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.