The Gat’s where it’s at!: Part 3
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
The Gat is a timeless classic air pistol. Shown uncocked here.
- Special test
- Holding the gun
- Heavy trigger
- Air Arms Falcons
- Solution to hard cocking
- RWS HyperMAX
- Final assessment
Okay — it’s accuracy day for the Gat. Which is like saying we’re going to have a snail race. Bring your calendar!
The Gat is not an accurate airgun — a fact I discovered during the velocity test when I saw my pellets curving high and to the left on the trap three feet away.
Because of what I saw there, I decided to shoot not at 5 meters but at 10 feet — slightly over three meters. I was concerned to keep all the pellets in the trap. While I did achieve that, the first group walked up and off the paper target. I took its picture while it was still attached to the pellet trap, so you could see.
Holding the gun
I shot with my hand resting on the UTG monopod, and while that isn’t quite as steady as resting the gun directly, in the Gat’s case I felt it was best. This pistol recoils violently forward when it fires, as the entire barrel moves forward. It’s not a recipe for gilt-edged accuracy, and the results certainly confirm that.
I said in Part 2 I was going to shoot with two hands, but with the barrel popping out at firing, I stayed with one. I was able to stay on target by concentrating on the front sight.
One real problem is the extremely stout trigger pull. I estimated it at 15 lbs. in Part 1. Today I am revising that to 20+ lbs. Of all the airguns I have shot in my life, only the Arrow Stealth from Swivel Machine Corp. had a heavier trigger. Put a trigger like this on a gun that weighs just over 18 oz. (500 grams) and you have problems getting a smooth release.
Air Arms Falcons
I read Part 2 and saw that Air Arms Falcon pellets did pretty well in the velocity test, so they were the first pellet I tested. They load very easily. In fact, a couple of them loaded too easily! They fell straight through the barrel and out onto the floor, once I forced the skirt past the breech. I had to take special care when loading to not do that.
The first pellet went 2 inches high and 1 inch to the left. And that was the closest pellet to the aim point of the 10 that were shot! The center of the group was 3.5 inches high and 2.5 inches to the left. In fact, since I started with the center bull of a 5-bull target, several of my shots landed off the paper. I took a picture of that group in place, so you could see all the holes. I also measured it in place and found the group was 2.389 inches between centers.
The pellets went high and to the left. Ten pellets grouped in 2.389-inches at 10 feet.
It was amazing to watch those pellets fly with minds of their own — like watching a major-league pitcher throw a great curveball with the camera positioned behind him. I believe what was happening was the force of the barrel thrusting forward was twisting the pistol in my hand and the muzzle was pointing high and to the left when the pellet exited.
Solution to hard cocking
I took the advice of several readers and used a 4X4 wooden post on the floor to press against when I cocked the gun. Even then I was impressed by how hard it was. What was I thinking, cocking that thing with my bare hands?
The next pellet I tested was the RWS HyperMAX. They had the tightest velocity spread (12 f.p.s.) in the velocity test and I thought this could be one time when the lead-free pellets out-shot lead pellets. [Yes, I do remember the stunning performance of the Sig Sauer Match Ballistic Alloy pellets in the test of the Morini 162MI target pistol the other day. I have another test of that pellet coming next week.]
Alas, it was not to be. The first pellet hit the same bull I was aiming at, though high and to the left. Then 3 pellets landed a little higher and left-er. But the remainder of the pellets went even higher and farther to the left. The 10 shots made a group that measures 4.529-inches between centers. Sorry guys — it makes no sense to put a dime next to this group. It’s bigger than a whole roll of dimes! I didn’t realize how high the final shots had gone until I compared the target to the first photo. At least 2 pellets are at the top of the target!
RWS HyperMAX were all over the place. Ten shots made a group that measures 4.529-inches between centers — at 10 feet! Shots farthest from the aim point, which is the bottom of the bull at the lower right, are those 2 or 3 at the top of the paper (arrow).
Well — this Gat sure isn’t a target gun! It’s a good plinker — if you define plinking as shooting at targets of opportunity. Just don’t expect to hit any of them. Let’s see what it does with darts.
I tried darts next, and I had a notion that they would probably hit high and to the left of where I was aiming. I don’t have 10 darts that fit the breech of this Gat, so I limited this to just 5 shots.
A fresh piece of cardboard was attached to the backstop and I slapped on a neon orange bullseye. But the color is too vague for me to have any precision (I’m red-green colorblind) so I used the black center of the bull as the point of aim — specifically the bottom of the diamond. Remember — I’m just 10 feet from the target.
As anticipated, the darts did go left and all but the first one went high. They gave me a 5-shot group that measures 3.45-inches between centers.
Five darts also went high and left except for the first shot that just went left. The aim point was the bottom of the black diamond. The one hole is a dart that completely penetrated the cardboard. Group measures 3.45-inches between centers.
The Gat pistol is a classic, make no mistake. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of young airgunners cut their teeth on one. But it isn’t a target pistol.
Is it possible to hit things with a Gat? I’m sure that it is. You have to learn your gun and get used to where it’s throwing the shots, then aim off by that amount. After awhile, it becomes second nature. Thousands of little boy did that with their BB guns that were no more accurate.
I plan to hold onto this Gat for a couple reasons. First, it is historically important. But more than that, it represents a lot of extremes, like hardest to cock and heaviest trigger and least accurate. I can’t get rid of that. Someday I may need a comedy foil.