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Ammo More about Gamo Match pellets: Part 1

More about Gamo Match pellets: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Regular blog reader Vince has tested some Gamo Match pellets for us in a LOT of guns. His vast collection means he can really give a pellet the once-over to see if it’s accurate anywhere.

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by Vince

This is the first of two parts where I test old and new Gamo Match pellets in .177 and .22. This round is in .177. I’ll do .22 caliber another day. I wanted to see if the pellet changed enough to affect their performance.

A little quick background — even though the old Gamo Match pellet wasn’t really up to match-grade quality, it was a popular and inexpensive pellet that gave credible performance in a lot of guns. After looking at a batch I’d recently bought, it was obvious that Gamo had changed the design of the pellet since the last ones I’d purchased, even though the packaging and UPC code were the same.

I’m not doing this just for your sake. I bought several thousand of these pellets and need to know if I’m keeping or returning them!

There ARE rules
On to the .177 test. These are the rules:

1. 5-6 warm-up shots with the newer pellets
2. 5 shots on target
3. Switch to the old pellets and 5 more shots on the paper

If I get a single flier in a group, I’d take a 6th shot. If it went in with the 4 good ones, I’d discount the flier. Let’s go!

RWS Diana 26
I’ve had this rifle for about 2 years — a rescue from a hole-in-the-wall gun shop. It’s a nice, mid-powered Diana with the T01 trigger and moderate weight and cocking effort (a little more than a Diana 27). When shot with both pellets, I got the following:

Well THIS was unexpected. It actually LIKES the new pellets and very much prefers them to the old. Verdict: Newer is better.

RWS 92/Cometa 220
The 92 is in the same general class as the Diana 26 in terms of power and size, but I find that it generally doesn’t shoot quite as well, or at least as well as easily:

Obviously it preferred the older ones to the newer, but even the older isn’t the best for this gun. Verdict: Older is better

RWS 93/Cometa 300
The model 93 was always (to me) a bit of an enigma. It doesn’t have the trim lines and weight typical of a medium-powered springer; in fact, mine is heavier than the much more powerful Cometa-built RWS 94. It’s a nice shooter, and who really needs 900 fps when punching paper in the basement?

Honest. It IS a nice shooter. At least when I feed it Premiers. Apparently, it’s not big into Spanish entrees. Verdict: Equally poor

Slavia 634
In a rare case of good timing, I snagged this one for, I think, $130 just before prices went through the roof. It’s one of the few spring rifles I’ve got that have never been apart and for which I have no plans to take apart. No need for it at all. It’s not perfect, the sturdy rear sight is a bit hard to adjust and (frankly) I really don’t like the barrel lock arrangement. But those are nitpicks:

Not the greatest but certainly decent plinking accuracy for both pellets. Verdict: Comparable.

Marksman 1790
Endorsed by the US Shooting Team! At least that’s what the box says. The 1790 is a strange bird. The plastic peep sight, die-cast body and painted finish all conspire to give it a very toy-like ambiance, an impression that’s not dispelled by the clunky, cheap-sounding firing cycle. In fact, it’s the most toy-like airgun I’ve ever sampled other than the Diana 16. I don’t know if it’s coincidence that it actually uses the same breakbarrel arrangement and geometry as the diminutive DIana, with the big, fat breech seal located in the compression tube and the barrel latch in the lower cocking arm. All things considered, it doesn’t do badly, though:

…at least with the older Match pellets, which it definitely prefers. Verdict: Older is better.

Some day, I’m gonna do a complete Cabanas blog just so someone can help me figure out where this gun came from, how it came into the country and how many are floating around. Wacky Wayne found it somewhere, and I talked him out of it, which is how I came to posses it. For all I know, it could have been a sample given to a retailer and thus be one-of-a-kind. For now, it’s just another gun sampling these pellets:

Definitely prefers the old ones. The first group shows the sort of flier I was on the lookout for… and it prompted me to try an additional shot. It was another flier, so the original one stayed. Verdict: Older is better

Watch for the rest of the story in tomorrow’s blog.

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.

72 thoughts on “More about Gamo Match pellets: Part 1”

  1. Great blog as usual Vince.
    I wish I had your patience (and time) to do this kind of test. I love these tests not only does it clearly shows a difference from old to new pellets but also how there is no such thing as ONE good pellets for every gun.

    How many airguns do you currently own (if it’s ok for you to tell)?
    And did you bought that Whiscombe that was offered last week?

    I just bought another airgun (I think this might be contagious), it’s a nice looking (well in pictures anyway) Slavia 618 the guy selling it had just droped his price and was offering free shipping. For 50$ I could pass this kind of offer. He told me the leather seals have recently been changed so it might spit oil for the first few shots and that the rifle was dating from the 60’s, anyone knows if there something else I should know about it or has experience with one? It should be here Thursday, hope it doesn’t turn out to be turdsday…


    • I think I’ve got about 75 rifles, plus a few pistols.

      The 618 is a small youth gun, velocity is mid-upper 300’s. Light, quiet, and easy to cock, it’s made very well and a good one will be pretty accurate out to 10 yards or so. Nothing fancy – direct sear trigger, simple sights, and no safety.

      I have a 619 (same gun but with a sling) that my Dad bought new and passed along to me around 40 years ago. It was generally treated pretty well and consistently rubbed down with an oily rag (motor oil, of course!) whenever it was handled, so it’s in good shape. The bore on this one is quite good, as I kid I only tried shooting steel BB’s through it oh, less than 5 times. Dad always warned me against that! But others weren’t so lucky, and I’ve seen examples where the bore is beaten to death.

      A decent one is a good basement or suburban-back-yard plinker.

      • 75 rifles… I still have a long way to go to be anywhere close to that (then again if I get anywhere close to that my wife might ask me and my airguns to move out of the house) where do you put all this stuff… Maybe if I didn’t over 3000 die-cast cars I could get more airguns 🙂

        That’s exactly how the 618 was advertise and exactly what I was looking for, the guy selling it also had a 619 and said he didn’t need/used the 618 anymore. It will go well with my Relum Telly.
        I love those small, easy to cock, shoot, accurate and fun little rifles. I think it’ll be a keeper.


      • “I think I’ve got about 75 rifles…”

        Vince, you are my hero!

        I’m printing your post to show the wife that my miserable collection of 10 rifles and 5 pistols is not up to standards!

        • Vince,

          Yes, please describe EXACTLY where you keep your guns and provide detailed floorplans that show exits and and security measures that may be installed.

          And could you also provide a detailed time schedule when the house will be unoccupied? 😉


    • PA dropped the Beeman moly lube a while back.
      I got a tube of Honda moly 60 on Ebay . Looks like a lifetime supply and then some.

      What’s wrong? the 34 sounding a litle dry?


        • If it is the same as the Beeman, that is good that PA still carries it. Nothing works so well — its even in my ML’er locks and on my rimfire bolts. Only thing I think people need to be careful about is to let things wear in for a little bit (or debur) before using it, because once you put it on there, theres not enough friction to smooth things out anymore :).

    • Conor,

      Normally I would never think about sending somebody somewhere other than PA, but you might want to consider ordering Jim Maccari’s lubricant package instead. That includes his Moly, Heavy Tar (spring dampening compound), and his Clear Tar. It is not much more money, provides plenty of Moly, and you’ll have what you need in the future for tunes and rebuilds. While there you can also order a spare spring and/or for your 34 (if it is a keeper) and save on future shipping. His site is called airrifleheadquarters.

      Edith – Feel free to delete if this in inappropriate. I don’t mean to offend PA, but Jim’s Heavy Tar is great to have on hand.

      Alan in MI

  2. For Fred PRoNJ

    Sorry for late answer, but first let me thank you for your condolence, Fred.

    On “crowning kit”. Well, I feel I made a statement, that was a bit misinterpreted 🙂
    There are no ready-made crowning kits in my posession. I doubt if they ever exist, and I wonder why they are not made in US, as in fact crowning is quite simple. Of course lathe makes it simpler, but steady hands and some practice can give you the same, not to mention some hours of fun and increase in skills.
    By the name “kit” I call a specific set of tools that I myself collected to be used for crowning barrels. They are just together it one box.
    It includes (first and foremost) some measuring tools, a very fine saw, files and file paper, different counterboring tools, bronze and copper rods, abrasive and polishing compounds and Her Majesty the Drill. The rest is just like Brian described. Some steady hands (sometimes finishing moves are better to make with hands, just to feel the metal) and ice-cold thinking would be a nice addition.

    In my opinion there are only two absolute “no”s in crowning: hot headiness and diamond abrasives.
    Diamond dust seem to “suck” or “plant” into rather soft steel (I don’t know the exact English word, but under magnification it somewhat reminds a carrot) and you can calculate the rest. Use crome-based pastes.

    Hope it helps.


    • Duskwright,

      thanks for your response. Here in the States, you can buy complete tool kits for barrel crowning. I found this out after a little research with Google (thanks to your comment) but they are expensive (here is one URL: http://www.borkatools.com/pages/mcrt/muzzlecrown.html). However, the Crosman Nitro has a muzzle brake on the barrel and there is a gap where the barrel ends and the brake begins. The brake is chamfered but has a hex pattern inside so that it can be removed with a hex wrench. I don’t know if the brake, barrel or both should / needs to be refinished. I pushed a pellet through the barrel last night at BG Farmers suggestion and reported moderate resistance about halfway and then light resistance until the end of the barrel when resistance increased to it’s greatest. Now by light resistance, I mean the weight of the cleaning rod pushed the pellet down the the other half of the barrel till it reached the choked end. I was using the pellet I found most accurate in this rifle – H & N Baracuda heavy.

      So will a re-crown do any good? Is the barrel able to shoot better than it does now? Am I trying to make this rifle into something it’s not engineered to be? I have to think about this as the rifle is fun to shoot. Cocking is easy and with the H & N Baracuda heavy (21.16 gr), I can achieve 18 ft. lbs (24 J) of muzzle energy (I think velecity is over 700 fps – 213 mps but I’m at work now and can’t remember exactly).

      I just don’t have experience with this and rather than experiment am relying on folks here who have done this before and know what to expect and what can and can’t be done.

      Fred PRoNJ

      • Fred: I’m not Duskright, but I have done some barrel re-crowning of firearms and air guns, on a lathe , and with simple hand tools. You can get by with simple hand tools.I have found that with small bore firearms like .22 and airgun barrels a good crown is important , but if it is not perfectly square with the bore, all that will happen is that the point of impact will change. Another words , if you are afraid it will ruin your barrel, forget about it, you won’t. What will ruin your airgun barrel is to cut it back so far that you will loose the choke if it has any, Robert.

      • Fred,

        I wish I could touch your rifle 🙂 OK, let’s judge from patient’s words. In normal unchoked barrel force, needed to push a pellet through, will be relatively high in the very short beginning (cutting grooves) and quite even all along the barrel. Choke adds gradually rising force towards the end, but not very much. That’s the way things are normal way.
        Things you describe feel like “chinese flute” to me, however I insist on leaving some space for mistake. Which means eeer… Well, if I was to accurize this kind of rifle, I would swap barrel. Something like 16 mm LW or 15 mm CZ barrel in .177, the thicker the better.
        First try shooting with that “brake” taken down and study your results. Frankly I hate all those “mean look” stuff on the barrel, as it adds almost nothing but can steal from you significantly. It might surprise you.
        Second, the question is “To cut or not to cut?”. Take down the brake, put some cotton bud into barrel, about half an inch deep, then lit some candle and pour molten wax into the barrel mouth. Wait until it hardens and _genly_ pull it out. There – you’ve got yourself an answer! Study this mould _meticulously_. If marks are of even length and depth and their ends are strictly perpendicular to barrel’s axis you most probably need no recrowning, unless you feel you’ve got a diamond eye and a hands of gold. However, if you like risk or need practice – think, then re-think, then read, read, read, get tools and godspeed. Just don’t cut 4 inch, cut 1/4 to have more times to experiment 🙂
        Hope it’ll help.


        • Duskwirght,

          this is a great help! I think your comment that this sounds like a Chinese Flute is accurate. I pushed the pellet through 3 times to confirm my impressions. Resistance was moderate for roughly half, then easy then the increased resistance came suddenly. There was no gradual increase. One more push (the pellet travel from the point of restrition to freedom was very short – perhaps not even 1cm) and the pellet fell out of the barrel and through the brake.

          First thing I will do is to remove the brake and shoot. If my results don’t improve then the wax mold comes next! My next course of action will depend on my findings.

          Together with BG Farmer’s, Brian’s and Robert’s thoughts and comments, you have all given me plenty to do. I’ll report back next week!

          Fred PRoNJ

        • Duskwight,

          many years ago I had Dennis Quackenbush build a barrel swage tool for me. It was a heavy-duty pipe cutter and I had Dennis swap out the thin cutter wheels for wider rotating bearings. They were about one inch long and there were three of them. The way it worked is two of the rotating bearings were on fixed shafts positioned 120 degrees apart. The third rotating bearing was on a shaft that adjusted in and out. It was positioned 120 degrees from the other two bearings and as the barrel was rotated between all three bearings the adjustable bearing was slowly adjusted in toward the other two. It was mounted on a large screw so it was relatively easy to adjust. I think I asked Dennis to taper the bearings slightly before he hardened them so the swage would be gradual instead of stepped.

          The object was to squeeze the end of the barrel while rotating it between the three bearings to swage in a small choke. A half-thousandth of an inch was enough to feel and a full thousandth, while tiresome to produce, made a huge difference.

          If the tool had been made better (it was built on a cheap Chinese pipe cutter, so it was sloppy) and if it was mounted to a lathe bed or even just a workbench and if the bearings had been two inches long instead of just one inch it would have been a good way to swage a barrel choke in the field.


          • B.B.

            Wow! Do you have any photo of this piece of machinery? I need to see it.

            From my experience on “user choking” – I remember guy who used lathe and a sort of chisel, made of six rollers to squeese the barrel. But it was a VERY long process, almost in 0.001 mm steps: rolling them around while moving towards barrel end.
            Another one experimented with making conical threads on barrel’s end to squeese it, but that was way too imprecise.
            On the other hand, in my experience well-made and well-crowned “cylinder” has no difference in performance with choked barrel.
            What I would like to experiment on is conical progressive-rifled barrel for hi-cal PCP’s and “pagoda” slugs. I feel there may be some interesting things for performance. Well, all I’ve got to do is to find such barrel 🙂


            • duskwight,

              It has been many years since I have seen this tool, but I’m pretty sure I still have it. However, I don’t have any pictures of it, so I need to find it first.

              I had forgotten about it until I saw your discussion this morning. I won’t say the tool worked well, because I think it was built from too crude a tool to start with. But the idea is the great thing. If it were properly made it sould work very well.

              I gave the idea to Crosman when we discussed their making choked barrels for the marauder, but they went with a better idea (from a production standpoint) from Dennis Quackenbush. But my idea is still the best way to swage a barrel after it has been produced.


  3. Just a clarification – I did a test in both calibers and wrote up the .22 test first. Edith decided to publish the .177 test before other, which explains my references to the ‘previous blog’ which, at this point, doesn’t exist.

  4. Vince,
    I hate product changes, even improvements unless I asked for them :). I’ve been really happy with RWS Basics for a cheap pellet in my low-powered rifle, hope they don’t change those. Are the Gamo’s soft or hard — is that something they changed? The hard lead pellets sometimes shoot well, but the design seems to matter more (have to fit right) and they foul even my 490’s bore to a small degree.

    • I’ve just started using Basics in my new Umarex Colt. I’m not looking for the same accuracy level as with my Gamo Compact, so figured I’d save the $4/tin over the Meisters…so far have been quite pleased with the Basics at 10m.
      But I do have a question. Within the last month I placed a pellet order. I usually order about 6 months worth at a time…a mix of Meisters/Superdomes and now the Basics.
      I opened a fresh tin of the Meisters and noticed they look completely different than previous. A very dull ‘grey’ finish as opposed to the very ‘silvery’ look of the past.
      Does anyone know if RWS has changed their pellets…or did I get a shipment of older oxidized pellets.
      (I’m from Canada…so no fear these are from Pyramyd).

        • Brian, my first thoughts are positive.
          I really like the feel of the gun. My previous gun was/is the Walther CP99. Gotta admit, I have big hands, and I’m not a small guy so I appreicate the extra weight of the Colt (about 12oz).
          Like everything I’ve read states it shoots about 2″ high at 10m, so in time I will likely purchase the accessory sights. Only thing that would stop me is that I want this gun to look as ‘military’ as possible to go along with the looks of my XS-B9.
          I’m hoping the accuracy improves…or I get more familiar with the gun. At 10m its best groups are about twice the size of the Walther. Considering the Colt has a 5″ barrel vs 3″ for the Walther I find this a bit surprising.
          But I did like it enough that I returned the Beretta 92 that I had first purchased.

  5. Hi

    Is the Cabanas you refer “Cabañas”? “Cabañas” is a mexican brand that produces rifles and pistols that instead using air, use .22 blanks to propel the pellet, very popular here for the feeling of shooting a “real” firegun but kind of expensive in the terms of ammo compared to pellets only. Mendoza (another mexican brand, producer of the “Bronco”) has two rifles and three pistols with this system too.

    Hope this helps

    Raúl Reynoso

    • Yes, same company. Thing is, though, almost nobody seems to know anything about the breakbarrel spring guns made by them. Certain construction details are reminiscent of Mendoza, but the gun itself doesn’t quite match.

      Near as I can tell the Cabanas primer-fired guns were being imported by a sporting goods shop in the midwest (the name escapes me at the moment), and the air rifles were just starting to come in when the shop went out of business and the whole thing came to a grinding halt.

      • Two things happened to their break barrel line, because they produced both pistols and rifles. The people preferred the primer system ( here called “munisalva”) over the air one because of the firearms restrictions in México (that´s why Mendoza came with a line of their own) , and the company liked it because it is more profit to sell blanks and ammo instead of selling pellets only. Also there were reports that the airguns aren´t as durable as the competition. Nowadays the company is in very bad shape, you can´t find their products in retail, only on online stores. Too bad because although they are not very accurate, they are fun to shoot. Thanks!

        • Actually, the Cabanas air rifle – with the right pellet – is pretty accurate and easy to shoot. It’s also a cool gun to look at… probably my favorite Mexican air rifle.

  6. Vince or PA : Are the Gamo pellets made in China now? I haven’t bought Gamo products in the last couple of years , but used to use alot of their pellets when they were marketed under the Daisy brand name , and then in recent years, the Gamo hunters and match in .177. When Daisy changed to China, it was like night and day as to accuracy. The Gamo match and hunters always gave the best accuracy for me in the China guns and the Webley’s, Robert.

  7. Vince,

    Great article. You hit several nerves.

    I don’t have as diverse a selection of airguns as you but I’ve never had a gun that shot gamo match pellets best. The change of pellet design is something I’ll never understand. I’m convinced that the beeman FTS pellet (aka H & N FTT) has been changed. I have several guns that shoot the old FTS pellets very well and shoot the new pellets into a pattern like a shotgun. The new tin design is pretty but I’m not sure what to do with the pellets inside the tin so far.

    I have a serious question if you don’t mind me asking, How do you store 75 rifles? Wall racks? Rotating racks? Lots of corner racks? Walk in gun safe?


    • Kevin,
      I know that’s a serious question, but I had to chuckle. In a gunstore, with spaces in the racks 6″ apart, that’s 37 FEET of guns. Vince, that must be quite a sight to see, no matter how you have them stored!

    • In my basement I have a section that’s about 13’x17′ that serves as my gun storage/workshop. It’s handy because it’s ‘doored’ and thus lockable.

      Along one wall is an alcove about 2′ deep and 9′ long. Basement ceiling is 7′. Along the length of this alcove I installed 12″ deep shelving approx. 45″ off the floor and braced it so that it could support several hundred pounds.

      Along the top, against the wall, I put in a run of 2×3 with wooden dowels installed about 2.25″ apart. I also inserted dowels, at the same spacing, into the front edge of the shelf. Lastly, I put a raised platform, 12″ deep, on the floor running the length of the alcove so that the rear edge is directly under the front edge of the shelf.

      The upper row the guns are stood upright on the shelf with the muzzles resting between the pegs near the ceiling. The lower row has the guns stored in the same position, with the butts resting on the floor platform and the muzzles between the pegs protruding from the front of the shelf.

      9′ x 12(inches per foot) / 2.25″ between pegs = 48 guns/row.

    • Kevin,
      You probably already thought of it, but were the tins of both old and new marked with the head size? If you were shooting 4.52’s and got 4.50 or something like that in the new tins, the groups could go south. I’m almost convinced that the size is as important as design and weight in many cases and the better pellets usually are available in a range of head sizes, but I’m not always sure what I’m getting…

  8. BB, I’m an avid biker, and have one of the co2 tube inflators that uses 16 gram threaded co2 cartridges. It just dawned on me; should I be putting some sort of oil on the cartridge just like a powerlet to preserve the seals? Is motor oil similar to pellgunoil? Is the need to oil the seals only due to the need for long term compression, which I would not need, as all of the cartridge is dispensed in one use? I know this is unrelated, but I thought you might know. ( The o ring is synthetic, of course )
    Thanks, HK

    • HK,

      when you say biker are you referring to motorcycles or bicycles? I use the CO2 inflator or atleast carry one with me on bicycle rides. I’ve never had to oil the unit to prevent leakage but it couldn’t hurt. The oiling of the cartridge is a good practice since on airguns, you have multiple seals and they need to be able to hold the gas for a much longer period of time than the tire inflator device. If I recall, many have said, after reviewing the MSDS (Mfg. Safety Data Sheet) Pellgun oil is a 20 wt. petroleum based oil.

      My motorycle pump is one of those compact electric pump units that I can plug into the battery – easy to buy online (Aerostich sells one) or just at the local Sprawl Mart. I am not comfortable that one CO 2 cartridge would inflate a 4.50 x 18 tire on my motorcycles.

      Fred PRoNJ

      • Fred PRoNJ,
        Your portable air compressor sounds like a good accessory. Just to let you know the 16 gram co2 inflators will blow up a 120/80-19 (close to the same size) to about 22psi depending on temp. I carry them as part of my tire repair kit in my fanny pack. I’ve finished two, one hundred mile off road endurance races because of them!

    • HK,

      I cannot answer you. CO2 has been used to inflate tires since the 1940s. Crosman used to sell a super-long tank for car tires, and of course it can do it because the pressure is 850 psi. But what I don’t know is what oil might do to bike tubes.


    • Thanks guys. Fred, in my opinion, real bikes have pedals. Oh yeah. I’m a mountain biker – we have some of the best riding here in MD. Even one 16gram co2 can barely fill my 29er tubes, as most mountain bikes are 26 inch. For such a short term need for a seal, and because I only use this on an isolated trail or if it’s getting dark soon, it doesn’t seem like oiling in necessary.
      Thanks, HK.

      • HK, I spent enough time in the woods on motorcyles doing enduros. Caveman, my last enduro was the Sandy Lane Enduro. On the afternoon lap, I ended up having the chain jump off the countershaft sprocket and wedge itself between the sprocket and the engine case while I was in water and muck up to my knees down in the Pine Barrens in NJ. My arms were cramping up, my mouth was full of cotton, I was completely drenched from sweat and was bone tired. It was then that I started to question my sanity.

        Today it’s road bikes – pedals and engines for me.

        Fred PRoNJ

  9. Vince,

    Thanks for the excellent report. As I had mentioned in a previous blog, I bought 85 tins of the Gamo Match pellet over a year ago. I’ve been very happy with them, and they’ve performed well for me. Because they are so cheap, they’ve made a great pellet for learning how to shoot springers. I thought I was a good shot until I started shooting springers. I’m getting there, but it took many months, several rifles, and thousands of pellets. Fortunately, I have a good supply of these Gamo’s to make all the mistakes humanly possible.

    I wouldn’t shoot these Gamo’s in my FWB, but they’ve served me very well. Now that I’ve got my fundamentals down, I’m trying other pellets.


    • BTW, I originally bought these pellets for my Gamo Compact. Also, I only use them at home/backyard at distances up to 20 yards. I wouldn’t expect them to perform well at distances much futher than 20 yards.

  10. Vince, very interesting. Any idea what the change was in the Gamo pellets you were testing? You tested for effect. The Gamo match pellets were recommended for my IZH 61 when I bought it, but they didn’t work out too well.

    Victor, thanks for the info about your shooting experience. That is intense. I remember the Anschutz 1407 which was the inspiration for getting my 1907. But three Anschutzes? Were you one of the prone specialists who used a separate rifle for prone? Do you still have those rifles and shoot them? I don’t intend to let go of mine ever. I take it that the NRA 1600 club would be for cleaning all four positions in a match. Were you a master level shooter?

    Mike, sounds idyllic in the UP. My uncle in Michigan used to rave about an experience snowmobiling at night which sounds very risky. And I hope you watch the snowmobiling on frozen lakes. Another Michigan anecdote is of lines of drunken snowmobilers smashing through the ice and then drowning because they were unable to make it back to the entry hole in time. I doubt being sober would have made much of a difference once they were underwater. Hideous. I would also keep something handy for wolverines. I suspect that they would rank high in the category of most vicious animal on the planet by weight. Oh and a new category: most dangerous predator from the viewpoint of bugs would be none other than our own Slinging Lead.


    • Matt61,

      I no longer have those rifles. For at least a year I used my 1411 prone rifle exclusively for prone. I later got the 1413 freestyle rifle with a Kenyon trigger on it, so I eventually stopped using the 1411. The 1407 standard rifle was required for Standard Rifle competition. The NRA 1600 club is for being able to shoot a perfect 1600 out of 1600 in prone; 400 – Dewar Match (200 at 50 yards and 200 at 100 yards), 400 – 100 yards, 400 – 50 meter, and finally 400 – 50 yards). Yes, I was a Master (in several types of competition).

      But I must say, I was no natural. I had great vision, trained like an Olympic athlete, and practiced 4 hours a day. During summer vacation, I practiced as much as 8 hours a day. I also had great coaches. I lived shooting (walked it, talked it, breathed it, ate it, etc.). The indoor range (now closed) that I practiced at was within walking distance (just a few blocks). The outdoor range (LAR&R) was probably 15 minutes away by car. I was a worse case shooting geek/nerd. Friends and girlfriends hated it. I am building up to getting back into competition after a 30 year layoff. I can still clean prone. That’s why I bought my FWB 700 ALU. This allows me to practice at home. It feels pretty much like my free-style rifle, and shoots better than I can (at this point). I had to have a rifle that didn’t leave me wondering if the shot was me or the gun.

      I make my own targets. I’ve taken the specification for a 50 meters target, reduced to 50 feet, and and further reduced it to just over 39 feet (scaled down for .177 cal pellet). The 10 is a small dot. When I get to where I’m pretty much punching pinwheels every time, I’ll buy myself a small-bore rifle.

      I no longer live in southern California, which back in the 70’s was a serious shooting region. Lots of national and world class champions. I now live in Nevada, and there’s really nothing here for me, competition-wise, so I”ll eventually have to get something started. I assume that I’ll have to compete in California and Arizona. Arizona is also a great state for competitive marksmanship.


        • Toby,

          Good question. A couple of years after graduating from high school, I moved into the college dorms. I had to pay my way through college, so I worked full-time and was a full-time student. I didn’t have time for shooting. A few years later I got into a serious car accident (a head on collision of a combined speed of 75 miles per hour, and I wasn’t wearing a seat belt – the only time that ever happened) that damaged my heart, broke my sternum, tore muscles, ligaments, and damaged my vertebrae (I have a ruptured disk). My sternum continued to pop (and hurt) for many years (maybe 10), so lying prone, as I would in a tournament was out of the question. My knee injuries made the kneeling position difficult. Standing for too long, like when I shoot offhand or pistol, still cause both pain and numbness down my hip and leg. While I still have the skill to shoot offhand or kneeling, I can’t do it for too long. Prone is the only viable option for me.

          In truth, I don’t fully understand why I quit 100% for so long. I never stopped loving shooting, and always continued to think and learn about what I was doing wrong, and how I might have improved. I still have friends who were world class champions that now coach. We still exchange notes. I’ve learned more 30 years later, than I knew when I was competing. I still have excellent resources. Now that my sternum is stable, I can handle an almost full day of competition.

          There is one piece of advice that I think is really worth sharing with anyone who wants to shoot their best. – Stay in the best shape possible. Take walks, ride a bike, or whatever you prefer, to stay in good cardiovascular condition. Before the accident, I use to run at least 5 miles a day. I don’t think that was necessary, but I do attribute my abilities to the fact that I was in excellent shape.

          There is a famous American shooter who claims that exercise is not important. Right! That’s why I would always saw him jogging early morning at Camp Perry. He claims that he never did such a thing. Improve on your cardiovascular system, and you’ll solve the biggest contributor to your motion, elevated blood pressure. Otherwise, you can spend lots of money on shooting equipment (including better guns), thinking that you’re going to buy your way to good shooting, but that won’t happen. Be religious about taking a walk, and you’ll get real results.

          Shooting really is a sport worthy of being in the Olympics.


        • Oh, by the way, moving to Nevada was good for my body. Both of my wrists were damaged, and until after a few years of living here, my wrists would swell up, and these lump would grow just above my palms.

          I was driving a small Suburu, and the lady, who crossed lanes and hit me head on, was driving a 1969 TANK, I mean Chrysler. My car was crushed like an accordion. The side doors and the roof caved into me. The built in car radio ended up in the back seat. I flew into the steering column, breaking the steering wheel off completely (which is probably how I hurt my wrists). The donut, where the horn was, ended up in the back seat (it probably flew over my shoulder as I snapped the steering wheel off. Despite my wrists looking like blown up balloons as well as my tongue (from having bit it from end to end), my wife hadn’t realized the severity of the crash. It wasn’t until she actually saw the car at the impound, that she realized how bad the accident really was. Although it was a head-on collision, the rear was completely twisted and crushed.

          The miracle for me was that this accident happened right in front of a fire station. The experience was very interesting. It’s amazing what the body will do to relieve you of trauma.

          • Victor, Wow, that’s a pretty good reason for taking a break from the sport ( and a bunch of other things). I agree with you on the keeping in shape biz. My New Years Resolution was to get into better shape. The exercise program includes weigtlifting, just light dumb bells with a lot of reps. So far it is paying off. My rifles do not feel as heavy and I have much steadier hold, thus better accuracy. Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts. Toby

    • Matt61

      Wolverines could be a problem as they are very tough. After all, Michigan is called the Wolverine State. But, not to worry. Wolverines are almost nonexistent in Michigan. I have only heard of one in the last 20 years. I personally don’t run snowmobiles on ice. Most that go through the iceare pushing the season. Either going on ice too soon or too late in the year. Mid-winter the lakes have enough ice to hold a truck. Many ice fishermen do drive their trucks on the lakes to fish mid-winter with no problems. Going through the ice does not happen that often. Also, driving a snowmobile while drinking alcohol is treated the same as driving a car while under the influence. You will loose your driver’s licence if caught. Law enforcement does run snowmobile patrols. As with most things, you have to know what you are doing and don’t take any stupid risks.


  11. Unfortunately, CP domes are the only pellets that will group well at 35 yards in my 350 Pro Compact. Interesting to think that if they didn’t exist, the gun simply wouldn’t be accurate enough to ensure humane kills on game. (I have the Vortek kit sitting here on my desk…maybe when I get that in things will improve.) So, what to do with a few thousand .22 pellets of other makes I’ve bought that are otherwise useless? Well, looks like I’ve got to get a Benjamin HB22 pistol and start banging up some cans! Can’t argue the price of the Gamo pellets at the nearby Cabelas.

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