El Gamo David breakbarrel air rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

El Gamo David
The El Gamo David is a lower-powered breakbarrel from the 1960s or’ 70s.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • Meister 10-shots
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the El Gamo David breakbarrel. This little rifle seems to have captured a lot of people’s hearts for some reason. Let’s see if he can do the job.

The test

There is a lot to tell in this section. I shot at 10 meters off a sandbag rest. I discovered in Part 3 that the David likes his pellets seated deep, so that’s what I did today. I used a ballpoint pen to seat every pellet in this test.

I didn’t know whether an artillery hold was best or if I should just rest the rifle directly on the bag. So I devised a way to find out. I’ll talk about it in a minute.

I shot 10-shot groups, except for my first two tests. Let’s get started!

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

This is the test I thought up to see which method of holding was best. Before shooting the groups of 10, I shot five pellets with the rifle rested directly on the bag and another five holding it with the artillery hold. The first pellet I shot was the 8.2-grain RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle. The very first shot hit the paper to the right of the bullseye, at 4 o’clock. So I adjusted the rear sight to the left. It only went a short distance, but it’s now as far to the left as it will go.

Then I shot a group of five pellets. Regardless of where they land, they are as far to the left as I can make them. When I looked at the group through the spotting scope I was amazed to see a one-hole group. Later, when I measured it, the distance between the centers of the five pellets is 0.166-inches! That is worthy of a trime!

Meister Rifle rested group
The first shot hit low and to the right. After adjusting the rear sight as far as it would go to the left I put 5 RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets into a 0.166-inch group at ten meters.

Now it was time to see what the artillery hold would do. However, since the David is so light it is very hard to shoot it with a good artillery hold. The trigger pull is heavier than the rifle!

With the best artillery hold I could muster the David put another 5 Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets into a 0.637-inch group at 10 meters. This is actually a 6-shot group, as the 5 shots looked like just 4 through the spotting scope, so I shot a 6th pellet. And it went into the same hole the 5th shot went into. The David wants to shoot!

Meister Rifle artillery hold
The David put 6 Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets into 0.637-inches with shots 5 and six going through the same hole as another pellet.

Obviously the David prefers to be rested on a bag as it shoots, so that’s the way I shot it for the rest of today’s test.

Meister 10-shots

Now that the question of the right hold was answered I decided to shoot 10-shots groups for the remainder of the test. I began with the same Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutters I had been shooting. Unfortunately the sun picked that time to shine brightly through the window into my eyes and it probably distracted me. Ten Meisters went into 0.85-inches at 10 meters.

Meister Rifle 10-shot group
The David put 10 Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets into this 0.85-inch group at 10 meters.

Notice that this group is not only big, it is also in a different place than the first two groups! It’s much higher on the target. I also have to note that the David jolts when firing this pellet.

Air Arms Falcons

The next pellet I shot was the 7.33-grain Air Arms Falcon dome. If you recall, this pellet shot very smoothly in the David in Part 3.  I expected it to do well in this test, and, as far as accuracy goes, it did. Ten Falcon domes went into 0.567-inches at 10 meters. Now, that’s a group I can live with!

Falcon group
Ten Air Arms Falcon pellets made this 0.567-inch group at 10 meters.

I expected Falcons to shoot smoothly, but they didn’t. They jolted just like the Meisters. Today I was shooting the rifle off a bag rest, where in the velocity test I was holding it in my hands.

The sun was no longer shining in my eyes when this group was fired. And I note that the center of the group is to the left of center in the bull, so the rear sight can be adjusted back a little. This is a good pellet for the David, as is the Meisterkugeln Rifle, I think.

H&N Finale Match Light

The last pellet I tested this day was the H&N Finale Match Light wadcutter. At 10 meters ten of them made a group that measures 0.804-inches between centers. The group looks okay except for the straggler pellet off to the right. The other nine pellets are in 0.648-inches. That’s still on the large side so I think I would stick with the first two pellets for the David.

Finale Light group
Ten H&N Finale Match Light pellets went into this 0.804-inch group at 10 meters.

Discussion

This test has taught me a couple things about the David. First, it’s very accurate. This is an air rifle that’s worth the time to make it shoot smooth and to lighten the trigger.

Next, the David wants its pellets seated deep. And it wants to be rested directly on a sandbag when it shoots.

Finally, as accurate as the David is, I don’t think the heavy trigger helps it. And the jolt it gives when firing is annoying, as well. The David could stand to be stripped and tuned.

Summary

We’re not done with the David. I want to pull it apart next and see if I can get it shooting smoother. That trigger also needs to be lighter. You may not see this rifle again for awhile, but I will come back to it.

92 thoughts on “El Gamo David breakbarrel air rifle: Part 4




  1. BB,

    This little boy is most definitely worth a look inside. It is doing pretty nice there.

    Have you ever considered using a pellet pen like this one?

    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Pellet_Pen_and_Pellet_Seater_Loads_Seats_177_Pellets/4140

    It would be easy to load with the correct number of pellets and you can adjust the seater to your preferred depth.

    I think I already know the answer, but it will give food for thought to others.

    Just in case anyone is curious, I have this in both .177 and .22.



      • BB,

        That and it is easier to pull a pellet from a tin than load the pen and use it to insert the pellet.

        They really are nice when you are stomping around, but if you are sitting comfy, nah.





            • RidgeRunner,

              I have two bandoliers for scattergun shells one is leather the other is more utilitarian nylon.
              I’m joking about the bandolier for BIG BORE Bullets; although the 530 grain .458 would look great in one. I usually carry 6 bullets in a wallet when i go on a hunt there really is no need for more or to end up looking like the Frito Bandito! It would also interfere with the chest holster speed loader pouches for the .44 S&W Pistol that i normally carry when hunting.

              shootski


    • RR,

      I had one early on. (I guess?? I still have it?) Never could get used to it. It did not have the seater. I did not find it very precise on exiting and too small for my big paws. That said, I did not have any break barrels and still don’t. I did (not) try them for my under levers,.. of course.

      Never know,.. I might reconsider in the future. The concept is good.

      Chris


      • Chris,

        The main reason I bought them was the pellet seater. Most of my sproingers I could use these with, even the tap loaders. Not so with the Diana 46 or a TX200. It would have worked with a Gamo CFX.

        Like I was saying, it is a good way to carry pellets when you are out stomping around, but if you are parked on the back porch it is more trouble than it is worth except for the adjustable seater.



      • Yogi,

        Mine work quite well. Most of the time I am just sitting on the back porch and trying various pellets like BB is, but on occasion I use them. I find the adjustable pellet seater very handy at times.

        It could have been the pellets were on the small side or you pushed down with a little too much enthusiasm. Another possibility is you had a bad one.

        I cannot say it was the biggest waste of money since I entered this hobby. That distinction is reserved for the pellets themselves, most especially the fancy hunting pellets. I have quite a collection.


  2. BB

    Now that I know deep pellet seating really can make a difference in accuracy, what about different depths?

    David is just begging for a tune and will reward you I predict.

    Deck



      • BB,
        Yes, you did and caught my undivided attention.
        Well, 27 is tad bit of on the more powerful side. Let’s say as nice as 22 or 23.
        I knew this rifle had it. A great plinker. Won many hearts. Gamo, Hatsan, Crosman, and etc…, r u reading this report?
        Fish.


        • Fish,

          The problem is the lawyers and marketeers will have to give them a once over. The lawyers are going to insist on a safety and a very horrible trigger. The marketeers are going to insist that it look like an AR-15 and be much more powerful. They know what’s best for us.



            • Fish,

              If you understand what you are looking for and look around real careful like, you can find some very nice, low powered air rifles. You have recently become fixated on the R7/HW30. They are awesome.

              You can also convert many quality adult sproingers into sub 12 FPE air rifles relatively easily with kits that are available. Hector Medina’s favorite air rifle is a sub 12 FPE Diana 54 Air King.

              https://www.ctcustomairguns.com/hectors-airgun-blog


              • RR,
                I know that rifle. I think it’s brilliant. 54 is already a heavy platform, on top of that, it has the recolless mechanism. Being said these details, with 12FPE, it must be shooting so smooth like a PCP – no recoil.
                You know how much I preached about how good 27 was. I believe it’s goodness was coming from its size. It was almost same size as R9 but weaker, so the weight was obsorbing the recoil. No special hold techinique was needed shooting a 27.
                I’m even worried about R7; it’s weak but light as well, so it might, still, cause more recoil than my old 27s.
                I actually considered what you suggested – 48 with 12FPE vortek kit for example or R9 or HW80 with 12FPE vortek kit.
                Anyhow,
                I’ve decided this will be my last comment here. Nice to meet you all guys. Take care.


                • Fish
                  There is a used R9 on that other air gun sight right now.

                  Check it out.

                  I thought about getting it. I had a good hw50 at one time. Don’t know why I get them gone all the time.

                  Anyway check it out. And more than likely its gone already.



  3. BB,

    Think that the attraction to the David is that it is very familiar to us who grew up with that style of airgun in the mid 60s and 70s.

    I know that the solid wood and machined steel construction appeals to me in a way that tin and plastic never will, the David just looks “right”.

    Like my old springers, shoot them as much as my modern PCPs.

    Happy Friday all!
    Hank




      • RR,

        Good to know that. The local supplier only listed the 45 and 50 cals.

        If I get the sudden need for a “big gun” (like groundhog hunting) I would probably go for a .30. Plan “B” would be a larger caliber to experiment with home-made projectiles.

        Hank


        • Hank,

          Years ago there were many who would convert their Talons and Talon SS’s with custom valves and custom made .257 rifle barrels for shooting loooooong range. There are many cast and swaged bullets in this size. .30 is also a good caliber for experimenting with long range.

          Today there is a plethora of cast and swaged lead bullets available. With the rise in popularity of the big bore air rifles, there has been a revival of the cast bullet industry.


          • RR,

            Thanks for this! Good to know!

            Until recently, most of my airgun shooting has been at 30 yards or less – the areas I hunt are dense bush and you rarely see anything beyond 20 yards.

            Being relatively new to “long range” airgun shooting I have been concentrating on my technique and becoming more consistent. I’ve chosen 40 yards as my training distance and it is going to be a while before I am happy enough with my skills that I start extending that range.

            Had a calm (and reasonably mild) evening on Friday and I managed to get 20 minutes of shooting to test a new tune before the light faded. Pretty pleased with the results, lost my focus on a couple of shots but I’m definitely improving. Hoping that the winter 10 meter sessions will help my outdoor shooting.

            Hank



              • Don,

                Yeah, repurposed junk from the “good for something” box – but it’s not a “jack” anymore, (now that I cleaned off the grease and gave it a coat of paint) it is called a “Z-axis adjustment device” LOL! The “vertical adjustment knob” is a rubber foot from a cane.

                Thanks – small groups are easier when you only shoot 3 pellets 🙂

                Typically, I use 10 shot groups the check group size. When I shoot sets of 3 shots I am usually doing “Delta-POI” measurements (I measure and add the POA to POI distance for the set to score the target) to gather stats. Any more that 3 shots results in a ragged hole and I can’t tell where the individual pellets hit.

                Hank


            • Vana2,

              Do you have any powerline or pipeline cuts near you? If so they make good areas to stretch that FX’s legs. Back in the Eastern part of the lower 48 much of that land is only right-of-way easement that still has property owners who often will give permission to set up impromptu ranges. What your Province’s rules are you would need to check on. I’m fortunate to have a 1,000 range less than a half hour away and i can only dream of shooting that far with an airrifle…for now. I have lobbed some .458 out to 500 but it is more like mortar fire at that range. The thing you will no doubt find or already probably grasp is that reading the wind is really the crux of pellet/bullet shooting at extended range. It is so much easier at 3,000+ FPS than it is at sub 950 FPS when conditions are even a tiny bit turbulent or gusty.

              Love the “Industrial” rear rest!

              shootski


              • Shootski,

                Yes we do have power and pipe lanes in the area and I suspect that the landowners will quickly grant permission to airgunners even if they don’t allow powderburners.

                Last summer I extended my 55 yard range out to 125 yards and with a portable bench I could manage 200 yards without problem. I live by a spring fed beaver flood and if I really wanted I can set up a floating target (tethered to a “cloths line”) set at pretty well any range I want – been thinking about that, I might even motorize the contraption 🙂 I’m lucky that distance is not a problem.

                To my thinking, there is no point if shooting beyond my effective range. Right now I am working on my form and being consistent ( 40 yards suits me fine for now ). I’m getting there slowly and will start extending my shooting (5 yards at a time) next summer.

                For practicing I use a 1/2 inch target, for practical application (hunting and pesting) I use a 1 inch target/spinner. From that perspective, I see maximum effective range as being the range at which all shots are inside a 1 inch circle – from what I see in airguns (pellets and slugs) it looks like 125 yards is a realistic maximum range with current technology.

                As far as the long range stuff goes, I agree that wind-doping is the key – by comparison, trajectory is easy!

                Cheers!
                Hank


                • Hank,

                  You are blessed to have those reach – out options right outside your door. Even that half-hour drive along with scheduled operating hours put a damper on opportunities. Out West the BLM lands and mountain terrain make some fun distances possible…hope the vaccine (s) prove out! Need to be able to travel freely again :^)

                  That one inch circle is the factor that ensures not much more range beyond what you have cleared will be needed anytime soon.

                  Very nice shooting!

                  shootski


                  • Shootski,

                    Here is a picture of the range.

                    The spinners at the front are at the 25 yards from the bench, the vertical log backstop is 55 yards and the horizontal log backstop and two targets (at the upper left) are at 125 yards.

                    Hank


                    • Hank!

                      Perfect.
                      What a great range to practice your wind reading on. You have your bodacious wind flags and then the natural wind flags in the grasses and evergreens. Those evergreens are great for learning the wind direction, speed, gusts, with both eyes and ears. You can hear the gusts coming if you really work on sound volume and discriminating location. Much like learning to pick out one single instrument and player in a Symphonic Orchestra! We humans have so much more ability than we “moderns” make use of!
                      I would be forced to build a greenhouse/Trombe wall shooting position to extend the shooting season into Fall and Spring.

                      shootski


                    • Hank,

                      Nice setup! I have started working on my 100 yard range. Mine will be strictly in the woods. If I let my yard get to where I can do wind doping, Mrs. RR would have a fit.

                      Off of my front porch I have metal posts going out through the woods at 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards, but the dog gets upset when I shoot my airguns so I am moving my range a little ways from the house. Rotten dog.

                      Right now I have a bunch of spinners and plinkers at 10 yards off of the back porch. I also move them out to 25 yards sometimes. My hunting spinner of choice is a 3/4 inch diameter spinner. That little thing is hard to see out past 25 yards when using open sights though. These old, tired eyes need optical assistance when you start stretching that range out.

                      Now, as for that Impact of yours, what have you done to that poor thing?! You put a big, lumpy hand hold on that air rifle and shoved this long, black thing under it’s rear! It is obvious you have no intention of hunting with this thing unless you bait the critters on to your range.


                    • Hank

                      How about one of those metal lawn mower storage sheds ?
                      Tie it down so the wind will not put it in a tree. Put in a kerosene heater for the winter.
                      Might be some mirage problems though.

                      tt


                  • Shootski,

                    I saw this Wind Estimator Chart a while a go and found it quite useful. It’s just a JEPG file but it’s fairly clear – wish I could find the original image though.

                    When hunting in dense brush (as I typically do) ranges are short and the wind is dampened enough that it is not a factor. I find that shooting in open areas – or worse, open areas that have random wind-breaks is much more challenging.

                    My shooting range is like that and watching the wind swirl the flags every which way is a real education – wish that wind was steady and from one direction but that is really a dream and not real world.

                    I do a lot of shooting in the wind to get a “feel” for the drift. I usually put up a series of targets (just a vertical line with a couple of horizontal lines across it) spaced at 10 yard intervals and systematically shoot a couple of pellets at each without applying any compensation. Results are always interesting. As you suggest, I am trying to program my “internal compensator” to relate the sound, movement and feel of the wind to how much the pellet drifts. Zen and shooting eh? LOL!

                    Your idea is a good one! The shooting range is 10 steps from the basement door. Been thinking about making a greenhouse/porch there for a while – would be a good place to put a shooting bench as well 🙂

                    Hank


                • Hank
                  Great reply.

                  And yep wind doping.

                  Better know what your gun shoots like to make a humane kill when its windy.

                  There is a range of distance involved there too. Can definitely be tricky. Best not take the shot if your not sure. Thats it plain and simple.


  4. B.B.,

    This El Gamo David is the little air rifle that could! Count me among those who can’t wait to read the next installment. Might you be able to get a round tuit in time for Festivus? ;^)

    Michael



  5. “… put 5 RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets into a 0.166-inch group at ten meters.”
    B.B.,
    Perhaps I’m just a teeny bit biased (like since the rifle shares my name! LOL), but I was very pleased to see this little gun shoot so well. And I am really happy that you are not done yet; I think this little spud deserves a chance to really shine and to be all it can be. =>
    Take care, God bless, and have a great weekend,
    dave


  6. AK1
    Just received mine. Boy they really have the ‘new plastic’ down pat. I’m sure it’s a composite of some sort but it can replace metal any day in my house. Nice and tight with no rattles except for the hex wrench in the mag storage spot.
    Reminds me of the material used for the Colt AR15 forearm.
    Extremely detailed with NO WHITE PRINT anywhere.
    I thought it would have a metal receiver because of the weight but most of the metal is inside it and the mag. The selector / safety, trigger and other small things appear to be metal and the imitation compensator unscrews in reverse and I am going to assume it’s airsoft 14mm compatible? The folding stock is rock solid and on par and compatible with any AR.
    Now there are some fitment problems out there between BB, airsoft, and real steel stocks. Tube diameter. Just beware. I just tried a FAB Defense stock and it was too tight to fit but a UTG PRO worked just fine. The tube is not interchangeable and appears to be a custom Crosman folder.
    If you like black rifles like me you wont be disappointed. I am going to also assume it works the same as the other BB select fire AR’s out there. Nuff said, BB can amplify and fill in the performance particulars. If he features it some day.
    Pulled out a magnet but a lot is evidently pot metal and non ferrous, Hard to tell what is what? The stock tube, barrel, sights, trigger / guard, mag release and gas tube are all cold.
    Bob M


    • Bob,

      It looks like it would be a lot of fun! 🙂 Good to hear the folder is solid. A loose one would bug me. Then again, it is not like this was ever meant to be a long range tack driver either.

      Chris


      • Chris
        I don’t know for sure but being made in Taiwan it may be an airsoft conversion. And they conveniently left the 14mm CCW threads on the barrel, so that fake comp can be removed and replaced with any of the dozens of airsoft fake silencers and flash hiders. They even included a speed loader. Another airsoft standard item. Funny thing is some airsoft comps or flash hiders have open fronts to act as megaphone sound amplifiers for more realism.
        They call it a CAK1, for carbine I’m sure, on the box. No bayonet mounting lug.
        The inner barrel is recessed quite a bit so it may get a jump in FPS with a longer barrel. I’m sure they wanted to keep it down some to increase longevity, reduce any possible problems or just to save CO2.

        I am really impressed with it’s looks as well, on par with the DPMS, Bushmaster, MP40 and Tommy Gun.
        It just feels right in your hands.

        Chris, how come you just didn’t remove the folding attachment on the RAI? I had to remove it and the offset adapter to install the custom Luth AR adjustable stock. The length of pull was just too much for it.
        Bob M


        • Bob,

          The folder I sent was never mounted. The one that was (a long time ago) I butchered. I had just the offset and tube for how I shot it. And yes, the folder made it too long,… well almost. The 6 position was pretty much useless with the added length. The folder is a brand new one he sent as a replacement as he said that he had customers complaining. He sent it for free. No complaints there.

          Chris


  7. And another Gunfun1 off subject topic. Air gun related though.

    I did a little experiment this week. It’s with the 499 at 12 yards.

    I shot 10 shot groups each day of the week at the same target including today. So basically 60 shots total after today. And 3 of the days had good wind. Today had a 10 mph head wind with a slight cross wind. The wind was probably coming from the 2 o’clock position. And 2 days was with rain. One day was drizzle and the other was pouring rain. And a few days it was warm and the rest cool.

    So what I ended up with is a .500″ group over the 6 days with 60 shots at 12 yards with a BB gun. For a bb gun to me that is absolutely great.

    Chris kept telling me to get one. I should of listened a long time ago. It’s one of my most favorite plinking guns. Thanks Chris. 🙂



    • GF1,

      Well, it took you awhile,… but you got there eventually. 😉 You always say that you only like accurate air guns,.. and the 499 is for sure accurate within range. Plus,.. there is always that whole spring swap/more power thingy you can do.

      🙂 Chris


      • Chris
        I just can’t bring myself to do the spring mod. And you know I want to deep down inside. But I can not touch this 499.

        If I was to mod it and it didn’t work and I put it back and it didn’t work the same I would be very bummed out.

        I’m going to get another 499. And if its not as accurate I may do the spring mod. But then again why? Could the spring mod make it more accurate? Maybe but I doubt it.

        The 499 I have right now has to stay like it is. No more will I mess with a accurate gun.

        So that’s where I’m at now. But at least I finally got one. 😉



          • Chris
            Can’t say that yet.

            Definitely going to see if it’s as accurate as the one I already have before I decide to do anything to it.

            Right now I can hit a 12 oz. can repeatedly at 20 yards. Why do I need more? That’s what I look for with a gun I plink with.



            • GF1,

              I can already see you are loosing the argument with yourself. You will eventually get the spring. But get two 499s. We should start a pool on how many weeks till you get a RR spring in one. Also my first emoji I think. I am using my wife’s iPad that has a whole keyboard of them. I fell asleep in the hot tub and found my tablet at the bottom when I woke up. Good thing for Amazon my new tablet will be here tomorrow.

              A new thought for the Red Ryder. I have shot it from the hip a lot but not in any kind of test. I think cans at 5 foot intervals out to 3 hits in 10 shots would be a fun test.

              Glad you are enjoying your 499. I want to hear about your Red Ryder experience, I still think it is more fun.

              Don



              • Don
                I can’t see doing a trigger mod on my 499. Now the adult Red Ryder I have does need some trigger work. I already thought about seeing if a 499 trigger assembly would swap into it.


                • Gunfun1

                  Very pleased your 499 is a “star gauge”. You do have me wanting one.

                  I haven’t taken Ataman AP16 to rifle range yet but I’m forecasting your hunch is true. Accuracy at 25 yards is astounding and repeatable with a low hammer spring setting. No way the higher velocity setting will beat it. Just my opinion until tested.

                  Deck



  8. Benji-Don

    I’m going to try a keyboard emoji again. I had stopped using the emoji from the keyboard and just went back to the old school way of doing them :-¢

    Edit: can’t get it to work either Won’t even Edit one in!

    shootski



  9. Still trying….
    I put the Nitrogen ram in the Gamo Cf-s and shocked the glue off the “scope mount”. Of course I probably wont ever use the ram as it’s too darn powerful. Goes through 12mm pine plywood, up close. The shock! So I had to fab up something that really goes grip on. Decided to have a test with a 25mm clamp. Next one will be full length. The block is aluminum and the clamp is hacked out of Steel angle iron ( the hot rolled stuff not the folded sheet ). With a bit of a chamfer on the gripping face on the block and a ground radius on the barrel clamp it grips pretty solid. Will add glue in there on final assembly to really keep it happy. Lots of hecking filing and sweating. It’s warm here!
    Robert. : – )



      • Hello Chris. : – )

        It is the challenge of using what I have and what I can find in my garage. Also trying things out and coming up with ideas. and then working out how to make them. There are a few neat process’s I had to consider while fabbing that clamp. It was not as easy I first thought, getting things to line up….etc.
        The feeling of success is good and the looking forward to the better version.
        Actually took some shots with it, even in it’s thrown together state I managed a reasonable group. Nothing to rave about, however it will get better once I point everything in the right direction and do some bore sighting etc. One thing I have noticed is the scope and mounting has made the rifle “top heavy” and it can roll easily around the bore. This was not something I had considered. so yes, I will ruminate on that.
        Sighting along the rifle with all the furniture off and the grip higher felt more stable. So one thing leads to another… Robert.


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