The Gat’s where it’s at!: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord

Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gat
The Gat is a timeless classic air pistol. Shown uncocked here.

A history of airguns

Part 1
Part 2

  • Special test
  • Holding the gun
  • Heavy trigger
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Solution to hard cocking
  • RWS HyperMAX
  • Darts
  • 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.

Special test

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 achieveΒ 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 atΒ firing, I stayed with one. I was able to stay on target by concentrating on the front sight.

Heavy trigger

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.

Gat Falcon group
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?

RWS HyperMAX

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!

Gat HyperMAX group
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.

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.

Gat Dart group
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.

Final assessment

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.

38 thoughts on “The Gat’s where it’s at!: Part 3


  1. I know deep down inside that poor Gat wants to shoot. But just can’t. It just ain’t got the right stuff.

    It is a cool gun in some strange way. Would be a gun you would never forget if you had one as a kid. For many obvious reasons. I think it would be the one that I would ask my dad if it was broke or something after I shot it. Don’t think I would ask for another one. Or maybe it would of been the one I took apart to see just why and the heck it was having so much trouble working right.

    I was going to say if I did own one right now I might just say something like that Gats got to go. But then I thought again. I think I would have it sitting out on a table to let anybody that wanted to give it a shot and see what some air guns use to be like. And then let them try out a modern pcp and let them see how air guns have evolved over time.

    And by no means am I putting the Gat down. Because everything has a reason to be and a place in time. Some are just more unique than others in their own special way no mater how well they do or don’t work.

    Long live the Gat and all our other wonderful air guns. Hmm maybe the Gat is where it’s at. πŸ˜‰


  2. The Gat gives a whole new meaning to “pray and spray”. It is as if it was manufactured with zero regard to anything that even remotely resembled accuracy. Still, you have to give it up for the unique design/function aspects. Now that is something that I can appreciate.


    • It’s still got corks it can also shoot which may actually improve accuracy or at least disguise it’s lack of it.
      Not saying B.B. will try them or BB’s for that matter but now that he’s got the cocking effort down to a manageable level he may be more tolerant of shooting it more and I’d say it’s in direct need of breaking in.
      I had plenty of kids shooting mine so their triggers weren’t too bad.


  3. B.B.,
    Reminds me of the wood guns(pistols) we made as children. We used buck beads- similar to those in Bo Dereck’s hair in the picture 10. Those were happy and carefree days of summer recess with alternating skirmishes of cowboy & Indians, cops & robbers and war games. The pistols were all wood and rubber bands which made them highly inaccurate and very rarely did anyone get hit or at least if you did, you did not admit it ( you were out if you got hit).
    One of these days I will make one and send it to you with a short video showing how to load and fire it.

    Pete


  4. BB,

    I had one of these in middle school that I bought off a friend. I never shot darts or pellets- but you should try the best ammo for it- corks! You stick a small cork in the tip and knock over cups and whatever else:)

    Al


  5. We used to make “elastic guns”. It was a length of wood with a finishing nail in the end and a clothespin attached to the top as a trigger. Most were just a straight piece 18″ length of 1×2 strapping. Some fancier ones were made out of a board and had a rifle profile.

    The projectiles were made with an elastic attached to the spring from another clothespin. The springs were readily available because there were always lots of broken clothespins – a quick check under any clothesline always turned up a bunch, elastics were 25 cents a bunch (100?).

    To load, you hooked the elastic over the protruding finishing nail, stretched it back so the the spring could be fit into the mounted clothespin. Thumbing the “trigger” would release the shot.

    Minute of a tin can accuracy out to about 20 feet. We used to practice for hours.

    Great memories… think I will make a pair of them this weekend and have a competition with my granddaughter πŸ™‚

    Happy Friday all!!

    Hank


    • Hank,

      Sounds like a good time. My guess might be that it will be the most cherished “gun” in the bunch, if not the only one,…. for many years to come. (Grand daughter’s,.. that is).

      Now, the question is how far will you go?,…..with your “make a pair”? Laminated? Thumb hole cut-away? Exotic scrap wood lying about? Flawless finish? πŸ˜‰

      Yea,….. I might have an idea of your idea of a “weekend project”. Have fun. Chris


      • OH THANKS Chris! πŸ™‚

        I was going to have my granddaughter cut out a couple of boards on the bandsaw (she is old enough to start working with power tools – with close supervision) but now you got me going!

        …hmmm, have some extra maple strips and some nice cherry wood that I filched out of the firewood pile.

        …So easily distracted. πŸ™‚

        Have a great weekend!

        Hank


        • Hank,

          πŸ™‚ Yes, one must not overlook the pride factor of building something ones’ self. And, if she desires to “spiff” it up a bit,…. she has a pretty darn good teacher on the finer points of wood working.


    • You would really appreciate the ones that are readily available at most flea-markets and swap-meets over here!
      They’re probably in many of the box stores too.

      Usually a wooden Dowell about 1/2″ in diameter with a notch in the front of the”barrel” and mounted on a variety of wooden SIM-Frames and some already painted black…level of craftsmanship will vary.
      Maybe someone who reads this and can share a link or two.
      πŸ˜‰


      • Hey Reb,

        A painted dowel “barrel” would have been the height of cool back then. Real bragging rights!

        I’ll do a google later to check out other designs.

        I was very young when I was making these and access to tools was limited. My Father would drill a hole in the “trigger” clothespin for me because the hardwood pins would split if you tried to nail them on with out a pre-drilled hole – very frustrating for a youngster.

        We used to have a lot of fun trying to make the guns shoot straighter and farther. Kids don’t do things like that any more – they don’t know what they are missing.

        Hank


        • The glorious summers !

          We used over here plastic tubing filched from building sites, tape, some woodblocks and paper darts. That gave us elaborate designed guns which basically were blowpipes with paper darts. Accurate up to 10 to 15 yards.

          We got a earful though when Mam discovered we used her ladies magazines for paper strips. That was the first time I realised that it is impossible to argue with a lady about the necessity of using just this part of the Household articles for some technical project.

          Second time was when I used the spoons to repair a bicycle tube. I recently inherited those spoons and they still have the scratches. I still can not see what is wrong with that. The eat just fine.

          Regards,

          August


          • August,

            I can relate very well – used to run into trouble on a regular basis πŸ™‚

            The worst (best?) time was when my Father “helped” me make a batch of rocket fuel (heat-fused sugar and saltpeter) and set it off in the house – the top 3 feet of the house was filled with sweet-smelling white smoke. Mid-winter, all the windows open and us running around flapping towels cleared the smoke before Mom got back from shopping. Close call that!

            Who (but Mom) would care if the spoons had a couple of scratches eh?

            Cheers!

            Hank



  6. Reminds me of our old Marksman 1010 pistol (the one with the flip up 1.5″ barrel at the front).
    At 15ft it was about a foot low and 6″ to the left.
    We just learned where to aim and we could hit a pop can 2 out of 5 times πŸ™‚




  7. B.B.,

    With this gun you might change the phrase “minute-of-soda-can” to “minute-of-coffee-can.” If the WWII submarine commander had one of these instead of a little Haenel in his sock drawer, he might have missed the target in his tiny quarters and sunk the sub!

    Michael


    • Michael
      And just think how history could change in a blink of a eye.

      Wouldn’t of that been crazy if he thought about getting a Gat and changed his mind.

      There’s a time and place for everything.
      πŸ˜‰


  8. An open question for the weekend for anyone caring to reply:

    Looking at getting an M-rod in .25 and add the R.A.I. AR-15 styled kit. That is decided on. What is not decided however is a compressor (auto, not hand), tank, hoses, filters (pre and post HPA pump) as in the case of a Shoebox,…or just post comp. as in the case of a full auto 3 stage.

    Of particular interest is the (process) of how and why, you chose what you chose. All comments welcome. My notes thus far are many,….. enough to put them all in subject divided note book. So,…. I have a “clue” to options and what is out there. (seeking real world experience, in other words).

    Thanks (ahead) to any and all that respond. Chris


    • Chris
      I have two M-rods with RAI Chassis kits, the old TERYX and the new second gen. They accept G36 weaver rails and just about any AR stock you want with folding and offset adapters available. They are built to perfection. You won’t be disappointed if you want the AR look.
      If you haven’t yet, you may want to check out the Yellow Forum. There is always lots of chat about compressors and set-ups there. I usually keep it simple and use my FX Indy the most.
      Bob M


      • Bob M,

        Thanks for the added insight. The added length of pull is a big factor for me. 16″ with a tape to elbow inside to first joint in trigger finger. Plus, the RAI lends itself to a fat pistol grip well. Open hand measures 8 5/8″ if that gives you any idea. Offset of stock is another one. I use Limbsaver pads which add 1″ LOP. On the TX, it stays put. On the LGU, it shifts down and left with a bit of cant. (I shoot left). So yes, the RAI set up should work well. It’s more about function, than looks.

        As for the 6 position butts, there are may out there. I am very surprised that more do not come with adj. cheek/comb. It seems that it would be rather easy when doing a plastic molded piece. From what I have seen, some have 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4″ clip-ons’ while the ones with true adjustment run around 250$.

        As for the FX Indy,…. I assume that is the Independence, that once charged, can be topped off with 2-3 pumps? I wondered how much the effort was on that. Same as a Daisy 880 when going to 10 pumps? I would think that the HPA pressures involved would have to up the effort factor. Well played application of compounded leverage could offset that some though.

        I will check out the Yellow. Been there, but is has been quite a few.

        Thanks again, Chris


        • Chris
          I hear you, the UTG AR Sniper grip option Dave offers on his R Arms site, also offered at PA really fills your hand. Rubber like ergonomic soft touch finish for R&L hand shooters. Only my finger tip reaches the trigger.
          You can mount a full size AR stock and buffer tube, it may open your options. I find a lot of low cost items on Airsoft sites but some of it is Airsoft specific and not mil-spec, need to read the fine print. I have a LUTH AR fully adjustable stock on mine and actually can’t use the folding stock adapter because it’s too long of a combo. The adjustable offset adapter still works for me.
          I use two 11mm to weaver extended adapters around the mag well to get a scope above the custom quad rail RIS unit I attached that surrounds the Marauder barrel and air tube and the cheek riser adjustment puts everything in place.
          Your right about the FX Indy hand pump. The ‘piston’ works hard but the leverage on the handle is outstanding, hardly any work at all, one hand slow and easy does it. You can fire a few times before pumping it up again, just averages three pumps per shot to top off. I also have the bull-pup version “Indy”. The long version “Independence” nick name Indy fits well for the pup. Too bad most people can’t get their hands on one to try out, but than again we are probably saving a lot of people from making a deal with the devil to get one !


          • Bob M,

            Thanks again for the added insight. I just saw the LUTH-AR product and it looks to be a good option at around 130$ as opposed to the 250 range. It is that, or clip on type. I do not know anything about AR outfitting options, so this is all new to me. Yes, pay attention to the details. I like the off set option as I seem to need it. Thanks for the riser info. as I wondered about that. Yet another reason for comb adj. concern. In reality, you want it to fit you,….once done,….it’s done,…. but I want that option up front on set-up.

            As for the “Deal with the Devil”,…. yea,… it can feel like that. Lucky for me I live cheap and save well. I ain’t getting any younger and you can’t take it with you as they say. So,…. a “treat” now and then don’t hurt. Plus, if you want the power without all the thump and bump of a springer,…. PCP is the way to go. Let’s just say that I am taking my time on getting it right the (first time) out on PCP outfitting.

            Did check out the Yellow, again. Some good stuff. Not as easy to use as the PA site. Good links all in one place. Time saver. PA was there, of course.

            Thanks again,… Chris


            • There is also an adjustable FAB Defense stock with an adjustable cheek riser for under $80. on a popular ‘Optics’ web site. Not sure of the overall quality, never having it. Some low cost sliders tend to be sloppy on the buffer tube.

              Fixed AR stocks have a longer round buffer tube that the stock slides over with a rear mount screw. The carbines with adjustable length have a shorter tube with a protruding guide rail on the bottom to prevent the stock from rotating. It has the locking detents in it to secure the sliding stock. The internal bolt spring and actual buffer are only needed for real AR-15 rifles.
              Luth AR just introduced a carbine slider with the same adjustments as the fixed and it may? being shorter, work with the side folding R Arms adapter but it sounds like you want a fixed stock set up, better for stability.

              Airsoft tubes and stocks may have a different diameter and receiver mounting set up because they often store the batteries for their electric motors in them.
              If that Luth AR doesn’t work out for you I’ll buy it from you…It is top notch and I can always use another !


              • Bob M,

                Pretty sure I will go with the adj. stock and off-set adapter. I will check out the FAB. Notes made. Movement is one concern, but I believe I can take care of that once set up. Mastic tape, putty, epoxy, screws. etc. should do a full lock up once everything is set to my liking. I can be pretty creative and it looks good when I am done,…. whatever it is I come up with. πŸ˜‰ I did see that the “guts” can be a combo or separate. A firearm shooter at work clued me in on that.

                I liked the folder adaption for initial adjustment. It could be removed after adjustment as long as the adj. stock can make up for loss in LOP.

                Thanks again,…. lot’s of good info.,….. Chris


                • Chris
                  Forgot to mention you may have to buy a tube to mount any stock to the RAI Chassis. Yes, just get a tube, forget the spring and recoil buffer that come with an AR tube ‘assembly’.


                  • Bob M,

                    Yes, the tube. RAI seems to have that covered. I like the UTG butt that they offer with the added cheek “shelf”, but it does not offer comb adj.. That is why I was looking at adj. comb versions of butt stocks. The scopes look mounted quite high on the M-Rods to clear the magazine. I do not remember what brand/model, but it fed off the top of the magazine, as it was “sunk in” to the action more,…which lowered the magazine profile. I thought that was a good idea for lower scoping.


  9. I have one of those old Marksman 1010 pistols. The one I have is marked “Marksman Repeater”. I have had it since my Dad bought it for me about 1964. The one I have shoots to point of aim. It shoots best with Daisy BB’s. It still works even though I shot it a lot when I was young. I remember one summer when I shot that gun a bunch. One day some of my friends tried it. They couldn’t hit with it at all. Practice made the difference. I was surprised at the time because I thought anyone could hit with it. It was also the first time I realized that I was a little bit better shot than most. That’s probably because I shot a lot more!

    Mike


  10. If only accurate guns are interesting what the heck do you call this gun? Three meters is short even by my standards.

    Thanks for all the info on the potato gun. One additional fact I remember from the comic book advertisements is that a single potato would get you something like 20,000 shots. Comics. I learned my lesson when I bought the set of several hundred toy soldiers pictured in a dramatic battle scene. The box they arrived in was about the size of a bar of soap and inside where hundreds of little silhouettes that appeared to be cut out of a sheet of plastic.

    Thanks for the interest in my slinging. Drought-ridden California has opened its floodgates and seriously interfered with my practice. However, the weather broke briefly, and I made my way out in the liquid mud like a human tank. Perhaps the wind and a light rain interfered. I might even have pretended I was at the Battle of Teutoberg in 9AD when 3 Roman legions were annihilated in forest by German barbarians. The Romans were attacked at night in a driving rain which made their bows useless. They lost cohesion and when the Germans closed, it was all over.

    The outcome was fairly similar. The rocks went left. They went right, and they went high and long. Once I fix the elevation and windage, I’ll be sighted in. My golf ball was a bright spot. It went almost 100 yards which is getting me to Fido3030’s distance. But my rowing coach in college said that you make effort on every single stroke right until the end because you can always change the complexion of the race. And so it was. My problem was that I just wasn’t timing the release properly. A split second’s difference sent the rock way right or left. But then it happened on the second to last rock. My body unfolded just perfectly and the rock went dead straight (although too high). It was the Jaws of the Subconscious and felt like this

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n-3cFIuQBc

    If you freeze frame at the right time, you will see the balletic grace of the tiger at full extension. Chomp.

    Matt


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