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Ammo Gamo PT-85 Blowback Tactical air pistol: Part 2

Gamo PT-85 Blowback Tactical air pistol: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Gamo’s PT-85 Blowback Tactical air pistol is a lot of gun for the money.

Before we start, I want to update you on the Arkansas Airgun Extravaganza show that’s coming up on Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16. The show’s organizer, Seth Rowland, told me he still has a few tables available, so if you want to try your hand at buying and selling at an airgun show, this might be a good opportunity. He also mentioned that Tom Kaye, the shoebox compressor man, will have a table there.

Another gentleman will be bringing some nice collectible Red Ryders. I’ll be there with Mac and am planning on bringing my 1860s gallery dart gun and perhaps one or two other beauties that you’ve read about in this blog. Mac will have several vintage 10-meter rifles to sell.

Crosman is considering attending, because they have to deliver a Rogue to me for testing. Umarex and Daisy are also considering attending. This year’s show should be the best one ever. The times, directions and contact information are all at the link provided above.

One more bit of good news before we begin. I thought I’d asked Mac to return the .177 caliber RWS Diana 350 Feuerkraft air rifle without retesting the accuracy with a good scope, but as it turns out, I hadn’t. So, Mac is doing that accuracy test and there will be a Part 4 to that report as initially promised.

Now, on to today’s report.

I must say that I’ve been eagerly awaiting this test. The 12-inch barrel on the Gamo PT-85 Blowback Tactical air pistol just begs to be shot for both velocity and accuracy. Today’s the day for velocity. Let’s get going.

Powering up
The first step was to install a CO2 cartridge. I found it easy to do except that the winding stem is in a tight space and a little hard to grab. I think those with large hands will notice this. And, of course, I put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the cartridge to keep the gun sealed for a long time. I fired one shot to know that the cartridge was pierced successfully, and the blowback surprised me. I’d forgotten that feature, but it feels very realistic, which means it feels just like the recoil of a .22 rimfire pistol.

RWS Hobbys
The first pellets tested were RWS Hobbys. They averaged 532 f.p.s. and the spread went from 510 to 565 f.p.s., but the decrease in speed was nearly linear from start to finish. I’ll have more to say about that in a bit. At the average velocity, the gun generated 4.4 foot-pounds.

Gamo Raptors
Of course, I had to test Gamo Raptors in this air pistol! They averaged 544 f.p.s., with a spread from 529 to 567 f.p.s. Once more, the velocity decreased with almost every shot. At the average velocity, Raptors generated 3.55 foot-pounds.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domes
The next pellet tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier. They averaged 480 f.p.s., with a spread that went from 459 up to 499 f.p.s. As before, the velocity decreased with almost every shot. At the average velocity, the energy was 4.04 foot-pounds.

By this point, I could see that the velocity was dropping off in a linear fashion with every 8-shot clip. But the gun was not yet finished firing powerful shots. It was acting like the impression everybody has of a CO2 gun, but of course they don’t really work that way. Only this one was working exactly that way — velocity dropping throughout the power band.

After the Premiers, which took me to 24 total shots, I fired another magazine of Hobbys. This time the average was 487 f.p.s., with a declining spread from 499 to 472 f.p.s. Then I shot another clip of Hobbys, which averaged 479 f.p.s. That spread went from 501 down to 451. Clearly, the CO2 cartridge was on its last legs. The next group of Hobbys fired averaged 394 f.p.s., and that was the last clip I fired. The spread went from 437 down to 341 f.p.s. The gun was now running on residual gas; and if I’d continued, I risked jamming a pellet in the barrel.

Total shots per cartridge
I calculate the total number of reasonable shots as 48. If you’re going after target accuracy, I recommend stopping after the fifth clip, which would bring the total down to 40 shots. Though that’s a small number, it’s much larger than what you get with a Magnum Research Desert Eagle pistol, which has lower velocity and also has blowback action. By the way, the blowback did function reliably throughout this test. That’s the extra gas conservation a 12-inch barrel gets you.

At this point, I can make two observations. First, loading the 16-shot magazine takes longer for this pistol than it would if the two circular clips came out. They have to be rotated chamber by chamber to load each pellet and that takes time. And, second, the trigger is strange. The stage-two pull has a huge spot of relaxed pull before tightening up again. It’s almost a three-stage trigger, which doesn’t exist.

On the single-action versus double-action power potential, I decided not to test it because of the blowback feature. After the initial shot, all the follow-on shots will be single-action because the slide has cocked the hammer, so that’s how I tested the gun. I doubt that anyone will lower the hammer every time after firing, just so they can keep shooting double-action.

Based on the performance we see here, I’ll probably shoot 40 shots at 10 meters for the accuracy test.

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 PT-85 Blowback Tactical air pistol: Part 2”

    • Bruce,

      I’m glad it worked. I’ve done it many times myself, but like I said, when these guns are lubed or “worked on,” they can be impossible to correct that way.

      I remember back in the very early days of the Condor. On the AirForce forum there was a man who called himself Mr. Condor who advised everyone to swap the factory hammer (it’s really a striker) for a 90-gram brass hammer. He ended up coming into the AirForce office and I tried to fix his gun. The valve had been jackhammered apart. I had to install a new valve and the frame had likewise been beaten apart. We fixed it, but told the guy it was never going to be right again.

      He never posted on the AirForce forum again, as far as I know.

      So just shoot the gun and forget taking it apart. I don’t even disassemble mine, and I know how they are made!


  1. Hi BB,
    Crosman and the Rogue would be an exciting addition to the show. I am looking forward to the show. I don’t think I will have much play money though which takes some of the fun out of it.

    Just a word of encouragement to anyone within driving distance of the Malvern airgun show; it is worth the trip. You will find much better prices on used guns at the show than you see on the classifieds. It’s best to come with cash and an open mind. It’s best not to come looking for a specific gun but to come just looking for deals. While the gun you want may not be there, there will be super prices on a lot of guns. If you have a Blue Book of Airgun Values bring it as a reference, or borrow one if needed from someone at the show. I look forward to this show every year and I am never disappointed. One more thing, plan on being at the show Friday and Saturday. The show starts winding down after lunch on Saturday. But, there are often killer deals at the end too with guns that people just don’t want to take back home. I hope to see you there!

    David Enoch

  2. BB,
    The upcoming Arkansas show sounds very exciting. If I didn’t live so far away I’d definitely be there.
    And of course you know I’m jealous now. You are going to be shooting the the Rogue before I get my hands on one! I’ll be anxious to hear your impressions!

  3. B.B.

    I dig into info on autoloaders and the result is sour. To convert that PCP Crosman into semi-auto you must change the type of valve and that means almost building a new gun from scratch. Too little force to cock the existing striker/to hit the valve in case in case of “weaker” striker.


      • B.B.

        No, I was just wondering if it is possible and made some estimations. I told you, I was going to dig some info on possibility of that. So I did that and I understood that it is possible, but way too costy and time-consuming. Maybe I was wrong with words and got misunderstood 🙂


          • B.B.

            We are what we remember, aren’t we?
            Perhaps that’s the thing I’m most afraid of – losing myself without noticing it. So I try to keep everything in my memory, just to train it, and use it as much as possible to keep it sharp.


  4. Likewise Arkensas is a bit too far for me to attend. I did look at the Baldwinsville, NY airgun show (North of Syracuse and over 350 miles from me) which I feel is also too far away but the Windsor, CT show is in striking distance so I’ll probabaly attend. I’ll get to Roanoke again but I see a show in Frederick, MD. Hmmmmm.

    Fred PRoNJ

      • BB,

        Roanoke has a special draw for me because you’re there! Seriously, I don’t want to go on two overnight travel trips. One will be fine. Traveling up to Baldwinsville would require an overnight stay because I don’t relish leaving at 5AM in the morning and then coming home at midnight the same day.

        Fred PRoNJ

  5. It’s amazing how many airgunners I’ve discovered in Colorado. My email group that was created to invite airgunners over to shoot at my place has grown to 18 guys. Nonetheless, none of the annual airgun shows are close to Colorado. Rant over.

    Would encourage anyone that can to attend an airgun show though. As David said, the airgun deals are numerous and getting to meet and talk face to face with airgunners that have the same level of passion for this hobby is priceless.

    I’m going to miss Malvern but hope to go to Roanoke again (talk about too far??!!). Great time.


    • Kevin,

      If you hold one, I will come. Seriously, talk to your 18 new friends and see what could be done.

      Back when I helped found DIFTA, there were only four of us, and I was the only airgunner. DIFTA is one of the most active FT clubs in the country today.

      You may not have to do much of the work. There may be guys who would love to step in and offer their church or Boy Scout Troop if the proceeds came back to them.


  6. B.B., I’m sure that will be a great feeling for you to show up at the airgun show. I’m certainly looking forward to reading the Rogue test. So, will we be able to dispense with the bathtub curve and get a flat line for the velocity graph? Today’s gun sounds like a bit of a gas hog, and that three stage trigger is not appealing. However, certain kinds of triggers which are not the norm do not seem to detract from accuracy. It will be interesting to see.

    Reloaders, this could be my final question before buying my equipment! I probably mentioned this before and I hate to be boring but somehow it has come into focus for me. As Wulfraed mentioned, I think, you need to seat the bullets tighter for a semiauto because of the violence of the action. Crimping as one solution does not appeal because it is supposed to retard accuracy and I don’t know that the Sierra Match King bullets that I want to load for my Garand have cannelures. Where does that leave me? All I can think of are the mysterious bushing dies that somehow tighten up the neck tension by doing something to the “expanding ball” during resizing. What should I know about all this?

    Vince, I’ve heard that Godzilla was a metaphor for atomic fears of the Japanese inspired by the atomic bombs but, as it turns out, very prescient of the current disaster. I believe his main weapon was storing energy in those growths on his back and shooting it as a beam out of his mouth.

    PeteZ, a couple of basic questions about protection from radiation. Can one be effectively protected by a Hazmat suit? I had assumed that some protection was available, but it sounds like the Japanese workers have nothing but respiratory masks to keep from breathing in radioactive material. Secondly, what is the rationale for rotating workers to limit their exposure to radiation? I suppose that radioactive material is not being deposited in their bodies in which case one would consider the half-life of the material. But if this isn’t the scenario then what is? The news describes people absorbing a year’s amount of radioactivity within a few hours. Does this mean they can’t go back to work for a year (even though they obviously do)? Is it that they are calculating the amount of time for the body to heal damage to itself in terms of destroyed cells (although some DNA damage would be irreversible) or the amount of time to process radiation whatever that means?

    Victor, why was I so nervous in competition? That’s a good question. In part I think it was because of the dynamics of relaxation and lack of self-consciousness that you described. I started off very well compared to other novices and was promoted to the varsity and encouraged to buy a then $700 Anschutz 1407 rifle. But after the initial glow had worn off, I realized that I knew nothing about shooting technique and that the mental challenge of repetitive precision in target shooting was quite foreign to me. On top of that was the anxiety of hanging on to my newly acquired prestige, and this in turn bred a fear of success. Sounds paradoxical but I experienced it. I wanted very much to succeed but that meant persisting in this new realm of uncertainty whereas failure at least had something definite about it. To paraphrase the Bible, I fell like lightning–without any malice but a good deal of confusion. I was pulling myself out of the cellar over the course of the year, and maybe if my coach hadn’t been such a freak, I would have persisted, but I decided to hang it up and try cross-country the next year and so the guns stayed silent for several decades. I knew that it was necessary to control the nervousness but couldn’t figure out how. There is a scene in a prison film called Life with Eddie Murphy where a new convict is petrified after a prison fight and one of the older inmates tells him, “You were scared. Don’t be scared.” Easier said than done, but as it turns out not without some meaning either. What I finally hit upon was to simply ignore nerves, and this was reinforced by the David Tubb injunction to force doubts and other negative thoughts out of your head by a strict focus on process. It is one of my supreme gratifications on my shooting range to drop the pellets in and see that whatever fancies might be going on in my mind have no effect whatsoever. What if that serenity remained intact in the midst of a real competition instead of my private range? That would really be something.

    J-F, right you are that the creatures in question were not strictly zombies. They were the results of a medical experiment gone horribly wrong by Emma Thompson who sought to cure cancer but ended up causing an epidemic of people who exhibited rabies-like symptoms. I don’t see why the cold would have killed these creatures. If homeless can survive in New York, I bet these creatures could have with their massively accelerated metabolisms and heart rates.

    Mike, I see what you mean about Crystal Ackley’s secondary grip with the pistol. It looks like the old cup and saucer grip, but what is wrong with her primary grip? It looks okay to me. I suspect that with the lack of recoil in airguns, her unorthodox hold does not make much of it difference but it would if she transitioned to firearms.


    • Matt61,
      It seems that you are not the same person that you were in high school. Your high school experience sounds awful. It’s as if the focus was on the wrong reward, namely, making varsity, versus becoming a champion. It doesn’t appear that you had the right focus. Forgetting about your coach, or the team, did you want to be a champion, or was such a thought so far off that it was never really a consideration? Becoming a champion requires that you progressively work your way up. First you have to beat everyone on your team, then everyone in a minor tournament, then state, then national, etc. But you have to want it, first.

      Someone needed to teach you the basics in order for you to establish a real foundation. You need a good coach, and definite goals. I had a great coaches, and we started off by earning non competitive NRA awards (Pro Marksman, Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, and finally Distinguished Expert). In my experience, really great coaches were very mature, positive, supportive, leaders, and motivated themselves. In my experience, and also as a parent with kids who participated in sports, the vast majority of sports coaches are just kids in grownups bodies. Not particularly mature and lacking in many areas. For too many, their goal is to satisfy their own ego’s, and not help the kids. As I described once before, I said the world “can’t” ONCE, and one of my coaches yelled at me, saying “Don’t you EVER let me hear you say the world ‘can’t’ again! Can’t never did anything for anyone! If I ever hear you say can’t one more time, …”.

      Anyways, you need a good foundation, you need good information, you need good solid coaches who derive no satisfaction from playing head games or making you feel bad, and you need to be motivated and want to win. Coaches with some track record of accomplishment or real leadership derive no satisfaction by knocking you down. Worse case, they only provide you with dry, hard, facts, and let you decide what you want or need, but never anything negative. A negative coach is an incompetent coach, in my experience. Young minds need to be nurtured to learn how to become a winner. One speech won’t do it. It’s a process that they have to walk you through. So, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that a good coach has to be a motivator. I don’t think that any of my coaches were motivators. They tended to call things as they saw them, and supported us in any way that helped us in competition. They taught us what they knew and left it up to us to take advantage of that, or not. They said positive things, observations usually, but didn’t feed us with BS. They were sincere, and consistent, so you never questioned them. What they never did was knocked us down. A bad coach is worse than no coach at all. When we get older, it’s easier to be self-motivated and to coach ourselves. Not so likely with a young person.

      I’m glad that you never really gave up. You’re still learning and asking questions. In the end, like most other activities, this is a personal journey.


    • Matt61 wrote:

      ***PeteZ, a couple of basic questions about protection from radiation. Can one be effectively protected by a Hazmat suit? I had assumed that some protection was available, but it sounds like the Japanese workers have nothing but respiratory masks to keep from breathing in radioactive material. Secondly, what is the rationale for rotating workers to limit their exposure to radiation? I suppose that radioactive material is not being deposited in their bodies in which case one would consider the half-life of the material. But if this isn’t the scenario then what is? The news describes people absorbing a year’s amount of radioactivity within a few hours. Does this mean they can’t go back to work for a year (even though they obviously do)? Is it that they are calculating the amount of time for the body to heal damage to itself in terms of destroyed cells (although some DNA damage would be irreversible) or the amount of time to process radiation whatever that means?***

      A hazmat suit and respiratory mask do a good job of keeping you from inhaling or ingesting radioactive material. They are essential protection against alpha and beta radiation. They do nothing to stop gamma. There are established norms for the maximum amount of radiation you should absorb in given time periods. 5 rem (0.05 sievert) is about as much as we would want a knowledgable person to absorb in a year other than normal background + medical necessity. The ionizing radiation, mostly from gamma rays from, e.g., cesium-137, does damage to cell nuclei and kills cells. This is a special problem when it kills nerve tissue (brain), bone marrow, and lung and GI tract tissue. Under emergency conditions such as prevail in Fukushima-Daiichi, we might allow 25 rem (0.25 sievert) over a few days. Since radiation-destroyed tissues don’t heal all that well, and only slowly, we say you got your limit, and you *cannot* come back to radiation work.

      I do not know Japanese practices, but in the US we would mean that literally, and the workers would be reassigned to posts outside of a zone where they were likely to get occupational doses of radiation. Even then, the odds of developing a cancer over the rest of your life would be higher than w/o the exposure. You may have noticed from the film of Fukushima that most of the workers entering the plant are over 40 and many over 50. This is deliberate: they’ve had their children in general, and their life expectancy is crudely less than the latency period for a radiation-induced cancer to develop. When the Soviets had to close up Chernobyl they used in total 600,000 people. Each was given a hazmat suit and respirator and taken to the boundary of the hot area. When they got to the very hit zone inside the plant the clock started ticking, and they had — if I remember correctly, but you could look it up — somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes before they had to leave the plant for good. Of course they had to rehearse what they would do when they got to their jobsite so as not to waste time.

      Let me stress that all this is radioactivity from outside the body. If you ingest significant amounts, it is likely to kill you. Col. Litvinenko (the ex KGB guy murdered in London) ate something far smaller than a grain of salt and was dead in a month and in the most ungodly pain. All of his bone marrow was destroyed, and the lining of his gut burned off.

      I think I’ll stop here, Matt. If I go into any more detail, my appetite will disappear, and probably so will yours.

        • I think that’ right, which is why they needed so many people… When it takes 60 people just to get a single man-hour put in, you need a bunch.

          Last night I had dinner with somebody who visited Chernobyl just a few months back. Interesting wildlife preserve these days. People left, and all the local flora and fauna reverted to natural. Pretty safe outside of about the first mile or two around the reactor. He’s also involved with our work with the Japanese, but I’m supposed to be discreet about that — so I will be.


      • Pete,

        thank you for all these explanations on radiation. I’m sure I’m not the only one that appreciates the time you take to explain these things to all of us so we have a better idea of the dangers we can all face.

        Fred PRoNJ

  7. Oh yes, thanks for the advice about acraglass. But there is not anything obvious to fix in my IZH 61 buttstock like a crack. The whole thing seems to have fatigued so that warps and flexes every time I work the cocking lever. I don’t see how the acraglass could help. One thing I can say about wood is that it would never behave like this synthetic material.


    • Matt61
      Sounds to me like you just need to tighten up your butstock adjustment screw. I just looked at my IZH 60 and there is no conection from the butstock to the the cocking mechanism.
      Also that synthetic stock is way stronger than if it was wood.

    • Matt61, I use RCBS small base dies for ammo loaded for my M-1 Grand. The neck tension is fine and no crimp is necessary. I purchased my M-1 from the US Army (DCM) in 1983. I reloaded for it from day one, no problems. As to Crystals primary grip problem, she is grasping the handgun way too low on the grip frame. It’s not a big deal with airguns but would be a big deal with larger caliber firearms. It would result in a lack of control due to increased felt recoil. She does hit what she is shooting at but if I were on a national TV program, I would want to look like I knew what I was doing.


      • Isn’t hitting the target every (almost) time the best way to show you know what you’re doing?… BB did a blog on her a year or two ago that I found by Googling just her name.

        The variations in hold and stance at the Olympic level are great enough that if it works, it’s fine.


        • Everyone,

          Crystal Ackley is one of the best natural shooters I have ever seen. On camera she out-shot a national champion silhouette rifle shooter. Not once but twice on Rams at 45 yards.

          But alas, she is no longer on the show. You must be seeing reruns. Crystal is in California.


  8. BB and All: What is the correct way to lube the BENJAMIN 397/392 air rifles? Obviously, there are some linkage points and levers etc and also a pump head, internal valve and other parts.

    Which types of oils for which parts of the gun?

    Thanks All.

  9. Hi BB,
    Did you ever run the accuracy test on this Gamo PT-85 socom? I’m considering buying one and would appreciate any further info. It looked like you were excited about this pistol prior to your velocity test. Did something change? Would you recommend this pistol?


  10. Bummer! I’ve noticed, overall the reviews have gotten dramatically better on the pt-85 in 2013-14. I wonder if they tightened it up a bit since it’s release in early 2011.Thanks for the info B.B. Blog is really well done.

  11. Hi BB,
    I recently got a problem with my Gamo PT-85. When shooting the gas does go out of the pistol but no pellets are removed from the chamber. I also notices as if the chamber doesn’t go into the slot all the way, but I can’t push it completely in. What could be the issue here?

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