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Dave Barham tests the new Gamo GX-40 PCP air rifle - a superb gun with an sub-£400 price tag!
When it comes to budget PCP rifles, Gamo has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and I reckon this new GX-40 is one of their best to date. Here’s why ….
AS SMOOTH AS SILK
One of the main problems with budget PCPs, in my experience, is the cocking mechanism. You will have noticed the recent trend in PCPs for lever cocking actions, which is all well and good, but when it comes to budget rifles they tend to stick with the bolt action, for financial reasons.
In many rifles under the £500 price bracket I have found the bolt action to be quite clunky and stiff, but not with this GX-40. It’s really quite smooth, and only differs from the action on my trusty BSA R10se by having a little extra pull weight required to pull the lever all the way back. That’s a huge thumbs-up from me right from the word go.
SHORT AND SWEET
One thing you’ll notice straight away about the GX-40 is the overall length. Measuring in at 96cm overall with a 47cm barrel, it definitely falls into the ‘carbine’ category, and it’s sure to be a big hit with hunters on a budget. I found it extremely easy to wield, and the shorter length will make this rifle ideal for shooting pigeons and squirrels in dense cover, or maybe rats from inside the comfort of your car.
As you would expect, the GX-40 features a ‘no frills’ stock. It’s made from polymer, and Gamo bills it as an ‘Automotive-grade, glass-filled nylon, all-weather stock’.
It’s a ‘one size fits all’ model, which is ambidextrous and not adjustable; even though the design gives the indication that the cheek comb can be adjusted – it can’t. I must say I like the feel of the stippling effect on the fore grip and pistol grip, though – it’s akin to wet and dry sandpaper and provides excellent grip, even in the wet. There’s also a standard ventilated recoil butt pad fitted, not that you will ever get any recoil from this rifle.
TRIGGER AND SAFETY
The trigger is a two-stage adjustable type, made from polymer with a gently curving blade. It feels great to the touch and is very comfortable to use. It came set with a reasonable first-stage pull and almost identical second stage. At a guess, I’d say it was set at about 10mm for each, but that was easily rectified to reduce the creep at the second stage.
There is a manual ‘trigger-style’ safety lever immediately in front of the trigger, and the rifle will not fire once cocked if the safety is off but the bolt is open. I tried to get it to go off after cocking and not closing the bolt, but it just clicks and doesn’t release any air.
BARREL AND BRAKE
The cold-hammer-forged barrel is held with a barrel band, which is attached to the end of the air reservoir. It’s a fairly robust band, too, which can be removed with an Allen key to give a floating barrel arrangement. There’s a short muzzle brake screwed onto the end of the barrel, but this can also be removed to reveal a ½” UNF thread where you can screw on a moderator. I didn’t bother, but if I was taking the rifle out hunting I would possibly add one, because it’s quite loud without.
Gamo and BSA use the same magazine system, which allows it to sit a few millimetres underneath the scope rail once loaded. This means you can use whichever scope mounts you like, and even have them sitting on top of the magazine loading port if needs be.
As far as the mag’s themselves are concerned, you get 10-shots in both the .177 and .22 versions. They are easy to load, and simply push-in to the loading port on the rifle.
You’ll find the fill port hidden underneath the plastic collar at the end of the air cylinder. You simply pull it off to reveal the port, then fill your rifle and push it back on again. It’s a good fit and goes back into position with a satisfying ‘click’. There’s no need to worry about it working loose or falling off out in the field.
The pressure gauge is found at the end of the air cylinder, and it’s clearly marked with a 323 bar max fill line. You get a standard Gamo/BSA fill probe included in the box.
Before I took this rifle into my back garden, I slapped a BSA 3-9 x 40 scope on top. You can pick these up for around £50 online, which means you can buy this rifle and scope set-up for around £440.
As I began to empty a fresh tin of pellets, I was impressed with this rifle’s accuracy and consistency. For an unregulated PCP, it certainly holds its mark through the entirety of the fill. I didn’t notice any real difference or a ‘sweet spot’ through the first 80 or so shots I made before the pressure dropped to an unusable level. I forgot to mention that the rifle on test here is the .22 model – as I would expect, you’ll get fewer shots from the .177 version, probably 60 or 70. This consistent shooting continued for another two refills, which tells me all I need to know about the rifle.
The next little venture was to my mate Roger’s garden, where we shot the photos for this review. He’s got a lot more land and a far better range than my measly 25-metre one. I pushed the targets out to 35 metres at his place, and still the GX-40 held consistent accuracy and performance. Roger had a good go with it too, and he really liked it.
I’m going to stick my neck out here and make a bold statement. I think the Gamo GX-40 is probably the best sub-£400 rifle that I’ve tested to date. I’m extremely impressed with the build quality, which is British by the way, and the consistent performance.
I know a lot of folk view sub-£500 PCP rifles as ‘entry level’ aimed at beginners, but I’d have no problem using this rifle for either hunting or knocking over targets down the range. If you’re looking for an affordable way into the PCP market, then look no further. If you fancy something ‘cheaper’ to add to your collection, then give the GX-40 some serious consideration – you won’t be disappointed.
Type: PCP, multi-shot rotary mag’
Stock Material: Ambidextrous, synthetic
Cocking: Bolt action
Trigger: Two-stage, adjustable
Trigger Pull: 1.7lb
Calibres: .177 and .22
Magazine: 10-shot .177 and .22
Overall Length: 960mm (37.8”)
Barrel Length: 470mm (18.5”)
Weight: 7.3lbs (3.3kg) without scope
Fill Pressure: 232Bar
Energy of Test Rifle: Avg 10.8 ft.lbs. over 20 shots
Variation (20 shots): 18fps
PRICE: £379 www.gamoguns.co.uk or www.gamo.com
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