The
Gamo Varmint Hunter
Jim Chapman
At the recent SHOT show, I spent quite a bit of
time at the Gamo booth looking over their
current products, as well as newer additions to
their portfolio. One of the products they were
promoting quite heavily was the Raptor pellet,
made of a hard, light material that was said to
increase the muzzle velocities of most guns by
up to 25% percent. I will be presenting a fairly
detailed review of testing on several new pellets
in a separate article, but the scope of this piece
is the companies Varmint Hunter rifle. I wanted
a platform to test the Raptor, and thought one of
Gamos guns would be just the ticket. So I
ordered the rifle, and after a short wait found it
sitting on my desk when I returned home one
day.

The Varmint hunter is based on the Gamos
Shadow series of break barrel spring piston
airrifle. The gun is dressed in a black synthetic
stock, with a compliment of lights, lasers, and
optics riding atop it. I have to admit, I’m a
traditional kind of guy and have always
preferred wood, however this rifles stock does
give it a businesslike appearance.  I’ll spend
a few lines giving some of the relevant
specifications and features before getting into my
shooting/pest control experience with this gun.

The stock is an all weather synthetic material
that is available in any color (as Henry Ford use
to say of the Model T) so long as you want
black. There is an ambidextrous cheekpeice that
is situated to achieve good sight alignment when
using a scope. The butt of the gun is equipped
with a ventilated rubber buttplate, and the pistol
grip and fore stock are checkered. The result is
an easy to shoulder gun that aims naturally and
carries well.

The varmint Hunter is a break barrel design with
a 38 lb cocking effort, but due to the long
sweep of the cocking action seemed lighter to
me. The gun is advertised to generate velocities
of 1000 fps, which is pretty close to what I
achieved with some projectiles. In the
accompanying table you will see the results I
obtained using the Gamo Raptor, Hunter
Roundnose, and Predator Polymag pellets
amongst others. The precision rifling of the 28â
€� barrel yielded up very good accuracy with
several loads. There is a 2 stage trigger, with
first stage being adjustable. I had the gun set up
with very little initial creep and a clean break at
about 3.5 lb.

The thing that makes the Varmint Hunter the
Varmint Hunter is the accessories that are
included in the package. The rifle has a grooved
receiver that mounts a scope, onto which a
flashlight and a laser are affixed. Both of these
lighting systems are activated via a pressure
sensitive switch and can be easily deployed from
the shooters typical hand position on the
forestock.

To get a handle on how the gun performed,
several pellets were shot across the chrony and
for groups at twenty five yards. All pellets
yielded adequate accuracy for most hunting
applications, and while I wasn’t surprised
that the CPs and Hunters offered up tight
groups, the fact that the Raptors grouped so
well wasn’t expected. In several guns Iâ
€™d tested this pellet through, the accuracy
past 15-20 yards was so-so. But with the
Varmint Hunter I got consistently good results at
25 yards. The targets shown are representative
of typical groups obtained, and the chart in the
figure was the average of five 5 shot groups,
with the CP, Hunters, and Raptors respectively
providing the best results.
The Gamo Varmint Hunter is outfitted with a synthetic stock, a targeting system for every
occassion, and performance that will get the job done in the field. I found the gun digested the
new Gamo Raptor pellet better than any other gun I'd tried them in.
The optics include a 4x scope, laser, and a small
high power flashlight.
The laser and flashlight are activated via
pressure switches that can be mounted
anywhere the shooter prefers.
The two stage trigger has first stage
adjustment. The safety is positioned just
forward of the trigger.
The ventelated
buttpad dampens
the recoil making
this gun
comfortable to
shoot. The rear
swivel stud is
mounted and
ready to attach a
sling
The loading port allows for easy seating of
pellets.
The author used a number of pellets
in this evaluation, but was especially
interested in how the new Gamo
Raptor performed. Velocities were
approximately 25% higher than
achieved with other pellet types. For
some reason the Varmint Hunter
shoots the Raptor exceedingly well.
(Top)




I use a portable shooting bench with
a rest, pro chronograph, target box
with a variety of targets, tools, and
a spotting scope.




I did not get the tightest groups with
this gun, but it is not a target rifle. It
is a purpose designed hunting/pest
control rifle.




A summary of my results shooting
six different styles of .177 pellets,
including three rather unique
designs; the Raptor, the Predator
Polymag, and a prototype of the
Exterminator 15 grain pellet.