by Tom Gaylord
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This is my .177 XP-68 that you have already seen — not today’s rifle.
This report covers:
- El Gamo?
- Back to the report
- Just a-gonna
- The time is now
Some of you sharp-eyed veteran readers will remember that 4 years ago I reported on the El Gamo XP-68 breakbarrel carbine. Don’t worry. Except for a reference to that series now and then this will be an entirely new look at a different air rifle.
After writing that series, the shape of the futuristic XP-68 was fresh in my mind. One day not long after finishing that series I happened to see another one in a favorite local pawn shop. I already had one, so I knew I didn’t want another, but if the price was right, maybe I could buy it and sell it at an airgun show. So I asked to see it.
The .22 rifle is on top.
In many respects the new airgun was just like the one I tested and ultimately lube-tuned in the series, except for one small detail. This one was a .22! The XP-68 is already a rare airgun here in America, so I reckoned a .22 version was about as common as a Chevy Corvette with a 6-cylinder engine! Yes, they do exist, but find one.
And, what’s with the El in front of the Gamo name? That used to be the name of the company. Through the 1970s and into the ’80s they used the El. It was a time when the Casas family still owned the company and was proudly making air rifles. Just by knowing that small fact you can buy their airguns (they will all say El Gamo on them) with confidence, knowing that in their day both the late Robert Law of the now-defunct Air Rifle Headquarters and Robert Beeman who founded Beeman Precision Airguns, thought they were a quality European brand at an affordable price. The El Gamo 300 breakbarrel was highly touted by both men.
Back to the report
So, I found this air rifle in a pawn shop, but it was priced too high, and as I examined it I found the buttstock plastic shells were not held on tightly. The rear screw was turning freely because it was not anchored inside the plastic shell. I pointed that out to the shop owner and negotiated a lower price that was more acceptable. Soon I owned a .22 version of the rifle to which I had devoted more than half a year and 6 blog reports.
For years the new rifle sat in my office, daring me to begin working on it. I examined the plastic shells and discovered that all the pieces that were needed were still present. I could just Epoxy them back into position and the gun would be fixed. Or I could glue in a wood block in place of the plastic post to receive the loose screw. I pondered and pondered as the months and then the years slipped by. My life changed dramatically while the old air rifle sat patiently, waiting for my loving touch.
The two plastic shells that attach to the butt. The post that receives the rear screw (bottom left) has snapped off.
The two screws that hold the plastic stock shells together on the gun and the pieces of the rear post that snapped off.
The time is now
Then one day recently I realized that the time had come to do something, and here we go. Before I repair the stock, however, let me talk about the airgun.
Originally I thought the two rifles were identical, but upon closer examination I can see small differences. My .177 that I reviewed for you four years ago is serial number 767959. The .22 rifle that I got at the pawn shop is serial number 790440, which would make it the newer rifle by over 22,000 numbers. The condition isn’t as nice as the older .177, but it’s not a beater, either. Just a little more rust freckling that I will address with Ballistol and a stainless steel pot scrubbing pad.
I shot the rifle and the power seems okay. Of course I will need to check it through a chronograph before I can know for sure, but if the rifle needs attention I know of a 6-part blog where a guy took one apart and gave detailed disassembly instructions, plus pictures. I’ll just follow that and there shouldn’t be any problem.
The .177 shot Crosman Premier lites at an average 551 f.p.s., so I’m guessing this rifle will launch a .22-caliber RWS Hobby at about 425-450, or thereabouts. That would put it approximately in the Diana 25/27 class, which is fine with me. If it’s only shooting 375 I will probably do something about it. But parts like a fresh mainspring will be hard to find. So, I hope I don’t have to do that.
The differences between the two rifles are subtle. The bottom front of the triggerguard is less pointy on the .22, and the .177 has “mod. el gamo 68” marked on the left side of the base block, along with the serial number and caliber, where the .22 only has the serial and caliber. That’s all the difference I can see at this point, other than the older barrel being slightly thicker. I checked the trigger and it has the same adjustment screws which somebody has done a good job of adjusting. My .177 came to me with a very heavy pull, but this one feels lighter.
The newer triggerguard on the .22 rifle (top) has been simplified from the older one below. I added the trigger shoe to the .177.
Also, the action of the .22 is dead-smooth. So was the .177 I tested, so El Gamo got the powerplant right for this model. I used to think their model 300 rifle was the same action in a more conventional wood stock, but if you read that report you’ll see that it isn’t. They are similar, but not quite the same.
The next step will be to repair the plastic stock shell, so it will accept the rear screw that holds it to the butt. I will do that before testing the velocity. If I’m successful, I will move on to velocity testing. If I’m unsuccessful, I will make a different type of repair, but since the stock shell doesn’t have to be on the gun to shoot it, I will still move on to velocity testing as my next report.
58 thoughts on “El Gamo 68-XP .22 caliber: Part 1”
Great find! I have been haunting all the local pawn shops after I recently found my first vintage airgun in one, a Sheridan Blue Streak that, to update you BB is now doing 670fps with 15 pumps! (I suppose it’s not that vintage because it has the push safety in the trigger guard, not the rocker safety, but at least it’s not being made anymore.)
Well, now we know for sure.
I owned one of these gamo’s back in the late 60’s in .177 it was a single shot and a very good shooter.
i put on a 22 scope on it my older brother had laying around and at 50-75 yards crows and gophers didn’t have a chance. When I moved out on my own some how it was lost or stolen. but 10 years ago I found a gamomatic version with the tube on top but with a different layout of forstock than all the pictures i have seen so far. Do you have an e-mail i can send a pic of it i can’t attach to these comments
Welcome to the blog.
I found your review of the 177 caliber – which I have owned since I got new in ’68! I loved shooting this airgun, the balance from the pistol grip style is almost perfect.
My ex ‘hid’ the gun in the basement behind the oil tank, where it sat for 12 years – resulting in quite a bit of rusting. What suggestions do you have to remove the rust?
Also, I’d be interested in selling it – any idea of the value or where to market this gun in New England?
Welcome to the blog.
The best way to get rid of rust on blued steel is with Ballistol and 0000 steel wool. The rust goes away and what bluing is left will remain.
Interesting gun. The first thought that comes to mind is to throw a drum up front and you would a Tommy (looking) Gun. 😉 The receiver finish is quite interesting as well. It looks to be a textured or crinkle type finish.
Last but not least,….. those screws (common wood type) throw up a major red flag. I never would have guessed in a million years on that screw/application combo. The screw shank should be straight, not tapered. That could well be why the female post broke in the first place. I could be wrong. Think twice on this.
Good Day all,……. Chris
Sand the stock bits and area around the post avoiding the mating surfaces, super glue them together and gob lots of thick epoxy around everything. I hate brittle plastic parts. If the threads are loose, try dropping in a flat tooth pick or shaved down part of one to tighten it up. Too much will probably crack it.
I would say those are self taping screws. The point is tapered but the shank looks fairly straight.
They look a little semi-bull pup, and in line with todays skeletonized stocks without the plastic.
I would think that the screws would be straight, maybe all threaded, with head options. The fact that the post broke off (may) stand as testimony to the fact that these are not the original screws.
Your idea sounds good as well as Vana2’s option. I would never in a thousand years re-install those screws.
If the old girl needs a new spring, contact Vortek and they should be able to fix you right up.
Did you see my reply about the 46E?
Yes I did. I was pretty busy this weekend and did not get a chance to respond to you. I am planning on taking a few pictures and sending to you, hopefully this evening.
BB—I looked at RidgeRunners Vortek web site. I noticed that they claim that there springs are mercury free. Why would springs contain mercury ? —–Ed
I have no idea! I imagine they are gluten-free, as well. 😉
Actually they are high in gluten and polyunsaturated fats.
That triggered an old memory (having read Henley’s 20th Century Book of Formulas a long time ago). Here’s the article I found on the internet: https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/32780-tempering-steel-with-mercury/
and this: http://chestofbooks.com/reference/Henley-s-20th-Century-Formulas-Recipes-Processes-Vol3/To-Temper-Small-Coil-Springs-and-Tools.html
Apparently there are some who still do this.
I had no idea. Thanks for looking this up!
I am lactose sensitive … are these dairy free?
Though in all seriousness this must be slightly more common in practice than any of us could have imagined.
Vortek sources such high quality components that it must be somewhat still practiced to be on his radar.
I will often use Tee Nuts to repair plastic bosses or as a sling or bi-pod attachment point on plastic or thin wood fore-ends. They have a large base and are very solid when epoxied in place. They are available in a wide variety of sizes.
Here is a link for reference…
That is a great idea! Trying to “repair” those old plastic parts is nigh on impossible.
Never thought to use them that way.
The Tee Nuts are just the ticket for any number of applications where you need a solid, threaded anchor. I have even soldered or welded them on to repair metal parts.
I always keep a stock of them in 4-40 to 3/8″ thread sizes and don’t hesitate to “customize” them as required.
They kinda fall into the “coat-hanger, duct-tape, ty-wrap and WD-40” category of things for me 🙂
These were sold in the UK under the name “ASI Paratrooper” and also came in a rather gimcrack multi shot version, so if you need to source parts or information do a google under that name.
They were marked ASI and El Gamo and, frankly, weren’t much loved being much the same price as a BSA Meteor or Webley Hawk and not built as well, you should be looking at around 7fpe in 177 and 8fpe in 22.
Other rifles sold under the ASI brand that may correspond with US El Gamo were
ASI Magnum (12fpe break barrel)
ASI Statical (Sliding anti recoil action)
ASI Sniper (mid power plinker)
ASI Apache (junior rifle)
It’s funny, but the photo of the El Gamo with its buttsotck panels removed reminds me very much of the angular, black plastic buttstocks of more than a few air rifles of today, including the Umarex Surge, Hatsan Edge, Ruger Blackhawk, Stoeger X3-TAC, and (El) Gamo Whisper Silent Cat.
Newcomer wondering if posting of all topics or off topic questions takes place right here or if there are “forums” of some sort to divide subject matter?
Also have to include a thank you to BB and everyone else for expanding my head knowledge of this world with the many excellent reviews and comments I’ve been reading for the past 7-10 days.
Welcome to the blog.
On this blog you can post any airgun-related question or comment you may have in the current posting. The only condition is the language must be clean. There are many parents reading this blog with their children and we want to maintain a family friendly environment.
This is a blog, rather than a forum. Forums are undirected places where people talk about a topic. On this blog the topic of the day usually constrains people’s remarks to that specific subject, but that isn’t a rule.
Thanks for the reply and the blog guidance (probably why this has all been such enjoyable reading).
I could pose dozens of questions I suppose, but have just a couple of simple ones to start:
Either you or someone else mentioned not using regular pellgun oil in either spring or gas piston power plants. As I wander the box store aisles I don’t see anything else and would like a recommendation for my Trail NP pistol?
Also, to support the community of air gunners, I would very much like to purchase my next (first adult) rifle through Pyramid, but am not allowed to process a purchase on eBay as they restrict delivery to Virginia, which is incorrect in that the law only prohibits shipment of incendiary devices such as flare guns (as far as I know, I could be wrong here).
If I were to order directly from PA would there be a similar restriction, or is that just an eBay/PayPal policy?
Any light you can shed on either subject would be dandy – just beware that I may then ask you to help evaluate my rifle choice(s).
Thanks for your time,
I reside in SW Virginia and order directly from PA on a regular basis. If PA carries it, they will ship it to you.
As far as oiling a sproinger, you can use silicone chamber oil (available from PA), although I would be very sparing with that. A drop or so should do you for a couple of thousand shots.
Agree with RR.
And emphasis on a DROP or so … As in literally two … and only every thousand shots or so.
Lube titled “chamber oil” is specifically designed to not combust under the extreme pressures of these modern spring powered guns. (Pyramid Air sells silicone oil from both Crosman and RWS)
Pellgun oil is petroleum based and will combust, possibly damaging your pistol!
Also, as you may know your Trail NP uses a gas spring and thus will not need the additional lubrication a steel spring would need.
The short story: modern gas spring powered guns are largely self lubricating and the only thing you need to do is just shoot & enjoy them.
RR, BG04, & Doc,
Thanks for the pointers/links…will hold off lubing the NP for a bit (only a couple dozen shots through it) and order some chamber oil to have when needed.
Good to know these things as I have just about settled on another np model for a rifle, leaning towards the Crosman Shockwave in .22 for small gaming. I looked at the Optimus too, but seem to see some advantages to the gas piston power plant.
Still, a part of me says to wait a bit longer and go with the Maximus and pump combo as a light entry into PCP.
Head spinning a tad at all the choices available for a guy that just wanted a 392 pumper to begin with 🙂
Btw, RR, knew of someone by that handle who located one of my ‘caches down here in SWVA a while back…you?
No, I am not into that cache thing, at least not that I would want anyone to find.
The choices are head spinning. Here is a little tip that will help you some. Ask yourself this question. What am I going to do with this air rifle? Once you decide that, then you look at your budget,
When I am asked by newbies about which spring piston air rifle I would recommend they get, I point them to the RWS 34 or one of it’s variants. Now I also suggest the Walther Terrus. I myself have not seen the real advantage of the gas spring, but that could be that I have not seen the right air rifle as of yet.
If you venture into the world of PCP, the Maximus will be a superb choice for you to start with.
I personally recommend you start with a sproinger. If you can master shooting one of these, you can shoot anything.
Be forewarned. You are dabbling around with the Darkside.
The dark side indeed…my shooting varies from pop cans at 30-50′ to keep trigger, breathing, sight picture skills practiced, but am also avid outdoorsman so small game hunting brings the rifle to the party at some point. As to the gas piston, outside of the advertising hype, if it is a even little quieter and a little lighter, my poor arthritic knees and already past prime ears will appreciate the gains as I woods-wander.
Part of me really wants to end up with a pair of 392/397s to complement the 1322 & 1377 already in my meager collection, but I don’t realistically see me flailing away in the woods with a multipump in between critter opportunities, although I think the 392 has a great power to weight ratio.
A final part of the hobby is my interest in modding the 2240 and 1322 and to that end I grabbed a 14.5″ barrel to put on the 1322, thinking to move its 10″ to the 2240 for some minor FPS gains and longer sighting planes. Valves, springs, other mods later.
So, yeah, entering the dark side with eyes open, flashlight on, and wallet puckering, knowing if I grab the Crosman Shockwave it probably won’t be my last, just filling the lightweight, self contained woods bumming role for now.
Thanks for your comments, anything further is always welcome as well, particularly anything you may wish to share regarding the Shockwave NP. By the way, I did like the Terrus, it looks to come in smack dab middle of the road between the Shockwave and Maximus kit…will give that quite a bit more thought. Thx, Steve
Still looking at the Maximus but wondering if you can point me to some bulk fill places in SW VA – I am in Scott Co but travel all over the area. Thinking maybe further entry into PCP eventually and need a source of air besides a hand pump at some point?
I really do not know of any bulk fill places as up until very recently I have done all of my PCP filling with a hand pump. There are a couple of dive shops in Roanoke/Salem, but I do not know if they fill air rifle tanks.
I would recommend the Maximus and either the latest Hill or Air Venturi pump. They both have great warranties and are rebuildable. You will find that with the Maximus it will not take long to fill or top off.
Thanks for the quick reply, and I am definitely leaning that way. Do you think the pumps you mention would fill a Marauder pistol or similar if I decided to add one to the growing collection later on?
Easily. The only time they are an issue is when you are filling a large volume reservoir. I have used my Hill pump to fill my .357 HM1000X. It requires a good bit of pumping, but I did it.
I have been shooting PCP for about five years now and I have just this year bought a compressor and tank. With something like the Maximus or a Marauder pistol, I would not be in a hurry for tanks and compressors unless you find you are physically unable to do such. Hand pumping is actually a pretty good workout if you do it right.
Thanks for the additional info on the hand pump…gives me some planning data for later..was thinking it would be cost effective to pick up a Maximus kit that includes the Benjamin pump and then save for the Marauder later…then I saw the TalonP and cnsidered it would need a different pump…way ahead of myself here but I can say almost certainly that a PCP pistol is in my future…could sell one of my better powder burners and jump right on up to an evanix Rex pistol, but don’t know psi/reservoir size…again, that’s way future. Thanks again for the free exchange of ideas here on the blog, slows me down enough to consider things more carefully.
Here is a timely article you might want to follow.
Ssouther (Steve), here is some good lubrication blogs to start with. They explain it well.
Less the faux-wood/plastic stock insert, add a frontThompson style pistol grip a a fake vertical magazine (like) appendage, and you’d have something resembling an Australian Owen SMG.
For better or worse, you’d be the only kid on your block to have one :):):)
There’s one of these El Gamos in a old early 70’s Airgun Research Headquarters catalog I have. Don’t have the catalog in front of me to see exactly what model is listed. But it has a nice long discription about the gun and additional tuning for accuracy you could purchase on top of the price of the gun. I think the catalog lists the 300 model. I’ll have to look when I get home.
Meant Air Rifle Headquarters catalog. Brain not in gear today or old age or something.
Siraniko— Thank you for the information re tempering steel. Mercury vapor is toxic, so using it to temper steel must be very dangerous. I was also interested to read the part re using salt water to temper blades. I remember reading about how the Syrians discovered how to temper their sword blades. They had some very sadistic methods of executing criminals ( during the middle ages ) . One method involved using a red hot sword. Naturally, they used old relics. ( the sword blades, not the criminals) They were surprised to find out how this process improved even poor quality blades. When they ran out of criminals, they did some experimenting, and discovered that salt water was just as good for tempering steel. ——–Ed
Anyone out there aware of a kit or mod that will allow stacking ,say 4, 18g co2 cartridges in a QB78 tube for higher shot count ? Also , has anyone tried using neatsfoot oil to restore leather piston seals in old springers?
Not sure what condition your leather seal is in but I found simply soaking a Harley carburetor dried out shriveled up leather cupped accelerator pump seal in penetrating oil swelled it up like new.
I don’t presently have a dried up seal problem but I have read on this blog that it happens and some of the solutions involve petroleum based oils, which can diesel. I used neatsfoot oil (made from cow shins and foot bones, I think) to condition huge leather air cylinder rod and piston seals prior to installing them in the machines I maintained. These seals were 24″-30″ ring cups formed from 5/16″ – 3/8″ thick leather and they looked and felt like they were carved from wood because they were so hard. Soaking them allowed them to soften enough to compress and be installed. Just wondered if it had ever been tested as a non-petroleum based cure for dried up spring piston seals.
Did a little research. Evidently ‘todays’ neatsfoot oil is made from lard and other ingredients, even petroleum products in some cases and has a lot of various uses with appropriate ingredients. Not sure of it’s lubricant properties. Mainly a leather conditioner, restoration oil. Sounds like it needs to be rubbed in. May help a new seal last longer if soaked in it. It can’t hurt to try it out. Can’t imagine it’s currently in wide use for airguns today.
If all else fails in repairing that stock, it looks like a good candidate for a custom wood replacement. Two slabs screwed together
That would work, of course. Might shift the balance to the rear though.
I hear what your saying … It would immediately eliminate it from use in any national match too. What was I thinking ! 😉
I’ve been gathering a lot of good info from your blog, thanks for all the quality content. I’m afraid I’ve been bitten by the airgun bug. lol.
One question for you-my TX200 has a mild honk when I cock it, where exactly should I put a drop of crossman silicone chamber oil? Or do you recommend something else.
Welcome to the blog.
I never recommend oiling TX 200s, but if your really honks when cocked, one drop down the air transfer port. That’s the hole in the sliding compression chamber when the gun is cocked.
Any silicone chamber oil will do.
I just have one query please…..recently l was given a Benjamin NP Air Pistol but l very nearly broke my kneecap trying to cock it. Has anyone any advice as to what to use to lubricate this model ?
The NP is a gas spring and should not need lubrication. That said, you’re does. This is a problem that is so unusual that I cannot diagnose it outside of seeing the pistol. Have you owned other air pistols with gas springs? Air rifles?
I think perhaps this one may need to go back to Pyramyd Air for a checkup.
Thanks for your reply. If you never recommend oiling tx200’s what would be the alternative option? I feel confident taking the gun apart if that’s what’s needed.
You could disassemble it to see if there is any grease on the piston. The piston seal is self-lubricating for the most part. You might have gotten one that is bad, but in my experience, just shooting it a thousand times will be the best thing you can do.
Just a small comment here. Have you considered using brass wool instead of steel wool or stainless steel wool for removing light rust? The theory here is that the brass is harder than the rust, but softer from the steel. In my experience it doesn’t remove the bluing, but does remove the rust. If the rust is really thick use a 1982-or-earlier (all copper) U.S. penny to scrape the rusty spot. It won’t fill the steel back in, but it will remove as much rust as possible without using a file on it. All of this is, of course, done with using Ballistol as a lubricant and preservative on the brass wool or copper penny. Hope this helps someone.
St. Louis, MO
No, I haven’t considered brass wool. In fact, until now I didn’t know it existed.
I’ve used 0000 steel wool on rust for 40 years and never had a problem. It leaves the bluing intact.