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Ammo An airgun test you weren’t expecting: Part 2

An airgun test you weren’t expecting: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Gamo Hunter Extreme
Gamo’s Hunter Extreme 1250 was a big, beautiful wood-stocked magnum rifle. Today’s guns have synthetic stocks but similar powerplants.

This report covers:

• Crosman Premier pellets
• JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets
• RWS Hobby pellets
• Cocking effort
• Trigger-pull
• Evaluation to this point

Let’s look at the velocity of the .22-caliber Gamo Hunter Extreme 1250 that Rich Shar has tuned. You learned in Part 1 that I was surprised by the smoothness and light recoil of this powerful spring-piston air rifle. Today, we’ll discover what it can do.

In Part 1, I mentioned that the .177 Hunter Extreme 1250 that I tested back in the 1990s did shoot RWS Hobby pellets at 1,257 f.p.s. That was the first time I’d seen an airgun produce velocities that high. The rifle I’m now testing is a .22, so of course the pellets will not move that fast, because they’re twice the weight, at least. But they should move fast enough to give a respectable velocity for a breakbarrel springer. Let’s get to the test.

Crosman Premier pellets
The first pellet I tested was the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier dome. This was the pellet I tried at 50 yards in Part 1, and I’ll try it again in the future, seriously, at both 25 and 50 yards. This pellet averaged 891 f.p.s., with a 31 f.p.s. spread from 872 to 903 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 25.21 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s cookin’ — for a springer!

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets
Next up was the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy dome. These pellets loaded easier into the breech than Premiers and averaged 785 f.p.s. at the muzzle. The spread was only 11 f.p.s., from 780 to 791 f.p.s. The average velocity gave an energy of 24.77 foot-pounds. Like most springers, the rifle becomes less efficient as the pellets get heavier, except the power drop with this pellet isn’t that great. Adding 4 grains of weight only shaved off a half foot-pound.

RWS Hobby pellets
The final pellet I tested was the 11.9-grain RWS Hobby. This pellet averaged 978 f.p.s., with an 11 f.p.s. spread from 973 to 984 f.p.s. That’s remarkably consistent, and it tells me the rifle may like lighter pellets. At the average velocity, Hobbys generated 25.28 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. That’s very close to the energy the rifle produced with the heavier Premier pellet. From this, we can surmise that the powerplant is well-balanced for pellets in this weight range (between 12 and 18 grains).

Cocking effort
I was very curious about the cocking effort. My arm told me it was around 50 lbs., which is 10 lbs. less than the last Gamo Hunter Extreme I tested — a .177 that was still in factory trim. The scale showed a top of 48 lbs., so I was close.

It’s clear that Rich’s tune has made this rifle slicker, as well as smoother. I doubt much more reduction of effort is possible with the factory mainspring, though I did note the scale needle spiking by 3 lbs. every time a spring coil slipped past the cocking shoe. Eliminate that, and the rifle cocks with 45 lbs. of effort.

In Part 1, I estimated the single-stage trigger-pull at no more than one pound. In fact, it’s 1 lb., 11 oz. It’s so smooth that I underestimated it by 3/4 lb. Just ask blog reader Kevin if such a thing is possible.

I spoke to Rich about the rifle and asked if the trigger was stock. He assured me that it is. It is just all the way broken-in and also perfectly adjusted.

Evaluation to this point
This test is unusual because we already know the rifle can shoot accurately. But I’m still going to test it at 25 yards to find one or more pellets that stand out and then shoot hem at 50 yards to see what the rifle can really do. I think Rich Shar is on to something good here, and I hope we get to see more of it in the future.

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.

76 thoughts on “An airgun test you weren’t expecting: Part 2”

  1. BB
    Does this rifle have a stock spring in it that has been shimmed or modified in any way or is it a new spring altogether as I have a 22 springer and would be interested to know if rich will let out the info of what’s inside as I can do the work as long as I know what it got inside as far as the stock spring shimmed up or a new longer or stronger spring

    If you can coax some info from him it would be very well received by me .


  2. When you run across things like this, it makes you rethink. My Gamo CFX was the proverbial tack driver out to 25 yards, but it had an absolutely horrid trigger. After I replaced it with a GRT3, it was pretty decent. If it had been the wooden stock version, it probably would still be here. Maybe.

    By the way, does anybody need a Gamo trigger?

  3. OK, I was digging around a little bit just now and it turns out that this air rifle is really a BSA, or at the very least made there. You know what this means don’t you? BB is going to have to test the new Extreme SE to see how it compares.

    In all of the reviews of the new one on PAs site, everyone was wanting a plastic stock so that it would be lighter and they would not scratch the wood up. What they do not seem to grasp is that the wood stock helps to make it more stable when aiming and absorbs vibrations better. When I put a gas spring in my CFX, that thing would slap me side the head every time I pulled the trigger. I would just as soon have had a couple of more pounds there to help prevent that.

    It would certainly be nice to see Gamo up the ante and start making top shelf sproingers like some of the other European companies.

    • Vibration will travel at different speeds through different materials.(it will travel through steel much faster than wood). So, IMHO, the combination of wood and steel might not be the best match in controlling vibration in Magnum springers. Perhaps a die cast metal stock might do a better job as the vibration will then travel through the stock much faster and be dampened by the shooter’s hands and cheek. Hit a tuning fork against your desk and then press it against you cheek and see how fast the vibration stops.


      • The wood itself will dampen some of the vibration. A pot metal stock? Really? Are you trying to bust my chops?

        The whole idea is to reduce the felt recoil, vibration and torque so as to increase the potential for accuracy. As I was saying previously, I did not much care for my CFX using the side of my head to absorb some of the recoil.

          • Super tough but flexible rubber bedding… and cheek piece. Liking this gun, but would rather a sturdier company since I’ve heard gamo has sensitive trigger builds, maybe not? BB, any thoughts on the durability of this gun? Any weak links?

        • A metal stock is not that farfetched. See B.B.s report on the El Gamo68(May 1st,2012). Your wooden stock will still be vibrating as the pellet travels down the barrel. Apart from that no two wooden stocks of the same type of wood will react the same as the density of the wood will vary from tree to tree and even from branch to branch. During its lifetime a tree will experience periods of excess and normal rainfall plus periods of drought which in turn will affect the density of the wood as it grows at different rates.
          I used to end up with headaches after shooting my TF87 for extended periods. I guess it was the same problem that you were having with you CFX. I over came that by making a cheek weld from a nylon belt some Velcro and a piece of the packing foam that PA uses when shipping pellets.
          I have a design on my computer for a full metal stock and can send it to B.B. if he is interested in weighing in on this discussion.

      • Wouldn’t you want a material that absorbs vibration before it reaches you rather than faithfully transmitting it to you? Harder materials transmit vibrations farther than soft material. Tapping a pipe will allow somebody listening with his ear on the pipe hear it at a farther distance than simple transmitting the sound through air.

        I wonder if truck bed liner applied on the stock before bedding the spring tube might lead to lower vibrations?

        • It always amazes me what that stuff can do!

          I have wondered about using it as the material for a gun stock (over a metal skeleton), since setting an ABS-stocked rifle on the tailgate of a lined bed and seeing the similarities. It is supposed to be pretty easy to work with, as well.

        • I used RTV Silicone to bed the spring tube on my TF87 but did not get any noticeable improvement in accuracy until it had completely hardened about a month after it was first applied. It was easy to do with very little mess.


  4. Is it Thursday yet?

    Yes! A exciting blog for the day.

    I like all the velocity tests and descriptions about the gun and the the groups shot. But let’s get inside the gun. Are you leading up to that?

    Maybe you can’t open it up it might give away a secret the the gun companies could catch on to. Then we could actually get some good shooting guns.

    Wait a minute what am I thinking the gun companies probably won’t pay attention to what works anyway.

    • Actually they do when people quit buying the junk and fixing it up themselves. When profits start dropping, they start looking around to see why.

      That is why I will not buy a Crosman NP2. They have not as of yet made it acceptable to me right out of the box. When and if they ever decide to build a sproinger in the TX200 class, I will buy it.

      There are good quality airguns out there and every airgun manufacturer has the capability of producing such. The main issue is most do not believe there is enough of a market to be worth the investment.

      • RR
        I just got my TX200 MRKlll yesterday. (yes I got it through Pyramyd Air) And until you hold one in your hand you can’t appreciate the time and thought they put into them. Everything is nice. The ergonomics of the stock is like somebody was taking measuments from me and designing it. I can go on and on about it.

        And now from owning one I will have to say it will be a while for some other companies to catch up to the TX200.

        And I get the feeling that other companies truly believe that they do have quality guns. Its just that they have other companies competing at the level they are making their guns at.

        Should I dare to use this example. Does Ferrari care what Yugo was doing. And Yugo probably didn’t care what Ferrari was doing because they were making a different kind of car.

          • SG
            That’s the whole thing. They are both car makers with two different ideas of what a car should be.

            The Ferrari company will try to stay on top of the game with the cars in its category. And the Yugo company was worried about another type of market.

            But both company’s sold product. Now how do you get a company that produces air guns lets say in the lower category to step it up to produce the higher quality gun. Maybe certain ones will try to become better and take control. And the other company in that class of airgun will have no desire to become better. Why should they put out more money if they are occupied with the sales they are making.

            It all comes down to the attitude of the company and how long they want to be around.

                • They make the Punto and 500L, I think only for Eastern Europe though. By all reports they build a quality product, the yugo was simply cheap because it was built to be as cheap as possible. Plus they were still Yugoslavia at the time and that meant commie steel was being used. Which I believe is a super fast rusting alloy of iron and butter. The Yugo sold in the USA was after all based on the Fiat 128, so the companies have been working together for a long time.

                  They did not stop selling cars in the USA due to lack of sales, in fact it was our trade sanctions against Yugoslavia that ended the import of those cars under the Yugo brand. That and when in 1999 we bombed the Zastava car factory instead the arms factory that was the intended target.

                  I am not saying there is no place for nice airguns, just that us dedicated airgun folks are not the biggest market. I think a trip to Wally World or Cabela’s will prove that to anyone. With expensive airguns comes a lot of risk, since no big box stores will carry them and the amount of money tied up in inventory skyrockets.

                  I do think however Crosman is in a unique position, they have the Benjamin and Sheridan brands to use. I would like to see Benjamin being used as a better line, like they already do and perhaps Sheridan or another new brand as a top of the line brand. They already have production facilities and could likely “encourage” the usual suspects to at least offer this product online. I do not however believe they have the desire to do so at the moment.

                  Congrats on the TX200, I hope to own one someday.

        • Yo, Gunner. Toldja, now quit flappin’ yer gums, go shoot it, wipe the drool offa yer chin, then come back & type us all about it!?! All seriousness aside, congratz, pal.
          Shoot/ride safe,

          • Beaz how are you and thanks.

            I got to do about a 100 shots on it today. I wish the night would go by at work tonight.

            Off tomorrow,kids will be in school and the wife works. I will be shoot’n it come rain,sleet or snow no matter what.

            But how you doing with yours. You been getting any shoot’n time in. And I should of got one a long time ago when I heard you talk’n bout yours.

            And have a good one and thanks again.

        • Gunfun1,

          Congratulations on the TX ! I continue to be amazed by mine.
          I’ll pass on the advice that Slinging Lead gave me back when I got my TX…. Go to the hardware store and pick up some rubber O rings for the two groves around the end of the cocking lever. That little pad that Air Arms pushes into the bottom of the barrel shroud will fall out pretty quick.

          I also want to thank you again on the recommendation you gave me on the HW50S. It’s currently my most used gun. Probably because I’ve tasked myself with learning every one of its characteristics. I put the Hawke scope on it that you told me about and I’m very pleased with the package. In the next few months I’ll be doing most of my shooting off a bench in the warm basement. Come Spring I’ll be ready to get back outside with the TX’s.

          Ain’t life grand !

          • Randy
            I will sure check that out about the o-rings. I probably have some already that will fit.

            And I’m glad the HW50s and Hawke scope is working out for you. I really like mine.

            Yes life is. 🙂

        • I’m still researching PCPs trying to find a suitable one capable of one-inch groups at 75+ yards with .22 caliber pellets.

          Seems that I have caught the long-range-small-target bug from watching too many videos of people hitting shotgun hulls and paintballs at one hundreds yards – highly contagious that bug. Told my wife that I needed a new PCP and scope to cure it… don’t think she believed me.

          We work a compressed week as well but it is every second Friday off – unfortunately tomorrow isn’t it.

          Have a great weekend eh!

          • Vana2
            And you don’t even have to be at 75 yards. Try getting some of the air soft ammo and put one ontop of a golf T at 35 yards (or maybe 50 yards if you feel brave). But you cant hit the golf T. You got to only hit the airsoft ball.

            If your even more brave go buy a bottle of aspirin’s and put one of those on the golf T.

            And now we’re having fun. 🙂

            • GF1

              My favorite is Honeycomb cereal suspended from a string to blow/spin in the breeze or Froot-Loops if I think I need some additional humbling.

              They explode nicely when (IF???) hit and the birds like cleaning up. If my shooting is poor at least I have a snack to console myself!

      • BB
        I just re-read what you wrote in part1 and 2 and I don’t see anywhere where you said your not going inside.

        I didn’t go back and read the comments but I do believe that I remember you saying about maybe Rich jumping into the conversation that the people were interested in knowing.

        So I guess the question is will he make his service available to the public or will his two guns be the only ones with the mods and it will be a lost secret?

        • GF1,
          Wait a minute, did you not say that you just bought a TX200? Every other sproinger is going to be downhill from here on out. If you even think of tinkering with that thing I am going to come up there and slap you.

          • RR
            And I had to laugh. 🙂

            You know what I opened the box last night when I got home from work and its like I didn’t even want to mount the scope rings on the gun. I’m saying to myself the whole time I was putting the scope on that I better not slip with my wrench.

            I shot about a 100 shots through it this morning and I didn’t want to put it down. It just feels right. And if I was a person that could only own one airgun and wanted to make that one and only special purchase. And if I asked somebody what one should I spend my money on I would hope that they said the TX200 Mrklll. Sorry but all I can say is nice,nice,nice!

            And no I will not touch anything on this gun, and I have held true with the HW50s and the 54 Air King. And even my .25 cal. Synthetic stock Mrod. But I will say last week end I turned the first screw on my .177 cal. Synthetic stock Mrod. I adjust the striker spring for less pressure to slow the FPS down and the gun absolutely loved it. So yep so far I’m keeping my hands off and just concentrating and enjoying shooting the guns.

            And did I say the T-Rex is Nice. 🙂

            • As things are shaping up, it is my intention to end up having only three, maybe four air rifles.

              One will be my 1906 BSA. If I had to get rid of all my other toys and could keep it, that would be OK.

              One will be a top shelf sproinger. Very likely it will be a TX200 MKIII in .22 with a walnut stock.

              One will be a top shelf PCP. I have not narrowed the list down as of yet, but such things as a RAW 1000 are in the running. I have an Edge and a Talon SS that I have been tinkering with and I may keep them. We’ll see.

          • BB
            Then that means he wont be tuning anybody’s gun because you know as well as I do what happens then. Somebody takes it a part and finds out what was done.

            That’s old school racing detective work there. How do you think the the racers found out about the new tricks of the trade.

  5. Scottie said “You canna change the laws of physics, captain”. Heh heh, or something like that. And forces from moving parts have to do with mass and acceleration. So if the rifle is truly recoiling less, and it’s not just that it SEEMS like it has less recoil, then it seems to me that the tuning involved with this goody would have to reduce the mass and acceleration of the piston. I imagine such things are typically oversized in an attempt to make a magnum springer.
    We can only guess at this point but the first thing that comes to my mind is to mill away parts of the piston to make it lighter, reducing its mass and thus the recoil force. Removing a few coils from the spring would relieve some of the preload, further reducing the piston acceleration and also reducing the cocking effort. You’re left with the same swept volume to generate compressed air but the dynamics are different.
    I hope at some point you’ll be allowed to reveal the details of the tuning.

      • I believe so too.

        It works when your building race engines. A light piston and rod will totally change the characteristics of the engine.

        And I believe the air gun is working good because of how the piston fit to the cylinder wall is. I don’t know if it has been done in air guns. But we would taper hone the cylinders on the race engines. The cylinder bore would be bigger at the bottom of the cylinder bore and as you got closer to the top of the cylinder bore where you needed to make compression the bore would get tighter to the piston fit. In other words you would only need the piston tight where you needed it most. At the end of the stroke when the compression was needed the most. That should make for a easier piston cycle on spring gun. And if the transfer port was made smaller that could help also.

    • Still can’t but you can change the timing over which energy is delivered. Browning had a recoil reduction system them called the “plus” in a couple trap shotguns for a while. It was essentially a giant automatic center punch that stored energy in a spring until the gun had moved rearward 1/2″ or so then allowed a mass to be propelled forward by the compressed spring. In an automatic center punch, that release of energy causes the tip to accelerate forward and make the center punch mark. In the shotguns, it caused a momentary transfer of momentum and made the force on the butt of the gun reduce in magnitude then build again, literally spreading the recoil out in time into two smaller magnitude peaks rather than one big one. I had a few of these guns over the years and in fact still have one I installed the system in as an aftermarket mod.

      I don’t understand Rich’s reluctance to show us the goods unless he’s dealing with some manufacturer to sell the rights to manufacture or something along those lines. The feel described by Tom sure seems like the force is spread out over time, I’ve never really thought any springer “kicked” to the rear, it’s just too slow a force pulse to really be a kick but when that piston bounces, there certainly is perceptible sudden motion in the opposite direction.

      I was sure hoping for an explanation but it seems we’re not going to get one. Too bad, all the “gee it feels great and shoots like a dream” in the world doesn’t really interest me and the “it’s the revolutionary breakthrough of the century” hype is just that. Physics is physics. I’m sure the details will be public as some point in the future, I’ll check back then.


    • Lightening the piston does nothing to reduce recoil force. The force delivered to the piston via the spring is the same as the force delivered to the rifle by the spring in the other direction. Lightning the piston will make the initial part of the stroke happen faster so the energy will be delivered in a shorter time but the spring still stores and delivers the same amount of energy and the force the spring exerts is dependent only on the spring itself, not on the recipient of the force.


      • Ah, but it does to an extent. Newton’s laws state such. When you reduce the mass of the piston, you reduce the recoil.

        Take two identical rifles, one chambered in .308 and one chambered in .243. Load each cartridge with the same amount of powder and shoot them. Then tell me which has the greater recoil.

        • Sorry, you’ve left out a very important term in Newton’s second law. F=MA. Yes, the M goes down but the F stays the same in this case, it’s not predicated on the mass of the piston merely on the compression of the spring (Hooke’s law). Therefore the A goes up; the piston accelerates faster.

          It also slows down faster and bounces more since there is less mass to counteract the steep rise in pressure at the end of the stroke. I’ve experimented with different weight pistons and found a heavier piston gives less perceived “jump” and typically just a bit more energy, especially with heavier pellets.

          You’re comparison of this situation with the rifle cartridges is apples to oranges, base area is different and if the pressure is approximately the same, the total force on the projectile is reduced due to lower base area. If you were to vary the bullet weights and keep the peak pressure the same, the measured peak force the rifle exerts on your shoulder would stay the same. What does change is the acceleration of the bullet and the total energy delivered. That’s why max loads (which are based on a constant peak pressure) produce faster MV with lighter bullets. The total momentum change to the rifle upon firing is the same as the total momentum change to the bullet (and powder which iis now a gas but has mass and also exits the muzzle at a high velocity).

          Were getting a bit off topic but here’s a great experiment that shows conservation of momentum:



        • Your .308 vs .243 example has a few thing the airgun example doesn’t…

          The accelerating mass leaves the gun (no scope killing counter recoil from the piston bottoming out in the cylinder)
          The accelerating mass is MUCH smaller relative to that of the gun (100-150gr — whereas a piston is likely 2500-5000 gr, ignoring the mass of the spring end that is also moving)
          The velocities will be much different, so the recoil curve will be different (the .243 will likely have left the muzzle while the .308 is still getting up to full speed).

          And the “identical rifles” aren’t… Presuming the barrel blanks had the same external diameter, the .243 gun will mass higher due to thicker barrel walls.

    • I very seriously doubt the compression chamber is tapered, nor is such necessary in something like this. Most have what BB calls a parachute piston seal, which as it races forward, expands to tightly seal around the end of the piston.

  6. Vana2, you need an HW100
    Ridgerunner, this rifle isn’t a BSA, for some years BSA’s haven’t been BSA’s unless you count the PCP’s (and supposedly the newer Lightning’s) that are still made here in the Motherland.
    Incidentally BB….what happened to the rest of the Lightning review, the one that shot so smoothly?

      • Gunfun,
        Could be worse, when I got back to shooting 5 or 6 years ago I did it with a TX from PA, Blame B.B., he ruined me. Went the same route you did in reverse, the 54, talon SS, synthrod. All accurate all great values none with the soul of the TX. Have fun, don’t worry bout the scratches, you’ll never sell it. Latest love is instinct shooting with the red ryders, mom said I’d put my eye out. Who knew they would be so darn much fun! Not too old for iron sights, got me wantin that fwb sport. Maybe give me that smile like the TX?
        Chris in Ct,
        Got your thirty eight in case I was being too cryptic

      • I won’t shut up about it I’m sure, after the 52’s recent resurgance as a Field Target gun, I thought I would revisit one in 177, I’ve had a 22 before,
        A few days ago Mayer and Grammelspecher sold Diana, having owned the company since 1890, I think this may have a knock on in secondhand values in a few years of the original companies guns

          • Unfortunately, though I was told at my airgun dealer, I forgot almost immediately, it’s a German company, something like “Sportsgun” that, apparently do lower end stuff and some airsoft…..my dealer reckoned that some of the less common or higher end models made by the original company could become sought after if the quality takes a hit.
            124 years in the same family hands, seems a shame.

      • I’ve got this one in 177, though I have a spares’n’repairs one in 22 (missing it’s sidelever and spring guide) with a nice stock.
        I’m intending to tune this 177 for Field Target (177 only), though if I ever feel like changing calibre I guess I could build up a 22

  7. BB and Fellow Airgunners
    This Gamo Hunter Extreme was one of the rifles that caught my eye 6 years ago when I began the quest for my first adult air rifle purchase. Previously, my sole airgun was a Norico Model 56 in .22cal. purchased in 1990. I still have that gun, but rarely shoot it due to its short 12 in. pull. The main reason for not purchasing the Gamo was it’s weight of 10 lbs and change. So I bought a Weihrauch HW97 in .22cal that weighed 10 lbs with the needed scope. No iron sights. I almost always shoot with a rest so the weight is never a real problem. Most of my guns do raise eyebrows with people not familiar with adult type airguns. They expect them to be the same weight as the airgun they had as a kid. They are quite blown when I demonstrate their accuracy though.

  8. Hi BB. I have two Gamo Socom extreme, one in .177 and the other in .22. The .22 is fantastic ,had it tuned and although it makes some spring noise while cocking the rifle is very accurate out past 50 yards. As for speed it shoots the 14.3 at 930 fps. The .177 has been giving me some trouble getting it to group consistently ,I’m intent on working at that. Bottom line the rifles are very well constructed and my air gunsmith tells me they were probably made by BSA ?

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