identical to what it is when the pistol is charged.

The grips now being imported are right-hand, but left-hand grips have been imported and can be gotten. The supply isn’t as regular as it could be, but they’re available. The grip adjusts just one way – by the palm shelf moving up and down. This is identical to the grip on the Compact. The 46 grip is smaller than the Compact grip and is made of what looks like birch.

Though it doesn’t adjust for cant or fore/aft angle, the grip is ideally angled to lock your wrist when the sights are aligned. The one complaint I have about the 46 grip is that the panels are difficult to get as tight as they need to be. I’ve solved this with my own pistol, but so many I see have grip panels that move when you grasp the gun.

Build quality
The IZH 46 is well-built. The finish isn’t in the same class as a top 10-meter gun, nor are the grips as well-sculpted, but you cannot criticize the construction. In contrast to the Compact, there’s no plastic anywhere. The only synthetics are the pump head and seals.

I plan to address the sights when I test each gun, because sights need to be used to be evaluated.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

42 thoughts on “Gamo Compact vs IZH 46 – Part 2”

  1. B.B.–Scott298–with the wind blowing hard yesterday I was lucky enough to be able to use my father-in-laws basement to sight in my 350. I had a copy of your instructions and followed them to a T. It worked out great and he had enough room for me to follow up at 20 yards in the basement. Ghosting is becoming a problem and if you owned an rws 350 which muzzle break would you use? Thanks again for the instructions on the blog-people should follow them they work! Scott298

  2. B.B.–Scott298-I just looked at the beeman universal brake -you would go with a ribbed design over a smoothe shape. Seems I read somewhere that on your dream gun you would use a venom muzzle break-which is smooth-why would you recommend the ribbed version for the 350? Thanks-Scott298

  3. Scott298,

    That’s not the only Beeman Universal muzzle brake. In their infinite wisdom, Beeman also named this one the same thing:


    That’s the one I meant. Find it in the Shooting Needs and Accessories category.


  4. See! There you go again BB.

    Here I am perfectly happy with my Gamo Compact and then you have to go and do this on the Izzy.

    Wasn’t it enough with all the blogs on springers and 10 meter competition rifles that I now have a Benjamin 1000 springer and the Daisy 853?

    The wife is going to pull the plug on my computer access when I “happen” to mention about wanting a 10th pistol.

    It’s all your fault and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    Keep up the great work BB. At least judging by other comments out here I’m not alone in that boat.


  5. B.B.

    Wow, I’m going to reread your blogs on the 747 to make sure I’m maintaining it right. I wouldn’t want to hurt that gun from poor maintenance.

    In the meantime, I’m having the darnedest time filling my deluxe Beeman rifle rest bags. I have to spoon 24 pounds of sand through a drinking straw inserted into the bag with frequent stops to ram through packed sand with a cleaning rod! Argh. There must be a better way to do this. But what keeps me going is the wonderful groups that I’m going to shoot with this set-up.


  6. jim in KS

    Thanks for your recommendation of G. David Tubbs’ film, The One Mile Shot. I’m working my way through it and am already astounded. Tubbs, as the ultimate shot, seems like a very normal guy other than being very knowledgeable and confident. His shooting technique seems pretty standard. But he consistently hits the one mile target; makes it look easy.

    What really blows my mind, though, is that he’s doing this with a 6.5X284 cartridge! This makes him better than Bob Lee Swagger who distinctly says: “You’re not going to hit no 1400 yard shot with a .308.” Well, this guy can with something even smaller. This seems to defy the basic principle that a bigger/faster bullet is better for longer range. This cartridge is about .270 if my calculations are right and it is not particularly hot; muzzle velocity is about 3000fps.

    How does this work? I’ve heard that this round is exceptionally accurate, but I don’t see how it can perform at such long distances at its size. The guy is also shooting in fairly windy conditions. All I can guess is that this size round does some kind of magic with ballistics. I’ve heard similar things about the 6.5 Grendel and didn’t Jack O’Connor promote the .270 as the ultimate cartridge. I also recall that the M1 was originally designed for something called the .275 Pedersen. Could this be the ultimate cartridge in terms of ballistics (not stopping power)? At least thing are simpler with the choice off airgun calibers.

    One hundred yards is looking better with my B30, especially with the killer sandbags.


  7. Hi guys,
    Izzy vs Daisy 777(fancy 747), the Izzy wins every time. Better trigger, better sights, better grips, just feels better when fired.
    Daisy is still a wonderful gun, I won’t part with it. Will pass it on to my teenager to start with!

  8. Rabbitt,

    Make a deal with the wife for some landscape or house remodeling. Don’t forget to carry through, or she might not stop at unplugging your computer…


  9. have to echo jdb above. Had a 747 for many years and finally retired it. Got the izzy as a replacement. No comparison. Might not be the prettiest thing on the block but she shoooooots. 30ft basement shooting I stick thumbtacks in my backer for targets, sometimes mappins. Alum. cans are pretty much boring unless 20yds or more away(have hit these out to 40yd with a rest). Can hit bottle caps out to 20yd regularly (gun is probably capable of every time)A great gun to hone skills in the back yard. An amazing shooter. Anyone on the fence about one of these, all I can say is Just-do-it (and plan on sanding/shaping the grips some)

  10. Mike,

    I will answer the pumping question in the next installment about the 46.

    As for oiling, the pistol’s pump head is oiled. Since you don’t have a pistol to look at, how about if I take a picture and show you next time?


  11. Matt 61 –

    Glad you like the video. David is really one to listen to when the topic is accuracy with a rifle. Keep in mind that Bob Lee Swagger is a fictional character.

    Other than sheer talent, one of the reasons that David is able to make these long range shots with a smaller caliber rifle is the high sectional density of the bullets that are used. When a bullet is heavy enough that it starts looking like a short pencil, it will retain velocity and spin over a much longer distance. They will also resist the wind and the effects of spin drift much better than a shorter bullet. Sierra makes 6.5 MatchKing’s all the way up to 155 grains. That will do it.

    As a matter of fact, Ross Sefreid wrote a short article for American Rifleman recently about a custom rifle chambered for a wildcat 22, using very heavy bullets. The owner of the rifle was easily able to shoot hand sized groups from 800 yards. Again, Sierra makes MatchKing’s in 22 up to 90 grains. That’s really heavy for a 22.

    Sectional density plays a role in long distance air rifle shooting also. That’s why the heavier pellets in any given caliber do better at long range. It’s not that they are more accurate out of the muzzle. They’re just slower to lose energy and stability than the lighter pellets. There is a shooter who posts on the “yellow forum” who is using a 20 cal. custom Air Ranger to shoot amazing groups at 200 yards! If he gives advice, I would listen to him.

  12. Hi BB,

    I remember your initial review of the 46 and that was enough to make me really want one. I waited a bit and finally made the plunge – the 46M from Pyramyd with the red-dot. It was love from the moment I took it out of the box. Until then I had never really fired any single-strokes, and its firing behavior and excellent trigger blew me away. It’s still one of my prize pieces. But now that I’ve built a modest collection of airguns… maintaining all of them starts to become an issue. I noticed that you really need to use & maintain the pneumatics often or the seal issue can arise. It was good to hear you explain it. The only problem with my 46M is that I can never really get the most from it with my increasingly poor eyesight. After a while even the big 50mm red dot started to feel like a very short range sight, so I finally picked up a 2 – 7X pistol scope and the world is opening up again ( I can blast asprin/assorted meds at 10 yards). The gun looks absolutely wicked, and the balance is surprisingly good. But during the change I did get to shoot it with the iron sights and saw at least how it should feel, though I really couldn’t make use of it. It is literally a “bug buster.” I’m glad to see you kept yours.

    W. PA

  13. Far too many people are afraid of modifying the grips on an IZH-46/M. They grips are not designed for any real human as delivered and IZH expects you to get out a rasp and work them to fit. If you take off too much, use some wood putty (water based works better) to fix the error. Stain if you want it to look better but shooting better is more important than looks!

  14. Hi BB,
    A couple of weeks ago i asked you to suggest an air rifle for hunting small game in the $200-$300 range.
    You suggested to buy the RWS Diana 34 Panther without the scope and to buy the new scope when it becomes available….
    my question:
    When is this scope comming onto the market, what is it called, how will I find out and do you have any idea how much it will cost??
    Another Question:
    If I wanted to safe-up to buy an even better rifle what would you suggest as the ultimate ‘small-game’ hunting rifle (and why, what do you look for?)?

    Thank you


  15. DRT,

    I don’t think that is for me to say. There are so many different good airguns and so many different tastes. A spring-gun enthusiast would think it wrong if I recommended a PCP, and a multi-pump hunter would never accept a springer.

    I think things like that are best answered individually.


  16. Official ISSF rules orders the trigger pull force as light as 500gr approx. 18oz, but user manual IZH-46M says "Never adjust the trigger pull to less than 24 ounces". Do you know the reason?

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