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Education / Training Gamo Recon – Part 2

Gamo Recon – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Okay, today I’ll shoot the .177-caliber Gamo Recon for you. Once again, I must comment on how easy this rifle is to cock. That’s going to make it a great kids’ gun, if it’s also accurate.

There continues to be a buzz from the powerplant with each shot. It isn’t a bad one, but it was there with four different pellets, so it’s probably not going away without a tune.

If only all Gamos had a trigger like this! It’s light and easy, though not overly smooth. The breaking weight in stage two is 2 lbs., 9 ozs. Stage one is a short take-up, and stage two is a long, creepy pull until the letoff at some indiscriminate point. It isn’t a great trigger by any means, but compared to the triggers on Gamo’s more powerful rifles, this one is at least user-friendly.

Most kids’ rifles are cursed with triggers that many adults find hard to use, and that doesn’t help the kid one bit. This trigger is very usable, and a surprise on an inexpensive rifle. I suppose the lightness is due to the low power of the rifle, but I’m not complaining. I checked the customer reviews on this gun and several praised the trigger as well, so I’m not alone in thinking it’s a pretty decent unit.

There is one shortcoming, though. The blade rotates back and up as it’s pulled, like most Gamo triggers. That’s one aspect I’d like to see them redesign. A trigger should travel in a straight line to be the most effective.

Velocity test
7.5-grain Gamo Match pellets went an average of 476 f.p.s. The low was 469 and the high was 487. For a new gun, an 18 foot-second spread is pretty tight for a string of 10, so they’ll make it into the accuracy test. The average muzzle energy was 3.77 foot-pounds.

The 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers averaged 451 f.p.s., with a spread from 443 to 466. Even 23 f.p.s. isn’t that outrageous for a new spring gun. They’ll probably get into the accuracy test, as well. The average energy is 3.57 foot-pounds.

I wanted to try out a different light pellet than RWS Hobbys, so I used the RWS Diabolo Basics that weigh the same 7 grains as Hobbys. They averaged right at 500 f.p.s. and gave me a 20 foot-second spread from 489 to 509. That velocity averaged 3.89 foot-pounds, the best reading of this test, and they’ll make it to the accuracy test, as well.

The one pellet that won’t be in the accuracy test is the 5.4-grain Raptor. I fired only three shots, which registered 432 f.p.s., 345 f.p.s. and 383 f.p.s., from first to last. The only reason I tried them is because I wanted to see if they would respond to a low-powered powerplant, and of course they don’t. Gamo doesn’t advertise them for this rifle, so I take the credit for their failure.

Backwards breech
I overlooked a detail in the first report – the fact that the breech is reversed from the norm and the breech seal is around the transfer port instead of the breech. When I checked the seal, however, I noticed that it is cut pretty bad on one side. Guessing that this could have affected velocity, I removed it and flipped it over, then reinstalled it with a smooth side out. I applied a thin coat of silicone grease to the seal to prevent it from tearing again. I did re-test the velocities, but there were no appreciable changes.


This seal looks compromised, but reversing it didn’t make any difference.

Accuracy next
Gamo provided the scope, so I’ll install it for the accuracy test. Several customers have complained about the small size, but we’ll judge by what happens of paper.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

42 thoughts on “Gamo Recon – Part 2”

  1. Hey BB,
    This is sounding like a great starter gun. I hope it is accurate as well. I just got to say BB, that i dont think you give bb guns enough credit. Now i dont need to stand up for them beacuse I’ve shot/own some incredibly accurate fire arms. But to me within close range a Crosman Pumpmaster will hit where you aim. Now the 499 probably is more accurate but i think for younger shooters or some one who just enjoys air guns and wants to have fun it is accurate. Now dont get me wrong ive seen what a Beeman R1 can do! Oh, and one last thing, if you are close enough, you CAN hunt with a bb gun. Granted you cant hunt squirrels but a small bird at close range is enough for my 12 year old son. Now dont get me wrong BB i love your blog and i do read it daily.


  2. Hey B.B.,
    Ive been away for a week at Scout Camp. You better watch out, im a Sharpshooter now. lol. I got my Rifle Shooting Merit Badge. Anyways. This is an excellent report, one ive been wanting. My little cousin has been wanting a gun, but his dad wont let him have a real powerful one, so i figured this one would be perfect. Cant wait to see accuracy. You should do a report on Starter guns. That would probably end a lot of questions, you could just refer them to that.
    See Ya,

  3. BB, I’m virtually certain this gun is a variant on the Delta. I’ve got 2 of those in my possession, the weaker one shoots about the same as the gun you’re testing while the stronger one is about 60fps faster (and is a bit harder to cock). The spring on the weaker one is shorter, don’t know if this was intentional or not.

    The accuracy of both is pretty darned good. The stronger one is ALMOST good enough to plink at 55 yards (7″ circ saw blade), but the sight doesn’t go up far enough. With enough holdover, however, it hits the target. The first couple times I hit the blade I thought I missed it because the flight time of the pellet is so long! Both guns are also very easy to shoot with acceptable accuracy.

    The Delta has a standard Gamo trigger (minus the adjuster screw), and I believe that you’re correct in attributing the lighter pull to the lighter spring and sear pressures. I believe it can be upgraded with a GRT trigger from Charlie, if desired.

    The Delta (and the similarly constructed but more powerful Sporter 500) doesn’t seem to suffer from the plastic parts used in the lockup assembly. As I recall, they all function quite well with a scope. The Recon had better as well, since that’s the only option!

    The first Delta was purchased for a petite teenage girl who comes over once in a while. Previously to that I had bought her a TF11 (B1-1), which I believe is the mechanically similar predecessor to the 490 Express. In her opinion, the Delta is a MUCH nicer gun.

  4. Hey B.B.,
    I cant wait, and thank you. I used your tips on concentrating on the front sight, and my groups had less flyers. My best target was a 44 out of 50. Thanks again for the great blog

  5. B.B.
    This is important to me, opening the air rifle range and all…
    I too got two of the Delta’s, and gave them to Josh and Nate, two of our members in the raised bed business and the new rifle range LLC.
    They live in a trailer park and have 8 and 10 year old kids. They say they love to shoot them in their small yards at little plastic army men. ($1.00 for 50 at “The Dollar store”) we didn’t scope them so the kids could lean the basics…The kids love them as well.
    One night Josh heard something on his roof…it was a large raccoon..he got the delta and put one pellet under the raccoons chin, and it dropped dead, it was only 10′ away, but, not a step, just slumped…Josh is a high tech hunter, he knows where to hit to kill an animal. I wonder if I can find the photo of the very large buck he got on the 1st minutes of morning of the opening of hunting season..he has studied the inside of all the animals he kills and eats.. and he eats everything he kills except the starlings and rats…He’s a great cook too…

    But back to starter guns for kids..now that I have shot so many different air rifles…I am convinced that the right trigger is just a important as accuracy and cocking effort…I think parents and grandparents are not that price worried, when buying a gun that is safe, easy, accurate and hopefully long lasting….
    Which leads me to think that depending on how young you start the child, maybe an HW-30 or RWS Shultz is the best choice, even if they need a rest and help cocking. It might teach respect for the gun, if it is to big and strong for them, at first. Also the adult is right their to teach how to safely handle the gun…

    What do you think, is allowing them to have something they can handle on their own at first, the right thing to do?

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  6. Wayne,

    That’s a judgement call that takes maturity and economics into account. My opinion doesn’t matter – it’s up to the decision-maker.

    And I think many parents ARE worried about price. At least that’s what I hear on my end.


  7. BB,

    This is an interesting rifle in principle, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it is accuracy wise. The amount of plastic bothers me a lot, just because it does seem to age and fracture more than metal.

    One question I have is this: what age does Gamo target with this rifle? I would be reluctant to give anyone under 10 or 11 something like this “for their own”, and much past that age would probably give them a rimfire or small adult air rifle…so to me it seems like the Recon is in an introductory or transitional position.

  8. Hello All, I think BB is in for a pleasant suprise when he test the accuracy of the Recon. I had one that I tuned myself following instructions from BB. It was very accurate,almost as accurate as my Diana 24!! I mounted a larger Gamo scope from my Big Cat,& donated the “Lil Recon” to a youth shooting group in S.Dak. (I kinda miss her!) Looking forward to the accuracy test BB. Tim.

  9. B.B.

    Yeah, I guess so…the parents are the ones to decide of course…

    I guess I remember back when I got my first HYSCORE and my dad taught me to hunt rabbits with it..after he spent a month teaching me with the pellet gun…then, he got his .22 semi auto rim fire and we hunted side by side…him letting me have first shot and me crawling to get close…I am just stuck in the past..I think your first gun is a milestone, and if you can keep it for life, it means a lot.

    Well, you get way more feed back than me…Price probably is an issue..Hopefully you will find the perfect balance of price and quality…I am a buyer when you do…
    I definitely agree that triggers are important, so the kids are able to learn good finger movement habits.


  10. cowboy dad here…and I do think price is a consideration.
    I have two boys, aged 7 and 5. Six years is the age at which I decided they could handle a gun…the oldest has had his Red Ryder for nearly 6 months now…the 5 year old will get his next summer.
    I chose the Red Ryder for a number of reasons:
    1. Quality. When compared to like priced Marksman there was just no comparison.
    2. Price. I don’t know if you have children Wayne, but they are notorious for falling in love with something…then a month later it sits for the rest of eternity in the closet.
    So whilst I have certain quality levels that need to be met (the Marksman just had too much cheap plastic to give a sense of safety), I don’t want to waste money either.
    If they stick with the bb guns and follow the safety rules I set they will both graduate to pellet guns when they are 10.

  11. Shadow express dude
    Hi BB, I just got back from a squirrle hunting trip in red-neck Virginia. Well my Shadow express cleanly killed 4 gray tails. All the shots were at 35yards, heart shots, and with crosman premier wadcutters. My buddy was using a crosman custom pistol (14inch barrel, .22cal)and a dragonslayer. That dragonslayer is a great gun, no dought about it, but the Shadow Express is designed to hunt. I ended up with 4 and he got 2.

  12. B.B.

    Hm, long-term quality is on my mind after my 9 hour session at the shooting range on Saturday. Most of this time was taken up with breaking in the barrel of the Savage 10FP police rifle–a tedious process that I don’t expect to ever do again. However, the Savage rifle confirmed everything said about it, and I do believe that it is the IZH 61 of firearms–good price, fantastic trigger, and wonderful accuracy. At 25 yards, three shots went through the same bullet hole (not just the same opening in the paper) and the fourth was right next to it.

    The B30 also did well. Five shots at 25 yards were well inside the one inch grid squares on my target. Five shots standing went into about 3 inches. And at 50 yards, 10 shots went into 2 inches–except for the odd flyer.

    However, the real story of the day was the 6-24X50 Leapers scope. A guy came up to me to tell me how great it looked. That’s good. And the optics on a sunny day were excellent. It seemed as though I was standing in front of the target, and I can’t imagine anything better without artificially enhancing the image. BUT, then the adjustment knobs for windage and elevation stopped working. I’ve never cared for the zero-locking feature on this scope. There was nothing wrong with the positive click adjustment on the low-power Leapers scopes, but here they had to change to a system where you need to loosen a locking screw with an Allen wrench then raise and lower the adjustment knob to match a microscopic line etched onto an inner column to turn the knob. I was able to make it work before, but on this day, nothing would work. The knob spun freely or else it felt crunchy as though the mechanism was jammed with sand. THEN, the power adjustment ring froze up. After licking my chops during the barrel break-in in anticipation of unhindered shooting at 100 yards these were bitter waters to drink! So after my running around with the lunatic dealer for my Savage rifle and the multiple returns and heartbreak with the B30 what delivered the killing thrust from the rear was the Leapers scope?! Et tu Brute. (At the least the other two are working fine.) I am getting on the phone momentarily to start making good on my lifetime warranty.

    The session also brought to mind something mentioned by Don in Indiana (who has always appeared in the hour of need). He mentioned to avoid heating up the barrel during the break-in because you can ruin it. I was careful to wait a long time between shots. But at the end, after the agonizing 5 minute delays between shots, I couldn’t resist shooting through a few of the four shot magazines–not rapid fire but consecutively. After the last mag, the barrel went from warm where I had been nursing it to quite hot to the touch, and I stopped shooting right away. I thought that 50 shots over 5 hours or so wasn’t excessive, so I’m hoping I didn’t damage the barrel (bull). But I am curious about the effects of barrel heating on accuracy. I expect that heating will change the shape of a barrel however slightly, and why should it cool down to the exact same shape as before. Over time, it seems like this process could deform a precision barrel quite significantly.


  13. Brody,
    I am in Ashland, Oregon…just outside of town, at 2,800 ft…. in the oak woodland at the base of about 7,000′ Mt Ashland….15 mins. on I-5 freeway south, then 20 min. to skiing in the winter and hiking in summer. The Pacific Crest Trail passes there. The Siskiyou wilderness is on the other side for maybe 80 miles to the coast…we love it here..

    Cowboy Dad,
    Your right of course, I started when I was almost 9, so the lessons on safety and hunting were right for my years.. At 6 or 7, I would have loved to have had a bb gun…and my dad to teach me about it and shoot it with me…but not until almost 9 for me, and I never knew why..probably to busy, when I was 8 we moved to 6 acres of citrus trees, with lots of mature trees, so we were trying to plant new young trees and the rabbits were eating the bark…So my dad was probably putting me to work as much as anything…we ate a lot of rabbit…

    Ashland Air Rifle Range,
    Ashland Oregon.

  14. B.B.

    Yet, another experiment is in the works. Today is the magic day on which I pick up my S&W 1911, and I’ve arranged to shoot 40 rounds at the indoor range at the gun store. Now true ignorance will have some experimental value. I’ve never shot a handgun firearm before, but I have put several thousand rounds through my 747 and Walther CP99 Sport. Now, armed with the shooting tips from my Bill Wilson 1911 DVD and the blog, I’ll see how well my airgun training converts to firearms. Expectations are low. If I hit the paper (about 4ft. X 3ft.) at 20 feet, I’ll be happy. The airgun practice seemed to convert pretty well to rifle firearms.

    Wayne, I have a great idea for your range! My Dad tells me that when he was qualifying with the M1 Garand in the army in 1960, he had to shoot at pop-up targets. Sounds like fun. Perhaps you could rig up something similar on your range. The field targets already have some mechanism for standing them up. If you could find some way to automate this, and perhaps use a lighter target so the whole thing will drop when you hit any part of it, you’ll have it. I don’t know about the technology for doing all of this, but I’m sure it’s out there.

    Brody, what kind of gun do they have you qualify with at Scout camp? Is it the Crosman 1077 which I love?


  15. B.B., Cowboy Dad & Dragonslayer,

    Thanks for the recommendations, it sounds like the Recon and Red Ryder should be in the inventory as well as the champion 499, I got already..

    Thanks Wayne,

  16. Matt61,

    My wife and I were out shooting on Saturday and she found my Wilson Combat 1911 much easier on her than her own Kel-Tek 9mm, which is super small and light.

    To prevent the pistol from bouncing back and up in your hand, hook your thumb over the manual safety.


  17. David,
    I will keep you posted..send me an email…wayne.burns@naturalyards.com and I will let you know..
    We are waiting for some of the gamo targets from PA and I just ordered 12 custom targets from After Hours Target company, after B.Bs recommendation…but he is back ordered and we won’t get them until mid August….We will be trying to make some also…


    We have thought of that and will have some for sure…we are talking about mounting them on a chain conveyor so they are moving and pop up…pretty cool huh…but who when our mill wright will get to it…

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  18. cowboy dad again…with a p.s.
    The oldest has been shooting for 7 months now…outdoors whenever we can plus an indoor range in the basement.
    Standing freehand he can nail a pop can 2 our of 3 times with the Red Ryder at 30 feet…he’s well on his way to his pellet gun…though he says he’d rather have a tank.

  19. Cowboy Dad,
    That is great..I am sure you can mount a pellet gun on top of a trash can fastened to the red wagon, a few holes for feet and gun turrets, hinge a door in the back…hey this might be great for paint ball..

    I am glad you have time for them..and I bet they are too…


  20. I think the best “starter” airgun for any grownup has to be the R7. Yeah it’s a bit spendy but it’s also a work of art. It belongs in every airgun collection. Anyway, I sent you a draft of my “stupident”. Thanks again


  21. Hi BB,

    off subject, but I was reading a British blog concerning one of your least favorite guns – the Baikal MP 514K, and some repair shop had swapped out the mainspring for a Gamo Hunter 440’s. In doing so, the owner gained enough velocity to make it all the more appealing. Apparently, according to this source – it was intended to be a magnum class airgun, but it was altered before arrival in the states and abroad. While I’ve considered swapping out the stock spring for my 512’s spare (it’s identical only longer, and at least from the same family!), conventional wisdom would make you think the engineers wouldn’t have made it that way without a valid reason. It’s like the guys (super tuners) with the sport compact cars that can’t leave good enough alone. I tend to do a bit of that with my own guns, but it’s usually just how I outfit them. I’m not into picking up small parts from the floor after a disasterous attempt at dismantling a complicated mechanism. Of course in this case, and you would probably agree with those Brit bloggers who felt that the product wasn’t so great from the start. While I think a spring airgun newbie owning a 514K would be a mistake, for an enthusiast who’s used to springers and the problems that befall repeaters – it’s a pretty neat gun. I think as it comes, stock – it’s seriously lacking. After a decent red dot (Truglo 2X is awesome), is thrown on, and a coping saw is taken to the lousy front sight – it becomes a more than adequate shooter. I actually have 2 now, but luckily I didn’t fork out nearly as much as I did on the original. I can see your beef with the product, but I think its standard equipment really doesn’t help its cause. The reviews at PA seem to be pretty good – however, many calls for a power increase. Actually a gas ram would be nice, but there just don’t appear to be many upgrades you can do to a Baikal. In your opinion, is this spring swap safe? I would think your chances of dry firing (it’s a repeater, it will definitely happen) and the damage that would occur goes up significantly. Your thoughts?

    Western PA

  22. Western PA,

    I don’t have any thoughts about this modification except one. A power powerful spring seldom increases the power of a fun. I have an example I might as well share with you guys about a man who tried to break the sound barrier in a .22 caliber springer. So he spent a considerable amount of money creating the world’s largest breakbarrel spring rifle. I owned it for awhile.

    Back to your question. Is it safe? I can’t say because I don’t know the particulars, but it doesn’t sound that dangerous. The thing I would be worried about is the gun snapping shut during cocking, now that the mainspring is so much more powerful.


  23. Shadow Express dude
    BB, I went to the gamo international site and saw a gamo recon labled as a gamo fox, it had open sights but not a scope. Gamo should make provisions for barrel weights like on the colt Woodsman series. Could you do a report on the Gamo Extreme Co2 rifle. Also maybe a report on some budget air pistols (crosman 1088, daisy 617, crosman t4, gamo p23).

  24. Hi BB,
    Just tried to order the Webley Raider 2 shot from Pyramyd AIR, apparently it is the very last one, the very last ‘made in Britain’ one… Great!…
    But they can’t find it… this wouldn’t be the one in your office waiting to be reviewed, would it… 🙂
    Just checking

  25. My son fell in love with the gamo recon in the store because it was easy to cock and it was small enough for him to hold….he is now almost fully grown and we must have at least 10,000 rounds of very fond memories over the years with this gun. I'm glad BB pointed out, that the breech barrel seal can be reversed. After many years it has worned out,. I just reversed the seal and we are good for another few years of adventure with this gun

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